130 days to Antarctica..."I Walk The Line" Johnny Cash
Approximately 21 minutes reading time
“Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Hello, I hope that all is well with you and that you’ve had a good week. WOW, I am glad to have survived this last week. I didn’t think I had any puff left in me. Surprise! I feel like I might have finally made a breakthrough, I hope so. I have been feeling like I have been walking the line for a long while now, in so many ways and Johnny Cash singing this song has been firmly in my mind. This great song written by Johnny Cash. His legacy of great music is undeniable. Later with his wife and partner June Carter Cash they added to this great legacy. They had a hard road finding each other and finally getting together but how beautiful for them both that it was such a wonderful union and their combined talents left us many gifts. Anyway it’s been stuck in my head for so long, it’s this week’s song of the week by “The King of Country Music”. It exemplifies how I’ve been feeling. I hope that you enjoy “Walk The Line” by Johnny Cash.
Today it’s overcast and it’s raining outside although the weather is temperate. Schrodie and I went for a short walk earlier as I treated myself to the most delicious Chorizo burger with a pickle and crunchy red slaw with a tasty, creamy sauce on a potato bun with a side of crunchy, tasty, Covid “Delivery Chips”. Apparently they were developed for lockdown deliveries so the chips would stay crunchy and warm for thirty five minutes and can be zapped back to hot in thirty seconds. Never expected to learn this or that this would be a real consideration, so there you go. I learned about “Delivery Chips” today. My meal was delicious. I love a good sausage of any kind. I don’t particularly like long, thin or skinny sausages although I occasionally enjoy one. I have never eaten a chicken sausage. Chicken, sausage or people, don’t appeal to me. My favourite sausages and always my preference are the big, thick sausages. Natural casings are not so common anymore although the more tasty option and they are also a good way to use an animal top to tail, without waste and valuing the life given for the luxury we obtain. Happily, natural casings are becoming trendy with foodies so on the increase. Chorizo is one of my favourites but it’s so hard to get a good sausage. I believe they make their own at the cafe and they do a fabulous job, it’s spicy and delicious, albeit a tad salty. That’s just how I like my people too, funny that, without spice and seasoning, food and for me, people, are bland, tasteless, uninspiring and boring and I am not interested. I won’t pass on a good sausage but it must be firm, succulent and juicy with lots of flavour. We enjoy going to the cafe as it’s dog friendly so Schrodie always gets to come with me. We will not be able to enjoy such quick and easy jaunts out and about once we return home to our small village, so we are making the most of it while we live in the centre of town. We were caught in the storm coming home. Luckily we didn’t have too far to go and dried off as soon as we were inside. Schrodie doesn’t like going out in the rain.
Pork is my favourite meat. I don’t eat that much meat in my regular diet. I enjoy quality over quantity, in everything. For me, life is better and more satisfying this way. It’s said that we’re either a quality or a quantity person. For me, quality always wins. I would rather enjoy something wonderful less often than something average or unremarkable more regularly. I believe that it is more respectful to the animals whose lives are lost for our consumption. I get really angry when people refer to meat as protein, it was a life. Meat is a form of protein that came from a living being. I care about the life of the animals and feel better knowing that the meat I eat came from animals that had a good, happy life. It is more environmentally sound to eat less meat. It is also much healthier way to eat. I always warn my nephews about eating too much meat and tell them about King Henry the Eighth with his high, if not all meat diet and how he rotted from the inside out. They don’t tell you that when they push a high meat (protein) diet. To each their own. My natural, regular diet, pre 2020 was predominately a Mediterranean Diet with lots of vegetarian and some vegan meals. I look forward to returning to this diet soon and have managed a few good, if not small meals.
