Them new place feels.

We are coming up to two months in the new place since moving from Sydney to Brisbane over the Christmas period. And as usual, with a military move, nothing runs smoothly. The prepack and uplift in Sydney was pretty good, and we headed out on the drive up without any dramas. Doctor Who, our now senior guinea pig, survived the drive up and seemed to enjoy it. The kids had fun and it was an easy move up.

The down lift into the new house was quick. By mid afternoon we had all our belongings in and ready for us to start unpacking and sorting. This was the easiest, drama free move we have ever experienced. For me, growing up an Army brat, we had many a move with dramas – car breaking down, interesting accommodation stops (un-flushable poos in toilets, mounds of pubic hair in the shower drains, neighbouring guests playing the Lost Boys soundtrack on repeat as they sat outside and downed can after can of beer – just to mention a few), myself or one of my three brothers getting sick, my mum suffered hyperemesis gravidarum on our posting from Darwin to Sydney – she was so sick in the temporary accommodation in Sydney as we waited for our house to be ready for us to move into.

The first afternoon in the new place we went and picked Ripley and Dwight up from the pet resort where they had been enjoying their own little holiday as the rest of us drove up to Brisbane. Dwight was quite confident exploring the new home, for a cat he is very un-catlike. Ripley lost her cool when she saw her new massive back yard (our place in Sydney had a yard the size of a postage stamp – it was really small). So, to watch her take off and do zoomies around the big space was awesome. She trotted to the back door, tongue hanging out, tail wagging – a very happy German Shephard!
We had the house sorted out quick, and Mike and I were stoked at how smoothly this move had gone and how nicely we were settling into our new place. We had gone out and bought the school supplies, high-fiving each other at how great this was all turning out.

Then Ripley started scratching at her ears. She started shaking her head a lot. Her head then remained tilted. We took her to the vet where it was discovered she had a severe ear infection in both ears that would require her ears to be flushed out and treated. Okay, nothing too major. We booked her in for the day procedure and the week leading up to it she was on a course of steroids to help open her ear canals in preparation for the procedure. The morning of, I took her in and filled out the paperwork. The vet explained exactly what they would be doing and what the after care will be. Easy. They then took her into the surgery to get her ready and I went back home to wait out for the call to say she was ready to come back home. I got the call, but it wasn’t to say she was ready to come home. Whilst cleaning her right ear, the vet found a large haematoma that would require draining. Alright, drain away. Later that evening we were finally able to go and bring her back home. She was groggy but her ears were now clean, and her right ear had a collection of stents in them to help with the draining out of the haematoma. On the way out of the clinic, the nurse gave us a cone to use on Ripley if she started scratching at her ears – we didn’t want her to pop the stitches in her ear.

Turns out Ripley was the best patient; not once did she scratch at her ears. Dwight on the other hand was proving to be the difficult one. He was determined to get at Ripley’s stitched up ear, and this is where we put the cone to good use – not on Ripley, but we placed the cone over Dwight to contain him – stop him from trying to help clean out Ripley’s ears. It worked!

file-3

The only way we could keep Dwight away from Ripley’s ear.

So, a minor blip on the road to settling in. No big deal. We moved onwards. The kids started school, and as expected there were tears and frustration at missing their friends and school from Sydney. To help them adjust, Mike took them over to a co-worker’s place for a swim in their pool and a barbecue lunch. The co-worker’s son is in the same class as Mish, and his daughter was attending the same high school as Tilly. I stayed at home in order to get the school lunch baking done and to catch up on an assignment. I was going to go out later that night to meet some other military wives, hoping to make some new friends.

I missed the dinner.

Instead I was sitting with Tilly and Mish at the ER waiting for Tilly to be seen.

Whilst at the barbecue lunch, Tilly had managed to face plant the pool wall when she swam right into it. When they walked through the door, I was greeted with my daughter sporting a massive purple honker on the middle of her face, followed close behind by Mishy, whose face had been char grilled as a result of not applying sunscreen. As I was grabbing ice packs, slathering aloe gel onto my son’s face, arguing with my daughter that she will be going to the hospital to have her nose checked out, I was gathering my handbag and googling the address of the local hospital. Less than a month in the new place and we were checking out the emergency department.

file7 - Copy

Marcia Brady – Tilly channelled this look following face planting into the swimming pool wall.

