Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Our adventure and how we turned into burglers

Knowing Ipswich was about to flood and anticipating a shortage of basic food, we made sure we stocked up just in case we couldn't get out. Also thinking we might lose power for a short while at some stage I boiled the jug, filled the thermos and we had the candles ready. Most of this was done by Monday evening.

Now you think your prepared but suddenly Tuesday we realized I had forgotten medication. Racing out and trying to find a chemist open which we luckily did after visiting about 4 of them. This was around 3pm. 

That night at around 9 the power went out. Our neighbours still had theirs, as they are on a different grid to us. By morning they were also out. We have a small generator for times like this to get Ryan's ventilator going, so that was all good. 

The next morning we got a radio going.... tip for people if you need D size batteries and don't have any, you can get 2 A size and wrap masking tape around them and they will work instead ( might have to start up a handy hints show lol ). All the men, as they do, convened out on the road to talk over the latest events. Noticably absent was our neighbours. A call to them and they had gotten trapped at their rental they are doing up. We asked if we could borrow their generator since it was bigger than ours and might run the fridge. "Yep no use to us". 

We got the generator and put it on our fridge for a while, then it went to the other neighbours, then up the road to Peter's boss. The whole neighbourhood was sharing generators between 3 or 4 families. I have never seen our street so busy with foot traffic haha. 

Our neighbour was worried about her cat and asked for us to go and buy some food to feed it. That wasn't happening as all shops had closed and weren't reopening any time soon. So the cat was going to get my John West tuna (yes Leanne I was going to feed it, not kill it or feed it to spanner lol ).

That morning when I had rung the electric company they said power would be on by 6am thursday. At lunch time it had gone to 3pm Friday, then 5pm Friday, then 5pm Monday. So everyone started getting desperate to save their food.

Unforunately the generator just able to keep things cold. So then it was everyone trying to share what they had before it went off. 

Troy and I went and took some of the pics I put up and found a way out of our area - although we still couldn't go that far. Petrol stations had run out of petrol and ice, it wasn't until Thursday we could get some when the roads opened up a bit after the major flooding.

As soon as we could get out we went to Peter's mums and had a shower and washed hair haha. The simple things were what we wanted. We charged our mobiles - not that it was much use then as we didn't really get service until Friday due to dropping in and out and us having no home phone service.

Floods bring out good and bad in people. A lot of people were stranded at our local shops unable to get home. They were sleeping in their cars. When hubby went up early wednesday morning he offered for those there to come back to our place. They decided not to but went to the evacuation centre, which had power. But when saying to a person in the area about it, their reply was "but they would eat your food". I'm sorry but I don't get this attitude. I also don't get how some shop keepers could charge $10 for a loaf of bread or $20 for milk. This was on the radio with people complaining about the costs.

Thankfully the good override the bad though. We had lots of laughs, wine and bbq's with neighbours. Shock at friends who have lost everything as their houses went completely under in Karalee. Its as Ryan said, we have food, our home and each other. A lot more than some have. He said it was like camping at home lol.

Oh now if your wondering how we became burglers. Our neighbours still can't get home. Feeding the cat, hubby noticed the liquids coming from the fridge due to food rotting and the smell. Knowing we had to get in, we found a way to break in and clean out their fridges, freezers etc. When I rang and told them they were so grateful. It was the one thing they were dreading as a friend of theirs had gone home to find maggots everywhere. The relief in their voices was so worth break and enter lol. 

For now Black Hawkes flew in a big generator for our area, which hopefully will last until they can fix the problem with the transformer. Until it is though, we won't be buying any food to stock up the fridge and freezer. 

Unforunately Jade's work went right under water and until they can get it up and running again she is out of a job. The agency Troy has his appreniceship through is also flooded and not working for a while yet. Thankfully the government has set up help for them and those like them. 

Do you remember when ...

