Monday, March 27, 2006

Can I start this week over, please?

Well, I think we can definitely write last week off. It sucked big time, baby!

Lee and I made the decision to swap roles. He'd stay at home and look after the kids while I returned to work.

A job was advertised with a temping agency. I applied, then realised that I was going to be underpaid by rather a lot, simply because they didn't cover sick leave or holiday pay. I could handle the holiday pay part, but not the sick leave. I'm not the healthiest person on the planet. I need my 8-10 days. So when offered the job, I refused.

They phoned me back and offered me another job. With an extra 80c per hour! Worried about our disappearing funds, I took it.

I hate it! I'm handling mortgage discharges. This means, the customer for whatever reason, decides they want their title deeds. Maybe they paid off their house or sold it or died or...


ummm, where was I? Oh yeah, mortgage discharges. So they want their certificate of title, so I have to track it down and the mortgage and the contract ...




Ever wonder why the word mortgage has the word MORT in it. Cos talking about it will bore you to death!

So anyway. I start on Monday. And I hate it. The woman who's training me is flicking from screen to screen saying "and do this, and do this, and don't forget this. And you simply must do that. But you don't need to do that if the customer doesn't have..."

(1 sheep. 2 sheep. 3 sheep)

"Now, you sit at this computer and do it." Do what? Flick pointless screens around? I don't understand. What do they want from me?

I go back on Tuesday.

And I'm hating it. I'm still flicking screens around, trying to add useless bits of information in, trying to find that "must do" screen (which doesn't seem to exist in Lynland) and trying to find some sense in this dreary world I've stumbled into.

About lunchtime I decide enough's enough. I sit at my trainer's desk and say "I'm not moving until I understand what you're doing. Don't teach me. Just do your job and I'll follow along. I'll ask questions if I need to but other than that, ignore me."

And it works. An hour later I walk back to my desk and find the 'must do' screen.

And it's not so bad.

The rest of the week is still boring and I, unlike my colleagues, can't find it in me to be excited by this stuff, but on the positive side I am handling a new mortgage at an average of one per hour and this in turn reminds me why I'm doing this job.

Then Friday comes. Thank god. I do my tour of duty and leave. I'm on my way home, walking down City Arcade, when it happens. My weak ankle collapses. It just folds under me taking the rest of my body with it. The pain flowers from my ankle to my toes through to my knee. It's so bad I can barely breathe, let alone cry. One guy stops to help me. He offers me his arm. I, being the ultra-phobe I am, refuse. "Trust me," he says, trying to take my bag. I shake my head and point to Miss Maud's. "I'll sit here and wait for my husband."

He shrugs and walks off. Now I cry. I wait until he's out of sight then hobble to the train station. It takes 25 minutes, but finally I make it. Fortunately I'm able to get a seat, virtually unheard of at that time of day.

By the time I arrive home the ankle is the size of a football and my foot is tingling. Lee pushes SuperCodeine into me along with two glasses of wine. My body finally does the decent thing and I pass out.

The weekend is spent in a haze of drugs and pain but by Sunday afternoon I'm feeling somewhat better.


Battboy and I celebrated our first anniversary on Sunday. One whole year as husband and wife. He bought me a beautiful ring. His present is waiting for my foot to recover so I can go and buy it.

Back at the story.

So this morning I decide I'm going to work. Remember, I'm paid by the hour. I don't get sick leave. I have to go into work.

I take the train.

I get off the train.

I walk maybe twenty metres when my foot, my left foot, my dickie foot, finds the only slippery patch in the entire station. Over I go, my foot folding and sliding away from me. The pain causes me to react in instinct and I shift all my weight to the other side of my body. And land heavily on my right hip.

I cried like a baby. A guard filled out an incident report while I called Lee. An hour later I was at the doctors and being x-rayed. It's not broken, but it looks like it should be. Chronically sprained, the left side of my foot is black and swollen and the doctor doesn't want me to walk on it for the rest of the week.

That's over $800 gone.

I am going to use this week productively, though. I'm going to a Border's Book Store career day on Thursday. I need a real job with real benefits.

Like sick leave.

And holidays.

And books.

And real people. Who talk to each other. About real stuff. Like books.

Wish me luck.

Pack up and go home.

I've just finished Chuck Palahniuk's "Lullaby" (he's the guy who wrote "Fight Club"). There are some authors you read and think "Why do I bother? He's said it all." The man is a jeen-yoos. I can't wait to read the next one. Chuckie P is brilliant!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

And another thing...

