Archive for August, 2010

151. Sunday 29th August 2010. Highs and lows in this lucky dip week…

30/08/2010

Monday. Week 3 of retirement. Don’t worry I will not keep a running count of weeks retired.
Building a sealed off area in the garage has taken up all my time, thoughts and energy. It has taken longer than imagined but then I am working alone most of the time.
The iPad has the wireless connected and I am adding favorite blogs to the bookmarks. I need to be careful not to spend all day on the iPad.
The good ole faithful Toshiba Quosmio laptop may have reached the end of it’s useful life. Dan n Dillon could not even get it to boot up. Dillon advised taking it to a Toshiba agent in Mackay or Townsville. He also advised me they charge a fee of p$84 just to look at it and before they will quote. I called Mackay and arranged to take it there when I go to Big Wheels and the Financial Adviser on Thursday. Dillon thinks it is a power supply problem and as such will be expensive to fix. In my mind I have a plan B. If the repairs cost too much I will have to buy a cheaper replacement.

Dick Smith have a unit with a few bells and whistles for $699 and the same size screen as my Quosmio.

Tuesday.
Hmmm. Today felt like yesterday, did the same stuff, it felt just like yesterday. I achieved about the same except there was no depressed feeling as I already have the bad news about the laptop.

Wednesday.

The plants, mulch and gravel I ordered on Monday have arrived so I set aside today to do some gardening and to give me a break from the garage.

While outside doing some gardening I noticed the sound of small airplanes. Here’s the funny thing. I know we have regular and daily sky diving going on in Airlie Beach.  I also know there is a very early model Tiger Moth providing joy flights over Airlie. (http://www.tigermothadventures.com.au/) but during the weeks when I was at work I never saw them. On weekends I was always too busy doing other things. Working in the garden I soon became aware of the flights above me and saw the Tiger Moth doing its stunts while the sky diving plane when in position always cut its engine to allow the divers to dive. Shortly afterwards I could hear the the “thwuck”, “thwuck”, “thwuck” as parachutes opened.

Today I managed to get 15 plants planted and half the mulch in place.  I will finish the mulch and laying the gravel another day.

Thursday.

Up early to leave for Mackay before 7am. Donnis had left for work at 5.30. Arrived at the Big Wheels shortly after 9 and Nevin from the Sugarloafers picked me up and took me to the main street of Mackay where I dropped off the laptop at the Toshiba specialist.

Hmmm. The power supply unit is gone and will cost about $600 plus labour to replace. I went to plan B and arranged a new Toshiba Satellite L500 Notebook with 500Gb of HDD and includes an inbuilt video camera. It has the same screen size as the Quosmio.  I asked them to try to transfer data from the Quosmio to the L500 while I went off to the appointment with the Financial Adviser.

I got to the bank and Jason informed me his presentation was not back from wherever he sent it and was not ready for our appointment.

Huh!!! This was arranged before I finished work!

I used the time to change our address details at the bank, building society and Credit Union as well as with Council and a visit to our real estate agent.

The wheel alignment was completed by 2.30 so I picked up WWWGO and went to Bunnings to buy some hinges and door lock for the new door in the garage then it was over to Toshiba to pick up the new toy and a slow drive home.
Friday
More of the same today although I have to admit to the room in the garage is looking good.
Saturday
More work in the garage and finally got all the plants mulched. I have a little mulch left over and will spread that around next week. Also managed to fit the door hinges and lock and the frame is all nicely squared up. Pity it was not square to begin with.
Sunday.
A bit of a tidy up and a few strengthening touches to the door frame. Still some jobs to finish but will do those on Monday. Managed to get a shelf put in over the window although it is higher than the others because I cannot put the shelf anywhere else. Put a few objects on another shelf which is good. The more I can get off the floor the more room I will have for all the other stuff. Took two loads of green waste to the tip. Donated the old lawn mower and an air walker to the tip recycling centre. Also took Donnis recliner to store at Karen’s house along with a number of boxes of Alecia’s belongings. We managed to have a two hour break at midday when we went to Ros n Loc’s hydroponic lettuce farm. They put on tours as well as a good spread of food in return for a donation to the Pakistan Flood Relief Appeal.
I took the iPad to show off. The new Assembly of God (AOG) Minister who talked about his tour of the Bible Lands and was particularly interested in discussing the iPad and showing off his 32Gb iPhone.
It was a long and tiring day and I started to drift off to sleep during the 6pm news.
We reached our 3Gb wireless limit so have put the laptop and the PC to one side while I use the iPad to monitor the email and do all our online stuff.
The limited download will be something we must learn to use while we are on the road.
Again, no photo’s this week as I have not even thought about or picked up the camera for two weeks.
I promise that will change.
Cheers until next week.
PS pardon any typo errors as typing on the iPad is a bit of a challenge when trying to scroll and proof read.
Still learning.

