Sunday, February 13, 2011

Building Back Up To School...

Where did that week go?


Well, part of it went to illness. Elder Son's cough has come my way, and I'm pretty badly screwed up for breathing at the moment. Oh, and sleep. It's nice to be able to stop coughing if you want to sleep, isn't it? Yeah.

Part of it went on regular stuff. Running the pump. Cleaning, laundry, gardens.

Part of it was a Big Errands Day -- into town to confront the Telstra people over the complete lack of a high-gain aerial. Yeah. I know. It was a month ago I went in there and spent nearly an hour in conference with their sales johnnies. The goal was to improve our 'Net access. I laid out cash for a 'base station' thing - a plug-in unit which acts as a wireless 3g receiver and LAN router all at once. I made it clear that the local signal was inadequate, and we'd need a high-gain aerial as well. Telstra assured me it was all in hand.

So. A month later. The base station arrived in a few short days. I set it up, tested it, etc. Yes, it will connect. Sometimes. Briefly. But it drops out. So it's completely useless for Internet purposes UNLESS THERE'S SOME KIND OF SIGNAL ENHANCER. Like, for instance, a high-gain aerial. Right?

(Drums fingers. Sound of crickets.)

The Telstra people were nice. We chatted. They assure me that they're chasing it all up. And meanwhile, I've taken steps to ensure that my ten-day refusal period on the base-station is being extended until we can actually try to make the frickin' thing work...

There was also prep-work for Nat. She went to Melbourne on the weekend; took the Mau-Mau to see 'Mary Poppins' at Her Majesty's Theatre. Booking tickets, flights, and hotels: that was my job. And a complicated little task it was, too.

It almost didn't come off. Virgin cancelled their 2100 Friday flight, and Natalie wasn't happy about waiting for an 0400 flight. But a 0100 flight came about, and the Mau-mau was exceptionally well behaved, and eventually they made it to their hotel room at 0400 Saturday...

...and of course, the Mau-Mau bounced out of bed again at 0800. But I'm told that the performance was good, and that they had a fine time in general. Hooray.

Of course, with the girls out of the house, the boys and I decided it was time to have a Jackie Chan movie night with the new Yankee doc and his Jackie Chan-fan family. And of course, with the redoubtable Smileyfish, who also was on her way up for the weekend.

That mostly worked out. We did the barbecue thing Saturday afternoon -- couple of chickens, a bunch of skewers, smoked veges, a few snags (we had a random kid-visitor too: Jake's best friend, who we encountered at the supermarket on Saturday morning. Why not? It seemed to make sense at the time...) Watermelon. And then plenty of popcorn, and a bunch of old chop-socky films.

Things probably would have been better if Smileyfish hadn't come over all horrific of the belly, for no reason anybody can really discern. Tweren't food poisoning... nobody else was in the least affected. She just got very ill very quickly. Sick enough that New Yankee Doc decided to lug her down to the hospital for a litre or so of saline.

Never mind. It was a nice visit anyway. Smileyfish is Good People, and she brought many fine things with her, including her euphonium, a kilo of black pepper, a large bag of Szechuan pepper, and other goodies. Hooray the Fish! (She also told us, in no uncertain terms, that Younger Son's new pet goldfish are suffering from constipation, and must be fed boiled peas. Apparently, 'stringy white poo' isn't normal for goldfish. I'm glad Smileyfish is trained in these matters...)

All right. I've got to run. I still have to organise myself for sword training this evening. And meanwhile, Younger Son has decided we must have Lemon Mousse for dessert and a pasta/cheese dish for dinner, and I have to help him cook. Yes.

Oh -- Havock, check your post over the next couple of days, eh?