I not only remember when people did not have mobile phones but also when hardly anyone had a home phone - you used the phone box to ring the luckly ones that did - and I even remember using phones that you wound the handle and spoke to an operator. :o

I remember black and white tv. Saturday nights were spent watching Walt Disney welcoming you and seeing innocent family movies. Sunday nights was watching Molly Meldrum and countdown so you could talk about it at school the following day. Tammy, Gidget and Doris Day were our 'role models' on tv.  Who could forget the Leyland Brothers followed by Alby Mangles in later years. TV usually closed down around 11 and the Queens Christmas message would stop a nation.

The cinema showed shows like World Safari, and a trip there with school would mean watching Lord of the flies not Harry Potter. Your price also included 2 movies not 1. There were Jaffas to roll down the isle or throw over the balcony. Then came Rocky Horror, Rocky Balboa and Aliens.

Drive ins were everywhere and you could smuggle your friends in by putting them in the boot. Choc topped icecreams were the go and mattresses in the back of panel vans were the go.

10 cents worth of lollies was more than 1 lolly, hell it was more than 10 lollies. You got free milk at school. The majority, not the minority of mothers helped at the school tuckshop. Working b's meant parents turned up to help. 

Teachers smoked in the classroom, teenagers smoked in the cinema, in fact people smoked everywhere.

All kids would go out playing and come home when hungry and before dark. We would go bike riding, horse riding, yabbying, swimming and just general play.  The baker, milko, fruitman and softdrink man all came to your house. 

I remember ipods, cd's, cassettes, 45's, 33's and even 78's. Dvd's, tapes, and when your choice was Beta or VHS. 

The ensuite, the bathroom with separate toilet, the flushing toilet in a room on the verandah, the outhouse.

Milk in bottles with silver foil lids, real cream milk that you had to shake to mix before drinking. Milk in metal buckets or in the tins at the end of driveways waiting for the factory to collect it. 

Everyone played sport, everyone had a veggie garden and every child walked or got the bus to school. 

I have lived through flares, ponchos, tartan, cheesecloth, taffetta, long boots, short boots, riding boots, jesus sandals, joggers, sandshoes, stillettos, ballet shoes, thongs, minis, maxis, big hair, permed hair, short hair, straight hair and most have returned at some stage or another. 

Everyone older was Mr or Mrs or Aunt or Uncle. Every suburb had a least 1 corner store, service station, phone box and mail box.

Stores closed at midday Saturday and didn't open again until Monday. Nothing was opened on Good Friday or Christmas day. 

Trains use to have red carriages that had doors to benches that faced each other with just enough room for someone to stand on your feet in the middle at peak hour. You had nothing to hold on to and would constantly fall onto the lucky person to get a seat.

Dual lanes on the highway was when you indicated and overtook the person going slow in front of you. 

There is so much more and so many memories. 

A challenge for those strong enough to try.

Just moving some of the stuff from facebook to here that I have written.

Yesterday I had a phone call from a mum who had 2 boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy - the same as Ryan. Her boys passed away over 20 years ago. We were talking about how some things hadn't changed in all this time. One of these things was understanding. How people don't seem to understand what it is like to look after someone with a physical disability.

Now this got me thinking and apart from me putting here what I do as a carer, I could get some of you to do something that Ryan's primary school use to get the kids to do.

Do this when there are 2 of you around and you can even swap roles at a later date. Now the only movement you have in your body is your hands... not your arms, just the wrists down. You can't even move your neck... but your mouth works fine. Now I can see you’re wanting to type a reply to me. You can, you just have to use the onscreen keyboard with your mouse. Don't have a mouse?? Well tough you can't reply then.

Now the other person that is there has to help you. Your leg is itchy or there is a fly on your nose - they have to scratch the spot with only you telling them exactly where it is, or they have to stay around shooing the fly away.

Your thirsty and hungry - they have to get you a drink and give it to you.... use a straw otherwise it will go all over you when they tip it. They have to cut your food, listen to you tell them how you want it and what order and when you’re ready for you next bite. Now let’s hope they get all the crumbs off of you and especially that one that went down your top and is annoying the hell out of you. 

