Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A knotty problem

Muscle knots. Don't you hate them?

I got a doozy this morning. There I was in bed, half awake, on my side with my legs curled up. I decided to do a little stretch, then a little clench and WHAP!  I felt the muscle 'go' with a twang on the outside of my right knee.

I moved my leg. Not good. I got out of bed. Even worse.  I couldn't put much weight on my leg and it hurt like buggery to walk.

I rang a sports coach mate who took me through what happened and told me that if I hadn't heard a distinct "POP" it wasn't a tendon, it was a pulled muscle. Ice packs, he said, and put a tennis ball behind your knee when you sit at the desk to act on the pressure points.


All day I've been alternating between ice packs and my trusty Sunbeam Masseur machine, which has a deep muscle attachment. Both of these gave me an excuse to quit the desk and go lie on the sofa with a book (ice pack) or bed with a book (Masseur). I was having trouble concentrating on work anyway as my leg was aching.

By lunchtime I was hobbling a bit better.

In the end it was the Masseur that made the big difference. I smeared liberal amounts of Tiger Balm on my leg and got to work.  Moving around the affected area this afternoon I suddenly hit an ouchy spot, a real humdinger.  Hmm, that felt hard as a rock and I figured I'd found the problem. A knot.

There's a real exquisite agony to sorting this kind of problem yourself. I wouldn't have gone to a physio or masseur, afraid of the pain they'd inflict without warning. But when you DIY you can feel what you're up to and how far you can go.

Two intense Tiger Balm-laden sessions later my leg feels almost normal again. I'm not limping. I can walk up and down the stairs again.

This morning, when I thought I'd sprained a muscle and would be days hobbling and cursing, I cancelled all my meetings for tomorrow as there would have been no way I could drive. Tomorrow was looking like a bastard for meetings - too many of them. So suddenly I have a free day to crack on with other work and do my Mum's shopping (more important than meetings anyway). The knotty problem was a bit of a blessing after all. Was it worth the pain though? Nope. No injury is.

I'm seriously impressed with the old Sunbeam Masseur though :-).

Friday, April 19, 2013

Here's your birthday present. I already unwrapped it for you.

A close friend of ours is having a birthday next week, so given that he's an aviation nut, we bought three DVDs about aircraft for him. Great bargain - three for $25.95.

G was with me when we bought them, so he knew they were destined to be a gift.

Which doesn't explain why, when we got home, he calmly tore the wrapping off one and started to watch it.

"What are you doing?" I yelped.

"Oh, Chris'll never know," he replied airily.

"He mightn't be the sharpest tool in the shed but he'll see one of them has been opened."

"So I can open all of them and they'll look the same."

Dear Herbert!! What to do?  I don't have access to one of those clever machines that shrinkwraps things.

So after G had duly watched all three - realising along the way he already had one of them as a video tape from decades past - I experimented with ways to seal the boxes so they looked like new. I tried sticky tape over the opening. Yuk. I cut clear ConTact paper into a careful circle and stuck it over the opening. Still didn't look great.

I told Mum what G had done, as Chris is a friend of her's too, and she was horrified. "What did he do that for? Is he alright in the head?"

We both agreed that when Chris opened his present, his first reaction would be that we had given him three DVDs we had finished with and no longer wanted. In short, an insult.

It was with a sigh I went back to the newsagent today, without G, and bought three new copies of the DVDs. I won't tell G. I'll just make sure he doesn't do it again; next time I'll hide any DVDs we buy for others the instant we get home.

I'm giving the others to Mum to watch, as she was married to a pilot and finds aviation stories interesting. I'll just tell her to hide them when G and I drop in.

What's your view? Is giving someone a 'used' present (unless it's vintage, antique etc) an insult?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dogs are from Mars, Cats are from Venus

There are dog people and cat people. And then, there are people who behave just a bit like dogs and cats.

