Friday, July 22, 2011

That was then, and this is FAB!

Six months ago, one of my regular shopping centres looked like this:

It was the aftermath of the January 2011 floods, which left much of Brisbane (and let's face it Queensland and other parts of the country), inundated with stinky, sludgy floodwater.
I blogged at the time, that it was the closest thing I'd ever come to living in a war zone.
People were left homeless and stranded. Property and businesses were destroyed, basic requirements like clothes, family photographs, and personal records were gone forever.

Not to mention the loss of food, water, electricity, lives.

By the Grace of God, I was safe.

I'd moved weeks earlier, in a bid to escape a neighbourhood thug who was bullying Mr 10. The thug and his gang were well-known to police, but because of their age, the police could do little more than tell them off and slap their wrists. (Although the main bully did receive a caution, which I'm told goes on his permanant record if he offends as an adult).

Of course, I kept the kids safe, but the two serious incidents occured: A. When C. was playing with our next door neighbour, supposedly under his parents' supervision; and B. When I was with him in our own back yard. (A slingshot from the bully who was in the neighbour's back yard, flew past me and hit C. in the eye. Only good luck, ER hospital treatment, and a couple of millimetres saved C. from losing an eye.)

After that, the bullies would often congregate at the park across the road, which ironically, I'd taken as a bonus when we took the rental. And they would shout abuse at the kids, but run away when I took them to task, and yell sexual slurs at me.

They damaged my car and letterbox, and would knock on the door and run away. Little arses, and I can't tell you what I think of their parents.

Anyway, that's a whole other story.

 Moving was an absolute and expensive pain in the arse at the time, but a necessary means to an end.

And as it happened, that nasty, evil bully and his gang of thugs saved my little family from losing everything.

Our 'new' home was situated at the top of a steep driveaway, near the top of a hill.

Around us, we were isolated by stinking floodwaters, but we were safe. And dry.

I found out later that our old home, street, community centre, and neighbourhood, went completely under. Residents were evacuated, and many lost precious belongings.

We were stranded away from home for a while (as we'd been visiting family when the floods hit), and we lost power and water too. But the damage was minimal.

I did my own part to help those who weren't so lucky. I provided what I could spare of clothes, bedding, towels, and toys for those who had lost everything. I spent hours buying bottled water and giving it away to the Mud Army of volunteers.

I'm not special. Everyone did what they could. The community spirit was alive. And slowly, life returned to normal.

When I think back to that time, I remember that bad things can happen to good people. But good people can help to make bad things better.

And so came the re-opening of the All Sports Shopping Centre at Jindalee.
Thanks, not just to the business people who lost everything during the floods, but the generous souls who lived and worked in the area, this vibrant little village is now open for business.

Bigger and better than ever before.

All Sports was home of the real estate agency from whom I purchased our family home; a home the kids and I loved.

Later, when my ex's work took us overseas, they found us tenants for that home. And later, sold it, because we were going to return and buy a cool new one.

(The fairytale clearly did not happen. There's a story there, but I can't tell it right now.)

Anyway, that house was more than a house, but a home.

And it survived the floods, just, so my lovely former neighbours told me.
Nearby Jindalee Allsports was where our favourite GPs worked, and our favourite blood-taking, urine-sampling, clinic resided.

Where we got videos, and loaves of fresh bread. Milk and the occasional pie or sausage roll for the kids. And those silly marshmallow ice-cream cones. For when they had been Really Good At The Doctors' Surgery. (Read: When they had not run screaming up and down the aisle in fear of needles, vomited all over the waiting room, and/or told the doctor that Daddy was very well thank you, but farted a lot).  

And suddenly, in January 2011, the surgery, the shops, the vampire blood collecting place, were all gone.

Here is one of the old shops in January:

And look what's in its place ...

The Nook Caffe-Restaurant, which I'll be reviewing soon. And which has already worked itself into the tummies of residents in the Western Suburbs.

The kids were not keen to be photographed with the Pizza Capers dude/dudette. So I had to do it.
(NB: This did not stop them from scoffing huge amounts of pizza. Also? I think they have a secret agenda to see their Mumma look silly). 

The aftermath of the floods ...

