Sunday, August 30, 2009


And a really big laugh that is. Did I actually say I'd have a life when Mum was fixed up and somewhere safe?

I'm still working for her. Another 9 pages filled out for Centrelink and I must post it in the morning since Mercury is apparently going retrograde in regard to communications. No dealing with AGL this week. I still have 4 things to do for her tonight before I can pack the bag for the morning. I tell you I deserve that apple cake.

I certainly deserved it for the effort of disengaging the Mepacs unit. I moved chairs, fumbled with phone cords and then had to dust it. So ten minutes later it lets out a squark followed by another and another, 10 minute intervals and I'm baffled because it's all unhooked. I called the centre, 10 minutes on the phone and somebody finally says, "Is it turned off at the switch on the bottom of the unit?" Well, no and who would have thought to look on the arse of the unit to see a switch that says ON and OFF? Problem solved and raspberries to my sister who wanted to get rid of the Telstra phone straight away because 10 minutes on my mobile would have wiped my credits. Anyway I'm paying the phone bill.

I'm emotionally brain tired as well as physically. My sister thinks I'm crazy because I wanted to strip Mum's bed and put on a nice valance and bedspread and generally tidy up the room even though she's not coming back to there. I just don't want to do this when she's gone for good.

It took me an hour and a half to go through 6 drawers in the bedside tables. She'd put them on the one side of the bed because she couldn't reach to the left. There were papers and cards and junk and envelopes with silver coins tucked in them.

But the thing that really got to me and I would have hated finding these after she'd gone, were the notes she wrote to herself. On a birthday card from last year, she'd written in the corner, "I'm 78 today. It's my 78th birthday. I'm 78 years. It's 2008 and I'm 78". That was in March last year, this year she thought she had reached 80 and was glad to find she was a year out. She wrote her name and phone number down constantly along with mine and my sister's. Pages and pages in different books. It's how hard she tried to maintain control in a mind that was not functioning.

I know how she feels.

Friday, August 28, 2009


So I was tired on Monday, big deal. Last night I went beyond tired and my body and mind just decided to go into meltdown to tell me to take a breather.

Mum loves the home but is taking time to adjust to the changed circumstances. Most independent people take at least three months to do this. The two arthritis conditions have acclerated to the stage where she can't walk and now uses a wheelchair. I watched her yesterday trying to stand and she tried her best but when I went back in the afternoon, she was in a lot of pain.

She was offered another room but declined because she loves her small corner. Everyone has turns to go first and last to the showers and she waited for her turn being warmed by the morning sun, watching the flowers and birds in the garden. She hates the dining room but goes anyway, if she feels like it. She's still giving me orders but I just told her to wheel over and get her own comb to do her hair. I think it's been made easier for her because of something the doctor said in the hospital, that we would no longer be her carers but would become her family again. It's true, even my sister says she enjoys the visits because Mum is not struggling so much and her thoughts have become more lucid. I put this down to the constant stream of people in and out of her life now.

Sis and I still can't believe our good luck, on getting our first pick of nursing home, on it being so quick, on the mental improvement to the old girl and the tension of three years finally letting up.

Since Monday I've been on the finances treadmill.
The Council (meals and cleaning) were happy to take small amounts until the account is settled, ditto the pharmacy.
The rates will still be paid fortnightly.
The insurance paid once a month and all is fine as long as someone is living in the house and please send us your Power of Attorney.
The Mastercard was a big worry. Too much for us to find once a month but their hardship department couldn't have been nicer. Just name a figure that you can manage and pay it on the same day each month. The account is temporarily closed and no further interest to go on it.

But our favourite company, the one we all love to hate and where Hal the mad computer is finishing out his days and causing trouble. AGL, the Devil's playground. After spending ages on the phone with a follow up call the next day, I obtained the billings codes so we could make extra payments to drop the amount owing. Good plan, bad execution. According to the lovely gentleman I phoned this week (because the direct debits hadn't come out of the bank again) the computer simply took our extra payments as the now and future direct debits, which means we've not paid extra at all. When I asked why I wasn't told this at the time, he said probably because the young people at the call centre don't know it. Jeebus, Mariah and Josepha, can't somebody send a memo in that place?

