Monday, 5 February 2018

Duck Breast Dinner



I am dreadfully out of practice and anyone who tells you cooking is like riding a bike, well I can only guess that the bike they speak of must come with an auto pilot programme or preferably be a tandem with some expert on the pedals up front. For the first time in more than a month I actually fancied cooking a bit of dinner on Saturday night, and never being one to start slowly, I jumped right into a favourite duck breast feast I had a hankering for.

But the trouble is, that we are renting this place and have been merely squatting here for 8 weeks. This means that the oven is pristine and as we are offskii in 7 more sleeps, I am being very careful now cos I just don't want to have to scrub that fucker, so I had to dream up an oven free, new method.

And what I came up with was not well thought through. I used to pop the duck breasts skin side down in a hot pan for about 5 minutes to render the fat ( sounds like I know what I am talking about huh?) and then  turn 'em over, top 'em with marmalade and orange slices and throw some sliced leeks in for good measure and stick it in the oven for a few minutes more. Very easy peasy.

But no oven meant that I had to use the BBQ and that is not my domain.

For some ridiculous reason I loaded up the pan with jam and leeks and stuff and turned up the heat. Duck in and fingers crossed. Burning happened slowly at first. I couldn't turn it off, cos the duck would be fucked and then smoke started to fill the house cos the steam / air slurper thing above the stove here is as useful as a marshmallow hammer. The fire alarm went off like a cracker and Dog went spare and Stevie and I went running through the house opening everything and then Stevie smacked the alarm til it stopped.

The gas cook top has never been commissioned for use with bottle gas and so it's not possible to adjust the heat, it's all or nothing, but knowing this and knowing what to do about it are 2 different things.

The meat was flung into a tray for the BBQ and then it was time to try to recover some sort of sauce using the duck fat and the jam, by de-glazing the pan with a good splosh of wine and a dollop of cream, all the while being careful not to dislodge any of the burnt bits. This required some finesse. Not my forte. Oh well.

Italian garlic crispy spuds were not a huge success in the BBQ instead of the oven but the grilled new green beans with lashings of butter and salt and pepper, were a real highlight for me.

It wasn't a complete failure. Although the frying pan has to be retired cos nothing is cleaning all that burnt shit - not even the 3 hour cycle in the disher. Ho Hum.

I am not gonna be knocking Stevie out of the way to use this shithouse kitchen too many more times, before we are off.

Am happy to admit that a poor craftsman always blames their tools, but this is my story and I am sticking to it.

Roll on the 12th when I'll be in charge of my own stuff, in my own house, and the new owners here can wonder what the hell is going on with their new stuff.

 

Friday, 2 February 2018

Pleural Effusion Drainage



Yep this is NOT how you want to spend the afternoon.

Let's back up to Monday.

We hired a truck and transported a lot of our shit to the storage. I was mostly fucking useless what with smashing out my shoulder dragging my weight into said truck, and then there was the wee problem of not being able to breathe. Fuck it indeed.

My Girl and Stevie sweated through their clothes a number of times and did extremely well not to kill each other cos of significant differences in brain waves and methods. They were puce with effort and exhaustion and by 7 o'clock we sat down to a dreadful dinner of Dominos pizza, cos we are still newbies and don't know anywhere local that delivers decent food.

We were all back on board early Tuesday and as it was early I managed to walk a few trolleys to the storage room but that was IT.

Wednesday Stevie went off to golf - a much deserved break from the grunting and my whinging. I had a few errands to run and 'run' is an appalling exaggeration. My shoulders dropped and I reckon I looked like some old bag lady dragging my sorry arse around the streets and then I was home into the aircon watching the dreadful 'Married at First Sight' shit which has become my dirty little afternoon secret. I was feeling very poorly.

I was fighting for breath and of course I knew, in my heart of hearts, that a fucking Pleural Effusion had reared its ugly fucking head just to fully round out the last of the side effects of the meds. Up until then I had been bragging about the fact that I had side stepped that fucker!

Thursday morning I rang Jane the GP and Stevie took me cos we both knew the news was gonna be shit. He dropped me off and went to park and I made perhaps the most ridiculous decision of 2018 and walked up the stairs. Yeh there is a lift, but I was still in denial.

I staggered into reception unable to speak apart from whispering my name, I was beetroot red and sweating up a storm and clearly looked so unwell that even the receptionist, not noted for her awareness or empathy came out and asked me if I was OK. Bugger me! At that point I knew things had gone to hell in a hand basket.

Into Jane's room and she took my blood pressure and it was 210 on 110 and that made me panic. I am used to a gentle 110 on 70 or 80. She had a fiddle around and sent me off for a chest Xray pronto, which in all honesty I knew I should have asked for about 2 weeks ago.

