Poetic injustice (no TV)

A romantic weekend away, all the plans set out in your mind. It is the first time you/we had managed to get away as a couple and you were nervous, gosh so was I. You were hoping the place, in this case Binna Burra lodge, was exactly like the photos showed it….

You pack the eskie, I pack the clothes bags. Some outfits for all occasions as we are planning on going to dinner so you have to dress up, you are planing on doing some of the bush walks so you pack for that. You also prepare some of the other outfits, or the lingerie for the evening. I mean who knows! It was always an unknown with you! That truly was the best part of it all! Waking up to the present, literally a present.. it unwrapped as the day unfolded, first the bow, then the wrapping! Who knew…

However, as mentioned always an adventure. I miss that the most!

We had spoken about getting a DVD for the evening so I rang the lodge to check if they had TV’s in the rooms and was assured there were TV’s but to play a DVD we would need to bring our own DVD player. By this point we had started driving so we turned around and retrieved this from your room, also stopping off at pretty much the only DVD shop still open on the gold coast and stocked up on movies!! Excited for a night away. Finally, we set off off for Binna Burra.

Well the weekend did not go as we had planned, in fact it was hilarious and a total disaster.

Checking in was easy and we found out all we needed to in regards to dinner and what walks were around. We lugged literally all the stuff down the small tight pathway which seemed to go on forever. Anyone would think we had packed for a month!

We get into the room and we start to unpack.

It did not take us long to realise that in fact there was no TV, yup, no TV!!!!

We had in fact double backed for a DVD player and had DVD’s but there had been no need. It was hilarious!

This was in fact the first of three attempts of me planning a getaway where the DVD player did not work, there wasn’t one or in this case there wasn’t even a TV.

It made for a funny weekend of late night chats, listening to the man next door flush the toilet as the rooms were so close we could tell what was happening without even listening! You made so many hilarious comments about it all!

We sat on the small deck, hidden from our neighbours by the smallest wooden wall. Not allowed to smoke…. that didn’t last… the eskie full of cider and beer. The blankets wrapped around us as we watched one of many sunsets through the trees.

Dinner and the sunset on night two was beautiful!

You were never one to sleep in, instead it was an early wake up, the sun barely through the trees. Binna Burra was coming to life. We made coffee and walked through the small bush track upto the viewing platform near the lodge. We watched the sun come up in spectacular form! It was beautiful!!

Then it was breakfast and we were off, getting lost on the tracks available around the lodge. We loved the bush. You loved the trees, the sounds of all sorts of animals, the way it shaded us and surrounded us, separating us from the world. It was so glorious to escape!

You certainly made the most of all Binna Burra had to offer. Even the kids playground!

We got so lost! You even broke your thong. However, thankfully we had a bread clip!

We got so lost on one occasion, doubling back in the path we had taken. It was hilarious as you were always the ‘GPS’. I knew I could relax when you were around as you would always get us home. This time, while it made us laugh hysterically and wander in all sorts of directions.. we still found our way home. It did make for some funny conversation as yet again we wrapped ourselves in our blankets and watched the sunset on our little deck, all while listening to the next door cabin flush it’s toilet and us reminisce about how there was no TV.

You never let me live it down….. you always said when you planned the next getaway there would be a DVD player! You would show me up. Well you did, that’s a story for another time! It’s a wonderful memory and a DVD player will never be taken for granted again!

From here on in I will always take my own DVD player! In honour of you!

You are missed! More than you know!

I publish this as the name you said it should be. We laughed about the lack of a DVD player and you came up with the title. Well here it is ❤️

A typical ‘Teaching day’ online…

Just tonight I heard again, from someone close to me; you have so many holidays, teachers have it easy.

Well let me spell it out a little just so everyone is clear..

The two week break we just had… was it a break? In fact I don’t believe there was a day we as teachers were not planning or preparing for the school term as we see it now…. COVID-19 and all…

Have a break we are told. Do nothing. Focus on your own family. That’s what many think we did.

However, let’s put it into perspective…

We were marking, yes those assessments which we received in week 6 or 7 of term 1 but due to the chaos of the term we had to delay marking them.

On top of that…….online learning. Some of us taught up until the last Friday of term one. Some had student free days to plan for what was ahead. Who’s to know, it was all so chaotic and unknown!

