Friday, September 24, 2010

How to Survive on A Farm (Tips from someone who knows nothing about it). Part 5: What You Should Know About Your Mobile Phone

Today I bought my first touch screen mobile phone. That's right, I have finally joined the 21st century and acquired an Apple iPhone. And I know it might sound silly, but I am just giggly with excitement about this!

Ten years ago, when I first moved 'out west', I bought with me my Dad's old Nokia. A big ol' chunky piece of hardware that ensured I could stay in touch with the city whenever I wanted. That was until it got stolen out of my hand bag at a school function several months later. I am grateful that it wasn't my wallet or camera that went 'missing', but still, the feeling of having something taken from you really bites the big one. And it sucks even more that I knew who took it but couldn't prove it. I asked my year 10 class at the time about the possibility of a 'reward' if anyone 'found' my phone. Sure enough, the next day I was told that it had been 'found' - on the side of the road. ANNNDDDDDD.... it would be returned for $5 less than what it would cost me to replace the whole phone. Several words still run through my head when I think about how this made me feel... none of them printable. And once the phone was back in my hands I notified the police. And nothing was ever done about it anyway. I learned my lesson.

My next phone was another (more moedern) Nokia. The height of mobile fashion. (Ie: It folded in half). This phone was standard. It saw me through the next few years until CP and I were married and needed a new one.

CP has 'farmers fingers' - that basically translates to mean that they are too wide to be able to manouvre their way around any mobile phone due to the close proximity of the numbers on the handpiece. Apparently this is quite a natural phenomenen. So the solution to this problem was for Telstra to commission the 'Farmers Phone'. The numbers are nice and round, spread further apart than most other phones on the market, and as such, the entire phone could easily fill a woman's hand bag, or small family car! This is not a joke. (See phone below). The other selling point on this monstrosity is that they apparently have the best reception for the area we live in (and many other rural areas) - presumably because of the oversized antenna at the top. Charlie insisted this would be the better phone for us given that we lived in such an isolated area. And since his father also had the same phone, it seemed kind of logical. I didn't argue. My arguments would have been based on fairly materialistic points of view, so it really wasn't worth it.

When we first purchased this farmers phone, the shop assistant (very accurately reading my frantic facial expressions at even the sight of the phone) insisted that several other models would also have decent mobile reception at our property. We checked on the map on the computer screen. Green meant 'yes - you have reception here', and red meant 'sorry, it will cost us too much money to provide you with a mobile network there'. And guess what? Our place was a sea of red. Surrounded by an abundance of green. I kid you not when I say that our property is one of the few places in our district with limited mobile phone reception. But according to the sales assistant, it wasn't all bad. If we spent a few more hundred dollars, we would be able to buy a compatible car kit, which would ensure mobile reception in even more areas. And since surely only a farmer would be silly enough to buy this scary monster, they must be going to sit on this phone all day as they drive around inspecting fence lines and whatever else it is that farmers actually do. Or not.

And so we did spend the extra. And now I am the proud owner of 2 oversized antennas. One on the phone, and one on the car.

I try not to get too caught up in the whole "keeping up with the Jones'" thing, but I have to be honest. You can only go to so many family functions, dinners, gatherings etc. before you start to feel like you are still in the stone age as far as your phone is concerned. And this farmers phone was seriously letting the team down. And by team, I mean ME.

The classic was at a gathering of friends recently, in the city. Everybody laid their iPhones and Blackberry's out on the bar as we walked in. I thought immediately about hiding my phone in my bag, but then changed my mind and placed it on the bar with all the others. This was initially met with looks of pity and sadness, and eventually (after a few drinks) with high pitched shrieks and peels of laughter. (Mostly from my brother). And I can honestly say, it didn't really bother me... okay maybe just a little. But really, what good would one of those fancy touch pad phones be out on a property like ours?

And then the myth was busted. Twice. I was almost jumping out of my skin, when the first farmers phone died on us. The second phone death was just a nuisance. And by this stage we were up to our third farmers phone (all manufacturing faults). And this isn't a phone company bagging session, but lets just leave it at the fact that I had had a gut full of our farmers phone by this point. The first myth busting event occured during my sisters visit to our farm. Her partner had reception on his iPhone at our front door. *Gasp* The second myth busting moment occured when my neighbour proudly declared that she also had reception on her iPhone at our front door (or near enough). *Double Gasp*

Several weeks ago, farmers phone number 3 started playing up too. I was flat out refusing to go back and punish myself again with that model. But hubby is kind of insisting - and I just can't be bothered arguing about it. The facts are:
- It doesn't matter what phone you have, reception is just reception out here.
- The farmers phone DOES suit people with larger fingers better.
- I use the phone 95% of the time
- I use the phone when I go to town and the city. Places that have no problem with mobile phone reception.

