February 2014 Archives
So over Christmas/New Year/January I had all of Jake's Lego to sort out and check for completeness.
First step was sorting out what was there. I left things assembled that looked like they belonged to a set, then sorted the rest of the pieces into tubs - bricks, plates, technic bits, wings, round bricks/plates, minifig gear, minifig weapons, wheels, misc bits, etc etc etc. I also separated out any "old" greys and browns from the new style colours so as not to mix them up. This all took several days.
Then I started building things. I started with smaller sets, thinking that I'd be more likely to complete them, and then only bigger sets would be missing pieces. This sort of worked, but Lego makes so many different sorts of pieces that even smaller sets could be missing odd pieces. So the building took several weeks, and when complete, it took up our entire dining table!
Impressive, huh! Seventy-eight sets, and four games (not shown). Twenty Star Wars sets, sixteen town sets, and a smattering of just about every other series of Lego (ok, so not really).
Then I dismantled it all, double checking as I went against Bricklink to make sure sets were complete, and photographing everything as well. Any missing parts were documented to be bought online if need be.
I returned it all in three goes - two lots of complete sets, and the last lot of incomplete sets.
So yeah, a super fun couple of months getting to play with heaps of Lego that I didn't have to pay for :)
On Saturday afternoon we went out to the club.
Backstepping a minute. On Wednesday during the storms, a mini tornado swept through the club area. Lots of trees were down around the club. Including one that had our neighbour's power cord strung up through. It pulled our power box out of the ground before the cable snapped.
Fortunately none of the caravans were damaged and our fridge (which we still haven't fixed) wasn't on.
But the cords holding our annex snapped, and the tarp flew away with tent poles still attached. They were flung in all directions, including one that impaled our neighbour's garbage bin through its lid - while underneath a pretty big awning. We have no idea how it did it. Again, fortunately, the tarp wasn't damaged, and all we'll need is some new guy ropes and we'll be set.
John had fixed everything up by the time we got there so that was good.
In the evening was a Valentine's night, yes, a week too late - oh well!
They even had these heart-shaped balloons.. although they kinda lost something when upside down ..
After dinner was charades which was a lot of fun. It was meant to be teams but somehow I switched tables somewhere in the middle. But since I won the majority of the games, they declared me the winner :) I shared the box of chocolates I got with everyone. We also had a raffle with two prizes. I had tickets B52-54. After someone won the first prize, I called out "B52!" to the person drawing the tickets - and freakishly, that's what they pulled out!! Couldn't have happened if I'd planned it! So won another box of chocolates :)
Had a decent day today - cleaning up MESS that will hopefully see results tomorrow. Plenty more to be done in that space.
Tonight did more washing and tidying and cooking and jigsawing and TV watching.
Last Sunday morning we headed home from Sydney with a car load of crap in tow. Caught up on housework/washing etc in the afternoon.
On Monday I finished packing up and inventoring Jake's Lego.
On Tuesday I suffered from major lack of sleep. We went to the Dumpling Inn for dinner (mixed chow mein and shredded beef peking style) then did our food shopping. Came home and dismantled most of the Star Destroyer (that had also been constructed at Christmas 2009) while watching TV.
On Tuesday night I still couldn't get to sleep, so Wednesday was more misery. Watched some pretty cool rainstorms out the window at work. When I got home however, there was a small stream of water going across the garage floor. Which would have been fine, except it intersected with my old desk that I've had for thirty five or so years, and the chipboard at the bottom all swelled up :(:(:( So that was pretty annoying. My parents still have the matching beds, and I still use the matching set of drawers. I was hoping to sell/give away the things as a set one day so that's a bit of a poo. In the evening it poured with rain again, so I collected a whole heap of it and put it in the pool.
Wednesday night I finished dismantling the Star Destroyer, and started the remaining section of my Life jigsaw.
Thursday night we got pizza and watched The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which I hadn't seen since I saw it at the movies in 2005.
On Friday a bunch of us got pork knuckles from Zierholz. Omigosh they were *huge*. I got through all the meat/crackling on mine (but only just) but didn't quite finish the sides. Pretty much everyone said the experience of it was good, but noone would really be interested in having it again - simply too much food. I reckon it'd go well shared between two people. I didn't have any dinner that night.
