Friday, July 03, 2015

Why I drink...

I had reason to have to try to be in contact with a government department today.  Luckily we live in a modern era and have modern technology to enable modern people to do what modern governments think is a fair thing in their requirements.  

Unluckily, there is no alternate avenue available.

You heard the ominous music there too?  That “dah dah DAAAAH” that always precedes these moments in our lives should be paid more attention to.  The volume should be turned up and a handy Acme sign would be of use.

 I remember rumours yonks ago that interaction with said government department was going to become “stream-lined” – and you know as well as I do that “stream-lined” is gubmint speak for Expletive-Deleted You Little Guy!!!! – and we were to be given the suepr-highway that is MyGov.

My Freaking Gov.

Now, it may be a personal vendetta against just me, I am prepared to wear this.  But the whole MyGov and my relationship got off to a particularly rocky start.


For those who have not had past dealings with this particular government department, they tried this little trick on me once before, in the previous technological “stream-line” on the telephone “helpline”.

I tried, I really did. 

But when the voice-recognition technology kept wanting me to repeat a phrase and it didn’t recognize me, I knew I was wading in merde, and once it couldn’t count me in I knew that the phone system and I were no longer partners in this war.

Now, it may well be that I have attempted to breach the walls of the new technological revolution in the past and, for my own sanity, wiped it completely from my memory banks – and so working on the profound possibility of amnesia, I poured myself a coffee and contemplated my strategy.


I must admit, I have avoided having to go to the Evil Empire's webpage since someone mentioned they are all forcing us to go through the My Gov avenue.

For a start, there is the whole principal of the matter, especially those of us old enough to remember the Australia Card debacle and what it means to have the government privy to all of your avenues of dealing...


First step is to try and get access to my account.  I remember trying once before, so I requested they send me a new code to my usual address.  Nothing comes.

Okay - the other avenue is that I try to make a new account with my usual address - I receive a code and so attempt to get through the next gate.  Flicked back to the start screen.

So I ask for a new code to my usual address again and get told that I can't use that address as it is in use for an account.  Feck.  Add a dash of port to the coffee.

Third?  Fourth go, and I try my backup email address.  Of course, this means I have to go through the rings of hell to get a new password for that, as ever since I changed the GOOD password I had a few years ago, I can never remember the darned password.

Get a code and through to level two - hooray!!  Enter my phone number (with appropriate swear words about privacy invasion) and get to the questions.
I don't like their questions because I am contrary and so click on the "make my own question" option.

Gah!!!  Back to the entry point.  Can't get in because I haven't set a user name.  Request for user name doesn't work.  Can't get a new code as it is in use for an account.

Thinking of just chugging from the port bottle!

BTW - help - the HELP option is so laughable it should be called "mirth" or "example of why your misery is not of our concern".

I know in the grand context of the current stamping of human rights that is going on, it is miniscule and petty - but oh, how I wish for the good old days of a letter and a few hours in the Evil Empire offices people watching...

My liver may be better off for that also.


Postscript is - guess who had to find a new password to get into her much neglected blog?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Long Drive to the Power of Paris

On the weekend, we (Paris and I) had occasion to embark on a journey together through distance and time.

It so happened that 'Salina was being returned to our fold, and we had been counting down the hours until this one for several days prior.

As a result, seven minutes into an forty-five minute journey (15.55% for those of you in the Advanced Class) the first rendition of "I'm bored" emanated from the back seat.

Me?  I was in a "oh its nice to have some peace and quiet after a morning of pushing a mower around awaiting the call from a long lost daughter' frame of mind, and so some shifting of gears in my attitude was called for.

While searching for the ideal meeting point between instant entertainment now requirements and economy-sized effort available for input, I hit upon something that I consider A BRILLIANT IDEA!!

"How about we count all of the cars that go past us on the drive?" I asked.

Immediately (and true to form - takes after her mother too darned much) she decided to test the rules and bend where possible.

"I'm counting the parked ones too."  The demand for instant perfection was also made.  "I am counting as far ahead as I can see - and I will see how much you are paying attention by counting certain cars several times."  She didn't actually add that codicil out loud.

I was quite surprised how the car tally mounted as we worked our way through the nearest big smoke.  When not enough cars were on offer going past on the historic bridge we had to cross, she spied below a park near a boat ramp, with an assortment of vehicles and trailers.  There was some debate about the need to count the attached playground's special feature - a half-submerged ship, with climbing opportunities a-plenty and a grim reminder of the possible fate of the voyage for the adult observers.