I had a little cry at the Xray place and then we trooped back to see Jane. Yep the report was in and Peural Effusion was it FUCK! So she rang Dr Greg who Stevie had already teed up and as everyone was on the same page a meds change was agreed and the slurping out of the mud was sorted.

No I did not sleep well last night.

Mater Private here we go.

We got lost getting there cos we are bushy yokels and had to go around a couple of times to find the entrance, but then we were there Elliott Early and yippee to beating the lunch time rush. In I went, stupidly unable to work out the backless gown, no don't think some glamorous number fit for the red carpet, and they took one look at me and stuck some oxygen tubes in my nose and a monitor on my finger, sat me down and told me rest my head on the pillow. The Nurses were lovely and all introduced 'emselves and told me exactly what was going on and then in sauntered Dr Robert something, who I don't think was all that amused when I called him Bob. He mostly spoke to the nurses and jabbed me full of anaesthetic which he said might sting a bit, and when I reacted he said something pithy like, 'Oh aren't you sensitive' as he kept on shoving shit about. He installed the canula slurpy thing and then just fucked off, never to be seen again.

The nurses gave me a running tally of how much shit was pouring outta me and when the Litre mark was reached, even though that was the target, one of 'em started hand pumping the thing for added suction, and I had to dredge up my Labour Breathing techniques and yes I will admit to swearing a bit but I didn't punch anyone or use the C word.

Finally we were all done. They applied a plaster thing as I knew they would cos no-one ever believes that I am allergic to adhesives and then there was that wonderful 'TA-DA' moment when I got to have a look at the shit that had been squashing up my left lung. And shit is not right, it just looked like very yellow pee, like happens after you have been been on the piss and so downed a handful of Berocca. Yep it was pretty yellow and I spent a moment thinking about how all that had fitted inside of me. Quickest weight loss of all time I reckon.

Out for an ordinary chest Xray just to make sure that Dr Disappear didn't puncture anything important and then I was outta there.

Seriously in out shake it all about in less than an hour and half. The drain thing was I reckon max 20 minutes. The Nurses did keep remarking how quickly it was draining so it might take longer for shit less keen to escape, or maybe they were just blowing wind up my whatsit.

Anyway I am bloody pleased it is all over now, although I am underwhelmed with the results so far, cos I am still having trouble getting a lung full and am still coughing a bit, but tomorrow is another day.

One of the nurses, OK I admit that she was the apprentice and didn't know her arse from her elbow, said people almost never had to come back for a second round, and even though in my head she didn't have a clue, I am gonna believe her.

It has not been the worst day of my life.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Moving Check List



Moving house is just an obstacle course isn't it? Reckon it makes the Ninja Warrior course look like a bit of a cake walk. Yeh don't break a rib laughing up a lung dreaming of me hanging like a limpet from the rings, or running face first into the wall thing, just go with the analogy and give me a break, OK?

In my head, I am already living in the wee cottage. I can see where I have popped all my shit, I can see making a morning cuppa and taking Dog off to the park, and I can easily see us all trooping off for a quick meal or to the pictures or to the river or to the local cafes. Yeh it's very exciting.

But the reality is that before we can get there, there is more paper work than enough. I fucking hate paper work!

Today I got well and truly stuck in.

I started with a quick comparison of electricity deals and was feeling very self-satisfied, cos a decision was reached, easy peasy, Ta very much internet. Except that you have to pay the piper huh? And the price for the ease of info is that the I Select people, who were so successfully hiding in the ether, jump out of their secret hidie hole and get a bit of RSI ringing and ringing and ringing some more. I am still not privvy to the actual words which would put a halt to all their attention, but if I work it out, I'll let you know if I ever find out, in the mean time I will just ignore the 03 numbers and hope that they get the message sometime this year, or decade maybe.

I called into the Post Office to adjust the already in place redirection order for mail from the Big House. Silly me, I thought it would be possible to tell the postie to bring the stuff to the cottage instead of the rental, but NO NO NO.

I had to fill in a cancellation order, through squinted eyes cos the spaces on the triplicate form are stupid small and so after only 8 weeks into the 6 month order, paid for in advance of course, that little plan was given the elbow. The cancellation cost about 2 months of the redirection - yeh that's not a typo - it costs more to cancel the redirection than to actually redirect the few letters. How the fuck does that happen? Only in a monopoly. And then I had to fill in another redirection form in triplicate but by now I was completely ignoring those teasingly tiny boxes for each damn letter, just so I could squint a little less, and then I parted with a ridiculous amount of wonga and was pleased that it was something I crossed off our list. Fingers crossed that the mail actually turns up at the cottage.