Friday night was more jigsawing while watching Angels and Demons, which I hadn't seen.
Saturday morning I cleaned the gutters and flushed the downpipes which were all completely clogged. Then we headed out to the club, but I'll leave that for another post.
Today was catching up on housework as well as doing more jigsaw and tv show catching up.
Friday night last week while I was still in Sydney, Stu came up from Canberra, and David came over too. Mum did a lamb roast - yum. We did some final checks on the reflections slide show and took it up to the church to test it out and make sure it'd work ok. We also put a good effort in to fix the letter box indicator light switch. We got pretty close - thinking we just needed a new reed switch to be all done.
Saturday morning was Dad's funeral. The church was *packed* - standing room only. The service went well and people laughed at the right places in my slide show. Sadness when the coffin was taken out. Was good to see people like Steve Bull and Peter Neve and Barry Smith, as well as various aunties/uncles/cousins and Chris and Jim as well. There was a light lunch in the hall afterwards which most people stayed for which was nice.
After the funeral, the family type peoples were all invited back to Mum's for a continuation of the wake, and so they could all go through the workshop and garage to see if there was anything they wanted from Dad's hoard. Some people took a few things which was good. Then we toasted Dad, somewhat ironically since he was a teetotaller, and some of us proceeded to get quite merry. We got some chinese for dinner, including Dad's favourite - lemon chicken. David had another go at fixing the letter box, but while the reed switch worked, there was still another issue with the wiring he couldn't sort out. Next time!
Mum got seven large bunches of flowers during the week, which made it look like she was opening a florists shop!
So goodbye Dad, will see you again in heaven!
Before Dad died I started collating a list of silly things my Dad used to say. There turned out to be quite a lot. And I'm sure I've missed heaps.
As mentioned yesterday, there were a few random song snippets, such as "they're coming to take me away hey hey" and "beep beep, beep beep, his horn went beep beep burp". Somewhat relatedly he'd sing "Sunday driving, Sunday driving" when we were out and about on a Sunday. If we saw a delapidated building in our travels, the parents had a running joke that it was a "prospective youth hostel".
When someone did something wrong, he'd say "nooo that's not it, try it again", as per Yosemite Sam. Actually my brother and I changed the default error beep to that wav file many years ago on the parents' computer, and we had months of laughs because they couldn't figure out how to change it :)
When anyone offered him tea or coffee he'd say "I don't drink, don't smoke, don't drink tea or coffee, don't go around with naughty women". This was appended in later years with "because I don't know any". Actually this is why he thought it was so unfair that he had a brain tumour, as he didn't use a mobile phone either. Still, he'd also say to people "I'll have a vodka and orange. Hold the orange" and at other times "Hello officer, I'm not under the affluence of incahol" in a slurred voice.
Regarding physics, he'd say things like "It's only the lack of heat that makes it cold", "It's only the weight of it that makes it heavy" and "It's not the fall that kills you it's the sudden stop at the bottom".
He could be quite negative (actually that's another story entirely). But with Mum there'd be such things as "I earn the money, she spends it", "Whatever you say dear", "Yes boss" and "I'm always wrong".
With us there was the whole "Seven eights!!" thing that haunted David around Western Australia in 1984. David was in primary school and learning his times tables, so on the holiday Dad would call out random times tables for David to give the answer to. Except he kept tripping up on seven eights. So Dad did it over and over again getting quite angry with David about it. Mum said Dad changed on that trip. He had issues with his camera and basically became a lot more negative and grumpy about things from that point on. Mum thought he had a mid life crisis at that point. He'd get annoyed at us for "drop" or leaving things around the house, but actually he was probably the worst offender. And if we ever happened to burp at the table he'd say "oink". To which after 1995 I'd respond "la la laaaa" :)
He'd get very frustrated with "yellow lights!" even more so than red ones, and also "Sunday drivers". If a someone was heard shouting or speaking loudly, he'd say something like "We heard you the first time" or "ahhhh shaddap". And if someone was incompetant they "couldn't organise single track working on a single length of N gauge".
