Tuesday, 12 July 2011


I have reached the time in my life when I have decided that it is now that I should do the things I have always wanted to but other commitments have prevented.
Number one was getting another Afghan puppy and start showing again.  I finally managed to get the puppy here from Australia but it was not an easy exercise.  I love the little fellow to pieces and he is a character.  He is providing plenty of laughs as well as exasperating moments.  Our first shows are this weekend so it will be interesting to see what other people think of him.  He moves beautifully on the lead, but is very averse to standing the right way to show off his features, and thinks grooming is a game of catch the brush.  I have wet thoughts when it comes to showering him.  It may be easiest if I get in the half round shower with him as doing it through an opening in the doors may see the bathroom awash with bubbles and a dishevelled puppy.
Number two was going to a Meatloaf concert.  My friend and I had decided that the next time he came to New Zealand we would go, as last time he was here he only came to Auckland and we found out too late to go.  Mr O for a change bought a Sunday paper and there was this full page ad for three Meatloaf concerts in October.  I rang my girlfriend to inform her but she wanted to think about it.  She rang back the next day to say NO, which was a shock, as she would not long be back from a six week visit to the USA and as she has a pain syndrome it would take her some time to get over the trip. I was upset to put it mildly, but understood her reasoning.  The time for pre-booking using Visa passed, when Mr O mentioned something about taking some holidays from work which included the timeframe that Meatloaf would be in the country.  He is not a great fan of Meatloaf, but had seen advertising on the television while he was at work for the show and it looked spectacular, so had become interested in going.  I had asked one of the ladies that I worked with, who is the same age as me, if she would like to go but she had said no as she felt that her husband would have wanted to go as well and they could not really afford it.  Two days later she rings me to say that her husband did not mind if she just went.  Now I have three people who want to go to the Wellington concert.
Mr O was on the computer bang on 0900 this morning when the seats went on sale to the public, with a list of instructions where to go to and how to use my Visa to pay.  When I woke up the first thing I asked was had he got the tickets?  No was the answer, he had tried every area of seating but could not get three seats together, or even two for that matter.  I thought blow this I am not letting this opportunity go by, so decided to investigate the Auckland concert which was three days later.  Had to change ticket buying sites and managed to get two silver seats together so bought them.  I had decided that even if I couldn’t get the good seats I was going to be there.  We paid less for the tickets and only $20 more for the airline tickets so it was less expensive than going to Wellington.
Now that number two on the list is all set up and will have to sit and think about what number three is on my list.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


If you want to find out and see the puppy that is due to arrive next week, visit Dog Daze

The Overlocker

As I have three grand-daughters aged 2, 1 and 6 weeks I have been making clothes for them.  With it being winter I decided I had better forget about what I had been doing and head for the polar fleece.  Of course it was pink as that is what their mother likes and I had bought 10 meters of it at a sale.
It is good in one way that patterns now come in more than one size, but you usually want to start at the smallest one so have to make paper patterns of the bigger sizes so that you can make use of all the sizes.
After doing three pair for the eldest, I decided that purchasing an Overlocker would make the process quicker and easier.  I talked to the girls that I work with and they all said that a four thread one was better than a three thread one.  I went to my usual shop where I buy these sorts of things and they had one on special so decided to go with it.  Now in the shop it was set up with four different color threads to show you how to thread it up correctly, but when open the one that you buy all four cotton pathways were in the same color.  I did not even think of looking how they went I just pulled them out and followed the chart that was on the inside of the machine.  By some miraculous fluke I got it right the first time and the first seam was perfect.  I can not say that for the second, third, fourth, or fifth seam.  I put it in the corner in disgust, leaving it for another day.  During the night it came to me that I had not put thread two between the pinchers where thread one resides so it tried it again.  Again it was one seam right and then back to not sewing correctly.  Back into the corner it went.
On the chart it says that seam two needs to go on a hook at the end of its needle, but for the life of me I could not see it or feel it.  I decided a trip back to the shop was in order to see if they could solve the problem for me.  Sure enough the tiny little bump at the end of number twos needle  in fact a notch that the thread had to go through.  I have long thin fingers but there was no way I could even get my finger in the gap to get the cotton around the notch.  The young man at the store gave me an idea to try and it has worked, I can get the thread around that notch.  The girls trousers are now all finished, all nine of them and I have moved onto overalls, in pink of course.
Why is it that men make complicated machines for women to work?