Armed with these facts, I decided to buy my very own iPhone on this particular trip to the city. (See below).

I've gotta say. It is love at first sight. Life as I know it has changed for me. Sort of.

So what have I learned throughout all of this? I was right all along? No - too blunt. I should have done this years ago? No - too reflective. Maybe, NEVER (repeat NEVER) let your Farmer husband try to talk you into anything when it comes to mobile phones. Yes - warm. Trust your instinct. Uh huh - warmer. You probably know more about it than him anyway. Yes - boiling! I think that's exactly right. Farmer's know loads about farming... and not a lot about phones. At least my farmer anyway. Oh and on a bright note. For those of you who read all my blogs, and knew that CP missed the birth of his eldest daughter because he didn't have a mobile phone on him at the time. CP is going to keep the Farmers phone, and I'll be keeping my iPhone. So it looks like everyone has kicked a goal around here tonight I think!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


This is Olivia. My first born, my princess, my biggest baby girl. My special little helper. This smiling angel is also the carrier of the part of my brain I lost after having children. Her memory is phenomenal. She is switched on, intuitive and also my most sensitive child. She is also my worrier.She saw my post on Darcy, and without even knowing what I had written, was automatically nervous about why I had not written one about her. My mistake.

This one is for you Livvy! xxx

Two weeks before Olivia was born, I was settling myself in Brisbane in anticipation of her arrival. Being my first baby, I was sure I would have plenty of time after labour began to ring Charlie and tell him to drive the 6 1/2 hours it would take him to get to Brisbane. And I was certain he would make it with time to have a coffee! Sadly for Charlie (though not for me) my labour was 5 hours from start to finish. (And he should have known that 'the waters have broken' referred to his wife and baby, and NOT the pipes connecting the dams to the troughs!) Olivia was 2 weeks early and keen as mustard to get out. This is still typical of Olivia today. She likes to do things quickly! What this meant for Charlie, (aside from getting a $250 speeding fine), was that he was the last person I knew to find out about the birth of his first child.

Olivia is my most accident prone child. I suspect this has something to do with the speed at which she engages herself in everything! When she was almost 1, she fell onto the corner of a tin holding nuts and bolts, and caused a 7mm gaping gash. She still bears the scar on her lips from this accident. She also has permanent scars on her forehead and cheeks from other accidents. This girl lives for the moment. It's one of the things I love most about her.And one of the things that makes me worry about her too. She is a firecracker. She always has something on the boil. Like her father, she finds it hard to sit still. The world is too full of things to see and touch to just sit back and observe. She wants to tackle it head on.

Olivia has an incredible memory. Approximately 18 months after my mothers knee operation, and after very little, if any, discussion about it in front of the children, Olivia asked her how her knee was feeling. She wants everyone to feel as special as she likes to feel and she goes out of her way to bring this feeling about.

She is also very clever. She loves reading and writing, and every day she makes my heart do little flips when I think that this little creature, who was only made in the last few years, can already do so much. I once walked on to our verandah and saw black permanent marker on the exterior walls. When I asked Olivia if it was her doing, she strenuously denied it. But the "Olivia Art" written at the bottom was a complete give away, and I was torn between being cranky, or elated.

Olivia is organised. She likes order, and thrives on control. She likes to know what is happening and why it is happening. She can remember 15 different things that need to be done, and I rarely need to explain things to her more than once. I'll claim those genes.

And yet Olivia is so much like her father it amazes me. She might look more like me on the outside, but inside is a mini version of her father. The way she speaks. The Spanish Inquisition you get when you speak to her on the telephone. The questions about nothing. The constant thirst for more information.

And she is so sensitive. She cares so much about the people she loves. She hates disappointment, and as such, lives her life desperately trying to please others. This worries me.

She needs me, like none of my other children do. It brings out the protective, nurturing side of me. And nothing makes me happier than knowing that my baby needs me. That moment is fleeting. She also needs her brother and sister. She loves Darcy and Sam like you have never seen. She is a mini-Mum for them. She dotes on them, defends them and encourages them. She also bosses them, but mostly she adores them.

