flattened and then some

boot

Two flat tyres; that is what greeted me in the car park after work. Spiked, hopefully not maliciously. Today, I drove Mr FD’s car to enable the tyres to be repaired.

I was in a meeting when a colleague tapped me on the shoulder to follow him outside. “Flat tyre” he informed me. A school secretary had noticed the tyre as she went to her own car. Colleague than offered to change the tyre so that I did have to wait for a repairman, which can sometimes take hours and the school is not an area to be in alone after dark.

It was then we noticed the other tyre was low on air, but neither of us guessed it was also flat.

The spare is a tiny “half” tyre, so I was speed limited to just 80klms an hours on the highway, which made me very popular. The fact that the tyre rim is bright yellow and half the width of a normal tyre must have alerted people to my plight. Still, I could sense frustration as drivers whizzed passed me.

The odd thing is that only a couple of days earlier, I was driving to work and had the thought, that I hadn’t had a flat tyre in a couple of years. Do we bring these things upon ourselves; sense them before they happen, or it’s all statistics – one day it is going to happen?

 

The voice in my head

voices

Bottom Mallard’s name was not really Bottom; for surely no parents would be so cruel as to moniker their offspring Bottom. No, Bottom Mallard’s name was in fact, Bottomly. Bottomly Aloysius Mallard.

“I chose Aloysius,” his mother was fond of explaining, “because it means famous warrior and I knew the moment you were placed in my arms that you would one day be a great and famous warrior.”

“And Bottomly?” Bottom had asked the once. “Why did you choose the name Bottomly?”

“It was your father’s choice.” Mrs Mallard, who was often rather verbose on most subjects, remained tightlipped on the subject there after.

 

The name Bottom Mallard popped into my brain as I was driving home this afternoon, and by the time I had driven the forty five minutes home, I had the character, if not the story.

I hope that Bottomly Aloysius Mallard speaks to me a little more. I think I like him already.

 

Copyright 2016.

Sunday is for terrifying little girls; unknown bad hair days and introverts

pink 1

Visited my Mum. Always depressing. She was bright and talkative, except we had no idea what she was talking about and often the poor dear was frustrated as no language would come to her. Alzheimer’s.

It’s also exhausting as we keep up a facade of normality and try to give her no hint that she is speaking nonsense. I don’t think she knows anymore. She certainly didn’t recognise Daughter1 who was with me. Petite Fille provided grand entertainment as Mum always loved children, so spending time silently watching her play is enough sometimes. I always leave physically and mentally depleted.

Not about me, though is it? It’s poor Mum who is being cheated of quality of life. Sigh.

Afterwards, we took Petite Fille to the nearby park. She was playing up on the adventure play area when I quietly poked my head around one corner. She shrieked and begged “Don’t do that Grandma!” Of course, I repeated it several times, and she never tired of reenacting her own part. Hopefully, she won’t have nightmares of being chased by a granny tonight! I also didn’t think I was having such a bad hair day. Bad face day? Bad face lifetime? Not of course not, it is me, after all!

We have new neighbours. The third in our three years here. I think they have all the makings of the perfect neighbours. He will retire in four years and they chose a tree change because it can live without people. Introverts! Be still my beating heart! His comment was that they have been here a week and he feels like it has been forever. I think he meant that in the nicest possible way – and that is our feelings too. Hopefully, they will stay longer the eighteen month average of the other two couples. We are actually nice to our neighbours!

Really wanted one of those fruit filled cocktails this afternoon, but we had very little except a bottle of not very good bubbly red and some lychees. Passable. Maybe it needed an umbrella and a flamingo swizzle stick for perfection.

another week in Flamingo Dancer world

librarian

I may have suggested, on more than one occasion, that they quickening their pace, clean up their mess and give my library back to me. For two weeks, Minvera and I have tried to function, which includes loaning books to over a thousand students, while the I.T. team have had hundreds of laptops, chargers, cases  and various bits of computer accessories were strewn across the library. Friday was “return” day and there was no way they were leaving until the work was done. It was hot, muggy weather, but I kept them on task  (they may have been scared, in truth) and they actually made it. Sadly, I had to thank them for doing their job. Damn that being nice.

