Dear Solar Hot Water Supplier (an open letter)

I will be spending approximately $6,000 (six thousand Australian Dollars) somewhere. If you play your cards right, and don’t commit one of the offences listed below, I might spend it with you. So you can buy a 2009 lime green ute to replace your 2008 lime green ute. Or something.

When I call and ask for a quote, telling me that “we don’t do urgent” won’t get you my business.

Waiting two days to return my call, and then telling me that “a lot of people don’t understand that the rebates will continue after this month” also doesn’t wash. As I haven’t washed, in my own home, for quite some time now. I’ve been going to Bev & Ted’s or Mum & Dad’s for showers for over a week at this point, I’m grumpy, I’m stinky, and I used to work in sales. Don’t bullshit a bullshitter.

Telling me that system x is better than system y won’t wash. My uncle is an expert on solar systems, so even if I am not an expert, patronising me won’t get you very far. Clear information will.

The other thing that really impresses me? A pithy turn of phrase.

Wayne, who we eventually decided to go with, won me with this phrase.

“Go with me here luv, I reckon we put in the tank on Sat’dy, and then hook up the panels when we find some. That way, yous’ve got some hot warter in the meantime. We’ll do that sat’dy, unless it farken rains. If it farken rains, that really buggers us up.”

And today, despite a light sprinkling of rain, we have hot water.

Thanks Wayne.

One and One Half

He talks, he plays the recorder. He dances, he is obsessed with cheese, and he gives the wettest kisses.

18 months have turned this beautiful baby into an amazing little person.

Tantrums, an embarrassing obsession with “In The Night Garden”, amazingly good fine motor skills, and not so advanced gross motor skills. He can put all his shapes in the shape sorter, but falls flat on his face when he tries to run.

His communication skills are fantastic. He seems to be learning new words (multiple) every day, and this morning said quite clearly “ball gone”, a two word combination, which is pretty good for an 18 month old.

He still gets very cross when either Mark or I leave him, and still becomes absolutely desolate at the gym. We’ve been going at least twice a week for the past few weeks, and is now playing happily with the toys, interacting with the child care worker, and has a wonderful time, until I stand up to go. He ramps up into an desperate wail, which takes some minutes to calm. I suppose I can use my gym membership to get some study done!

A ball flying through the air is still the funniest thing he has ever seen, loving Daisy is a new obsession (one that Daisy isn’t too keen to comply with), and there is nothing more satisfying than spreading the recycling from one end of the house to the other.

Equal parts of determination and delight, life with Inigo is a rollercoaster of laughter and tears, and though it’s hard to know where he’s heading, it’s the best ride of m life.

And in case you can’t tell from the photo, I think he’s beautiful.

iPhone. I haz it

Well, not quite yet. But my best friend Simone has one she isn’t using any more, and she knows how pathetically woeful I am about gadgets, so tomorrow night we are going to meet up at Ikea and have a handover ceremony.

And there will dancing in the streets of Granville, and butterflies will flutter, and unicorns will frolic, and there will be puppies and kittens for all.


Why breastfeed?

At the risk of sounding like a breast feeding single issue party, I’m posting this to make myself feel better about all the formula advertising I saw at the baby expo last week while I was there volunteering for the Australian Breastfeeding Association. Watching pregnant women walking around with tins of formula was dispiriting, I think it’s important to keep this information circulating. If you know a pregnant woman, your support in her breastfeeding relationship is important, especially if you are her partner, or her close family. This is not about bullying people into doing something they don’t want to do – it’s about supporting them if they do want to do it.

Blatantly stolen from PhD in Parenting, much more info here.

Benefits to the child

  • Acute otitis media ( middle ear infections): Babies that were ever breastfed had a 23 percent lower incidence of acute otitis media than exclusively formula fed babies.
  • Atopic dermatitis (type of eczema): In families with a history of atopy, exclusive breastfeeding for at least 3 months was found to have a 42 percent reduction in atopic dermatitis compared with breastfeeding for less than 3 months.
  • Gastrointestinal infections: Infants who were breastfeeding had a 64 percent reduction in the risk of non-specific
  • Lower respiratory tract diseases: There is a 72 percent reduction in the risk of hospitalization due to lower respiratory tract diseases in infants less than 1 year of age who were exclusively breastfed for 4 months or more.
  • Asthma: Breastfeeding for at least 3 months was associated with a 27 percent reduction in the risk of asthma for those without a family history of asthma and a 40 percent reduction for those with a family history of asthma.
  • Type 1 Diabetes: Breastfeeding for at least 3 months results in between a 19 and 27 percent reduction in incidence of childhood Type 1 Diabetes compared with breastfeeding for less than 3 months (findings confirmed through multiple studies, but some cause for caution in interpreting results).
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Found a 39 percent reduction in risk of Type 2 diabetes later in life for people that were breastfed as infants (some cause for caution in interpreting results).
  • Childhood Leukemia: Breastfeeding for at least 6 months associated with 19 percent decrease in risk of childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia and a 15 percent decrease in the risk of acute myelogenous leukemia.
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): The meta-analysis found that breastfeeding was associated with a 36 percent reduction in the risk of SIDS compared to not breastfeeding. Another study completed since the meta-anlaysis was done found a 50 percent reduction in the risk of SIDS as a result of breastfeeding.