After a month of various illnesses, both sinus and stomach related, I've decided to give vegetarianism a try. I'm not missing meat at all. Unlike no-carb diets, a no-meat diet is very easy to keep to when going out for dinner, coffee, breakfast etc. I'm loving it. I'm strictly not having any red meat, nor chicken, nor eggs. I'm undecided about seafood so am still having it for now until I decide not to. I do get asthma, so will probably keep tuna and salmon in my diet anyway.

I'm also eating cheese and milk until my body says "No." I am already substituting my milk with soy in my cereal and cooking, but I still prefer moo-milk in my coffee.

If you have a favourite vegetarian recipe you'd like to share, send it to me at

Thanks to Mouse for the recipe books. They're great!

Good morning, sunshine...

Or not.

It's 3.30am and I woke up about half an hour ago. You know how some nights you wake up, go to the toilet, have a drink and fall back into bed without barely registering it? Not this time. My eyes popped open with a snap and I've been alert ever since. I've put a load of washing in the dryer, put another load in the machine, checked on my beautiful teenage boy and read my friends LJs. I am sooooo awake!

I needed to check on A because he went to bed rather scared last night. We watched "Last Days of Planet Earth" and it left him feeling rather nervous.

Sidebar: There's a reason we don't normally watch Free To Air TV. LDOPE is one of the worst tele-movies I've ever seen. Sort of a cross between V and They Live, it's awful, awful, awful beyond belief.

Aiden has always had difficulty coping with horror/suspense. I should have known there'd be a problem. He still refuses to watch the Wizard of Oz because of the tornado scene and the witch. He is more like me than any of my other children :)

Writing writing writing

I've been a writing-demon lately. Lee's got quite a few projects coming up, so all his activity is having an impact upon me. My Tin Duck success has also re-energised the writing part of my brain and I've finished three short stories this week alone. The latest is a 567 word flash horror that I wrote this afternoon. I was sitting in the car waiting for Aiden to finish school. My laptop was next to me, a line popped into my head, then another one, followed by a third. By the time Aiden got in the car I'd written the first 430 words. I drove us down to Whitfords library and asked Aiden to watch Connor in the baby section while I finished it off and gave it its first edit. In all the first draft and first edit took 30 minutes total. And I'm loving this story.

Now for a title. So far it's called "Honour and Obey" but that's so not right. I need to find another.

I gave it to Lee to read last night while I gave his Monster story its first read through. It took Lee about two minutes to read, after which he declared: "The last line is perfect. I love that last line. Oh, and the rest of the story is fantastic."

Another sidebar. Lee's Monster story is part of shared-world type anthology that he's been invited to contribute to. The idea is a brilliant one and I'm happy to see Lee so excited about a project. He finished the story yesterday and I've been aching to read it. On the whole the story is excellent but the first part, in particular, is perfect. I think it's as good as anything I've ever read by a pro. Lee and I tend to be very critical of each other's work. We are harder on each other than we are on ourselves, so when we praise each other, it's not spousal-related. My thoughts as I read the first section were: "Wow, the man who takes out my garbage wrote this!"
The second and third sections need tightening and pulling together, but as a complete work, the piece, well, works.

My baby

Connor is doing well. His eyes are still rather red, but at least they look in the same direction now. I still find this rather disturbing, but the doctor did warn us that it could take a week or two for us to get used to the new look. Connor, on the other hand, has adapted perfectly. He had about 36 hours of wobbliness which could have had as much to do with the Painstop as the operation.

The worst part is the eyedrops. Theoretically he shouldn't need them after today, but I took him out for the day yesterday, causing him to miss two doses, so I'm adding another day, just to be sure.

Welcome to my world

Darth Barbie and I have signed up for Femmeconne. I'm looking forward to spending some time with my little girl, introducing her to the world of Adult Women. I think she really needs this as she's finding the road that leads from childhood to adulthood to be a rather rocky one. She really needs guidance at this time, and patience, and I just have to let some arguments go.

Jobs and job hunting

I'm still job-hunting and applied for three yesterday, two with the government and one with a company in Bayswater. The two gov jobs would be great as they're good money and dead easy, but the one in Bayswater is excellent money and job-share so I'd only be working Wed-Fri, giving me Monday and Tuesday at home. Erin and Connor are at kindy/childcare on those days, so Battboy and I would have the whole day to ourselves.

I went for an interview for a job with the ANZ last week. First I was interviewed by an agency, then I was put forward for this job with ANZ. It's new work for me and a step away from Telling which would be fantastic. The woman at ANZ loved me and was really eager to have me join her team. Then I found out that although the pay rate I'd been quoted was the same as what everyone else in her team was receiving, it wouldn't include sick leave or holiday pay, never mind public holidays. I worked out that for every sick day I had, I'd lose $147 dollars. Now, I'm not the healthiest person in the world. I need those 8-10 days that everyone else uses for beach purposes. Suddenly my reasonable pay rate didn't seem so fair. The lady at ANZ pointed this out and told me to ask for more money.