Diagnosis: Soft tissue damage, and a slightly crooked nose that will need to be checked out by an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist; we were cleared to head back home to rest. She had a night ahead of her of ice packs and Panadol. When we got home, I remembered that she had her school photos coming up that week too. I looked over at her, her mashed up nose, panda eyes, relaxing on the couch watching You Tube. Next to her was Mishy with a painful looking face – shiny from the layers of aloe gel I kept applying to stop his face from cooking.

Two days later, following our trip to the ER for Marcia Brady and El Scorcho, I sat with what was going to be my first of many coffees for the next few weeks, and watched my husband pack his gear into his car and head off on tasking. No sooner had he driven off, Ripley got up and walked over to the dining room and vomited.

Oh boy. Here we go…

I cleaned up the vomit and put Ripley outside where I then watched her. She wandered around the yard and then went and laid down on her bed. Maybe she overindulged in the kitty litter? Whilst she relaxed outside, I got the kids up ready for school. When I returned from school drop-off, I brought Ripley back inside. She seemed flat. Missing hubby? I offered her one of her favourite treats, she turned her head away and rested her chin on her paws. I called her over to the other side of the room and I noticed she seemed really slow to stand. This wasn’t right. I called the vet (who had only a week earlier taken the final stent and stitches from out of Ripley’s inner ear) and I explained what was happening. They booked her in for that afternoon. In the meantime, I washed her mouth out and thinking to myself could it be she has licked a cane toad? She was drinking water, but not enough.

By the time I got her to her appointment, she was flat. The vet was going to take her in for the afternoon and run bloods and to get her on a drip for hydration. Half an hour after admitting her, I got the call to say Ripley had pancreatitis. This is the first (and hopefully now the last) time this has happened, and my head was spinning. Of course, something like this would happen when my husband is interstate and I am in an area I am not familiar with. Ripley ended up spending two days in hospital undergoing treatment. By the Friday evening, despite her latest test showing her pancreas was still giving her grief, she was stable enough to come home for the weekend. She had a pain med patch on her back leg, and she was much brighter and excited to see us and be back at home than she was when we brought her into the clinic on the Wednesday.
My job over the weekend was to keep her fluids up and serve up several small portions of either boiled chicken breast or specialised dry dog food throughout the day and on Monday morning we would be back for another test, and if still positive, we would have to discuss further testing and examination by a specialist. My mind was trying to work out how I would juggle things if I had to drive across through Brisbane to the specialist with the kids in school – would I have to take them out of school for the day because of appointment/driving times being outside of school hours? I played nurse over that weekend, determined to get my best friend better. The thought of not having her kills me, and when she was in hospital, I felt lost without my side pup.

file - Copy

Back at the vet – this time with pancreatitis.

Come the Monday morning, after I got the kids to school, Ripley and I were back at the vet for the next blood test. As I sat and waited for the vet and Ripley to return, my stomach was in knots. She had been doing so well over the weekend, I would be gutted if I couldn’t turn it around for her. Eventually Ripley and her vet returned, and the news was the best – NEGATIVE! We did it! We got her pancreas back down to normal levels. We could go home and get on with things – and with a specially modified diet. That afternoon she came with me to pick the kids up from school so she could give them the good news.

file1 - Copy

So for the weekend leading up to the final blood test on the Monday, I had to serve up several small portions of boiled chicken and special dry food throughout the day for Ripley. Dwight was so incensed that his sister was getting “special treatment” he decided to protest – refusing to eat his “blah” food in order to get what Ripley was getting. So I had to make up a Dwight-serving (plate on the left) so he felt he wasn’t missing out on what poor Ripley had to eat (bowl on the right).

They say things happen in threes. Since moving in we have had ear surgery, busted nose and sunburn (which cleared up without blisters or peeling) and then pancreatitis. The kids and I have been housebound as Ripley recovered from her ear op and then pancreatitis, and the kids from their own injuries. We have not had a chance to get out and explore the area. This last weekend was the first weekend we were able to go out because Ripley was okay. Saturday, we checked out Springfield and enjoyed a nice long lunch, making the most of the slightly cooler weather that has come over. Yesterday (Sunday), we got up early to check out the local show ground market for breakfast and a scout about. The kids were happy to score a collection of 90’s era Yowie figurines. I enjoyed a fantastic coffee and stocked up on some soy melts from Violets Gifts and Treasures – as I type this I have Lolly Shoppe in the burner and the house smells like a candy store.