Why they have to pile laptop cords on couches and not into a storage container defeats me, but maybe it is because the I.T. team are male. At the end of this year when the process commence again, I shall make sure that they have HUGE storage containers (charged to they budget!) so that filth is not spread across our recently cleaned couches. Or they will cease to breath.

On the positive, it meant that we didn’t open during student breaks, so no having to discipline students and teach them how to behave in a library.  Hopefully, after two weeks of school, many of the more difficult students from last year will have found somewhere else to hang out. I can only hope!

We reopen for breaks on Monday. It may also be the opening of “potato drinking season” for Minerva and I.

Just to make things more exciting, I developed an infection in my “gone” eye and was out for two days. Eye drops, antibiotics, blood tests and swabs. It is improving now, but an infection in an eye socket (my right eye was removed due to a tumour when I was 18, for those who are new to my blog) is nothing to ignore. A little close to the brain, but as Mr FD gleefully informed me, that one needs to possess a brain first. We were not amused, and he is now aware of his folly.

Saturday has become “Play day with Grandma”, since Petite Fille moved in. I am not sure how this came to be, but it does appear that Daughter1 and Mr Boy have a Saturday to do list connected to their house renovations and Petite Fille is only too happy to spend the day with Grandma and Grandpa.

Today, we watched through the window as Grandpa drove the ride-on mower about the lawn. It was especially fun when it started to rain, and Grandpa became soaked through. Later, Grandpa disappeared through the garden to mow the footpath. Not long after, Grandpa reappeared on foot. “The mower is broken! I can’t get it to restart!”

Son went down later to check it out. Yes, it was out of petrol. I think it was a ploy to get Son to finish the job. If not, Mr FD is becoming a real worry…

Oh yes, another week of drama, intrigue and mystery in the world of Flamingo Dancer.

 

hot as hades, and damn those couches.

juggling

Monday, 39C and 88% humidity. It is the humidity that is the real kicker in Queensland. It was a miserable school day for anyone who could not find a space with air conditioning and much of our school is not air conditioned. Most the the classrooms have been designed without any acknowledgement of our climate. Too many generations have clung to British tradition and the architecture of colder climates. Some of our newer classrooms have walls of folding doors that allow the classroom to open to the exterior. There used to be a ruling that if the temperature reached 41C then school could be cancelled, but with so many working Mums it is no longer feasible to send students home.

Monday is a non teaching day for me, so I had the gift of my air conditioned office to retreat. Minerva has a work room she can retreat to, but as it is peak textbook borrowing time she spent long periods at the circulation desk surrounded by smelly teenage bodies in the heat. Dedication.

Tomorrow is expected to be hotter.

I know snow is not the romantic stuff it appears in the pictures, but we wouldn’t mind changing places for an hour or two. As long as we could stay inside with a fire and a book of course!

Petite Fille looked at our silent fireplace yesterday, a day equally hot and pleaded her case for the fire to be lit. I said we only used it in cold weather. Her reply? She pretended to shiver, “I am very freezy Grandma.” Ah no.

Trying to refigure the furniture placement of the library to combat some of the behaviour issues we experienced in the library last year. The furniture was purchased before I arrived and while it all seemed wonderful as it arrived, time has proved that is was not what we needed. It was furniture more at home in a bookshop/coffeeshop – couches. They encourage too much socialising and that leads to behaviour issues , especially as the majority of our visitors are boys just wanting to “chill out”.

We are endeavouring to have them understand that the Library is not an extension of the playground; not a club hang out. We don’t expect them to be as quiet as a mouse, but we want inside voices, not playground voices. Luckily, the Principal is 110% with me, and so we are working through it all.

