Friday, January 9, 2009

Snap. Crackle. Fuck!

I think I've broken the smallest toe on my left foot. I don't really want to look at it too closely this morning to be sure, but the fact that it's painful as hell, swollen, immobile and throbbing suggests to me I may indeed have done myself a mischief there.

It's all the fault of the unspeakably large huntsman spider lurking behind the hall cupboard at the bottom of the stairs. I was walking away from the front door last night, about ten or so, when I saw movement from the corner of my right eye. Hairy, multilegged movement.

As one does, I adjusted my path to the left, swinging my left foot out and forward to both make some distance between me and the Chthulhian horror, and set my balance for a quick pivot step so I could get the hairy horror full in my sights. Unfortunately, I did this while keeping my eyes on the vile, eldritch thing, and in so doing I rammed my little toe into the wooden edge of the stair, where it meets the floor.

There was an ugly little cracking noise. And a white star of pain. That lasted.

By the time my brain had cleared the overload, the colossal spider had retreated entirely behind the cupboard where it lurked, tittering sadistically. Hideously Hirsute Horror from Hell: 1. Flinthart: 0.

We've finished the swimming lessons, thank fuck. Yesterday, grimly determined that the Mau-Mau would float on her back, I spent fifteen full minutes cradling her and swishing her through the water while singing the long selection of bloodthirsty Irish melodies I always used to send her to sleep as a baby. Sure, the other parents stared at me a lot... but after a full fifteen minutes (Shule Aroon, Skye Boat, Hills of Connemara, Follow Me Up To Carlow, Molly Malone, Whiskey In The Jar) she finally relaxed to the point where the palm of my hand under her head was sufficient.

She wasn't happy about it. But she was relaxed, and she floated. Good enough for me.

Today Natalie is taking the kids into Launceston for the afternoon. She's returning one medical student -- bye, Kerri! -- to the airport at 3.30, and picking up the next one -- hello, Katie! -- at 5.30, so the kids will get a feed at Morty's Food Court and I won't have to pay attention to dinner tonight.

That's good, because tomorrow Natalie catches a flight out at about ten in the morning. She'll be gone for a week, playing fiddle at the Celtic Summer School in Victoria - hot, dry, and horrid, but she does love her fiddle, and there are no kids under her feet for that time. I, on the other hand, shall be playing sole parent for a week. Lucky me.

The strawberries are winding down, though I can see the second wave will be coming soon. The loganberries are now in full blast - I can't pick them fast enough! - and the raspberries have just about peaked. Some of the local blueberry farms have opened their gates, but my bushes haven't ripened yet, here on our mountainside. I've picked all but one of the lettuces. Must put in some more very soon. In the meantime, the tomatoes have flowered. I expect big, ripe tomatoes in a few weeks, if I can keep the goddam locusts at bay.

In other news: I've taken up doing reviews of print material for the Cool Shite lads. Their site gets ungodly traffic, but hitherto they've specialized in video and gaming material. Still, their major interest is speculative stuff: SF, Horror, Fantasy... so it seems to me that reviewing the printed stuff that gives rise to the movies and games isn't a bad idea. And if it means that publishers send me books to review, that's all good. I like that plan.

Meanwhile, I'm at work on a couple short stories and a manuscript for (yes, okay!) a Red Priest novel, so here we are: week two of the new year, and I'm already full-on, flat-out.

Oh well. Rest is for the weak.

Now, if you'll excuse me... I just glanced out the window and realized that the dog is atop the picnic table with the two smaller kids. They have a big box of sidewalk chalks, and they're colouring the dog a fine range of pastel shades. That would be fine, except he's jumping and wrestling and snapping, and if he knocks the Mau-Mau off the tabletop, she'll doubtless come down headfirst onto the edge of the paving-stone patio, and I'll never hear the end of it.


  1. One more crazy day at Casa del Flinthart! :o)

  2. Kids 'r tough. They bounce in a most remarkable way. I remember the Bobette taking a headfirst dive off the change mat. Freaked the living crap outa me, but no damage done.
    My maternal grandmother broke her littlest toe by dropping a pumkin on it. She never got a scrap of pity, only howls of mirth.
    It's a bastard because A: you can't really strap it B: a very high likelihood of doing it again, & C: if you've cracked the very end of it, in a man of your ahem advancing years the circulation may not be enough for it to heal properly and it will become a hangout for winter pains - welcome to the dreaded rheumatism.
    Full of good news ain't I?
    Good thing the berries are going off, the vitamin C and berry goodness is what you need for good healing.
    Please post photos of multicolored collie.

  3. Dear NBob: fuck you very much! Me and my advancing years are gonna make a special point of healing up reeeeeeal good... and then we're gonna team up with the rejuvenated toe and we're gonna come and use that very Toe of Death to kick your saggy, aging butt...

    ...if I can hobble that far. And yes, I suspect I have cracked the very end of the fucker. Never mind. I never really liked that fuckin' toe anyway.

