Wednesday, November 28, 2007


The house is due for a clean anyway, I know it has to be done. But I have this pressing deadline - the annual property inspection this afternoon by the real estate agent (on behalf of the landlord).

Neither Fixit or I really like this house. It is revoltingly hot in summer. May as well live in a tent. It's got a poky, foul bathroom which I resent every time I use it. The grouting is shoddy; cleaning it is a nightmare and never repays the effort. The carpets are scungy (rental standard carpets, you know the sort) and look crappy even straight after I've vacuumed. The tiles in the living area are cracked & pale coloured and show every speck of dirt. I have to be a complete tyrant apres-mop if I don't want it ruined again an hour later. Which is no fun for anyone.

Of course it's not all bad. We have great neighbours. (Sadly the Crafty mob are moving soon, we are trying not to think about this). And we have a fantastic backyard. The location is not bad for shops, tranport and such. None of this really helps though, when I have to do the cleaning and I. Don't. Want. To.

The reason for my grumble is I just know they are going to put the rent up the second they finish the inspection, clean house or no, so the effort is even less appealing than usual. If that's possible.

And if any of you know where the stick/tube part of my vacuum cleaner is, let me know because I AM VACUUMING ON MY HANDS AND KNEES.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Grrr! or I ain't no hollaback girl

Without being too sure what exactly comprises an alpha-type personality, I'm pretty sure I'm not one. Not quite. I think I have traces of it, I was the kid achieving extremely well in school until the family implosion when I was in Year 12. And I am an oldest child and therefore bossy, and I like to be the centre of attention.

However, in the career stakes I am a bit of a hippy drop-out, opting for family and personal cosy-ness over the Real Job. (Which is not to say other people can't have both, just that this is not what I want to do in my life). Maybe when I am older I will be sad I never explored my full potential (could I have been a high-flying lawyer?) but I'm willing to risk that. And obviously the not having much money can occasionally be a drag. But as I see it, I am very happy in my life at present. I do have a career of sorts; I even have My Own Business, and this, to my mind, is not to be sneezed at. I love my job, I think I'm good at it and I'm able to be home with the kids during the day and out fulfilling my creative urges at night. And it's not like we're broke, we have all we need. What we don't have is The Great Australian Dream Mortgage. Cest la vie.

Elda and I were discussing all this recently, and were wondering if we were A-minus or B+ types. Is there such a thing? Because both of us have been told that we are scary/intimidating by various people in our lives and we always walk away after those comments mentally shaking our heads. See the thing is, I am a complete coward. Physically and emotionally. The lengths I will go to NOT have a confrontation are ..well .. really long!! I'll bend, I'll fold. I reckon it's only since having kids that I've learned to have a medium-sized yell at other people, but I need to be incandescent with rage to actually do this. And it's rare that I reach that level of rage; on the whole I walk a happy walk, and only stray as far as 'irritable' territory if I fall off the happy path. Trade secret: if you yell at me, chances are I will back down. The good news is that Fixit is not very shouty. We have mild little grumps at each other and hardly ever fight. That's how we like it.

I think the scary reputation comes from a few things:
  • Not being very good at disguising my irritability.
  • edited to add: Having opinions. And being competitive.
  • Suffering from occasional bouts of foot-in-mouth. Must. Think. Before. Opening. Mouth. But don't we all do that? And I usually pay for these faux pas with a week's worth of agonising and kicking myself.
  • Being very bad at waking up of a morning and therefore very grumpy if I don't get to "come-to" in my preferred way (sitting in bed for a good half an hour with a cup of tea, arranging my thoughts for the day) This really only applies if you stay at our house and try to talk to me too early. *cough*Bronnie*cough*
  • Being a reasonably strict mother. Eg. once my kids are in bed, they are not welcome to get back up again and I will roar to enforce this. I don't find them cute when they get back up, even when Climber comes out all docile and says he needs a hug, something that obviously works on Fixit on the nights I go out to teach. And I'm bossy about manners and tend not to cut kids much slack in this department.
  • Being quite confident about many parts of myself and my life. You know, except for all those bits I feel desperately insecure about.
The most recent person to have called me scary (not to my face) was a teenager, and I understand this, because I'm not good with teenagers. I'm probably as scared of them as they are of me, really. I'm hoping to be better with them when my kids hit that age. In the meantime, don't be scared. My bark and my bite are quite pathetic, actually.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Somebody pinch me

Do we ever.


