"What did I say about singing?" "Can I whistle?" "No." "Well can I hum?" "All right."

Name that quote. ;-)

So here we are in our hotel room in Cooma, south of Canberra. The weather was wet and cold but it didn't put us off. My estimate: a few thousand adults & older kids and probably an equal amount of babies & younger children. Not an insignificant amount. People organised buses from Melbourne and other areas.

So the population of Australia is about what, 22 million now? And half of those are women and girls, so 11 million there. And 'only' one percent of women birth at home, right? That's 110,000 women and girls in Australia right now who will want to birth at home in their lifetime. That number is nothing to sneeze at.

And the legislation, if/when it goes through, will NOT stop me birthing at home next time. Yeah there's a few publicly funded home birth programs, but I wouldn't qualify for them now because one of my babies died. Never mind that Ian was damaged long before his birth, and in the unlikely event I had another baby with the same issues, there's nothing the almighty 'they' could do about it anyway. One of the doctors who looked after him said even if I'd had an ultrasound, they wouldn't have picked it up. So for me, there's no point in going to hospital.

But anyway, I've gotten off topic. We have no TV in our hotel room tonight so I don't know if I'll see anything about it yet. But there were lots of cameras so hopefully someone will take it all seriously enough.

Trip plan.

Plan's changed. We're now coming back from Canberra via Melbourne, so we can do stuff for Caleb's American citizenship.

Time off work: done.
Hire car: done.
Five hotel rooms: done.
Appointment for Caleb's citizenship/passport application: done.

Yet to organise: two more hotel rooms, cat/house sitter, gather/fill out paperwork, chiro appointment for the day after we get back 'cause I'm sure gonna need it.

Tentative Canberra plan

So I said I'm going to Canberra to be at the rally on the 7th of September. And this is (possibly) how we're gonna do it.

Friday 4th September: Darrin picks up the hire car in the city & drives it home. Pack it up, move Caleb's seat over, drive to somewhere in the Riverland and stay overnight.
Saturday 5th September: Drive from the Riverland to Narrandarra, stay the night.
Sunday 6th September: Drive from Narrandarra to Canberra, stay the night.
Monday 7th September: Darrin drops me off at the rally and goes for a drive. Picks me up after I'm finished and we go to Gundehai to stay the night.
Tuesday 8th September: Drive from Gundehai to Horsham, stay the night.
Wednesday 9th September: Drive from Horsham back to Adelaide.
Thursday 10th September: Darrin drops off the hire car when he goes in to work.

So, the stuff to organise:

  1. Time off work. Nothing else can happen till this is done.
  2. Hire car.
  3. Five, count 'em, FIVE hotels/motels to stay in overnight.
  4. Someone to look after the cats, check the mail, water the garden if necessary.

And once you leave, you won't quite believe what an average time you've had.

This weekend saw the last two orienteering events for this season. So we drove all the way to Meningie and back to participate.

We were ready to go two hours before we originally intended, so we packed up the car & headed off. Stopped for petrol. Drove through the city, out along the Southeastern Freeway to Stirling, through several towns in the hills, and stopped at Strathalbyn for lunch. (Later that night we found out that, if we'd left at the originally planned time, we would've run into some major road delays due to a motorcycle accident. Good thing we left early.) Unfortunately, most of the way Caleb was decidedly unimpressed with being in his car seat, and so we had to keep finding different ways to entertain him. Anything we tried would only last five minutes, then he'd get annoyed again & scream. Anyway. We ate lunch at a playground, so he had a good run around, and we hoped he'd worn himself out enough that he'd go to sleep for most of the rest of the way. Guess what though - he didn't. We had the same situation all the way to Meningie.

We found our motel with little trouble, checked in, and I decided to walk with Caleb back to our room instead of trying to force him into the car again. We unpacked, Caleb had a little run around the parking lot (don't worry, we kept him away from any moving cars), sat down for a bit to rest, then went across the road to the playground. Darrin tried to use the wireless internet from the Meningie council office, but it was slower than we'd hoped, and the laptop battery only lasts for so long. And the wireless internet provided by the motel would have cost us $4 for ONE HOUR. Yeah, just a little bit ridiculous. The $30 for a week or 1000 megabytes wasn't quite as bad, but still not what we were prepared to pay. So we went without the 'net while we were there.

Went back to the motel. Started getting hungry, so we went out to see what our options were for food. We didn't feel like a sit-down meal, especially not in the motel's restaurant which looked way too fancy for our taste. Actually we felt like having pizza, but the motel's information about dining establishments only told us that the local pub had it after 9 pm. And we didn't exactly want to wait THAT long, since we were already hungry and Caleb hadn't had a nap, so he was almost ready to crash anyway. So we went out for a look at what everyone else had. There was the motel's restaurant, a bakery which was closed, the takeaway shop, the pub, and a Caltex with some takeaway options. We decided after walking out to the pub to go back to the first takeaway shop. And on our way back we saw something on the sign that we hadn't seen from the other direction - PIZZA! So we went in, and the pizza options were all...complicated. As in, you could get four options, and none of them were exactly what we would've chosen. We decided on the supreme and asked them to leave off the olives & onions. Took 35 minutes for it to be ready, but it was worth it. Walked back to the motel room with our pizza, turned on the TV, and watched...what movie was it? I can't remember now, I'm sure Darrin will remind me when he reads this later. Oh yeah. The Bourne Supremacy. And in this whole episode, I learned something. I learned that I can indeed tolerate mushrooms on pizza provided there aren't too many of them. (Someone go check on my mom, I'm sure that last statement must've given her a heart attack...)

