Thursday, 22 July 2021

Life Down Wattle Lane v2 - We Have Fire!

An update from my previous post... we have fire... more importantly we have heat!!


It has taken some time to get to this point, but we finally found an installer who could do the job and he knew what he was doing. 

I can highly recommend North Canterbury Installers... Lee was fantastic. He turned a challenging job into a warm cozy fire! 

Fire Finally!! I'm so releived as I was a little worried that we wouldn't have got to use our firewood this year and our last power bill was $420 for the month.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Life Down Wattle Lane v2 - Whiskey is a Max


I had previously written a post about our barn cat Whiskey... well I have an update.


I came across an old Facebook post regarding a lost cat that looked very much like Whiskey.


Well studying the markings, they were identical to that of Whiskey.

So I got in touch, and the owners mentioned their cat had a big scar on the ear, and Whiskey had a small one in the same location... so we guess it had healed a bit.

So we think it is a match.

Turns out Whiskey is actually Max, and went missing after a big storm last year.

Max lives as the crow flys about 2km southwest.

Max has a sister at home so hopefully a happy reunion and all goes well.

I have said if he doesn't settle in well, they can bring him back.

Whiskey was an excellent mouse catcher, so will be missed. Now that he is gone, our Max will need to up his game somewhat.

I will miss Whiskey as he kept me company when working outside... Whiskey always had a lot to say.

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Life Down Wattle Lane v2 - Parky & Face Masking... The Start

Part of the Parkinson's journey is face masking.  Parkinson's affects your muscles causing stiffness and slowness. It's not just limited to your arms and legs... but all muscle movement in time.

Over the last week I have discovered face masking is slowly making itself known to me.

Face masking is the reduced facial expression. It can be hard to smile or raise your eyebrows essentially stone faced.

Well... I am now finding it difficult to raise my right eyebrow. Parkinson's is affecting my right side.

Below is me trying to raise both eyebrows in unisome.


Monday, 5 July 2021

Life Down Wattle Lane v2 - My Support Buddy Max

Today hasn't been the easiest of days. My Parky medication is playing with me again with constant nausea, vomiting with extreme tiredness, and yet here I lay in bed wide awake as the clock clicks past midnight.

However despite my life challenges, I feel much comfort from my little support buddy Max as he snuggles in with me tonight.

Max has been a real trooper, a great companion in my life... and it all started back in 2009.


In June 2009 I was diagnosed with cancer.. Chemotherapy was a real challenge physically and emotionally. After completing 3 cycles I was essentially  the walking dead, and the oncologist was talking of a 4th cycle of treatment. At this time I had decided I was not doing any more treatment. I had emotionally given up.

But I received the best news that the cancer was retreating, the chemotherapy was working and eventually I had been given the all clear, and was returning back to a somewhat of a normal life. 

I had been working as a travel agent for House of Travel  Browns Bay, who were amazing and supportive during my treatment.  My colleague, Kelda, was helping a client who was relocating back home to South Africa to live, and she was due to depart within 3 days, and was still trying to find a home for her cat, Max. 

Kelda being the super awesome person she is, was helping her client to rehome Max. Kelda told me the story and I wasn't too interested in having a pet until she told me his name Max.

Max was my late father's name.
I saw this as a sign.
Max needed a home.
I've just survived cancer, and at one point I was giving up on life.
Together we needed each other to continue a new journey, together.

I don't think Gary was too keen, but in time we have won him over.

Max was born 25th October 2008. On his birth certificate he was listed as a Maincoone, but I don't think he is, perhaps mixed breed. Although Max does have some similar characteristics and is a big boy.


What makes Max... Max:

Max loves water and the rain. When he was younger he would always go out in the rain and come back covered in mud. I was constantly having to bath him.  After a bath and he was dry he would always run around the house like a nut case. Thankfully in his older years he now prefers to stay indoors, where he is dry.

He is a playful boy, and loves a game of hide and seek.

Max loves a good brush. He understands the word "Brush". I think it is because if we brush him he doesn't have to groom himself... Max is lazy at times.

Max will drink water from anywhere but his water bowl. If he is sitting in the bath, tapping the side of the bathtub with his paw, he wants you to turn on the tap.

Max understands very clearly the word "No" but that wont stop him and he will push you to your limits!


When Max's food bowl is empty he will use his paw to lift it up and then drop it on the floor, making a noise. He will do this repeatedly until you put more food into his bowl.

On the matter of food, when you are eating he will insist that you share your food with him. So you relent and give him some. Possibly 90% of the time he will sniff the food and then walk away without taking a bite. He is such a drama queen!


Max is a silent communicator. He doesn't normally meow, but when he does meow, although it is not a normal typical cats meow, then there is something wrong. He demands your full attention.

When approaching Max, slowly blink both eyes at him and he will blink back at you. You can do this repeatedly, it's Max's way of greeting you. Hi!

Max is a smoochy boy, and it probably doesn't help with me trying to teach him the Barney I Love You song.

Max doesn't like loud noises, including kids and metal clanging togther like pots and pans or rattling cutlery.

I think Max understands the word  "Dog" which means he has to stay indoors for his safety.

Max is a social cat with other cats. When we used to live in Ranui West Auckland we had a big deck. Once when I came home from work, there was at least a dozen cats sun bathing on the deck. I don't know what was going on... but he generally wants to play with other cats than fight.

I've practiced the drop dead test. You drop dead.. faking it of course, fall to the floor, and Max will come and lick my face to resuscitate me.

Max is a licker. When snuggling he will lick you. When play biting he will bite and then lick you after, as if he is saying... "I got you, but it's alright I still love you".

