172 days to Antarctica..."Baby I Don't Care" Transvision Vamp
Approximately 18 minutes to Antarctica
"Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God" (proposed by Franklin for the motto of the Great Seal of the United States).
Hello, I hope that you and yours are well and have had a good week.
Thank you for your company.
Every day as I open the back door we are greeted with the scent of Heaven and we love the experience. It is the smell of Daphne, the gift of the Greek Gods to us mortals. We both enjoy the back yard, the Jonquils, the Daffodils and other flowering plants but most especially we love the Daphne. I had a beautiful Daphne bush at home near my back door and I will plant another. Our last week and a half of Autumn weather is stormy, cold and wet. Schrodie and I have returned from our beautiful, long walk and the weather was cool but mild. As we left it started to sprinkle and Schrodie took us for a new and long walk. Luckily the weather held out and we have just beaten the rain and expected storm. We are both so happy that we didn’t miss our daily walk as we find it joyful and invigorating.
Luckily this week I have survived my first Covid vaccine shot, Pfizer on Friday morning at 8am. By the afternoon my arm was sore at the injection sight. Later in the evening I noticed that there seemed to be some hyper-pigmentation at the top of my cheeks under my eyes, brown spots, patches. Yesterday morning I awoke with a sore throat and very swollen uvula and some coughing. My throat was sore, very red and swollen for most of yesterday, despite my four milligrams of Prednisone. I was also incredibly tired and don’t know if this was worsened by the vaccine. I googled it and found medical references, papers and articles saying that this is very rare, like everything else that happens to me. Apparently this happens in less than fifteen percent (15%) of cases, lucky me! I joked with my family and friends that I was becoming a strange, tiny giraffe. One of my friends said I was becoming a Panda. It’s hilarious and I am so glad that we can laugh about it all. Now, the spots seem to have gone and my cheeks are pink once again. It reminded me that a few weeks ago a man I know told me that my cheeks were rosy and lovely. I appreciated the compliment, unexpected as it was and I was grateful to hear this as for well over a year my skin was a horrible, strange, deathly grey colour. No more and I am delighted. I’m starting to feel that I almost look like I did in December 2019 before my life went to hell by bushfire. Overall the Pfizer vaccine has been okay and it hope there are no further reactions or side-effects like I had with this year’s Flu Shot. Due to my next Pfizer vaccine, the second and final one being in three weeks I will not be able to have this month’s scheduled Benralizumab shot. I’m not taking any chances of rare, unexpected reactions between the drugs. I will have the next one in two months. I delayed my scheduled blood tests for my Rheumatologist until after my vaccine to check if it has had an impact on my body that isn’t obvious yet. I hope the results are good. I’ll go this week.
I had a couple of Doctors appointments, again I am glad that we can laugh together. I really like and trust all my Doctors, Specialists and team of Therapists as Professionals and as people. This is so important and too often overlooked by people who need good medical care. I have learned to voice my opinion and concerns wherever necessary and walk away. This is critical for us all. I will forego a good bedside manner for the smartest doctor and the best care. As long as they look after me and we respect each other, I don’t care if we like each other or not. Over the years I have seen so many people get really poor care because they get sucked in with a good bedside manner. Not me. I’m the same with all my professional relationships. If I don’t fundamentally like someone they will never be in any personal relationship with me. For me, I have learned that respect is more important.
Everyone tells me that they can’t believe that I can laugh through everything that happens as it’s a nightmare. They each tell me that they couldn’t cope or laugh like I do. The situations are so ludicrous and unbelievable that I can do nothing but laugh. None of this feels like it is my life, even though I know that it’s real. This is such a very strange experience. It's beyond surreal.
