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Thursday, February 18, 2016

My Escape to the Country

Our new backyard

The countdown is on. In a mere five days we will flee this hot, dusty, drought-stricken city and head for our mountain retreat 1426.7 kilometres away. These are the main reasons I’m so excited…

Townsville temperatures

1. We’re moving to a one story house so I’ll no longer suddenly realise every single one of my five pairs of reading glasses are upstairs and I’m downstairs and I have to huff and puff up the hellishly hot stairs. I’ll be ecstatic to know I just have to shuffle through one (maybe two) rooms to retrieve them from beside the cosy fireplace.

2. I won’t walk out of my air-conditioned bedroom in the morning to be hit by a hot blast of air emanating from the general ambience of the area I reside in. It’s at least eight degrees cooler where we’re heading. I'll have tight facial pores and no more sweat trickling down my moustache and bum crack at 6:00 am.

3. It’s a very secluded location so there’ll be no chance of random drop ins, except for my parents who also have a house on Tambo. But that’s okay because my mum and dad changed my nappies so they won’t mind if they unexpectedly drop in and find me running around with no clothes on and chasing random rabbits that have burrowed their way into the house.

4. Apparently there are rabbits hopping around the backyard at our new house. I love rabbits… unless they come into the house and cause havoc with the fox terrier which has an inbred reflex to chase small animals. I will capture at least one and make it my pet. I will call it Flopsy.

5. Tamborine Mountain has a variety of craft/hobby markets every weekend so I can learn to knit/paint/sculpt/ make jam or become a rabbit taxidermist and make an income without getting a real job. I will dress like a hippie and nurture dreadlocks which I’ve always wanted. I might even have my nose pierced.

6. Absolutely NOBODY up there on the mountain knows me so I can start again, reinvent myself like Madonna does every year. I can be… like a witness protection person. I can lie about my age and pretend I’m only forty years old and am a direct descendant of someone famous. I'll be mysterious and exotic and bung on a posh accent.

7. I will be able to don Wellingtons on freezing cold mornings and take the hounds for a run on the moors. I’ll be able to fantasise that I’m Emily Bronte snuggled on her divan writing a novel whilst sipping hot chocolate. I’ll cook country style stews and the freezing temperatures will burn up the extra calories which will refuse to settle on my hips because of all my long hikes with my woodland creatures. I’ll listen to the rain on the roof and snuggle against the fireplace in the living room. I’ll drink mulled wine (whatever that is) instead of chilled Chardonnay and snack on roasted chickpeas whilst listening to Tchaikovsky.

8. The pink Paddington Bear coat I bought late last winter will finally get an airing. I’ll be able to wear my boots without inviting tropical fungi to infiltrate my toes and I’ll be able to wear beanies on bad hair days. Scarves will be my signature detail.

9. There is no sewerage or water supply on the mountain. Wait… what? None? So…I guess that means no garbage disposal. The poo in the sump system will freeze it will be so cold. Frozen poo doesn’t smell. Ask all those people who trek past it on Mt Everest. Not a whiff. I shall start a compost thing and grow vegetables (far away from the sump).

10. Scotto and I will pop up to the local tavern on weekends, rub our gloved hands together blowing out our frosty breath to warm them, then settle beside the fireplace with a bowl of hot chips and gravy. “This is jolly spiffy!” I’ll say. “Splendidly spiffy, Scotto!”

Tamborine Mountain temperatures

Okay, maybe it won’t be that cold. But it’s got to be better than what’s going on here at the moment. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day, Cat!

It’s Valentine’s Day and my husband, Scotto and I are sprawled, exhausted on the couch, sweating, panting and rubbing the stinging carpet burns on our elbows.

Minutes beforehand our bodies had been trembling and strained with every muscle shrieking in agony. Both of our bodies had been locked in a powerful contraction until finally, screaming for mercy, we’d surrendered to the orgasmic bliss of release.

God I hate Pilates planks. They’re the worst part of the routine, don’t you agree? I can only last twenty seconds which is as lame as you can get really.

Later today we’ll be heading off to the movies to watch Zoolander 2 because even though I come across as an intellectual highbrow on the blog, the reality is that I have the brain of a 14 year old boy and so does Scotto.

The first weekend we met we watched the first Zoolander on the telly so it seems fitting we should bookend our time in Townsville by watching the sequel on this, the most romantic day on the calendar.

We leave Dodge City in ten days.

The entire process of selling our house and purchasing another has not been without nail-biting misery and uncertainty, let me tell you.

