Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tony moved to the Gregory Area in 01' He had been working on Nardoo Stn prior to that fencing with a contractor and decided to return and start his own contracting business. I moved there in the April of 02' and had Brandy 5 years later to the day!! That has nothing at all to do with what I am talking about but an interesting fact all the same. I had moved there in the beginning to be a governess and I was teaching 3 girls aged 10, 8 and 4. After 4 months I decided this was not the job for me and I missed the pub life and approached Jo at the Gregory Downs Hotel for a job. I had worked in bars prior to moving to QLD so I did have a bit of an idea as to what I was getting myself in for. We had done the pub thing, the contracting thing, the baby thing and the hay farm thing and after we returned to Gregory after our wedding we had talked endlessly about what to do next. The farm wages were OK but with 2 little ones and all our expenses and the new car payment we were living from fortnight to fortnight and not saving. We were missing out on fun things and often had to postpone payments on bills. This probably would not have happened if both of us were working. I was doing odd jobs here and there and I think I earned all up $1000 last financial year. We had decided it was time for a change however we were not sure where we were going to go or what we were going to do.
Around Jan 08' mum called and told us that Dean had got a crane operating job working on wind farms, and that they were moving from Roxby back to Adelaide. The money was good and they were both really happy. I told her that we still had not decided what we were doing but we did know it was time to go. I had looked on the Internet and we had been keeping an eye out in the local papers to see if anything suited us, but our biggest drama was no knowing what we were looking for.
I ended up applying for a job in Port Lincoln on a tuna farm for Tony as the aquaculture industry had always interested him and he had previously done work on a prawn trawler, the only catch was I didn't tell him I had applied. For those of you who don't know Tony there is no urgency in ANYTHING he does. He isn't slow when it something he wants to do but you can not rush these things. It was now the end of February and after talking about moving for about 6 and a half months he still had not done anything. I was sick of being cramped in a 2 bedroom house with 2 small kids who had to spend a majority of time inside because of the heat, so I did something about it. About 2 weeks passed and we had heard nothing so I assumed they had filled the position and thought nothing of it.
I called mum and was having another whinge about life on the farm, when she suggested I e-mail Tony's resume to her and Dean can give it the foreman on the wind farm. Tony is very mechanically minded and we thought this sort of job would suit him. I spoke to him that night about it and he said why not!! It was a HUGE move but really what is the difference between packing up everything and moving it 500k or 2500k you still have to pack it all and move it. Anyway I e-mailed it, that night then got a call from mum the next morning saying start packing they want him down here A.S.A.P. I had started packing about 2 weeks before as I knew something was going to happen I just didn't know when. Tony called the Foreman and arranged everything, he said yeah how soon can you get here. Tony allowed for 2 weeks notice and 3 days to drive there and gave him a date. He said cool see you then. Word spread like a bush fire and before we knew it everyone in the Burke shire district knew. Tony was working at the farm during the day and packing his shed at night and I was packing in between looking after the kids. I was also cleaning like a mad women to get the house perfect before we left. We were both very busy but managed to get it all done in time.
Those of you who know me and those of you who have read previous blog entries know I am a cryer. I did well when I said goodbye to Jo, (she left on holiday's a couple of days before we left.) I did really well at our going away party at the farm, I didn't even cry when there was a speech. I cried more at Bec and Marty Dixon's going away party than I did at ours. The day before we left Sheldo had come to get some more of Tony's things for us and when he said goodbye I couldn't give him a hug or even look at him, so I just waved. I knew the water works were coming and I was afraid if I started I wouldn't be able to stop. All was OK until Billy and Amanda who were helping us pack the last few things and clean went to leave. Billy started then I started then Amanda stared it was all over. Billy was worried Tony would think he was a sook but Tony held his tears back until they had pulled away. Gregory was a great place and Kasey Chambers said it best in "Southern Kind of life". "It wasn't easy to stay but it was harder to leave".
I will always remember Gregory Downs, "I had nights I can't remember good friends I'll NEVER forget (Toby Keith, Shoken Y'all) There was fun times, sad times, happy times and hard times but all rolled in to one we had a GREAT TIME!!