At about 2.30pm Friday afternoon I saw the email from the builder for the retaining wall, two to three small planks of pine held together by small metal posts between the soil wall that was already excavated and the concrete pad for the rain water tanks. This is a flat piece of land and there was no excavation or other work required in erecting this retaining wall. I was sent the photos from the Site Manager who had arranged the building of the retaining wall on my behalf. Our verbal agreement was that I would receive a quote and he would find someone, who he knew, that would do a good job without ripping me off and robbing me. Our written correspondence had also mentioned me awaiting a quote for the job. I never received a quote. I received a Contract variation from the Masterton Homes for the retaining wall and an invoice from Summitt Landscapes in Smeaton Grange NSW, near Campbelltown for ($8,800.00) eight thousand eight hundred dollars. This is absurd and outrageous. I have included the photos of the retaining wall above. Please let me know if you would be happy to pay this amount of money for this retaining wall. I went into shock and almost had a nervous breakdown. I was prepared to pay two thousand dollars ($2,000) for such an easy, simple, basic job. Even this is highway robbery. I am prepared to pay a fair price for a fair job. This is not a fair price.
My Trauma Psychologist rang at 3pm for my scheduled appointment. I had drafted an email to Masterton but decided to wait to send it. I was looking for tradesmen to get alternative quotes. My psychologist told me that my nervous system was shutting down, she could hear my level of distress. I said to her “I know, I can feel it happening”. We talked through options and why this is such a terrible situation. The catastrophe is that I cannot pay an $8800 bill. I did not agree to this job or this cost. I cannot afford to delay my build. I do not want to destroy the relationship with the site-manager and create problems for the rest of the build. My real distress is that Homelessness is looming. I will not survive homelessness at this point in my life. She suggested I approach Council for advice. I did and they had none to offer. After my forty five(45) minute appointment I started weighing up my options. I realised that I knew a few people that might be able to help me. I asked them. I spoke to countless friends and family, including a lawyer. Everyone agreed, including people who had done this work for a living that this was not an ($8800) job. About two thousand dollars ($2000) was an expected cost. I was advised not to pay. I was advised to ask for the quote(s) for the job. I was advised by almost everyone to take this to the Media and Social Media because these people are exploiting a Bushfire Victim, exploiting a (single) woman, and worst of all they are exploiting a vulnerable person.
The invoice states “ for Retaining Wall” as required onsite. A man I know who is a Landscaper said surely they wouldn’t try ripping you off like that because he is a decent, honest, kind and gentle man. I told him that I loved that he believed that all people were honourable and decent like him but they are not. This is not the first time this has happened to me over the last eighteen months. My romantic veil of life and the world that developed in the aftermath of the bushfire and me losing everything and the strange experiences that came after that has been removed from my eyes and destroyed. Although I don’t really have the strength to fight everyone, I am and will continue to fight for what is right. To fight against Tyranny as Benjamin Franklin states.
Now, I don’t know what to do. Am I able to dispute this with Summitt Landscaping directly? These people are disgusting and despicable. I guess that they know it’s an Insurance re-build, a big house and figured that it’s an easy cash grab. They think wrongly. I have no extra money and I will be camping in my home for a long time as I can barely afford the build with all the extra, unexpected costs. As well as the fact that Masterton have breached the contract several times making me pay an additional thirteen thousand dollars ($13,000) over the last few weeks for their variations to the contract because of their errors plus another six thousand dollars ($6,000) just before the build. I was bullied into paying this money. They are preying on my vulnerabilities. I am effectively their hostage and they have me over the proverbial barrel. I pay in protest as I need the build to continue and finish so that I can get my keys and go home. My friends are saying that they will never build with Masterton or use Summitt Landscapers and will tell others. I am hoping to resolve this without the situation and relationships disintegrating. I am going to seek advice from some Bushfire Support Agencies. I am thinking of telling Summitt Landscapers to come and reclaim their eight thousand eight hundred dollar ($8800) retaining wall as they can shove it wherever they like but not on my property. I will find someone else to do the job. This situation is absurd and outrageous. Who do they think they are to try and extort that kind of money for basic, unskilled labour from me or anyone else? These people are labourers and trades people who now, somehow earn more money than lawyers, doctors and most of us who are highly educated and qualified in highly skilled occupations. There needs to be a revolt, everywhere. People need to stop paying absurd amounts of money for menial work. The worst thing is that they are not accountable for the quality of the work that they do. Or so they think is the case. If people stop paying them ridiculous amounts of money, this will stop and the imbalance will be redressed.