I had a good chat with my Dietician who believes that I will be fine once all this stress is out of my life, once I am finally home. Like Dorothy and Toto, Schrodie and I are on our own version of the yellow brick road, following it in order to get home whilst on the most unbelievable, perilous and fantastic journey. I click my heels but this doesn’t seem to help us or make a difference, yet. There was a tornado in Central New South Wales (NSW) last week and I joked that it had come to take us home but missed us. Thankfully it wasn’t worse with a more terrible outcome on the communities it ravaged. Crazy times.
My blood sugars aren’t dropping dangerously low anymore and I’m not getting hypos which is great. The stress makes my sugars shoot up pretty high so I’m taking more insulin to avoid Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA). I have eaten at least one meal each day with my two carbohydrate counts. Some days I manage two proper meals. Sometimes I have an appetite, which is great. Nausea and throwing up is still a problem. It’s the stress. This is still dangerous with my type 1 Diabetes but I know how to manage it, luckily, so I’m okay but it’s hard on my poor little body and my psyche. I told the Dietician of my concern that I was developing Scurvy as my diet and eating was so bad and erratic. In the shower, I found the skin on my legs looking strange the other day. After consulting my friend Dr. Google, it looked like scurvy had come to visit me. I was horrified and quickly had four chewable, sugarless Vitamin C Tablets that are 500mg each, which is double the normal dose. He said I was doing the right thing and to add a Multi-Mineral to my supplements. I never heard of a multi-mineral but I will buy it and add it to my daily regime of eleven supplements. The Vitamin C will help my nerve recovery as well. I was telling the kids last week about eating fruit and vegetables so as not to get Scurvy or Ricketts. I never though it would be a risk to me. I told the kids how I worked with some University students who developed Scurvy because of their poor diets. I am so glad I noticed the strange change in my skin which has now thankfully passed. My skin is back to normal but I’m still taking supplements as I have read that it can take about three weeks to recover from Scurvy. I knew the risks and that Vitamin C must be taken daily as it is not stored in our bodies. I think of Scurvy as an Eighteenth Century Sailors Disease. Before I knew people who got Scurvy, I though it was obsolete and a third world disease. Here I am. How we learn the things we learn. To counter my Scurvy, Schrodie and I went to the local Fruit and Vegetable Shop for the first time. We bought loads of lovely, fresh greens including water cress, which is one of my favourites. We also purchased radishes, yellow beetroot, bananas and rockmelon, and a bunch of crispy, crunchy celery. I called, the lady was lovely and she said it was okay for Schrodie to come with me. He was scared of the sliding doors initially as this was his first experience seeing them and I hadn’t considered this at all. He was quickly fine and made new friends. I have oranges and mandarins, apples and pears at home. I have been eating salads and fruit. I am cutting down on my sugar intake and high calorie diet, which did not include regular, daily Vitamin C. They’re so sweet the Vitamin C supplements. I can barely tolerate the sweetness so I can’t imagine what the sugared Vitamin C is like, too revolting for me. I’m weaning off sugar, not easy. I’ve never liked sickly sweet desserts either. I’m very particular with sugar, taste and so much more.
I have made some delicious salads with different combinations of avocado, tomato, cucumber, celery, radish, carrot, lettuce, spinach dressed simply with extra virgin olive oil and salt. I am cooking frozen broad beans in water with a dash of salt and splash of vinegar to enjoy soon. I love broad beans, fresh, frozen or dry (Fava). Frozen are the quickest to cook, taking no more than ten minutes. A 500gram bag is two meals. I always have at least one bag in the freezer. I enjoy them with lots and lots of fresh garlic and some bread; good, crunchy bread if I have any. When I go home I want to start making my own bread. My mum used to make bread and I loved helping her. Home cooked bread, buttered, hot, melting and delicious, straight out of the oven is one of my favourite things to eat. The broad beans will give me my two counts of carbohydrates, keep my sugars down which is helped by the garlic. They are fat free, healthy and incredibly nutritious and so delicious. It is such a quick, easy, cheap and cheerful meal which includes fibre, protein and iron and Vitamin C. It’s getting cold outside. I must shut the doors. It’s pouring rain. Thank heavens for our verandas.