Olivia is my 'most likely to cry'. Breaks my heart every... single... time. But when she smiles, (and I don't mean that cutie-pie little pose thing she has going on), you can't help but smile with her.

So while I worry more about Olivia than any of my other children, there is a sense of peace about her. She will grow into that brain of hers, and her worry won't bother me as much. She is mature beyond her years. She loves home, and family. She wants to belong, and I know that no matter where in the world either of us will be, she will always be thinking of me. And I will be thinking of her.

Olivia is beautiful - on the inside and the outside. She changed my life. She took me from early adulthood, into the most significant role I will ever hold in my life. I am the mother of this precious, thoughtful, organised little  rabbit. Sometimes the love I feel for her causes my heart to feel like it's going to burst. And even though she makes me worry about her, I couldn't be more proud of anything or anyone.

Monday, September 20, 2010


This is Darcy. My middle child. My dreamer. My beautiful, funny, little monkey. My story teller...
When Darcy was born I felt an instant need to protect her. She was born with some minor kidney problems and was on antibiotics before breast milk. It broke my heart. But with time and love, she overcame the kidney complaint. And then she was diagnosed with 2 turned eyes. Devastated doesn't even come close to how I felt. Everyone wants smooth sailing when it comes to their child. And a turned eye or two is really nothing when you compare it to the things other families have to deal with, but I was gutted. 
At the time Darcy was diagnosed with the turned eyes, we had an Au Pair from Holland living with us. Yvonne had a glass eye. This was so critical in helping me gain perspective throughout this. The stress was mostly due to how isolated we are. Every appointment meant a 1400km round trip to the coast with 3 small children. All for 15 minutes with a specialist. It's funny how you just keep putting one foot in front of the other during times like this. But Yvonne was there throughout all of it. Darcy wore glasses and a patch for over 2 years. Just before her 3rd birthday, she had a double eye operation to correct the turns. It was a fantastic success. 

Darcy is now 3 1/2 and she still wears glasses to help with her vision. Her specialist told us that she will be able to wear contacts when she turns 15 and can't get a boyfriend. Of course, that won't have anything to do with her glasses, but rather her old fashioned mother. 
If any of my children were ever going to have glasses, I'm glad it was Darcy. She has the personality to fit them. She is gorgeous without glasses of course, but when she puts them on she becomes a larger than life personality. She couldn't care less what people think and say, and she has ample confidence to boot.
Darcy has an infectious laugh. She tells amazing stories that you would bet your life were real. And then she'll add that "our house was flying" and you realise it was all imagined. Once we were driving in the car, and she told me that "Dad had 'tapped the baby lamb on the head because it was sick'." I was sure this couldn't be right, and asked for clarification. She assured me that he had done it earlier that week in a very specific location. It was all so detailed! Later that day I checked the facts with Charlie, who assured me that we didn't even have any baby lambs at that time. What a story teller!!! Then when you mention this to Darcy later, she gives you a 'butter wouldn't melt in my mouth' grin that automatically makes you forget what you were going to say anyway.
Darcy almost NEVER looks into a camera. It gives her a far away, dreamer quality in photos. (See picture below). I often wonder where she is, and what she thinks about. However we DID get the most gorgeous school photo this year, and she is smiling AND looking into the camera. Incredible. 
Darcy is my most affectionate child. She tells me hundreds of times a day that she loves me, and insists on following through with kisses and cuddles. I am her best friend, her mum and her idol. She melts my heart. 
She is quick witted, funny and excitable. She speaks with the most intoxicating husky voice, which, I am assured by the speech therapist, "is consistent with the volume at which she speaks." Nice. 
Darcy is clever. But how often she chooses to apply it is the key to her success. She is sporty and creative too. But more than anything she just wants to spend time with people she loves. 
Darcy is my sweet tooth. Even more than me! Which makes us perfect kitchen companions. 
And she is beautiful. Did I tell you how beautiful she is? 
I love all of my children. I will blog about them all in time. But tonight it is Darcy I am thinking about. My independent, lovable critter. I love her even though she manages to lose or break 3 pairs of (expensive) glasses every year. I love her even though I can never tell when she is telling the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I love her fashion sense, and the fact that she is doing her best to bring the 'bag lady' look into fashion. I love that she wants to go to the party 'for the food.' I love that she wants to 'pull my cranky pants down.'
Even though Darcy will send me grey before any of my other children, I love her. And I love her love.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

It Aint Cooking If You Don't Use Golden Syrup

Cooking has become an integral part of my life. 

