Wednesday, December 17, 2014

From barfing to babysitting

The weekend after TLM came down with a vomiting bug (thankfully very short-lived), I was struck by the very same bug.

I spent all of Monday dozing, shuffling (to the loo, to the back door to gaze at the sunny day outside), and drinking Powerade. And finding out that my mum had finally been discharged from hospital, and that my brother had taken her to his place until she was fit enough to go home.

By Tuesday I was feeling a hundred times better than I had the day before. I was still cautious about eating and was avoiding caffeine for the time being, but definitely well enough to go back to work.

The same day, the boy complained of a bad feeling in his gut. You can predict how that progressed.

Also on that day, I called my mum to ask how she was doing. All she wanted to do was to go home.

"There's laundry that needs doing, and my bed is still unmade from before I went to hospital". But we didn't believe she was ready to go home yet - it took her five minutes just to get from sitting down to standing up, and she couldn't walk for more than a few metres (with a walking frame) without needing a rest.

I applied for an emergency couple of days leave to give my brother some respite.

I went in this morning and mum was already up. "Alright" I said, "if you want to go home let's see if you can make your own breakfast."

Mum got as far as putting the jug on before complaining bitterly at my lack of customer service.

The rest of the day went a lot better, especially once she realised we weren't trying to force her into a rest home - because in NZ you can't get into a restroom even if you really want to, unless either you are willing to pay unlimited costs to get into one or the local health assessor thinks there's no other way for you to survive.

And that assessor is coming over on Friday, so we shall soon see...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A bit going on

I've been a bit distracted lately, because my mum's health has been a bit of a worry. She's just spent the last few days in hospital, which frankly was a relief because that followed several days of her feeling miserable and very tired. Being at hospital meant we didn't have to worry so much about her.

Now that her discharge from hospital is imminent, my bro and I will have to figure out how to ensure that she gets all the support she needs without driving anyone insane. Seriously, she can be a terrible grump, bossy and an extreme micro-manager.

A place at her retirement village of choice became free, but the prices have all gone up so that the cost of a studio there is only slightly less than my whole house is worth - and that's not including the weekly fees and others besides. So we have to look around to see if anything comparable (and not to far from us) is available that is more affordable.

On a more pleasant note, I was able to attend my work Christmas do. We had an Amazing Race type of thing at the Botanic Gardens, and spent a good couple of hours walking about the place, trying to find clues and taking many selfies. We took more selfies yesterday than I have ever taken before that day, or ever will after that day. After lunch we had the Secret Santa gifts. Mine was a set of six handmade fridge magnets, made using a variety of surprisingly attractive recycled objects. Honestly it was the best Secret Santa present I have ever received. Thank you Santa!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It turns out that something which keeps your neck and shoulders warm is a capelet

I was thinking that it would be nice to knit an accessory that keeps your neck and shoulders warm - like a well-placed shawl (but which doesn't blow off in the wind) or well-shaped cowl (which covers your shoulders).

So I got out a couple of balls of yarn, looked through a bunch of knitting patterns, and decided to use a top-down pullover pattern to make it.

What I came up with is a caplet. Although if you'd asked me what I thought about making a caplet I would have laughed in your face before swinging my scarf around my neck and walking away.

So it will be interesting whether I actually get to wear this, as it's not the sort of thing I had in mind at the start. I call it the Counterfort Capelet, named after the pullover pattern.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Spring with a dash of winter

When I finished my Hitch pullover (from Interweave Knits Winter 2014), I thought I'd be putting it away until next April or May.

But no - I put it on this afternoon and it's is just right for today's chilly temps.

Please excuse the unnatural angle. TLM was taking the photos and decided to make like a fashion photographer (yeah baby year! Now you're a monkey!) so I indulged her with a variety of non-typical poses.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Spring hat

I started this hat because I wanted a project to take to the Knit World knit-in session a while back. But I only went a couple of times because it wasn't looking promising (four people turned up the first time, three the next).

Then I got bored with making the boy's denim surf top again and decided to finish the hat instead.

It's Kiwiyarns Knits' own Cafe Hat pattern (but I stuffed up the ribbing and used different types of yarns so it's barely recognisable). Hopefully it won't be cold enough again to wear it until next autumn!

I've also posted it on Ravelry.