As Max has become older he has become more of in indoor cat. We have his litterbox setup in the toilet. Sharing the toilet space has lead to a couple awkward encounters. Max looks at you from his litterbox as if to say "excuse me, I was in here first".

Max snores... very cute small snore. He also has kitty nightmares.

Max tends to sleep by my feet, but if they aren't in the right position he will bite them through the blanket so you move.

Max fully understands what the cat cage means. He is going to the vet. Getting him into the cage is a battle and involves some trickery. However when you are at the vet's and when it is time to come home, he will get back into the cage all by himself, shut the door and says "take me home now and let's not speak of this again".

Max is just amazing. He is a real character, and a great superhero to me. He is always there loving and supporting me no matter what challenges I am facing in my life.

Finally I am feeling tired, so I'll sign off now, give Max a  big hug and try to sleep. Good night.

.




Friday, 2 July 2021

Life Down Wattle Lane v2 - 1st Lambs of 2021

On possibly the coldest morning so far this year, -2 degrees, Bella a local Cantabarian Arapawa, gave birth to twins overnight. 

Father is Whiskers who we brought down from Kaiwaka with us.

The twins are already feeding from Mum which is good. 

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Life Down Wattle Lane v2 - Our Blimmin Chimney Saga

Today was a very testing day, stuck on the roof with no way down.

Sometimes I feel the forces are working against us.

Initially we had an issue with the retailer taking our money, and then not being able to supply the logburner but another retailer essentially across the road could.

With that behind us, it has been a matter of having the logburner installed.

First I layed the tile path area.

Then the installer came around to install the burner and flu kit.

First attempt and he couldn't get the metal cap off the top of the chimney, and requested scaffolding.

2nd attempt I put up scaffolding and together we unscrewed the cap and discovered the cap was also glued on. Once the cap was off he got to work cutting out the chimney holes in the ceiling. Well that lasted all of 5 minutes. There was metal on the other side of the ceiling gib. We were both baffled so I called SIT who built the house and asked what was going on.  I was advised there was ceiling gib, the tin plate then ply... and then the SIT guy said good luck and laughing suggested a jigsaw with metal blade.  A simple job was now a big job. The installer said he needs help, and will make a time to come back with a builder mate to help. So he left, and I took down the scaffolding until he was able to return.

Given the issues getting the cap off, only a couple screws where holding it on, as the installer would be back.

Well then we had a Canterbury wind from the South. They are never just a  breeze but always seem to come in the form of a gale.

For the last 3 or so days there had been a lot of talk about snow and I was a bit excited. However I didn't think much about any wind. Today the bitterly cold wind arrived but no snow for us.

One strong gust blew the cap off the chimney... it was hanging by the 2 screws.

I quickly grabbed my drill, screws, ladder and was up on the roof reattaching the cap to the chimney making it weather tight again.

Whilst hard at work fixing the chimney the wind blew my ladder over.

I was stuck.

No way down, in a blustery icy wind, on top of the roof... alone.

I saw the postie, and was hoping he would see me, but he was too far away.

I contemplated jumping as if I could land on the garden bark area that would be a softish landing. But I questioned whether my 92kg could clear 2m and whether my old bones could with stand the impact.

Luckily I had my phone and I called my Uncle Paul who was there within 30 minutes. Thankyou Uncle.

I was frozen, I couldn't tell if it was my Parkinson's or Hypothermia setting in and causing my shakes.  It was a long wait in that bone chilling wind.

So that was my drama for the day, and still no fire so the saga continues.




Saturday, 19 June 2021

Life Down Wattle Lane v2 - Parky Update

Well it has been just over 1 year since my Parkinson's diagnosis and it's been and interesting to say the least.

The tremors in my right side get a little out of control at times, as does my balance, thinking, and being so slow. In bed during the night both hands with lock/freeze with the fingers bent in towards the palm. Walking a straight line heal to toe is a challenge.

I can only describe myself as being a slow, drunk sloth with tremors.


The first 2 medications that I was on, ropinirole and pramipexole both had little effect on my Parkinson's but had great negative side effects, out weighing any positive gain.

So now the hospital neurologist has prescribed me Sinemet... a small yellow pill, the most prettiest of the pills I have ever taken.


SINEMET is helpful in improving: 
  • muscle stiffness,
  • tremors,
  • spasms,
  • and poor muscle control.
However... the possible side effects:
  • dizziness,

  • drowsiness,

  • blurred vision,

  • nausea,

  • vomiting,

  • dry mouth,

  • loss of appetite,

  • heartburn,

  • diarrhea,

  • constipation,

  • sneezing,

  • stuffy nose,

  • cough,

  • other cold symptoms,

  • muscle pain,

  • numbness or tingly feeling,

  • trouble sleeping (insomnia or strange dreams),

  • skin rash,

  • itching,

  • and headache.

  • greatly increased eye blinking/twitching,

  • fainting,

  • mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion, depression, hallucinations, thoughts of suicide),

  • unusual strong urges (such as increased gambling, increased sexual urges),

  • or worsening of involuntary movements/spasms

So...we will see how this goes. You have to wonder is the remedy worse than the original symptoms.

Day 1, a little nausea but no concerns really. 

Starting  with 1 yellow pill, I am to work up to 3 yellow pills a day over the next 2 weeks.

My daily routine...


Start with blue pill 30 minutes before breakfast for eosinophilic esophagitis.

Pink pill for blood pressure.

Yellow pill for Parkinson's.

Inhaler for eosinophilic esophagitis.

Nasal Spray for sinusitis issue.

Some days are better than others, but I keep reminding myself that it could be a lot worse.  

Just gotta keep on living the dream.