  4. Ouch!!
    Dirk you've got to be careful at your age as your bones are not as strong as us young un's!!!

    So accusations that in fact what happened was... you saw the nasty hairy spider and ran screaming like a girl, tripping over a rug in the process resulting in the spider doing a vicoty dance onyour back before wandering sedatly off.. are complete groundless?

    Are you doing summer puddings with all that fruit?

  5. Pretty much, yeah. I was actually moving left-foot forward into zen kutsu-dachi, preparing to swivel ninety degrees right into ko kutsu-dachi, which would have set my arachnoid opponent up for a quick and dirty mae-geri, but also left me the option of a fast retreat if she seemed too much larger than, say, a St Bernard. Unfortunately, I paid too much attention to the monster spider, and not enough to the furnishing.

    ...and I'll pit my frail, aging frame against your young and robust skeleton any time. Just let me get my Zimmer frame, and we'll be good to go.

  6. Hahahaha! I think Chaz's version is closer to the truth!!!

    ...sorry about your toe.

    (OK, I can't help it...saying "sorry about your toe" is really, really funny to me for some reason. I just had quite a laughing fit).

  7. I say just hack the bugger off and be done with it!

  8. Bwahahahahahahaha!

    Yeah. That f**ker is going to hurt for, like, three months, and it will take a year for it to look normal again.

    You'll get no sympathy from most people, though you do have a good story to go with it. I broke my left ankle in 1991 answering the phone. People had all kinds of things to say about that.

  9. Yep-sounds like you broke the toe, all right.

    That big huntsman will stick his head out again. Then there'll be a spider leg boil at Castle Flinthart, I'd guess.

  10. Ouch, not much to do but grin and bare it. What's the good Doctor's opinion?

  11. Ouch. I do that to myself with astounding regularity too - perhaps not as bad but enough to produce pain, jumping up and down, and depending on the audience various levels of profanity.

    I'd have left the spider well alone unless it was identifiably venomous. Huntsmen get a pass from me. Unless they are in my car, or as happened once, hovering over my bedhead about 6 inches away when I woke one morning...

  12. One of the great prangs on the Gateway bridge in Brisbane was caused by a huntsman. Young woman northbound paid her toll, then as she accelerated up the bridge she saw the moster spider in the car with her. Scream swerve bang.
    She ended upside down, had to be cas-evacced by chopper, car wreckage blocked all north lanes for hours. All because of a big old spider who just wanted a lift to the northside.

    Bring it on Cap'n, we turtles anti ass kicking technology milenia ago. It's called a shell.

    Oh and by the way - you'll need to figure out some kind of payment schedule for the "Milk of human kindness curdled to the cheese of F*ck you very much." (TM Cap'n Flinthart 2009)I've been running that puppy out left right & centre. I reckon I've put more miles on it than a Sydney taxi.

  13. NBob: a good turn of phrase pays for itself. You're welcome to it, sir.

    And thanks all for the profuse sympathy. I'm breeding spiders now. Really big fuckers. We'll see whether Australia Post will co-operate with me...

  14. I'd better ask which spiders? Because the huntsman bite was mild pain, the window spider was more painful and produced a lot of swelling from the bite on the finger up to the elbow. And I apologize profusely for any offense intended or not I've fed my share of spiders, now it's some one else's turn.

  15. Ouch - I have a coffee table that has claimed a small toe a couple of times, seems to be designed especially for that time when your mind wnaders off and you are rushing around...

    Then whack - pain starts now.

  16. Ouch! I've had a similar little toe injury in my drunken past and it was a real painful bastard. My sympathies. Hope it gets better for the kid wrangling week.

  17. Dirk if the roles were reversed you'd do the same to us if not worse!!

    BTW did the pup clean up well?

  18. Blog post inspired! Those who injure themselves constantly...

  19. I love berries - I've never eaten a loganberry but I'd love to try some. I have had a sparkling water flavored with the berry but who knows how close to the actual flavor that is?

    p.s. you don't really need your pinky toe and going to a doctor won't help so be glad that is what you broke and not something else :)

  20. I didn't bother to clean the pup. It was just chalk. It didn't seem to bother him, and it sure as shit didn't bother me. Natalie was moderately surprised to see a pastel dog, and moderately pissed off when he jumped up and turned her black slacks several pastel shades... but that's hardly my problem, is it?

    Loganberries - just another modified blackberry. They ripen a little earlier, and they don't have the same lovely floral qualities that wild blackberries do, but they're pretty good. And I'm fuckin' stuffed full of 'em to the gills right now. I'm supposed to go back to the arse spelunker sometime in the not too distant future. Bastard will doubtless whinge this time about the plethora of loganberry seeds lounging indolently about my intestinal tract...


  21. What's the Mau Mau like with numbers? Just a thought, from my own experience with a daughter who (a) likes swimming but (b) not on her back but also is (c) autistic and (d) is fascinated by numbers.

    I got her used to swimming on her back just by counting. She would join me using her fingers to count on as she floated.