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150. Sunday 22nd August 2010.A mixed bag week…

22/08/2010

Monday.

Woke to a heavy fog at 6am so went for a walk down Orchid Creek Road (No Through Road) with the intention of seeing where it went.  I crossed the first cattle grid and almost immediately was confronted by two Shetland Ponies. This breed can be bad tempered although they approached me in an interested way, not aggressively. I saw a well endowed stallion nearby who was keeping an eye on me. A little further in the foggy gloom I could see a number of horses, probably mares. A noise in the bush nearby revealed a large bull with big pointy horns. He looked at me then dropped a load of manure and seemed to take no further interest in me. A little further along the track I could see a small herd of cattle, about thirty or so. By now the horses were following me, including the stallion. Now the cattle were moving toward me. They were within 10 metres so I pointed at them and called out “do not follow me” and suddenly they all took off at a cattle gallop, first toward me then down the road. Another noise and I looked around. The bull was coming up, not looking happy and eyeing me while the horses were bunched between me and it.

Hmmm. I think it was about time I ended the walk and headed back to camp. The bull was moving toward me and he was on the road in the direction I wanted to go. So, keeping the horses between myself and the bull, I walked around the horses, away from the cattle and away from the bull. Then walking at a leisurely pace crossed the cattle grid again.  What bothered me was the cattle being unpredictable and I could get caught in a stampede. Besides I found out later the road ended a couple of Kkms away and did not reach the Proserpine River so there was nothing to see. Another 200 mtrs along the main road was the entrance to Taylorwood, a nudist colony owned by the Whitsunday Shire Council Deputy Mayor and his wife. (Are there any other politicians who own a nudist camp? Anywhere in the world?)

We spent the rest of the morning slowly packing up, saying goodbye to our host and to our Sugarloafer friends as we are certain we will not see them again – at least not for a long time as we expect to be on the road before the next meeting.

The weekend was a good test for our TV. We got full digital and HD signal crisp and clear. Mobile telephone signal was good as was wireless signal for the laptop. Although the signal was low, we were not using an external aerial. I also did a Telestra wireless coverage search and by and large there is good wireless coverage throughout Australia although it should be mentioned, the signal is mainly along main roads. At least for our intitial route to Barcaldene, Longreach, Winton and Boulia, we should have signal all the way.

For those who might be interested and like me, like to know where places are located, I do a Google Maps search to find a general area. On the weekend we stayed on a property at a community called Preston, near Proserpine. The property is on the Conway Beach Road. Preston is a small cane growing community now given over to some hobby farms. The Conway Ranges is a backdrop while the valley is part of the wider Proserpine River catchment area and for the most part, the plant life remains green for most of the year. Unlike our home area for example where the ground dries out quickly and by late June, early July, the grass is beginning to dry out and brown off. The leaves will start falling soon.

Arrived home near enough to 2pm.

The iPad has not arrived.

Sigh.

Tuesday.

Repaired a sliding glass window in the 3rd bedroom. I had bought wheels to repair it last week but have only just gotten around to doing the repair. In my opinion the window was about 1mm incorrectly cut from first installation. That is why it has never worked correctly in all the years we have lived here. So after a lot of messing around with an angle grinder and file and emery board and sharp knife the window finally fitted into the track and rolls on the wheels it was intended to run on. First time.

Yeeha!