Caleb crashed after tea. We finished watching the movie, I did some puzzles in my math puzzles magazine, Darrin read his book. We turned the light off sometime around 11:30 pm.

Woke up Saturday morning around 7 because the room was starting to get light. Darrin stayed up & read his book, Caleb & I stayed asleep till around 9. After we were up, Darrin decided he'd go out with the car & map Meningie. So I decided to take Caleb out in the pram & check out the local op shop. Unfortunately it was closed, but we looked at a few of the other shops, got a newspaper, went to the playground, came back to the motel. Darrin got back, and about an hour or so later, we went to the bakery to get lunch. I had a very very nice steak, bacon & cheese pie; Darrin had a couple sausage rolls. Caleb had a bit of my pie. Oh, and once again, he was less than thrilled with the car. Took us an hour to get to the orienteering, and we actually got there early, but fortunately they were allowing early starts, so Darrin went out first. I wandered around the cars & campsites with Caleb, and it was about this time I realised my mistake for the day. It was probably 30 degrees and I was wearing a dark green t-shirt. Yeah, sometimes brilliance and I are as far removed from each other as can possibly be.

Darrin got back, pretty happy with his course. I went out, and because I'd never orienteered in the Coorong before, did the shortest easiest course, which was 1.5 km (just under a mile). I had 15 markers, and the few markers I couldn't see from the previous one had tapes leading me to them, so I got back in 20 minutes 49 seconds. I was pretty happy with that.

Back to the hotel. The GPS wasn't syncing, so Darrin was calling it every name in the book. And Caleb was sick of the car, so he was calling us every name in the book. We thought he might be a little sunburned, so when we got back, I took him straight into the cold shower, but he just screamed & struggled, so we took him out again. A few minutes of Darrin holding him while he cried was apparently all he needed to settle him down. And then a cuddle with mum, and then he was back to his happy self.

By this time I was feeling pretty dehydrated & tired, so I sent Darrin & Caleb out to get tea without me. They came back with a chicken & chips & a bottle of Coke. We sat on the floor & ate our tea, then our movie night started: first Evolution, then Aeon Flux. Caleb went to sleep about halfway through Evolution. By the time both movies were over, I was past ready to crash, with a headache.

Went to sleep, and woke up a couple hours later with a pounding headache and a need for the toilet. I knew if I got up, I'd probably feel like throwing up, but it was that or lie there awake with a full bladder. So I got up, and made it to the bathroom, and threw up. Went back to bed, tried to get back to sleep, and then Caleb woke up with a wet nappy. I sat up, changed him, then felt another wave of nausea, so I woke up Darrin, gave Caleb to him, and made it to the toilet just in time to throw up again. And back to bed feeling much better.

Woke up Sunday morning at 7am, because that's when I'd set the alarm for. Caleb kept sleeping, so Darrin & I got dressed, got packed up, and started putting stuff in the car. Only when everything was packed did I wake Caleb up & get him dressed for the day. We went to the servo & filled up with petrol. Since our 10 litre water cask was nearly empty, we were going to get another, but the servo didn't have them. So off to the local Foodland, which was open. I asked Darrin to get us something for breakfast if he could, because I was starving. He got a couple packets of sliced lunch meat, and we ate that on the way to the event.

We got there a little early again, so I pretty much went straight out. This was in my normal category, so not as easy as the one on Saturday. I found the first marker after going off in the wrong direction & correcting myself. Same with the second marker. The third marker was fine; I was going for one I'd seen from a distance but that wasn't mine, so when I got closer I realised that this OTHER marker I could see was the one I wanted. Four was okay, five was okay (although through a lot of scratchy scrub). Started heading off toward six, and wasn't sure I was going in the right direction, but I really wasn't having fun anymore, so I decided to just head back (given that Darrin still wanted to go out, and he'd said on Saturday "if you've been out for an hour, come back"). And I decided if I saw any of my markers along the way, I'd punch them, but I wasn't going out of my way to find them anymore. And I did end up finding one of my markers - the first one. But at least then I knew where I was, and how to find the finish.

Then Darrin went out, and I stayed with Caleb. We wandered around the camp again, looked at sticks, went chasing after 'ma-mas', and once an hour and 15 minutes had passed, started looking for Darrin, because he could be back anytime. But he wasn't back for another 45 minutes. Okay, so I was starting to get a little bit worried, because although he prides himself on his navigation, there were a lot of wombat holes out there to catch a leg in, and we'd seen a few lizards around, so there could've been snakes too. But all was good, and he drained the last of the first water cask, and I suggested I drive back to Meningie so he could look after Caleb, because I was starting to feel sick turning around in my seat all the time, and he was tired from being out in the sun for two hours. Caleb liked it when Darrin reclined his seat back so he could kick him in the head.

