November 2008

We’re in Melbourne this weekend. We drove down in a hire car on Friday. We arrived at the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport to discover that we had been upgraded to a one-bedroom suite on the top floor. Thanks, we’ll take it.

We drove so that the rocking horse (yep, that was the closely guarded secret) for Brooke & Paul and the kids would arrive safely. Yes, they were impressed. We had a fabulous day with them today (Saturday) together with Vince & Jan, Brooke’s parents. They think the same way that we do. And they are as delighted that Brooke found Paul as we are that Paul found Brooke.

I actually have Julie’s permission to write this paragraph. Heading over to the kids place today, we had a really sticky fly in the car. After several attempts to get it out by opening the windows (on both sides), it re-appeared on Julie’s side. Suddenly she gagged on something and said that it felt like she had swallowed it, to which I replied that that would be one way to get rid of it. Since it failed to re-appear after that, maybe I was right.

We returned home to discover that the magnolia is flowering. Some time ago, Julie mentioned that she would love to have a magnolia in the garden, to which I replied that we already had one, tucked in behind the crab-apple tree. So we trimmed the tree back a bit to allow some light into the magnolia. It looked happier within days and now a few months later, it’s flowering.

I went alone to Sydney this weekend, as Julie needed some time out. The sunset picture is from the hotel room.

The trip highlight was collecting the “new” car from Campbelltown. On the return trip from Seattle, the hire car we got was a Ford Falcon XR6 instead of the usual Toyota Camry or Aurion, and I thought at the time that I wouldn’t mind buying one, as it drove so nicely. Probably a lot to do with the rear wheel drive, which of course frees up the front end for steering. So recently, I started thinking that Hertz must surely sell off their used stock and there they were, right there on the web. Coincidentally, a reminder on salary sacrificing came through the inbox at work, so I started working on it. The package puts all of the costs associated with the car (lease payments, fuel, maintenance, registration and insurance) into one sum that is then taken out of my pre-tax salary, resulting in a substantial saving over what it would have cost paying all of those out of the pocket. Of course, we wouldn’t have paid that much on the Magna anyway, but it probably works out roughly the same, for the pleasure of driving a near new car.

On the way home, out on a sweeping bend where I could see that there were no bogies around, I hit the gas. Had to back it off just a few seconds later, as the beast was still in third gear and pulling through 160 K/hr (yep 100 mph). Nice! According to the manual, the speed limiter cuts in at 220.

This is a photo of a Currawong on the neighbour’s fence. I had seen him poking at the fence paling and it wasn’t until I checked the photo on the laptop that I realised that he had been extracting a nice fat Witchetty Grub out of the wood.

This weekend turned out a little different from what we had envisaged. After 2 rough nights with my legs aching, and taking waaaay too much aspirin, I got hit this morning with a severe pain in the middle of my chest, coupled with tingling in both arms. I’ve seen too many stories of men who have passed it off as just a pain in the chest when it was in fact a heart attack, so we called the ambulance and I spent all day in hospital getting checked out. Oops, forgot to mention that I’m fine and that it was mostly just a complete lost day. Although it has triggered some domestic discussions about the state of health for both of us, with a view to changes that we both need to address.

We’ve had some awesome sunsets lately. This is just one of them.

We went to Melbourne again the following weekend to welcome Harry home.

Thanksgiving went over well this year, although there were a number of people that we were expecting that didn’t show. Fortunately, several people who had said that they would be late did arrive and so what started out as just a handful of guest finished up with 3 full tables. We do have an entire cooked turkey to deal with though. And the weather was “interesting”. We had a couple of squiffs of rain during the late afternoon, so the table setup was only done at the last minute and then we simply added tablecloths and cutlery as needed. Then as we were closing up, a real shower came through and washed us out.