My arm was sore and I had a sore throat and was losing my voice after my second Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19. I’ve had headaches and been incredibly tired but otherwise okay, I hope. This has been a relief. Now I just need to work out how to get my Vaccination Certificate to carry around with me. So ridiculous. These symptoms were probably worsened by my Prednisone dose reduction by one milligram to two milligrams each day. Next month my one milligram dose will be my very last month of Prednisone, hopefully forever. I’m not going to have the Benralizumab dose this month as I can’t have it for two weeks after my Pfizer Vaccine which will be the last week of October and I’m due in November as I missed last months dose. So, I will skip it completely. I want to come off this drug and the Methotrexate once I’ve had a couple of months stabilised off the steroid Prednisone. Yippeeee!!!!! I have spent all the time I am at home, in bed, resting. I am glad that I have done everything, as needed. Feeling unwell and exhausted is no fun. I’m glad that we have still seen friends although from a distance, talked, laughed and had fun every day as well. Schrodie has played with Murphy and Casper which has been good for them all.
Johnny and I have become estranged as I have not given him any time. I must start again soon. The ulnar nerve pain in my arms and hands has eased but hasn’t inspired me to want to play with Johnny. There has been so much going on and I have been struggling to get through so many challenging days and complete necessary and important tasks. Schrodie and I have been loving our glorious daily walks and seeing countless Ducklings. We have been dancing to a minimum of three songs every day, sometimes five and we managed seven songs on two days. We have fun but carrying him for so long has been taxing and more challenging than it was but it is getting easier once again.
It’s been such a flat-out, busy week. I visited my house three times this week and spoke with the Bricklayer who was lovely. I thanked him for not putting up the faulty bricks and for raising the issue with the builder. They started on Tuesday and finished on Friday. I told him that the electrical box at the back of the house, for the septic system was missing. Nobody has looked at the electrical plan. He said the wall would get cut out and the box added later. Unbelievable. He said that the build should progress pretty quickly now that the bricks were completed. The eaves would be added and the cladding. The doors go on at the end, after the interiors so the doors don’t get damaged or pinched. What the??? Are you serious? What about the interior of my house? How is anyone ever safe in their homes? So there’s no lock-up until they are ready to leave? What a joke. Everyone I know who has built a house can’t believe it. The electrical fit-out, air-conditioning and the alarm system. These were inclusions in the promotion, otherwise I wouldn’t include air-conditioning or an alarm system. I hate air-conditioning. In my last home, we used cross ventilation with three open doors and windows to stay cool in Summer. I never had or used a fan even in forty plus degree heat. We were always comfortable. In the car on really hot days I used the air-conditioning to transport my ducks or for Schrodie. I open the window and enjoy the breeze, especially outside the cities.
I saw the house on Thursday before they had finished and it was looking lovely. I’m relieved and happy with my colour choices. Phew! Schrodie and I chatted to some neighbours who are weekenders down the road and it was lovely. They offered to help and told me that they could rustle a group of people to help any way they could and their genuine care and generosity was uplifting and wonderful. I take everything with a grain of salt but still appreciate their care and consideration. Seeing my home build proceeding has taken some of the stress off me, finally. Schrodie was so happy being at home. He fell inside the unfinished retaining wall three times. It’s dangerous. I checked the prices of the retaining wall build materials and if I overestimate the retail prices and say one twenty kilo bag of quick drying concrete was used per hole, with 30 holes in total and nine, two hundred millimetre pine sleepers it was a maximum retail cost of eight hundred and seventy eight dollars. There is a bulging hole with a rubbish plastic bag of sand poking underneath where he didn’t put a sleeper. It’s obvious and revolting and the other end he didn’t put a sleeper and left the beam exposed and dangerous. There’s no cap across the top of the metal posts so they are poking out with exposed edges and dangerous. No way in hell am I paying six thousand dollars. The one metre sectioning my yard needs to come out. The section of yard needs to be excavated like it was supposed to be the retaining wall piece, removed and built in line under the fence. Once it is completely finished and capped off, with the three sections of unstable posts and all the damaged fence panels replaced and the fence restored to its as new condition. Then I will pay two thousand dollars for the entire job. Who does he think he is to charge what I earn in a year for a pathetic, simple, easy job that I could have done before the bushfires. This was done without a quote, without my knowledge or consent. Easy money ripping off a vulnerable single woman who is a Black Summer Bushfire victim and Survivor. So many men have told me this is why this happened and has been happening. I’ve had enough. Enough is Enough, as my Grandfather, Pappou, used to say.