For now I have decided to take a leaf out of the builders book of action and ignore their invoice and request for the immediate signed copy of the variation. They ignore my requests for information, transparency and explanations. Now I will ignore them, for now.
I also received another “Extension of Time Notice” for the previous week. NSW Covid Legislation allows building to continue but nothing is happening, apparently due to the bricklayer being in lock down. He is also two weeks behind on his existing job so no work is expected on my home build for another two to three weeks, possibly more. I don’t understand but anyway there’s not much I can do but wait. It doesn’t seem that they understand the Covid restrictions. I don’t want anyone who is potentially infected near my home anyway. I love how they send the notice a week after the delay. I’m guessing so there is no dispute over the delay. They seem to be devious and it’s disgusting. Perhaps it is simply their lazy, ineffective and incompetent natures. Whatever the reason, it is appalling and inexcusable as this is their job. People build homes because they need somewhere to live. This is always a pressing concern. Considering the exorbitant and inappropriate costs that builders receive, such slack action is unacceptable. People need to start holding them accountable if things are to improve. This will make the world a better place to live. Everyone needs to learn the value of respect, decency, honour and most especially consequences and accountability.
Hopefully my roof will be finished this week. I will make the payment upon confirmation of a fully completed roof as per my contract. The good news is that I rang the site manager on Thursday to ask whether he had uncapped the water tank. I went into shock when he took my call. We had a pleasant, positive chat and I actually like him. He said that he hasn’t been to my place as he’s been too busy with double the workload over Covid. He told me that he was going the next day, Friday to see my build and inspect the roof. He told me that he would update me which he did via email. He also told me that he would be at Bunnings, the biggest and most popular hardware store in Australia, in the morning and would try to buy a hose to connect the rain water from the gutters to the one thousand litre (1000L) water tank for the bricklayer. I told him that it was a wonderful idea and this would be very much appreciated. Given the torrential rain we have been having and which is forecast, hopefully by the time the bricklayer is ready to build my house, the tank will be full. I don’t know if this happened. Too bad my next door neighbours are not different people otherwise I would ask them for help. I might ask one of my other neighbour's. My neighbour's across the road are lovely, wonderful people whom I really like. A lot of people in my tiny village are lovely and I'm sure that they’d be prepared to help me but I would prefer not to need to ask. I cannot afford to pay haulage for such a small amount of water. I just hope we haven’t missed the rainfall. I really hope that we can achieve an amicable outcome for this retaining wall dispute that has arisen. Although, I also believe that the cost of the repairs to my boundary fence and neighbour's yard for damages caused by the excavation are hidden in this retaining wall cost, as I expected. This is not acceptable. Masterton is liable for this damage, not me. I paid for a Soil Report and an Engineering Report for the build and site in its entirety. I paid for a Hydraulic Engineering Report as well. There is no transparency or detail on the invoice, such as dimensions of the retaining wall. I believe that I am paying again for these fixes. Really all these fixes entail is additional soil that needs to be packed in place, not a five thousand or six thousand dollar cost in any capacity. I have also paid three thousand dollars for the Builder’s Insurance during the build. This too is despicable behaviour and appalling. They keep squeezing for more money outside of the contract. Their responsibility is to use the Reports for soil and Engineering to avoid such issues. The Site Manager also told me in his email that the retaining wall was required before I am issued with an Occupation Certificate so that I can go home. It feels like a threat justifying the cost price. The path of least resistance is to pay but my conscience struggles with this choice and in principle, it would be wrong to pay. However, I need to go home. There is the option to add this to the ever-growing claim post build. I must feel my way. If people had honoured their agreements and done their job properly, this was avoidable and I wouldn’t be in this situation now. To get my keys and Occupation Certificate. I cannot withhold any money at the end of the build. Perhaps I will take this to the Media and Public Forum upon moving into my home. This is all way too unbelievable and almost impossible to imagine.
