There and Back Again…

A Tale of our Adventures across 3 states and a territory.

You may have guessed that we did in fact manage to leave home and actually reach our destination on the third try! Dad, Mum, and four kids (22yods, 12yodd, 10yods and 8yods) all bundled into the van, complete with the dog’s kennel in the trailer, about 4.30am and set off for Melbourne to pick up 14yodd, who had been staying with others while training. Of course, with our family nothing seems to be simple and this trip was no exception. We were making good time until we got to the West Gate Bridge? where they just happened to be be doing maintenance work and heavy delays were expected. Both ‘A’ and I are a little scared of heights and what shoulda/coulda/woulda been a 10min drive across took nearly 40 minutes on the now 2 lane bridge, sandwiched in between impatient motorists and trucks. ‘A’ and I found it pretty stressful, to say the least.

17 hours after setting off from our home we finally arrived in Adelaide- seven stinking hot, sweaty, tired, hungry, sore bodies emerged from the car on what happened to be the HOTTEST South Australian day in December on record since 1939!!!!! That is so …*us*. Oh, and did I mention that our only form of air conditioning is the four windows??!!! The family calls us the Priowalds – and we had finally reached our Wally World.

It was great to catch up with Nonna and Nonno and all the other relatives. It’s been 3 years since we last saw them and the nieces and nephews have all grwon so much. We didn’t do an awful lot aside from rest and catch up with family. I had planned on seeing a few people but we just couldn’t manage it.

We did, however, get to make our traditional visit to the Drive-In Theatre to watch “NARNIA~The Lion, the Witch and the Wardobe“. We backed the car in and put the back seat down so that the children could lie on their tummies and all watch the big screen while John and I sat out on chairs. Everytime we go back to Adelaide we go to the Drive-In; it is a ritual that we all look forward to.

‘A’ had to catch the plane back to Melbourne on the 3rd of Jan to join her team. She’s becoming quite the seasoned traveler nowadays. In fact, I’ve missed her so much as we would’ve only been together for 4 days out of 25 in the last month. But, she’s home now.

Two days later we bundled up again and headed for Canberra, only this time we weren’t so squashed. ‘A’ was in Melbourne and ‘D’ (22yo) had stayed in Adelaide for a few weeks. Twelve and a half hours later we reached our home. We were so tired that we slept in the next morning but, as soon as we arose we headed straight back into the car for another 4 hours until we reached Canberra. We managed to find our way to the cabin…eventually. In all the caffuffles of leaving and not leaving, I had accidentally left the directions at home!

I’d thought I was fortunate to find some accommodation for a good price and I truly wasn’t expecting a palace but I was also taken aback when we saw our cabin for the week. I hadn’t realised that it was a ‘communal’ type cabin where each family cleans after their stay and that’s it for the next family. Suffice to say that it wasn’t in the cleanest condition. But I could cope with that- nothing that a little soap and water wouldn’t fix. It was the Nature and Wildlife that I couldn’t cope with. The park was in the middle of a grasshopper plague which also brought out lizards and many spiders. Once we got through the front door, it was almost like cutting through ropes, such were the spider webs. I didn’t sleep too well that night, in our one room cabin, as I lay tossing and turning, feeling (or imagining I was feeling) creepy crawlies all over me and the children. John bought some surface spray the next day and cleaned out the cabin. It was still really hot and there were no windows in the cabin but there was an air conditioner so we used that…but it couldn’t be adjusted so we started to freeze. That’s okay, we thought – we’ll just open the door, letting some fresh air in. Great idea eh? Yeah, it was …except that the screen door fell off the minute that John touched it! Tehee, John had had some tools in the trailer so he fixed it the next day.

The next few days brought softball and more softball which was great. Having lived in ACT for nearly 4 years meant that the kids were very familiar with the softball grounds and so we hardly saw the boys as they were off playing with a mate only surfacing for meals.

As we used to live in Canberra and I had a few homeschooling friends, they had decided to have a meeting while I was there on the Monday evening. Well, was I shocked or what??!! The size of the group had tripled and there were so many new faces…but some very family ones too. It? was great to catch up with Shelso, Jocelyn, Chris, Liz, Susan,? and Janette. We talked about Language Arts – copywork, narration and a few different resources. I felt like we didn’t get through a lot of ground but it gets like that when we all get together. I had a wonderful time and it reinforced to me how much I missed them and what a truly lovely group of families they are.