It finally feels like everything is now starting to settle (touch wood!) – the kids have made friends and are loving their new schools, and Ripley is back to normal. Dwight is still annoyed I am enforcing his diet, and Doctor Who shows no signs of slowing down despite his age. As for me, I am looking forward to eventually making friends and establishing myself.


This will be a good posting.

Advertisements

A Murder, a Funeral, Parenting and Not Enough Coffee.

This is a cautionary tale for those thinking about having pets or children, or, like me; crazy enough to have both. It is a tale of murder, heart break, a funeral, demon summoning and a missing cat with a Trump inspired comb-over. 

It all started yesterday morning whilst getting the kids ready for school…

As I was making their lunches I asked Tilly to feed the dog. A few seconds pass when I hear her shrieking. I run outside and Ripley (the dog) is in the far corner of the garden, shrouded by shrubs and Tilly is at the other end, hands over her face and crying. I immediately think she has been scratched by the dog and as I grab Tilly by her shoulders and turn her to face me, she points to the ground and wails “Ripley killed a possum!” She pushes her face into my chest, crying hard. I look down and there is the possum. Dead.

Tilly then turns on the dog, seething and rousing on her “Ripley how dare you! Why? WHY?” I had to calm her down and explain that Rip didn’t know any better, this is the nature of a dog and yes, it is awful. Ripley stayed put in the garden bed. I instruct Tilly to grab me a set of disposable gloves, paper towel and plastic bag.

Serious part over.

Gloved up, I set out the paper towel (Viva Paper Towel – super soft and super absorbent) and I gently picked up the body and placed it on the towel and drew the sheet up over it. I then proceeded to wrap it in more towelling and then I placed it in the plastic bag. Tilly hovered over me and when I folded the bag over she asked what I intended to do with it. “Eat it for lunch” is the wrong answer by the way.

Calming her down by telling her I was on a diet anyway (wrong thing to say, again); I said I would bury it after I took her and Mish to school. She looked horrified and begged to wait until after school so we could have a funeral. I agreed. I placed the possum on Mike’s workbench and once again promised I was only joking about eating it. 🙄 Meanwhile Mish was patiently waiting for his now extra toasted crumpets for breakfast. Tilly, understandably, had lost her appetite.

After school I set to organising the funeral. I began to dig into the garden bed, pulling out building material that had been thrown in there when the place was being built. I managed to dig a hole but not as deep as I would have liked. Whilst undertaking grave digging duties, the peanut gallery watched on, offering their own advice. As I stood up Mish says “I am surprised you chose to dig the grave directly under that big Saint Andrews Cross spider. Tilly and I have been watching to see if your head comes into contact with the web. Yep. You touched it just then mum.”

Cue my seizure, kids laughing, and the poor dead possum on the bench getting tired of this shit.

I put on a pair of disposable gloves and gently take the wrapped up possum from the plastic bag. Mish asked to see the body, Tilly punched him in the arm. I placed it in the grave and at the kids insistence, I spoke a few words before burying it:

“We are gathered here today to morn the passing of this sweet little possum; taken too soon from this world. I am sorry our dog got you. May you rest now in eternity.”

Mish piped up with “we are sorry our dog is a see you in the NT!” (paraphrased for censorship)😳 Given the gravity of the situation I let that go to the keeper, but will have stern words with Dad when he gets home because he is the swearer in this house. 😡

I covered the grave up, patted down the soil and hoped the neighbours were amused. As I put the shovel back in the shed I heard Tilly say “and now we make the sign of the cross.” To which Mish says out loud “that is not right! You go spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch. Jesus Tilly you have just summoned the devil.”

I thought about digging my own hole next to the possum…

Anyway, dog was shunned the rest of the night. She was pretty mopey. I felt anxious about putting her in the yard this morning; fearing she would find and dig up the possum. Tilly would implode if that happened. I called my mum and she advised me to sprinkle pepper on the grave and it will deter the dog. Fine, but what about the neighbours? They have witnessed the homicide, homicide investigation, the funeral, subsequent devil summoning and now out I come with the pepper grinder to season it! This poor possum!

