Category Archives: Camping

No stairs allowed!!

My contractor only left the house about half an hour ago after sanding the landing & stairs, then cleaning & staining them. All the bedrooms are now out of bounds, that includes bathrooms & all closets etc.

The boys are currently camping in the lounge on futons, with my brainless teddy bear of a dog for security. Hubby is on call & at work. When he finally returns at whatever hour of the night or morning it might be, he will join me in the spare bedroom, which is also upstairs. Thankfully our house has 2 sets of stairs, but to access the spare room we will need to go outside. It used to be a self contained suite but we are slowly knocking down various walls down so that eventually it will be part of the main house. So, at bedtime I will pop out the back kitchen door, take 2 steps towards the suite door & make my way up the 2nd set of stairs that leads to the spare room. We cannot walk on the stairs tomorrow morning, & probably not before Thursday evening at the earliest as it will have about 3 coats of varnish applied tomorrow. The boys think that this is one great adventure, & on a school night too!

What it really is, is chaotic, messy, disruptive & at times very noisy. However, we have a beautiful old home that we are slowly restoring & preserving, it’s only for a couple days days which is nothing really.

(And I have plenty of wine to hand!)

Beautiful British Columbia…

It doesn’t get much better than this.

They don’t say it’s the best place on earth for nothing, & when you spend the weekend camping among this stunning scenery, with good friends, perfect weather & 5 million mosquitoes it creates a lasting memory. We have had fun at the lake, drank beer in the baking sun, cooked in the open air, & played campfire games that even the youngest camper could enjoy. We were grubby, tired & eaten alive. The kids stayed up far too late, ate badly & probably only brushed their teeth once, but it was for 2 days of their lives from which their memories of school friends & new friends will last forever . We had no phone signal, no showers, not even a flushing toilet. It was the great outdoors at its best & the best birthday party our friend could have had.

Who knows, it may even become an annual event now.

9 days on…

I saw my surgeon & she is happy with the wound & my progress. She explained in more detail, & even drew a very bad picture of what she found. Essentially the extra bone growth was not seen on the CT scan she had on the screen while she operated. She kept poking around waiting for something to pop thinking there must be a cyst, but it was all solid. Then she stripped down the tendon & behind was chunk of bone sticking out of the fibula head – so she hacked it off! Obviously it was more precise & skilled than that, & she had to be careful how far down she took it because it was close to where tendons & ligaments insert, & she already had to repair the one that was blocking her view.

At the end of the day it just goes to show you that no matter how fancy the technology is you can’t always trust what you see on the screen, sometimes you have to treat the clinical symptoms & trust your instinct. It has always been a solid lump, & a simple ultrasound scan suggested it was bone growth sometime ago. The question now is; was it an injury that healed badly? Or; Is it disease related? The surgeon is inclined to think that it is the latter & not the former because this is something my disease does, however, it’s supposed to happen in my spine not in my knee.

The main thing is that hopefully now it’s sorted & if anything like this happens again she will have a lower threshold for intervening. Now that everything is looking good I contacted my rheumatologist to ask if I can start my injections again. It will be another 2 weeks before I see him so he agreed that I could, especially as I’m already stiffening up & the drug will take sometime to build up again – sadly not in time for our camping trip this weekend.

We are all packed up, just need to throw the fresh food in the cooler in the morning & we’ll be off into the wilderness to share some funs times with a group of friends… bring on the marshmallows!

Ginormous phone cookies!

I have no idea how this happened but I started baking chocolate caramel shortbread AND  cookies at 6.40pm. I had mentioned to the boys that I might do this before we go camping at the weekend because we are in a big group & we need to take things to share. Next thing I know the oven was on & the Kitchen Aid was out!

I’m not a baker, I just about manage the caramel shortbread & quite often even the dog won’t eat my baking – cookies are usually a disaster especially when they are flourless so I can eat them. However, I have to say that these cookies looked rather good & would like to say they were baked solely by my 7 year old, but he was closely supervised. He did watch them baking the entire time so maybe that’s the secret of his his success – don’t take your eyes off the cookies!

I have now collapsed with a glass of wine while surfing for a new phone cover for my ridiculously ginormous phone!

Stubborn or stupid?

I have just had my first painkillers of the day at 8.20pm. I am very uncomfortable. I have rested up a bit this morning & played my guitar, but then I sorted out the camping equipment for the weekend (yes I am going so don’t try & stop me, I found an axe in one of those boxes so be warned). Made lists – of course – then insisted on going with hubby to the store to replace a stove & gas cylinders. After that we went straight to pick up the boys from bike camp. Then I cooked dinner, sorted the boys out for camp tomorrow, which included doing some laundry, & then I collapsed in a bath. Now I hurt – quite a lot actually. Isn’t it good to get back to normal?

I also stripped down my wound dressing last night to expose it to some good old-fashioned air. I can see now that it is about 2½ – 3inches long but looks pretty good, & hopefully it will fade to just a line (wishful thinking I know). It wasn’t quite healed in a couple of places so I dug out some steri-strips (paper stitches) to cover those edges up for another day or two. I’m still not getting it wet, which is awkward, but I’ll do whatever it takes to avoid any risk of infection. My surgeon has also left the two ends of the continuous dissolvable stitch quite long so they are catching on clothing. I did chop one off because it was driving me mad, & hubby said that was ok to do so, & he should kind of know. Hopefully the rain & cooler weather will stay away now until it is properly healed so I can wear shorts/skirts.

Mornings are getting a little challenging now, it’s 5 weeks since my last injection & my body is starting to stiffen up. If the surgeon is happy with my wound & progress on Thursday I think I’ll get in touch with my rheumatologist & beg him to let me start taking them again, otherwise it’s another 2 weeks before I see him again.