Your arm is uncomfortable where it is, get them to move it back, out, over so it’s in a better position for you. I hope you haven't moved your legs yet, because where they are is where they are staying until someone helps you to shift them. And it better not be hot where you are. It is getting them to lean you forward so they can fan your top so it stops sticking to your body. 

Oh look there is a message on your phone... hold on, you can't look at it. You need someone to get your phone, hold it up in front of you so that you can read it. The same if you want to view a paper or book - someone has to hold it up for you and turn the pages. Hate what’s on TV or the radio atm, tough!! Unless someone comes to change it, it’s stuck there. 

Want to go to the toilet? Don't ever leave it until the last moment or try hanging on. You have to allow time to call out to someone and them to come, get bottle or hoist (depending on what you’re doing), move/remove clothing then you and go. Same with shower. You will get hoisted onto bed, clothing removed and then transferred to shower chair, wheeled in, washed by someone else, dried, hoisted back to bed to get dressed. If you then stay in bed you can't move. You have to get the other person to move your arms, legs, head etc to a comfy position. Then if you want to roll onto your side or back, you have to get them to do that as well. 

When going out you have to have someone with you all the time. You would never want to have any issues with privacy, because whoever is with you is going to know your pin number because you can't key it in and it’s ok to say you will use cash, but how are you going to get it without someone to do that for you either. 

Now if you can do even some of this with another person for an hour or 2, I can almost guarantee that by the end of that time you will have yelled at them for not moving something right or not being quick enough. But chances are you moved to do it yourself or show them and this isn't an option for someone with a physical disability. 

Then if you really want to get a good handle on things, set your alarm for every hour. Hop out of bed and walk to your spare bedroom or kid’s bedroom and then back to bed. That’s 1 night, try and see how many nights in a row you can go and still function the next day. 

Everything you do and every move you make during the day and night is something that Ryan and boys like him can't do. Everything you do and every move you make during the day and night is something that parents/carers have to do for them as well as their own movements and activities. 

Physical disability does not mean intellectual disability. 

Another thing I would like to add - If you see me (or any other parent/carer) and I am grumpy or unsociable. Its not because of something you've done. Its more likely that I am tired or worn out. I normally have 1 day a week  when Ryan goes out or weekends  and I can do things on that day which normally include such things as hairdressers, donating blood, catching up with friends, drs apts etc. Every time he goes into respite I end up spending the week doing the things I can't get done in that one day instead of resting. Peter is fantastic and helps heaps but also has his jobs to do, so can't be here all the time.

flying high

Wow!! That is how my last week has been. Nothing really explains it, except Wow.

It started with the girls coming over, the cruise being booked, another cooking class and then a phone call to say I had won a competition to cook with Jamie Oliver.

It didn't matter that I am to have more root canal and dental work done and it took my mind off worrying about Peter and his upcoming tests. Life just couldn't get better than this week.

I have felt like I was literally walking on air. At one point, Ryan even caught me skipping around the house, singing 'I won, I won, I won'. Yes I know, not a very good visual haha. But you know what ...... I don't care lol.

You know when you read a book or watch a movie and it says about everything looking different? Well for the first time in my life, that is how things are looking right this minute for me. The sun is shining brighter, colours are fresher and life in itself, seems lighter.

If you couldn't tell - and most friends could - I have really been struggling the past few months with coping. I had gotten to the point of wondering, how much longer can I cope with this. Yes I have been jealous of others my age and the freedom they have. I get to leave the house twice, sometimes 3 times a week, when Ryan is home (that includes grocery shopping). The constant demand of someone needing you 24 hours a day, is not something you can explain and unless people have been through it, they have no idea (and lets be honest. Most people in society don't want to understand).

And while I am on two different anti depressants and trying to get the right balance with them, this past week has done more for me, than they could ever do.

So yes, I am going to be crowing about it for a while and enjoying this feeling for all its worth.