29th October 2013

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday was a quiet day,watching a movie and some knitting

Severe pain in my hip which made the evening fun.

I wanted to get up earlier today so I set alarms for 8am and 9am. I woke just before the 9am one.

I baked this morning,a zucchini slice for the girls’ lunches and chocolate cake also for lunch boxes

This did involve sitting down about 5-6 times but I did it!

I blocked 2 teeny baby cardigans for a friends premmie baby. Hopefully they will be winging their way across the pond soon.

A dislocated toe did make things a little difficult but I still managed to do it.

I am very pleased with myself.

I will do a bit of knitting before going to have afternoon tea with Miss Annie before picking the other girls up from vocal group.

It is still hazy outside from the fires still burning in Mount Victoria so we are still hanging the washing on the airers inside the house.

And the cicadas……..have I mentioned that I’m over them ? How do such little critters make so much noise?All bloody day……every day for over 6 weeks now.

Enough is enough

Go away!!!!

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28th October 2013.

The skies outside are dark

Clouds filled with promises

I so want it to rain,to put an end to the destruction of the fires,some have been burning for 12 days

A good downpour for a few days would be wonderful.

So be able to snuggle down inside,without any concerns about the fires.

With good coffee,knitting,movies and chocolate.

Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

We took the girls to the worst affected area near us

They had seen it on the tv but I knew seeing it in real life would be a totally different thing

As we drove into town,we passed a police escort,with a white car bearing the royal standard of Denmark

Our Princess Mary and Prince Frederick had made an unplanned visit to view the fire site.

They turned up in jeans.shirts and joggers and spoke to many of the fire victims,there were many smiles and one little girl jumping up and down for joy as she had met a REAL princess. Their small gesture meant a lot to a lot of people.

I wanted the girls to see it with us, not in the bus on the way to school,incase there were any tears or fears or worries

We drove around looking at the massive areas of burnt bush,that seemed to go on and on for miles.

The girls sat in stunned silence,wide eyed at all the destruction,astounded that all that was once green and growing was now black and charred.

That burnt smell fills your nose and hangs on to the back of your throat.

We drove around for a while and we talked about it.

We discussed how some of their friends may react,those who had lost their homes. I told them some may not want to talk about it and some may want to talk about it,over and over again,trying to process it.some may only want to talk about the “new” stuff they had got since their houses burnt down. I told them there was no correct way to deal with it. People are different. I said the best thing to do was just listen or offer a hug or a hand to hold.

We came home and I was filled with panic. A terrible fear of being alone today and yet i badly needed a break from the girls who had taken to fighting and bickering about the silliest of things. I feared my head may explode if I had to listen to anymore of it,yet I was scared to be alone.

I took a sleeping pill so I would go to sleep at a decent hour and so my chest wasn’t filled with fear.

I slept a long time and woke to silence as the girls had gone to school. I feel calm. My fears unfounded.

24th October 2013

This time last week was when the wheels started to fall off

When the fires started and our lives and so many others went to hell

Yesterday was to be catastrophic weather event with raging high temps,low humidity and very strong winds.

We are prepared for the worst. We packed bags,documents,photos,pet food,some precious things and we waited.

It surprised me to end what our lives could be reduced to and how simple our lives could really be.

Thankfully we were not close to any of the fire fronts but that didn’t make it any easier. Nerves were stretched and emotions ran high. There was sniping over little things,arguments over movies and all round tension.

We watched movies and checked the net constantly

I was so stressed I couldn’t even knit!

The winds raged and the heat shimmered but thankfully most of it was contained thanks to the tireless work of the Rural Fire Services,Fire Brigade,State Emergency Services,Police,Army and more.

The RFS are volunteers,fabulous men and women who give up their time to protect our precious homes and lives.

The change came through last night and we all heaved a sigh of relief.

I slept last night properly for the first time in a week.

The bags are still packed,I can’t quite bring myself to unpack them just yet.

We got out of it well,so many….over 200 lost their homes and nearly that amount have been damaged.

Our school is offering a free summer uniform to all those affect and another school has donated book packs.

Through all this our Year 12 students have battled on doing their HSC ( higher school certificate) at other schools. Some even having to be relocated from other schools after they came under threat from fire.