When I was a kid, I was pretty lucky and managed to escape most of my childhood without having to cook a meal for anyone. My mother was always a great cook, but this never seemed to transfer into my own skills base.

At university I survived on a diet consisting mostly of mince, pasta and sauce. The juniors at McDonalds knew me by name, and once (embarrassingly enough) a Donut King attendant once commented on how 'my kids would love these donuts' - surely because one single female could never possibly consume all of those donuts on her own... mmmm donuts!

When I scored my first real teaching post, I had a flat mate who was a spectacular cook, and I managed to pick up a few handy tips from her on healthy eating and quick, easy meals that were also fairly impressive to look at. This was around the same time I met my hubby. It is little wonder he was blown away by my fantastic culinary skills. I was still learning, and there were many years that lay ahead of me before I would grow tired of exploring these new kitchen talents.

Three children later, I consider myself something of a cook. I have a whole cupboard full of cooks books that I like to experiment with, but the reality is that most of the time I rely on a few favourites that I can do blindfolded with one hand tied behind my back. Every now and then I try something new and exciting. But in all honesty, hubby is a back to basics man. If it doesn't have meat in it, it's not a real meal. Most of the meals I cook are either a mix of carbs and veges, or carbs and meat. Or a combination of the above.

I've never felt like an authentic farmers wife. I have never been much of a baker as such. I don't regularly have 'smoko' ready on the table for when hubby walks in, hungry. I try. Really I do.

And then a few months ago, a good friend of mine introduced me to "The Country Table". This cook book is the mother of all country cook books. It's the back-to-basics, cook your way into hubby's heart cook book, and it has done amazing things for my hubby's renewed faith in my cooking abilities! And the comfort food has not gone unnoticed on my waist either let me tell you! But let me also add, that every bite, every taste, every mouthful, was worth it!

This cook book taught me that if you don't use golden syrup, then you aren't really baking! (Well not really, but it seems that anything truly delicious seems to include lashings of golden syrup!) It also taught me that we are all capable of unleashing our inner Martha Stewart! 

One of my favourite 'special treat' recipes (not in the cook book mentioned above) is the well known American Red Velvet Cake. And this picture does it no justice! This cake is so good you can only eat it on very special occasions. You just know something this good has GOT to be bad for you. Bad, but delicious!

The other thing about honing my skills as a domestic goddess, is that I am becoming more adept at 'knowing my meats'. And by meat, I mean beef and lamb. At the moment we have 3 inside freezers switched on. We also have a cold room out in the shed. Our freezers are currently brimful of every cut of beef or lamb you can imagine. I consider myself extremely lucky. The cost of meat these days at a supermarket is enough to scare the socks off any self-respecting carnivore! So don't think I don't feel guilty when hubby and I have a conversation like this...

Me: "CP, what do you want for dinner?"
CP: "I don't know... what do we have?"
Me: (Staring into all 3 freezers) "Ummmm... nothing."
CP: "Nothing? I thought we had some roasts?"
Me: "I'm sick of roast!"

And yes... I feel guilty. 

We eat so much roast that I can honestly admit that it's starting to affect my culinary skills. And my waist line. I am, of course, completely grateful for the fact that we eat lots of red meat and we eat well. But it certainly explains my excitement at our recent acquisition of 10 chickens...

Bush Kids

There is a distinct difference between city kids and bush kids.

I suppose, having grown up on a farm myself (all 20 acres of it), I always considered myself something of a "bush kid". When my sister and I once looked back at childhood photos of us, my sister commented that "she had never seen more dirty children" - until she saw my own children at home. And that's when I realised that I wasn't actually a bush kid as such, but rather a country kid. And there is a difference.

Country kids are au fait with getting down and dirty in the mud. They like playing outside and are happy roughing it with pets and neighbourhood kids.

Bush kids do that too, but they take it to another level. As some of you are reading this you may even think your own children (or children you know) may do the same things that I describe... but stay with me till the end, and you will see the difference.

