wings and things

House of cards

We live in a very old house – part of it is over 100 years old and, ironically, it is that side of the house that is the most structurally sound. Other parts of the house have become problematic over the years – bricks crumbling on one side, the ceiling in the big bedroom breaking one day when a builder put his foot through it and nearly fell into the house when repairing some of the roof. Obviously these things have now been repaired (well, bandaged!)

On the weekend a few more things fell apart; the back veranda door fell right out if its grooves, onto an outside table (it has been threatening to do this for some time). Luckily, the table saved it from smashing into a million pieces of glass. Then its accompanying fly-screen door fell out of its grooves into the house (these two door have a very close relationship).

Then, as if all of the doors in the house were following some sort of evil ritual, the shower door in the bathroom also fell out of its hinges – well, sort of. You see, it was a sliding door that had stopped sliding, so, in order to get into the shower, you had to hold your breath and squeeze through a small gap. Yesterday, Ming became so annoyed with this that he took half of the door off and propped it against the remaining bit of the door. He didn’t prop it very well, however so, when I had to go to the loo in the middle of the night, I bumped into it and it fell into the shower recess. Thankfully, it didn’t smash and is now outside with the rest of the rebellious doors.

Today, the kitchen door is nearly off its hinges, the front fly-wire door doesn’t close unless you force it to, and the key to the glass front door won’t work properly (which means we often have to climb into the house through a window, although that won’t be necessary anymore since we now have an almost door-less house).

Ming has been trying to fix all of these things this morning and has done a great job and I am very proud of him for trying to do this kind of thing by himself when he has never been taught. I like the way he is figuring out how to fix things without anybody’s help and with very little nagging from me. He is doing jobs I used to watch Anthony do, and he is doing them willingly and cleverly.

I had a pretty grim weekend with all of the doors in my own house-of-cards breaking, or falling, but I guess that’s what has to happen before the ‘fix you’ thing can happen. Anthony always waited until things were totally broken before he would address the situation: doors, pumps, hoses, fences, vacuum cleaners, me.

My pompholyx was finally healed enough for me to visit Ants yesterday and, when he saw my scarred hands, he reached out and stroked my wrists with his cool fingers, and watched me carefully as I smiled through unshed tears of utter misery at being separated from him.

Me: I can’t even do the bloody dishes because I am not supposed to go anywhere near rubber gloves or detergent.
Ants: Well bring me home and I can do all of that for you!
Me: But Ants, it’s nearly 3pm – it’s too late to bring you home now and, I hate to say this, but you are too sick with the PD to help me – you will only make it all harder.
Ants: (Silence)
Me: Oh great, so have I hurt your feelings now?
Ants: No.
Me: As soon as my hands are better I will pick you up to go out – is that okay?
Ants: Has to be, doesn’t it.

Then, surprisingly mobile for that time of day, Ants walked me out to the parking lot and waved goodbye. I stopped at the end of the driveway to the nursing home to check in the rear vision mirror that he was going back inside the nursing home. I watched as he slowly turned the walker around and limped back to the nursing home doors which opened automatically. And, when he disappeared through those doors, I tried not to think about anything except how well those doors worked!

Oh and the ducklings keep getting through the faulty door of their chookpen – argh. In one more week they will be too big to get out until I open the gate (which hopefully won’t break before then!)


The best thing about a house of cards is that it is so interesting!



No matter how honest and revealing a person is, either face-to-face or in a blog, there are certain things that are unsayable, secret, too personal.

There have been a couple of incidents at the nursing lodge lately where Anthony has behaved in a way that is disturbingly out-of-character.

The ungentling of my gentle husband’s brain is causing him to do and say things that are horrible. Taboo.



I keep trying to embrace the idea of death, but I can’t imagine Anthony gone.

So I’m beginning to understand this kind of grief via the blogs of friends who grieve for loved ones.

It might be my turn next but I’m not sure…. Death-defying?

My best friend – Anthony.


Slapstick taxi mishaps

I seem to be developing an unintentional talent for slapstick comedy especially when it is a wheel-chair taxi situation.

This afternoon, Anthony came home for a few hours and it was great until he became ‘wobbly’ (that’s our word for when the Parkinson’s disease gets the better of him).

Anyway, the taxi arrived to take Ants back to the nursing lodge and there was a flurry of activity as Ming and I got him into the wheelchair, and the taxi driver and an apprentice got him into the taxi, and I tried to find my elusive wallet.

Once all of that was okay, and I’d said goodby to Ants, I thanked the driver, shook his hand and closed his door so he could drive off.

He was such a kind person so I thought he was yelling at me (over the sound of the taxi engine) that I was such a kind person too, but he just kept yelling.

I had slammed the door on his foot!



I found some old socks –
the football socks you once wore
to get the cows in.

Your favourite socks!
But you never played football –
you just liked to run….

I put your socks on
and now I will go to bed
With you warming me.



Some people love Change and some people hate it. Change sometimes causes terrible conflicts – in relationships, workplaces, countries, and in all sorts of different contexts – when one ‘side’ embraces Change, and the other ‘side’ doesn’t.

I used to love Change until too many changes happened at once, and then I craved stability, but that got a bit boring!

So it is now back to Change again – yeeha – because Change is wonderfully malleable. You can change Change; after all, that is its nature.

I have learned that if you don’t welcome Change, it will bite you anyway – not nastily, just in a nibbly way.

Change and I are buddies again and it has been a fantastic day!


