December 2013

Whew, almost to the end of the year and it’s starting to show. I need a holiday!

Today, we decided to take Kelly’s ashes out to the Gundaroo paddock, where he had guarded us and the bus so faithfully. I took the plastic bag all around the paddock and behind the dam, where he and I had walked so often, leaving little deposits of ash at strategic points, a bit like sniffing points. By then a breeze had sprung up and Julie scattered the remainder in the wind.

Meanwhile, back at the cottage ….

With Gabe and Liz.

Then Julie offered to fund a surprise trip to Seattle out of her inheritance, as she was seriously “down” and we really needed a “happy” holiday. Julie had to take a few days off without pay, while I’m locked out of the building for the whole 2 weeks. So we booked flights, car hire and accommodation, departing Christmas Eve, arriving Christmas Eve (as you do), then departing 30 December and arriving New Years Day.

It was also an opportunity for Steve, our house sitter, to return to the scene of his previous house-sitting disaster, which was as traumatic for him as it was for us, and observe first hand, the dramatic improvement in Angel’s physical and mental development, as well as enjoying the combination of supremely laid back and awesome energy that is Buddy the cat. We haven’t heard from him yet, but we’re pretty sure that he’s as in love with the little bugger as much as we are, specially when he is hungry at 6am and is quite happy to let the whole world know!

At LAX, we were both exhausted after several hours of layover, and laid down for a short sleep. As she awoke, Julie was visibly distressed that she had “so many patients to look after” and I finally managed to convince her that she was in fact on holiday! That’s dedication for you.

We managed to get into our accommodation by 9pm, and were actually awake and showered by the time the kids made their usual Skype video call (which is normally at about 2am on Boxing Day for us in Australia), to which I responded that we were having a few issues with video and I would call them back shortly, once I had it fixed. Mike was mildly suspicious at that, but said nothing. So we jumped in the car and went round to their place, all of about 3 minutes. The ice on the carpark was a bit disconcerting and I drove carefully. When we called them back from their front door, I said, “You know that colleague who was going to pick up some stuff you wanted shipped back to Australia? I arranged for him to leave a present on your doorstep. Can you check if it’s there?” Duncan came down and after opening the door yelled, “It’s Poppie & Gramma Roo Roo!” We could hear April expressing disbelief, and the expression on her face as she came downstairs was an image I will ALWAYS remember. Unfortunately, I had the apprentice capturing video on the phone, so the results were inconclusive.

The only person who was in on the surprise was their friend Dan, to whose place we invited ourselves to dinner. April immediately called him and suitably abused him! We had a thoroughly relaxing Family Christmas Day with their family and close friends, something neither of us have experienced for a VERY long time.

Since then, we have enjoyed hanging out with the kids, even going with them to Duncan’s training.

Julie continues here:

We were at Duncan’s training session before the main Silvertips game and Rodney was taking pictures. April came and grabbed the sleeve of my coat and said, “You have got to see this.” His back was hurting and he was stretching his legs, but didn’t realise that there were 8 ladies watching his moves. You can hear the laughter in the video clip. Several of them thanked him afterwards! Ten years ago, I said that he had a “mighty fine ass” and I am pleased to say it still is.


We took the kids out to our favourite burger place “Bob’s Burgers & Brews” on Thursday night. They have huge burgers and Julie actually ate her salad (with Blue Cheese dressing) and 3/4 of the burger!  It was  nice to see that she was actually hungry.

Tonight (Friday here), Duncan had been selected to skate out as the 7th man on the starting line-up for the Everett Silvertips ice hockey team. I volunteered to accompany him down into the bowels of the stadium, for which I shall be forever grateful for the opportunity. I stood there in awe, watching him glove butting each member of the team as they came in from their warm-up, and again as they came out for the game. I managed to capture the entire 20 minutes of video, from the team starting to be announced, through a minute’s silence and the USA National Anthem, to Duncan coming off the ice. This is the edited version.





We have enjoyed the weekend mostly lounging, with us babysitting Duncan on Saturday night so Mike & April could go out on a date. They came home early after the movie, which has now been running for 3 weeks since its release and was still sold out! On Sunday, Mike went to the Seahawks game, where they trounced the Rams to become the season Champions and book their spot in the playoffs. They have a very good chance of making it to the SuperBowl, which is where the NFL champions play the AFL champions.

We leave here tomorrow (Monday) and arrive back in Canberra around lunch time on New Years Day.