The Summer of George

I finished up working at Equator IT last Friday. Its been a roller-coaster of a ride, and working in such a tiny company is definitely a long way removed from a big corporate gig. I learned a lot from the role, and I thoroughly enjoyed working with Ben again, but due to lots of different circumstances, it was time to move on.

So where to now, you might ask? Well, I’m going back to Dingu Blue, who are now based out of the Workpac offices in the Valley. Back when I left Dingu Blue, I had very mixed feelings about my departure; although I hadn’t been looking around for a new role, the opportunity that I was presented with seemed like a good fit, and the timing was just right (for lots of different reasons). Upon leaving, my boss pulled me aside and said, “Go and try that roll for a year, then come back and talk to me”. So, that’s what I did – and, with plenty of new web-development projects on the horizon, going back to Dingu seems once again like its good timing. Couple that with the fact its somewhere I’m that familiar with, plus somewhere that I thoroughly enjoyed working in the past, and suffice to say I’m quite looking forward to it.

In the interim however, I’m having some downtime – to the tune of five glorious weeks. I had a little over two weeks annual leave saved up from my job, and I still haven’t taken my government sponsored two weeks of paternity leave. And with the year that we’ve had, we are well overdue for some downtime, so we’re cashing in! We have a few week-long trips planned, but plenty of “stay-cation” time as well – finally a chance to try and catch up on those ever growing “to-do” lists.

So – let the Summer of George begin!

Posted in work

Wandering Cooks Phenomnomnom

Kristy had the bright idea the other night that we should try out some culture and eat at Wandering Cooks. Actually, I’m not sure if it’s called that or “Food Truck Phenomnomnom”, or “Nom at Night”, and my research isn’t providing me with any answers. So, I’m going to call it “Wandering Cooks Phenomnomnom”, and move right along.

Basically, the concept (so far as I could tell) was that a bunch of different food trucks all pulled up to the same place to tout their wares. Each one offered only a few selections along a theme; there was a BBQ style truck, a hot wings truck, pizza, beer, coffee, etc – something for everyone. Obviously there was no going past the ribs for me, and for $14 I got 5 good sized pork ribs with plenty of meat on them, some impeccably prepared onion rings, and a fairly decent serving of coleslaw. Kristy went with a pulled pork sandwich for $10, and we were both delighted with our selections. So was Leo.

Leo going for Kristy's roll

Of course, Oscar had his eye on only one thing – a Cronut, which is a cross between a croissant and a donut. They came in a number of flavours, but Oscar (wisely, I think) went with the Tim Tam flavour. It was delicious. And, huge.

Oscar with his Cronut

So huge in fact, it looked comically large in Oscar’s childish hands. But that didn’t stop him from giving it a good attempt.

Oscar eating his Cronut

Kristy and I could only watch on proudly as he threw himself at it – which, of course, only made us want one for ourselves. So yes, we bought another one, and yes, we ate it that night. Don’t judge us; at least we split it!

Posted in food, life in australia

Underwater World

Prior to today, I had never been to Underwater World. I remember seeing the ads for the underwater tunnel as a kid and thinking it looked amazing, but as I grew older and more cynical, I thought, “Surely it’s way more lame than it looks on TV?”. Oh my, how wrong I was – it’s awesome!

The Underwater Tunnel

They have massive sting rays and sharks swimming around in there, often right over your head. We saw quite a few of them just lazing on top of the glass. Speaking of the glass, I was also worried that it would be really filthy or only semi-translucent after years of use, but again, I couldn’t have been more wrong – it was extremely clear and obviously well maintained. Its quite long too – probably 150 metres or so – and each section contains a different variety of sea life.

Oscar and I in the underwater tunnel

You can even pay a bit (read “a lot”) extra and go for a dive in there, with all of the sharks and sting rays and gigantic fish.

Of course, there’s more to Underwater World than just the giant tunnel (but for me that was the main appeal). We also got our timing right to see the seal show, which was thoroughly entertaining. Those seals are clever things!

Seal show

As exciting as the whole thing was though, I think Oscar’s favourite exhibit was the vest last thing that we saw.

Oscarnauts!

No explanation necessary.