Bye for now and Happy blogging.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Bye for now and Happy Blogging
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
We left Roxby Downs about 11 am on Monday morning. We knew we had a long trip ahead of us and it was going to be very difficult with a 3 week old baby and 12 month old. For those of you who have seen my car, we didn't have the DVD back then, and oh my god those of you who travel big K's and have kids GET ONE! We spend $250.00 on the one we have at Christamas 07' and it was the best $250 we have spent on anything. Tony drove and we made it as far as Pimba before we had to stop. We both needed coffee, and Brandy needed a change. The poor kid had mess from the back of her neck, to her toes so I basically has to bath her and finding a change of clothes was also a huge effort as they were all in the back of the car with everything on top of them. We headed off again and drove all day, the kids went very well considering the amount of time they were in the car, I would sit between them occasionally and keep them occupied and we also had the music going and they liked that.
Mickalee napping in her car seat.
Brandy snoozing in her car seat
(please take note that the date on my camera has always been wrong!! I lost the instruction book and don't know how to change it : )
We made it Marla Road house for tea and slept in the car at a rest stop Alice Springs side of Kulgara. We made it to Alice Springs about 10am Tuesday morning, booked into "Stuart Range caravan park" I did some washing and some shopping, as we knew it was the last major town we were going through other than Tennant Creek and we didn't want to turn around and drive to Mt Isa to get stores as soon as we got home. Tony tried to get to bed reasonably early but unfortunately Brandy had other idea's. She was on the bottle, and was sleeping better but she had been in the car for so long and had slept most of the time she was over sleeping! I eventually settled her and got some sleep myself. We left Alice Springs at 4 am and planned to go straight home. I think it is about 1300K's. Give or take a few. The road from Alice to Gregory is pretty boring, there is basically nothing to look at and the more often you do it the more boring it was.
We stopped in nearly every town to either get a drink, feed or change the girls, get fuel or just stretch our legs, so this did make the trip drag on, however we needed regular breaks as we were doing such a long haul. There is no way in the world I could be a truck driver. At Three Ways Road house I went to the loo and was amazed to find a vending machine with travel nappies in it. I had never seen anything like it before. I had seen ones for tampons, and condoms but never nappies, so I bought one for Mickalee. We reached Camooweal before dark, and as soon as we crossed the QLD border we knew we didn't have long to go now. The car and the trailer had not failed us and considering the amount of K's we had done we were surprised. We turned onto the Camooweal road and were on the last stretch home when we did a back tyre on the car. This would have been no worries normally but because the kids were over being in the car they were crying, Tony was having trouble getting the jack out of the tool box and everyone was tired. We eventually got the tyre changed but not before a lot of swearing and yelling!!
We arrived back in Gregory Downs about 11 pm Wednesday night and drove straight past the Hay Farm to see our friends at the pub! After 6 weeks away for Tony and 8 weeks away for Mickalee and I we had to go and see everyone and catch up on the local town gossip as well as show off our new beautiful baby.
After saying our hello's and receiving a few welcome back's we headed back to the farm, unloaded the girls and fell into bed for a well deserved sleep. Brandy must have known we were tired because we gave her a last feed about midnight and she slept till 8am. WOW!! I really appreciated nearly 8 hours straight sleep. I had hit the baby jackpot and got two good sleepers.
Bye for now and Happy Blogging.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Uncle Dan & Mickalee on the swingBrandy sleeping through ALL the excitement. So cute when they are asleep!!!Riley trying on Poppy's hat!! He wasn't to sure about it!Nanny and Riley
After our family day, Daniel, Danyell and Riley headed back to Adelaide and Mum, Dean, Josh, Tony, Me and the girls headed back to Roxby. I will say I am a cryer, I will cry at the opening of a door if it is needed. I said good bye to Daniel, Danyell and Riley and was very proud of myself because I didn't get all teary, I was not sure when we would be back and always howled when I left my family. I was all excited about not crying as we were heading out of Port Pirie and then Daniel got on the two way radio and said "love ya chook bye," Then the water works started.
We spent one last week in Roxby with Mum and Dean before we headed back to Gregory. It was a very quick week, we were ready to go home but at the same time I hated leaving. The Sunday before we left Josh went to trade school in Port Augusta, so I waved good bye once again with water works, Then the day it came to say good bye to Mum and Dean they started again. I was never and still are not good at goodbyes. Our trip home to Gregory was very eventful but that is another story!
