Wednesday, February 2, 2011

my father's optimism

I just called my Dad and his partner S, who are bunkering down up in Townsville, in preparation for Cyclone Yasi.
Dad started the call by thanking me for the call.
Well, duh, Dad. It's not like I'm doing a favour. I'm your damned daughter checking if you're ok.
Although he probably hasn't heard from my brother. But that's ok.
Then, of course, because they were still alive (um, Em, the cyclone is still over the ocean and won't get to land until some time this evening.), I had a bit of a cry at my desk here at work. And because I was worried.
Dad told me they'd moved all the electrical things from the 'downstairs house' to the 'upstairs house' (theirs is a typical 'Queenslander Style' house, built for flooding and sea rises, so the house was originally up on stilts, but somebody filled in the bottom section and built another house under there, kitchen and all.)
He said he wasn't worried about the rising sea tide, though reckons it'll be 'lapping at their door' downstairs..
"So long as the roof doesn't blow off, we'll be right. That's the main thing."

He then went on to talk about the wedding.
I'm realizing more and more than he's actually an awesome guy. I feel like my Mum has, for many years now, painted him as this terrible person who is cold and moody and manipulative... and hey, when he's unhappy, he's probably some of those things. So am I. And if you let him (or me) get away with being those thigs, and give us what we want (love, attention, to get our way) then we will keep doing those things. But S doesn't let him get away with it. So he's cheerful. And he's happy, and when he finished telling me how he wasn't too worried, except unless they loose the roof (I'd say that'd be pretty catastrophic, be he seemed cool about it), he went on to ask about how our search for wedding venues went.
Which sort of threw me because, um, Dad, there's a cyclone as big as Hurricane Katrina bearing down on you ("Well, it's a fair bit north of here, so it won't be as bad. We're only expecting 200km winds". Well I guess that makes it ok then!!) and you want to talk weddings? YOU? My Dad? The Anti-wedding man? Who swore he'd never go to another wedding in his life once their marriage ended?
Ok maybe he was trying to cheer me up, or make me feel better (I'm trying to mask the fact that I'm in tears, which always catches in my throat and makes me talk funny) but we talked about venues for a little while. I said we were thinking of having it at his sister's place, and he seemed ok with that, not overly excited like my Nan was, but ok. He suggested some family connections we could take advantage of it we wanted a winery, then talked about a camp. And I calmed down a bit.
Oh. He also thanked me and Nic for visiting Nan as well. Again, duh, Dad, she's my Grandma, we were in the area (about a 45 min drive away with tolls, hence why we don't visit often)... of course we're visiting! But at least he says thanks.
I told him I quit my job, that I could visit in my winter holidays, and both he and S were super excited. I wish Nic would be able to come, but I don't think he will. But who knows. A lot can change in 4 or 5 months, or whenever it is. June, I think.

Sorry about the static writing today. Maybe that empathetic/apathetic thing doesn't apply when my actual family is involved.
Weirdly, though, I think there's something oddly beautiful and intriguing about looking at a picture of a cyclone. You can see everything being sucked toward it, and imagine this slowly swirling whirl (or absolute destruction) pulling clouds and water toward it with this magnetic force...
Here's the picture I'm staring at.

Cyclone Yasi hurtles towards the Queensland coast.

If you're wondering, on the far left borrom corner is what I assume is QLD, and  somewhere there, maybe a bit further south, is where my Dad lives.

I made them promise to keep me updated, when they got phone service back.

I suppose they'll be ok though, so long as they keep their roof. {Edit: And even then, apparently they'll be ok. So stop worrying, Dad!)

(Edit again: So after frantically clicking the BOM map every 2 or 3 hours or whatever it is, I'm looking at the map with the predicted cyclone path, where it currently is, etc... and with coloured 'rings' of intensity in correlation with the centre of it...

And I'm thinking to myself: Well, that's ok... Townsville is only predicted to be in the light pink area. Phew.
Until I realise that that's counted as "Strong Galeforce Winds", which I suppose isn't as bad as "Very Destructive Winds" like they'll be getting at Innisfail (haha... fail... anyway), but it's still not like: "Sunny skies & a light breeze". PERSPECTIVE, EM... KEEP IT TOGETHER.)

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