Okay, so we're back in Meningie for lunch, from the same bakery we had on Saturday. We ate at the playground, and Caleb started running off toward the beach. So Darrin went off to keep an eye on him, and I cleaned up our mess. And wouldn't you know - the one time I forgot to put one of the flushable nappy liners in the nappy, that's when he decided to do a poo. So we cleaned him up, and I went off to wash my hands, then we packed up in the car & drove off. Darrin decided he'd just go up the main road instead of trying to map lesser roads, since Caleb wasn't coping. So we went through Tailem Bend, Murray Bridge, and up the freeway through Mount Barker. Decided to stop at a playground in Bridgewater because Caleb needed a new nappy (again! but only wet this time), and we were hoping once again that he'd wear himself out on the playground and go to sleep. Fortunately he did this time. So Darrin got to take a detour and have a look at the new bridge they're building at the junction of Anzac Highway & South Road.

And then we drove through Hungry Jack's on the way home, where they charged us for everything we ordered, but left off one of Darrin's burgers. Caleb woke up momentarily while Darrin was ordering, but went straight back to sleep. Then we got home, came straight inside to eat, before we even thought about unpacking the car.

And by 1pm today, I'd dealt with four poos already, so I'm guessing that might've been the problem for our boy all weekend....

The Caravan From Hell

We're back from Wilpena, and here's the story with all the gory details.

So we drove up to Riverton on Friday evening and stayed the night with Darrin's mum. Set the alarm on my mobile phone for 7:30 the next morning so we could leave about 8:30. We actually got out of there at about 9, but no biggie. Drove down some new roads (since Darrin doesn't like going the same way twice, and he's doing this mapping thing for Open Street Map). Through Clare, Gladstone, Laura, to Stone Hut, where we stopped at the famous Stone Hut Bakery for lunch. Got back in the car, continued driving. Got out at Wirrabara to find a toilet, and shortly after we got back on the road from there, Caleb fell asleep. So the plan was to stop in I-can't-remember-what-town (maybe Quorn, I'm too tired at the moment to get up & find our trip plan), but since he was asleep when we got to there, we just kept driving. He slept all the way to Hawker, where we had to stop for petrol. Another half hour to 45 minutes up the road was the Flinders Ranges National Park, where the first orienteering event was being held. Since we were getting there a bit late in the day, we decided we'd go out on a course together rather than do two separate ones. It was classified an "easy" course, but we'd call it more of a "moderate" one. We did pretty well on that one, although there was one marker where I almost messed up the navigation (and would have if Darrin hadn't been there to correct me). We finished in under an hour, saw Colin & Aaron, chatted a bit, then got back in the car to head back to our accommodation in Hawker.

On the way back, Darrin decided to take an alternate route, and we managed to follow three kangaroos hopping down the road (because both sides of the road were fenced and they couldn't get over). At just about the point we were thinking "why aren't we getting a video of this" and reaching for the camera, they got over one of the fences. Dang.

No problem finding the place. Hawker's not that big, and there's only two caravan parks. We went to the office, got our keys, paid our fee, and went off to the caravan. No trouble finding the caravan. We got one with an ensuite bathroom (which wasn't actually connected to the caravan but was all our own, so I didn't feel weird walking into some public toilet with nappies to rinse out).

This is where things get ugly.

So we started unpacking. Got beds made up, changed a nappy, put our food in the fridge (which had been wide open and switched off when we arrived). I looked at one of the windows and it was open slightly. So I tried to crank it shut, but it wouldn't crank all the way in. And because I'd just been handling a slightly-leaking pack of raw meat, I went to wash my hands in the kitchenette sink. And a trickle came out, and then nothing. Um, okay. So I went to scope out the bathroom. And the window in there didn't latch properly. I could shut it, but any movement would open it again. The toilet worked, the sink worked, so the basics were there at least. Then on my way back I went to the window I'd found open and held it shut while Darrin did the latches on the inside. And went around to the other end of the caravan where another window had the same problem - only this one wouldn't latch properly either. And since I was halfway around anyway, I went all the way around and - yep - found a third window in the same condition. Back inside.

So I asked Darrin whether the gas oven looked like it had a pilot light or was manually lit like our oven (since I know very little about gas ovens) and he had a go at it, but it didn't do anything. So that's now four black marks against this place. There was, however, an electric frying pan in the cupboard, so we were able to cook our steaks.

Darrin decided to see what was on the box, and despite the TV being plugged in, turned on, and being connected to a roof aerial, all he got was snow. So then, since there was nothing else to do, he decided to go out and map Hawker and try to find us some chips (since earlier in the day he'd looked at a sheep paddock and said "Sheepies!" and I thought he said "Chippies!" and had been craving them ever since). So he was gone about an hour, and I tried to read a magazine while Caleb played, but since he was trying to play WITH my magazine, that didn't really work.

Darrin got back and reported that the only place open was the pub, so no chips. There was nothing else to do, and Caleb was getting tired, and we'd all been up since 7:30, so we decided to just go to bed early. I think it was about 9, maybe 10.

So anyway. We're all in bed, the lights are out, and Caleb's the only one sleeping. I get a few snatches of sleep with really weird dreams about Caleb turning into Tigger who then turned into a roast chicken, and putting a $165 in-ground swimming pool on layby at Fleet Farm. I checked my phone clock at about 2:30 and 3:40, and one of those times I got up to go to the toilet. About 15-20 minutes after I got back to bed, it started raining. Yay. We're doing orienteering in the morning and it's starting to rain.

