Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Run turkey, run...

This story takes place almost one year ago today.

It all began one fine morning about 6.30 or so on a vacation care day. I was doing the early morning rounds making sure the gates and other such things were unlocked, etc. when I came across a scrub turkey running back and forth in front of two glass doors.

At this particular time we always had a year seven boy who got to school really early - sometimes even earlier than me. Now this boy had a couple of difficulties he was dealing with including ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and Asperger's Syndrome. I won't go into either of these disorders/syndromes, but suffice to say that this child was very challenging.

Anyway I thought - without thinking (if you get my drift!) - that this kid might enjoy seeing a scrub turkey as we don't get many running around the suburbs. So I called down to this young lad to come up and have a peek at the poor bird.

Enthusiastically he came bounding up to where I was standing and took one look at the bird and said, "It's trapped. How can we let it out?".

There is no way we were going to catch that thing and let it out of the school, I thought to myself.

"It will find a way out," I said (not very convincingly).
"Karn Jimbo," he pleaded. (Yes, "Karn" does translate to "come on".)
"We don't have enough time. I'll call the RSPCA when we get into the room," I said.
"They won't come out for an old turkey. Please Jimbo, please," he said.

Needless to say, a scrub turkey chase was about to be undertaken. Allow me to set the scene using the following three diagrams:

A. Me - the fairly overweight, unfit guy, who couldn't catch a cooked duck in a greasy cage.

B. The kid - hyped up on the creampuff and tarts he'd scoffed down for breakfast just before I got there.

C. The turkey - fuelled by pure survival instinct and its percieved threat of being eaten.

After a minute or two of pleading, I gave in and decided we would try to herd the turkey like a sheep towards the bushy side of the school. We worked out a plan and took our places. I moved in closer and the turkey took off like the bloody road runner. It was at this point I knew how fucken pointless this whole excercise was going to be but wanted to put in some effort to keep the kid happy.

After about twenty minutes of chasing this damn turkey and the kid and covering about 90% of the school, the stupid turkey decided to run towards the area we wanted it to go to so we took off with renewed enthusiasm. I'm sure we looked hilarious - a little turkey scurrying around this way and that closely followed by a hyped up kid yelling and cooeeing and further back in the field a rather large fellow sucking back on the ventolin yelling out, "This way, no that way, no not that way, arrggh!". No doubt the fright-filled turkey was running for its life thinking that the kid and I wanted to eat it!

(You should now be studying Diagram D.)

Just before the turkey entered the safe haven of bush area something very peculiar happened. The turkey took a hard left. I often ponder why it did this. As it picked up speed, it ran out the front gate, across a main road and under a Brisbane City Council bus. Both the kid and I were stunned with disbelief as we watched the turkey pop out the other side and run like buggery down the road.

(Refer to Diagram E of the bus and the turkey - showing just what an extremely lucky duck it was!)

The turkey only just survived the bus. I had only just survived the run around the school. And the kid only just survived me. He was lucky another leader showed up just at this very moment. Another event occured though to top off this story - and it happened only minutes after we walked inside. We heard a car slam on its breaks and thump into a pole a little further down the street. I convinced myself the driver was not swerving to miss a lucky duck!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Black & White Circus closes down...

The Black and White Circus was an epic carnival that toured the world when times were very different from now. No one knows when it began or how, it is only known to be older than books - but younger than time.
Its acts varied from great feats of heroism on the hi-wire to the frightening and bizarre freaks that inhabited its sideshow alleys. The Black and White Circus was coming to a stand still as technology spread out its great wings and engulfed children all over the world with its television games and the like.

But there was one other event that sealed the circus’ fate.

One dark and stormy night the circus show was almost at its close. The last act still remained - Harry the Hi-flyer, the most terrifing trapeze act in the world. It was actually Harry who drew what little audiences the circus tempted. As he climbed to the top the storm outside raged even stronger. The wind whipped up and the tent - like a ship in a squall - swayed here and there. As Harry leapt from his swing to perform a triple backwards somersault, the crowd went silent and the drums came to a halt. At this very moment a loud crack of thunder could be heard across the skies and a bolt of lightning tore threw the top of the tent and struck Harry in mid-air. The crowd screamed and Harry was turned instantly to ash. The audience ran from the tent in horror.