Now all I have to do is wait for the Centrelink assessment and assorted paperwork and we'll know if she has to pay more than 85% of her pension to the home. With the rent from the BrickOutHouse and any left from the pension, we won't have to sell her home.

And I've put on 6 kilos in the last 5 weeks. It's going to be hard to take off. I have to walk past the bakery in Mentone that makes the best shortcrust apple cakes in Melbourne. If I take the shortcut through the lane, I come out smack dab in front of Baker's Delight where the wafting smells of custard scrolls and date scones ambush me. Donations of will power will be gratefully received.

Monday, August 24, 2009


The number of the truck/tank/747 that ran over me today.

The time by my computer is 11.15 and I've just woken up.

I went to sleep in my chair, in the middle of eating a block of chocolate.

So you can see how wasted I feel.

She might be comfortable in the nursing home but the clean-up crew is still battling on.

I am sooooooooo tired.

I want to spend the next two miserably cold days in bed with a pile of books but there is a list of phone calls that can't wait.

They don't have phones in the nursing home, a ray of sunshine wanders across what's left of my mind.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Tests, papers to sign, papers to find, taxis,(lovely driver who recognised stress especially after I hit my head on the plastic safety bubble not once but twice) buses,(lovely driver who insisted on parking just up from the stop so I could step down easily on the curb) walking, stress and more stress.

But today, in all that freezing wind and rain, with a list of nursing homes to visit, we got lucky with our first choice. I had to go to Bonbeach to see a home there so I decided to get in a visit to the one in Mentone to put her name on the waiting list.

We particularly wanted this place as the nursing staff has a beaut reputation and Mum's lived in this area for nearly 60 years. So before I sat down the director said they'd had a cancellation and would we like the bed.

Okay it's a four bed ward but large and Mum's bed is right next to a floor to ceiling window and sliding door which looks out onto a small patio but huge garden with birds everywhere. She can see the street and any passerby.

I rang my sister who was there in a flash, took one look at the window and said we'll take it.

This was at 11 a.m. and Mother moved in at 5 p.m. There'll be a few tears tonight but in a week she'll be right. Her nurse tonight has the same doctor in Hampton. The lady across the way, although completely out of it, lived two streets away in the early days. The home itself is in Brindisi Street, the first street she walked with my father to see his family.

Not everything is done yet. There is a special place in Hell for writers of Centrelink booklets. I'm still trying to get that done and posted. Everybody has said, post do not hand in, they lose it as a matter of course. Tomorrow instead of nightdresses, I have to go over and pick out clothes and label every one.

I've had two visits today and not once did I see a miserable face on a nurse. The home is surrounded by gardens and lawns, bricked pathways for walkers and wheelchairs. I'm relieved but so tired I'm off to bed with a couple of painkillers for my spine and knees, lotion for the stress rash on both legs and dreams not nightmares for a change.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I have a mobile phone for emergencies like me falling over in the middle of nowhere or mother falling over anywhere (she doesn't have the number, I'm not that stupid).

So when it goes off in the middle of the night I usually panic.
Last night's message which I deleted, (stupid me deleting blog fodder) was a cracker.

Apparently Miss S had given Mr M the big A and he was trying to find out what he did or was she just playing games. Language was a bit aggressive so I called Mr M a few names and deleted.

An hour later there's another message from Mr M to Miss S, which was more gentlemanly and soppy and begging. So I thought I'd better put him out of his misery. I sent a text (I will not use texted) back to say he was sending to the wrong number.

Half an hour goes by and then it's "Who is this"

Fifteen minutes later, (shut up, it takes me that long to find the alphabet to send proper English) I answered. "A sixty year old Grandmother".

Two minutes later, "srry love".