We did.

I'm still a bit stunned.
But I'd really like to send Maxine McKew an enormous bunch of flowers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Hmm. I marked my 200th post by discussing vomit. That would be right.

Despite my intentions of being the sort of parent who gives a whole-picture, objective-and-balanced answer to questions about life, sex, politics and religion, the response I actually gave to Climber's questions about elections turned into a full-blown political rant. Which I suppose just goes to show how anxious and wound-up I am about the outcome of this weekend's national election. Anyway, today of his own volition and with no prompting from me except I helped him with some spelling, he made a newspaper.

Look at that, in one quick discussion I have indoctrinated my child.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Climber drank too much fruit juice at a party.

So the thing I've discovered about bunk beds? Is that if the child in the top bunk vomits comprehensively, the clean-up is


involving the upper and lower bunk bedding, the curtains, the bed slats and the wallpaper.

And the usually faithful Iron-guts, aka Mister Fixit, who generally handles the vomit clean-ups, (yes, I am a pathetic wimp) was still out at that same party so the whole thing took me ages what with all the trying not to breathe in the fumes, and the climbing up and down, and the bewildered rudely awoken Cherub following me around (Climber was attending to his own cleanup in the bath) wanting drinks of water and to know if it was breakfast time yet.

Friday, November 16, 2007

That Fete-ful Day

Climber's School's Fete.

Pictorial evidence of the difference between boys aged 6 and boys aged 4.

Chairplane 6.
No worries, rode it a couple of times as a form of flight-simulation-training for the real whizzy ride, aka The Cha-Cha.


Chairplane 4.
No actual fuss or meltdown, but when a little girl early on in that same ride went into screaming hysterics and they had to stop it and let her off, Cherub very quietly and nimbly hopped down and came and sat in my lap. Looking relieved.

Getting High 6.
Did I mention we call him the Climber?


Getting High 4
And don't think his big brother wasn't in there too, bouncing away like a happy kangaroo, off the walls, turning somersaults, narrowly missing smaller children etc.

Going Down 6.
Face first. Natch.


Going Down 4.


Due to parental duties on the Grade Stalls we had to stay All Day. Best decision I made was buying the Cherub this:
He carried it round all day like a security blanket. When I worked the Clothing Stall he sat happily under the table with the hospital and rested his tired little legs, and if we hadn't had it he could never have lasted so long.

Our class had to run 2 stalls this year, so I worked the Clothing Stall shift and Fixit took the Sausage Sizzle. Except he unwittingly upgraded himself and worked half his shift on the Gourmet Sausage Sizzle stall before I found him and dragged him back to the humble 1K Sizzle. He says it was an easy mistake but I have my doubts.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

For my brave nephew.

I read on Caramaena's blog that today is World Diabetes Day so before I rush off (to help with the Grade One Swim Class) I would like to tell you about my nephew.

He was 20 months old when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. A baby. He is now days away from turning 6. And diabetes is such a big part of his life. Bron goes through different issues with him now. It used to be holding the screaming toddler down to stab his poor behind with a needle. These days he is really brave about the injections but he doesn't want to have them in front of any friends because they might laugh at his bare bottom. He's had behavioural issues and this has made his first year of school challenging. Fortunately he has an excellent teacher who has been working with him really well and helping Bron wade her way through the bureaucracy of getting help from government departments. Even so, his first report card made Bron and I weak with rueful but hilarious laughter. He's terrific but he can be a ratbag. We call him Whelan the Wrecker sometimes. He's a natural dismantler of things, he will put the coin in the car CD player (ask my Mum), he will take apart your expensive household appliances in the blink of an eye. But he is so feisty and full of life and courage, he will laugh if the bubbler gets water all over his face instead of in his mouth, he will stand up to kids who give him a hard time, he will hug you hard and talk your ear off and take an intense interest in what's going on. I hope we can find a cure for diabetes in his lifetime but if we can't then at least I know he will fight it and that Bron will be there doing all she can to manage and contain and live life as well as she can with this bloody awful disease hanging over their heads.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Eyes Have It.

