Vale Papa

body of water between green leaf trees
Photo by Ian Turnell on Pexels.com

My Dad peacefully passed away at home on Thursday the 9th of December 2021.

Words will never explain my feelings towards my extraordinary Dad. As a young person I firmly believed that by the time my Dad would be old enough to die, they would have invented a cure for death. Here we are many many years later, and no such cure has been invented.

He did it his way in the end, which was waiting for us to not be in the room with him. I’d been there with him almost every minute of the preceding 6 days since he was placed into palliative care, sleeping just one room away with my subconscious tuned into his every breath. Not going to lie there wasn’t a lot of sleep had and the quality of it wasn’t great, but what Dad needed was more important than what I needed at that time.

I had gone with the other half to get his daily scripts of morphine and another drug they use – usually either Mum or The Other Half would go. As the weekend was coming up and we’d had some trouble sourcing these drugs from our usual chemists the doctor had ordered enough for the weekend and we finally had found a pharmacy that tends to stock plenty of them given they supply all the local nursing homes.

While we were gone Mum had gone upstairs to send some emails. When she came back down he was not breathing anymore. She called The Other Half kind of in a panic saying she thought Dad was gone – I was just coming out the door of the shopping centre so The Other Half motioned and yelled out the car window that I should hurry.

We got back home to discover Mum was right. The geriatrician had been right about a fast decline. But Dad had also been right too – it was just a forgotten thing at that moment. It wasn’t until my Adelaide family arrived for the funeral that my Aunt reminded me..

On the 29th of October after the geriatrician sat Dad down to tell him the diagnosis, we came back here and sat out in the nirvana to have coffee. Dad called his sister (my aunt) and said “they’ve given me six weeks to live”. My sister and I looked at each other quizzically – no time frames had been mentioned and the geriatrician had been very specific with us about that – saying she couldn’t say how long it would be but that she thought it would be rapid.

Dad passed away exactly 5 weeks and 6 days later.

Many people find death scary but something that I have learned as part of this process is that I am not one of those people.

It might not sound right to anyone else but I was really happy for Dad. When his body had let him down nearly ten years beforehand, he coped very well with that. He did not cope at all well when his mind chose to let him down. Watching him go through this constant confusion and agitation and distress was hard for us all.

The hardest moment for me during this time was when I had to leave Dad in the dementia unit that first day. He just wanted to go home. I just wanted to take him home. So when it came to palliative care I was determined it would be at home as he would have wanted it to be. Mum was not so sure to begin with but now she is convinced it was the right and best thing for us to do. I am so glad we chose it, not only was he comfortable in his own home but we were able to be comfortable there and we could be with him 24/7 which would not have been possible in hospital.

Two things really helped me through this time. The first is going to sound quite crazy but it was a TV show I discovered earlier this year called The Casketeers. This is a TV show about a funeral home in New Zealand. The traditions they have around death are far more beautiful than ours – our traditions tend to keep death at arms length. One of their traditions is to dress the body and thanks to having seen that, I chose to do that for Dad.

The other thing was a book I was reading in the week Dad was in the geriatric unit called “Smoke gets in your eyes” by Caitlin Doughty. On Amazon it says of this book – “Exploring our death rituals – and those of other cultures – she pleads the case for healthier attitudes around death and dying.” – it really helped me with my attitude to all that was happening.

On returning home to find Dad had made his departure, we sat with him while we waited for the palliative care nurse to attend and issue us the required paperwork. We sat with him while we waited for the funeral home to arrive and collect him.

While we’d been waiting I realised letting him leave the house was going to be the hardest and most emotional moment for me, but I need not have feared.

The wonderful team who arrived read the room perfectly and when I said “do you want us to leave the room while you do what you need to do” – they said of course not, you have been caring for him, you can help us if you want. They made me a part of the process of his leaving the house. I even got to wheel him out on the stretcher and load him into the van. I can’t tell you how much being a part of that meant to me. Thus I did not lose it as I had expected I would.