Sweet mystery of life. Did Miss S deliberately give him a wrong number? Did Mr M punch the wrong keys and keep doing it? Did they every meet up and make up? Why did I delete the first message, it would have given me a clue?

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I lost a packet on the pokies last night.

I ate far too much inappropriate food.

I ate a block of chocolate that needed a block and tackle to move.

I drank 3 glasses of my vintage port, 3, I can't believe 3.

Don't ask about the tranquilizers.

My eyes look like two piss holes in snow.

And nothing is stopping the guilt-o-meter from going critical.

The only way I'll suvive this is for someone to remove the empathy chip from the circuitboard in my brain.

It's no good telling me that others will make the decision, it's not up to me alone but I'm the one with Power of Attorney and I have to sign the papers.

D-Day, Tuesday.

Thank the Goddess I've nothing more to lose at the pokies but I've still got the port and hidden somewhere in this house is another block of chocolate.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I wish I had a dollar for every time I've heard that or read it in a book, usually one of Barbie Cartland's.

But this morning as I was racing for the bus I noticed that every nature strip and lawn was actually covered in dew drops and sparkling like little diamonds.

I slowed down (missed the bus by that much) just to look. It really was beautiful. The sun was at the right angle and not yet warm enough to dry the grass.

The next time I read a Cartland description of her heroine looking delicate in a lace dress covered in sequins and sparkling like dew drops, I'll know exactly how it looks.

I'm still gobsmacked at the sight. It probably happens a lot but I'm usually still in bed and not rambling along at the right time.

I will carry the sight as I ring the hospital to see how Medusa got on with the bone scan.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I always thought I had a garden beds full of snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) but not so. Snowdrops are delicate, tempermental and hard to grow and expensive to buy.

So this is what I have growing, Snowflakes (Leucojum aestivum). Easy to grow and cheap which explains why they've been coming up every year for the last 15 instead of keeling over like every thing else does in my garden.
And that's the last intelligent post you'll be getting for a week or two. Mother is in hospital likely to be assessed as high level nursing care which means straight from there to a nursing home and we must rustle up a list of five by the end of this week. She doesn't know yet and we aren't telling her until the last possible moment.

Saturday, August 08, 2009


And hair extensions
and flimsy clothes
and jewellery
and keep three plastic surgeons in luxury

Friday, August 07, 2009


I gritted my teeth and watched 'A Current Affair' last night to see the segment about reverse mortgages.

My advice is never to deal with any business offering deals unless it's a bank. My mother had two reverse mortgages with St. George. One in 2000 and the other in 2004, one would have been enough but we needed to put in more concrete ramps and pay off another 8 grand on her credit card.

The current balance of the mortgage is $92,000.00 which is still only a third of what the house is valued at. You can add another 8 grand for her credit card debt (again) plus whatever a funeral will cost plus solicitor's fees and we will be paying out a sizeable amount when she falls off the twig. But we said at the time that the house was hers and she should be able to make it safe for her to live in when she was a lot older. There were some things done where we should have put our combined feet down firmly but nothing stands in the way of the mothering steamroller.

The daughter who was shocked at her mother's mortgage being $45,000 more than she thought obviously hadn't been part of the negotiations or hadn't had the details spelled out.
Before St. George would release any money, we had to see an accountant and a solicitor, who both explained every clause in the contract and we had to sign a declaration that we understood every clause. There were pages and pages in the contract where we had to sign that we understood. The accountant had to show us how the compound interest would mount up year by year.

The bank would let us have no more than 25% of the house and land value. The second mortgage was even less and considering how she racked up the credit card again, we probably should have said no to this one. No-one might put Baby in a corner and the same can be said of mother when she's made up her mind. We're still not in a bad position as the house is on a corner block, near two bus routes, two small shopping strips, one bus goes straight to the beach and Southland is 5 minutes away.

On the minus side, the 1950s laundry is asbestos board, the stove is cactus, the outside decking is hazardous to fat people, but it has heating and cooling and we should have no trouble paying back St. George. The money wasn't spent on holidays or a new car, it all went into the house (and the credit card), the contract was explained clearly and I consider the bank acted with integrity. The moral of the story is to stay away from dodgy loan companies.