Off to see my physio tomorrow, it will be interesting to see what he makes of the knee findings…

I’m back!

After a fun weekend in Birch Bay WA with friends. Good company, good food, too much alcohol, not enough sleep & fun memories. The kids are knackered after late nights & early mornings, hubby & elder child camped out in the new Stringray tent that is suspended between 3 trees – pretty cool actually but I’m not sure I’ll be ready for when we camp next weekend. Poor hubby lost his phone when the dads took the kids go karting & golfing – put a bit of a damper on the weekend but nobody died so it’s not going to spoil it too much!

Getting the boys ready for bike/swim camp this weekend & as I’m still unable to drive hubby is off again this week. I suspect a week of errands & admin (including buying a new phone) ahead of us…

The decision…

It wasn’t easy but it’s the only thing left. Last week after a discussion with my rheumatologist, my surgeon agreed to open up my knee. I was desperately hoping that it would happen sooner rather than later, but sadly not. I shouldn’t complain really, being married to a physician has its perks, well a perk actually, they all know someone who can help & we usually don’t have to wait as long as everyone else to be seen.

I was quite overwhelmed by the conversations we had had last week that I forgot to ask questions I would normally think of spontaneously. It wasn’t until I saw my rheumatologist the following day that it became apparent I wasn’t the kind of patient that can drop everything & have surgery. Yes, organizing the family is one thing, but my medication suppresses my immune system, therefore putting me at risk of infection, a surgical procedure means I must stop my injections before surgery. Then, once I am definitely on the mend I can start them again. As you can imagine the thought of stopping the one thing that keeps me physically active scares me, especially when it’s for a situation in which I will be temporarily less active than normal.

Today it was confirmed that hoping a cancellation would get me in sooner was not going to work really. I know a scheduled date gives me/us time to plan, but I really didn’t expect it to be August. It’s just typical that they can’t fit me in for the week my husband is on vacation. And of course it’s the same week we are supposed to be going on a big group camping trip for a friends significant birthday celebration. And the same week I am expected to do jury service, which I really wanted to do.

I know it’s great that something is finally being done, but it has screwed my life up enough, why does it have to continue to spoil my summer too?

A hot date with a young man…

As part of their schooling my boys will go to camp every year from grade 2. The camp is age appropriate, starting with just 2 nights away until grade 6, & not always in the summer. This school year grades 4/5 went last October when thankfully we were having a bit of an Indian summer – my child was the only one to fall in the lake! To prepare them in grade 1, & so they don’t miss out on the fun, my younger son is camping out in the junior school gym tonight. It all started this afternoon after lunch…

Myself & a few other parents set up the tents, sorted out the kids sleeping mats, sleeping bags & overnight bags. With 3-4 in each tent (girls & boys separate of course) it’s going to be cosy but looked like a lot of fun. Various teams of parents have signed up for camp duties including snack, dinner, breakfast & clean up so that the teachers who are running the camp can concentrate on entertaining the kids. First on the agenda was bowling, & then I’m not sure what else is planned. We had to send them with a plain white t-shirt so I suspect some sort of craft/painting will happen. I’ve also heard a movie mentioned. I managed to catch them just before the bus left (hot teacher in the driving seat – YAY!) with my newly mohawked 7 year old sat at the front with one of his camping mates. He was very excited & didn’t seem to miss me one little bit.

So, only elder child to bring home, which was weird. A mum friend of mine really lucked out with her little guy going on her birthday – I hope she makes the most of it! Sadly hubby is on call with a difficult evening ahead that my BFF will also be involved in, I don’t know how they do what they do sometimes, hands up to them. So that just leaves the two of us. I had my purple locks restored this morning & went a little shorter, so now I look even more like a Disney character. Then I picked him up from school for our hot date. We went for an early dinner at our favourite sushi bar, where we/he managed to devour nearly $100 of raw fish! I have promised him he can stay up late & I’ve planned a movie that I think he’s ready to watch, but not his little brother yet… Mama Mia – he loves ABBA! There’ll be chocolate involved, & lots of it to make up for the lack of liquid happiness (Day 5 & counting…), then hopefully hubby will home & I can give him a hug.

It’s great to spend some one on one quality time with my elder child, not something that really happens very often. However there is a price… I have to be at school at 7am on a SATURDAY to de-camp & pick up younger child – JOY!!

The ice cream ball…

What’s not to love about ice cream? So, what if it was possible to make it wherever & whenever you want, even when you’re camping. You can, thanks to a really cool birthday gift that my elder gave his little brother. Ok, so you still need to have the ingredients of which includes cream & ice – of course! But, if you’re a serious camper you’ll have one of those coolers that lasts for 3-5 days, & you can always pick up ice at a gas station if the camp site doesn’t have any. Then the actual process of making dessert is quite fun…

The device looks like a fancy soccer ball. It has two compartments at each end, one for the edible ingredients, one for ice & rock salt. Once you have filled it, & you have made sure the lids are secure, you roll it around on the floor. Yes, it’s as simple as that. After 10 minutes we checked the progress, not knowing what to expect, but sure enough the cream was thickening & something resembling ice cream had actually formed on the walls of the compartment. So, we continued, rolling it back & forth for a further 10 minutes.

Believe it or not it really did work. The only catch was that it seemed to melt very quickly when we served it, so we abandoned that idea & ate it straight from the ball. I figured that this would much more fun if we were sitting around a campfire passing it around, & not huddled around a tiny table in the corner of a hotel suite!

All told we were quite impressed with this rather unique gift that would be fun for big kids of all ages – especially hardened outdoors types.