Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The wine that wasn't.

My siblings and I all chipped in this year and sent my parents away to the seaside town of Port Fairy for Father's Day.  I suggested they call in to the well known Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld for lunch. Dad was concerned they wouldn't get in as the place is usually booked out well in advance but they went in with fingers crossed they would get a seat, and they did.

It was a great way to kick off what was a really lovely weekend for them. One of the effects of  Amyloidosis is that it attacks your tongue, your tongue swells a lot and attacks your taste buds continuously, foods you once loved don't taste the same and a meal you enjoy one day is pretty horrible the next. At this stage Dad was not enjoying the taste of many foods.

He rang me, excited to tell me that he was on the balcony of the accommodation we had booked watching seven whales out in the ocean. He also told me how lunch at the Royal Mail had been really great, specifically the wine he had drunk, he couldn't remember the name of it but he sure would like to give it another go.

My Dad and I always liked to enjoy a glass of wine with a meal together.

I didn't think much more of it until I was looking at my new followers on twitter and noticed that the Royal Mail had just started following me. I ended up sending them some messages asking if there was any way they knew what the wine was that a person drank a couple of weeks ago.

We started emailing and they told me exactly what my parents had for their meal, the wine Dad drank and they let me know that only 28 cases had been made. They had one of the very last cases of the wine left.

The Royal Mail then sent me one of their last remaining bottles and I excitedly waited for it to arrive to surprise Dad with it, after a week we realised it was lost to the hands of some Australia Post employee who I hope didn't choke on a peanut while they drank it and the Royal Mail very kindly sent me another bottle.

It arrived on Friday while I was having lunch with Dad. When I got home and saw it I rang Mum to tell her it was here and I couldn't wait to have it with Dad, he was happy to eat fish which it would go well with.

But then Dad went and died that night. When I packed my bag at 6.30 in the morning I packed the wine in my bag too. I cried to Mum that we haven't drunk the wine yet.

Mum suggested I keep it and we have it in a few years to remember Dad at a special time. Again I messaged the Royal Mail and they let me know it would cope with cellaring for 5 - 10 years if I wanted to hold it. I was thinking maybe we might have it for Christmas this year instead.

Yesterday Mr H drove me the few hours home and our lovely neighbour met us straight away. As I chatted to her Mr H started to unpack the car.


The bottle rolled straight out of the station wagon on to the drive way.

For a moment I nearly lost it (again). Then I decided that Dad just clearly never wanted me to drink that wine without him.

The Story goes on...

Edited with an Update: Friday 2 November 2012

Yesterday I went to spend the day talking, crying and getting through the day with a wonderful friend. Our little girls played perfectly together all day. After a couple of hours my lovely friend said "I have bought something for you, that I hope you don't find upsetting'.  I was intrigued at what it could possibly be.

The night before, with her three children probably wanting dinner, homework checked, bathtime etc she instead drove around the bottleshops in our area hunting down a bottle of 'The Story' wine.

She found one and placed it on the table in front of me. I didn't know what to say, I was so touched by this act, couldn't believe that she had found it and was expecting the bottle to spontaneously combust in front of my eyes.

I have a bottle of 'The Story', I am planning on drinking it with my siblings on Christmas Day (Mum doesn't drink so we don't have to share). If anything happens to this bottle of wine I am taking one to the cemetery and pouring it over Dad's grave to ensure he finally gets to have another taste.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Today we buried my Dad.

There isn't really much to say.

A day I would rather not have had to experience is nearly at an end. As a family, we have the honour of the man we loved being celebrated by many hundreds of people. I don't know how many there were but they filled over 500 seats and filled all the standing room. They came to honour my Dad and to support us and while it doesn't take our pain away or that heaving empty hole that seems to be growing rather than shrinking inside us, it certainly makes the next steps we must take a little less scary.

Is there any better place than the shoulders of your Poppy?

I struggled for a few days with what I wanted to say at the funeral. This is what I wrote, it was what I want my girls to know about the man who meant so much to me..

Mr H read on my behalf. He did good.

When you lose the most extraordinary father in the world you cry for many reasons and one of them is knowing that your young children will miss out on experiencing the wonder of him. So I will need to remind them of his love of reading The Age newspaper, of their trips to learn about and discover native wildflowers in the bush and how he took them on adventures in the ute.