Posted in life in australia

Pine Rivers Model Train show

Oscar, Dad and I hit the Strathpine Community Centre today to see the Pine Rivers Model Train show. One booth had nothing but model boats, and I was tempted to inform the lads that perhaps they had taken a wrong turn somewhere and landed at the wrong show; but they seemed happy, so I let it slide.

Most exhibitors seemed to hit the nail on the head though, and consequently there were a lot of model trains to see. There’s something quite captivating about watching the little engines roll around on the track, I’ll admit; but by far, the best booth at the exhibit was the one where you actually got to control the trains. Ohhhh, yeah.

Model trains

Suffice to say, this was also Oscar’s favourite booth, and once we were there, it was pretty difficult to convince him to move on. We even went back for a second turn after we’d seen everything else! Totally worth the $13 admission.

Posted in life in australia

Random photos

Some random photos from the last couple of weeks.

Oscar running the maze

One of Oscar’s new favourite games is to run around a maze that we draw in the grass with the hose.

Big throw

Oscar trying to throw a ping-pong (“pong-pong”) ball through the hoop

Leo

I took some photos of Leo with the camera resting inconspicuously on the kitchen bench. Sneaky!

Cowboy

Oscar’s kindy had a “cowboy” dress up day.

Leo on the couch

Leo loves playing with the cushions on our new outdoor couch. They have a very interesting texture!

Posted in life in australia, photos

The Pine Rivers Show

Always looking for new ways of entertaining the kids (or more specifically Oscar; Leo is entertained simply by smiling at him), Kristy suggested I take him along to the Pine Rivers Show to watch the fireworks. He’s been asking about them quite incessantly recently, but I cannot fathom why.

So, along we trudged last Friday night after dinner. The website suggested parking was best on Lawnton Pocket Road, and I was quite surprised how easily we found a park – in my head, I had thought the entire road would be jam packed. Maybe its because we arrived so late, but we got a spot right near the front so our walk to the gate wasn’t far at all.

Now for my only complaint about the show. We arrived at about 7:15 PM; the fireworks were scheduled for 8 PM, and I think the show closed at 9 PM. So, even though we were only going to be there for a couple of hours at most, the entry fee was still full price ($15). Merv at the gate (may not be his real name) insisted that I fill in my name and contact details on my ticket, and then put it into the barrel so I could be in the draw to win $1,000! This seemed like a good idea, so I asked, “Where’s the barrel to put my ticket in?”. “Oh, I dunno, somewhere inside” he replied. We didn’t find the barrel.

Once inside, we made straight for showbag ally. Oscar was keen on a Dora the Explorer bag, but at $26, that was not going to happen. Thankfully, his second choice was a $6 Freddo the Frog bag, which was comparatively good value, as it came with about 20 Freddos and a pen. So, with “Pick up a showbag” ticked off the list, we made a bee-line for the main arena where the fireworks were going to be on. We got there in time to see the pre-fireworks show – a freestyle motorbike stunt crew doing jumps and flips and what not. It was really entertaining, and at only 1/2 an hour long, it was short enough to hold Oscar’s (and my) attention for the whole time. Oscar is generally not a huge fan of anything noisy but he was surprisingly unfazed by the whole thing.

Motorbike stunts

Not so much for the fireworks, though. These were being released only 100 metres or so from where we were sitting, and since we were inside a closed-in grandstand, the noise really echoed when they burst. But, we were there to see the fireworks, so we sat through the whole show – and he was actually pretty delighted with them once he clamped his hands over his ears.

By far though, the highlight of Oscar’s night was the “catch a frog in the net” game that he played on our way out. He attacked those floating frogs so fast that he’d already caught two (of three) before I had my wallet back into my pocket. So, by the time I pulled phone out to snap a quick photo, he’d already caught his three frogs and the game was over.

After each frog was caught, the carny turned it over to announce how many points it was worth. “Ok, a four!” for the first one; “a six!” after the second, and “two points!” after the third. “Well done!” he said, “you scored exactly 10 points!”. (Huh? Really?) “You can choose anything off this rack as a prize!”. Sure, I could have questioned the accuracy of his maths, but when Oscar saw that a friendly looking, one metre (or so) long stuffed snake was an option, he was sold. The guy handed the snake to Oscar who immediately fell in love, and spoke to him like it was a long lost pet. “Hello, Freddie!”.

He was one happy little camper.