The rest of the years 7-10 exams have been cancelled and they will use an average to get the results.

I feel like I have been run over by a truck.so tired and sore but very,very relieved the worst has passed. Fires still rage throughout NSW.

There is a little light of joy to share,Miss Annie and Miss Mary are off to a One Direction concert tonight,they are VERY excited to say to least. A lovely overseas friend helped chip in with some $$$ for the tickets. So they will head off tonight with their dad to forget the stress of the last week.

21st October 2013

The last few days have been spent on high alert. Although we are not in the direct line of any of the fires,things can change at any moment

DH and I decided not to send the girls to school today even though the school is open. It is still is the danger zone. I couldn’t have gone through Thursday afternoon again.

Over 200 houses have been lost and 100+ are damaged near the school. I can’t even begin to imagine.

We have talked a lot about what we will do in the event of a fire. About how we will get the animals out,about what special things we would take with us,what essentials to pack.

Miss Annie suffers from cabin fever so we try to get her out of the house for a few hours each days. A short drive to a nearby village for a walk and a milkshake.

Honestly,I’m a mess but trying hard to hide it. Days have been filled with movies and knitting. Mindless knitting that keeps my hands busy but doesn’t need a pattern as I don’t have the brainpower to follow one. Trying to think of cool,filling meals that will keep hungry tummies filled.

Temperatures will be hot today,36C where we are ,along with strong winds.

There is concern that all 3 fires may join up and become a mega-fire. That idea fills me with terror.

Smoke fills the air. All the washing had to be rewashed due to the smell. So we are washing and hanging the clothes inside the house on airers. Miss Mary and I are battling with breathing problems. Puffers are being used a lot.

DH spent a lot of the weekend cutting down branches and cleaning out gutters. Miss Lizzie continued his work today when he went to work.

I realised to my horror that our contents insurance hadn’t been updated so I hastily fixed that up yesterday.

DH’s work is worried about their residents and is thinking of moving them to other nursing homes in Sydney.

I just want to lay down and sleep and make it all go away. Sadly that wont happen. No rain is forecast for days.

19th October 2013

Yesterday started out as a normal day

It was to be rather hot so I told the girls to take plenty of frozen drinks and to drink plenty

About 2pm I discovered there was a fire near the girls school…….yes again.

Everything in me wanted to go and get them,but I thought no,it can’t be too bad.

If only I had listened to my gut……..

I started getting messages from the girls about 2.30pm saying they were to be evacuated and the road was blocked.

I started checking this on the net and the main and only road in was blocked by fire and a fallen tree in 2 separate places.

All the kids were rounded up and taken to the quad,then to the hall.

Thy just thought it was a prob with a small fire blocking the road

They had no idea it was a fire of catastrophic strength and that many homes would be lost and the fire would burn all the way down to Penrith and jump the Nepean River.

I was petrified and worried sick

I spent the entire afternoon with my iPad on my lap,reading an entire knitting blog and checking the RFSand RTAsites

DH arrived home about 4pm,had a cold drink and spent some time with a cold,wet cloth over his eyes. He had gotten a lot of dust and smoke in his eyes through his motorbike visor

I got messages saying the teachers had opened the canteen and were taking IOU’s for food and drinks.

We got some messages from Miss Lizzie saying some of her school mates were being picked up by parents so we decide that DH would drive down to see if he could get into the school to get the girls.

He drove down but was stopped by road blocks,he was able to walk to the next road block but was stopped there

He drove around Springwood and decided to get some food for dinner.

I got messages from the girls saying that buses had finally been let through and they would be evacuated to Springwood.

DH arrived home to the news that the girls were being bussed out. This was about 7.30pm.

So we both got into the car and drove down.

The lower end of Springwood was filled with police cars,lights flashing,buses and tons of school students and teachers.

I jumped out of the car and started to look for the girls

I pushed my way through all the frantic parents and children and finally spotted Miss Lizzie. She broke ranks and ran to me and I just held her,tightly.

We then found Miss Annie and Miss Mary,I hugged both of them hard.

We found their teacher and got them signed off the lists. I thanked the teachers for their extra effort.

We got back to the car and drove out.

The girls had NO idea just what had been going on or how bad it all had been. I had kept my messages fairly light so they wouldn’t panic.

