Saturday, 25 August 2012

Saying goodbye.

"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."
I leave for the UK in barely over a week. I will be gone for at least four months. So I have to say goodbye to a number of people. But goodbye seems so final, so inflexible. So one thing I make a point of when bidding farewell to people I know and love is to always say "see you later." If you know me in real life, it might be something you've noticed. And if you haven't, you probably will now.

I do this because I need that person to know I want to see them again. It is more a promise than anything else. Maybe a request or even a demand. And I do this fully expecting to actually see that person again.

I have said 'goodbye' twice, knowing full well it would be the last time I saw that person. They knew it too. One was my 80+ grandfather. The other was a two and a half day old baby. There was tears, heartache and a most surreal type of grief. It is something I wouldn't wish upon anyone, though I know it to be a stark reality of life.

But how do you word your goodbye when there is hope but you still know it may very well be the last time you ever see that person?
"Fare thee well! and if for ever,
Still for ever, fare thee well."
~Lord Byron
Tomorrow, I have to say goodbye to someone I know and have come to love and expect to be in my life. While I hope upon hope that it isn't the case, it is quite possible this person may pass away while I am overseas. I am devastated at the lack of support and hands on care I can offer. Together we fought this situation over the last year and we were told it was beat. And we rejoiced. But now, barely a week before I leave, we have been dealt the harshest of blows and the fight is back on. This time, with one less person to carry the burden.

A kind word and wishes for a speedy recovery mean a lot. Sitting by a hospital bed and being the smiling to face the greet the emergence from an anaesthesia means a lot more. I considered staying but it has been expressly forbade. Saying 'goodbye' is my only option.

But I've thought about it and I think the best thing I can do is to stay true to myself. Tomorrow I will say "see you later".

I request to see you later.
I demand to see you later.

I promise to see you later.

Miss SAMawdsley xx

  • Have you ever had to say 'goodbye'?

Thursday, 16 August 2012

If all else fails, read the instructions...

A Gummi Bear gave me some very good advice today.

Gather round and let me tell you a tale. Dad and I were reregistering my brother's car because I forgot to pay the rego. I'm clever like that. Dad was attaching the new number plates when I leaned in the car and realised it smelled damp. You know that wet dog smell? There was a Super Cheap right there so I decided to buy an air freshener in the hopes it would mask the wet dog smell. There happened to be one there called Cotton Candy and despite my car having having a completely neutral smell (except when 20 footballs are in the boot) I bought it for my car. I put one called Energy in my brother's car and Dad drove home. I put my cotton candy one in my car and drove to work.

To say my car smelled of cotton candy would be an understatement. The smell was overwhelming after one minute. I wound down the rear windows. I tried to focus on the rainbow road ahead of me and avoid the gumdrops cars. I was still in Candy Land when the Gummi Bear hitchiker I picked up back on Lollipop Lane asked if I was sure I had installed the air freshener right. I was offended. I may not have used air fresheners before but come on! How hard is it open a pack, take out the air freshener, hang it in your car and drive and enjoy the cotton candy aroma with your Gummi Bear hitchhiker passenger? (I believe he said his name was Cyril).

I humoured Cyril anyway, and looked at the directions. It turns out there are instructions for using an air freshener. You only take the air freshener out of the packet a tiny little bit more each week. This avoids potent hallucinations in which you're trapped in Katy Perry's California Gurls film clip.

This isn't the first time I've been caught out like this, either. Just this week I made my dad tomato soup (from a can, because Lord knows I am not a domestic goddess). At the shops, I bought him the single most expensive can I could find. After all, he was sick! I got it home and heated it up in a saucepan. So far, so good. When Dad began eating he said "Wow, this is really thick soup!" I proudly explained that I bought him the most expensive soup I could find! Nothing was too good for my sick father! He then asked me how much water I had to add to this brand of soup. ... ... ... err... none? Yeah, turns out soup is actually what is known as 'condensed'. This means "Just add water". One direction. It was right there on the can. "Empty can into saucepan. Fill can with water and add to saucepan. Heat." That was it, all I had to do. And I failed.

A few weeks before that I was at a party. A girl was drinking Ribena and adding tonic water to it. I asked her why she was doing that. She explained it was just like adding water but fizzier. I asked her why she would ever add water. She looked at me like I was idiot (fair call) and slowly explained "That's how you drink Ribena. It's like a cordial. You add water." Want to know why I stopped drinking Ribena? Because I thought it was so ridiculously overpriced when you only got two or three cups out of each bottle. I never actually read the instructions...