My vexation with people, including my psychologist justifying these things and telling me to accept them is ever increasing. As is my consternation at her making assumptions about how I will react. I find much of her conversation unhelpful. This I have told her directly. I don’t like her repeating what I have said to her, to me as though it’s her advice. I find it really irritating and seemingly antagonistic. This would have always been my reaction in this situation. I don’t know how much longer I will continue this relationship. I’ll see how things continue before I make another decision. Essentially she’s a sounding board which is sometimes positive and helpful, however my disappointment and vexation over certain comments and generalisations which are not appropriate or correct has been ever increasing. I am more than able to manage without her as she hasn’t really helped or offered much help. She’s trying, perhaps it’s a personality mismatch. Her priority seems to be her pay check and I have noticed this for some time. I acknowledge that she has been of some help overall but she is very flippant with her comments and this I do not like at all. It was her request to schedule Friday afternoon appointments, which frankly, I don’t like and her inference on Friday was that these were by my request. I was informed that she doesn’t work Friday but does my appointments. She scheduled the Friday afternoon appointments, not me. I didn’t raise this as I didn’t see that any benefit or value would arise from such a conversation. She likes to schedule the appointments more regularly, now two weeks again, with a new referral. I’m sure this is about her cash flow not my care. I also believe that in part she wants to know how I will handle things that arise as she’s already told me that she cannot believe how much happens to me over the course of a week and that I manage so unbelievably well. I think she’s curious and is learning from me. If it helps other people, I’m okay with that but I wonder if she’s using me and my unique, horrific story and position in a way that will reward her career and finances, as an important case study, without my knowledge or agreement. This I do not like at all and I hope that I am wrong. I don’t think so. It’s very rare for me to make a mistake when it comes to people, understanding them and their motives and character. Even if it takes a while, I’m normally proven right. This does not necessarily make me happy. Once again I will exercise patience and make a rational, reasonable and logical decision when necessary. In the meantime I voice my displeasure as it is evoked.
Another great thing I learned that I did find beneficial and helpful is that the reason I am still so sad is that I am still so traumatised, with constant and ongoing new traumas. It is also the PTSD. I recall my Counsellor telling me that I was doing the best things possible to get through the PTSD and recover in the most amazing way. I remind myself of this and it helps me. Also that I am grieving and will be for a long time given everything that I have suffered. It’s only been a year she said. It’s all too fresh. This made me feel better. I was also told that I need to be kinder to myself and gentler with myself, which I know but these are not my strengths and I struggle with this and always have but I am constantly improving. I have previously learned from her that a typical trauma cycle is three years.
Well, I have had some great conversations and video chats with friends which has been fun and wonderful, as always. My friend and I were discussing a few important matters and I raised some considerations and concerns to which she replied “you are no ordinary person”, wow, what a compliment and so incredibly humbling.
I was considering returning to University to study Media and Communication and Anthropology as a Double Major through Sydney University. This is not something I need to do but would be, mental stimulation and social interaction with new people. I don’t want to end up without social stimulation if I don’t go back to work. Archaeology and Architecture are the other areas which I have always had an interest, along with Philosophy. The Architecture and Archaeology I can study as Diplomas through the University over a six month period costing about fifteen thousand ($15000) dollars each. I’ll wait until my life is more settled to decide if I am still interested in this study. I have been reading about these subjects for years, out of interest. After some comprehensive conversations with various staff at the university about my study options, costs debt that I don’t need. The Architecture I can do as a Diploma in under a year for about fifteen thousand dollars. I am not keen on four years full-time study and four hours a day, five day a week commute plus parking costs which will be hefty. Most especially I don’t want to be away from Schrodie for that long. Perhaps, I will go to my original option of returning to the prestigious Sydney Institute to study more creative courses with much less time and financial commitments.
Fortunately I get some great invitations to small meetings with Writers and Publishers on lots of different topics and areas which are fantastic. These are held as Zoom Meetings, my first, and I joined a meeting on Thursday night. The best advice and take-away for me was that I need to be more patient with myself and my writing goals. This is not easy as lately I have found my general patience fraying rather quickly. I have pushed back any deadlines that I have given myself. I’m putting myself under too much unnecessary pressure. Nobody can believe how much I am dealing with on an ongoing basis, with ever increasing new challenges and dilemmas and how exceptionally well I am handling everything and getting through my task loads. Even the various lawyers I’ve spoken with have been amazed, complimentary and in awe. Whenever I voice my concern about being able to deal with a challenge they say “You got this, you’re inspiring”, wow. I am grateful for the compliments and especially the votes of confidence. I am humbled. It all takes its toll.