So we woke up the next morning and it was still raining. We got all ready to go, stopped at the Mobil on the way out to get some spring water, a paper, and the all-important Cadbury Roast Almond block (mmmm). Drove up to the event, which was outside the park this time. A lot of people were parking on the road since the dirt road into the start area was getting a bit muddy. However since we have a small child, we weren't too comfortable with the idea of parking on the road, and went in. Got out of the car & had a look at everything, Darrin went out to do his course and got back in 74 minutes on a 6km course (when we were expecting 90 or more). So I got myself ready and went out, hoping against hope that the rain would let up just a bit. Well, it didn't. It just kept going. I found my first marker with no trouble, but then it all went downhill. I think I managed to find the wrong creek and found marker #3 before I found #2. But at least then I knew where I was, and went back to 2, then back to 3, and tried to find 4. But it was raining, cloudy, and I couldn't see the sun, and I wasn't sure I trusted my compass, so of course all this adds up to me heading in entirely the wrong direction and ending up back at number 2 again. And by this point I'm thinking that this course is a big load of number 2. But anyway, I managed to get myself going in the right direction to number 4 and found it. Then off in search of number 5, but I'd been out for ages by this point and was just sick of it, and couldn't work out where I was, so when I found a road (which happened to be the only road on the map), I decided I'd just follow it back to the next fence, which I could follow back to the finish. Enough's enough. I couldn't see anything because of all the rain on my glasses, and if I wiped them on my shirt they'd just be wet again in ten seconds time, so I didn't bother. About that time I was wishing I'd actually gone to my appointment and gotten my contacts a couple months ago when I forgot to go. (And Darrin was back at the finish starting to worry I'd slipped & fallen in a creek or something, so people were just about to come out looking for me.) On my way back I ran into one of the guys packing up markers, and he suggested I just follow the creek I was following back to the road, then follow the road up to the finish. This took a lot longer than I thought. But I got back, and everyone knew who I was (probably because I was the last person out), and told me Darrin had decided to move the car while there were still people around to push if need be. So I headed for the road.

I saw the car stop and headed for it. Darrin got out and as soon as I got close enough I was sure he'd see I gave a big thumbs down. Got in the car, and he turned the heat way up. I decided against changing my clothes because I just wanted to get out of there. Caleb fell asleep about 10 minutes into the drive, so when we got back to the caravan we just left him in the car and took turns having showers while the other watched him sleep. And for all the rest of our caravan experience sucked, the shower was pretty nice.

We decided to head back into the town & find some lunch, and maybe those elusive chips. Of course Caleb woke up just before we were going to get into the car, so we got him out & changed his nappy, and he really wasn't impressed when we put him straight back in the car seat. We found the general store and went inside. They had a deli/cafe type thing, so we started looking at the menu, and it was looking promising, till I noticed a sign that said they closed at 3pm. It was about 3:30. Argh. Foiled again on the chip front. So we went across the street to the Mobil again, where we knew they at least had some hot pies. Ate our lunch at one of the tables outside, then decided to go see all two of Hawker's attractions that were open. One was a touristy-type shop with some local artwork, the other was hardware/op shop/fabric shop/etc. Then we went back to the caravan.

Oh, and at some point on Sunday we noticed drops of water falling from the roof just a few inches off the double bed, and getting onto the blankets. Nice.

So then I decided I'd do laundry, since I had some wet clothes and used nappies and the like. Piled it all into the car and drove over to the amenities block, tossed it all into the washer, and only then realised I needed more change than I had. So I went over to the office and changed a $20 into a whole pile of $1 and 20c coins. Back to the laundry, put my money in the machine, and started it up. Drove back to the caravan (because it was raining, and I'd been out walking in the rain enough that day), then back over about 30 minutes later, when the washer was supposed to be done. There was a lady ahead of me using the only working dryer (there were two but one was out of order). All the signs up said the dryers take 20 minutes to go through a cycle. I sat there for 40 minutes. The cycle lasted 30 minutes, and still she hadn't shown up to check her stuff. So I was going to just take it out, leave it on the counter, and put my stuff in, but her stuff wasn't even dry. After several minutes debating what to do and ranting to myself about how crappy a place this was, I grabbed my stuff and went back to the caravan. I decided to hang it all up in the bathroom with the exhaust fan on in hopes that something would be dry by morning.

At some point Sunday, we decided there was a possibility we needed to turn the gas & water on somewhere outside the caravan. But still, it would've been nice if they'd told us. And since we were cold right through, having been out in the cold & rain most of the day, I decided to get out the tiny little space heater that was in the cupboard. And I left it on for about an hour, but really, it didn't do anything. We don't usually run a heater or anything in our bedroom at night, so we're used to just piling on the blankets, but every once in a while you need something extra.

Darrin cooked our lamb chops and we ate. Caleb was getting really grumpy by the end of tea so I got him off to sleep. It rained pretty much all night, and I had more weird dreams about door-to-door mayonnaise salesmen.