Thursday, August 06, 2009


I'm still shuddering at this.

MuVChat has it's own facebook page so it's becoming a rage.

It allows audiences to text comments during a film which then appear as ticker-style commentary along the bottom of the screen.

Entrepreneur Rien Heald has been trialling this with selected movies such as Zoolander and viewers posted an average of 40 texts per film.

Sweet chaos, what next.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Yep, another S-bend.
I'm too old to ever
wear a tutu
Life regret No. 426


Well it didn't take long to work out the meaning of the missing S-bend, AGL strikes again.
Why doesn't some-one consign this monstrosity of incompetance to Hell and leave it there.
It's now into August and I've just found out that the direct debits I laboured long and hard to have re-instated, haven't been.

To give them their due, they did re-instate the $30 per fortnight but when I put it up to $50, someone typed one letter wrong for the BSN for the bank.
This even after I rang and queried when it didn't come out and I was told, it would on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month which is inconvenient neither being near mother's pension day.

So sister goes to the Post Office to pay extra but can't do it because with a direct debit account there is no barcode on the bill, no BPay, no Postbill and no mail address.
I have to deal with the morons again which is when I learn of the 'no direct debit' business.
The girl gave me the BPay codes for AGL electricity and gas.
Five minutes after I put the phone down I realize this is for internet and phone banking which is not what we want to do.

Why does everyone think we all do internet and phone banking? Why don't they ask?
So another phone call and I now have Postbill codes.
The accounts are now over $800 and $700. Thank you AGL for my nightmare.

At least if she falls off the twig, I don't have to pay immediately. As executor, the accounts go on my name (O joy), the direct debits continue without the pensioner concession and I finalize when the house is sold. Now I'm putting this here for the record. It's what I was told this morning and if it suddenly changes when the time comes, I'll shove this blog down their necks.

Tomorrow I have to deal with the NAB about the credit card which is another thing I won't be able to continue paying after the 'falling off the twig' deal. The best offer is to discontinue payments but continue interest until the house is sold. If they protest then I'll go on about a company that automatically upped the credit limit for a dippy old pensioner after we'd applied for a limit of $2000. Not to mention that it wasn't explained clearly that cash advances on a credit card must be paid back as well as the normal card payment. Those cash advances are the reason she keeps telling me that she managed on the pension and why can't I manage?

The Council rates have arrived and they're getting no more than $50 a fortnight and I will have the balance paid right on the dot of June 30th 2010. One squeak out of them will be their last.

Everything is a juggling act with me using both hands and feet.

And that's just mother's accounts never mind mine.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Fantasy Comments - Fantasy Comments


I dream in all colours and go to a lot of places and see people I haven't seen for years mostly because they're dead.
Some dreams are just jumbles but at other times I really feel that I've been somewhere which according to the New Agers means that I've been astral travelling.

So I'm not quite sure what to make of last night's dream.
A nice sunny day, a backyard barbecue and lot's of people, can't say friends because I didn't recognize anyone.
The trouble started when I discovered the S-bend of the toilet had been stolen as in removed, taken away, hidden and I'm standing in a foot of water beside a lonely throne.
The women of the group immediately blamed the men.
I'll go along with that as it's the kind of stupid thing men would do just to show they can go behind the nearest lemon tree.
The party degenerated into a women's talkfest of all the stupid things men do and don't do with regard to toilets. The seat left up was mild compared to some other stupid things.
I woke up before the actual 'picking up the porcelain and throw it' part of the party started and it was definitely heading in that direction.

I know my life is a bit crap at the moment but I don't expect it to impact on my dream life which I like to be run more along the lines of Daniel Craig bringing me a Pina Colada and letting me drink it out of his navel.

Tonight I think I'll go for the astral travel to one of those resorts with a booze bar in the middle of a shaded swimming pool.