The agency woman phoned me on Thursday and offered me the position (while Connor was in the middle of his operation). I told her that, as the main bread winner, I couldn't afford to take a job that offered so little and that the pay rate offered wasn't a true reflection of what the position was worth.

"I can maybe go another 30 cents higher. It's the best I can do."
"Then I can't accept. Sorry."
She tried to make me see her point of view. I continued to turn the job down. It just wasn't worth it for my family. I wanted to be able to cover at least 4 sick days. For the experience I was willing to overlook the holiday pay and public holidays, but that was it.

We finally agreed that we couldn't come to a reasonable arrangement over this. We hung up and I shrugged it off to experience. Don't go through an agency.

Then this morning Lee phoned and said that the lady from the agency had called yesterday and could I call her back. She wasn't in when I phoned but her secretary said she'd call me today.

Here's hoping the ANZ changed her mind.

I laughed, I cried, I wrote...

I finished reading Audrey Niffenegger's "The Time Traveller's Wife" last week. Lee bought it for me two Christmases ago and this was my second reading. I don't normally return to books after I've read them. I have about 5 book cases of unread books, begging me to read them, so usually I read a book then send it back into the world (generally through my mum).

TTTW is the only book that meets this exception. I love it so much, and with all the stress I've been under lately, I wanted a story I could rely on.

I wasn't disappointed. Because of the chopped up effect of the story, I knew roughly how the story ran, but not exactly when. The book still held surprises for me and, once again, proved itself to be unputdownable. I turned to it during Connor's operation and it kept my mind focussed on being the strong parent.

On the weekend we decided to drive an hour and a half out of Perth and pay my mum a surprise visit. I had a heap of books to give her and figured it would be cheaper than posting them. I handed them over and said, "You can keep all of them except one." I pointed to TTTW with a firm "Mine. I want it back." She nodded and went to write my name in it, only to be confronted with the inscription: "I belong to Lyn Battersby. You may read me, but please look after me and give me back."

I love the book that much.

But...A note to writers

The correct term is "would have..." not "would of..." Grrrr.

Yawning now. Back to bed.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Battbaby is home...

...and apart from looking like the leading actor from "Rosemary's Toddler" he doing well.

Having arrived at the hospital at 6:45 (as per instructions) we were told he was first on the list and would go in at 8:30. Battboy grumbled about the delay in transmission, but I wasn't worried. Connor charmed the pants off everyone, even those who were too sick to do much more than gaze at him from over the top of their oxygen masks. There were about 10 other people waiting and Connor made sure to visit every one of them for a chat. He was his usual adorable self and he left those in the waiting area a lot happier than they would have been other wise.

At 7:45 the anaesthetist dropped by to explain his role and to recommend a dose of pre-med Painstop. We nodded and it was given.

By 8:05 he (Battbaby) was fast asleep in my arms and I was ready to walk out with him then and there. He just looked so peaceful, it was breaking my heart to think of what he faced.

8:30 came and the nurse arrived to take him to theatre. I have never seen a baby look so vulnerable and tiny. My little boy lay prone on the bed with a yellow sheet tucked around him, his large eyes taking in everything as he was wheeled from the waiting room to theatre. It was a twenty second trip, yet we must have had at least fifteen nurses, doctors, cleaners, tea ladies and general passers-by commenting on how lovely he was.

We arrived, only to be turned away as the team wasn't ready yet. We went back to the waiting room and settled, with Connor falling asleep once again.

At 8:50 we received the nod and it was on again, this time for real. I gowned up and went with him into the theatre and then held his tiny hands still as they applied the mask. My terrified baby struggled for hours (about 30 seconds) but finally he fell asleep. I then left.

Lee and I chatted, read, worried, and read some more, before a nurse appeared asking for me to accompany her to recovery. Connor was in some distress, but a quick cuddle from his mummy put him straight back to sleep and he stayed that way for the next hour.

Finally, at about 11:00, he woke up, drained a bottle and fell back asleep. No sickness, no temp. He was fine. He slept for another twenty minutes before waking for a vegemite sandwich, a container of icecream and half a container of jelly. Then he became very interested in the workings of his drip. The nurse removed it and pronounced him ready to go home.

And here we are. He's asleep. His eyes are huge and red, but they're safe. He's safe.

He's safe.

Now I just have to convince Lee.
Connor goes in for his operation in about an hour or so. Will post either tonight or tomorrow morning and let everyone know how it went.

I'm worried for Connor and I'm worried for Lee.