I will tell them how strongly he believed that you should stand up for what you know is wrong and defend those that can’t do it for themselves.

I shall tell my girls how their grandfather believed being honest was one of the greatest traits you could ever have and that generosity should have few limits.

I will tell them stories about how he used sticky tape across my forehead to ensure he cut my fringe straight for too many years and of how on my first ever date with a boy I found him waiting INSIDE the actual cinema, a couple of rows behind me, not outside in the car as I requested. I will tell them that he was a man with buckets full of tolerance, that he was humble, strong, funny and so very very wise. I will remind them of how he was always so much fun to be around and how much they loved his visits.

Now I have a new story to tell them, the story of how incredibly brave he was when Amyloidosis came to visit him, how he fought while he could because there is just so much to do in life. There are always new people to meet, places to see and things to be a part of. I will tell them of the enormous love they received from him and how he adored us all beyond words.

I asked Mum how Dad would want people to remember him, she said that only last week he had told her that of all things, he wanted to be remembered as an honest man. I expect this wish will be easily fulfilled.

Lastly, I will remind them often of the words he once said to me. “Clairey, You only get one life, so get busy living!”

R.I.P Dad, we will all love you forever and ever.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Have you seen my Dad around? We seem to have lost him

On Friday I had lunch with my Dad and Mum.

Mum and I were meeting up while Dad was getting a dose of unicorn dust injected into him. Unicorn dust that only just became available and is a new shining light for those rare few people who get diagnosed with Amyloidosis.

As I waited for the sangas to be ready Mum grabbed a table and I noticed from the distance a man was pulling out a chair on the other side. Then I noticed it was Dad. I skipped over, asked what he wanted to eat and confirmed his dose of unicorn dust had been administered, he had been much faster than we expected.

All was done. The nurse was lovely and said he was good to go.

The three of us had a lovely catch up, Dad had shiny fancy new black boots to show me. He would have ten days before more unicorn dust would be administered which meant no trips to the hospital next week. He was organizing things for this and that and had invites to here and there. He is always always busy. We talked some politics for a bit, we talked about coloured jeans, we discussed the bathroom renovations and how my little girls were. I reminded him of the ebook we were making and how he needed to record himself reading the story.

They left, with mum driving the new car that Dad bought last week, it is lovely, Dad really would have liked to drive but we weren't sure if he might think he actually was a unicorn and start trying to fly.

They shopped in towns along the way home, taking five hours to complete the three hour journey.

Life was good.

Until a phone call at 6.30 am.

The call that has made the world go dark. A slimy teary confusing sea of horrid.

They, whoever 'they' are, keep saying my Dad is gone.

I am not sure. I can't feel his presence or his spirit, and he is not answering my calls. I looked all over for him, I sat in his veggie garden and kept sneaking up to his computer desk to try and glimpse him, but he never showed up.

I tried an email, still no luck.

He is not replying to my text messages or Facebook messages.

The people, you know 'those' people, they cant tell me why they think he died, but they did let me see another man.

He looked like my Dad, but he was way way too cold. I tried really hard to warm him up, I held his hand for ages, I blowed kisses and hugged with all my might but that man didn't talk back to me.

My Dad, he would talk back to me. He would never not talk to me.

So if you see my Dad let me know, because I really really need to find him.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A letter: Dear Grammar Police

Dear Grammar Police

You know who you are, you are the people that think because you have a good grasp on where an apostrophe goes and never ever use the incorrect version of your or there that you have the right to let everyone else know about it.

You correct facebook updates and tweets, leave comments to just ‘let someone know of their error’ so that you can save the world of incorrect grammar and spelling usage.

Please stop it.

Some people have other talents other than writing. Some people have not received the education standards you did. There are some people who have this thing called a learning disability, they struggle their entire lives to get the words correct and go to great lengths to hide their disability from people like you. They should be free to communicate without the fear of correction. When you kindly remind someone of where to place an apostrophe you are only belittling him or her, usually publicly. It is not your duty to correct, save it for those who ask for assistance, I promise you there are thousands of us out there happy to ask when we need help.