There certainly have been tears during this time. I’m sad for my Dad who worked so hard for so many years and retired too late to enjoy what he had earned and travel as he wanted to. Covid kicked off the month after they retired so the world cruise, trips to Hawaii and Italy did not happen.

My Dad was always there for me whenever I needed him and this year I have been able to return that favour to him. He would be tremendously proud of how strong I was for him. I am still shocked at it myself. Dad taught me so much about myself during this time and I won’t ever be quite the same, but in a good way.

I am concerned there is going to come a day when I fall in a heap but I’m learning that for me grief is not really quite like that. It is the small moments when I least expect it – when I went to Aldi and saw someone wearing a similar pair of shoes to Dad’s – when the airconditioner at our hotel didn’t work and I thought I’ll call Dad, he’ll know how to fix it before realising I can’t call Dad. I can never call Dad again.

I will leave you with this thought from the speech I gave at his funeral, which was honestly the best funeral I have ever been to and a fitting send off for Dad with over 100 people attending and many more watching online.

At the end right before he entered palliative care Dad became very impatient. He would say Let’s go, let’s go. What do we do now? What’s next?

What would he want me (us) to do next? Dad’s biggest regret was that he didn’t travel while he could have. He could have taken holidays or time off from work. He could have asked someone else to step up to the plate and be the reliable one for a while. That thing you have always wanted to do but kept putting off – stop doing that to yourself. Take the holidays you are entitled to. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may. Seize the day. All that stuff from the Dead Poets Society movie – but this time, let us all actually DO IT.

Because they are not inventing a cure for death, friends.

aerial photography of water beside forest during golden hour
Photo by Sindre Strøm on Pexels.com

family, Uncategorized

Snoskred Plans, Packages Laugh.

brown cardboard boxes on brown wooden floor
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Last week I told you about taking back the reins – also known as the f**k Gladys plan. Painting was due to begin Monday so on Sunday night I thought I better check where my packages of incoming stock were located.

Hilariously 4 of them were in Erskine Park, which meant they would turn up here within 48 hours. And of course I did not have my usual studio space to process them.

The plan was not to touch them until I got the studio back, but that plan never works out for me. Tuesday they arrived, Wednesday I began processing them, and then the 5th box showed up as well as a box of stock from Melbourne.

The studio has been painted however we were not 100% happy with the work. Normally I would ask the person doing the work to fix it, only that person managed to step in paint and walk it all over my pristine teal carpet which turned into two hours of scrubbing the carpet to fix it, so we decided it would be safer to do our own touchups. We did the walls yesterday morning and I have the skirting boards to do over this next week.

Once we completed our painting touchups, I turned my attention to the two remaining boxes which needed processing. Managed to finish them all that day.. so I’ve just got a lot of admin to do now adding them to the website. Over 100 new to us products.

For the first time in a long, long time, we took Sunday off together. We definitely need to do that more often. I’ll share some more pics of that in our next post but for now this is a waratah we found in our travels. :)

Uncategorized, work

Gone Casual

JayJays have a great range of tie dye t-shirts with good length sleeves. I mostly buy the mens ones.

I don’t know about you, but in these COVID times it is rare for us to venture outside the house at all. We stopped doing home deliveries for people in September of 2020. We have not done a trip up to Sydney or down the coast since then.

If we do go somewhere together it will usually be Aldi or Bunnings, but we usually do it after 6pm when most people have gone home. It is so rare for the two of us to go out together, most times when we come back I manage to set off the house alarm because I forget it is on.

We used to do the shopping together but for the last 6 months before the current outbreak only one of us would go. It would usually be me.

The furthest I can recall us going together in the past month was to the local rubbish dump to recycle cardboard.

On the majority of days, I never put on a pair of shoes at all. Because I struggle with cold feet in the house I wear socks with those sherpa lined slipper socks over the top. I have many many pairs of these JayJays tie dyed socks in a vast array of colours. I have been collecting them for months now. The guy in the shop knows me well enough by now to point out the new designs which have arrived when I walk in.