Each day of the holidays it was teacher meetings or e-mails in preparation of what was to come. Hours and hours of planning. Who was to know, as parents often you do not see the work behind the scenes. Some do, and I thank you for being patient and understanding, others please understand the time it takes!

I am both a parent and a teacher so know it both ways!

I am trying to manage home schooling a 14 year old, as well as teach and prepare online lessons. We know it is tough. Nothing has prepared us for this.

However; anyone who says, you have holidays, time and always time to prepare and we should be thankful. Is living in a world of denial and complete ignorance.

Let’s just say those people are naive, and actually have no idea what teachers do. For children as a whole and in fact their own children.

Today for example – Monday week 2. Let’s spell out how the day went.

It started with a briefing for all staff. Yes we do start before 8am despite what everyone thinks. A catch up to see how we are doing. Us as teachers and staff. As a team of human beings. Checking in to make sure we are doing okay…. who would have thought!

Into tutor group we go and the day begins.

Period one – 65 minutes of talking to a screen. Sometimes the students answer sometimes they don’t. All we wait for is a voice. A face. Gosh we miss it as much as they do!! Class is taught through sharing screens, talking to a computer and drawing on the screen. A success?? Who knows. Are they there the whole time? Are they engaged? How do we tell when all we have is an internet connection and an initial in the screen.

A 10 minute break – to check in on the 14 year old, make sure she is online and doing what she needs to. Mind you had she had breakfast.. actually have I?

Next class begins, marking a roll of 94, usually takes no time at all, 30 minutes later I think I have it! Who would have thought. After that I deal, or we deal with, the 100’s of e-mails and texts and teams chats which have come through! It’s multi tasking at its best. Who is present and who is not.

How are they doing mentally? What about those who were mentally fragile already, now this?

The toilet, what is that. I think I only realised I was busting at about 12:30pm. That’s as after 3L of water, 4 cups of tea and 1 cup of coffee!

In those ‘spares’ we all are told we have to ‘relax’, well I was planing, preparing lessons, populating the online learning, updating the system, contacting parents and students and more.

So please… bear with us. We are learning the new way of learning. We know it’s tough! It’s tough on all of us!

I became a teacher to be in front of the 30 faces. Not in front of a screen. I miss the classroom as much as you as parents do, as much as your students do and as much as the ‘normal’ does.

However, time’s are not normal. We are doing the best we can!

Parenting, home schooling and also being teachers!

So please, all I ask is next time you think we have too many holidays, realise we never have them. In fact we use the time to ensure we are the best we can be for your students/children when they return!

We are exhausted! We are tired! We are just as done as you and your students are! However, we are doing the best we can! Always!

The pillow..

I lie in bed again tonight, alone, the pillow next to me fluffed and untouched. Still full and not like you had it!

It’s hard to digest and understand that you will never be in our bed, or next to me again. The pillow fluffed and full, one you used to lay on and tuck under your head, all while throwing your legs over me and within second you would be snoring….. well…… I won’t even mention that!!

I lie looking at the pillow, often at night, your jumper, which still smells of you in my arms, and wonder where you are.

I fall asleep every night hoping I may wake and it was all a bad dream but each day I realise it is not.

The pillow will now be fluffed, your snoring not a part of the evening. Rolling over and knowing you’re no longer here and never will be now part of every night.

It’s all now memories, the pillow talk, great memories. Many of which only you and I will know of.

But……..I cry myself to sleep, often.

The tears running down my face as my hand reaches out to the empty space wishing you were here just one more time? Just once.. just for a moment, filling the other half of the bed and your head on the pillow.

After all you usually took up all of it, the bed that is!

How do I manage with all this room? How do I manage knowing your head will never be on the fluffed up pillow beside me, how will I manage without you taking up the bed, snoring so loudly I would have to make you roll over.. your hand reaching across when I moved or mine finding you in the dark.

You’re no longer here.

You’re not here, but I am.

We miss you. I miss you!!

Taken to soon and without our permission!

Teaching…. 8am – 3pm.. um NO!!

I cannot imagine and even more so now having the patience with someone saying; “you’re just a teacher, you have so many holidays, it’s an easy job”…..

I think now more than ever I have never been so tired, so exhausted, so muddled!