Do you speak multiple languages? Imagine if you did and sometimes you mixed up the rules for different languages. I know I would rather have the linguistic skills of these people than the grammar skills you so highly regard.  

Some people can whip up a fabulous meal or they might be crafty, they might just be the most excellent friend you could ever want. Does it matter that much to you if their written english is lacking?

Personally, I have lazy writing skills, I often have errors, some are typos and some are from poor (or non existent) proof reading.  I also mispronounce the spoken word quite often. I hear and dislike the incorrect use of many words I don’t feel the need to jump up and tell people how to speak.

Take a break grammar police. If you understand the concept of what the person has written and they are not asking for someone to review their writing then let it go.

Lastly, words and grammar evolve naturally over time so while (whilst) you think that rule is not flexible, sometimes it is. And (never start a sentence with and apparently) words and language will continue to change whether you keep up or not.

Kind regards
Clairey Hewitt, self confessed over user of exclamation marks and often incorrect user of apostrophes. 

P.S.  Feel free to correct my errors if it makes you feel better.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Snotty nosed kids

Every few weeks we get an extra newsletter from school, 'Prep News' usually reminds parents to read every night with their children, to pack hats for playtime, pay for something and look for missing library books.

This week we have a new request.

It seems we live in an area of snotty nosed kids. The Preps have literally wiped through their tissue budget for the year and are calling on donations.

I can only imagine the grossness of teaching first grade schooling with snot wiped up sleeves, flicked from fingers or smeared across faces.

Initially I thought that surely a few boxes of tissues could be found in the budget, but 80 preps probably blow many a snot bubble and our school is already running a pretty tight ship with a large number of parents often unable to pay for school extras.

The teachers do enough and are even about to strike for better conditions I feel for them wiping all those noses with the one lace hankie found in a bottom drawer.

It's tissue shopping time, I will be looking for some with dettol infused or antibiotics hidden in the fibres, anything to prevent the green goop heading our way.

Has your school requested anything out of the ordinary?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Minding my own manners

Mr Swordy struggles to have good manners but he is very fancy.

I try and have good manners. I don't always, especially if no one is looking.

It is really easy to have bad manners via email and I try to not come across as rude as I know the person at the other end is actually trying to do their job too.

There is much discussion on the poor level of email received by bloggers from PR agencies. Some people hate when they get a generic message, others don't like/understand why they get media releases sent to them. I don't really mind this at all.

I do mind when I receive the third pitch for a product promoting baby food that is made overseas, having previously politely indicated that my children are well past the baby food stage so please don't send me this product anymore. When received yet again I responded nicely again indicating that I never promote food produced outside Australia so please remove me from this list. Not even two hours after receiving an email to confirm this would be done I received ANOTHER email from the PR person asking if I would like to be photographed for mainstream media with my children using the product.

A few weeks ago I got another email with an invitation to an event, it looked fun, but when I double checked the details I noticed it was in Sydney.

I was having a busy and stressful day and felt like replying with a big "Can you not read, I am in MELBOURNE!!!"

But I didn't, I replied with a response saying it looked like a great event, however I was unable to attend due to my location, but please consider me for any Melbourne based events.

I soon received a reply saying, no worries, we will fly you to Sydney for the event if you would like to come along.

Let me think - a day to myself in Sydney to look around the shops after a one hour PR gig to attend and eat wonderful food.

Yes Please.

Imagine if I had of lost my manners, not replied, hit delete etc. My poor manners would have cost me a wonderful day in Sydney, child free.

Manners may be free but they are totally worth it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hell according to Miss 3

We are a routine kind of family.
We like it, it works for us and our kids seem to like knowing how the weeks will be.

Last week I worked a lot, I had late nights and a conference that rolled into the weekend and I didn't see the kids as much as I usually do.

Saturday nights is movie night for us, but this week I was exhausted. But then the girls begged me to sit on the couch with them, to snuggle up tight and just be with them.

So I did and we watched RugRats, the movie.

There was a line in the movie where a child character says to a dog something like 'bad dogs don't go to heaven you know'.

Popps asked me, where do bad dogs go if they don't go to heaven?

I told her they went to hell instead.

"Where is that?" she asked

It's a place that is not nice to be, full of bad things I replied.