Gelotology – the study of laughter

Today I discovered that I am just as skilled at laughing as I am at crying, so I googled ‘laughing’ and found another new word!

Today I told Anthony that I had rung the taxi company to get the money back for the unnecessary second trip yesterday and we would be reimbursed, but all he could say was, “I didn’t like the way that taxi driver put his arm around you.” I couldn’t stop laughing.

Today I wrote a blogpost about being nagged by Ming, our 18-year-old son and the first thing he said when he got home from music school was, “What’s this dirt on the carpet? You came inside with your boots on didn’t you.” I couldn’t stop laughing.

Today, one of our roosters, Tina Turner, who has taken over the whole chook harem, attacked me more viciously than ever before when I went to feed the hens. He drew blood! Well, I kicked him in self-defense and he somersaulted in the air. I couldn’t stop laughing (it’s okay, he is fine as you can see – he loves to dance on that table!)

Today I rang the guy who has repaired our nearly dead ute (truck) and explained why we still hadn’t picked it up and he started singing a refrain from that song ‘Julie, Julie, Julie, do you love me?’

I couldn’t stop laughing!


This and that

Yesterday the ute (truck) died and today it had to be towed into town to a place where they specialize in vehicle resuscitation.

Before Ming had his spinal operation he liked dancing on the roof. He is not allowed to do this anymore.

Today’s photo journey with Ants may not happen until late, maybe even tomorrow, because we have to wait to hear from the vehicle resuscitation people first. I spoke to Anthony on the phone and he was okay about this except for a new melancholic voice thing he has recently acquired.

I have acquired a new pragmatic voice thing and told him to stuff it up his jumper (it’s okay, we both laughed).

The pest control people are coming tomorrow morning to inspect our white ant (termite) problem and eradicate it and then charge us a small fortune that I will pay happily but begrudgingly. I did ask them if they could do it for free but they said no.

We now have more wild rabbits here that I have even seen – whole families of rabbits EVERYWHERE. Yes, they are cute, but they are also digging up the foundations of all of the buildings and I have noticed that the house is tilting a bit (kidding!) I am once again considering the gun option.

Thanks to Tootlepedal’s blog, I have become more interested in flowers and am planning my sunflower garden. I figure if I plant zillions then the birds can have some and we can have some. I am very excited about this idea but haven’t put it into action yet.

Ming has begun volunteering one morning a week at Djidi djidi Aboriginal school and he loves it.

I am going to buy some hedgeclippers tomorrow to prune the roses before my gardening friend comes over on Friday because I want to impress her.

The new chooks are laying copious amounts of eggs and so is Tapper, our female duck, so I am trying new egg recipes (in my mind I mean – I haven’t done them yet).

Ming has written two beautiful songs for his Certificate 4 in music. He is also trying to grow a beard.

The beautiful people at the university’s computer department have put all of my writings onto a thumb drive for me and tomorrow I get my final pay check.

There seems to be some reluctance from the nursing lodge to employ me and I am still waiting for this verdict.

I found four beautiful things to post to Nia who gave me the beautiful cushion/pillow cushions.

Ming wants to be a dairy farmer like Anthony and I am thrilled. He works for our neighbours on a part-time basis and loves it!

The little girl who has had nearly two years of battling cancer is home again, thank God.

Our friend who was in the car accident three weeks ago is gradually recovering, thank God.

I am learning, via the blogs I read, that every single moment is a gift.


“When are you coming to pick me up?”

The phone just rang and it was Anthony.

“When are you coming to pick me up?”

Then a nurse came on the phone to say she had dialled for him and we had a short discussion about this evening confusion thing. She handed the phone back to Ants.

“I’m at … I’m at Petunia Park – I’ve been waiting for you to come over too.”

“Ants, you’re not at Petunia Park, you are at the nursing home and I’ll be in tomorrow again okay?”

The conversation went on for a bit longer but he calmed down with the help of the nurse.

I have reserved a little bit of my heart for these occasions – that way my whole heart doesn’t get ripped to shreds, just the little bit.


Sorrow is not as scary as it seems

Okay, in case it isn’t already obvious from recent posts on this blog, I am/we are experiencing sorrow due to my husband, Anthony’s physical and mental deterioration (courtesy of Parkinson’s disease). Ming, our son is also experiencing sorrow but from a sensible distance and that is fine and understandable.

So the bulk of this sorrow is mine alone – of course it is and I can’t, and don’t, expect anyone else to take it on because why should they? All of our friends and family have their own lives, their own joys and challenges and, sometimes, their own personal sorrows.

Even Anthony himself doesn’t feel the intensity of sorrow I feel and that is a good thing – a wonderful thing. And, as for me, this is my own deep sorrow that cannot be alleviated by invitations to dinner or movies or lunches or all of those suggestions from my beautiful friends, because this sorrow is not self-indulgent – it is a simple reality and it is inescapable. It doesn’t plunge me into a pit of despair; it just is and it somehow stills my soul.

This kind of sorrow doesn’t want or need cheering up; it doesn’t need distraction; it needs to be felt in its entirety, to be embraced and acknowledged and never avoided. It sits on my shoulder like a half tame bird who might fly off at any time – unpredictable.

Sorrow needs to be faced without fear and, strangely perhaps, it also needs to be embraced, accepted, absorbed and, for me, this is (despite the openness of this blog), deeply personal. I need to do this sorrow thing by myself. So for my beautiful neighbour-friends who care enough to want to rescue me from this sorrow, please let me be for awhile – let me figure it out by myself because I know that I can and will.

I am no longer afraid of sorrow.