Yes, we may get to school for 8am, well I always aim for 7:30am, and I never leave before 4, sometimes 5, if there is a scheduled meeting. Never mind the parent teacher evening we have until 7pm, the sports training until 4:30- 5pm, depending on when the parents arrive for collection. Duty of care after all. We look after the students before anything else!

Then there is the lesson prep, the marking, the reports, the e-mails and of course the students in need. When you come across a student in need we may be making phone calls off our own private phones anyway between 6-7pm upto as late as 9pm. Just so we know they are okay. This happens even now when they are not even on campus. Our worries continue..

I receive e-mails at 1:30am asking about assignment work and drafting so when I wake that’s what I see, and that’s at 6:30am.

Lesson covers to help the staff who cannot attend, so the time you thought you had in the day gone, because we look after our own.

Today…. with this COVID-19 it’s even more pressure. Not only have we gone from having students in front of us and not having the interaction of students in a class as now it’s all remote. Online classes, talking to a screen, screen sharing and more.

We teach from a computer, we take roll call through that to. We use an app, a video/camera, a chat line all while trying to teach! Multi tasking at its best! Recording it, streaming it… and more… all so they do not miss out. That’s what we do!

Absences from a lesson fall on us, follow up and if a class is missed twice follow up with the parents. In a 6 minute conversation today with a family member I had over 18 e-mails to respond to.

I also had 60 year 11 assessments to mark, 28 year 10 assignments and scheduled teaching online for the year 12’s who are so lost now with the new system and an air of ‘who knows’ with assessment. After all the year 12 assessment is being dictated by a higher power!

Then to come home to a 14year old, a kitchen full of dirty dishes and her saying she attended all her classes but she found it hard. Tiring…

Her assignment is due Wednesday, a science one, my area of expertise and I do not have the energy. She even said; “mum you look buggered, lets do the assignment tomorrow”…

So while we as teachers are there for you’re children at this time of need, and always have been and will continue to be.

Remember, thats what we do, that’s why we are teachers and love what we do. That’s why we use the holidays, every spare waking moment ensuring your children are okay. Just remember we are tired do….

All at the sacrifice of our own children! Tonight I am to tired to help my own!

The fight for supplies!

It interesting times at the moment! My goodness who would have thought 2020 would start this way! Things have been emotionally? Physically and mentally more draining than ever!

All consuming to put it bluntly! However, I thought I would share with you what it’s like to get a hold of some toilet paper!

Yes toilet paper, of all things…. Who would have thought!

It was a Sunday morning. My sister in law in need of toilet paper. The Sunshine Coast stores depleted and there was just none on the shelves.

I was tasked with a mission…… get up early, be at the shops amongst the crowds and survive! Yes survive…. the throws of battling for a pack of toilet paper. A four pack, a twelve pack, who cares… just some TP (we will call it that!)

So here I was ready and waiting. The battle about to begin! The doors opened and I was funneled in with the crowd. All heading in one direction…. like robots on a mission!

It’s like I shopped with more than a purpose than ever! I entered, looking over my shoulder, the eyes of those beside you knowing we were all here for one thing… who would be first.. would we be at war?

I slipped down the aisle and peered through the empty coke shelves… why empty you say, well I reckon people need mixer for their booze.. army rolled past the empty spam.. yes the spam shelves… why????? Into the TP aisle….. there it was!! With a light shining on it (like in the movies)….

A twenty four pack… of TP still on the shelves…. I zeroed in on it. It was all I could see. The rest of the world faded and I knew the mission was… get the TP and run…

I grabbed and ran… okay not ran but fast walked… like those athletes that move their hips in weird and wonderful ways as they ‘fast walk’ their race!

The phone in hand, double click….. face recognition done.. the card at the ready! It’s all about timing! Who knows what would happen if I had slowed down…. after all it’s toilet paper!!

A fast barcode recognition and the card ready.. beep beep…..and away we went… escape was all on that was on the mind from here… make it to the car…

Fast walk, imagine hips moving, feet not lifting the ground, sweat beads on the forehead as you leave coles and head to the car.

Open the door, with your key, beep beep…. 50m away in preparation, open door, throw in TP, look over shoulder… get in car… start car and slip into drive!

Phew!! Made it alive!!

Mission a success! My niece and nephew can wipe their butts!

The Dam DHL van/s!