We’ve bought a house which we haven’t even seen. Of course there were photographs on the Web and I sent my parents to scout it out… but we haven’t even set foot in it.

Oh well. If I don’t like it I’ll just blame Mum and Dad.

Anyway, the new house is sitting atop Tamborine Mountain and there’s a huge, fenced backyard for all the animals and no close neighbours to whinge about the incessant barking.

We’ll both be driving our cars on the 1500 kilometre journey. Scotto will have Willy the Silky Terrier in his car and I’ll have the Chihuahua, the Fox Terrier and the cat.

Yes. The bloody cat.

Borat, the German Shepherd, will be travelling down in luxury on a Boeing 737. He’ll probably get an inflight meal, headphones and be able to order a rum and coke or two while Scotto and I will be inhaling dog and cat farts during the long 15 hour road trip.

Naturally, we’ll have to stop overnight halfway through the odyssey and Willy and the cat, will spend the night in kennels whilst the other two dogs stay with us in a PET MOTEL.

There is a lovely lady called Jane, who walks past our house every day and my cat literally runs out to meet her as if it’s just escaped from a volatile hostage situation and Jane is with the Tactical Response Unit. My cat proceeds to rub itself all over Jane in a very undignified manner for some reason.

“Do you want her?” I asked Jane one day. “We’re leaving town soon and she’s getting old and I don’t want to take her,” I said, gesturing at the For Sale sign in case she’d missed it.

Jane spoke to her husband who was standing across the road (with a cautiously suspicious expression on his face). Then she informed me she’d love to take the cat.


But then later I remembered how the cat had delivered and cared for her kittens all by herself and how I’d wept and been inordinately impressed with her innate mothering skills when it had happened (thirteen bloody years ago) and how, even though in all the ensuing years she’s done pretty much NOTHING to impress me, I couldn’t give her away after all.

I had to inform Jane yesterday that I had decided to keep her and I saw the cat hiding in the bushes with a big knowing smirk on its face.

Happy Valentine’s day, Cat.

Have you ever moved with animals and do you have any tips for settling them in?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Life in North Queensland Drives You Batty.

Image Credit

“Look! A little bird’s flown in,” commented Scotto, as we sat in front of the telly, watching My Kitchen Rules and eating our lovely dinner.

"It's supposed to be a sign of good luck when a bird flies in your house," I gushed.

The cute bird flew around and around the room, circling the ceiling and narrowly missing the fan.

“Actually, it’s not a bird, it’s a bat,” Scotto corrected himself.

He was right. It was a bat, a horrid, furry, black thing with sharp teeth, fluttering in panic around my lounge room.

I suspended my gastronomical endeavours, fork halfway to my mouth.

“Should we do something?” I asked. “Don’t they carry myxomatosis or something?”

“No, that would be rabbits,” Scotto replied, taking a leisurely swig of his beer. “Rabbits get myxomatosis.”

"Is that why they built the rabbit proof fence," I asked. "Was it to keep all the infected rabbits away from the healthy rabbits?"

"Shoosh," Scotto silenced me. "I'm trying to watch MKR."

“Ebola!” I squealed dramatically. “We’ll both be infected with Ebola.”

“There’s no Ebola in Australia, Pinky,” he eyed the creature which was casting a sinister, fluttering shadow on the wall.

“They definitely carry a disease like rabies,” I insisted. "I read about it on Buzz Feed. Lyssavirus! And another disease where they wee on horses or something. Horses catch it all the time.” I pulled my plate closer and shoved in a forkful of lasagne before it was wee-ed on from above.

“Hendra!” I gave a triumphant flourish. “It’s called Hendra virus!”

“I think you can only get it if a bat scratches or bites you,” Scotto turned the telly up. Pete and Manu were about to give their scores.

“That’s bollocks, Scotto,” I choked indignantly. “People can catch it from a frickin horse sneezing on them.”

The leathery-winged creature continued to orbit the ceiling fan. It looked a bit rabid to tell the truth. I thought I could see some froth dribbling out of its mouth.

“Don’t look up at it,” I cautioned. “If its saliva gets in your eyes you’re pretty much cactus. I’ll have to take you to the ER for a series of rabies shots and even that doesn’t guarantee you’ll survive.”

“I’m more worried about it pooping in my food,” Scotto was shovelling his lasagne down faster than the blood pumping through my jugular vein which I was sure the bat was going to dive down and puncture at any minute.

“Should we catch it with a net,” I asked tentatively, “and release it back into the wild?”