He loved cockatoos, and the family had one when he was growing up. So there was always "Scratch cocky" and "Hello cocky" and "G'bye! G'bye!" in screechy voices. The doves he used to feed were "girls" because they were birds, so it'd be "hello girls" when they came down.
He liked cats, and whenever he saw one he'd say "I tawt I taw a putty tat", or simply a realistic meow (actually he'd meow at pretty random times too).
He loved cheese. Or "ratfink". And if anyone ever said "say cheese" for a photo, he'd say "Coon", his favourite cheese.
Whenever he got home and wanted to get changed he'd say "I'm going to take me pants off". I use that a lot myself now too.
Many every day objects got different names.
"Soviet" was a meat pie - soviet spy in rhyming slang
"Serve you right" was a serviette. I use this all the time, which confuses people sometimes.
Police were sometimes pronounced "poh-lice", or just "the fuzz"
"Screaming ice" was ice cream
"Gobbies" was his word for potato scallops
"Jackie" was a kookaburra
"Franks" meant thanks
"Probabully" was probably
"Grey shirts" were the train ticket inspectors. He had an irrational thing against authority and beaurocracy.
"Woofit" meant "what's for tea?"
"Crick" was creek
"Rake" was a lake
"Crouds" were clouds
"Riv-her" was river
"Hurro" was hello
"Martian bastard" was a Mars Bar
"Chew and spew" was McDonalds
"Chif and phips" was fish and chips
And there was plenty of other random $#!+ .. :)
"Pong!" - obviously a response to ping!
"We want a funny story from" - sometimes said at random at the dinner table
"Growl, grumble and gripe, da dum da dum da dum" - the da dum bit might have been appended by my brother, can't remember
"Around the corner and into the straight comes beetle bomb" - or BDL Bomb, after the number plate of their old car
"Screech crunch tinkle tinkle" was a car accident
"Sparkle-arkle-arkling" usually referred to fizzy drinks
"Arc arc arc" or "stone the crows" whenever crows were around
"Die quietly" if someone was coughing loudly
"No bull" for no kidding
"Me three" instead of me too (I use this too)
"Me think that 'mazing" if something was good
"Bless me" if he sneezed
"Oh girl. You can't say oh boy, that's sexist".
When my friend Luc first met my parents he said to me later "I can understand you better having met your parents". Maybe anyone that's just read through the above list of words and phrases will see what a crazy Dad I had and understand how I came to be so completely silly :)
As we were growing up, Dad would occasionally sing lines of songs that seemed pretty random to us at the time. Things like "beep beep, beep beep, his horn went beep beep beep" (or beep beep burp). Or "show me the way to go home, I'm tired and I want to go to bed. I had a little drink about an hour ago and it's gone right to my head". Or "they're coming to take me away hey hey". Or "my eyes are dim I cannot see, I do not have my specs with me". Some years ago heard the beep beep beep song playing in the shops in Gungahlin and looked it up. Funny song.
Here's some of my "dad songs" that remind me of him.
This was another of Dad's favourite silly songs. Frank Kelly's "Dear Nola". It got played every Christmas for years.
And these are a couple of "family" songs - There's a Hole in the Bucket, and On Top of Spaghetti
So I called my mother last Friday night. She'd been to see Dad that evening and the nursing home staff said that they didn't think that he was going to make the night the previous night, so he really didn't have very long to go. She had spent two hours with him. He was pretty unresponsive, but he responded when Mum sang Abide With Me to him. I wondered whether he'd make it to Sunday when I was planning to come up. I considered going up Saturday instead, but Chris was on her way down to Canberra to visit so it was going to be tricky. I asked Mum if she wanted me to come up anyway on Saturday if Dad went but she said I didn't need to. Chris arrived fairly late and we talked and all shared a very very nice bottle of Brokenwood 2009 shiraz. We have a 2010 downstairs from our trip to the Hunter Valley last Christmas. It was past midnight when we got to bed, and we were just in bed when I got the SMS from my mum: "Dad went to be with Lord at 11.55pm". #sad
Had a bit of a slow morning on Saturday. I called Mum again. She'd been out to the home til about 2am to say a final goodbye. She was ok with me not coming up until Sunday, as she had a church event planned that morning and was likely to be sleeping in the afternoon anyway, as she'd only had about an hour's sleep.