The same area, where a happy Miss 8 wins a Nerf Gun from B105 FM

Mr 10 was thrilled to win a prize from Pizza Capers and B105 FM - a large pizza for all of us!
Oof! On the jumping castle. Thankfully, pre-pizza-eating!

While Miss 8 took advantage of the free face-painting to become a cat!

Thanks to the very kind people of Pizza Capers at All Sports Jindalee - who were kept busy on the re-opening day handing out delicious free pizza - I have a giveaway for people who live in the area.

I have two prizes up for grabs:

A voucher for one free large pizza, and two kids' pizzas;
and for the larger (or hungrier) family, a voucher for one free large pizza and three kids' pizzas.
To enter, make sure you're following Nowhere Like Queensland, and leave a comment below.

Unfortunately, these prizes are only valid for the Jindalee Pizza Capers store, but there is talk of a nationwide giveaway on my sister blog Maid In Australia.

Good luck!

Prize will be drawn and winners announced August 1, 2011

Aussie Giveaway Linky
Hosted by Three Lil Princesses and Tina Gray {dot} Me

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Not the car wash

Spotted at a service station at Kingaroy, Queensland.

Seriously, some people use squeedgies to try and sneak a cheeky car wash?

With the high cost of water, you can't blame a motorist for trying ...

Only in Queensland!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Get stuffed!

Don't you just love to shop?

I think most of us do, but dragging the kids along to crowded shopping centres during school holidays can be, well, a drag.

Unless you go to one of those shopping centres that puts on free or cheap events on for the kids.

Brisbane's Mt Gravatt Plaza is one of those centres.

During the recent holidays, Mr 10 and Miss 8 were delighted at the chance to make their own teddy bears there.

There was a small cost - $5 each - but there was a nice selection of soft toys to choose from. Mr 10 got lucky and chose the last pink fluffy teddy bear (he likes pink and he collects teddies, so this was an instant win). Miss 8 went for a panda. (Usually her brother's favourite!)

There was a huge queue of hyped up kids and frazzled parents, so I was glad I'd fed and watered the kids before we joined the line-up. (That didn't stop Miss 8 from desperately needing a wee halfway through, but that's another story.)

Finally it was our turn.

Disappointingly, the kids didn't actually get to make and stuff their toys themselves, nor to sew them up. A professional did that.

But they were still happy with the result!

H. with her panda, pre-stuffing. Poor Panda is looking pretty slim...

Too many to choose from ...

Poor panda, being filled via the butt. The lady had to insert her fingers into panda's bottom to widen the hole before she could stuff it. Oh how we laughed!

C's teddy was lucky enough to get stuffed in a bit higher up

Signing 'official' birth certificates ...

And the finished result: Isn't she gorgeous? (The panda is pretty nice too...)

Readers, how do you survive school holiday shopping?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fancy a quick root?

Every red-blooded Aussie girl loves a quick root, so imagine my surprise when I got to have one en-route to Brisbane recently.

We were on our way home after visiting family in the South Burnett, when on approaching the pretty town of Esk, we all felt the urge to, erm, use the facilities. And fast. (I'm not saying anything about Grandma's homemade vegetable soup the night before. No I am not. Cough).

So we stopped, and because I was feeling sleepy and Miss 8 was a bit car sick, we went for a wander.

Inspired by helping their Pa-Pa dig vegies and pick fruit in his garden over the weekend, the kids eschewed gift shops and cafes, and headed straight for a nursery in the main straight.

I was instantly attracted to the nursery's name: Quick Root. In fact, one of the nursery's mottos is: For a Quick Root, call Brad on 0412 321 550.

And it was a lovely little place, packed with pretty plants, seedlings and all manner of gardening goodies.

The kids wanted to buy out the shop, but mindful of several recent Magic Money Weeks, I limited them to one container each.

Mr 10 went for strawberries, all the better to feed all of us, while Miss 8 chose purple carrots. For the guinea pigs you understand.

The plants were cradled lovingly all the way home and talking about gardening and all the tips the nice lady in the shop had given them made the last hour or so of driving go much more quickly.

See? Nothing like a quick root to liven up the day!  

Note to non-Aussies: A root is slang for sexual intercourse. And a quick root, is well, quick.

The Quick Root nursery

So much to choose from...

Happy with their purchases ...

Mr 10 can't wait to get them in the car ...

Readers, have you discovered somewhere interesting on your travels?