Monday, May 31, 2010

Red Whizz, White Panadeine and a Blue Mood

Skipper is crook.

The poor little guy has been peeing cab-sav instead of riesling on The Age newspapers lining his hutch and his usually spotlessly-cleaned white back legs are brown and filthy.

He's still eating and seems perky enough and I'll admit to waiting for a few days before broaching the topic of a vet visit with Love Chunks.....

......but today the wee was not only wed (sorry, 'red') but it stunk like a cross between rotting meat and paint thinner when I lifted up the roof of his two storey townhouse this morning. LC had already gone to work and Sapph had trotted off to school bowed under the weight of her tortoise-shaped backpack and viola case so it was possible to make the call to the vet without raising any protests on either a financial or emotional front.

Mr Migraine had also decided to pay me a long overdue visit. Lying in bed waiting for the Panadeine to persuade my brain to stop self-inflating inside my hammering skull meant that there was still time enough to wallow in my ratty old dressing gown of self pity about another issue before Skipper's 10am appointment.

As per my usual modus operandi, I had become too excited with talk, promises and plans before anything had been made a reality. The regular weekly writing gig I thought was going to be a great opportunity had faded like four-hour painkillers when the promised appointment and follow-up phone call did not eventuate. Like Miss Havisham at the bridal table, I waited by the phone on Monday and knew by silent Friday that my services were no longer required.

Disappointed but accepting, I visited her website to see what she'd decided to write instead.

My words.

Maybe she's going to contact me this Monday, I told myself. Maybe she was out by a week and thought our first meeting was today. Maybe she's going to see what reaction my writing gets and then discuss a payment.

Groping my way out of the shower and drying myself ever-so-slowly (the noise of the towel fibres against my face...painful! The electric toothbrush...agony! Pulling a t-shirt over my bulbous, beating head - PHARKen excruciating!), I put aside the getting-louder voices of 'She's ripping you off' and focussed on Skipper.

Rattling around in our freezing back shed wasn't going to happen today, so the rabbit was gently bundled in a couple of Milly's dog washing towels and wheeled around the corner in our portable shopping trolley. We earned a few curious stares as the trolley bulged and jiggled past the students at the tram stop ('Geez, your food must be really fresh') and turned the corner.

$99 and ten minutes later, Skipper might - yes, just might, because even the vet couldn't get a decent look at his remaining boy bits - have a bladder infection. He took great offence to lying on his back and being groped between the legs and only consented to taking in antibiotics when I held him up to my shoulder like a newborn baby. Still, he did give my ear a couple of reassuring licks, which is as close to purring, or 'I forgive you for my dodgy dark ride and harassment' as a rabbit can get.

Back home, I tried to contact my no-longer-interested but petulantly-plagiaristic perpetrator. Straight to Message Bank. Surely if someone decides to use my writing on their blog, I deserve payment? Someone who is in partnership with a relatively famous divorcee who gained millions from her husband after he left her for his secretary and is therefore not short of a bob....?? Why bother to fleece a home-based writer who'd be lucky to earn enough to lodge a tax return this year......???

It bites even harder because I'm still awaiting some kind of response from Sapphire's school principal about the future of the Writers' Workshop. The more I think about it, the more 'used' I feel - hours of my time, completely unsupervised, unpaid and seemingly no interest shown in rectifying the situation.

I went outside to check on the bunny boy. He was happily snoozing on Sapphire's old purple polarfleece blanket and leapt up to greet me, licking my fingers as I rubbed his nose. He's only two kilograms, but still makes me smile.

I'm sure he'll pull through; as will I.


Helen said...

Awww, that sounds like a horrible day! I hope Skipper feels better and you get it all sorted out! Good luck with the migraine too, reall has fantastic timing!

ThirdCat said...

that sucks!

though the bunny does seem to be on the mend

Elisabeth said...

Kath' if I had the money or the need for a freelance writer, I'd employ you.

I love the way you write and seemingly without effort. You take us right into the heart of your life and it's such a treat to be there, however painful it might be for you.

To me your voice has that wonderful Australian twang that I love.

Maybe you should give up volunteering at schools and approach ... someone. I don't know.

Something might come to me and I'll pass it on to you. Networking you know, it usually works.

R.H. said...