For some reason wearing socks makes people ask me if I want them to take their shoes off when they arrive here to shop. No, its ok! I just don’t wear shoes inside the house, it is fine for you to wear them.

I often wear a beanie inside the house during winter as well. I like to be warm and cosy but I don’t like to pay huge heating bills. So anything that I can do to keep myself warmer, I will do it.

Are you noticing a bit of a theme here? I’m obsessed with tie dye right now. I probably have 35 different tie dyed t-shirts in the cupboard and those are the only clothes in rotation presently.

I have not worn a pair of earrings, a bracelet, or rings since March 2020. That does make me a bit sad. I think I should make an effort to get back into wearing jewellery.

Overall, it is all casual wear all the time here. I can’t see it changing anytime soon, either.

In good news, finally yesterday I was on the website at the right moment to score a cancellation vaccination appointment. I had my first Pfizer vaccination today.

What are you wearing, in these interesting times?

Fashion, Uncategorized

No Vaccine For You – Or You Or You..

**I noticed some of my pics did not come through in the feed – while I try to fix this you might want to click over and read this on the blog as some of the pics are needed for this post**

Like many Australians, I have been trying to get the covid-19 vaccine for a while now. Only there’s just one tiny problem – I had a DVT in the past and thus my doctor does not want me to get Astra Zeneca which is the vaccine available to most Australians due to the possible blood clot complication. I have to get Pfizer.

Every day for a while now, I have logged in to the NSW goverment website, clicked through 7 pages of previously filled in forms to get to the page that tells me if I can have an appointment to get the Pfizer vaccine. No. I cannot. I’m surprised it doesn’t swear at me and tell me to f**k off and stop coming back every day because that would be very Australian.

Today I got a new message that I had not seen before. There are no appointments for the next 60 days.

First of all why oh why oh why do I have to click through 7 pages of my personal details to get to this page each and every time?

Second of all why aren’t there any other options in the drop down for me to at least try and get an appointment elsewhere?

And finally, how the f**k did we as a country get this vaccination rollout so terribly wrong? Even America is miles ahead of us now – as far as I know there anyone who wants a vaccine can get one.

My doctors clinic was not allowed to have Pfizer. I’m not sure why. I’m on a waiting list at another medical centre which was allowed to have it but they have no idea when they might have more vaccine. They estimate maybe August.

For those of you not up on the news and who don’t live in Australia, parts of Sydney are currently locked down. But what is deeply bizarre is ALL the shops are all still allowed to open even though people are only allowed to buy essentials.

And now many of those who work in retail in Sydney are having to go to their jobs even though there are no customers because the government is leaving it up to the business whether they stay open or not. What kind of lockdown do you call this?

In the meantime while we are not officially in a lockdown in regional NSW, we are now made to wear masks indoors which means all shops – and that includes my own shop. If anyone wants to come in to my own home business, both they and I have to wear a mask.

This after our government spent a lot of time telling us we did not need masks back in the early days of Covid here – those of us who wore masks *chose* to wear them because we believed in them but the majority of people around here did not wear them.

At some point the government suddenly decided using masks is good, and there have been times in Sydney where it was mandatory but never down here where I live.

And then there’s idiotic stuff like this –

Why wait? This was announced on Saturday – so Sunday, Monday no mask days, Tuesday Wednesday must mask days? Why not make it mandatory as of TODAY?

Everything around this current lockdown has been done so poorly. I have a friend who had gone to Sydney for training on the 21st of June. She wore a mask the whole day. She came back here and worked Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. At some point on that Saturday, a 14 day stay at home order was issued for anyone who had been in Sydney since the 21st of June – that they must stay at home for 14 days after the day they were in the greater Sydney area. Bit late notice on that one!