So my new motto! No matter how self-explanatory or obvious it may seem, I am going to start reading the instructions on absolutely everything!

Cyril the Gummi Bear agrees.

Miss SAMawdsley xx

  • Have you (or someone you know) ever ignored instructions?
  • What are some stupid instructions you've seen?

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

"911, what's your emergency?"

Have you ever found yourself in an emergency situation? One that you can't handle yourself so you need to call the professionals - ambulance, police, fire brigade?

I have, but because I was alone with my older brother, he was the one to call the authorities. We were home alone and suddenly I looked up and saw a man covered in blood standing in my hallway. My brother had let him in because he had come to our kitchen window begging for help. The people trying to kill him were outside and started banging on our windows, screaming for us to let them in. Seamus called the police (although an ambulance arrived too) and instructed me to run around the house making sure every window was secured. I was terrified, naturally, but my brother was the one to deal with the emergency and I just followed his orders.

Tonight, I faced an emergency situation on my own. I went to get chicken nuggets for dinner - because I'm 8 years old - and on the way, saw what I thought was a fender bender at the roundabout ahead. I moved into the right hand lane to go around but the two cars in front of me didn't move. The drivers were watching the activity beside us.

Two guys were standing at the driver's door of a Commodore. I watched as the two guys sauntered back to their car when suddenly one guy bolted back to the Commodore and tried to open the door. The driver reefed it closed again but didn't get it locked in time and the young man leaned in and started bashing the driver. Immediately, my brain screamed at me to do something! I picked up my phone to call '000' (the national emergency number here in Australia. Suddenly, and I wish I was making this up, my brain frantically argued, 'no, no! Call 911!! This is a real emergency!' Well done, Hollywood. Well done.
Thankfully, common sense prevailed and I called '000'.

As the phone was ringing, I got out of my car to go intervene. I don't know what I intended to do. I'm 5'6" and around 60kg but I couldn't do nothing! All of a sudden I noticed that the ringing phone was getting quieter. My fancy car's bluetooth phone system had my call and if I left the side of my car, I would not be able to summon help. So I began screaming: "Stop! Stop hitting him! Leave him alone! Just stop!!"

Finally a calm voice on the other end asked, 'Police, fire or ambulance?' I forgot they would do that. I thought the person answering would be immediately able to help. In a panicked voice I hope to never hear again, I pleaded for the police and gave her the suburb and state I was in. She put me through. By this stage, the man from the Commodore had half been dragged, half got out to defend himself.

The phone rang. The operator said she'd try another number. The phone rang again. The operator tried another number.

I watched helplessly as the attacker started sparring towards the Commodore driver. He raised his hands to defend himself. Then the attack got more vicious and he lunged towards the driver, punching wildly. The driver, panicked and trying to back away, tripped, landing on his back beside his rear tyre. The phone continued ringing. I continued screaming at him to stop! But he didn't. He leaned over the driver and began punching him repeatedly. The phone continued ringing. I tried again to make my way towards the incident, thinking I could run back to my car or scream my location to the police officer when they finally answered.

Finally a man from one of the cars that had obviously began to build up behind us came to the rescue. I couldn't hear him but I continued screaming, urging him to stop. I realised I needed details so I took this opportunity to take down the number plates of both cars using my phone. The attacker eventually let up and sauntered back to his car. Then seriously, both cars drove away. I know, right? Madness.

I considered telling the operator I didn't need the police anymore but I decided I should at least report what I had seen. And I was connected. The police officer I spoke to said I did the right thing. She insisted it was better that I wasn't able to leave the side of my car to intervene as much as I wanted to. Despite her assurances, I feel like I was useless. I know it could have been very dangerous and I could have been hurt but I really wish I was able to have done more. The officer was also impressed that I had taken the details of both cars. Unfortunately, due to the dark and the positioning of the cars, I wasn't able to identify the make or model of the second car. It was just a black 4WD that I didn't immediately recognise like I could with the Commodore.

So all things considered, did I do the right thing? I know what I did was right, per se. Sitting back and doing nothing would be wrong. But how did I really handle the emergency?

Firstly, I momentarily went to call '911'. That shows a clarity of thinking and presence of mind, right? Can you say 'panic'?

Secondly, I couldn't make my brain work enough to turn my car's bluetooth system off to enable me to make the phone call while simultaneously breaking up the fight. Between three huge men. But still! It's the course of action I wanted to take.

