Monday, September 24, 2007


It is the September school holidays here. 2 weeks and 4 days of joy. Thus far we have:
  • Been grocery shopping
  • Babysat Middle child-sat a friend's son and had him to play/played at his house all day
  • Gone swimming at the causeway

Notice a pattern here - nothing (except the groceries) has cost much money - and nothing has been outrageous, tell the girlfriends about, exultant fun!

That half changes today - today we start the half of the holidays that is both fun AND doesn't cost too much. We are heading off this morning for a week at the family property in Central Queensland.

Well, we are heading off after:
  • I do a blog about it - DONE
  • I do another load of laundry - DONE
  • I peg them - DONE
  • I unpeg everything dry (due to hot and windy weather, the above load will be in that category quickly) - NEARLY DONE
  • I pack my port and toiletries - NEARLY DONE
  • I do the washing up - DONE
  • I have breakfast - DONE
  • I call Electrolux about my washing machine - AAAARRRGGGGHHH!! NOTE 1
  • I call AMP about taking 67% of my fund in fees when I rolled an account - AAAARRRGGGGHHH!! NOTE 2
  • I call my client's suppliers and get the answers I have been hounding them for for a week - AAAARRRGGGGHHH!! NOTE 3
  • I finalise a little job - see NOTE 3
  • I pack the car with bikes and ports - TO DO
  • I copy all I want to take with me from the computer - TO DO (LOTS MORE)
  • I write notes to remind V of things he will remember anyway - TO DO (if I remember)
  • I wait and wait for phone calls (see NOTES 1 AND 2)

'Salina awoke at 5.30 and is raring to go - she has everything she wants to take already packed in a pile all over her bed and is eating breakfast and working how to nag me until we leave.

Off for a full week at my childhood home, for 'Salina to boss around play with her cousins and ride horses and open gates for grandpa.

Off for a full week at my childhood home, for me to get a session of training on the Stock program and do data entry backlogs for the property and negotiate intriguing family relationships enjoy being a grown up in my extended family and miss V like crazy.

(I sound like such a sap, don't I? I actually will have a great time. I get to stay with my sister, BIL and their children (who I have not yet got names for on the blog - they are both beautiful and adorable - although her daughter is a little too much like mini-Jeanie in temprement - it warms the cockles), spend a night or so with brother, SIL and their children (Flowergirl, Rockgirl and Brutus), have some time with my lovely Mum and Dad as well - and I will get paid for the work that I contribute. I love my family a lot, its just that I insanely think I am more witty when I gripe. Apologies all)

Still, I will miss V like crazy - he will be working here and come over on the weekend. We haven't had this long apart since our "courting" days!

I need coffee!!

See you in a week and give me a yell if you notice any burglars.

NOTE 1: Those of you keeping up with the washing machine drama will know that my lovely front loader is not working at the moment and last you heard I sent an email to Electrolux.

To update - they sent back an email saying "who told you" but no "oh, we will bend over backwards to keep your custom".

I rang the local Electrolux company and ended up talking to Rossco, a technician who made the right calls to the right places and assured me Electrolux would cover this little problem and he would call when they had the parts.

The next day, Rossco called and asked again about my washing machine as he couldn't find parts or records of such an object ever being manufactured or fixed. I gave him the info again and he would call me back when they had the parts.

A few days later, we repeated this step. I waited patiently for a week for this call back.

To check on their progress I called this morning. It seems my mate Rossco has retired in the interim - they will call me back before lunchtime to advise on what they can unearth about the saga...

NOTE 2: I finally got all my superannuation funds rolled in to 1 account. What a feeling - until on Friday I got the details of one AMP one, and basically I am unhappy with the fact that 67% of the value vanished into a bucket called "fees".

On Friday I spent 40 minutes on the phone, listening to hold and before being told someone would call me back about it.

Today I spent 40 minutes on the phone, listening to hold, explaining to Jess, listening to hold, explaining to Daniel, listening to hold, explaining to Susan, listening to hold, explaining to Kay before Kay told me someone would call me back about it. Oh, okay, she would mark it urgent as I have to leave town by 12.

NOTE 3: Last Monday I sent problems I had with a project to my client to follow up.

On Tuesday, a colleague of hers advised me that she was on 2 weeks leave and had sent it on to their suppliers IT/Marketing manager.

On Wednesday I called the IT/Marketing manager to find that she was on 1 months leave. I spoke to her colleague who I sent the email to and she would follow it up.

On Thursday that lady and I played phone tag while I was volunteering at tuck shop.