Until next time bye for now and Happy blogging
Friday, July 18, 2008
My first recollection of this pregnancy is being on my hands and knees next to the loo, yelling and Tony between purges. "When I said I wanted another baby why didn't you just beat me about the head with a baseball bat!!". It amazed me how quickly I forgot! The morning sickness was no-where near as bad as it was with Mickalee but like 99% of people on this planet I hate being sick. Also I also didn't have the luxury of sleeping when I wanted like I had the first time, so I found that hard. I was one of the lucky ones though. Mickalee was sleeping through the night, so I did get good sleep then. Keep in mind though she did have bad night, when teething etc but I was very lucky as this was rare. Everyone pointed out that my next baby would be a bad sleeper as surely I couldn't get that lucky twice.
I was in my second trimester 4Th of September 06' Mickalee and I travelled over to Tarzali. I remember the date because it was the day Steve Irwin died. I had just driven through Georgetown, when I heard it on the radio. We left Gregory about 8.30am and arrived in Milla Milla at Judith and Lindsay's about 8.30pm. I surprised them, they had no idea I was stopping there. The girls were very excited to see Mickalee and were also glad that we were staying in the area for 3 weeks. They got to spend some quality time with their new little cousin. Tony's mum Betty had a knee replacement and this was the purpose for my visit, I had planned to stay with her for 3 weeks to give her a hand, while she partly recovered. Mickalee travelled very well for a 6 month old baby I am sure she slept for 8 hours out of the 12 hour trip. I also found it easier for me to drive and not get tired as I was stopping at every town for little walks around the car, as well as stopping to feed and change her to keep her comfortable.
Bye for now and happy Blogging.
We settled into life at the farm very smoothly, Ashley and Wendy made us feel at home and Tony really liked the mechanical side of his job. He hated the endless hours on the tractors because of his bad knees, however as with any job you take the good with the bad!! The little house was great for the three of us and I enjoyed having a home with a toilet :). We were getting paid fortnightly and were catching up slowly on the debts we had created while Tony was not working. The farm was a reasonably small operation considering the comparison in size to surrounding property's. The farm mainly grew crops of Rhodes grass and sorghum and occasionally they grew oats. All crops were flood irrigated from the Gregory River which ran right behind the compound where the houses and sheds were. This often required Tony to go and check waters and start syphons in all hours of the day and night. This was done on average twice per paddock, per crop and they were trying to get 4 or 5 cuts a year. The Hay Farm supplied the local stations as well as keeping the AA Co stations in stock, it was very rare for there to be hay on the ground, due to such a high demand.
In our pay package, we were being supplied food from the farm, so this saved us many trips to town, as well as freight costs if we were buying our own food. The only things we had to buy were our little naughty treats like chocolate and chips all well as formula, nappies and other things for the baby. This was a great set up for us as I would just go to Wendy's every few days and take what I needed. The farm was also only located 2 km's out of Gregory so I continued to work for Jo. Mickalee was only little and enjoyed sitting in the pram behind the bar while I served. Due to Gregory being a tourist area in it's own right, because of the river it was also on the road to "Lawn Hill national Park", and "Adels Grove", so many tourist called in. A considerable number of them were "Grey haired no-mads" retiree's who are apart of one club or another. I had heard of "S.K.I" (spending kids inheritance) and Tracy informed me of one other day S.A.D.S (see Australia die soon). So as you can imagine a lot of them were grandparents and were delighted to see a baby, some times I worked for 2 hours or so and didn't see her, she was passed from one person to the next. They loved it and so did she.
I think it was approximately 3 months after Mickalee was born that we decided condoms were uncomfortable and we needed to consider something a little more permanent, so I went to the R.F.D.S. clinic and got a pill script. I filled it at the chemist when I was next in town and bought it home. For some reason or another we went to the pub the night I returned from town and had a I had a few drinks. As you can imagine after 9 months off alcohol while pregnant and 6 weeks breast feeding it only took a couple to tip me over the edge. On returning home tipsy I told Tony that I thought having another baby would be a good idea. Considering it took 6 months to conceive Mickalee I figured in my drunken state that it would take 6 months the second time. I am warning you it was more like 6 minutes. I did a home pregnancy test in the July of 06' and it confirmed I was pregnant!! Hooray!!!!
