Friday, November 12, 2010


I hate this time of year. There's always so much that has to be done, and no time to behave in a civilised fashion, get a little rest, whatever.

Yesterday, for example. Student-free day at the school, Scottsdale show-day. I wish I could have dodged the show, but the kids were adamant and Natalie insisted too. Of course, SHE didn't have to take them, did she? (To be fair, she did it last year.)

But before the show, we had haircuts booked. First opportunity I could make for the kids and I. Haven't been that long-haired in a decade or more. So: 1000hrs, haircuts. 1045: sandwiches and fruit from the local store for lunch. 1100: enter the Scottsdale show and meet up with Tiny Viking Neighbour and a few of her brood.

It was still early, so the crowd wasn't. (The Scottsdale show tends to get crowded and... enthusiastic as the night wears on. It's a country town thing.) There was an archery stall that caught the boys' eye, so I ponied up some bucks. The stall-operator was surprised when Younger Son seized the bow and bent it like a pro; she was in the process of offering to help him draw it when he put the first arrow downrange. Can't say he hit any bulls, but he did himself proud. Elder Son put most of his over the top of the targets, so I smiled, bought a few arrows, put three out of four into the bull, and awarded the Mau-Mau a blue velveteen teddy bear which she duly clutched with considerable delight. Something to be said for the calming, meditative shooting of arrows in one's back yard.

The boys decided the dodgems were next. I wish I'd remembered the camera. The expression on Jake's face as he slowly, slowly mastered the art of steering and accelerating... it was gorgeous. His eyes were popping out of his head, he was hunched over the wheel, his teeth were gritted, his knuckles white... give him a Bowls hat and a Volvo and he'd have been a dead ringer for any octogenarian road hazard you care to name.

We mooched around for a while. It was unseasonably hot and humid. The kids got snow cones to compensate. The Mau-Mau spent an unfeasibly long time on a bouncy castle with her best friend - since there was hardly anyone around as yet, the show-folks just smiled and let 'em go on.

Eventually, they ran out of steam, which was good. I took 'em home (with showbags full of lollies, naturally) and after an hour or so of downtime, we packed up and raced into Launceston. Orchestra practice for the boys. And while they were practicing, the Mau-Mau and I found the only store in town which sells white, long-sleeved, cuff-and-collar shirts for boys, and updated their orchestral garb. Post practice, we had dinner at Morty's and headed home.

Meanwhile, the dog has been running off. Natalie took him for a walk to visit our neighbours (they live a kilometre or so away) a while back, and now he thinks it's all part of his territory. He's been running up the highway, down their very long drive, and annoying the shit out of their dog, which in turn annoys our very fine neighbours. So: Sizzle the Dog is now chained.

But that's okay, because part of my job description is Fixing Up After Other People's Miscalculations. So today, I took the boys into Launceston for yet another fucking orchestra practice (prior to tonight's performance.) And while they were sawing away, I went and bought an Invisible Fence -- a shock collar keyed to a radio signal propagated on a very long loop of wire. You set the wire around your designated dogzone. You switch it on. You put the collar on the dog. You go through some training manuevres... but the upshot is that if he gets too close to the goddam wire, it puts the righteous zap on his furry fucking ass. (Okay. He gets some warning beeps. Then a mild static-electricity jolt. But hey: it's the thought that counts.)

I also bought some more timber for gardening bits, and did the grocery shopping, yep. Thus, once we were home (after the practice, and after lunch for the boys) I spent another two hours setting up the shiny new Invisible Fence.

Natalie has now taken the boys in to their concert. They'll be in town until after eleven. Meanwhile, I found a movie -- "The Secret of Moonacre" which is keeping the Mau-Mau entranced ( I'm pretty sure it has unicorns in it. And the cast list is impressive as hell.) so for a couple hours, at least, I get to sit and write, and think, and ruminate.

Oh... here's a thought I sent to the redoubtable Cat Sparks today, while I was listening to the boys practice. I call it:

Flinthart's First Law of Living With The Human Race -- The Smarter You Are, The More Of Your Time Is Spent Compensating For Stupidity. Including Your Own.

So, that's how I spent my day.


  1. "part of my job description"

    don't think of it so much as a job, more as a calling.

  2. I wondre if that Invisible Fence can be adapted for use on one's offspring?

  3. Believe me, I've been giving it serious consideration...

  4. Cap'n, a piece of free advice, possibly worth as much as the asking price.
    From experience and stupid tax.
    The antenna loop for the dog collar does not work if the loop is not 1000% complete. Replacement wire is a pain in the arse (in town) to get & somewhat expensive. The lawn mower and line trimmer / weed whacker call it what you will, makes Very short work of the loop wire, the yellow nylon shroud protects it for nanoseconds before you have a completely innefectual loop in fortyleven pieces. The fine copper wire even seems to break inside the shroud if looked at sternly, making fault finding a pain.
    Best option would be to string it along the 2nd wire of a five wire fence, or maybe bury it.

  5. Bury it was my preferred option. But it looks as though we're going for fencing as well -- the dog is mostly Kelpie, after all -- so chances are I'll put the wire along the top of the fence.

  6. A bit more friendly than a 'wedlock' necklace!!

    poor hound is going to very risk averse by the time it grwo up. oh sorry it's a kelpie isn't it? never going to learn!