Thursday, July 22, 2010
Gearing Up For Borneo
Yesterday, I ran the local chemist completely out of antimalarials. I suppose that's not surprising, since we're a family of five headed for Borneo for a couple weeks and all that... and how much demand can there be for antimalarial drugs in Tasmania?
I have to go back to the chemist today because he didn't even have enough for my dose/regime. Nat and the kids are covered, sure, but not me. Not yet.
Meanwhile, Younger Son cropped up with a case of wee fellow travellers. Dammit.
In Queensland, it was always summer that provoked outbreaks of lice. Here in Tas, it seems to be winter. Everybody's indoors, keeping warm, and the bugs get overconfident or something. Anyway, the whole goddam house went through decon on Tuesday, and we've got to do it again next Tuesday. Younger Son's the only confirmed case, but it's pointless not doing everybody. Mmm, that delightful scent of eucalypt and tea-tree... blark!
Report cards are coming in. The school has a new policy this year - sort of a quiet form of extortion. If you don't organise a meeting with the appropriate teachers, then you don't get a report card. Simple as that.
I wouldn't mind, to be honest. I think it's good for parents to meet with the teachers. It's just that I stay in touch with all three of the teachers who look after my kids. Elder Son's teacher I see maybe twice a week, and we swap emails. I send extra work to school for the kid, and suggest projects, and help him out with stuff she sends home. And I routinely drop in to pick up Younger Son for the language class, and I always take the time to chat with his teacher if he's not too busy. Same with the Mau-Mau... and for the luvva pete, she's only at school two days a week!
Anyway, we had a long dinner-type meeting with Elder Son's teacher. And I've had discussions with both the other two. The Mau-Mau's report is in (she's doing fine, thanks. Who fails kindergarten, anyway?) and the boys' reports will be in over the next few days. But I still got buttonholed by the school secretary on the way out of the Active After Schools martial arts class yesterday. Because all my meetings were informally organised and didn't go through the school office, there's no official record of them! Clanglanglanglanglang! Alarms! Excursions!
Happily, the secretary is a lovely person, hardworking and understanding, and she's aware that my kids have concerned parents who stay in touch with the system. The meetings may have been arranged informally and held out of the appointed hours - but they were real meetings, and all the right questions were asked, so hopefully there won't be any more problems there.
Meanwhile, I've let the regular martial class know I'll be away for a bit. I'll give 'em proper details next week. And I've cued the sword people as well. And we've got someone in to look after the house and the animals, and I'm arranging a fallback position if there's any problems there. The air tickets are done. The accommodations are done. The details of the trip to the orangutan sanctuary have been handled. Teachers have been cued about students missing some school time, and the boys have a video project to do on Borneo while we're over there. That should be fun.
Everybody's had their jabs. Malaria prophylaxis is organised. Passports have been duly rounded up. We're not going to pack very much, because our wintry wardrobe is completely useless in Singapore and Borneo. Instead, we'll take part of our two-day layover in Singapore to pick up lightweight tropical clothing, as well as some long-sleeved jungle-trek garb. The boys can bring their solar topee and their pith helmet... they will be simultaneously ironic and invaluable, particularly in the jungle section of the trip.
The Active After Schools martial class has finished for this particular instance, which is good. I will be happy to have some of Thursday afternoons back - although there's still a private sword training session at 1400. But that's okay, because I can finish in time to collect the kids from school.
Meanwhile, the mandatory attendance at the high school's annual 'trivia night' fundraiser has occurred. The 'Springfield Supercilious Society' managed sixth out of twenty or so, which is pretty good when you realise that most of our team was made up of kids of twelve and under. The margin between us and the winners was about twelve points... and since the winners scored about nine of their points in the ludicrous eating games which occurred between rounds of trivia, I don't think we did badly at all. The winning team consisted of grade ten kids from the high school, and frankly, there's nothing to compare with a fifteen-year-old boy when it comes to, say, shovelling Girl Guide biscuits down his neck. Our poor little ten-year-old competitor never had a chance!
Natalie continues to fray around the edges as we get nearer to this holiday. I guess that's normal. Everybody goes to pieces a bit in anticipation of a major break - and she's having a real break this time, eight whole weeks off. But it's not great from my viewpoint. She was already strung out and tense. The added pressure/anticipation of this holiday isn't really helping her at the moment. I'm hoping that once we're underway, she'll relax into it a bit. Certainly, she'll have the chance to spend a bit of time at home relaxing when we get back - we're not gone for that long anyhow. I just hope it makes a difference to her mindset.
Okay... that's it for now. I've got a pile of work and emails to catch up on, but right at this moment I have to take the Mau-Mau to lunch. Toasty sandwiches and hot chips, I expect...