Then it was down to the garage to start work on enclosing a bay to store our belongings. It started out slowly as I have to move the stuff which is already stored there but I managed to get some noggins, levelled and screwed into place. I also managed to get 4 panels of plywood screwed onto said noggins. As they are 2.7m tall there is a small air space above. What I found to be annoying is the walls are not straight (perpendicular) and the floor is not level. The margins are considerable. I had planned to put in a door but cannot use the frame as it it is so far out of true. I will have to make it a sliding door and some how figure out a way of putting in a keyed lock.

It was a productive day in the garage and I will do it all again tomorrow.

The iPad did not arrive.

Keith from the office called at 5.30pm. He got an email from Apple to say the iPad was despatched at 4.30 today and should be delivered by Friday.

Sigh.

Wednesday.

Today I used an expanding sealant where the garage walls meet the concrete floor. This will help to keep out bugs, spiders, lizards and rain, perhaps dust, grasses growing from the outside and falling leaves.

Managed to complete one wall with the plywood sheeting. This will be the main wall between the storage bay and the two car bays of the garage.

I collected the Telstra 3G wireless SIM card from Keith.

The Apple iPad arrived in the afternoon. Good thing it did because I had had enough of work all day and now was a time for play and learning on the iPad.

Thursday.

Another day in the garage bay preparing to put in walls. I have decided to paint the floor. With Donnis help we moved everything out of the storage bay (BTW this storage bay has an area of approximately 5m x 3m which on floor space is a little smaller than a storage container but larger in overall area).  With everything out I went through with the leaf blower set on vacuum and walked around in a cloud of dust. Then I swept with a broom, then vacuumed again then broomed again and finally used a hand broom and dustpan to get the floor as clean as possible. Finally I mopped it down. The finish on the floor is pretty rough, not smooth,  so concrete dust is continually working its way to the surface. I am hopeful that when painted the worst of the dust problem will be solved.

Thursday night was spent synchronising the iPad to the  laptop and activating the wireless card. While Donnis was on a Skype call during the evening the laptop started to make  many dreadfull noises and shut itself down. It would not turn on. I removed the battery and re-inserted it and for awhile it turned on and worked happily, then snap crackle and pop it shut itself down again.

Uh Oh! It looks like a trip to see Dan n Dillon our local computer guru’s. Maybe now is the time to get an overhaul. I have already replaced the keyboard and battery pack this year. Apart from the current problem, the speakers are vibrating and sounds, sound blurred. The brightness keys no longer work.

The activation process on the iPad takes 24 hours so I have to wait until tomorrow to go on line with the SIM card.

Friday.

Managed to get the laptop working again but it shut down again after about an hour so. On Monday it is off to see D&D for repairs and overhaul.

After another sweep out I put down one coat of paint on the garage storage bay floor. Did I mention the rough finish? It is so rough the roller nap peeled off on three rollers but at least I got the first coat done. In fact the last square metre had to be painted by brush.

Friday night the SIM was still not activated and calls to the Telstra help centre did not solve the problem.

Saturday I bought more paint rollers and only required one to put down a 2nd coat. Yeeha.

Calls to Telstra did not solve the SIM problems so they suggested I visit a local Telstra shop.  Which I did.

Groan!!!

Can you belive after checking all the settings on the iPad over and over and over with several Telstra people over the phone, the local Telstra shop sorted me out in about 30 seconds flat! He checked my settings and noted I set the Telstra name as Telestra. A @#%*^?> spelling error!  A minute later I walked out of the shop, now on-line, happy but chastened.

My grumpy mood was gone.( Let me tell you after 6 calls to Telstra I had not been a happy chappy and quite grumpy as Donnis can attest.)

Back to work in the garage I have decided to set another steel post in the doorway to hang the door from as the existing steel post frame is out of true. So, after a bit of blocking with wood and clamps I have managed to set an upright, level,  post in place, ready to hang a door.

During the morning we also took time to carry out our patriotic duty and vote. Thank goodness the local thug Labor member did not win.

Sunday.

We started moving a few boxes back into the storage shed but the rest will have to wait until more timber arrives tomorrow.

Today I trimmed up a few more plants and tidied up all the accumulated underbrush growing around the garage. I now have a sizeable collection of green waste for the local tip.