Bye for now and happy blogging
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Jo was very angry with us for showing up UN announced, she reinforced the fact she hated surprises and told us we should have called. Although we got a small lecture I knew she was really happy to see us. The last couple of months had been rough on her after losing Paul and it was good to see some familiar faces. She gave us and our entourage a drink, showed them all where to lay their swags and told us all to feel at home. She had heard about Tony's lack of employment from my many phone calls and told us we could stay as long as we liked and we knew the rules. For those of you who don't know Jo. The rules were simple!! She helped you, you helped her. We were back at Gregory and happy so we didn't care what the rules were, and we were more than pleased at Jo's offer. I was worried at first that Mickalee might not like all the noise of the pub, but soon realised it wasn't going to affect her. I should have guessed she had slept through a cyclone. We settled back in and it was like we had never left.
Tony, Shaun and Jacko helped in the yard, by slashing, mowing, weeding and whipper snipping, they also made sure they drank their fair share of XXXX Gold!! Alyssa and myself helped in the bar and kitchen. At one stage I served a beer while breast feeding Mickalee. The gulf was still getting a lot of rain off cyclone Larry's depression and the dirt roads were boggy and holding up trucks heading to Zinafex mine, 70k west of the hotel. So truck drivers were our customers as they were stranded. The locals also were still ever present and happy with the HUGE wet season we had.
I breast fed Mickalee for 6 weeks, that was all I could stand. She was a terrible feeder and was emptying me both sides every half an hour. I was emotionally exhausted and sleep deprived as she was always hungry and not sleeping. So I changed her onto formula and after her first feed she slept through the night. Well from 9pm to 4am anyway so that was close enough for me. She never looked back and mother and baby were happier with the sleep.
Easter come around very quick that year and Mickalee got to have some chocolate via her breast milk as I had eaten my fair share, we spent the day at the hotel with friends and had a great feed of red claw yabbies. That Tony, Shaun, Jacko and Alyssa had caught out of "Barkley Gully". It took them a very long time to get there and back on the boggy black soil road but it was worth wait. Jo's sister Angela was visiting from Brisbane and let me put it this way, Angela is not used to the "hands on" way we do things out here. However she thought it quite an experience to peal and eat her own yabbie. She had told us prior to the yabbies arriving that she had not done that module. I am still trying to figure how she managed with those long manicured nails. Jo's good friend Charles from Mt Isa refused to have any part of it and ate a meat pie. We told him it was his loss and to enjoy his pie. Another good Friend Sharon who also lives in Gregory helped with the eating of the yabbies and she has a great time fiddling with the claws so those of us who couldn't be bothered with the fiddly bits gave our claws to Sharon. She was eating claws for hours.
There were a lot of new babies in the Gregory area when Mickalee was born and they seemed to be increasing nearly monthly. Either someone was pregnant or had a new born baby. So the semi regular trip made to Gregory from R.A.F.S (remote, area, family, services) was always a good catch up and gossip session for us mums. It was also a great chance for us to discuss milestones our kids had reached and problems we were experiencing as new mums, so we helped each other out as most of us were up there with out constant family support. Monthly clinics held by the R.F.D.S were also great catch up days.
Mickalee went for her 6 week check up at exactly 6 weeks because as it just so happened the flying doctors were due. So I took her to see the child health nurse and everything was OK, they were happy with her weight gain and said they would see me next month for her to have her 8 week needles. I was a little worried at first because I assumed these immunisations had to spot on time wise, I was a new mum and had not heard any different. The nurse assured me getting them done at 10 weeks was no problems and it would save me a trip to town with a new baby by myself.