And then the cherry on my day was calling fucking Optus

4 calls, 3 Optus hang ups, and AN HOUR later, Finally I had confirmation, in writing, of the connection order that was the upshot of more than 2 HOURS on the phone last week. Seriously, it is just fucking remarkable how hard it is to arrive at an agreement to pay a fucking company. And so I have a text message of when the technician is coming to the cottage to install the cable, but I might just about fall about in a death faint if it all goes according to plan.

And yep I am about done for the day. I have some contacts for local removers but that might be a job for tomorrow.

Whew!


Saturday, 27 January 2018

Packing AGAIN



I am an excellent packer. I am quick and decisive and happy to throw shit away. I am not sentimental about 'stuff', and I have become an expert box / carton makerer-upperer. The tape gun thing is my best friend, but just because I am good at it, doesn't mean that all this whhooo-har is bringing any joy. Nah I am over moving, fucking over packing and I just fancy getting rid of my gypsy leanings once and for all and settle down.

Stevie drew up a scale plan of the wee cottage and I made wee scale cardboard cut outs of our furniture, cos there is a serious limit to what we can take on over there, the rest of our shit is going into storage. And doesn't that just sound like Tinkerbell is gonna waft on in with some magic sprinkle dust and then we will wake up to an empty garage and a full storage shed. But the reality is that Stevie and my Girl are gonna lug all our shit over there on Monday in a hired truck. Space will be at a premium so Stevie will have the packing n stacking down to millimetre precision and this might see a girlie melt down cos she will want to get on and get it done spit spot, just like me. But Monday afternoon should see a lot of stuff stored and some space in the garage, here at the interim dos house.

The truly astounding thing about all this tooing and froing, is that incredible as it might seem, the people who's house we are buying, are the self same people who are buying the place we have been renting, and the settlement day for both sales is the 12th of Feb! Our trucks will be passing like ships in the night.

It would be OK to take a minute and wonder about the ethics and honour of the owners of a house that they would rent it out - unfinished in terms of basic services, gas and comms, all the while they are trying to sell it too. Yeh the to be new owners signed up to buy this place 2 days after we moved in here, and even though there was a contract of sale the owners, our landlords have been chasing us for another 3 months rent in advance. I'm not sure what game they are playing, and we have our fingers firmly crossed that upon our exit, we will see the return of 5 or 6 weeks rent and all of our bond.

In any case the coincidence is bloody amazing, with all the houses to buy and sell, 2 families unknown to each other are just gonna swap! I still find that pretty hard to believe, except that the names on all the contracts tally up. Bloody remarkable.

Oh and we met our to be new neighbour. He's a bit of a proud local greenie - it might be a bit of a shock for all of us.

So it will be another week of  shoving shit into boxes. Ahhh NOT.




Thursday, 25 January 2018

Ordinary Illness



I have been hawking up a lung for almost a month now. It's a dry fruitless fucking shaking of my whole body, and let's face it that could well be the epicentre of a small earthquake. I did see Dr Geoff and mentioned it quietly to him cos I really didn't want him testing and telling me I had a PLEURAL EFFUSION - a swamp of fluid around your lungs which makes breathing difficult. This is a common side effect of the meds and it gets regular mention on the forums from people who front up to have litres of shit fluid slurped off their lungs at a time, and whilst the weight loss sounds appealing, the process sounds scary shitful and I am happy to admit that I am being a coward about it. I have done the wedge my head in the sand.

But about a week ago Stevie could stand the rattle no longer and sent me off to the GP. I described the symptoms and then last thing mentioned the Pleural Effusion possibility. She went a little white and then got stuck in with listening and stuff and finally said that there was no sign of the monster. Yippee!

She figured I had a bog standard dry cough that is going around, and that just to be on the safe side, cos with my fucked blood, anything is possible, I should hawk up a golly and send it off for testing and should take some super strength antibiotics.

But I was so relieved to be told it was nothing serious that I didn't do as I was told. Nah, I kept hacking away, day and night, night and day, until I finally squeezed a tiny bit of shit into the bottle for testing and got me some of those horse pill antiBs.

Yeh I am still coughing, but the cough syrup the pharmacist sold me puts me out at night so I am only noisy during the day. Yeh!

I am not typically 'normal' ill. In fact I would say I am hardly ever unwell, but since we have moved house I have been off to the GP twice. Maybe moving back to the big smoke is making me normal?

An online friend of mine from the US is starting a new round of horrendous sounding chemo and of course I am hoping she comes through the other side well or at least well enough, and as she described the onslaught I am reminded that I am well and if I think otherwise then I am just a bloody great whinger. Fingers crossed Robin V.

Monday, 22 January 2018

New House - Wee House



We sold the Big House without it ever being on the market and guess what, we have bought a wee cottage without it ever making it to the open market either.

