I can hear a river, running hard behind me. There are urgent voices discussing something in a language I can't understand. I seem to have a fur hat on. The river is loud, and getting louder. The voices just don't stop. My hat is hot. I put my hand up to adjust it, maybe take it off, and it uncurls and stomps on my face.
I wake. The cat jumps off the bed. It's dark, but the sound of the river persists. I'm not sure if it's really heavy rain, the sort that I'd driven through very slowly the day before, or if it's actually a river. But I'm at home, of course it couldn't be a river.
The voices are still urgent, and I still can't understand them. I sit up in bed and look out the window at the street. I can hear the water, but until I reach for my glasses, I can't quite make out what is happening. Has the street flooded again?
Sort of. Once I got up, and staggered down to the other end of the house, I pieced together the weird scraps of information. The water main on one side of the corner on which our house sits had exploded, or at least burst, and was gushing enormous quantities of water out onto the road, which was then rushing past our window into the nearest stormwater drain. Our verge is awash, muddy water swashing all over the road. Some Asian neighbours, out for a midnight stroll, as they often do (thankfully!), have rung ACTEW, the local water people, and are standing on our corner, watching the amazingly shameful waste of water and chatting urgently to each other. It is about 1:30am.
Best Beloved, always aware of our culinary needs, checks our tap water and finds it sluggish, so fills a number of plastic bottles in case we're cut off for a long time. I could never have thought of that; I'm sitting in my undies & singlet, watching through the loungeroom window in the dark, fascinated by the sound of the water.
Suddenly a couple of monster trucks roar up and mount the kerb and our driveway. Flashing lights, beeping noises, men huddled in groups: everything activates and gains urgency. BB dons a dressing gown and goes out to see if there's anything we have to do. We're told to go back to sleep if we can, but there'll be a bit of noise throughout the night, and they start ripping up the footpath near the gushing.
We do our best to sleep, despite the truck noises, the water rumble and the seemingly persistent voices of our neighbours, who seem to want to stay and witness the event all night.
The next morning I am woken by the sound of the truck driving off; the silence is deafening. I go outside, and all I can see is mud, and tire-tracks. It wasn't a dream.
The gum tree on our corner has had the watering of its life, and will probably double in size this year!
To my surprise, I'm managing to get to the gym twice a week, but it's still early days yet because uni hasn't gone back. I'm hoping not only to maintain a biweekly visit, but add some sort of class to get my aerobic fitness up. I'm happy with my progress so far; I realize that I'm never going to be willowy slim, and my upper arms are never going to whittle down from their slab-like peasant appearance so they might as well be firmer, and I can see the improvement already. Plus my neck and back are feeling stronger, which is very important for my pain management, especially if I want to keep using heavy drawers of type in my art practice.
The thing that keeps me amused at the gym -- a very important component to keep me going -- is watching all the 'gym faces': the wild grimaces that people make as they lift something heavy. I can't decide if they're doing it to be seen (many strut around to make sure you can see them before they start) or they think that no-one is watching. Either way, it's hell-a-fun, to quote Cartman.
I'm really proud of Bumblebee, he weathered the first week of high school very well, coping with the complete paradigm shift like a trooper.
He's trying to look confident here, on the morning of his first day, but he still looks a bit nervous. Check out the size of his feet, ay ay ay...
He's got a teacher he adores (o wot joy, it's a science teacher!), a teacher he can't stand, which is always a great foil and takes the heat off the other teachers; he loves the fact that they have a dedicated year 7 quadrangle, and he finds the varied classrooms and period times makes it easier to focus his mind on the relevant classes.
Phew! How happy am I? They've already had their school photo, and they've got vaccinations and camp coming up before the end of Feb. I'm starting back at uni in a couple of weeks, and then we'll all be focused on study, since BB has started a Masters in something governmental. I'm in the early days of considering a PhD, so it may be that next year will be even more intense than this one, but we'll see...
Last week I had the first proper studio visit by one of my studio residency winners, Natalie. She came armed with ideas and once we'd discussed some of the practical considerations, she got right down to work:
It's early days yet, but here's a sneak peek at her efforts so far:
Yee-haw! This is going to be fun.
BB took advantage of our first child-free weekend today and saw Precious, which was quite an intense experience. BB always gets excited about cats in movies -- we have a family rule that a movie is extra-good if there's a cat in it -- and got grumpy with me when I told him that I thought the cats were there as a metaphor for the selfishness of Precious' mother and to highlight the fact that she could care for cats more than her own flesh and blood.
"But they were such lovely cats," was all he could say.
I'm a bit sad that he didn't come to see Bright Star with Bernice and I, because it has a wonderful cat called Topper who almost steals the show.
Tomorrow I am going to up the intensity by going to see The Road. I love that book so much that I am a bit nervous about the film; will it match my inner vision of it? I'll let you know...