We had a swift lesson in the relationship of 1000 to 100 as we went through some roadworks, and learned the shorthand for counting in three digit numbers as we finally escaped the confines of the town.

One hundred and seventy through to two hundred seemed to pass so readily, only occasionally having to resort to tractors plowing fields to keep our momentum, but the first few decades after two hundred were interminable (although she still flatly refused to allow the burned out shell of a victim of theft and Easter joyriding to join the tally),

The second major hamlet  of our drive co-incided with two hundred and ninety, and I mentioned it was "only ten until three hundred" and you could see the stars aligning in her eyes.

The next car went past.  "Two hundred and ninety-one" we exclaimed, and she added "nine more to go."

"Two ninety-two."  "Eight more."

"Two ninety-three. Two ninety-four."  "Seven.  Six."

I sat back and she commentated the last few - and suddenly there was a convoy.  We stopped at three hundred and three because we thought that was a big enough number.

She offered the next diversion.  I spy.  We did some good ones.  The rule is, if the other person can't get your spy, you get to spy again.  If the other person fails three times in a row, you win.  Doesn't everybody have that rule?  Its funny, but this is one game that Mummy is HAPPY for her child to win - because it really is win-win.   It is fairly manageble, so you can stay playing as long as you want to, but once your patience has started to flash, its amazing how little perception one can have.

That being said...  I must admit, I have never spied "a - air", it does sometimes take a leap to realise that the "y - yellow" was on the cards, and "f - fingers" can come from left field these days.  I do admit to throwing the first two in the final spies - but the third was a doozy that I could not have got had I actually tried.  Who spies the "h - humans" at age five?

Songs was the next suggested past-time.  I vetoed her first suggestion (shoot me, but I am not a fan of Old McDonald as a starter song.  You need to warm up to that) and taught her the clapping song, B-I-N-G-O, and then I allowed her "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands" [clap your hands] (with those other well-known verses, "If you're sad and you know it, cry boo-hoo" [cry boo-hoo with fully faked tear-ed up eyes] and "If' you're angry and you know it, have a frown" [dramatic frowning required])

When I offered the next suggestion, it was met with "but Mummy, I haven't done frustration yet."

"Okay" I said.


Then a huge grin.  "By you not singing, I am getting so frustrated!"

The little minx burst out laughing.

"Get it" she cried.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

This button says "push"

Paris practices the dark art of button-pushing.

She always starts so innocently.

 It is a lovely day.  I am collecting her from after-school care.  There is joy to be had at home in Paradise, together all as a family while the sun still shines.  We are blessed.

And then…  its not even like she was instrumental in causing the first frisson of the afternoon.

Interruption to the reverie came with a flapping paper - about a long ago skinned-knee incident and bureaucracy.  The irritation was amplified with a shriek as Paris' tomfoolery tumble so akin to the knee-skinning moment all those weeks ago is enjoyed.

“Come along” as the mists of that perfect afternoon vanish and blow away with the list of THINGS TO DO steady inflation.  Come along she does not, and the request is repeated – again, again – with her cries to her friend to join her in brave new adventures ignoring my entreaties.

Expletive-deleted (because I am a decent mother) “it, I am going” I yell, with a spin on my heel and a huff ricocheting off the playground angles and she suddenly pays a little attention in fear that the threat will be carried out.

But its Mu-um. 

Paris knows that Mu-um is tired from her day and Mu-um’s concentration span is always frayed by the sawing of too much to do and too little time, with a twist of too bleeding lazy to be superwoman. 

Well, she probably doesn’t know that, but Mu-um does and Mu-um’s mind can be read so darned easily when it is the end of the day.

Figuratively, Paris is the nymph forever poking at Mu-um’s sanity, checking to see what she can get away with and what invokes the best reaction.  I love her so much, she is a beautiful joy in my life, Holy Mother of God give both of us guidance in not engaging!

I am sure it is worse some weeks more than others.

That being said, she started at the car.

“When we go to the shops, I’m not getting out of the car.”

 Translated reads “this is my superpower.  I am stating my will.  I throw down my gauntlet in a challenge to you, you power-hungry matron.”

I am all logic and love in my reply.  “That is a pity, dear, because when WE get to the shops, I have to get out because I need to get bread and milk at the shops, and you have to get out of the car with me because you are five years old and it is illegal for me to leave you in the car all by yourself.”

See, I could be hired to negotiate with expletive-deleted-ists.  I did not engage.  I was showing her open palms, my powerlessness in this society, its not that I don’t want to help her, my hands are tied.