“We don’t have a net,” Scotto grunted.

“Could we throw a sheet over it?” I enquired hopefully. “It’s illegal to kill them you know.”

The bat must have heard me making threats because it suddenly flew back out the window and home to roost.

It must have used its echolocation. I wish I had echolocation. I could go to the loo in the middle of the night without turning on the light and waking myself up.

I hope I didn’t catch Lyssavirus. I didn’t touch it but I think maybe its frothy mouth dribbled into my lasagne when I wasn’t looking. I won’t know for about three to eight weeks apparently. Then it will only be a few days of illness for me before delirium, coma, then… death.

At least it will be quick.

How do you feel about bats? Ever had one in your house?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

IPL and How to Disguise your Lifelong Bad Habits

She of the High Forehead!

About eighteen months ago, pretty much overnight, I developed a strange bulge on my mouth. I emerged from the shower one morning and spied a purple lump the size of a water droplet on my bottom lip. Naturally, I asked about it next time I was at the doctor (after first spending a few months agonising over whether or not it was a cancerous tumour and attempting to burst it with a needle over and over).

“It’s nothing,” the doctor shrugged. “It’s full of blood. It’s not a mole or anything.”

I relaxed. Not going to die this time.

Then the doctor frowned and screwed up her cute little nose, “It could be a rare thing caused by…” she trailed off looking me up and down. “No, never mind, it’s not that.”

I didn’t ask what the rare thing was because I knew it wouldn’t be nice and I knew I’d go home and google the crap out of it until I convinced myself that it was DEFINITELY the thing.

I did search online though and discovered the purple people-eating monster on my lip was a venous lake, (ugly photo I found on the web).

"A venous lake is a papule which occurs most frequently in the elderly." 

Fudge off.

Anyway, I read about lots of home remedies for venous lakes and tried them all; applying castor oil, apple cider vinegar and more extensive, reckless digging around in the papule with a sewing needle.

Nothing worked as usual.

Eventually I rang my favourite Medispa, Chrysalis (where you enter as a thorny, old grub and emerge as a magnificent, young butterfly) and made an appointment to have the disagreeable protuberant zapped into submission.

The entire procedure took two seconds and my unattractive, purple friend disappeared completely in three days. 

Why do I continue with this futile pattern of fearful procrastination in my life?

While I was there I asked the gorgeous laser technician, Melissa, about the elaborate network of broken capillaries in my cheeks and if she could do anything about them.

Enter, the magical IPL machine.

Melissa the Magic Machine Technician

I don’t know why I have all these broken veins on my face. Some people say it’s from drinking too much alcohol. I know in my heart it can’t be that. God could never be that cruel. I blame it on the hot sauce I splash elaborately over everything I eat. And it’s not just hot sauce, it’s EXTRA BLOODY HOT sauce.

The first time I had the IPL, I was dribbling with fright, but after Melissa assured me that not one of her patients had EVER died from a session of IPL, I felt a bit better.

I had to wear goggles to protect my eyes from the light flash that occurs when the IPL machine is discharged. The light flash experience is similar to what I imagine it must be like in a nuclear explosion. 

During the repetitive flashes I accepted the fact that when Melissa removed the goggles, I’d be blind; forever destined to listen to audiobooks for the rest of my life. Oh well, what price can you put on beauty? At least I’ll get a guide dog, I thought. I do like Labradors.

But when Melissa peeled back the gauze pads covering my eyelids, I was delighted to notice I could still see perfectly. My face was a bit red, but I was alive and visually intact.

The next two days saw my cheeks puff up making me look like I’d just had an organ transplant and was on anti-rejection drugs or something. I looked like a hamster eating marbles and it was obvious I am not a candidate for cheek implants. 

After four weeks I could see some improvement in the appearance of the veins so I went back for my second IPL treatment. Today, (another four weeks later) I went back for a laser tidy up of stray veins on my chin and nose. I can definitely see that my skin is much more even and I no longer look like Gordon Ramsey after a night out drinking eating a lot of extra hot chilli with Charlie Sheen.

Did I pay thousands of dollars for the treatments? No. Each treatment cost less than a facial.

Does it hurt? Well… imagine that someone asks you to hold the end of an octopus strap against your cheek and then as they hold the other end they walk as far away as they can stretch it, then they let go of their end.

It feels like that.

But as I said, what price beauty?

What beauty treatments have you had?

Linking up with Karin from Calm to Conniption for the Ultimate Rabbit Hole!