Bush kids don't need summer clothes. They get around in the nude. This is because it's too bloody hot to put anything on anyway. Bush kids don't really need winter clothes either- and for the same reasons- except that their parents worry about chills and flus and illness. Bush summers are filled with mozzies and flies and hoses in the garden. Bush kids drink from an old tap, and don't care about bacteria or germs, because they have built up a serious immunity to such things from the time they spend outside.

Bush kids have 'farmers tans' by the time they are 10. Even with all the sun safety available, bush kids spend so much time outside, it's impossible to escape the genetic curse of a farmers tan. And bush kids love hats. The bigger, the better. No outfit is complete without an Akubra or straw hat on top.

Bush kids love the rain. They speak in terms of how many "points" or "inches" we have had, and happily share that news with friends and neighbours. They understand the effect of rain on a crop, and in harvesting.

Bush kids own boots. Lots of boots. And not soft suede dress ones. We're talking heavy duty working boots that will ensure that tiny feet stay protected from an array of accidents waiting to happen. Having said that, bush kids also like to go barefoot lots of the time too. Across burrs and prickles and rocks. These kids are tough.

Bush kids understand the life cycle. Something is born and something dies. They watch dogs and cows mating and understand that it takes 2 to make 1. And likewise, they know that the meat in the freezer comes from an actual (once living) beast, and there is every conceivable chance that your bush kid helped get it from the paddock into the freezer in some capacity, whether that be witnessing the killing of the animal, to helping Dad peel the skin off, to helping cut it up in the butchers shop, to bagging the meat for the freezer.

Bush kids ask questions like "who's car tracks are they?" and "when can I help you muster?" and "why do some sheep get fly blown and others don't?" Bush kids care about the weather for more reasons than what it means they can and can't do at home today. Bush kids, like city kids, have a fascination with learning. But the learning doesn't end on a trip away from the house. In fact, much of the learning is done at home. Field trips are a way of life. My kids can name all the paddocks (and that's no easy feat!), as well as tell me what each paddock is used for and when. They know the difference between our own cattle and the adjistment cattle. They know the names of tools that Dad uses, and makes of cars. They can differentiate between lamb and beef when they eat it, and will happily tell me if I have cooked the meat too long and made it tough. And my eldest is 5.

Bush kids go to school and talk about "when Dad killed the chook on the weekend."

I know of one bush kid (aged 10 at the time) who paid (with her savings) for a pure bred dog so that she could breed it with another dog and make money off the litter. She did this over a period of years, using the school newsletter to advertise the puppies. She drew up the advertisements herself. And when she sold a pup, she sent invoices for payments that she printed from a computer. She sent receipts too. It became quite a little money spinner for her. Love that bush kid!

My neighbours 9 year old son recently noticed significant damage to a grid that my hubby had spent some time repairing. He went home devastated at all the hard work gone to waste, and was genuinely saddened for my hubby when he eventually saw the grid with his own eyes. Master 9 even offered to help my hubby to mend the grid whenever that time came. Bush kid.
I am not a bush
 kid. But I am raising 3 of my own. It never ceases to amaze me how different they are to what I know of growing up myself. I watch them and I learn from them. They make me laugh and they make me cry. But I love them. And I wouldn't have my bush kids any other way!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The City Break

City Break: (noun) A short vacation spent or based in a city. Recreational activity. : Encarta.

This definition suggests something FUN right?

When hubby and I were dating I was still very much caught between my city and country lives, and as such, found myself heading back to the city at every opportunity I could. Not wanting to sacrifice time with me (and why would he?... With a male/female ratio of 10:1 in this district, even the thought of having located a potential wife would frighten any right-minded farmer into pulling out all tricks in order to secure a bride. Especially one with all her teeth, and no immediate family in the district), CP used to accompany me on these 'city breaks' every so often.

The city breaks in that initial (romantic) stage of our courtship often involved long walks on the beach, hikes through the mountains, dinners, parties, shopping - you name it, we did it! I was lulled into a false sense of security. If things were this good between us now on these city breaks, surely (like all other aspects of our relationship) they would only get better after we were married and fully committed to one another!

Flash forward 8 years...

City Break: (noun) A short period of time you will spend in the city with your farmer, where he will think constantly (and only) about the farm in his absence, and insist upon doing jobs for the farm for the duration. This period in time will also test your commitment to one another, as you watch your farmer suffer from an intense case of cabin fever, throughout which, your farmer will come to blows with your family, friends and specialists. They involve no (or limited) recreational activity, and a surplus of stress. You will need a break to recover from your city break when you get home.