PS. Daisy is sitting closer to me than he has in months, purring like a lawnmower. I am sure he knows something…

Daisy is HOME!

The vet rang to say that overnight he had peed normally, with no more blood loss, and that he was ok to come home. We picked him up as soon as they said he could go, and he is now at home, safe and comfy in the laundry (so I can keep an eye on his poos, and whinging for food. The vet said that he shouldn’t eat until this evening, so I’m taking it as a great sign.

Daisy, my old mate


Daisy will be 15 on the first of August. That’s pretty old for a cat these days – apparently 10 is considered geriatric now. And on Sunday when we got home from the conference, he wasn’t well. There was vomit and poo in piles around the house, and he was yowling and looking very unhappy.

I got him to the vet first thing yesterday, and had an anxious wait while they conducted tests. I was told that in a cat his age, it was most likely to be cancer, or kidney disease. Daisy has been a staunch friend for every one of his 15 years with me, and hearing that he was in such bad shape was a horrible shock. Sure, he’s old, and he has slowed down considerably in the last few years, but previous vet checks have always shown him to be in good health.

The call came, good news and bad news. It’s a condition called Mega Colon, his colon has degraded and become like a large bag instead of a sausage shape, and he was having trouble pooing. His system was so backed up that he couldn’t keep food down. The vet recommended surgery to clear the blockage, and then medication for the rest of his life, with the possibility of this happening again and needing surgery again. She hadn’t given him pain relief, since she was hoping that I would consent to the surgery, and she couldn’t give him pain relief before surgery.

So I had to decide quickly, whether to spend about $1500 and hope that he survived the surgery and had good quality of life, or whether to have him put down by a stranger.

We’ve had to borrow the money (thanks mum!), and he’s had the surgery. While he was under, he started pissing fresh blood, and the vet doesn’t know why, so we have that to sort out too, but for now he is comfortable and doing well. We’ll be able to visit this afternoon.

Please spare a thought for my grumpy old cat.

Happy Birthday to me!*

The last four days have brought a huge bruise, a suspected broken finger, driving about 670km, a visit to the radio telescope, an old cemetery, lots of twitching, story time at the Parkes library, and an emergency dash to a regional hospital.

So, I fell over. I wasn’t even drunk. I have a massive bruise, and after four days, I can use my left hand again without much pain.

Then we drove to Parkes. Mum is working there for a few months, and since I’ve never been there, Dad and Inigo and I piled into the car on Tuesday morning, and after an uneventful drive, we landed.

Inigo wasn’t thrilled about getting back in the car

Outside Orange.

To get to Parkes, drive over the mountains, and turn left at Bathurst.

Once there, we had a lovely time, visiting Mum, taking lots of pictures (more posts to come), and relaxing. Until Thursday morning. Dad was going to take Inigo to story time at the library while I had a shower and started to pack. At the last minute, I decided to go with them.

Inigo and Dad at breakfast

Inigo was a bit cranky, but not acting strangely at all when we left for the library at 9am. But by 9.45am, he was listless, extremely clingy, shaky, and his forehead was on fire. I knew the way to the hospital, so we bundled him in to the car, and went straight there. By the time we saw a nurse, his temperature was 40.4 degrees, and he was getting less responsive. I was holding him, waiting for triage nurse to come and talk to us, worried that he was going to pass out, or worse.

To cut a long story short, he was given panadol and his temp started to come down. The officious Doctor (who heard me say that he had a cough, and then muttered under his breath as he wrote “no cough”), diagnosed an ear infection, asked for a urine test, and sent us home.

We decided to risk the drive home – mainly because if Inigo got worse, I wanted to be nearer a hospital I have confidence in.

Country health services really are as under resourced as you’ve heard.

Today, he’s a little pale, and a shade quieter than normal – but you’d never know he was so sick just yesterday!

*It’s my birthday tomorrow. I’ll be at an ABA conference all weekend, so I am postponing my birthday till next weekend.