A month went by very quickly, Tony was still filling in at the farm, Shaun, Alyssa and Jacko had gone and I was helping Jo as much as I could. Tony or Sharon would nurse Mickalee while I cooked at night. Jo had to go away, so I tried to run the place and I think for memory Ben had come back to help. The night of the clinic I also found a nice couple Jeremy and Shona who were camped on the river to work for Jo as we were short of staff. I took Mickalee to the R.F.D.S for her 10 week neddles and yes she cried but all babies do and other than that she seemed fine. She slept well and I had given her panadol as suggested when she got a temperature. The next morning I changed her and found blood in her nappy, and she still had a temp I think it was about 38. I phoned the doctors straight away and they said pack your things we are coming to get her. Obviously my first concern was Mickalee, so I organised everything I needed while on the phone to Wendy at the farm asking her to find Tony and tell him to get here A.S.A.P. I was very upset and Wendy radioed Tony, told him to go home then got in her car and came to check on me. I also called Jo's daughter Jackie as I couldn't get a hold of Jo tell her what was going on. I was very worried about leaving Jeremy and Shona who had only started that morning and Ben (who sometimes was a bit spacey) in charge of the pub. Jackie said the pub would still be standing and to not worry about it. Tell them they could call her if they needed anything and get on the plane. Tony got to the pub and I told him what was going on, so he loaded us up and drove us to the dirt strip to meet the plane. Mickalee still had a high temp but seemed happy enough and basically slept though all the commotion and worry around her. The nurse told me that she suspected it was probably just constipation and we would be there soon the doctors would fix it. As she was only a ten week old baby and such a high temp when we got into the Emergency room at Mt Isa hospital everyone was basically running around me, talking between themselves and focusing on what was wrong with her. I was not there main priority and explaining things to me and that point would have wasted time. They still didn't know what was wrong with her and the explanations were made later. I helped hold her while they made 3 attempts at getting a drip in, they also drew urine from her with a needle and then they told me they had to do a spinal tap to get fluid from her spine to check for meningitis and meningacocol. I think the nurse must have seen my face at this point and told me that no-one would think I was a bad mum if I took a breather and went outside. For those of you who have kids and have been in a similar situation you a very torn, the doctors are helping your child but at the same time sometimes they have to hurt them to get the required result. At times I wanted to just steal her away and cuddle her, then punch the doctor but I knew that wouldn't help. Jo flew into Mt Isa from Brisbane just as I flew in from Gregory, she arrived expecting a car full of fuel and all her belongings loaded in the car, she was in a rush to get back as she had left me there basically alone. She asked Jackie if she had filled her car and Jackie simply said "no", "what about all my things are they in the boot?", "no". "Jackie I told you I was in a hurry I want to get back to give Becky a break." Jackie told her what had happened and Jo came to the hospital. She found me outside by myself on the phone to mum bawling my eyes out. I told her about all the itisis the doctors were talking about and I was worried. She said not to worry as Mickalee is in the right place and everything would be OK. Mickalee's doctor was Mr Westmorland and he was great. He explained everything in terms we could understand and I really appreciated that. Mickalee spent 3 or 4 days in hospital and she was diagnosed with a case of salmonella. I found this confusing as she was not on any form of solids and he said it could have been something as simple as a fly landing on her bottle or dummy. He added no matter what I say you are going to go home and sterilise everything (which I did) but do not blame myself. Kids pick up bugs all the time and she was OK now so don't worry. All the staff and nurses were great to us during her stay and I was glad when it was all over.
The house in Mt Isa was an expense we didn't need and really needed to decide if we were going to go back there or stay in Gregory. Tony had been doing part time work at the "Hay farm" since about a week after we returned to Gregory and we were not expecting it to develop into full time work as Ashley really needed to put 2 workers into the accommodation they had. So we were out of the equation due to me not working but caring for Mickalee. Tony was basically working for them until they found full time workers again. So it looked like we needed to keep the house in Mt Isa until something permanent came up. During this time AA Co (who owned the Hay farm) sold one of it's property's and Ashley acquired an old caravan from there and planned to use it as more accommodation. So Tony was offered a full time position at "Gregory Hay farm" and we were delighted to accept as It meant we had our own little two bedroom cottage.
We had made several trips into Mt Isa to collect all our belongings and to tidy the house for the new renters to move in, as we were cutting short our lease so I had arranged for some friends of some friends to take it over as they were currently in the market, so it all worked out for everyone and we got out of it reasonably well. We lost our bond as it was used for the carpet cleaning, yard to be mowed and weeded and the pest spraying however that was only due to lack of time on our part and us not being able to get there to do it ourselves. We were just glad to be rid of it. Once we had everything we moved into the little cottage at the farm.