I also did some concreting in the front garden. This was to set up edges around the rock edges so the weeds will be easier to trim and to ensure those rocks stay in place. This was a job I was “planning” to do for the last 4 or so years. I also laid down some plastic on the garden beds. I will get a load of mulch this week along with some native flowering plants and tidy up all the garden area. I have a huge amount of Aloe Vera which I will dig out and replace with those native plants and a bit of mulch.

I will also get a delivery of 10mil gravel to tidy up the pathways and apron area in front of and beside the garage doors.

Phew! This has been a big week and another big week coming up, inlcuding a trip to Big Wheels in Mackay. It sure would be nice to get the garage walls and door completed and ready to start packing stuff inside. We have been preparing boxes to store our belongings.  Cockroaches in particular and spiders getting into the boxes could be a problem. I have sealed any holes with tape and when the lids are finally put in place I will fill the lid seal area with expanding foam. That should seal the boxes and keep out the cockies, the spiders, the gecko’s and importantly, the summer humidity.

Cheers for now.

See ya next week.

149. Sunday 15th August 2010. The first week of retirement…

17/08/2010

Monday.

I called into the office to have cake n coffee for Joey’s birthday. Started cleaning up the many fallen palm fronds hidden within the live fronds of the Golden Cane Palms. Lots more than I thought and I have accumulated quite a large pile of waste to take to the dump. While carting stuff to the back yard I discovered a flat tyre on my Subaru. Yikes! I had to jack up the car, remove the tyre, put on the spare and arranged to take it to the tyre shop. It seems I had a tiny hole in the sidewall. Also, the two rear tyres are down to their last couple of thousand K’s so I had them replaced. Also had a wheel alignment carried out and 90 minutes`later walked out $326 poorer.

I am pretty sure I have a burned out 240v element in the WWWGO fridge. It is booked in for Thursday morning. There goes another $200 or so and so far no income.

Tuesday.
It is 2am Wednesday morning as I write this. There is a reason I am awake at this hour but let me go back to Tuesday itself.
I woke at 4am, which, it seems, is becoming a habit. That is, waking early and not able to go back to sleep. I worked at getting my iTunes sorted out on the laptop. During the course of the day I started clearing more undergrowth around the garage. Hmmm. I found more evidence of fallen branches from cyclone Ului which had lodged themselves firmly between the garage wall and the larger than life Wild Orange Blossom Bush. In a stroke of genius I cut the fallen branches into manageable lengths for firewood and as an experiment turned our Smokey Joe Weber Barbecue into a portable campfire pit. With just one match and some fallen leaves and dried twigs I soon had a blazing fire on the go. Of course the day was too hot for a fire but we will now take the Weber on our travels as a barbecue come firepit.
The day was quite hot, much hotter than expected at this time of year which is still officially Winter. It felt like a late Spring early Summers day. Later I went a little crazy with the chainsaw and whipper snipper and worked up a sweat.
The expected iPad did not arrive.
Then it was time for a shower and head off to dinner with Maria and Keith at Coral Sea Resort, the premier dining spot in Airlie Beach. M & K arrived with a gift of a bottle of Baileys and a bottle of Frangellica. While waiting for dinner (which was disappointing – Donnis and I both had fish) Donnis called son Errol in Mackay. He was concerned about our awning as a storm was predicted during the night. I tried to explain how to get the awning rolled in but soon realised without me there to tutor, we were not going to get the awning in. I suggested he find another caravan or motorhome with the same awning and ask the owners to help him roll the awning in.
I am awake for three reasons.
1. It is hot. It was still hot when we were getting ready for bed and my Winter flannel pyjamas were much too hot to wear so I discarded them and pulled out the shorty cotton pyjamas instead.
2. The storm has arrived with heavy rain, thunder, lightning and wind. I am concerned Errol never got the awning in and we sustained damage. I suppose we can only try to get back to sleep and talk with him after daybreak, perhaps a bit later when he is sure to be awake. We are going to Mackay later today to bring Errol back here while I stay with WWWGO another night and get the blown refrigerator element replaced on Thursday morning.
3. My stomach is heaving and I feel unwell. I suspect the fish, as it was “not right”. Donnis thinks it is the wine I drank. Either way, I am not feeling 100% and I feel shaky along with the aforementioned heaving stomach.
Errol plans on flying out of Hamilton Island late on Thursday.
The rain has eased but I can hear the wind high in the trees and I am feeling drowsy. Time to go back to bed, perchance to sleep.