And see, this is how my daughter could be hired to send expletive-deleted-ists unhinged, because she then ups the ante.

“What does illegal mean?”

Ha, easy question kid.  I got that under my belt in year six social studies.  Of course, in those days illegal was basically breaking any commandments and drink driving.  They had just brought in the latter.

But I have half a brain and I am a mother, therefore the target market for all things related to what is RIGHT or WRONG in raising YOUR CHILD.  Therefore “illegal” in terms of leaving a stroppy child of any age up until such time as they are taller (and therefore that much harder to drag from the car) than you means that you are BREAKING the LAW (and if God, the police and the justice system doesn’t get you, I dare you to try it on with a jury of your peering parents over at Perfectville, a space that some people inhabit just for recreational purposes).

I didn’t say all of that, of course.  I deal in conciseness when required.  “Illegal means it is against the law.  Now, hop into the car.”

She dawdles as she climbs ever so tentatively into the car, stretching out the external moments as long as she can, eyeing me at all times to identify that moment where patience snaps.

“What does illegal mean?” she asks.

Expletive-deleted.  It is a muddy morass once you start to try to define, knowing every definition will then be questioned.  I don’t have a dictionary, I have a strong desire to get home to caffeine and downtime and I just know that whatever the response is given to her, it will come back as a question so fast my head will spin.

“Illegal means doing something that is against the rules.” And I wait for the inevitable response – but she surprises me with a twist for the winner.

“Why do they call them rules?”

at which point I break down and admit that I just DO NOT KNOW...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

the double-tape deck blues...

Mine was a red one too.

Remember when this was just the most awesome accessory to a teenager's life?  It would enrich the most popular child's status, and offer the more socially-challenged a golden-ticket to making a friend or two.

I do so feel sorry for the teenagers of today.  Imagine never having the headspace that contemplated the possibilities of such a beastie.  They will never have the discussion over lunch at school regarding who had one and what material was at our disposal to create new and exciting mix tapes.

And there were those who had amazing talents on creating a mix tape.  Perhaps it was only a cultural phenomenon available in all girls' boarding schools, but mix tapes had heritage and reputation.

They don't know what they are missing, with their NBNs of Youtube tube feeding, plugged in to their tunes and throughputting their lives.

Which got me wondering...  my parents were of a generation of teenagers who aspired to life without war and the possibility of television, my grandparents motorised transport and dodging Depression (the sort that isn't cured by modern medicine).  I wonder what it is my girls will wonder of with their own decendants when comes their time.

Did you have an adolescent dream unseen through today's lens?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ecole de Paris

You know those really cute first day of school pictures that adorned your Facebook feeds a few weeks ago?

They were so cute weren't they?  All those little people dressed up in their gorgeous little clothes becoming so big and serious - awwww.

Well, we didn't really get any good "first day of school" shots of Paris - because the Paris picture approaching the first day of school can be stylistically interpreted as:
She survived - and she did do some cute filmmaking post the first day that pulled it out of the fire, but it was a long first week - and then she discovered that, due to a public holiday, that was actually a short week.

She. Was. Livid.

Paris is not yet in love with the whole concept of school.  She enjoyed one day of it last year for orientation, but cannot see the value of it being FIVE days EVERY week.  She did not sign that treaty, white man.  

I can see her point.

She is becoming resigned to it being a fact, however.

The battle to get through the:
  • get dressed in uniform
  • put hair up
  • put shoes on
  • eat breakfast 
  • do teeth
  • get out of the door
  • drive to school 
  • walk to the classroom 
  • be stoic in the face of losing your parent for the whole day
  •  in a classroomful of strangers and bossy but very nice ladies with a bell

  • eat what you are told when you are told

  • explore and play in a confined space with twice as many strangers
  • sit quietly in the heat 
  • get picked up by old friends
  • wait for your parent to take you home
  • bathe
  • eat
  • bed 
routine is gradually getting a little easier.  

She is more keen about the experience in the rear view mirror than in anticipation.

But at least she isn't hating it.

She quite likes the concept of reading.

 She gets to do music.  And PE.  Look at me do a handstand on the couch Mum!  Science - she got to look through a microscope.  Library was good.  When will I get to go on a big bus?  Homework (we ALL get to do that - last week it was a family portrait!)  Every day there is a new friend - well, not really a friend, just someone new with a nice name and the potential of maybe getting her down the track.  She immediately names a doll a similar name and they play schools where Daddy is the principal and the good kids get to sit on silk bow thrones.

 I don't know how to break it to her that there is another 12 years of it after this one, though.