Ups and Downs

It’s been an up and down week here, and I am feeling really ready to go home.  Seeing the fires tearing through my beautiful state made me actually teary today and I felt deeply that I miss it and my loved ones, and am ready to be there enjoying  hot, dry summer air and gorgeous mountains. 
Last Wednesday, after a tiring, homebound day, I got to go out!  I got to meet my new friend for a nice Italian dinner and we had a ball!  I miss good friends so much, and while we have good ones, and I have made good ones, it is just a spectacular feeling to have such fun, silly, natural conversation with a new person and just know that they will be a real friend, long term.  It was a great evening.
Thursday last week, I was ‘rostered on’ (or scheduled) to provide morning tea to our new playgroup and to read the kids a story.  I was nervous!  I thought I was ready and then when Wednesday afternoon resulted in another doctor’s visit to check out Zach’s suspected ear infection that wasn’t (thankfully), the day got away from me and it ended up being quite a feat to pull it all together.  I really didn’t want to screw up, because I had seen some nice spreads of food and I know how serious this is here.  Well, it all worked out and the other Moms (I know out of respect I should at least call them Mums, but I just can’t yet—I feel like I’m talking about flowers if I do—I’ll get there—I’m trying) loved it!  Such a relief!  Drew was so cute how proud he was—grabbing a piece of cake and telling people “My Mommy made this.”  But Zach looked so exhausted all morning; I felt horrible, like I’d really pushed him too far to be there—why is this habit with me? 
Socially, when it rains it pours these days, and, after such a dry spell….Thursday evening I got to go out again!   Our dear old friend invited me out for a drink to hear a musician friend of hers play a short set.  It was about to be the first time I drove at night alone to a new location and didn’t get lost….but then it wasn’t.  Oh well.  Someday…..The guitarist’s parents were there and they were so sweet and hilarious—they asked me about John Denver all night, just couldn’t stop talking about him, his connection to Colorado and his death.  It was very entertaining. 
The next day, the boys passed their fever and colds onto me full strength.  They still weren’t well, so we skipped swimming and hung around home again.  On Saturday, my sweet, laid back husband drove me nuts with his poor planning.  We arranged to meet friends for a picnic at a nearby ‘mountain’ and take a walk and visit the town’s cute shops, all before the boys’ makeup swim lessons that afternoon.  I think he likes to still feel like a local, and doesn’t think 8 years away should change any of his local knowledge, but it did.  He’s forgotten things.  He’s forgotten that it’s actually cold here, that the mountains are colder than the city, that humid, wet 10C/50F is much colder and more difficult than that temperature in dry Colorado (It does not get nearly as cold here, but we do need to dress better and  be prepared).  He’s forgotten how far things are.  So, we ended up driving over an hour each way for two hours in damp, cold drizzle that we weren’t dressed appropriately for, and then rushing off to get to their lessons.  Well, the boys and I got sicker after that and Sunday was not a happy day for me.  
Thankfully, Steve let me stay in bed most of the day, because I think the rest really helped, even though the boys visited me and ‘took care of me’ every few minutes—that was really precious.  I felt horrible!  It was cold; it was rainy; I had a fever; I had no sleep; I was congested………I got crabby and I got homesick.  The 23rd could not come soon enough!  I even missed out on a whopping 3rd social engagement in one week, which was supposed to be shopping with a friend, so I must have felt bad, because usually being out of the house is much easier and more restful than being at home with my wild ones! 
That afternoon, Steve got us space heaters!  Yippee!!  Two!  We also had an amazing experience with the health care system.  I am becoming a bona fide fan of the public option.   Drew complained of ear pain on Sunday and was more congested, so we called the number given to us that sends a doctor to the HOME for after hours issues.  The visit was paid for ENTIRELY by Medicare (we have not had a co-pay since we have been with this new doctor’s practice in Mitchelton) and the woman on the phone told me they were very busy so to expect to wait 2-4 hours until someone came.  A doctor came in an hour and a half and was wonderful, and thankfully Drew was ok (not so sure today, but I’m keeping an eye on him).  That is truly incredible to me—wow!!! 
Monday it rained again and I rallied enough to cook three yummy warm meals, and go out with the crew shopping—we had to break down and finally buy poor Drew more warm clothes and pajamas (I think I’ve mentioned that’s spelled ‘pyjamas’ here but pronounced the same).
We all were healthy enough to have good days at school and work yesterday, although Drew seems to be getting worse again instead of better.  Last night was a rough night for both of them for some reason and today they both seem worse, so we are being quiet again, although we did go to story time, just to get out for an hour. 
I have to finish here with a sports update (not sport).  Saturday night was a big Rugby Union game between Australia and Wales and I had told Steve I would watch it to learn more about the game.  I only made it just past halftime, because I did not feel good, but it was still a good experience.  I had previously thought rugby was manlier than American football (gridiron) because the players do not substitute often and wear no padding or helmets, but now I am less sure.  At one point, the Australian player was kicking off (punting? After a score?  Not sure of the reason) to Wales and instead of kicking the ball near the guy waiting to field it, he kicked it out of bounds.  The rule is that Wales then had to start play pinned down pretty near their end zone, based on where the ball when out of bounds.  I say that’s a cop out!  Man up and kick it to the guy—give the team a chance to show what they can do!  Steve says it’s tactical…….whatever. 
One other time an Australian player was running down the field with the ball and he was alone with a swarm of Welsh players gaining on him.  He dropped the ball and kicked it along the ground ahead of him, for the Welsh team to field in their end zone.  The rule was that because Wales touched the ball in their end zone, they had to then stop play and kick it back it to the Aussies.  Again, what?!   Instead of getting tackled, the guy basically fumbled and was rewarded for it by getting the ball back.  Again, man up, hang on to the ball and go down and see what happens!  They shouldn’t be allowed to just get rid of the ball when they’re scared and get to keep it!  Steve says it’s strategic……yeah, ok. 
It’s very odd to me that a score or touchdown is called a ‘try’.  I always think they’re still working on getting it in when they say that word, never quite get that it’s time to celebrate.  Isn’t try a verb not a noun?  Also, the way penalties are discussed is very difficult for me to grasp.  It’s opposite of how we talk about that.  When they say one team got a penalty, they do not mean that the team was penalized, but rather that they got the reward from the other team’s mistakes. 
Back to the question of manliness—-I think they play with eleven players on the field at once, and if they sub out, they cannot come back.  So, these men run and work HARD for 40 minute halves with rare breaks and only a 10 minute break at halftime.  The best ones stay in most of that time, because they cannot come back if they leave.  However, they can come back if they go to the ‘sin bin’—you guessed it, penalty box, or the ‘blood bin.’  The blood bin is where a player goes if he is bleeding so badly from some part of his body that he cannot easily keep playing.  They really try to avoid the blood bin.  One guy was bleeding down the side of his face and the trainer came up to him at a break and just started squirting water all over his face, causing the blood to run down and soak his jersey, so that he could keep playing because the blood was washed off.  That just seems like a nice way to spread disease to me. 
And, almost every Australian man I know has broken either a nose or a jaw, or both, and more than once, from playing rugby.  You know how NOT to break those bones repeatedly?  Wear a helmet!  Maybe then you would be able to say longer words and not need to shorten everything.  Oh, wait, did I just say that?!  Ha ha.  I think we can all agree that rugby and gridiron are just as manly, athletic and tactical.  And that’s my expert opinion.  

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