Vodafone gets to live after all

In case you'd had sleepless nights worrying about how my mum is doing without her only connection to the outside world (her landline phone), you'll be relieved to know that her phone was back on around midday yesterday. So you can call off the boys with the big sticks and knuckle-dusters.

It took me three long calls and an email of complaint (and possibly another call from the sister in law)  to achieve this. While they were at it, they also put the phone account in mum's name.

If they'd only done this latter task when I first asked them to (at the beginning of this month), it would have saved us all a lot of stress, frustration, wasted time on hold and in hopeless conversation and me getting unwanted instructions from family (but not the boy because he was just lovely and supportive) on how to "fix" the problem.

But at last the problem is fixed (though I still have to check they aren't going to try and bill her for two phone accounts or anything stupid like that).

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Shame on you Vodafone

Hyperventilating with frustration, I have just sent Vodafone a formal email of complaint. Do you want to know why? Because they disconnected my mum's phone which is her only way to get hold of  anyone, even though she's done nothing wrong.

It's because I have so far found it absolutely impossible to get my mum's phone account transferred to her name, from my sister in laws. It was in the sis in law's name because they lived with her for a while (before they left with the relationship between her and my mum in utter tatters) and set up her phone at the same time. Before that I believe it was in my brother's name.

They won't do it unless they can speak to both the sis in law and my mother. The sis in law spent an hour on hold with Vodes before being able to do her half of the transfer (get her name off the account).

We had trouble with the next step though. My mum doesn't speak English, I told them (more than once). They were sorry to hear that, because after another long wait they told me that meant they could not transfer the account to her name.

Transfer it to my name then, I said. After 20 minutes or so they said no, they can't. Because I am already a Vodes customer and I'm not allowed to have two different accounts with them (wtf?).

Okay, I said. I give up. Please lets go back the way it was. Okay, they said, we'll do that.

Then they disconnected my mum's phone. My mum, who is 90 years old, fairly deaf, frail, only conversant in Cantonese and mostly illiterate, needs her phone to be working. Not least because her medical alarm is connected through it.

But it has been impossible so far to get her phone reconnected.

What I would like to do is to take our custom away and go start an account up with a competitor - but it's quite likely we'd have to get the sis in law to talk to Vodafone again to do the first part!

And one last thing - they were going to charge my mum an extra $1.50 each month for receiving her bill in the slow mail. Pretty shoddy, considering she doesn't do email and is unlikely to suddenly start.

Shame on you Vodafone.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

On the occasion of my fiftieth birthday...

Astonishingly (and refreshingly), there is no McDonalds on the island of Rarotonga.

If I'd been told this at the beginning of our stay, I would have expected a very un-tourist-y family holiday.

We stayed at the Edgewater, which turned out to be the largest resort on the island. With hundreds of hotel rooms and villas (we stayed in a villa), it probably covered more area and had more inhabitants than Avarua - Rarotonga' downtown. So yeah, it is touristy - but not actually not all that touristy.

Some of the resort's more charming aspects, which made our stay all the more enjoyable, include: the super friendly staff; the very attractive floral prints they wear; the free range chooks that wander about unimpeded looking for tourist-borne snacks; the tropical fish-laden lagoon and the Ika Mata (raw fish marinated in coconut cream).

The boy introduced TLM to snorkelling, which quickly became her favourite daily activity (I myself took a couple of goes to get into snorkelling - breathing through a tube whilst under water freaks me out). TLM's second favourite activity was splashing me in the pool.

I painted my own sarong, TLM and I learned how to make a head garland from the gorgeous array of tropical flowers, and we all learned more than we ever thought we'd want to know about coconuts.

We also took a tour of the sights, on our last day. I was highly amused at the "sights" that we took in - the local hospital, several schools, the Cook Island house of parliament (which looks like a low-income boarding house) and so on. But there were some highlights too - the spot where the seven waka were supposed to have launched, carrying those who would become the New Zealand Maori hundreds of years ago; the beach at Muri; and the interesting but tragic story of a particular church built from huge chunks of coral reef (sacrilege, I know), whose builders died in the hundreds from lime poisoning.

And now we are back home. It's a relatively chilly 17 degrees Celsius but at least it won't be too hot to sleep tonight.