Posted in life in australia, oscar

Lessons learnt from stacking my bike

A couple of weeks back, I had a major stack on my bike while commuting to work. One moment I was riding along happily chatting with Ben, and the next moment, my face was scraping along the ground. Now I’ve had stacks before, but nothing like this – it was seriously like the bike was under me one second, and then all of a sudden it wasn’t.

Shortly after face-planting on the ground, I was considering my situation and trying to determine what had happened. As I was sitting down recovering, not five minutes later, another cyclist came along and stacked in the exact spot that I did! Sad for him too I suppose, but it made me feel as though perhaps it wasn’t entirely my fault, and that something outside of my control may have been afoot.

So far as I can discern, the main problem was a slippery bridge. The bridge in question begins and ends with a rather sharp corner, and I suspect what happened was that I turned my front wheel just a bit too early, while it was still on the bridge rather than on the safety of the path. It was only post-stack that we discovered how slippery the bridge actually was, which reaffirmed that turning my wheel (which has very little grip) would very likely have been my downfall.

Still, I like to consider myself a pretty happy-go-lucky type of guy, and as such, I’ve been looking to find a silver lining to all of this. So far I haven’t really come up with anything; however, I have identified three lessons that I’ve learnt from the experience.

  1. Old, dark wooden bridges may be hiding a layer of moss, which also means they may be slippery when wet. Like, ridiculously slippery, to the point where you’d probably be safer riding on ice.
  2. Knee injuries suck. My left knee was slightly battered, but it was my right knee took the brunt of the fall. It swelled up badly enough that I had a lot of pain just from walking. Nearly two weeks later and its still a bit sore (not to mention heavily scabbed).
  3. It takes me well over three days to grow a convincing hipster beard. Since I had grazed the side of my jaw / cheek, I wasn’t game to go near it with a razor; instead, I shaved my neck and tried to pull off the infamous hipster look. Sadly, my stubble is a bit patchy on the sides, so I don’t think I really was fooling anyone.

Thankfully I’m well on the road to recovery now, but I’m not yet up to riding again – maybe next week. But the beard has gone.

Posted in bicycle

Ileostomy Reanastomis, take two

Last Friday, Leo headed into hospital for a second attempt at his ileostomy reanastomosis (or “stoma closure” in layman’s terms). After the last attempt went so disastrously wrong, we were understandably nervous about how things were going to go this time.

tl;dr

The surgery went swimmingly well this time, and Leo and Kristy came home only three days later!

We had been “refeeding” Leo for the last few months in order to prepare for surgery. Basically, this involved inserting a foley catheter into the downstream side of his of his stoma, then injecting 30ml – 40ml of formula through it. I’ll be the first to admit that I will not miss doing this. The surgeons assured us that “nothing bad could go wrong”, but then in the same breath, warned us to be careful not to push too hard or we might “accidentally puncture his colon, and that would be really bad”.

But, the surgeons also informed us that successful refeeds would do wonders for a successful outcome in surgery, so we were determined to make it work. The idea was that it would start exercising his colon, which until this point really hadn’t been used much at all. It also provided us with some reassurance that his colon had full connectivity, and that his colon had good peristalsis.

Our first attempt was a complete disaster – after 20 minutes of trying to get the catheter in, we had no choice but to admit defeat. But after another lesson watching the surgeons do it, we managed to refine our technique, and subsequent efforts proved extremely successful. By the time his surgery date had come around, we must have clocked up at least 15 or 20 successful refeeds, so we were satisfied that we had done everything we possibly could to prime his colon.

We arrived at the hospital bright and early at 6:30 AM on Friday morning. Leo’s surgery was the first one on the roster, which meant that he had to be “nil by mouth” since 4 AM. After the usual routine of triple-checking his details, he was taken into surgery at about 8:30 AM.

His surgeon called us around an hour-and-a-half later to say that everything had gone really well. About 45 minutes after that, I was allowed to go and see him in surgical recovery. He was a bit dopey from the general anaesthetic, but otherwise was looking really good – and bag free! In fact, everyone was so impressed with how well his surgery had gone that they sent him straight up to the recovery ward (instead of the Intensive Care ward that he was originally scheduled for). This was both a good and bad thing – good, because it meant his surgery had gone even better than expected, but bad because his history of recovering after surgery wasn’t great, and Intensive Care is as good as it gets in terms of medical attention.