There are "help" groups around (which some consider crack-brained anyway) that only get sufficient government funding for one or two paid workers, which isn't enough. With no apparent shame whatsoever these workers spend most of their energy in recruiting unpaid volunteers (suckers) to keep the thing going in order to keep getting paid themselves. I know all this through watching my deadhead social worker niece.
When it comes to what's worthwhile your work at the school is high value and you should be paid for it. Everyone, children especially, has a story to tell, and children especially, love stories. I can't think of anything more useful for flight. And self-betterment.

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks Helen. Sapphire and I gave him his medicine this morning which, after he got over having his mouth forced open, he loved!

Yes it does, ThirdCat, yes it does. I feel like a peasant whose potatoes have been flogged.

Elisabeth that is very kind of you. I'm going to seek some advice from the MEAA today re getting some payment out of Ms Plagiaristic Perpetrator. I'll also let the SA Writers' Centre know, because they referred her to me as a 'blog expert'. *sigh*

You're right, RH and yet the kids are emailing me their stories and I haven't opened or read any of them yet. Maybe I should just forward them all onto the principal, asking again for a reply/decision from her.

R.H. said...

The principal might say you were never promised anything for doing it, but you might say you got more kids than you expected and it's turned out mind bending as well. You're not a school teacher, after all.
Being angry at the principal is fair enough and if you decide to drop it altogether maybe you could do it gently by responding to the emailed stories and thanking each child for taking part. I'm just thinking that your anger about it now might be nothing compared to your regrets later at letting the kids down. None of it is their fault of course.

Kath Lockett said...

RH you're right about the kids. I'm stewing about that and might just give the principal a ring now - if she's not going to reply, then I'll do the chasing.....

River said...

Awww, poor Skipper. As I read I was thinking, "oh no, a kidney infection". I hope he's very well and peeing the correct colour in no time.
As for your shameless plagiarist, she deserves to be named and shamed. Right here on your blog. (do you have proof that her words were first yours?)
I have my own, milder, migraine today. Dehydration, I'm sure, since I've been drinking much less water with the cooler weather.

Baino said...

What's this about someone pinching your writing? Unforgivable. Here's hoping Panadol soothes your savage erm head and antibiotics do the trick for the Skipster. As for the school, their loss to my mind but you could do without the stress.

Nicole said...

Kath - that's terrible. The bunny too, but most upsetting to me was the unpaid/stolen work you did! I hope you sort it out soon.

deepkickgirl said...

Sorry to hijack your comments but did you get my email the other day about our visit to your fair city? Can you email me when you can?

Hope you and Skipper are both feeling better.

R.H. said...

In about grade four I remember the occasional person coming to our school to give a talk to the class. It seemed an opportunity to play up, even though the teacher was writing there at his desk. Now and then he'd have to look up to crack the whip on us. I'm surprised you were left on your own, the right thing would have been a teacher in the room with you, just for discipline.
The kids wouldn't understand what you're giving up to be there anyway, but the school certainly should.

A poor show altogether.

Pandora Behr said...

You give so much - you're right to feel exactly what you're feeling in regards to the school. Do stand your ground - though I know it's hard.

Hope you and bunny boy are on the mend.

Wally The Walrus said...

Many of the rich didn't get to be rich by being nice people.


Many of them will happily take your services and only pay when you scream, even then expect to be offered 50 cents in the dollar to make you go away. This happens again, and again, and again.

As for the school principal - stop emailing. Emailing is easy to avoid and in the days before we had email we didn't have such an easy avoidance tactic. Phone or go see and have it out. There is no other way.

Having got this far it would however be pretty unfair to take your dispute with the principal out on the kids.

Vanessa said...

Kath, your veiled speech has left me curious as to who has done the dirty on you. My suggestions on that one are to just send her an invoice for your work. Send it by post, email and even attach it as a comment on her blog if you are not getting anywhere. I am sure her readers would be interested to know who did the writing and how unethical she is.
As for the writing class, you have really been duped by the school. I tried to find a creative writing class for my daughters to enrol in last year and came up with one class which was a 45 min drive. In Perth, they are scarce and I suggest you think about setting up one outside of school hours (or even negotiate with the public school Gifted and Talented program in your state. This way you will have the backing of paying parents to assist with discipline, you will have willing kids who have not been picked to attend, and best of all, you will be paid for your skills. Perhaps you could even set up an online class? I know my girls would be interested. My eldest made her choice for high school next year based on the creative writing club she could join and participate in her own hours!
Have you investigated your migraines? I feel nauseaus reading about your pain.