Guess what - the stuff didn't dry overnight. So we packed it all into plastic bags and put it in the boot. Packed up all our stuff, cleaned out the caravan, and turned in our keys by 8:15 Monday morning. Halfway to the event Caleb started fussing a little, and I turned around to look at him, but got distracted by the brilliant double rainbow off to the southwest. I told Darrin to pull over so he could have a look too, and he took a couple pictures. Off again. Got to the event, went & had a look at the courses, and I was still feeling pretty negative about it all, so I was assuming I wouldn't go out at all. So Darrin went out on another 6km-ish course and got back in about the same time as the Sunday one. Then we went back to the registration tent together, because even if I didn't go out, I had to hand in my rented Sportident stick. After much pleading and convincing, Darrin finally talked me into going out, and I did pretty well. I only had a little trouble with the last few markers because I got confused by seeing markers from other courses. But anyway, I finished in 1 hour 10 minutes, which isn't too bad for a 3km course.

So into the car again. And again, Caleb falls asleep about 10 minutes into the drive. And we'd been planning to stop in Hawker again to get petrol, but changed our minds when he fell asleep. So we went all the way to Orroroo, through Cradock and Carrieton. Stopped at a nice bakery/cafe in Orroroo and finally got some chips. Mmmm....

Filled up with petrol. Drove off again. Got enough street details for Darrin to map nearly the entire town. And then somewhere before Jamestown we saw another rainbow, and stopped to take some pictures. And we kept seeing that same rainbow for about 10km.

By the time we got to Clare Caleb was ready for a break, and we were ready for a snack, so we first stopped at the Woolworths where I got some food, and then found a playground where Caleb could run around for a bit. Of course all the seats of everything were wet, so in addition to a wet nappy, we had to change wet pants. But he had a good time, and we saw yet another rainbow (this one we didn't get pictures of).

And off again, via Saddleworth, to Riverton, where Darrin's mum had soup waiting. We stayed the night there again because it was easier than going back at night and unpacking everything at home in the dark, and having to steal blankets off the spare bed because mine were still wet.

Anyway, we got up at 7 this morning even though my alarm was set for 7:30, and got going before our planned departure of 8:30. Got the car all unpacked and then Darrin went off to work with Josh.

And I spent the rest of the morning unpacking suitcases, washing clothes & nappies, and hanging them outside. And now I have a cold, thanks to the crappy weather and everything. Yay.

The lengths we go to to avoid spending money.

So we're going off on an orienteering trip this weekend to Wilpena Pound. You may recall we went there two years ago and I got lost on the third event (but eventually worked out where I was, otherwise you probably wouldn't be hearing from me right now).

This time, of course, we'll have a toddler with us as well. And despite our best efforts to do elimination communication (that is, reading your baby's signs and catching what the nappy usually would - we did really good with poos till he started to crawl, and then he didn't want to sit still on the potty anymore), he's still in nappies. And months ago I got tired of buying disposables for every trip out, because it was getting expensive, so a couple times when I was feeling really desperate to get some, I went to Nappies Covered and bought materials to make my own instead. I also bought some second hand Baby Beehinds through Buy For Baby. Long story short, we now have seven nappies that I made, plus nine Baby Beehinds.

So where am I going with this? My point is that we have a pretty good stash of modern cloth nappies now, and frankly, I don't see the need for disposables. And, yeah, okay, so I wanna be able to say "Ha!" to those of you who think I'm crazy for taking cloth nappies on holiday. I'm up for the challenge.

To make things easier for the weekend, I've ceased using all our fitted nappies for the time being (this means I may have to change him overnight tonight, but I need to do that about once a week anyway). The last four are hanging on the rack in the kitchen air drying, and if the weather is nice-ish tomorrow, I'll move the rack outside for the day, or at least part of the day. If I'm lucky enough to get Caleb to sleep in the afternoon, I might bring the rack into the lounge room and sit it in front of the heater with the fan on it for a while to help dry them quicker.

Friday night we're staying with Darrin's mum in Riverton, since she's right on our way. She has her own set of nappies, which we use every time we're up there. We also have two of hers which Caleb wore home once when we didn't have a spare one of our own to put him in. Those are dry, so he'll be wearing those on the way up tomorrow night.

In the suitcase will be all sixteen fitted nappies plus twelve terry flats. The plan is to use the terries while we're in the caravan we're staying in, except for the standard overnight nappy - a bamboo Baby Beehinds with an overnight booster and wool cover. (Just my luck, though - yesterday's morning poo leaked out the back of the nappy and onto the wool cover and his pajamas, so I had to wash & re-lanolise the cover today.) The rest of the fitteds we'll reserve for going out to the events. Hopefully this way we'll have enough to last us through Sunday afternoon, at which time I'll wash a load. Then we shouldn't have any trouble getting back to Riverton (or even home) with a few clean ones to spare.

And! I drove down to Nature's Cradle today (boy, this post is getting to be just one big link-fest) and bought the following:

  • Baby Beehinds wool cover (we only had one and he's getting close to filling it out, so it's the next size up)
  • Eenies flushable liners (because I really don't want to be cleaning a nappy in a foreign toilet, and it wouldn't look very good if we were using the caravan park's garden hose to do so)
  • A third Baby Beehinds overnight booster

The comedy of errors otherwise known as Our Trip To Victor Harbor, February 2008

So the plan was to leave at about noon on Saturday, but we were pretty much ready before then. Started packing the car, picking up around the place, and Darrin checked the power steering fluid (which he'd just filled up Friday morning) and it was totally empty. He found where it was leaking, and of course the obvious answer to such a problem is duct tape. Lucky for us we actually had a roll, and I ran inside to get it. Darrin taped up the leak while I finished packing the car. And we were off just after 12 by the car's clock, just before 12 by the one on my mobile. So we were pretty much on schedule anyway.