Next to a house that I have been calling, 'The place we should have bought', there was a big sign yelling, 'Coming soon' and I didn't think for a minute that was an advertisement about the sex lives of the people living there. So I had been ringing the number on the sign every couple of days since before Chrissie and leaving messages.

Finally in the first week of January the agent bloke texted me back saying that the place was gonna be on the market in about 2 more weeks, but as patience is not my middle name and as there were a bunch of tradies there one day when we were driving by and as I am a pushy fucking Australian, I told Stevie to pull up and I'd ask to see if we could have a little look through.

The painters were more than happy and I looked through and saw what I expected to see cos it is a typical Queenslander cottage, and then Stevie had a look through and he came out beaming. Yep this was the one for us.

We made an offer and it was ignored and then we ripped it up and then made another offer a week later which was accepted and now the sale is unconditional, which means on the 12th of February we are gonna be moving again!

We keep driving by for a quick visit and this morning we took out coffees and the ball thrower and Dog down to the park across the road from the cottage and had a lovely visit with our new place.

The cottage is bijou. 2 and a half bedrooms a stinky sort of bathroom and another which is somewhat strange and maybe a little anxiety causing and then there is a funny wee room for the kitchen and the lounge and the dining rooms, and that's all folks!

But if we raise it up a bit and build in a couple of bedrooms downstairs and pop in a bathroom or 2, knock down a wall and if we are allowed, get a pool in, well it will be just the right size for us. It will be Mother bear size, or is that baby bear size? anyway it will be just right.

Yeh we are aware that we are bucking the trend here because we are not planning to build right up to the fence lines and shove in all manner of 'modern must haves' like media rooms and parent retreats. We just want what suits us and the way we live and we want to adjust this charming cottage to be perfect for us, cos we want to live here til we are carried out in boxes.

Yep we are full of optimism and joy and excitement and more than a little dread at the prospect of packing up again and moving and completing another building project. I keep reminding Stevie that he's been saying for the last few years that he reckoned he had one more project in him, and this is it.

Roll on the 12th.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Real Estate minefields.



I was happy in my Big House bubble. Oh sure there was too much cleaning and the drive up to Brisvegas on the M1 was a bit of a pain, and then there was the fucking noise of the fucking night works for more than a year which is still going on - how long can it take to build a bit of road?, but at least we could close the door to the outside world and not have to interact with people who almost certainly are not gonna be truthful, cos it's the business of lies that pays their mortgage. Yeh I am talking AGENTS.

Over the last month and a bit I have had more than a gutful of Agent double talk. Firstly with finding a rental place, 'Yes - No - Maybe - No Sure' and then settling on a place with no communications possibility even though on inspection it was guaranteed. Hours and hours of shouting and going red in the face to establish what the owners already knew. Telstra were never gonna install the internet cabling. Ho Hum. Come on down the wee Vodafone thingie.

And in this month we have not let the grass grow in terms of looking for a place to buy. We are being very picky right now. There are only a dozen or so streets we want to live in and some of are stupid expensive and some of the houses are hideous and too big or too small or one was soo claustrophobic I had to do a runner. Looking out the bedroom windows all you could see was the neighbour's side wall. I said to Stevie it reminded me of prison, even though I have never been to prison, either as an inmate or a visitor, I was only imagining. The view made breathing difficult.

'What's going on out the back there?' I have asked, to be told 'Nothing at all, just an old people's home and they are very quiet.' We all had a giggle, and then later I found out that said Home was waiting to be demolished to be replaced by a 3 storey oldie home, which probably was gonna wrap all around the house that we had been keen on. Now I suppose you'd get used to the smell of burning tenna lady pads and the occasional siren blasting as Mr Jones' absence was finally noted, but what I had trouble with was the LIES.

I am over completely the second guessing, the trying to translate the Agents' speak, the inspection of innuendo and the motivation questioning.

We have made 2 offers on the same house. We ripped up the first one after some Agent jiggery pokery and the second was counter signed by the owners but now we wonder about the likelihood of being able to do the renos we want cos of regulations and Council shit, so as I am typing there are surveyors hard at it at the house, trying to tell us what's possible before the 5pm deadline. It all just leaves a bad taste in my mouth, cos I am pretty sure that the owners KNOW and the Agent KNOWS what the impediments are and it would be so much easier and cheaper if this info could be shared. Oh sure it might be a deal breaker, but if I were them, I'd prefer to rip the bandaid off quickly rather than edge it off hair by fucking hair. I've twice been to the house now and the owners have got painters working inside and out, and watching the progress I reckon it's all just a tosh about anyway, again trying to con people. Ho Hum.

I fancy being settled and NO I am not being patient.