On Thursday I received a call from the lovely lady at the tile company where I selected the tiles for my bushfire rebuild, new home. The expensive, feature, mosaic tiles that I had selected for my kitchen and laundry were no longer available as I had chosen them months ago. My build could not start until all the colours and finishes were selected and included as the contract. I was forced to wait a month for this appointment which further delayed my home build. For naught, it seems as they did not even secure the materials although they had the required money and more. The delays with the build saw the tiles become discontinued and I need to choose new tiles. The lady was furious as the order for one hundred and fifty sheets of these very expensive, beautiful tiles was in place and ignored. I don’t understand why they hadn’t been purchased as I have already paid seventy five percent of the entire build price and the bricks aren’t even up yet. Once the bricks have been completed they have received almost ninety percent of the build money. She’s trying to find similar tiles from other suppliers. If the replacement tiles are cheaper, I want a refund. If they are more expensive, I’m not paying a cent more as they did this not me. My choices are part of my contract, this is not my variation. Once the samples are in, I need to go back and choose replacement tiles. When trying to get an idea of her availability for an appointment she told me there was no rush because the tiling isn’t booked in until December. “Excuse me?” “December, yes early December”. I thanked her and will wait to hear from her that she has the samples and I will book an appointment time, her first available. Immediately, I drafted an email to the Area Manager and it was no holds barred. I told him that there was no reason to delay the tiling and it needs to be rescheduled to no later than early November. I gave him an opportunity to step up. I heard nothing.
Friday morning I received a phone call from the new Site Supervisor who introduced himself and seemed genuinely interested in writing wrongs and getting the build finished. This is what the last guy had said as well. I liked him. I’ll give him a chance but I won’t hold my breath. I told him that I had realised that the additional noggins that I had paid for and are included in my electrical plan are not mentioned on the plan and not currently in place, internally or externally. He was surprised that I had been charged for these noggins. Yes, a few thousand dollars, not insignificant. I explained that this is to avoid ceiling and eaves collapsing under the weight of lights, cameras, chandeliers in any way. I asked how these would be fitted when the eaves were in place as and as the roof was already in place? Not likely. He reassured me that the man putting up the eaves and cladding puts up the noggins both inside and outside. I don’t think he was supposed to but he will now. When I asked for photos, I was told that I’d get photos of each one for reassurance. Heard that before. I was told that I’d get photos of the air-conditioning lines as I need these so my fireplace flu can go in safely one the builders leave. I may also ultimately put my Rayburn inside at some point and this too will need a flue. I was told that I would receive photos of the systems in place. I have just realised that I want dimensions of flues and distances from walls and directions. I am supposed to go tomorrow to meet the new Site Manager but it’s raining quite heavily and supposed to continue most of this week. The eaves were supposed to go up tomorrow and I was going to show them where to put the noggins. I don’t know if it all goes ahead in the rain? It’s dangerous for me to go out in the rain and I avoid it but if they go tomorrow, so must I. He told me that he would give me regular updates and that the build will finish quickly. He said most trades will be in and out in a day.
At least six people have randomly told me that they’d seen my house.
