Feb 9, 2011

Heat waves and other minor matters...

by Michelle Douglas

Reading: My RITA books

Listening to: ABBA Gold

Watching: the garden un-wilt

Making me smile: the temperature, my health, my car...

On Sunday night the heat wave that held my part of the country in its clenched and taloned grip for seven days finally broke. A heat wave that quite frankly was hateful - temperatures consistently around 40C and the inside of my house not dropping below 30C for the entire week, not even at night, and with humidity levels at around 85%.

To be honest, though, there was very little grumbling to be had because a heat wave is MUCH better than a cyclone Yasi, than the floods that have hit both Qld and Vic, and the bushfire that has destroyed homes in WA. By comparison, my part of NSW has been very lucky.

But this heat wave did get me thinking about the little things I take for granted, because let me tell you, when that cool change came through on Sunday evening I was so happy I could've cried (or spontaneously burst into song, but then that would've made everyone else cry). Every day this week I have relished the gorgeous cool weather.

Towards the end of last year I got a minor infection that I put up with for two weeks before finally going to the doctor (hey, I was busy and the infection was minor and not stopping me from doing stuff and I thought it might just go away - ha!). Two days after I'd started taking the antibiotics I felt on top of the world. I vividly remember walking around my local shopping centre feeling so utterly healthy that I couldn't help smiling blissfully at everyone I passed (no, they didn't send in the men with the white coats).

The first car I ever owned broke down all the time. I made do. My second car leaked whenever it rained, hence, it smelled (quite a lot now that I come to think of it). I got my third car three years ago. It's beautiful. I can no longer see the road through the floor (I'm sure this is a good thing). I can now hear the radio playing because the wind no longer whips around my ears, deafening me. And I have shock absorbers that work. Whenever I drive my car - even after three years - I grin to myself, so pleased that I am now driving this car.

So what about you? Is there some small thing you've recently realised you take for granted? Or, conversely, something that fills you with delight? (Oh, and aren't you just loving this cooler weather!)


  1. Hoo-yah for the cooler weather, Michelle, I totally agree (but I think it's too late for many of the plants in my garden :-( )

    Not sure this is a small thing but I think we all take our mobility for granted without even realising it.

    When I was 34 I underwent a half-knee replacement and was not allowed to drive (and do a lot of other things) for 8 weeks.

    Living in an isolated rural community your car is your lifeline. During that time I relied on the generosity of friends & the Community Transport car (driven by volunteers) to get me around. Initially, I also had to have help from family and friends to do simple things like put on my shoes and socks.

    This all gave me a greater appreciation for the elderly in our community who experience some form of physical disability due to age or medical issues. And it's made me a more patient person. :-)

  2. I think we all take our health for granted, and even our good fortune (and freedom!) that comes from living in such a lucky country.
    I like to sit outside in the afternoons and take a few moments to be thankful for what I have - and yes, there are days I forget.

  3. Oh, Kylie, yes -- our mobility! Not being able to drive and get around would be so difficult... and in your case obviously isolating. A few years ago my DH broke his leg, and I have to say I've felt grateful ever since that I can walk... and that his condition was only temporary.

    I have to say that there isn't anything physically glamourous about getting old, is there? (though, I guess it's better than the alternative) :-)

  4. You're right, Mel, we have so much to be grateful for just for living where we do. I like to sit outside in the afternoons too to soak up the atmosphere and remind myself how lucky I am.

  5. Hi Michelle,

    We do have to be grateful for where we live

    Yet here we're right in the middle of cyclone season and the weather is hot and very humid. And then flu and virus making the rounds. Well. have to make do!

  6. I am grateful for my health. I had a scare near the end of November and this made me go to the doctor and have a physical and all the tests run that could be run. I am in good health and I grateful for it.

  7. Hi Nas,

    Hugs on the flu doing the rounds. I hate having a cold in summer, not that I enjoy it in winter, but it always seems worse in the hot, muggy weather, doesn't it.

    Autumn is my favourite season of the year, and I always wonder if I would love it so much if the summer weren't quite so hot. :-) Hoping the heat and humidity don't get you down too much!

  8. She, our health is just so important, isn't it? When something goes wrong with it our whole world gets turned upside down. Hope you enjoy your good health for a very long time to come!

  9. Something that delights me is when my kids give me a spontaneous hug and tell me they love me :) Also helps to remember that when they are being little devils .

  10. Anita, there has to be some joys amongst all the drudgery of being a mum :-) and that sounds like it could be one of the best. Wishing you loads of kiddy hugs this evening!