The next day - after much pacing within the confines of his caravan – Ringmaster, Jimmy Trinket, held a meeting and declared that the circus would no longer operate. Everyone who worked for the circus was very close - like a great big family. Jimmy Trinket knew that it would be very hard for all of his family to find new jobs, as most of them had only known how to work in a circus. So he decided that he would find work for each and everyone of them.
You can find out what happened to many of them in the next few weeks. Be sure to come back and visit as more of the carny folk find new jobs.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The great after school care caper...

Howdy folks. Sorry I don't have any cool cartoons this week. I've had such a busy couple of weeks I haven't had time to put pen to paper. But I do have a funny story to tell - so I hope this will tide you over...

Last week we had an assessor come out from the National Childcare Accreditation Council to check up on us. We worked our butts off trying to get the place up and running like a well-oiled machine.

Unfortunately the children were like gremlins sabotaging the cogs and wheels that made it turn...

On the first day our assessor attended the centre we had some of the more... uummm... creative children voice how great a time they were having during our roll call. Instead of the usual "here" or "yes" we had comments such as, "Delighted to be here!" and "Here and having a jolly good time, thank you very much!". Heh heh. I wonder if she thought we had bribed these children.

On the second day I had a very hard time trying to prevent us from looking like an episode of "Farty Towels" (Fawlty Towers), when a child was stuck in one of our cubicles. The children were doing karaoke down at the hall when the incident occurred and the noise from the music (and DREADFUL singing) was so loud the leaders could not hear her cries for help. Fortunately the child was able to let herself out - but not before she had alerted a passing pedestrian who happened to hear her and made a call to the local police. Several minutes later, three burly policemen armed to the teeth burst in on us. After taking some names and being convinced that we were caring for children and not imprisoning them with a view to baking them into pies, they left us shaken but not stirred.

The third day was getting better and the only incident to report was the fact that our oval leader hurt his back and I bravely took the children to the oval. As I had not been to the oval for years, many of the children stood in awe. One of the little angels asked me a barrage of questions, like "How fast can you run?","Can you run?", "I bet I can run faster than you", blah, blah, blah. This was all I needed, given that the 30 metre walk (down hill) to the oval had me completely stuffed. Lucky we were only doing "classic catches" once we got there.

And that was that. Several questions later from our assessor and it was all over. I have to admit the worst part was the actual anticipation, the waiting for it all to happen. But now it is all over I can concentrate on the several other "fun" projects I have going.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Get down low and go, go, go...

Today we had a very important meeting with the children. We were explaining our new fire drill and lock-down procedures. Basically we sound a bell if there's a fire and they all go outside to the oval. If there's a lockdown (for a stranger or wild animal... yeah a killer koala or something) we sound a siren and the children come inside and be really quiet. There were about 80 kids in the room and it was very hard to keep them focused. Many children kept putting their hands up and asking really dumb questions. I ended up writing them down so I could show everyone what I have to put up with. Now remember - this was a very imporant meeting about their safety.

Child A: What if you're on the toilet and a poo is coming out?
(At this point one of our leaders bursts out laughing, at which point I ask them to leave.)
Me: You'll just have to finish as quick as you can.
Child B: What if it's diahorrea?
Me: You'll just have to be quick.
Child B: What if it doesn't stop.
Me: It will at some point and then you can leave.
Child B: But..
Me: It'll be all right, I'll wait for you. Now let the others ask their questions...
Child C: What if there's a fire at the oval?
Me: We won't have to worry if it's at the oval.
Child C: But it might come up here.
Me: We'll call the fire station. They're just down the road. They'll be up here before it gets anywhere near here.
Child D: What if there's a fire and a stranger?
Me: Umm... We'll work that out on the day. We're pretty smart, we'll look after you.
Child D: What if they get in?
Me: I'll save you. I'll jump on them...
Child A: They'll probably beat the crap out of you.
(Other children start yelling out other derogatory comments all at the same time.)
Me: One at a time, you guys.
Child E: What if there's a lock-down and someone farts and everyone laughs?
Me: (trying to hold back laughter) That's it! This meeting is over. You guys can go and wash your hands.