It was afternoon Friday and I was doing the washing. The doors were open, as always letting sunshine and air circulate through the house. I heard “Hello, Hello Dog, how are you dog? What’s your name dog called out incredibly loudly” Schrodie had gone outside as the woman opened the gate and came onto the veranda. “Who are you?” I asked multiple times as she didn’t answer. I was wearing a sports bra (top) and it was hot. I might have been naked. I was at home, minding my own business. I put a top on and again asked her to identify herself. I picked up Schrodie. I was furious. Finally, she identified herself. She’d collected my mail and gone to check my house. She came to pry. I was furious. I loathe familiarity. Mummy taught me that Familiarity breeds contempt. So it does for me. Too many people are familiar. It has no place in my life. This woman kept asking me personal questions about my work, my finances, my business which is none of hers. I ignored her questions and she kept asking loudly. Take a hint woman. Piss Off, You are not Welcome. My tone was curt and I was evasive, eventually saying anything so she’d shut up and leave. She kept reaching out sticking her hand in front of Schrodie’s face and I kept pulling him back. So many people do this and I find it astonishing. Take a hint woman, which she did not do. I was furious and bit my tongue. When my home is finished, I know they’ll turn up to see. If I didn’t invite you, you’re not welcome. My home is a sacred space and only the select few are welcome. As such, I have decided not to get a doorbell or knocker of any kind. I have always told the kids, pardon the pun, just like in “Seven Billy Goats Gruff”, just because someone knocks at your door doesn’t mean you have to open it. If I ignore you, it means get lost.
She told me that she was available to help me. Didn’t mean she could do anything but she and he colleague could help be my advocates. I thanked her. As if! I couldn’t get over how rude she was and arrogant. I feel sorry for the people that need them and hope they offer them something. I believe they mean well and are generally caring. I don’t know how they got these jobs but they were wrongly placed. They directed funds that were allocated to me for land clearing before the build by paying the money up front to a relative without my knowledge or consent. I appreciated the assistance but it ended up making my situation worse. A two day job that was supposed to be completed in February ended in May and they destroyed my fruit trees when saving them was the main outline of the scope of works. They did the job in stages, wasting time and money. My septic tank didn’t go in as scheduled, after date changes and they delayed the peg out and build start. They are government employees. There was no paper trail. They had no incentive to do the job as they already had the money. Her colleague told me last year in June as I went into hospital, that there was money for Schrodie and for me and told my friend. When I asked, she gaslighted me, feigning a lack of knowing about the conversation. Sometimes I wonder if people do it without meaning to gaslight? Possibly they don't understand how bad it is? This she did to me on multiple occasions. I hope that lessons learned throughout this experience are used for the future greater good. In the beginning I allowed them into my life hoping and believing that they could help. It's not how things played out. Never mind. I am sure that they mean well. My Psychologist told me that I’m a very talented, very capable woman and that I will be fine, I don’t need Advocates or anyone’s help. I appreciated her reassurance. I am grateful for the sound support from great people that I do have in place. Mummy taught me that if you want something done, do it yourself, don’t rely on other people. This is one of my Life Mantra’s. Two weeks ago during a call, I mentioned my concern about the possibility of the builder’s electrician double dipping with respect to the wiring of the house metre box and she insisted on wanting to help. I thanked her but I declined her offer. She said she wouldn’t mention my name. I told her that she had no authority to speak on my behalf. She sent me a message the other day saying she was waiting for the call centre to get back to her. I was grateful for he efforts and caring, wanting to help. I had the information I needed from my Senior Contact almost immediately. I was also told that there were no resources available for me as the bushfire resources and funds have been wound up. Disappointing news.
I am and always will be ever grateful for every assistance that I have received throughout this time. It has been hugely beneficial, making the hardest times a little easier. Thank Heavens I don’t need these people. Fortunately, I made my own provisions, although modest they will give me my home and security with a new, minimal lifestyle. It’s my foundation for a new start, the next chapter of my life. I know how to go without. I will manage. Any assistance makes things easier. The financial stress is incredible and unrelenting. Expenses are mounting with no real, income to refill the coffers. I am constantly managing my expenses and budgets, cashflow to make sure that I can manage as I need. There is so much expensive work to be done once the builders leave. It’s tight and I am grateful that I have the skills and ability to manage. The interior of my home may not be complete before I need to move in. I don’t like this reality but I accept it as my best option in the worst case scenario. I pray that I don’t end up homeless, not even for a day.