Those are the facts. Cold and hard.

But don't worry too much. The idea of a city break can still exist in its original state. You just have to do it (mostly) without your farmer. Earlier this year I went on a city break with a farmers wife friend of mine. Excellent idea. Involves lots of food, wine, shopping and movies. All the staples. 

I'm also not suggesting entirely that you can't have a city break in its original form with your farmer hubby either. It's all about compromise. Make sure he has plenty of time to fit in 'farm jobs', and stay somewhere where he can still 'get outside'. Try to fit in a game of football or cricket, and stock up on beer and steak. And never mention how much anything costs... but always tell him about that little bargain you scored, or how much money you just saved. 

It's all in a day's work. Or a weekend get away as the case may also be... 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Curse Of Man-Flu

I am a woman who has survived over 60 weeks of morning sickness (for which I was hospitalised twice), and had three natural, drug free births. So I know all about real pain. And if I say I am sick, then let it be known that I am truly, very, very sick.

This week I have been sick. And I mean REALLY sick. I have a terrible cough and cold that I can't shake, and my ribs hurt from the force of my coughs. My sleep is interrupted and my allergies are acting up. On top of all that, I have been working full time (teaching) this last fortnight (with one more week to go), and maintaining a house (with a little help), and stressing about child care, and making sure dinners and lunches are still happening too!

Superhuman effort if I do say so myself!

I don't like to complain about being sick either. I mean, most of the time, what can you do? You just have to keep putting one foot in front of another. My kids get fed, my house gets cleaned, the washing gets done... etc. So it's possible that sometimes I could be sick for over a week and no one might ever know about it. I know that this goes for ALL mothers too!

Which brings me to the dreaded Man-Flu.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Man-Flu, it works like this...
1. When ladies get a mild cold, and a man contracts the same thing, he gets something more akin to a real flu.
2. When you get a real flu (aches and pains, chills etc.) your partner is bound to be nearly on his death bed when he contracts the same strain.
3. Even male children/infants/babies are susceptible to Man-Flu.
Need a visual? There are many examples of this if you type in "man flu" on You Tube.

So while I have been suffering in silence this week, hubby has constantly felt the need to remind me of his own "itchy or sore throat" or slight head ache. Bring on the world's smallest violin.

It was only very recently that I read about a survey that had been conducted in Europe that was suggesting that men ACTUALLY have a lower pain threshold than women. Which brings some substance into the old "why do I always seem to contract a more dangerous strain of the flu than you Jessie?" argument. Poor CP can't help it! He is biologically destined to always suffer more than me when it comes to the common cold. I'm not really sure how it works in other households, but when my own hubby is sick, the rest of us are expected to stop what we are doing and devote our time to sympathetic gestures and kind words until papa bear is fully recovered. Mostly Man-Flu in our house is greeted with eye rolls, groans of self-pity and avoidance.

Approximately two years ago (just after I had given birth to baby number 3) hubby fell ill with a suspected case of Man-Flu. Five days into it all, I was becoming frustrated and edgy. I am (what with three small children to care for) unable to avoid the round-the-clock care his mother has obviously prescribed since he was a boy, and have little time to make the life-saving chicken soup, that she also administered at his every beck and call. And bless her for doing it. Women in my generation rarely have the time or inclination to do so!   ANYWAY, five days into it all, I was actually a little over it all. I dragged hubby in to the Accident and Emergency, carefully detailing the 'Man-Flu' symptoms, and engaging in a little friendly banter about how 'surely this attack of man-flu has nothing on my 60 weeks of morning sickness!' I may have also mentioned that 'the lack of sympathy I received from him during that black period was directly related to the amount of sympathy I was giving out at this point in time.

Two days later, the results were in. Food Poisoning. As it turned out, hubby was lucky to have presented at the hospital at that time, as failure to have done so would have only caused more damage to his body.

So now when hubby is 'sick' I am reminded of 'that time that he nearly died' (cough cough), and how I need to treat him more nicely etc etc. And yet, here I am, about to cough up a lung, begging hubby (who is about to drive into town) to pick up a pizza for dinner before he comes home because I am too sick to cook for the kiddies, and instead of hearing him say "yes dear, that sounds peachy" or something to that effect, all I was able to get out of him was a "I'm not sure I can do it on top of all my other jobs... my throat is starting to hurt."

Where is that tiny violin again???