Today after a week of semi holding it together, I lost it. I dropped miss C into Brisbane and then sitting in traffic for the long trip back I spotted it…. a big yellow DHL van and I lost it.

I lost it because we used to play spotto. That ridiculous game when we saw a yellow car and had to yell; ‘ spotto’, and whack each other. We took this game seriously after our Mt Warning trip…, and being whacked from behind by my niece.

It became ours.

Your mum even asked us one time while you tried to whack me from the drivers seat….’spotto you said’ she asked what are you doing… well it was our game. Thanks to my niece.

Laura still remembers this and I plan to never let her forget!

There it was the looming yellow van… my head went ‘Spotto’ my heart skipped a beat and my hand lifted only slightly before it again hit me….. you and I will never play spotto again.

Those god dam yellow vans are everywhere now! Why now?

It’s a Friday and usually I would be rushing out the door after a school day either rushing miss C or just me, my bag already packed, in fact it was never unpacked, just topped up, and we would be on our way to you. Tonight I am alone.

The first Friday since you decided to leave us. Alone. I have realised that after loving you for so long and then only having you wholey and completely for just over a year I feel cheated. I feel shattered, exhausted, confused, empty, sad and more. All in one.

The head a swirl of; ‘what if’s’, ‘why’, ‘how do I?’ ‘Where do I’, ‘what am I’ …. but most of all…… what from here?

Dam the yellow vans, dam the memories!

I do however pity whoever is near me when I see one next as I will make sure we continue a tradition we made so much fun! That’s what I can do, is change the game. Change it so it remains a memory, even if a hard one initially but I know you would agree, keep whacking people! Particularly Laura!

Keep it alive, keep it going. Rest assured I will! For you!

The orange chairs..

It was a great day, a fun day and a mysterious day when I purchased the orange wooden chairs!

We had escaped the world for a few days, a getaway you had planned. A few days at a small bush B and B in crows next. A tiny cabin, nestled in the trees on a hillside with a beautiful four poster bed and wood fire to warm us. (That’s another story!)

We unloaded the eskies and explored the tiny space we would call home for a few nights. I had prepared our food, you the booze. A cold beer, cider and a cheese platter we moved to the two reclining wooden chairs on the hillside. About 50m from the cabin. We ate the cheese reclined in the wooden chairs and admired the space, the view and the silence. The sunset, one of many we watched together, beautiful!

I knew then I would have to get a set of those wooden chairs for home. We often woke early and had coffee, the news in the background standing on my balcony. Why not sit? I investigated the chairs, where to get them and of course in the most absurd colour!

I ordered them, collected them in flat pack boxes, and spent the good part of an evening assembling them. God I was excited! We had somewhere to sit now, also a small memory of our time away from it all.

You hated the bright orange, although I think you secretly liked it. Instead of standing we would now sit when on the balcony. Coffee in hand and of course AL Jazeera in the background. We would talk of the list of ‘jobs’ we both had that day. Yours always so full of stuff to do!

I would often stand behind you as you leaned over the balcony, my hands around your body my head on your back and we would just be. Knowing that time would eventually make us get on with it. Moments I cherished and I know you did as you often reached down and just held my hands as they held you.

We would finish our coffee and collapse on the bed. Intertwined and wishing we could just be. That the days jobs would dissipate and we could pick them up the next day. However, they never did. You would be dressed in your work clothes, often the ones with their musty work smell from the day before, socks on, garters on and then the boots.

Again we would collapse on the bed. Intertwined… pausing again for a moment before we had to go about our days.

Saying goodbye, kissing you as you left, watching the Ute reverse and hit the brick wall, often, something you just never did well. The mark still there. A memory. Always for me. Nothing to anyone else but us.

Now I sit on the orange chairs, one missing its person. It’s gathering dust, I promise to wipe it down, but also it’s missing you. The view into the neighbours garden not the same. You always critiqued it. Always had recommendations but hey it was his garden. You would be happy to know the plants he planted haven’t grown. You knee they wouldn’t and given the chance would have fixed it for him!

My garden however, is flourishing, after your touch and complete overhaul! It’s beautiful. A tree is sagging though and I wish you were here to help me. To pull out your tools and do what you always did. I watch it leaning and I know I should do something but I can’t.

I am to busy sitting in one of the orange chairs wondering how I am here. How one of the chairs is empty and what to do now. I know you never liked the orange but you loved that we had our chairs.