Wednesday.

It was still raining quite heavily when we woke. From the radio we are informed that most places in and around Mackay and the Whitsunday’s there was around 100mm of rain overnight. I can believe it.

The iPad had not arrived by 11am so we went to Mackay.

We caught up with Errol while he was having some lunch. I asked him for the keys to WWWGO so can get the awning rolled in (by now it was a clear mostly sunny day with temps back in the high 20′)  while it was dry.  Errol sort of  made a pretence he could not find the keys. It was no pretence! For reasons best known to him he had removed one key from the bunch, used it to close the door of WWWGO and put it in the top pocket of his shirt. Earlier in the morning he had dug a trench and bent over often. Lets cut a long and frustrating story short. That was the only key to gain entry. The spare set were inside.  I was getting angrier by the moment but trying to suppress all the comments I could make. We did get inside without  breaking in. I left Donnis to help Errol and I started to roll in the awning. It was halfway in when it locked. In my controlled suppressed anger mode I had forgotten one step in the roll in process.

Whoops.

It was locked. It would not roll in nor roll back out. I had hold of the roll up cord and could not let it go as once I got the awning unlocked the spring action would roll it up – uncontrolled. I managed to reach an Ocky strap in the outer hatch and used it to tie off the roll up cord. I then needed the step ladder to unlock the arms holding the awning and retrieving the roll up cord was finally able to pull the awning back out and start again. The awning is now rolled up, albeit imperfectly but it will have to do for now. My black mood has deepened.

Time and Tide heal all wounds. By 6.30 I had done my chores, Errol announced he was finished and we were able to go for dinner. The night was becoming quite cool and the forecast was for a cold night and morning. Donnis and Errol left for home while I showered and settled down for the night.

Thursday.

6a.m. Outside my bed blanket cocoon  it was very cold. According to the radio, 11 degrees and to expect cold nights and mornings for the next few days.

After a good breakfast and ensuring all the bits n pieces are put away I can drive to the repair man. First he does a few tests.

Hmmm! there is a fault but not the one I was expecting. In his opinion the fridge was working but drawing too much current! I had thought it was drawing none! He set up his test equipment and planned to monitor it over an hour while I went off to Maccas for a coffee.

The fault was no longer evident and he proclaimed the fridge working as it should. Expensive lesson learned. I used the time while in Mackay to book into Big Wheels once more to have the wheel alignment completed. That means I have to come back on 26th of August but in the meantime, they ordered parts and I had a pleasant trip home.

The iPad has still not arrived!

Friday.

The iPad had not arrived by noon so we headed out to Orchid Creek for a Sugarloafers weekend. The campsite is on an ex cane farm owned by a man, Roscoe, who fell off a ladder a few weeks ago and broke his neck. He gets around quite well with an apparatus screwed into his skull and held in place with a brace around his shoulders and chest. He just loved the company of about 40 people as he lives alone although he does have regular visitors.

Several rigs managed to get prime positions down by the creek

Recent heavy rains stirred up Orchid Creek.

although the afternoon sun disappeared early due to the tall trees on both banks. We set up camp a bit further up the hill, a little apart from most of the other rigs. Friday night was quite cool with a temp of around 8 degrees. Thats cold for our climate.

This was the first chance we have had to test out some of the shade cloth awnings which came with WWWGO.

Saturday.

I was up early, about 6.15 am and started out for a walk. Carole was walking around camp looking for someone to spend time with. She cares for her Alzheimers mother 24/7 and she just relishes the opportunity to walk and talk with somebody while her mother sleeps on. She joined me for a walk of close on 3 klms which gave her a chance to have a conversation. Donnis also slept on but at least when she wakes we can have a good conversation over breakfast. I am not sure how this happens but whenever we go away I always find her waking up in bed bathed in sunlight.

Brian who was a recent starter at the office arrived at lunchtime armed with a slab of bacon, a slab of hash browns and a half dozen eggs. We cooked them on the small outdoor gas stoves and tucked into a big lunch.