So Chris and Zac and I went along the Beer and Meat on a Stick festival (aka the Multicultural Festival) to get, well, beer and meat on a stick. But before we found meat on a stick, we found potato on a stick! Might have had another one of those later. And a waffle on a stick. Did a little shopping during and after as well.
In the later afternoon we had a swim to cool off. In the evening we watched a couple of episodes of MacGyver and had another swim.
Sunday morning we got ready then meandered our way up to Sydney (Chris dropped me off). The minister came over and we decided on an order of service for the funeral. Then I got stuck into putting together a reflections slide show in powerpoint. Took three nights to do, but I think it will be nice. Will try and get it onto YouTube when I get home.
So how am I? ok I think. I suppose I've enough time to get used to the idea of Dad not being around. And living in Canberra it's not like I saw him much anyway. Mum is ok too, again, she's had months to get used to life without Dad. Thanks everyone for your messages and condolances.
So I have a few days where nothing much happens, then I have a day where five people want things from me at once. Bah. Can't people spread things out so there's a nice flow of work?
And I've not really even unpacked from my last trip and I'll be off again. But with people staying here in the whole intervening time. Really not sure how I'm going to get everything done :(
Three months ago today we came home from Hong Kong.
Home. Oh so tired. Fish tanks need a lot of attention. Feeling overwhelmed already. At least I won't be on call from tomorrow.
And got a stack of little bits of Lego that will complete at least half a dozen sets.
Three months ago today we watched the Melbourne Cup in an Aussie bar in Hong Kong, rode the Midlands Escalator, went for a wander, looked at the cat market, went back to Dim Sum Square for more dim sum, and I did a big long wander from Monk Kok all the way back to the hotel.
Tonight after work I went hunting the Baxter Inn on Clarence St.
You'd only know it was there if someone told you about it.
And warned you about dark alleys.
And unmarked doors.
But it was totally worth it! The bar tender I talked to was super helpful and I ended up sitting at the bar.
What a bar!
I ended up trying two scotches - a Longrow CV ($11) and a Caol Ila Distiller's Edition ($17).
Will have to drag the sweetie along some time :)
After that went to Luc and Lizzi's for dinner so could take a donut photo of Ryan.
Three months ago today we took a tram from Central to Victoria Park then did a Central and Sheung Wan foodie tour.
Tonight Crust came over to Mum's for dinner. We chatted about stuff and looked through photos of Dad and had a very pleasant evening. Was good to see her again.
Three months ago today we took buses to Stanley and Aberdeen, had some goose for dinner, and took a bus up to The Peak to see the view at night, and saw the Symphony of Lights from up the mountain.
I was aiming to leave at 10am today. It was more like 11am. Then had the weirdest experience - driving up Gungahlin Drive and Well Station Drive with the Convoy for Cancer Families! Drove along with all the trucks and past heaps of spectators. Was a lot of fun!
Dropped off some of Jake's complete Lego sets then headed to Sydney.
Aunty Rhonda was at Mum's place so talked to her briefly, then we went over to the home. Dad is going downhill faster now. Almost impossible to understand him and he's pretty spaced out.
Had some nice leftover pork for dinner and did some more photo sorting. Found that Dad has a slide scanner! Who knew? Then tried to figure out Dad's photo filing system ...
Three months ago today we went to Nan Lian Gardens and Chi Lin Nunnery, then to the fish, bird, flower and Temple Street night markets.
So last night F&C came over for dinner. We had a swim first up, accompanied by wine and nibbles from the Spa Bar. Then the sweetie did some very nice marinated salmon. Somehow it came up that we should watch Meaning of Life, so we did, while sampling some very nice single malt whiskeys. Then another dip in the pool because it was still super hot.
Today I did housework and Lego dismantling and then our food shopping. This evening Fiona and Bruce came over and we had more wine and cheese in the pool followed by pizza for dinner and The Big Lebowski.
It's too danged hot.
Three months ago yesterday we walked the Avenue of Stars in Hong Kong and went up to The Peak and I explored the ladies markets. Three months ago today we took a ferry to Lantau Island and visited Tai O and Ngong Ping, and watched the Symphony of Lights.