By the time we got to the Brickworks, Caleb was asleep. Yay. Exactly what we were hoping for on a 2 hour drive. And then I got hungry around Noarlunga. And all our food I'd packed was in the boot in the esky. So we decided to drive through Hungry Jack's and get some lunch, and hopefully not wake Caleb. Hahahaha...of course as soon as Darrin turned the radio down so he could order, Caleb woke up because it was too quiet all of a sudden. We got our food, parked the car in a shady spot, and ate. Got Caleb out of his seat so he could have a feed, but he wasn't hugely interested. He did play around a bit though, and got to stretch, so we hoped he'd be happy enough the rest of the trip, and maybe even go back to sleep.

Nope. About 10 minutes down the road he started fussing for a feed. So we stopped and I fed him, and we headed off again. And he fussed again, so we stopped again, and this time I got in the back seat with him and rode back there for the rest of the trip (about half an hour).

We got to our caravan park and they informed us that just the night before, the gas line to our caravan had broken, so we wouldn't be able to cook in there. Not a problem; we decided we'd use the camp kitchen or one of the barbecues instead. Found our caravan, unpacked, I went off to find the toilets.

Just before 4 we packed ourselves back into the car and went off to the first orienteering event. I picked the short course - 2.8 km, 30 m climb. I went with Caleb in the pram. And guess what - the 30 m climb was all at the beginning, so I got it all out of the way right away. I hate hills. Luckily the terrain was pram-friendly (almost all streets) so I didn't have too much trouble pushing him.

And then he started to "sing" sometime between marker 4 and 5, and was just starting to doze off as I was approaching number 6. So I thought I'd put the backrest down, and he could lie down and have a snooze. Big mistake. Instead of relaxing him, it woke him up. And he really told me off for it too.

So marker 6 was down some steps on the beach. There was no way I was getting the pram down there, but there was a lady just ahead of me who offered to punch my card for me. And then the shortest route between 6 and 7 was along the beach, but with a pram? You've gotta be kidding. So I had to go back out the way I came and go the long way around.

And at marker 7 we caught up with Darrin, or he caught up with us, and said hi, and as soon as he went out of sight, Caleb howled (we've got that fun separation anxiety phase happening at the moment). Picked him up & carried him for a few minutes, then once he'd calmed down enough I put him back in the pram. He fussed a bit on & off the rest of the course, and really got annoyed after the last marker, so I picked him up again about 200 m from the finish and carried him the rest of the way. Darrin had already finished, even though he'd started after me on a longer course (he only walks, but he's FAST). Handed him off to Darrin at the finish because my arms were aching. Hung around for a little while, then decided to go up the road for some drinks. Came back to the event, waited for Colin & Aaron to get back from their course, chatted a bit, then got back in the car to go back to the caravan park, 5 minutes away.

But it's never as simple as it sounds. Caleb did NOT want to be in his seat. At all. We stopped twice in the first kilometer because we thought he wanted a feed, a clean nappy, his shirt off, whatever. We tried all that stuff and he STILL wouldn't sit in the seat without howling. Eventually we decided we couldn't really do anything else, and left him there screaming the whole way back, even though I was sitting right next to him. It sucked. Even after we got back to the caravan park and I could take him out of the seat the rest of the way back (we were only going 10 kph), he still fussed a little. He was happy again as soon as he had a feed, once we got back to the caravan. Oh, and filled his nappy. That was part of the problem too, obviously.

So we sat around there for a while, Darrin reading his book, Caleb & me watching him read his book (and Caleb trying to crawl on the book - remember when I said I dreamed he turned into a kitten? Maybe he has). Started to think about tea. Looked at our little map to work out where the camp kitchen was, then headed off by way of the toilets. Decided on the way there we'd rather barbecue, because there was one closer, so we went back to get utensils. Got the utensils, went over to the barbecue, and on the way it started to drizzle. Darrin barbecued the meat and I held Caleb, who was starting to get really fidgety. Went back, had our tea, Caleb fussed a lot, I fed him, he fell asleep. We watched the end of 50 First Dates, then I went to the toilet, came back, went to bed. Not to sleep though, not for a long while. And Caleb, having missed a few feeds over the course of the day, made up for it overnight.

Woke up Sunday morning feeling stiff & sore all over. Strange bed, cold weather. Went to the toilets, came back, cleaned up the caravan, got packed in the car, turned in our key. Drove off to the event in Port Elliot. The start & finish were right on the beach, and it was a little breezy, and there was rain coming. I decided that if I was going out, I'd go by myself, and Caleb would stay back with Darrin. So Darrin went off first, and Caleb & I sat on the ground next to the start & finish. And then the rain started to come, so we made a run for the car. Which was up a big flight of stairs. Ever tried carrying a backpack and a 10 kg baby up stairs? Not easy. So we sat in the car the rest of the morning.