I always joke that I am part cat; I share a cat's liking for my own company, I prefer peace and quiet to parties, elegance and order to chaos, and the opportunity to have a thorough bath/shower every day and feel well-groomed. I have a regrettable sense of schadenfreude that any cat would appreciate, and my night vision isn't bad either. There are times when I don't want to be touched; if I had a tail it would swish with annoyance then. I am a cat person.

That being said, I also own a dog whom I love dearly - I have had both cats and dogs in my home since childhood. But I relate better to cats than dogs when all is said and done.

My husband G on the other hand has something dog-like about him. When I first met him I was reminded of a jaunty terrier, cheerfully sniffing around me. If he had a tail it would wave plumily and happily. Many men are like that; they're like dogs sniffing for a bitch on heat. G is gregarious, and enjoys human company far more than I. He's bigger than I both in height and width and when he walks in the door at the end of the working day the house seems much smaller and less spacious. It's a small place anyway but suddenly, like the cats, I'm having to weave around furniture and G to get from point A to B.

You've all seen that joke Diary of a Cat and Diary of a Dog. The cat's diary tells of plots and plans of escape; it is complex, while for the dog everything except a bath is simply "My favourite thing!"

G reminds me of the dog's diary every mealtime. Even if it's only bacon and eggs for breakfast, or a simple steak and veg for dinner, or even just crackers and cheese for lunch, he responds the same: "Oh Wow!" When I present him with a divine and powerful curry, or a dish that has taken a couple of hours to pull together perfectly, it's still "Oh Wow!" My favourite thing! I have to laugh. (And he eats like a dog too, shovelling food into his gob as quickly as humanly possible!)

Like our dog, G manages to position himself in my path when I'm trying to do things around the house. I do most of the cooking because I truly enjoy it, and it's a creative release at the end of the working day - that or the opportunity to take my frustration out on food with a big, sharp knife! Whichever cupboard I need to open, I can guarantee that G will have moved himself in front of it, arms hanging gormlessly at his sides.  If it's not him, it's our dog. With the dog, I can point to the door and say "Out!" and she'll give me That Dog Look and move to the living room. With G, it's a constant, polite "Excuse me," as I move him from in front of the cupboards time and again, until he gets the message and stands next to the dog! (The cats, meanwhile, have found themselves high perches out of the way.)

G loves me with a dog-like devotion. This is a good thing, as my previous relationships were mostly toxic, with me being the one doing all the loving. He has had very high-maintenance, cloying women in his past and when we first started dating he used to ring me from his home interstate every night. I mean every night. Sweet as it was it could be a bloody nuisance if I was going out with friends; if he couldn't get me on the home phone he'd try the mobile, worried that I'd be annoyed if I didn't hear from him. When he's on business travel he tries to ring every night and I've told him not to when his itinerary is a full one. I am very understanding having had jobs in the past myself which involve quite a bit of business travel and won't get cross or feel abandoned if the phone doesn't ring. Like our dog, I think he suffers a bit of separation anxiety when he's away from me!

Still, I am blessed. I have two beautiful and loving cats (really! they are!), a lovely dog and a great husband. Love my own company and my solitude as I do, I suspect I am better with him in my life than I was before I met him.

So, can you draw a cat or dog parallel with your partner - or yourself?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Dots before my eyes.

Today's Mondayitis is brought to you by blue dots. Not to mention red and green ones.

Well, it isn't, really, it's brought to you by having to go out tonight to a networking function I have co-organised.  I always get depressed in the daytime before I have to go to these functions. Y'see, the networking functions are at the end of the day when I've had enough of the human race. I don't want to be changing into my business attire at 4pm and heading out. It's time to head home. Once I'm at the functions I'm fine though; get a glass of chardy into me and I'm quite cheerful.

But back to the blue dots.

The board which runs the association for which I do the networking nights is all in a kerfuffle about putting coloured dots on the name badges of the attendees for tonight's function. A blue dot means they are top level members, a green dot will mean they are middle level and a red dot means they are the lowest level.