Waiting to hear that your six-month old has come through surgery is bad enough, but nervously waiting for “up to three days” afterwards to see if the surgery was successful is far worse. What we needed was for Leo to produce a dirty nappy, and ideally, for his stomach not to swell up (well – a little swelling was to be expected, given that he’d just had intestinal surgery, but after his first reanastomosis, his stomach became quite swollen within about eight hours, and by 24 hours afterwards it looked like he’d swallowed a small balloon).

I cannot tell you how overjoyed we were when about 6 AM the next morning, Leo produced his first ever dirty nappy. Kristy called me from the hospital with the news, and even sent me a photo of the evidence (which I’ll spare you from). The recovery was going very successfully indeed! The last thing Leo had to prove before he was discharged that he could keep producing dirty nappies, even when he was back on solid food. So, given the all clear from his medical team, he started back on food by Sunday morning. And, thankfully, the dirty nappies just kept on coming. The surgery was a complete success!

Leo was discharged mid-Morning on Monday, after barely three days in hospital. It was his shortest – and most successful – visit yet! We are overjoyed to have him home, back to his happy healthy self, and COMPLETELY BAG FREE!

Posted in cystic fibrosis, leo

A long time between drinks

Wow, it’s been a while since I posted. Where does the time go?

Fig Tree Walk

A few weeks ago, we joined Julian and Shelley on an adventure up the coast. Julian had organised for us all to do the Fig Tree Walk, which starts just outside of Kenilworth. The guidebook had indicated that it was a “forty five minute walk, suitable for beginners”, however I think there must have been an error during the transcription – it should have read, a “four to five minute walk”. The longest component was the trail between the carpark and the start of the walk. Nonetheless, we were there for the company more than the scenery, and on that front we had nothing to complain about.

Exhausted after our walk, we had a late lunch at Monica’s Cafe in Maleny. The bacon and potato soup was a winner!

Our new Vacuum Cleaner

On a similar note, we are also now the proud owners of a new vacuum cleaner. I had always been convinced that buying a Dyson was like buying IBM, but the more I researched it the less convinced I became. It seems as though Dyson certainly do make impressive vacuum cleaners, but I couldn’t seem to find one that came recommended for our type of carpet (at a price I was willing to pay). Instead, we went with a Hoover 7010PH. Interestingly, it has lots of poor user reviews, but it does well in more agnostic “professional” reviews. I suspect this is because general users reviewers more often than not fall into one of two categories:

  1. They love the product and want the world to know what a great investment they made; or
  2. They hate the product and want to warn the world against making the same mistake.

I’m obviously hoping that in this case, the only people writing reviews are in the former camp – certainly my experience with the vacuum so far is that it does a fantastic (like, scarily fantastic) job of picking up dirt from the carpets, and at the end of the day, isn’t that the main thing you buy a vacuum for? Anyway, it has a three year warranty, so there’s some peace of mind if anything goes wrong. Plus, in the UK, vacuuming is called “Hoovering”, so I figure the brand has to be worth something.

Cliffe n Chips bike ride

Last Saturday, we did our second cycle from Boondall to Redcliffe. Once again we scored with sensational weather – perfect blue skies and barely any wind. Brother Jason joined us for the journey this year, and he recommended we opted for The Red Dolphin over Seafood Lover’s Cafe. I hadn’t been to “The Dolph” since the last time they stuffed up our order, but I’m pleased to report that everything came out as ordered, and it was delicious. They’re back in the good books!

Posted in life in australia

Solids

Leo had his four month birthday about a week ago, which meant he was given the green light for solid foods. Truth be told, he’s actually been having (a very limited amount of) solids since he got his CF diagnosis, since he needs to take his medicine in a little bit of fruit gel. So, I’m not sure if having that little bit of a head-start helped, or if its the fact he’s always seemed pretty keen for almost any food he’s offered – but he took to solid food like a pope takes to kissing concrete.

Leo on first solids

Actually, you might even argue that he took to them a little too well.

Leo loving his food

Quite a contrast to how his big brother enjoyed his first solid food, really.

Oscar v Leo on solids

Posted in food, leo

Recent Comments

  • Jason: I did the tank swim many years ago as part of a work thing – pretty cool!
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Lou and Steve

Brisbane CBD (from Mt Cootha)

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Dancing Kristy

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