On arriving home Miss Lizzie put the jug on to make tea,Miss Annie went online to see what was going on.

We all sat around and ate and drank and talked about what had happened.

I’m a big believer in letting the girls talk and talk after an event like this so they can process it all.

The girls spoke a lot about what had happened during the day and how well the school captains had helped with the students.

I thought we would watch a movie to de-stress and wind down.

So we watched The Incredibles and had a bit of a laugh.

DH went to bed as he had work today.

We had another cuppa and a check of the RFS sites and were horrified at just how far the fire had spread along with all the other fires in the state.

The girls went to bed about 11pm,I followed about 1am.

All of the schools and pre schools in the area have been shut down.

Many many thanks to all the volunteers who give up their time to fight fires and protect our homes and schools. Some of the RFS who were fighting the fires yesterday lost their homes.

17th October 2013.

My body is really falling apart. It hurts all over.There is pain in my hips and back.

I am so so tired. Even when I wake I am exhausted.

I crave sleep,like a drug,I think about it all the time and yet,often when I go to bed,I can’t sleep.so I lie awake late into the night and can barely get out of bed in the mornings.

My body fails me in many ways. Walking is difficult,thinking is hard……the joys of the fibro “fog”. The tremor in my left rm which makes doing a lot of things very difficult.

I want so badly to knit but can’t follow a pattern so now I am down to knitting squares or strips to made into a blanket at a later date. My hands need to be busy and I can knit and purl without thinking.

Miss Annie has band on Wednesday mornings and I am really struggling to get her there.

I have been making enquiries about anything else there is that would be appropriate for her that happens in the afternoon or evening.

I have found one such thing but of course it happens on the same day as when Miss Lizzie and Miss Mary have vocal group. I think it may be doable.One of Miss Annie’s friends goes so that could be a plus.

I feel like such a failure. I can’t get my girl to a simple band practise once a week. I feel so slack.

Useless. Yes that’s the word…useless.

14th October 2013.

I’m feeling very low.The black dog has taken up residence again.

The weather is completely out of control with over 10 days over 30C,which is unheard of for this time of year

Bloody global warming.

And the cicadas, oh my……..they are the loudest I have ever heard and they have been going for over a month now. The constant noise is dreadful. In our backyard,you can’t hear yourself think.

It’s wearing me down. I can not wait until they stop.

I’m trying so hard to be “up” and “happy” for the girls but its so hard.

I can’t knit in the heat with thicker wools,so I haven’t finished Miss Lizzie’s winter cardigan and I had promised another friend I woould make hers. It’s just not possible in this heat and we don’t have air conditioning. I feel so bad about this. I hate making promises and not being able to to follow through with them. I feel like I have really let her down.

When we arrived home from our holiday,there were dramas between Miss Lizzie and the boyfriend. There was a suicide ( no one we know) but it impacted on us,plus there were other issues. I had to be the bad guy and tell Miss Lizzie to break up with the boyfriend.
She has exams coming up and I felt she did not need to be distracted by the b/f who can be,according to his mother,a bit drama queen-ish.

We had another major fire alert day last week with temperatures over 35C and strong winds. I decided to keep the girls home from school,after the drama of the last fire near the school. There is only one road into where the school is,so if fire took hold,they would not be able to get the buses in to bus the kids out to safety.

We went out yesterday to the Leura Village Fair. Lots of fabulous stalls and divine things to look at. I got a great tshirt for Xmas for Miss Mary and a lovely ring for Miss Lizzie. Then we went to Blackheath to have a picnic morning tea. Miss Annie wanted some necklace things to put crystals into(sorry don’t know the name) so we popped into the hippy type shop there to get some. I went into the House of Wool to get some buttons(gorgeous teeny teddy bear heads) and some wool.next stop the bookshop where we spent a lot of time.

Then to the local park where we had a picnic lunch. It was lovely sitting under the trees. Miss Mary decided to roll herself up into a burrito with the picnic rug

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We drove home and I was exhausted. I slept I my chair for over 2 hrs. I hate my body. I sure know about it today. Sore back,sore hip,sore feet and I have a headache that is now going into the 18th day.

Thankfully it’s slightly cooler today but the cicadas are still serenading us.