I went to a blogmeet on Thursday night, well I went to half a blogmeet because I had to teach a couple of tap classes beforehand. Missed the main course, made it for dessert. Which I felt entitled to eat!

The women who attended that night are all witty and articulate, as you would know if you read their blogs, so as you can imagine it was a good night with lots of talk and laughter. I think we said good-bye to each other at least a dozen times and then went right on chatting, despite tired waitstaff kicking us out of the venue and (very politely I must add) turning off the outside light.

And now a sneaky peek at their soul-windows, and some impressions. Apologies for the poor picture quality and the red-eye. I blame the waiter who took the shot of course.

Craftymum. Her eyes are slightly wistful, until she gets a giggle in them.

Becandcall. Her eyes have a slightly quizzical look and a pronounced twinkle.

Pea Soup. Listening eyes, if that makes sense? And smiling eyes too.

Muppinstuff. Soft, thoughtful eyes. Inviting, as if you could tell her confidences.

House & Baby. Her eyes have a quick humour . Except when she's being extra funny, then they are quite deadpan.

Another Nutter aka Nutmeg. Sweetly serious eyes, with a happy smile behind them.

Only Books All the Time aka Lazy Cow. Vivacious eyes, bright and smiley and friendly.

Poppalina aka Shula. Her eyes are wryly amused. And somehow faraway, even when she's looking right at you.

And me of course. Just before I took up my axe and ran amok. Fortunately there was garlic and holy water handy so they all made it out alive.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sometimes Good Things Come in Threes.

Melbourne Cup Day. Tuesday 6th November 2007.

Three jobs for the day:
  1. Babysit my niece while my sister goes to Flemington Racecourse to photograph the gee-gees.
  2. Amuse 3 children on the public holiday.
  3. Get our money's worth from our Friends of The Zoo membership.
Three bonus outcomes:
  1. Caught up with my Dad, step-mother and half-brother.
  2. Free lunch.
  3. Fixit got a morning motorbike ride whilst still being around to help with managing 3 kids in a public place. This is him meeting us in the carpark at Healesville ..

Healeseville Sanctuary, that is. The Australiana branch of the Melbourne Zoo.

Here are some more trios.

Three famous Australians:
Three hungry Australian natives:

My niece Jessie being absolutely unfazed by close encounters with three kangaroos:

My three boys and their creek-crossing prowess. (Badger's Creek, to be exact):

Three tired kids on the car-trip back home:

Message on my phone as we pulled up at home:

It's really hard to photograph a phone screen, but the message is from my sister Bronnie at the racecourse, sent 3 minutes after the race ended.

Three little words:

Got the trifecta.

(As in bet successfully on the horses that came first, second and third.)

We're not millionaires by any means, we only had 50 cents on that combination and of course we split it with Bron, seeing as how she laid the bets, and knew which names to put in. I just said I liked Purple Moon because of my whole purple fixation. But enough to put three very big smiles on the faces of Fixit, Bron and myself.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

At least the bloody thing came in a big cardboard box.

So it's like this. I finally got a new computer (an Aldi special) which is unreal, my old one was so slow my calculator was taunting it.


I needed to transfer all my data across from the old one. And it looked like this would be okay to do because there's this program on the new computer called Windows Easy Transfer and once I set about networking the two machines I was, as you would be, expecting an "easy transfer". But clearly, putting "Windows" in front of the phrase "easy" is by way of being an oxymoron. One week later and only some of my files are on the computer despite my four attempts to easily transfer them and what's worse is that the software on the new computer does not really know that these files actually made their way across before the program aborted itself, so they are hidden in all sorts of weird places and aren't talking to each other at all. So I'm still doing my emails on the old computer because I'm resisting keying in all my data manually because that would mean that I wasted the whole of last week doing so-called "easy transfers". Also I don't really understand Vista so everything is taking longer than if I did it on the the really slow computer. Which is completely annoying.

The upshot is that blogging has gone out the window because any spare time spent in front of the 'puties has been spent unhappily; swearing and searching and registering and feeling confused. Instead of pleasurably, reading my favourite blogs. And then the Blog Every Day in November campaign started and so I can't even look at my bloglines without having a panic attack.

