Friday, October 30, 2009


Oh, fantastic.

So Natalie's minor back troubles have flared to full-on pinched/swollen disc issues. She's pretty much horizontal, and that's that. Apparently they took one look at her yesterday at work, and sent her to the physio.

That really ices the cake on this weekend.

I can't duck out of the grading. Already did half of it, and it's an expensive sort of thing to quit on. Plus I don't want to have to go through all this goddam preparation again. And of course, the bossman of the style is coming out from Adelaide for this. So I go.

And I can't duck out on Dion's going-away. That happens only the once, and it'll be a long time between drinks afterwards.

So we've organised aides and babysitters and emergency inlookers. Natalie and the kids should be okay for the day. Tomorrow? Well, the second half the sword seminar would be really really nice to attend, but I'm damned if I'm leaving Natalie flat on her back with three kids again. Either she's significantly better tomorrow, or I miss that second half.

Naturally, since I have to wear a heavy jacket today, the weather's closing in. Huge humidity, possible thunderstorms later. Sweaty, sweaty, sweaty stuff. And by now, my wrists, shoulders and forearms are starting to feel the effects of a week of reasonably intensive practice on the grading techniques.

On top of that, my water supply has a goddam platypus in it.

I like platypussies. I admit it. They're really cool. I love how completely wrong they are: aquatic, duck-billed, egg-laying mammals with a poisonous spur on the hind leg in the males. And on the mainland, they're increasingly rare. But they're not particularly rare down here. Most decent-sized waterholes (and there are a lot) have a platypus or two. Most stretches of river have one or two.

We've got two ponds on the property. The big one, about 25 m across, has a spring under it somewhere -- but it doesn't flow fast enough in the hot season to keep the water flowing. Just fast enough to keep it turbid. That pond is our swimming pool in the still, humid, hot days of summer, and last year I spotted a platypus in it a couple times: nice.

The other pond is only about 4m across, and it's sheltered by a screen of brush and trees. The water in it is clearer than finest crystal, and the little spring that fills it never stops flowing. I keep a careful eye on that little pond, monitoring the various forms of life in it, because that's our water supply. I pump water from there to a holding tank on the hill above the house, where it gravity-feeds to the sinks, showers, toilets, etc.

Also nice. Except that yesterday afternoon, there was a goddam platypus swimming happily about on the surface of the water-supply pond.

Is platypus pee bad for you?