They are but a memory, one of many!

The four year plan disintegrated…

Tonight it fell apart, I fell apart. It was the year 12 formal and I watched all the students I had taught, some of which had been in my classes since year 7, arrive in beautiful gowns, corsages and looking so amazing.

I smiled, I danced and I watched them and the people around them enjoy each other. The love in some of the couples, the staff and the students hard to digest.

Here I was alone. No one to go home to, no one to call and no one to share it with.

You took that away just over a month ago. We had a four year plan. We would watch miss C grow up and graduate. You a part of that. You even at her formal. The father figure she never had. That was the plan, the dream I suppose.

Most importantly you would have been by my side at a night like tonight. Amazed at what she had become and how much she had achieved.

I faked it. You would have been proud. I laughed. I danced. I played the part.

I got home and I broke. What happens in four years…. I think this is how it is going to be for me. Lots of memories and heartache at the same time.

The good, the bad and the ugly they say.

Tonight it hurts. As I fall asleep, the tears falling down my face, your jumper still cuddled near m my face, know that in four years, you will still be missed. The plan we made, we had, disintegrating each and every day. In more way than I ever imagined.

I miss you, all of you. I suppose loss and grieving take time. Maybe it gets worse before it gets better. I just don’t know how to explain it to a child let alone understand it myself.

We wish you were here. We wish the four year plan still existed. We will do our best but it will never be the same.

Bangkok at its best :)

It’s the holiday of dreams which began a day ago.

A long awaited break and where did we head but to the bustling streets of Bangkok… well for a start!

The jet lag won’t nail you down once in the city. The tooting of the horns, the whistles of the traffic control and the assault on your nose may keep you up and asking for more.

I’ve never been but wow is all I can say. We got to the hotel after 10pm and still managed to get to Soi Cowboy! Now if you don’t know what that is…. google it!

I have never seen, only heard about the beautiful ladies… or should I say men… that walk the streets or hang out outside the clubs! Well it was breathtakingly weird and wonderful.

The smells of cooked and raw fish, the smell of beer and booze, the sights of DD perfect boobs and butts, only to have them turn around and have a package!

What a holiday it has started off as!

The streets humming with activity, mind your toes as the cars go past! I almost lost mine! Your sense of direction will be tested amongst many things!

Bangkok you have not surprised me only enlightened me!

I cannot wait for more!

Time heals all wounds!

It’s been close to 18 years since I first set eyes on you.

It was a lunch on the deck of my best friends house. She’s gone now, in her early 20’s she was taken from us. You, however, are still around. A constant reminder of who brought us together. I thank her everyday now!

There was a moment when you walked onto the deck and my breath caught in my chest. Since then it always has. In still does. Everyday in fact!

You were young, I was, very young, but at that moment I knew there was something about you. Maybe even something about us. Who would have thought our time was now. Finally out mutual friends say!

You were serving overseas so were in and out of Australia. Although you never knew you were always in the back of my mind, always!

Now so many years on and a few brief interludes in the moments where my life was low, very low, you were there, now wake to each other more often than not. Seeing your eyes and your smile as well as feeling your arms around me is what I wake to! Boy I am lucky!

It was never the right time for us. To much going on, to much mistrust, to much time away from one another and really to much hurt. Now look where we are……

It’s tomorrow, the getaway. The one we have planned for over 12 months. Over a year ago, actually it would be June 2018 you came back into my life and we haven’t looked back. It’s been enjoyable, fun, sad at times and even hard. However, here we are.

I remember you turning to me in December 2018 and you said; why did we cross paths again? What now? Why now?

Well here we are….. about to embark on the first 3 week escape for you and I. Your first holiday in 7 years and my first one away without students or child.

To be honest I can’t wait! I look at you everyday and am amazed at how wonderful you are. Rough around the edges yes, but to me in the quiet of the bedroom and with the door closed you really are the most kind and heartfelt man I have ever know. Yes we may wrestle and you may lose. Not as often as I may brag about, but I love how you can be you and I can be me. Truly!

It’s freedom at its best and I cannot wait for the adventure we are about to embark on!

Let’s hope we are talking to each other still in three weeks!

Thank you for being you and for allowing me to be me❤️

Bring on the next chapter of this amazing, sad, happy, amazing and fulfilled book I am writing of my life!