The NSW government sent me an email on the 30th of June to announce – as of July 12th it becomes mandatory for people to sign in at businesses. Whether they do so via the QR code or via a sheet of paper manually. My question is why the heck has it not been mandatory before now?

And who is going to police this? I’m certainly not intending to become the Covid “did you check in” police for my business. As a business owner I have many roles but that is never going to be one of them. I have made the decision to stop classes until this current outbreak is somewhat under control even though once again we have no cases locally.

Did you know that you have to check out, as well? Most of the people I have asked did not – and when they went to look they had a long list of places they were still checked in at. We only found out when we went to check in somewhere and found out we’d already been there for 6 days since the last time we were there!

None of this is anything I was expecting over a year into this pandemic. I was expecting we would all be vaccinated by now and Covid would be starting to become a distant memory.

While we are extremely well prepared for any lockdown in this household these days – and in fact did not have to venture out of the house for the first week of madness while everyone locally stripped the shelves of toilet paper again even though we are not locked down! – and we have enough toilet paper stocked to last us 6 months at least – it is really disappointing to find ourselves in this position.

I feel very let down by the authorities whose job it was to source the vaccinations and get this job done. I feel angry and disappointed that we are back in this place again. I don’t know if it is just me, but I feel like most of us did our part when this began – we did mask up even though the government said not to, we did take all the precautions, we did our job. But the government has not done theirs.

Leave me a comment and let me know how things are going in your neck of the woods – and if you are in Australia let me know how you are feeling about all of this. Have you managed to get vaccinated?

COVID-19 2020, Uncategorized

Whoops It Is Friday, I forgot..

I’ll do a more complete update on Sunday and link to the other bloggers who are regularly updating (if that is you leave a link in the comments if you didn’t do it on the last post of mine) but just to let you know, we are all good here at the moment. I did some shopping this week and we are pretty much set for a four week lockdown if we need to do it. Well, we mostly will be doing a lockdown as of Sunday other than The Other Half going to work. We have to go out and do some deliveries to folks tomorrow but that will all be low contact and socially distanced.

I do have some stories to tell but it is 11:15pm and past bedtime here. Another day.

I hope you are all doing well. :)

blog housekeeping

A Little Bit Of Housekeeping

Exciting happenings in Snoskredland – I’m working this next election as second in charge as a surprise. It seems a lot of people have pulled out at the last minute, so I got the call and said yes.

Work is going well, getting shiznit done fast and enjoying every minute of it. How many jobs can you say that about?

Lots of walking and running happening here lately, too.

When I get some spare time I have a couple of longer posts to write. But this is just a quick one to say I am updating the blogroll to remove blogs that no longer exist or have suddenly begun posting weird stuff. Probably next week if I have time, I’ll make sure to add in my new reads.

Hope you are all well!

blog housekeeping

Wiped Out

A failure to plan is to plan to fail.

I’m struggling a bit at the moment, working with people who cannot plan anything. If I don’t take things into my own hands and make it happen, absolutely nothing happens. In a lot of cases that is fine – I don’t ask, I just do it. But in some cases, there are things I cannot do, such as hire seasonal staff.

We’re meant to have two extra staff in my area from this weekend onwards. Know how many we got? None. Zero. It is just me, and my colleague, and we are “borrowing” one of the other staff who already works there.

We will likely all be expected to put in extra time on top of our planned shifts. Ha, I say planned, like that is an actual thing. This past week I worked 14 hours I was not rostered on for.

When I do a job, I want to do it well. I like to plan. I like to plan WELL ahead of time, as far as possible in advance. The people “in charge” are more fly by the seat of their pants, it will work out, if you just cross your fingers and hope. In general I have not found that concept to be a strategy for success.

So I’m not sure what the next 5-6 weeks will bring. I am pretty sure that I won’t have a lot of time for writing posts. The posting schedule will go out the window – you may only see a Friday post once a week. It may go completely dark here. We’ll see. :)

blog housekeeping