On a happy note, Schrodie and I visited the local fabric retailer on the way back from our house. I wanted to check the available fabrics available for curtains. Since I can’t afford what I had and what I wanted I am looking for beautiful options on a relative shoestring. I’m a brilliant shopper and have a keen eye and love of a bargain, great value. We met and liked the owner and his neighbour, initially chatting outside. I fell in love with the German woollen, embossed brocade fabrics that I had seen on his website. I needed to return with measurements. The next day, after a failed attempt, I had my measurements and he checked the fabric supplies available. There was not enough of either fabric for the whole house but enough, together, for three bedrooms and the living rooms. I found a beautiful flocked cotton chenille, English if I recall correctly. Again this was not enough for more than one window. I found two options for the remaining window and sliding door. One is a burgundy English cotton chenille or an elegant, French, soft almost velvety in texture olive with gold and silver threads. It’s been a hard decision but I am choosing the French chenille when I was sure that the English fabric had won me. The fabrics are reversible. I have found the most amazing bargains as these are the last amounts available and heavily reduced in price, at only a fraction of their original cost. Now I need to choose someone to make my curtains. I need to find curtain rods. Hopefully they will be beautiful curtains that will make us happy in our home and keep us comfortable. They will still be cheaper than plantation shutters. They are bold designs and colours and I love them. I know that my choices are bold and out there for others but they are right for me and pander to my ostentatious side. One more thing done. This will also help me firm up my budget and cashflow, which is important and beneficial in this process.
Hopefully my list of things to do and money to spend will reduce soon. I can’t wait until these lists disappear from my life. I have been so angry these last few weeks, erupting like a Volcano ready to blow it’s stack/top. I’m proud of myself for releasing it all, privately, gently and well. Walking helps me reduce the pressure and let off steam, blow off stress and bring my blood pressure down so that I don’t have an aneurysm or a stroke. Hopefully now things will start to improve and my health will improve as well. I can’t wait. I’ve had enough of other people’s crap. It’s back to full throttle for me and I will collapse exhausted in my bed when we return home. We want to play more every day and we do, most days. We are all very excited in N.S.W as tomorrow is Freedom Day! There will still be restrictions but not as many or as tough. We can move around again. There will be readjustment being around people again and without masks.
As far as Antarctica, I have no idea what will happen. If the trip is to go ahead as planned, I will go happily and extremely under prepared to the most extreme place on Planet Earth. This makes me nervous and uncomfortable. Irrespectively, I cannot wait for my adventure of a lifetime, my lifelong dream. I will need to get equipped with appropriate luggage, clothes and gear, oh my! I will keep you posted.
Thank you for your company. I hope that me sharing these highlights of the last week of my life, help you in some way. I’m cold and tired. It’s bed time. Tomorrow I must leave home early to go to my real home to get things moving in the right direction so that we can go home.
Whatever you’re going through, hang in there, you can get through it, no matter how hard or how horrible. Take care. Treat yourself, to at least one small thing every day to put joy in your heart and your life. Smile, laugh, play as much as you can every day. Breathe. Take one baby step at a time. Breathe.
I hope that you find my blog and posts and pages interesting, inspiring and helpful. I hope that these all help you as they help me stay upon my path upon this Hellish Nightmare of a Quest. Please refer anyone you think my benefit and find value here at Schrodie’s Mummy. Leave any questions or comments. Follow us here and on Instagram, @iamschrodie and @schrodiesmummy. I hope that you have a good week. I will continue to post on Sunday with Pages on Wednesday and Friday.
See you Wednesday.
Watch this space...