Saturday night the club put on a big barbecue inside Roscoe’s big shed and ably cooked by John Silver. It was a cool night so John shut the roller doors while he cooked The shed filled with BBQ smoke and it became difficult to see. Eventually reason prevailed and the doors were opened to allow fresh breezes to blow through and clear the smoke. The complaints about it being cold were ignored. Thank goodness.

Sunday.

We did what we usually do on a Sunday. We have a morning coffee meeting then sit around and chat or play cards or go for a walk or whatever we want to do. We said goodbye to a few friends as we will probably not be here for the next meeting.

This week we had visitors from Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales all slowly heading back to their home state .

Although the setting was quite nice and peaceful I was not greatly inspired photographically speaking so I have only two photos this week.

Some of us stayed on another night and had another BBQ. Again with the smoke filled shed.

Sigh. The learning process can be lengthy for some.

148. Sunday 8th August 2010. Final week, dinner, farewell and grrrr…

09/08/2010

OK.

This was my final week of employment until I officially retired on Friday 6th August.

So, although I am retired today, I will not feel retired until Monday morning and do not have to go to work. However, I will go into the office at 10.30 am. It is Joey’s birthday and they have a morning coffee and cake and I will join them.

I first met Joey,

Workmate Joey at my retirement dinner.

then called Joanne, when she was just 18. She is the daughter of Peter who died in a tragic accident 6 years ago when he fell off a ladder while painting the eaves on his house. Unknown to me, Joey was filing inside the Compactus (for those who do not know what a Compactus is I have attached a link   http://www.officecentre.com.au/category19_1.htm?gclid=CLakzffxqqMCFQk2bwoduRdS5A  but basically it is a system of shelving on tracks) I needed a file in a hurry and without looking I started to close an open bay when I heard a squeal from inside, “Help! Stop! I’m in here!” That was how I met Joey. She is now 31, has two kids and will marry Keith in 6 weeks. Joey loves toys and always has the latest mobile phone and computer and accessories. A bit like me in some respects.

On Wednesday the management took the office staff to dinner to celebrate. Dinner was at a restaurant called Waterline at the Shingley Beach Resort.

Frank n Donnis at Waterline Restaurant overlooking the marina.

When I saw the prices of the meals, most were around $36 and the cheapest wine was about the same price. I thought the meals better be good at those prices. Realistically I thought my meal was average. Now for $36 I got chicken thigh, pocketed with chorizo sausage and a small salad of coral lettuce leaves with a few sliced green olives. That is all. No potatoe, rice, pasta or cous cous. Sides included chips, mash, or potato au gratin for $7. I chose mash. Imagine my disappointment when the mash arrived, halfway through eating the chicken by the way, only to discover it was made from instant mash potato powder. Donnis had a double roasted duck dish which was dry but had plenty of meat.

Workmate Sim.

More Workmates. Frank, James, Ian, Mustang (Sally) and Syna.

Another workmate Leash.

I was not impressed so we will not put it on our list of places to eat out. Not that we eat out all that often. Apart from that, we got picked up and returned home by a courtesy bus which allowed me to have a few glasses of wine. Not over indulge mind you.

The big surprise of the evening was Keith announced that as a leaving gift they had ordered an Apple iPad complete with a 3Gb card. Wow oh wow! It will arrive next week sometime. Am I looking forward to the challenge of getting it set up.

Thursday night my brother Al and his wife Rae arrived and we went to a pizza dinner at Jubilee Tavern. They have been wanting a wood fired pizza since their last visit a few years ago. The pizza was not as good as 4 years ago but it was wonderful catching up with them. They left to travel to Burrum Heads early the next morning.

On Monday a new fellow started at the office. Stuart was  described as a young Frank, that is, accurate, good at maths, has a strong work ethic and sense of pride and a few other positve words. I not only had to train him but there were certain jobs I needed to finish this week as well. Stuart did not get my usual 100% training but at least I got all my other jobs done and he learnt something and I did put put him in the drivers seat, metaphorically speaking, on a couple of files so his time with me was productive. By 3pm on Friday I thought I had achieved or finished all I had on my plate (metaphorically speaking) so I shook hands or hugged the staff still in the office and went home. I sort of felt wooden.

Sniffle sniffle boo hoo.

