Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Bitter End Of The Year

So, Sydney and the Blue Mountains and large chunks of NSW are in deep trouble from bushfire, earlier than ever before. Brisbane is breathless, hot and dry except when the hailstorms sweep down out of the west. Summer has come early to most of Australia, it would seem.

Not so much down here. It's been cool and rainy since... actually, I can't remember. March? April? We had a week or so of sunshine about ten days back, but mostly it's just been chilly, and damp.

I'm not complaining. The place is green. Stuff is growing everywhere. I don't have to water the strawberries we put in, nor the new figs, nor the new miniature peaches and nectarines. We had the usual blaze of flowers for spring - more every year, as the bulbs divide underground. So many flag irises!

But it's a tough time. Natalie's working double-time at the moment, putting together a bunch of complicated training modules for online use as well as doing doctor duty. And of course, the schools demand more of the kids at the end of the year. Why? I don't know. But it seems every week there's another performance, another show, another exam, another meeting. Back and forth, back and forth.

Genghis isn't helping. He's long wanted to play cricket seriously, and we finally found a cricket club where he could join. It's in Launceston, of course. I understand that there is one out here... but I'm damned if we've been able to make contact with them. So Genghis plays with South Launceston. They train Sundays, they play Monday afternoons from four-thirty to eight pm. Tuesday nights, Genghis rehearses with the Launceston Youth Theatre Ensemble for their upcoming Robin Hood. Also, Jake has orchestra at his school.

Wednesday evenings is ju-jitsu. Thursdays is for emergencies... like the book launch next week. When else were we going to fit it in? Friday nights are for orchestra. And all of these, except ju-jitsu, are in Launceston.

Back and forth, back and forth.

I took our beloved old cat Toxo to the vet this morning. Things aren't looking good. He doesn't keep much of his food down any more, and his arthritis is increasingly troublesome. The vet says that the lump alongside his jaw is very likely to be a cancer. He's being biopsied and blood-tested today. It was difficult enough to get him down there, so we'd better get it done as thoroughly as possible. Natalie will pick him up this afternoon after she drops the kids to ju-jitsu.... of course, I'll be staying down there to teach.

When I got back from dropping the cat off at the vet and chasing up handbills to advertise the book launch, I discovered there were about twenty cows in the paddock below the house. That wouldn't have bothered me, except they wanted to snack on my trees: apples, apricots, almonds... even figs. I chased the bastards down the hill a ways, then rang around to discover who was missing several tonnes of bovine. Then I darted back out and chased the fuckers away from my trees again. At last, the owners arrived and I chased the damned cows down the hill, and helped them cross the highway back to their home territory. I don't think I even lost any of my trees.

Aurora Energy still hasn't got back to us about our solar installation application. Fifteen working days, they said. They lied. No surprise: like every other electrical utility company, they're shit-scared of home solar, and they're heel-dragging to try and discourage people as far as possible. But we need that approval. There will be extensions happening in December/January, and we want the solar done at the same time, thus saving several thousand dollars. I'll phone Aurora tomorrow and explain the situation to them carefully and diplomatically, but I have no doubt we'll have to get down to threatening them with court action, so I've gotta get the ducks lined up in a row for that one.

Is that it? No, of course not. There's a multitude of things that need doing. The grounds need a really good cleanup, but I haven't time. Not right now. And I'm supposed to be at a lung clinic next week, but since I didn't manage to follow up after the lung testing regime (I was supposed to see my local GP, go on some kind of asthma medication... but there was all that vasectomy stuff, and I just didn't make the time) I'd better cancel and reschedule that. And then try to find time for the GP and the asthma programme, etc.

Also, there's the MA. Lots of work to be done there. I'll be seeing my prof in mid-December. Much progress is expected. Some has been made, but not enough. I really have to get moving on that.

Also there's the novel - or rather, the sequel. And a bunch of short pieces. And promotions. And... isn't Christmas looming? Oh, that's right: Genghis' birthday. Must organise that too.

The rye grass is coming in all over the place. I'm back on the anti-snot drugs. It's better than sneezing fits, sure, but I'm not enamoured of random drugs at the best of times. Twice a year: once during wattle-blossoming, once during the rye grass. But the wattles are in bloom for at least a month, and the rye-grass for two, or three. Pfeh.

I need to clear about two weeks on my schedule. Not chase kids. Not run back and forth to Launceston. I need to load up the trailer with piles of useless junk lying around here. I need to fell a bunch of wattle trees that have sprung up in the wrong areas. I need to cut up a lot of deadfalls for next year's firewood. I need to find several solid days for the MA, and for the novel, and for other writing.

I'm not going to get any of that stuff.

It's raining.