I received a distressing phone call from my Dad on Wednesday lunch time. He asked how we all were and he sounded ‘weird’. I knew something was wrong as we hadn’t planned on talking for a few days as our schedule was all over the place and yet here he was calling me. He had been having very bad chest pains for a few hours and didn’t know what they were so he wanted to hear my voice before he tried to drive himself to hospital. Here I was over 8oo kms away, fretting over my father, telling him to call an ambulance and feeling horribly useless. He refused to call for an ambulance or a friend which made me more concerned. Dad was meant to go to a friends’ house for tea but had called and canceled so this friend called another mutual friend and asked him to pop in on Dad. This friend arrived at Dad’s just as he was trying to get himself into his car! Meanwhile, I was on the phone trying to call the pastor of Dad’s church and see if he could help. I was worried sick until I heard that after arriving at hospital and having a? shot of morphine Dad had settled a little. He was in intensive care but at least he was in the hospital. But the worst thing was that we had to go back to the cabin for the night where I couldn’t get any mobile reception! We stayed at softball for as long as we could (I could get phone reception there) but I didn’t sleep much that night as I tossed and turned, praying, thinking, remembering, hoping…

I hated the feeling of not knowing anything and not being able to be contacted. I felt so useless. We didn’t know if we should jump in the car and head to Broken Hill or wait and see or what???!!! We headed into town the next morning as early as possible and I was very relieved to hear that Dad was okay and the pains had subsided. I called the hospital and spoke to Dad. Apparently it wasn’t a heart attack (he had one 25 years ago) but they did find that one of the valve’s on the lower part of the heart isn’t working properly. (Dad said it wasn’t firing on all cylinders)? Once I knew he was okay and not in immediate danger I told him off! Yeah, John can’t believe that after all that I’d tell my Dad off but I did. I told him that next time anything like that happens he is not to muck around and be silly and that he is to call an ambulance. I told him to reverse our positions and he’d understand me- to which he agreed.

Meanwhile, a friend had offered the use of a relatives home as they were away. We couldn’t take it earlier as we had already paid the deposit on the cabin and the boys were thoroughly enjoying their adventure. But, not being able to be contacted by phone was enough to drive me to distraction so we were blessed to be able to move that day into the friends’ relatives home …and I could get mobile reception and speak to my Dad whenever I needed. (Praise God)

During all this, ‘A’ was still playing softball and doing quite well. We chose not to alert her unless it was absolutely necessary. ‘R’ left us on the Thursday and had gone to stay with another homeschooling family about one hour from Canberra. She’s good friends with this family and she will have lots of fun there, even though I’ll miss her.

The Victorian team managed to play their way into the finals and ‘A’ had opportunity to pitch on Saturday morning in the Final. She pitched very well against QLD taking 10 strikeouts, gave no walks and allowed no runs to score. They then had to play NSW who were undefeated all tournament and had been the Champions for the last four years consecutively. It was a tough ask but our girls took the challenge. NSW were very strong and usually mercied their opponents and our girls did very well to keep them to only 3 runs while also scoring 2 runs themselves. It was a Grand Final loss but they played to the best of their ability and fought hard.

I’m so amazed at how much my daughter has learned through her sporting life- the life lessons, character training, personal development, health and nutrition, team work and much more have contributed towards building her personality and strengthening her character.

We picked ‘A’ up on the Sunday morning and started to head for home, expecting a slight detour to pick ‘R’ up but the family called and asked if she could stay for a few more days…to which we reluctantly agreed. It’s great for her to be with them and they are wonderful but we’re also desperate to just be at home with our own family and regroup. But, she’s coming home later on this week and for that, I’m thankful.

Since we’ve been home we have just rested and vegged out. I have tried to check emails and forums but my head just isn’t really ‘there’. I’m not quite ready to jump back into the online world…it will happen soon enough anyway.

So, that’s our journey – there and back again. Praise God that we are all safe and well, albeit tired, weary and very sunburnt.