That was it.  No trumpets or people lining the streets and throwing rose petals. Oh, Sally sent me an email to say she was not going to say goodbye as she was crying, even as she typed the email she was crying and could not handle a face to face goodbye.

Saturday was a laid back not much done sort of day. I did manage to sort out some issues on the wireless and can now go on line with our iTouch. That took me a long time sort. I called Geoff my guru and we started changing settings in the wireless set up. In the process Geoff got cut off but on my own I found the secret hidden number to log into the modem. I re-set the original settings, re-logged back into the device on the laptop, set up the iTouch and it all works and 80% of it I did without Geoffs guiding hand. Yeeha!

I also managed to get the remains of the Pandanus pulled out of the front garden and cleaned up most of the Golden Cane Palm fronds which self clean and make a mess in the garden.

Donnis started her holidays but got a call from the Nursing Home and agreed to do a shift in the afternoon.

Now we come to the Grrr part of the heading.

Today we drove to Mackay so Donnis can catch up with her son Errol and so she can put more blankets and food in the motorhome (none of which he needs or wants). Errol and his friend Alex are busy building a block toilet beside his shop in Mackay. We only had a short visit as he was keen on getting to finish laying the blocks today. So we went to WWWGO. As we opened the door a couple camped behind in their wizz bang came over.

“We hope you do not mind but we changed your 240v power connection”

“Whaaaaat! Why?”

It seems their power lead was too short so they unplugged us and moved our lead to another pole. Of course moving their wizz bang closer to the power pole did not occur to them.

Hmmm! They moved it to the pole I was hooked onto when I set up last week! Somebody else has moved us during the week and this couple moved us back. In the process they did not turn the power back on. I sorted that out but found the fridge was not drawing any power. Uh!Oh! Most likely scenario is a blown 240v heating element in the fridge.

Hmmm! There goes another few hundred dollars. I am not happy.

Grrrr! why do people move 240v power leads???I could have been running a delicate set of electrical apparatus. As it is I am convinced their changing cords blew the element.  I had this happen in another camp years ago and somebody plugged me into a power box which had no power.  Somebody else a few years also disconnected our water supply  without telling us. Grrr!

Finally last night we went out to dinner with Errol. We went to the North Mackay Bowls Club. They have a HUGE dining area and kitchen. For $14.50 we had a big meal. In my case it was Honey Glazed Baked Ham with veg. There was more ham on the plate than we would normally serve between two of us.

At this point I feel a rant coming on. Part of the deal is a self serve of veg or salad.  I see so many people loading their plates with chips and salad stuff and when they leave the table the plate of food is only half eaten. It annoys me to see such a waste of food.

Until next week when I share my first week of retirement. It promises to be busy.

147. Sunday 1st August 2010. Week three since announcing retirement and omens…

02/08/2010

Yeah, it has been three weeks since I announced I would retire. One week to go. Excitement in the camp?

Hmmm. Not really. More of a busy numbness. I am not one to overtly display my emotions. Even laughing is kept to a dignified chuckle.

Hmmm! I am sure I used to laugh aloud and often but I really cannot recall any particular or often events. Perhaps it is more of a case of wishfull, wistful expectation on my part.

I often call myself a Grumpy Old Man (GOM) perhaps I am to some people, perhaps not. I know there are times when I act grumpy and speak grumpily…

Anyway…

We have strayed from la raison d’être, which is French for reason for being. When I was young and read a lot – you can when you spend a couple of hours a day on a train or bus to/from home – it seemed that many of the books had that French phrase somewhere.  It used to annoy me. Here is a book, in English, which suddenly had a French phrase stuck in the middle somewhere and at the time I had no idea what it meant. Even asking much more learned people than myself, IE students who completed an extra two years schooling and took French as a language did not know the phrase and could not translate. I had no French speaking friends amongst my immediate circle or enlarged circle for that matter. It was many long years before I discovered what the translation is. Reason for being, reason for being, reason for being. It still annoys me when a writer throws in a French or Spanish or even Arabic word or phrase into a stoty written in English. Hellooo writers. Stop trying to show off your fancy language skills which none of your readers possess. How about sticking to English.