Also my sister and niece are staying here for the Spring Carnival (Bron is a racehorse photographer) which is lovely. And keeping me busy obviously.

And I really have to do the newsletter for Cherub's creche but this requires work on the stupid computers (both of them) and by now I'm so cranky about everything taking twice as long that I give up really quickly.

And I had another tap gig on Friday night which was unreal fun, with Melbourne's notorious and hilarious and frankly charming Town Bikes. (seen below with their crazed ballet routine)

It was a fantastic night, with a sort of high-school social feel to it, in between the featured dance acts. (Us. Oh and others like the go-go dancers, the swing dancers, the kabuki dancer, the boot-scooters. Something for everyone really)

Except that in tap shoes, the stage was as slippery as an ice rink, and also I dropped my hat once which is as distracting as a wardrobe malfunction in terms of performance satisfaction.


I just wanted you to know that I'm wanting to be there reading blogs and leaving comments, but it's really not happening at a satisfactory rate at present. At least this Thursday night I can do some face to face commenting... no stupid computers involved.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I went to three parties in one weekend.

Yep, I'm still a party animal. Only Cherub came close to matching me, he went to 2 of them. Climber and Fixit only managed one each. Wimps.

So there was Nell's big bash that I already told you about; here's Fixit and me looking merry.

Prior to that was Elda's famous Halloween party. See the beautiful home-made bat cape on Cherub? That was his birthday present from my friend Jenny. Cherub got to come this year. Not like last year. It was almost too scary for him but he hung in there (and off me), for the sake of being with the big kids and of course the lollies.

If you peer through the fog (there was a smoke machine for the party) you might see some spooky eats and the hostess herself, the lovely Elda. She loves going all out for Halloween.

Here you see the boys listening to Elda's spooky story. By this stage so hyped up on sugar, excitement and just general 7-year-old-boy-energy that it took nearly 10 minutes of shushing, berating, threatening and begging to get them to sit down and shut up. I did my famous whistle (I had to learn how to do it in Year 10 for a play, the old fingers in the mouth one, took me months of practice but it's a very useful skill at parties) to good effect. Shocked them into silence. But then the kids were so impressed they started making more noise asking me to do it again. I offered to teach it to Elda but she asserts that she is happy with her technique of alternating Screaming Banshee with Fish Wife.

We took them out trick-or-treating; Elda let all her neighbours know and had a list of consenting houses to approach. But the coups de grace was surely trick-or-treating the chocolate counter at the local supermarket. The boys were so excited at this. How many times had they stood longingly in front of that counter hoping their parents would relent? And now suddenly they found themselves just bellowing trick or treat and the goods were handed over.

The last event for the evening was the witchy pinata. Here's Climber having a jolly good whack at it.

Bloody hard work to bust. The boys all had 2 swipes each, then the adults all had a swing. We never had that moment when pinata broke and the whole kaboodle fell out. Instead, individual sweets would shoot out after several whacks - which were then immediately swamped by a pack of ravening boys all desperate to grab the single lolly. So Climber, being a reasonably gentle soul, ended up in tears at this point, unable to mix it with the mob and yet desperately wanting to dive and claim treasure. It was very late and large amounts of sugar were in his system by then. It breaks my heart when he melts down like that, because he is quite a stoic chap, not thrown to large fuss-making. Fortunately, once the thrill of the hunt was over, the other boys generously shared their spoils.

My third party was the 5th birthday of Astrid's middle child. I was so wrecked by then that we almost didn't make it. Astrid rang me, certain that I was just confused by the start of daylight saving. But no, I'd completely forgotten. Cherub was roused from his nap and we hurtled over to the Fairy Shop to join the little fairies.

Good grief, aren't little girls well-behaved? Sitting quietly while the soft-voiced fairy gave them quiet and lovely games to play. Frankly I was slightly shell-shocked. I kept waiting for them to start jumping around or at least for some swinging off the furniture but IT NEVER HAPPENED.

Nobody doing loud burps at the food table to general applause. No food thrown. Everyone sitting quietly waiting for their fairy lemonade or fairy bread. Weird.

Probably just as well the final party was like that, though.