And then my mobile starts to ring. And I check the voicemail, and it's the caravan park lady. And then the low battery signal starts up, and the call gets disconnected, and I ring back AGAIN, and it's the caravan park lady saying we dropped a wallet and someone turned it in. I check for mine - it's there. Must be Darrin's. Must've dropped it putting his jeans into the car. I turn the phone off to save power.

Anyway, so I tell Darrin when he gets back, and after arranging a lunch date with Colin & Aaron, we head back to the caravan park to get the wallet. And then it starts to rain again, so Darrin put the wipers & lights on.

We decided to kill some time by wandering through some of the shops on Ocean Street (main shopping area in Victor Harbor). So we popped into Angus & Robertson first (book shop) and didn't buy anything, because we had $20 left and we still needed lunch. Left A & R, went up the street, saw this place called All Sweets & Treats, and I started to jokingly go in, because we all know what a sweet tooth I have, and then I saw it.

Dr Pepper.

We interrupt this program to bring you a special presentation of Dumb Poetry In A Card Type Trash.

Ode to My First Dr Pepper in Four Years
By melvan

Window shopping
And there you were
Maroon and metallic
Begging to be bought
Three dollars leave my wallet
"Would you like a cold one?"
Oh yes.
She returns with my can
Maroon, metallic, and chilled
My precious...

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program, already in progress.

So then we walk further up the street to the fish & chip shop we'd arranged to meet at. It was still ages yet till one o'clock, so we went back outside and wandered around a bit. Came back after looking around in a closing down souvenir shop, and just stood around outside the fish & chip shop till Colin & Aaron got there. Bought our food, walked off to a picnic table & sat down and ate. Caleb pretty much demolished any piece of fish I gave him, and dropped it on the ground, so in the end I just ate off all the coating first and let him go crazy with the rest, eating whatever he didn't drop. After lunch, I took him on the baby swing (which didn't really hold him securely, so I took him out) and the slide (which he wasn't too sure about). Then when we were all ready to leave, I fed him and we walked through the market. If we'd had money left, there were several things I would've taken a closer look at. But I didn't want to depress myself so I didn't.

We got back to the car, and got all our stuff packed away, and Caleb in his seat, nice and comfortable, all fed, and Darrin turned the key, and click click click click....

He asked me what I thought it was, and I told him I didn't know, but it sounded expensive. He had a look under the bonnet. Tried again. Noticed the headlight switch was still on. Oops.

No worries, at least now we know what it is. And we're RAA members, so we can get a jump for free. So I get my mobile out, Darrin makes the call, and just as he's telling the operator "I'm at the corner of Torrens and..." and looking up the name of the other road, the phone goes dead.

We look in the street directory for the location of the nearest pay phone. There's one across the street in the shopping centre. So we cross the road, find the phone, look in my wallet for coinage, and we only have 20 cents. The phone need 50 cents. And that's all the money we've got, apart from about $4 in the bank which we can't get to, because it's Sunday and the banks are closed, and you can't get less than $20 out of an ATM anyway.

Then Darrin goes into the Caltex and asks to use their phone. The lady there says "The cord won't reach, but here's some coins." He goes back to the pay phone, calls the RAA, and they say they'll be out in 15 minutes.

Thank you, Caltex lady, whoever you are. :-)

So the RAA guy comes out, probably actually about 20 minutes later, but that's fine. He pulls out this portable jump thing, hooks it up to our battery, and Darrin turns the key, and the car goes VROOM. Yay.

So we're off again, finally, and within about fifteen minutes Caleb goes to sleep. And we go through a lot of HORRIBLE traffic, because it's the Victor Harbor road, and it's a really bad road. It's so bad there was a political cartoon in the paper a few years ago about someone asking how to get to Victor Harbor, and the other person says "It's easy, just follow the red and black posts." (Red posts indicate a person who was injured; black ones for someone who died.) And at one point, in ONE KILOMETER (which is about 5/8 mile) there were FOUR red posts. Yet the state government still hasn't done much about it, except to put up a sign for the current number of days without a significant accident and remind people to be careful...but that's a rant for another day.

Anyway. We got back to Adelaide finally, and we're going through the roadworks at South Road and Anzac Highway, and Caleb wakes up. And he's hungry, and hot, and so Darrin finds the first place he can and pulls over so I can feed him. We spend about 10 minutes sitting on the side of the road, feeding him, trying to keep him happy, giving him toys to play with, but again, it doesn't seem to work once he's in the seat. This time, however, I got the dummy out and gave it to him. He sucked on it a little, then pulled it out and sucked on the wrong end. Whatever. At least he's not screaming, and we can get the rest of the way home.

And now we're home, and some idiot has left a Homecare catalog in our letterbox, which has a very obvious "NO JUNK MAIL" sticker on it. And Darrin walks in the front door first, and Biscuit is there, and goes straight back to the laundry room begging for food.

Oh, and the duct tape held the entire time too.


So before this trip to the US can materialize, we have to go to Melbourne and get Caleb's Consular Report of Birth and his passport. Thus, here are our tentative plans for a trip there in the October school holidays.

Saturday 27th September: Leave home, drive to Horsham, Victoria, and stay the night.

Sunday 28th September: Horsham to Ballarat. See the Grampians.