I know that I’m stronger and my inner Warrior is back. This is innate and not something that I consciously control.
Eating has been better this week but my sugars have still been too erratic. I’m conscious that I’m eating more junk and I don’t want to look like the side of a barn. I am slowly and consciously changing this and eating better. I am going to cook some beef burgers and have those with mixed vegetables for my main meal today. I had two slices of Cafe Style raisin toast with a few slices of haloumi for lunch. I might also boil a whole, small cauliflower in salted water as a snack. I might have it for lunch tomorrow.
Schrodie scratched his top lip and bottom lip somehow. I saw it the other day and it was looking pretty raw and angry, very red, swollen and just looked sore. I’ve made my own saline solution and have been applying it to his lips twice a day. They have improved which makes me very happy. As we haven’t done tricks together since 2019 I have started doing these with him again. It’s good for both of us and we love it. Since he was a puppy I test his intelligence and aptitude regularly, as well as his memory. He is so smart. He thinks and counts, it’s incredible. He understands everything perfectly well. I got him an activity mat with different exercise requiring various problem solving skills to get the hidden treats. The one that is like a kid’s chatterbox but with Velcro, he worked out immediately. Once he’s worked out how to solve the different exercises, they’ll no longer be a challenge for him. He looks at it, thinks about it, walks away then goes back and tries to get the treat. He’s almost worked them all out since this afternoon. He’s amazing. It’s fascinating to watch him. If I can get decent footage with my weak, wobbly hands I’ll post videos and photos on his Instagram account @iamschrodie. Mine is Schrodie’s Mummy @schrodiesmummy. I’m not very good with hashtags and haven’t really had the time, energy or inclination to post regularly for ages. Once we’re home this will improve and I’ll post randomly in the meantime when I am able.
I’ve been writing heaps, both poetry and prose. I am happy with my efforts, some more than others. My guitar playing is improving and I’m very excited that I am finally conquering the C Major chord. It’s almost time for me to complete today’s practice. On Friday after the Covid vaccine I rested my arms and hands. I need to visit my physiotherapist as the Ulnar nerve pain has increased, especially in my right shoulder and elbow. My hands have been sore in a new way, especially my left hand. I’m hoping it is the muscles in my hands and fingers improving because of the exercises. I remain optimistic. My feet are still uncomfortable and the feeling keeps changing. I must take my supplements for my nerves and body, I haven’t had them yet today.
It’s getting really cold, I need to shut the doors and drink in the wonderful scent of Daphne.
We are looking forward to our Covid Restrictions and lockdown being lifted. So far, it has been extended until the 9th September from today. In Sydney they are stuck inside until the end of the month. I’m going to leave you so I can cook my burgers and the rest of my dinner. I hope that I remember to check the calorie intake with Calorie King, I have been forgetting. Then I will enjoy watching Midsomer Murders which I love and haven’t watched since 2019.
I hope that this has been of some interest or helped you in some way. Thank you for reading and sharing this week’s adventures. I can’t believe how many of you are finding me as I learn and fly under the radar for now.
This week’s song is powerful, energetic and great, highlighting how I have been feeling. It's an old favourite and it always gives me an energy boost. I was always a Transvision Vamp fan. I love their sound, their energy and their attitude. Great 80's and 90's music with their own punk pop rock sound. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Don’t forget to read my various pages of inspiration in different categories. My other posts too and I hope that you find them of interest and most especially helpful in some way. I hope that you leave my post a little happier than you when you arrived. Feel free to refer anyone here for anything that you feel or believe might help someone else.
Take care, stay happy and well.
Most especially wherever you are, have some fun. Do at least one little thing that makes you happy and brings you joy, every, single day. There are loads of free things like going for a drive or walk, talk to someone new, whatever you like. In the words of Nike...Just Do It!
I will continue to post pages on Wednesday and Friday. I hope that you enjoy them. I have no idea if my Antarctica trip will go ahead. I have so much to do to be ready and wonder if I will.
Until next Sunday, by for now.
Watch this Space...