Monday, 30 May 2011

Thins Happen in Threes

I was going to write this post on a different situation, but now it has altered and I am juggling three things at the moment, each of which was meant to have been a blog on their own.

Firstly there is puppy.  Originally he was meant to fly over when he was 12 weeks old, but then it changed because MAF (Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries) here changed their regulations for blood tests that need to be done before he came over.  New regulations were meant to come in on 01 June which meant he would need two blood tests instead of one and they are only carried out in Perth Australia on a Thursday.  Wendye his breeder decided that if we could get his booking done before the 01 June then he would only require the one blood test.  So we changed our days off and took extra leave so that we had plenty of time to get up there to pick him up and get back, because it is winter and we have had frost and snow already.  We live on the coast but have to get over two hills to head inland and get out of town.  In winter the highway out of Dunedin can be closed so we gave ourselves two days to get there and two days to get back.  This was for his pick up on 07 June.  Then the poor wee fellow got Kennel Cough off some of the dogs that had been to a show and according to the breeder Sydney is riff with Kennel Cough so she did not want to fly him until he was over it otherwise flying him with it I could end up with a very sick puppy to pick up.  The e-mails have been flying backwards and forwards.  Now MAF is sticking to the old guidelines, so we only need one blood test.  Wendy reckoned that he would be all right to fly the following week, but that would mean a lot of swapping of shifts, so we settled on the 21 June.  That worked out that 13 June Monday is a public holiday is Australia and we could not get the blood taken and be sure that it would reach them in time so that we would have the results back.  Gee their Courier Post must be worse than ours as I can get something from Auckland overnight and that means two different planes and a van to drop it off.  So the Dogtainers said that even getting the blood taken on the Sunday it could not be guaranteed to get it there on time, even if there was a vet open on the Sunday of a long weekend.  At the moment it seems as though we are back to square one and he will be arriving on the 21 June when I am on holiday as planned for his arrival then and Mr O has to see if he can get more time off work to go with me and he is not sure that he will because there are other people on holiday at the same time.  The e-mailing has stopped for today.

Secondly there is Breast Screening.  In New Zealand 1,900 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and 635 women die.  It is the leading cause of cancer deaths for women.  It may not sound large numbers to you but it is when our population is just over 4 million.  Over the age of 45 women in New Zealand are offered a free bi-annual mammogram.  I went for mine three weeks ago and it is no longer like slamming your breast in the fridge door, the machinery has improved and it is no only uncomfortable.  I was at work the following Thursday night when I got a phone call saying that they had found something in my right breast and could I come back for a follow up on the Saturday.  It was a busy time at work and it was like a bolt out of the blue so I said no as we had planned grandchildren things before we went to work on Saturday.  I love the fact that they keep reinforcing DO NOT WORRY.  Anyone able to give me pill or whatever that makes you NOT WORRY.        You try and tell yourself that it will be all right but the idea that it may not keeps creeping back into you mind and it carries on from there to all the things that you wanted to be around for and do.  Talked it over with Mr O when we got home and he decided that it would be best to have the appointment on the Saturday and not to wait until 30 May.  He rings in the morning and finds out that they still have an appointment open and we take it.  To be considerate of work I ring and say that I want to take an alternate stat day as I do not know what the results will be and what state I will be in.  You would think I had asked for the keys to the board room.  Whether I get paid for that day is still up in the air, but at least the results showed that the lump is benign, and even with that found I was totally exhausted and would not have been able to work.

And then there is number three, the meeting with management over the days I have requested to work.  I went to work on Friday night, doing good old night shift again, when I was confronted by the Team Leader who insisted that I have a meeting with her then.  Even pointing out to her that I had agreed to the meeting on Wednesday did not make any difference, so I was exposed to a tirade from her.  I was told in an angry tone that she was the one that put out the roster and what she puts out goes and did I understand that!!!  I was accused of spitting the dummy because I did not get what I wanted.  I was accused of doing it so that I could pick Mr O up from work.  Up until now he has been able to get himself to or from work when we don’t start or finish at the same time.  Why had I not talked to her about this before I put my preferences down on the roster?  I didn’t know that we had to, we have been told put down what we would like and she would go from there.  It continued on but I don’t have an accurate memory of what happened.  From this I worked out that this was not going to be a friendly meeting, have got in touch with the union, informed them of what is happening and told the Team Leader that I have contacted the union.  And that is where we stand at the moment.

Some good news would do wonders to counteract the negative.  But it still brings me back to the question “Why do things tend to happen in threes”?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Where Do People Get Off?