My co-organiser for the event, whom I shall call The Fit One (as she is, she teaches gym classes part time), has already put dots on the name tags.

The poor chook will now have to take them off following a heated email discussion about the colour of the dots and whether all three levels of membership need dots.

Someone said they should be gold, silver and bronze instead. Just try buying bronze sticky dots at the newsagent, my friend. You might get the gold and silver, except they are likely to be star-shaped; the stickers which cheer up the kids in infants' school.

Someone else said only the top level members should get dots so people could see they were 'important'.

This was all getting a bit heated.

Our Leader (chairman of the board) has now sent an email around saying there will be no dots at all at tonight's meeting and we will discuss, as a board, the way forward regarding dots at the next board meeting.

The Fit One will be annoyed right now as she'll have to peel off all the dots as we undoubtedly don't have enough spare name tags WITHOUT dots!

Our Leader is taking her duties very seriously. She has developed a slightly patronising style of writing which irks me somewhat as the pedantic English she uses is often misspelt. If you can't spell it, don't write it down. The syntax bugs me though. She's trying to sound smarter and more imposing than she really is. It doesn't go with her bumfreezer skirts and low cut tops.

So we will spend at least fifteen minutes at the next board meeting talking about dots. Maybe the dot problem will be resolved, maybe it won't.

We have a very active Board at the moment who find a lot of ideas for The Fit One and I to pursue which is fine, but we have a very limited budget and the switch from blue dots to gold could make the difference between being in the black and the red.

It's enough to send you dotty.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I've seen the light. It's on the dining table.

I think I've mentioned before that my husband G is not a handyman. I'm the practical one of the pair.

However, I don't like doing DIY stuff on anything electric. Stuffing up things electrical can lead to blown fuses - a minor complaint - up and onwards to electric shocks or house fires.

Having worked on a DIY partworks magazine 30 years ago, G believes he has absorbed things that the DIY people working on the mag did and explained (G's job was to actually write the articles). Sometimes this works well. Other times it's nightmarish, and he's bitten off more than he can chew.

You'd think simply wiring in a cheap array of downlights would be an easy job.  It SHOULD be an easy job, theoretically.

You undo the existing light fitting, note which wires went where, and install them to the new.



Where do I begin? Do I start with the swearing, a superb display of invective ending up in "You f*cking c***ing bastard of a c***!!"?

Do I mention the mouse shit that poured out of the light fitting hole when we removed the existing fitting?

Do I focus instead on the fact that instead of a simple array of one each of red, green and black wires we had multiples of same with the black wired into two holes not just one?

Do I talk about the excruciating half hour we spent on two ladders with G sweating and swearing and trying to force those bloody wires into the new fitting, head on one side because of the ceiling, before finally realising you could take out a couple of screws in the new fitting and free up the wiring section so you could fit in new wires much more easily?

I should certainly complete the tale of the hour's work with the information that once the wires were correctly installed and a bulb fitted for testing, that flicking on the electrical phase that controlled the lights turned the bulb on. Hurrah. Except the light switch was set to OFF. And when we turned it ON, the bulb went out and the safety switch clicked on, turning the electrical lights phase safely to off again.

That's when the swearing hit a new crescendo.  (See above)

Cue another go at the wiring in case the L and N were the wrong way around. Same deal. Bulb went on when it was supposed to be off.

That's when we gave up on the new light fitting and decided it was dodgy. No wonder it was cheap! Where was the receipt? Was it in the drawer?  What the hell, let's just put the old light fitting back for now.

So we did. Or G did. And we had the same problem with the light bulb being on when it should be off.

So now the light fittings old and new are sitting on the dining table, and I'm looking up electricians on True Local. I'm hoping that our wires aren't buggered because of the mice (which are no longer with us, I hasten to add).

G has forsworn all things DIY. Until next time!