Sunday, November 1, 2009

Well. That Sucked.

I think I passed the grading, though I haven't formally been told yet. I can't say it went well. The uniform jacket I wear is a heavy, triple-ply judo-weight cotton with mid-length sleeves. Up until the day of the grading, daily temperatures had maxed to about 22C, with low humidity. On the day of the grading, it hit something like 28C with thunderstorms drifting around the place.

That's not good. But lets add this: the training hall is an old thing. It has no air-con. And it's in one of the slightly dodgier suburbs, so the windows are all grilled. And none of them -- not goddam one -- can be opened. Not an option.

So, obviously, I was a little sweaty. Yep.

But at the same time, I was still tailing off from the gastro of Wednesday night and Thursday. I thought I was pretty much okay, but apparently the sudden shift to heat, humidity and exertion thought otherwise. I made it through the waza -- the technical routines -- more or less all right, but running through the pattern of kamae, or stances, I got the unmistakeable signal from my belly that lunch was about to come back.

Somehow I kept things together, stumbled through the last couple of stances, bowed out, and beelined for the toilets whereupon yes: my nice, light, healthy lunch did indeed make a reappearance.

I felt a little better after that. Things might have gone okay, but the bossman from Adelaide decided that we junior sword-slingers weren't cutting properly, and he gave us all a nice, heavy stick and put us through an intensive exercise: kiri-oroshi cut (that's the big one, where the sword starts hanging down behind your head and arcs up and over, splitting your opponent to the belly-button), then pivot 180 degrees and kiri-oroshi again. And repeat. At high speed.

I'm not sure how long we did that. Long enough that my shoulders are still stiff today. But I do know I had to stop a little early and zip off for another appointment with Doctor Chunder.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch: Natalie's back issues went from bad to worse, apparently. I'd moved a mattress downstairs for her before I left, and she spent most of the day lying in the middle of the floor, watching Flight of the Conchords with the kids.

In the midst of all this, the Mau-Mau began to run a solid fever. Probably just a reaction to her 4-yr-old immunisations which she got on Friday -- but bad enough to lay her down and out. And of course, Natalie wasn't really in the best position to play nursemaid.

Not pretty. So: Sunday morning, I got up, orchestrated a Big House Cleanup, and then made some decisions.

It was still hot and sticky, and I wasn't feeling a whole lot better. The Mau-Mau wasn't looking too hot either, and Natalie was still doing her impression of a woman in the advanced stages of zombification. I really wanted to take some action, get some kind of heat/cold treatment going to try to help Natalie, but on a Sunday in Scottsdale, you can't just trot out and pick up the appropriate bits and pieces. So I zipped into Launceston, did the grocery shopping, put in an appearance with the sword folk long enough to deliver an apology for not being able to make the day, and headed home again.

Which is a pisser, because I've missed the formal cutting -- they brought over the proper straw mats which have been used in tameshigiri (test cutting, where you try your technique to see if you can actually cut through something that supplies roughly humanigrade blade resistance) for the last few centuries. I really wanted to get involved there, but the thought of Natalie on the floor on her mattress and the Mau-Mau shivering away with her fever was a bit too much.

Thus, when I returned home, I got to be nursemaid for the day. Lots of heat packs. Plenty of fluids for the Mau-Mau.

Oh well. Today the Mau-Mau is better. Natalie is still stiff and slow and sore, and says she has much the same pain - but in twenty years of martial arts, I've become quite good at watching people move. She's a good deal more free in her actions today: up and about for longer, taking less time to recover. This isn't going to resolve quickly, no. We'll probably be doing the heat-pack regime for a week or two at least. But I think she'll be able to function again, albeit painfully, in a day or so.

One small blessing: it's a public holiday today. I'd planned to fire up the lawnmower and the whipper-snipper, but it's been wet this morning. Looks like I get a break. I'll have to go up into the shed and put up insulation instead...