Monday 29th September: Ballarat to Melbourne. Stay in Melbourne till Friday 3rd October. During this time, Darrin wants to go driving on some freeways, and I want to visit USA Foods and get some Dr Pepper, and of course we have to do Caleb's paperwork as well.

Friday 3rd October: Leave Melbourne and drive to Geelong along the Great Ocean Road.

Saturday 4th October: Geelong to Warrnambool.

Sunday 5th October: Warrnambool to Mount Gambier, where we'll finally get to check the Mount Gambier Fasta Pasta off our list (and we will have been to nearly all the South Australian ones).

Monday 6th October (Labour Day): Mount Gambier to home.

How I Spent My Holidays

Saturday morning the alarm was set for 6 am. Blech. But I think I was actually awake before that, so no matter. Neither of us bothered showering, because a) we knew we'd be sweating in the afternoon anyway, and b) the night before we noticed there was a block in our drains after the washer flooded the bathroom & kitchen. Lovely.

Stopped for petrol/gas, drove through McDonald's for breakfast, drove on north of the city through all the towns along the gulf. Got to Port Augusta around 11 am and had lunch at Hungry Jack's (Australian Burger King).

Drove on through Quorn and Hawker, on toward Wilpena, got to the end of the asphalt and onto dirt road into the event. We found the start and got registered, got our maps, started our courses. (Side note: I never used to have to think about where north is. I just *knew*. Now that I'm in the southern hemisphere, I'm always thinking south is north, and vice versa, so I really have to pay attention to where the sun is so I know where I am.) I figured out where I was going, found the first three markers with little trouble, and then I went the wrong way down a hill and had no clue where I was. So I went back to number 3 and tried again, and got lost again, and went back again, and found marker 9. Sure, it looks similar to a 4, but it ain't a 4. But now at least I knew where I was, and there was a creek I could follow right up to number 4. And funnily enough, I ended up somewhere I'd been before, and didn't realise I was close. Dang. So found number 4, and found the rest with little or no trouble. I was out on that course for two and a half hours when it should've taken an hour and a half. But I got back before they had to look for me, so that was a good thing.

So we'd made reservations for a room in Hawker, about 40 minutes from where we'd been. Got our room, sat around for a while, had showers, went to the restaurant and had schnitzels (which weren't that great, but they filled us up). Back to the room, sleep.

Sunday morning. Woke up before the alarm. Had breakfast delivered. Ate breakfast (bacon & eggs & toast...mmmm). Got going early because it's funny how fast you can get ready in the morning when you don't have cats or computers to distract you. Got to the start again, which was a bit closer than Saturday's, and the road to the start went up a steep hill, and back down just as steep on the other side. And we were actually early, so we just sat in the car and tried to stay warm till our start times (Darrin 10:14, me 10:30). Our friends Colin & Aaron showed up, and they had start times right after each of us (10:16 and 10:32). So at about 10 we went down to the starting area, waited for our names to be called, and lined up behind everyone else who was going. Got maps, started, yada yada yada. This one was much easier than Saturday's, partly because the person who set it up was a little more forgiving than the previous one, and partly because I'd done the previous day and I was getting used to the terrain. And I had very little trouble with the Sunday course, except for marker 6 where I got off the track too soon, but I found where I was pretty quickly and finished in a reasonable time. Had some hot dogs & drinks, hung around till they were ready to pack up in case they needed help, but they had enough people so we left. And went up to Pugilist Hill lookout. Which is a big hill right next to the event. Very steep road up there, but we had a good view. Nearly 360 degrees of mountains. I took some pictures, they'll be in the gallery in the next few days.

Back to the hotel. Hung around there for a bit, had showers, changed clothes, went back toward Wilpena and the Woolshed Restaurant, which had been booked out for the orienteers for a buffet. And we stuffed ourselves. We ate till it hurt. Hung around chatting with Colin & Aaron till 9 or so, then drove back to the hotel and watched a bit of Die Hard 2 on TV before we went to sleep.

Monday morning. Had bacon & eggs for breakfast again. Checked out of the hotel. Drove to the last event, which was right next to the one we'd been to on Saturday. Got our start times, maps, and off we went. And I was doing great till marker 9 (out of 14), where I went down the wrong side of a hill (went south instead of east) and ended up almost at the bottom of the map. And I looked around for that stinking number 10 for at least an hour, then I finally decided I'd had enough, and it was getting close to the course closing, so I had to go back anyway. Got to a wide creek and realised I'd been at the OTHER wide creek further south. Found my way back to the finish where Darrin was waiting for me. Got back just over a minute past the closing time with sore feet, sore knee, and kicking myself for messing it up.

Drove back through Hawker, where we'd intended to get petrol again, but being the last day of a long weekend, everyone and his dog was there waiting already, so we drove on, since we were doing pretty good already anyway. Stopped at a bakery in Orroroo (I hope I spelled that right, can't be bothered checking the map) for lunch. Drove on to Riverton where Darrin's mum has moved to, and had tea with them. Drove back from there at about 10, got home around 11:15, got unpacked a bit, crashed in bed.

We'll definitely be going back when they do a 3-day event again, so I can beat the map rather than the other way around. And Darrin loves the area because it's HARD, and none of the maps around Adelaide compare to that.

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