On Friday I was the only one playing tag.

Today she told me Friday was her 1 day a month leave, and she will have it to me this afternoon - so it looks like work will be coming on holidays with me...

I need more coffee!!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Toothbrush Saga

We had a few visitors on the weekend. My mother stayed on the Sunday evening, and my brother and his brood came on Monday night.

Our house gets quite cosy when you add another five into the mix.

It was lots of fun - 'Salina had Flowergirl (aged 6), Rockgirl (aged 4) and Brutus (aged 18 months) to provide Diva 101 lectures for.

We had two large pans of lasagne and green salad which enthralled everyone (well, until Rockgirl unearthed the fact that ZUCCHINI was an obvious ingredient in the lasagne, but being bordered by V and I had willing recipients of the offending articles).

'Salina then danced for them, sang for them, entertained them with raucous 8 year old hilarity and generally scared the pants of the demure little minions (well, the 2 demure ones - the toddler just kept bulldozing along happily). Possibly sent a thrill of fear in my sibling and his ever-loving wife...

I put all the visiting children in the spare room for the night, the visiting adults took up the sofa option (word to the wise - ALWAYS accept the offer of a mattress on the floor over our poor dilapidated sofa) - after a tumultuous bathroom dental session and only one "why can't Flowergirl sleep in my room" rant, all settled down to peace and quiet.

In the morning, everyone was up early - nothing unusual for us, but apparently there are children out there who will sleep in if the option is available - or even if not. Can you imagine? Children not bouncing at 6am?

But 'Salina did call most of the troops to action - we left Rockgirl sleeping, as she was due for grommets at 7.45 so food or drink was not an option for her.

After a hurried breakfast, showering, dressing, packing and peeling away, our little house was quiet again.

And then I went to shower. And then I tidied kitchen and spare room. And then I put on several washes. And then I br--- - well, I would have brushed my teeth, but it seems in all the mayhem one toothbrush went walking, and it happened to be mine.

Oh woe. I like brushing my teeth - it certainly beats the alternative of gross breath, build up and eventually no teeth.

(Just to disgust you, I did resort to using another's brush for a day or so)

So yesterday, we went on a great toothbrush hunt.

There are many options available in the toothbrush aisle, but I am not willing to have to toss up between our extravagant private medical coverage OR buying a toothbrush, so there are options that I immediately kybosh.

There are also other options that seem only to be concerned with the plain bristle and basic plastic design, and while I am not a fancy girl, I like to think my toothbrush manufacturer has put a little love into the finished product to sweep crap off my teeth.

So I am looking at the middle row - where they try to impress for as little outlay as possible. (Sort of how I used to lure men ha ha)

While some look at colour and costuming, I am then starting to look at economy - how much do I have to spend vs how many times I need to repeat purchase or can I take care of a whole heap of supplies at one time without busting the budget.

You will be pleased to know that my mental arithmatic stood me in good stead, and I finally purchased 6 for $7.98 (as opposed to 3 for $4.75).

I had 'Salina to help me with the purchasing dilemna (although I did not make her do the maths - I have learned my lesson), and she immediately set to the task of who would get what colours.

She likes blue - and there was blue - dark blue, light blue and almost exactly the same light blue but slightly aqua. However, her nearly 8yo mind has worked out that 6 toothbrushes and 3 members of family means she can only chose two (and furthermore, after a mother lecture, has learned that one at a time is good going).

Oh, it took minutes of angst at teeth time last night to work out which shade of blue she should chose and whether she could reserve her next brush and which shade of blue that one should be.

See - motherhood - its never as easy as the books say.

Can you manage to make such a mountain from a molehill?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Thanks to one of my new "finds" in blogland, I have inspiration for a post.

Being Me, Just for Them accused me of having "green thumbs".

ha ha ha ha ha!! a ha ha ha ha ha!!

I love me my garden, but so far my most exciting task has been ripping out the 20 odd years of weed grown and hardy (but ugly) plants to make room for my patches of sustenance and colour.

However, I have put together a montage to walk you through my garden...

Jeanie's Bit of Green

Okay, so, lets start at the front of the house and have a little walk around, shall we?