Whoops. Here I am complaining about the insertion of a French phrase and waddya know? I am doing the same thing myself. Perhaps I am showing off a lack of fancy language skills.

I am also off track.

This week amongst the usual stuff that sends me home feeling emotionally and mentally on edge I had two omens which reminded me the decision to retire, at this time, was the correct decision.

Omen 1. (Nothing like the movie of the same name starring Gregory Peck) I had this wart like growth on the back of my left hand. Initially I thought I would buy some wart solution and burn it off. While at the doctors getting a blood pressure prescription I casually asked about what he might think is the best treatment. He took a look at the “wart” and announced it may not be a wart at all but could be a squamous basal cell melanoma. He suggested minor surgery to remove it and send away for patholgy tests. On Wednesday I had the surgery as well as blood tests to test for kidney function. Not related. Just a separate issue.

Hmmm! Methinks. I am sure I had one of these things cut out a few years ago and on reflection it is probably the third or perhaps the fourth. In fact one of them was burnt out, around 15 years ago, using dry ice. Same hand.

Hmmm! Gotta be a good time to retire so I can get to enjoy whatever is out there without my enjoyment being interrupted by going to work.

Omen 2 (Still nothing like the 2nd movie of the same name and starring somebody other than Gregory Peck) Sorry, off track again. Less than two years ago a respected marine insurance Underwriter, Mike Matthews, retired after being diagnosed with an incurable muscle wasting disease and given 18 months to live. The prediction was pretty accurate. He died on Wednesday. He was my age. His last year and a bit was spent in a wheechair getting progressively worse. That stopped me in my tracks for awhile, thinking about Mike and then thinking about myself. Roll on next week. Saturday begins my new life.

I must mention our verandah again. It has been a year or more since I last wrote about it.

Ahhh! Mornings in the Whitsunday’s. Most mornings, summer and winter I am up early, go for a brisk walk, read my email and one or two blogs then have breakfast on our verandah. The sun also rises. So do the birds. They all call out as they sit on their perches in nearby trees or as they fly past. Butterflies are on the move once the suns rays start to warm up the land. It is the birds which attract my attention. I cannot identify all of them but I hear at least 10 different calls each morning.  Glorious. Surrounded by threes and the Conway Range all around.

Did I say Ahhh already?

Today we took WWWGO to Mackay and parked it in a caravan park. As usual I was up at dawn, finished what I had to do and waited for Donnis to wake up and do what she had to do. Once again I had a timetable in MY mind but failed to pass the timetable on to Donnis. So while I am pacing wanting to get on the road, Donnis was hastening slowly. While I wanted to be on the road before 9am we eventually got away at 10.20am.  I really need to slow down and get timetables out of my head!

Then we had to get fuel. Donnis drove ahead in her car and we kept in touch by UHF radio. I have a in vehicle base station while Donnis used a hand held UHF radio. It was good for a range of somewhere around 1.5klms but beyond that all I got from her was static whereas she could hear me clearly. It was a good test to see how well they would work when we go on the road full time.

Now, what was our “la raison d’etre” for being in WWWGO in Mackay? Errol, Donnis son, has a property with a shop and a house which he has been subdividing, since…forever. If not forever at least the last two years. The final stage of the subdivision is the building of a toilet for the shop and he has had long drawn out delays with approval from council. Finally it is approved and he is coming to Mackay to build a brick “shithouse”. Pardon the language but it seems appropriate. Errol is an airline pilot not a brickie, nor for that matter is he a brickies labourer. Oh, well. He asked to use WWWGO as his accomodation and after a lot of discussion about where it will be parked we agreed. You see he wanted to park in the back yard of the house. For a number of of logistical and logical and even illogical reasons, that was not going to work. Convincing him and Donnis was the hard part. Eventually reason prevailed and WWWGO is parked where he is close to shops, food outlets, restaurants and he has the use of a camp kitchen twenty paces from WWWGO and the toilets and shower block about 60 paces, plus he has 240v power and grey water outlet all set up. It just means he has a 1 klm walk to do his work. If he needs to run the air con he has the power to do it AND he has perfect TV reception of something like 27 channels including HD.

Donnis agrees this is a better location.

So, until next week when I will be retired, stay tuned.