I work in Reception at the Emergency Department of our areas main hospital.  This involves doing shift work, which I have done for most of my working life.  We have six shifts that we can work, mornings 0700 – 1630), days (0830-1700), Q (1200- 1830) afternoons (1530-0000) evenings (1800-2300) and nights (2300 – 0700).  There is a stipulation on the number of nights we must work per month relative to the total number of hours we work in a fortnight.  We have been lucky up until now in that a blank roster, baring the night shift where we have one staff member who works a four on four off system constantly, and then we fill in the shifts that we would like to do.  It is meant to work on a fair system where each of us get to work two weekends per four week period, as this is where we get extra penal rates, but we do have one staff member who prefers not to work weekends.  We are also required to have one EFT on leave all the time, or there are not enough hours available to meet our contracts.  I do a mixture of four of the shifts, but as I am not a morning person and never have been, I do not do the morning or day shifts and never have since I started working there.
Our team leader, a newly created position, decided that she would try a different system, as there were many disgruntled staff members over the roster.  She decided to put out a blank roster to each of us and have us fill it in, and when she received them all back she would make up the roster trying to give people what they had indicated.  The gossip goes that she was up till 0300 in tears trying to work it out. Whether this is true or not, we went back to doing it the old way.  The latest roster came out yesterday, and we all received an e-mail saying that she was unable to give everyone the shifts that they had requested.  Okay I accept that, but I got my own e-mail saying
“You will see from the latest roster that I was unable to grant you everything that you wanted to.  I have spoken to MANAGEMENT regarding you wanting to pick up so many shifts in a row, and they are concerned, as am I, that you should have adequate breaks away from the department.  Please feel free to talk to me about this if you would like.”
I have had a Persistent Pain Syndrome for the last eleven years.  It started off as food poisoning which gave me Pericarditis which gives you chest pain, exactly the same pain that goes hand in hand with having angina or a heart attack.  They said to me that within six weeks the pain would go away, funny it is eleven years later and I still occasionally get bouts of the pain.  Eventually they decided that there was not problems with my heart and handed me over to the Pain Management Team who have come up with different treatments and combinations of drugs to control the symptoms, as there is not cure.  As the years have gone by the treatment they have provided have meant that the number of bouts of pain that I get have decreased, to the point that I have gone seven months without any pain at all.  It may not sound a very long time to anyone else but for me it let me lead a somewhat normal life.  There are a few triggers that I have worked out which I try and avoid, but it is not always possible.  I do not enjoy turning up to the department that I work in as a patient, but on one trip the two doctors that were on came up with the idea that maybe the pain could be due to a spasm in my arteries as the Angiograms that I have had show no damage to my arteries or heart.  Starting on a drug that controls these spasms has made a huge difference but I still need to be careful.
Recently the team leader had asked each of use which shifts we preferred, so that she had that information when she was making up the roster, and I carefully explained to her why I chose the shifts that I do. I received another email addressed just to me.  When I received the e-mail if she had been there she might have heard a few words that I very rarely use.  Instead I went home and talked this over with Mr O and made up a reply.
The reply starts “I am very disappointed and annoyed that you chose to discuss this matter with management before approaching me.”  Then there is an explanation about my Persistent Pain Syndrome and why I have chosen the shifts that I have. It ends “I am not asking for special consideration but I would like this to be taken into account, so that I do not always have to work shifts that may impact on my ability to work.  I am tying to avoiding exacerbating the Persistent Pain Syndrome and not being able to work, especially with Michelle hours (she has just gone on maternity leave and worked 60 hours a fortnight) being given to other staff members, leaving us one less person to fill in when anyone is unable to work.

The first e-mail I got back was
 I am sorry that my actions left you feeling this way.  I will contact management and we will arrange a time to sit down together and try to resolve these issues.

I will get back to you with a time.

The second e-mail that I read first
I have scheduled a meeting for 11:30am on Wednesday 1st June, prior to your 12.00 start, with Sarah, Janet and myself, and I would be grateful if you could mark your diary accordingly.

My reply to the second e-mail was that I was unavailable till noon on that date, which is not true but I was being bloody minded.

The third e-mail
That's fine.  On your arrival at 12.00, just come to the CNM's office and we will have the meeting then.

If I had read them in the order they were sent I would have been asking why Janet and Sarah need to be involved in these discussions, as we were both adults and should be able to sit down together and solve whatever problem exists.  It seems to me that three people being needed to discuss their issues could be misconstrued as lop-sided.
So I go back to my original question “Where do people get off?”