Immy replied with her own wisdom:

"Hell is a place full of donkeys and the donkeys keep licking your face."

And it is funny comments and moments like that which make having to spend your Saturday night watching RugRats totally worthwhile.

Are there donkeys licking your face in your Hell?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, October 8, 2012

Imagine if you had a secret weapon to navigate life.

Imagine when you were born someone handed you a secret weapon to assist you to navigate through life.

A little secret tool that gave you confidence to walk into a room when you were feeling really shy.

A secret weapon that was the answer to insomnia,  you would always sleep well with this tool beside you.

The same little thing could provide you with the ability to remain calm when all around you was a little madness.

Your secret weapon would save you from loneliness, together you were always ok, your secret weapon  reminded you that there was plenty to do in your imagination.

Imagine if when you physically hurt yourself, just rubbing this little treasure could take the pain away and make you feel better.

One little object that could reduce any anxiety, provide courage and calmness, bravery and pain management and all costing nothing and hurting no one.

But then one day, the big people around you decided that you shouldn't have this object anymore, and no matter how you cried, begged and pleaded they didn't listen and they took it away.

It wouldn't feel very good.

And that is why Stinky Blanklet will be staying for some time yet.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Winning Weekend: Dogs and Dark Spots.

This post is sponsored by Garnier Dark Spot Corrector

This is what I started with.
I have been lazing around in the sun doing pretty much, nothing all week. I might keep doing that for the weekend too so it is a great time for a Winning Weekend post.

A few weeks ago I was invited into the lovely offices at Garnier. I have been in there a few times now and every time we are entertained in what I think is the best staff kitchen area I have ever seen. I am yet to work at a place that actually lets the staff share great views of the area rather than just plonk the offices on that side of the building to only allow a few big wigs to get the best views.

But this time we got shuffled into a meeting room for the function. I soon realised why when a Dalmatian dog was sitting up on the couch, the room helped contain the doggy.

I am not an animal person. Some people flocked to the dog, patted and cuddled, I headed to the red wine, sat down and looked at the cheese platter. I sat beside a beauty blogger. She never once glanced at that cheese.

No one else glanced at the cheese either. I was left to try and eat as much as I could by myself. I did well. I ate cheese, had a wine and I got busy on twitter.

But I was not there to hear about cheese and wine and dogs.

I was there to listen to the information about beauty products. I like to hear such things, even though I rarely put them into practise. Sometimes I even lie to the people there, like when they asked me what type of cleanser and toner I use, and which serum (what exactly is a serum?)  I also lie to the hair dresser when she asks me if I have been using a toner treatment - of course, love, always.

The highlight of the night was the dark spot corrector. It is magic, it is cheap, with regular and constant use it will reduce the dark spots on your skin.

Magnetoboldtoo tweeted me asking if it would remove dark spots from the soul. I was too shy to ask this straight out so instead I asked the Garnier people if this stuff worked all over the body, the answer was yes, but no, DO NOT DRINK IT, it is poison for the soul or any other internal parts. There may have then been a conversation about dark spot corrector and anal bleaching on twitter. I do not have the answers for you, but I do not suggest you try that at home.

I have spent the last few weeks using the dark spot corrector on my hands. It smells good. It feels good. It has certainly reduced the colour of the dark freckle spots on my hand.

It is hard to see in the photos above, really you just see how pale and ugly my hands are, but there is a difference in real life, more so with the faint spots on the left of my hand.

The trouble is you really have to keep using it. You can't just use it a few times see the difference and then stop.

I have biscuit crumbs on my desk, opps.

So I asked Garnier if I could have a giveaway for dark spot corrector, but to be able to giveaway


I don't want you using it, loving it and having to buy more.

To win just tell me a story about anything at all to do with a dark spot. I will pick a winner on Sunday night.


1) One comment per person
2) Sharing is caring, please share with your friends on facebook and twitter and at mother's group and church.
3) LAST COMMENTS at 9pm Sunday 7 October 2012
4) No email, no win, if I can't find you in 72 hours I shall pick a new winner
5) Australian residents only.

Good Luck!
EDIT: Monday 8 October

This giveaway is now closed. The winner is Amy who I shall email asap!

Thank you all for entering.