The Parsley Patch - the secret to such a lush display of parsley lies with having a 7 year old daughter, extremely keen to get stuff growing and a parent not watching too closely to how instructions are being followed. Get the parent to have the patch nicely weeded, dug, manured and ready. Hand the seed packet to the child and WALK AWAY to another task. When you return, you will find that ALL of the seeds in the packet have been sown in a very small amount of dirt. Express astonishment but not admonishment, as you know that it is your fault for not watching with beady eyes all parts of the process. Thin as they emerge, and then prune like buggery every week enough to keep 2 hungry adults in continuous bowls of tabbouleh (but not child, because child doesn't like parsley), as well as enough to give all guests, hosts and neighbours a bunch whenever the mood strikes. The coriander component of this patch is courtesy of those half-baked plants they sell in the vege section and you think "heck, I could just stick the rest of this in the ground and see what happens" - and it ACTUALLY DID!!!

The Front Garden was a lush jungle when I first moved here just over a year ago. Imagine all the lush creeping plants that require no assistance for 25 years, some lovely clover and grass covering this patch. Then you have to imagine waiting for rain to soften the ant bed hardness of the patch, straining muscles as you unearth these lovely, amazement as you discover a shrub beneath it all that looks like it was (gasp) planted, more sweat as you dig over the ant bed, add manure, lime, compost and lots of water. Finally plant seedlings (in this instance, marigolds, salvias and pansies) and pray.

Zucchini Row - up until several weeks ago, this bed was possibly better known as "Cherry Tomato Row". Self-seeded, we had a monster vine that took possession of this bed and made itself quite comfortable. At times (generally the times just before we thought "hmm, time to prune") this one vine could grow upwards of 2 metres in each direction. It did lack one thing, though - viable tomatoes. Its strange, but they varied from "too green to pickle" to "too ripe for the birds" but we never found middle ground. So I got all huffy with it one day and just ripped the beggar out. Planted here now are zucchinis (obviously - although not as many as shown here, as I had another of those huffy moments this morning and culled 4 of the 5 male plants - good for only two things, and if there ain't a female around, the most important one isn't happening), peas, broccoli, bok choy (snails are loving this culinary option), beans, some beautiful flowering bulb thingy - and lots of self-seeded cherry tomatoes!!

Compost Corner - the local council, in their wisdom, give all ratepayers a cubic metre of mulch a year... The only hitch is, you need to collect - so last year, we did. It was a romantic moment when V and I wheeled a trailer load of ground up green waste (and whatever other crap people throw into their green waste with no regard to the outcome). On this little patch of dirt, we have since had a constantly growing and shrinking mulch pile, fed with compost from our bin and green waste from our garden. If you look at my banner at the top, you will see my first green endeavour in the garden - my beautiful sunflowers. If you look at this photo (and several others in this series) you will see many beautiful self-seeded sunflowers - I love nature!

Snow Pea Extrordinaire - so called because she has certainly been hardy. Planted so long ago that I had seriously given up. The only reason she wasn't uprooted was because I am a sucker for a straggler, and so I watched her valiantly hang in there for months before she finally found the trellis, wend her way up - and then discovered that if she looked around the corner, she could see the sun!!! It was a joyous day, and she has almost doubled in size weekly since then, flowering and snow peaing all over the place. I have planted more since then, but I feel she will very likely only ever share her shade with them because she has now got the spotlight, baby!!

The Bottle Brush - I am afraid I can take absolutely no credit whatsoever for this! Our bottle brush is fantastic, though, so I am not about to leave it out of the tour. We have one at the front and one at the back, a haven for many birds and a constant challenge to our cat. I will take full credit, however, for the exotic frisbee player in the background!

The Frangipanni Project. Previous to our moving here, a very good lawnmower man took care of the grounds for my parents. Unfortunately, he grew ill and sold his business to another lawnmower man - of which I am extremely hesitant to add the terms "very" or "good" to. As one who cuts the lawn, he was possibly passable. As to one who believed that effective weed control was to spray zero around all paths and beneath the frangipanni tree he did very well. It did destroy the weeds - and grass and topsoil, and left me a little project - especially underneath the frangipanni tree. I rebuilt the soil below and added a lot of green waste - including an old sweet potato and some pumpkin seeds, it seems. They are enjoying this opportunity to LIVE, as are the scattered self-seeded sunflowers. The mulch I have used here is shredded pandanus leaf - finally I have found a use for it BESIDES upsetting the neighbours each time the wind blows!

The Side Garden was absolutely covered in every weed imaginable, including some rather luscious asparagus grass. I hate asparagus grass. Now home to carrots, lettuce, eggplant, silverbeet, spinach and chillies. The lettuce are harvested by constant picking of the outer leaves, and I also grab the larger leaves of the growing silverbeet and spinach to make some salad - besides the parsley and the occasional carrot pulled to satisfy 'Salina and boy-next-door's curiosity (and hunger) our only edible harvest thus far - but extremely welcome!