I am enough of a realistic to know that if I don’t make inroads, then a mighty kick will no doubt follow, so I am documenting everything, good and bad, as is Minerva. Positive energy, innovative ideas and creativity is what I asked Santa for…we will see how much he delivered as time goes on.

 

bits and pieces Saturday night

library desk

In bed, I was catching up on my Facebook page when a like and a comment appeared on one of my posts. It was from Mr FD. He was lying in bed beside me. Every bit the modern couple!

Petite Fille and her parents are safely ensconced in the spare bedrooms. A  family friend gave Petite Fille a Barbie airplane that his daughters had outgrown. I didn’t even know Barbie had a plane, but of course she would.

It is our opinion that it is perfectly created to for Barbie to play the air hostess, not the pilot. Not in our house! Luckily, Petite Fille is too young for barbie dolls, so Mr Bump, Surfing Snoopy, and a rag teddy crib toy have turns as the pilot, or the passenger. Then there are the assorted farms animals that hitch a ride from time to time. Equal opportunity air travel.

The first of week of school behind us, and I am yet to be able to claim my library back as a library. It has been used for laptop handout and student I.D photos, simultaneously, which resulted in trying to herd some two hundred students through the library at the same time. Brown’s cows would have lined up more cooperatively. They just seemed to find the concept of standing without lounging over everything, and moving in some sort of order as an impossibility. Mix that with the fact that we must be the only library in Australia without air conditioning, because the previous Principal couldn’t balance the books, and you can no doubt form an image of how the week went.

Back in the day, if we had to line up, it was with almost military precision. I have memories of having to be an arm’s length from each other, and we did measure it with an outstretched arm, and heaven forbid if we spoke when told not too. It was the era of the cane and corporal punishment of course. That was too much, but it seems to have swung too far the other way, and we are dealing with rude and self centred young beings who can recite their rights with no concept that anyone else has rights. Not all of them of course, but more than society needs, I feel.

I don’t blame the kids, it is the parenting that has failed. If they aren’t taught respect in the home, there will be no respect for anything or anyone. One day of school and the grounds were covered in rubbish. There must be a rubbish bin every thirty feet if not closer and yet they just litter the ground.

Respect for self and the environment is our ongoing theme, but sometimes it feels like we are making no difference at all. I guess we can only keep trying.

I didn’t mean to turn this in to a diatribe or a rant. I will blame it on my tiredness. Or my evilosity; it must out from time to time. Sanity control.

 

 

 

 

I ate no small fry and went full frontal

back view

First student day and I forgot to wrestle my niceness into some form of control and found myself promising a mother I would personally deliver her obviously quaking daughter to a particular teacher. She was a year seven student on her first day. Mum was obviously very reluctant to leave her when asked to depart with other parents, and before I knew it I had offered comfort to mother and child. Turns out the child is in fact a learning support student (damn double good browns points for me!) and I not only promised to connect her with a learning support teacher, but to also deliver a message that Mum would collect said daughter from the learning support area at day’s end.

Mission shortly accomplished, I found myself wondering just who did I think I was, Mother Teresa for instance.

Today only years 7 and 12 started school, and so we had the seniors wander the school showing the newbies to their various rooms, and helping them work out their timetables. I asked the Seniors to share the important information, such as which are the best toilets to use, or how to get served at tuckshop fast, but to share nothing that would scare them or have them refusing to return to school next day.

As a home class teacher, most of my day was taken up shepherding new students, but I did actually get in some library work which has left me feeling pretty chuffed with myself.

We did have to have our staff ID photos taken though, and I must admit that I forgot the pearls. I asked them if they could just photograph the back of my head, but they said no one would know who it was, if they did that. I replied, “Oh yes they would!” Minerva agreed. It is a noble head, well recognised by teachers and students. However, full frontal it was.

Tomorrow is another day.