Dog has not dug it up. Mish’s hope for a zombie possum is not going to happen. Tilly will calm down. All good, right? No.

So I get home today and as I pull into the garage I see the internal door is wide open. I freak out because that means the cat is in snooping and could now have very well bolted outside. I close the garage door, run around my car and look under the wheels. I poke about boxes and tools – no cat. I run inside and start calling out for Dwight. No response. Shit! He must be out! I grab a packet of food to take outside when Dwight comes flying down the stairs and head first into my shins. On his head is a tangle of whispy white spider webs, looking like a Trump comb over. He had been in the garage but must have bolted back inside when the roller door started to go up. I feed him, check to see possum is still buried and make myself a strong coffee. Serenity now. ☕️

Never work with kids or animals.

You’re welcome.

**I did have a cry for the possum when I got home after taking the kids to school. 😦

We love our Fur Kids

I love the look we get when we tell people that as well as having two beautiful human kids, we also have fur kids – there is Ripley, our German Shepard cross bull Mastiff, our rescue cat Dwight K. Shrute and the guinea pigs Doctor Who and Mordicai. I am surprised at how many people make the comment “My gosh! That is such a handfull!” To be honest though, it really isn’t. I think if we won lotto tomorrow, we would buy a great big property and fill it with animals. My husband adores the guinea pigs. When they have play time, he lays down near them and watches and laughs as they popcorn, rumble strut and zoom from one end of the lounge room to the other. I love my Ripley – she chose me when we came to look at her and her siblings, and despite still being a puppy, she is MASSIVE and the biggest sook of a dog I have ever known. I love getting hugs from her, and as soon as I come home from taking the kids to school, Ripley comes in the house and we chill out together whilst I do chores around the house. Dwight was a rescue kitten. Earlier last year, my beloved Bobbi cat passed away at 11 years of age. A few months later, I took the family to the local pet store to support a friend who was running the rescue animal adoption day – where we were swamped by beautiful kittens, puppies, cats and dogs all looking for their forever homes.

Whilst standing off to the side talking to my friend, my daughter Matilda came up to us with big tears running down her face. “Mum! Mum! There is this little kitten over there and, and, and, I just want to hold it because it is being picked on by the other kitten!” My friend organised another volunteer to retrieve the kitten and placed him in Matilda’s arms. She melted. The kitten meowed and licked her ear, and she covered his little face in kisses. My son Hamish then asked for a hold and the kitten melted him to coos and “awwws” before my husband, Mike had a turn at holding the kitten. I stood back, a bit apprehensive as I was still hurting from the death of my Bobbi, but Mike placed the kitten in my arms. I was too wrapt up in this little ball of fur to notice that Mike had snuck off and was completing the adoption papers! The kids were thrilled and we came home with an 8 week old kitten who my husband decided to name Dwight K. Shrute.

The guinea pigs were the first though to join our home. At the time, Bobbi was a little on the slow side and had no patience for the kids. To help give her space, I began to look at little pets that would be easy for the kids to care for. We attended a guinea pig show at the local school, and I watched my kids as they handlers showed them and explained everything there is to know about guinea pigs. The kids and I were sold on these adorable little creatures. My husband, not so much. Back home, I joined a local guinea pig site on face book and began talking to other owners and making notes on everything we would need. One of the contributors was about to put her latest little brood of guinea pigs up for sale and I jumped at the chance. I bought two brothers, and upon bringing them home, the kids were in love. Matilda is a mad fan of Doctor Who and her little guinea pig just so happened to have the same swept over fringe as that of her beloved 11th Doctor, so that is what she named her guinea pig – Doctor Who. Hamish named his guinea pig Mordicai Butternubs. I placed the guinea pigs in Mike’s arms and he was smitten. They are such sweet little creatures that can make us laugh with their funny antics, and despite their plump bodies and stubby little legs, they are incredibly quick and agile! I am also convinced they are psychic – I just have to think about going to the fridge and they start wheeking for the bag of salad!

We can’t imagine our family without the pets. They teach us so much about life, love and especially for our kids, responsibility. I love that Matilda and Hamish will grow up with Ripley, Dwight, Doctor and Mordi. Just one big, happy (and fluffy) family! ❤