  11. Hi Michelle! From time to time I find myself really appreciating the fact that I can go for walks along the river or up the hill by myself in safety. I've travelled in countries, both western and non-western, where that's not the case. Usually I take my freedom and my safety for granted -- but sometimes I remember that not everyone is so lucky and feel very grateful!

  12. Oh, Emily, that's one I haven't thought about in a long while. There's only been a couple of times in my life where the hairs on the back of my neck have lifted in real fear, the sense of relief that follows when the danger has passed can be extraordinary and powerful.

    And I have to say, your walks sound heavenly!

  13. Hey, Michelle
    I read Kylie's comment and immediately identified with it! I was on crutches for three months after I ruptured my Achilles tendon. That limitation was a real eye-opener. Made me very grateful to be able to get back to plain old walking without mobility aids.

    I love where we live and I try to make sure I take the time to appreciate it as often as I can.

  14. Michelle

    I agree that heat was awful I really don't like being sleep deprived and trying to sleep in that heat was not good LOL. I am really enjoying this cooler weather at the moment.
    I am grateful for the health I have and being able to pretty much do what I want to do

    Have Fun

  15. Hi Michelle --
    Glad to hear you survived the heat. I have to say Nas sounds like she lives in the same place I do -- it's hot, humid, cyclone season and there are some terrible viruses going around.

    That said, the thing filling me with delight every day is my baby kicking me (I'm just over 7 months pregnant). A little wriggle, or even a painfully placed little foot make me smile a lot.

  16. Oh, Sharon, I think I would be a disaster on crutches -- I am such a klutz on two feet let alone one. Getting two feet back on the ground would make me very appreciative!

    From the photos you sometimes post, your part of the world does look pretty idyllic. :-)

  17. Hi Helen,

    I'm with you on the sleep deprivation -- makes me the grumpiest person in the world. I actually apologised to my husband in advance when we found out we were getting a heat wave ("DH, please forgive me for how grumpy I am going to be this coming week.")

    Glad you're enjoying the cooler weather too! :-)

  18. Anna, I'd say come south and visit -- only we're not exactly an advertisement for temperate, balmy weather at the moment. :-)

    Ooh, we're so looking forward to the arrival of this new little LoveKitten. I'm thinking it's going to give you even more delight upon its arrival. Hope you are getting many wriggles and (not painful) kicks!

  19. Every so often I have to pinch myself about where I live. The Sunshine Coast is gorgeous anyway, but what makes it really special for me is having my family around the corner - a sister and her family one way, my Mum and Dad the other. Yes. I'm a sook! =)

  20. Robbie, isn't it wonderful when home is the place we love best in the world? And if it just happens to be beautiful into the bargain...

    I've never been to the Sunshine Coast. I might have to come for a visit. :-)

  21. Just recently I was on crutches again (nothing major, just a leg that acts up from time to time) and now I'm so incredibly grateful to be able to walk with 2 legs again! It's in the little things, like, if I was already sitting down with my dinner and I wanted a bottle of sauce, when I was on crutches, I wouldn't bother getting up for it. But with 2 legs, it's *so* easy to jump up. :)

  22. I have friends who have lost things in the recent fires here in Perth. 72 homes burned to ash. Another 30ish damaged. These are people who were puttering around at home on a Sunday one minute and being screamed at by law enforcement from choppers the next to 'get out!'. Just no warning. Or worse, out at BBQs or whatever and got home to roadblocks and traumatised neighbours. Those people had no chance to save hteir homes, property and pets.

    Miraculously, no deaths either but one friend lost *all* her pets. We're talking a small zoo. Another friend's sister lost every single thing related to her wedding which is in six weeks!! Dress, bridesmaids dresses, entire wedding book with all her receipts, confirmations and bookings... Another's daughter is so gutted she's lost all Barbie's outfits. But she ran back in for Barbie. (O.M.G!)

    Different things are important to differenet people for different reasons. Everyone feels the loss.

    Makes me think I take EVERYTHING for granted. But not this week. This week I've been looking at every day things and thanking the stars that I get to have them.

  23. Rach, so glad you're off crutches and walking under your own steam again! I'm definitely adding walking on my own two feet as one of the things I'm grateful for today.

  24. Oh, Nikki, your poor friends! I'm so glad that the authorities managed to warn people to evacuate so that no lives were lost, but to lose everything is just devastating. I do my very best to not take the big things like my family for granted (even when they drive me insane ) and to be grateful for my home (even with its wild garden and the drainage problem that occurs when we've had a lot of rain).

    I feel for the bride, but to lose pets and animals like that and to be helpless to rescue them... the thought is making me shiver.

    Am resolved to give everyone I love an extra big hug today.