Thirdly, was that desire to intervene a mistake? If I was able to run over like my instinct demanded what would have happened to me? The likelihood is nothing other than some choice insults but the possibility ranges from damage to my property to serious injury to my person.

Fourthly, I thought about gathering evidence. I had my iPhone - as does much of the population - and what tools did I choose to use? The notepad. Seriously. I typed the number plates of both cars as a note.  When I got home, after I finished crying and blubbering about how much I hate the world, shaking and trying to ease my headache, Dad asked me if I'd taken any photos. Err... no. Why not? I clearly remember thinking 'Take note of what these people look like. Remember the scene. Focus on as much detail as possible." Or... I could have taken a photo. Why didn't I think of that?

Just take a second to consider how you should react in an emergency.

Remember to stay calm, make keeping yourself safe your main priority, focus on getting help and concentrate on obtaining and/or remembering as much as you can for future reference.

Miss SAMawdsley xx

  • Have you ever had to use your national emergency number?
  • How do you think you have previously coped with an emergency?
  • If you've never been faced with an emergency situation, do you think you would be ok?

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

#WBFM Are dogs really man's best friend?

Do you remember in high school when you got an assignment and you would scan the task sheet for the essay topic? If it was hard you would feel yourself drown in a pit of despair. If it was easy, you would casually drop it in the bottom of your school bag to be completely ignored until the night before the due date. Come to think of it, that's what I did even if it was hard. Maybe that's just me. But this little task comes courtesy of one of the sweetest benefactors of my campaign, MK13.

Well this topic for my #WBFM campaign (which you can still donate towards) isn't either of the those things. It's a little bit painful for me actually. My family has always had two pet dogs (with occasional weeks of having one dog). In fact, this is the first time in my life we haven't had any dogs. Dogs are awesome. Our main reason for owning dogs was the security. Not that any of the dogs we've owned have been terrific guard dogs. The best one we had was Sasha, a poodle x cattle dog who would bark incessantly at any stranger but would do so while backing up and remaining a few metres away. For that purpose, we could have got an alarm system. Or a 6' razor wire fence. The dogs were of course wonderful company who we loved dearly but as far as best friends go? No. No, not really.

Well in 2006, for the first time ever, I got my own dog. I wanted my very own pure bread tri colour beagle. I had saved up a lot of money to buy a Mini and I had a little bit left over. I decided I wanted a little boy puppy and found a breeder. My best friend and I drove out on Valentine's Day and I had my pick of the litter. But instead of the little boy puppy I had wanted, I fell in love with a gorgeous little girl. She rode home on Jess' lap and on the drive home, I decided to name her Luna.

Luna and I were inseparable. I took her everywhere I could. She would sit on the passenger seat of my Mini and we would listen to Michael Buble on the old school tape deck. I would sit on my back step and she would come bolting towards me and just leap, with absolute faith that I would catch her so she could settle into my lap (see photo). I bought her everything she needed in red - collar, leash, bowl, toys. She had a little bunny that she absolutely loved. I would even take her with me to Hervey Bay - a five hour trip one way in my Mini and she would sit patiently, even as a little puppy and watch the world go by. I would talk to her or I'd sing and sometimes, when we got settled on the highway, she would crawl over on to my lap.

I may make this sound like a long time but it really was only the space of twelve weeks. Because one day, she slipped out of the fence and was hit by a car. She didn't survive. I was at work. When I got home, I walked into the garage where Dad was and asked him where Luna was. The look on his face. I couldn't describe it but I know he spent the whole day dreading me coming home. I collapsed. I literally collapsed. I screamed. I howled. I became so hysterical that I became allergic to my own tears and my whole face swelled up. The only other time this happened was when my uncle died. I don't remember a lot of the time after this. I have a vague memory of sobbing in my work lunch room. I thought things I'm not proud of and showed weaknesses I wish I didn't have.

She was everything to me and I had so carefully thought about what my life would be like with Luna. I would have her when I got married. My children would have her as their first pet. She would grow up with them. I would always need to live where I had a yard for her. I made those decisions and was prepared for them. But it never happened. She would have been six now. And while I have a best friend, a best friend #2 and a best friend #3, Luna would still be a special kind of best friend. She would always be there for me and I would always be there for her. It's a different kind of reciprocal friendship to my human friends but I can't deny, Luna was one of the best friends I have ever had. When I get back from England, I plan to try again and find myself a new furry best friend, but there will never be another Luna.

Miss SAMawdsley xx


  • Do you think dogs can be man's best friend?
  • What was the best dog you ever had?
  • Do you prefer cats or dogs?