Petunia Stump Patch.
We (as in 'Salina and boy-next-door) have planted petunias around and in this old tree stump (previously hidden beneath vines). The card advertised deep purple and yellow - fushia has been the colour of choice thus far. No cane toads have been spotted in the area since.

Herb Alley -my basil and lemongrass are again offering culinary options this year - and we have transplanted capsicum and chillies also to this bed (not pictured). This is where the banner sunflower lived last year and I am going to put some more in as a back drop, plus we are all praying that the oregano and chives in the annexe to this bed survive and pick up.

V has a theory that he owns his image and is very adamant that I not show the world my catch - therefore I am unwilling to replicate the very small photo of V in the montage. In lieu of that, I give you a shot of the bling. I suppose this way burglars can salivate while all those out there who aim to steal men away from happy homes will have to hunt elsewhere... ha ha

Meanwhile I will talk about something completely different, like the plans for corn patches in the back of the yard, watermelon beneath the pandanus trees and filling the craters in the lawn (due to shifting of large lava rocks in the fill) with cracker dust.

Thanks for stopping by for this tour. I am offering coffee, tea, cold drinks and museli bars on the balcony upstairs.

(BTW - this is not the real view!)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Searching for 'Salina's Inspiration

I love my daughter very much. There is so much about her that I sit and watch and am amazed - I have spoken often before about her creativity and she is a very bright, vibrant, energetic and caring child.

HOWEVER her development - or lack thereof - of late has been very shocking to me. Not because she is being super naughty (because she isn't) or inconsiderate (well, not more than the average 7 5/6 year old) but because there are some things she just isn't getting - and that I am having to look at my own mother and her methods to find ways of overcoming obstacles.

Tonight was a classic example. She is in Year 3 at school and doing "okay". Well, okay, she is an enigma which I think translates to "how the hell do you get this child to learn anything unless its on her terms".

However, tonight was one of those moments where you think to yourself "oh goodness - am I creating this - or what should I be doing to fix this?"

Tonight's drama revolved around the time - 7.57pm - and her inability to deduce from that how many minutes until 8pm. It was well after the hour of 8pm before nerves were soothed - well, hers anyway. Mine are still jangling.

I tried working it out with her. Her cousin, P-C, could work out far more complicated time calculations in his head before he even started school, and she often is quite peeved that he knows more than her.

But then, he is a very different child to her and has had a very different upbringing. Not better, not worse but very different. And on top of that, he listens and analyses constantly.

Part of her frustration in trying to work it out is that she "forgot" that 60 minutes was in an hour and thought I had said 80. The fact that I had to tell her (several times) about there being 60 minutes in an hour was slap enough for me. She forgets so many things.

I blame it on her busy mind, and we had a talk about "unconscious listening" where you put what you are hearing on a shelf to deal with after your mind has jumped all over the place (and I understand that process very well) versus "conscious listening" - a concept that I feel she will have to really work at as I have had to struggle with it (and still do) over the years.

But its not just the mental maths that she cannot grasp (wait for the cogs and fingers as she tries to work out 10 - 7), the concept of time aspect - its a whole bag of stuff that I have finally realised that I have to face.

With reading, she was very lazy and more capable of getting you to do all the prompting in return for her withholding tantrums and tizzy-fits.

I even sought help, and was advised that she was just above the line where she needed help. I ended up doing the "Readers at Risk" training myself (as a volunteer at the school with all those who fell below that mysterious line) just so I could have some tools to get her to start "clicking" on the reading thing.

As a bookworm who "clicked" at the breakfast table at the age of 5 it was incredibly frustrating to me to watch her not even trying to struggle with it.

She did improve greatly after I got that training, but it was still a little bit of a chore rather than a pleasure - which was painful for me to watch.

Well, about 4-5 months ago it "clicked" for her - I have the Sheltie series by Peter Clover to thank for that transition - and now, while not proficient she actually chooses to read as a past-time.

Her handwriting is appalling. She had a very good excuse for that. Besides having me as a mother, that is.

On the 8th of April 2005 - that would be in the first term of her first year of primary school - she failed to adhere to her mother's constant "one at a time on the trampoline" rule (which her mother learned - from experience - can lead to broken legs) and then failed to return to the trampoline mat after one "super jump". Well, between gravity and the ground, her funny bone was the loser.

Well, actually, her humerus was - completely - resulting in months of back-slab casts and inventive clothing options, fear at anyone jiggling her, constant pain, several surgeries, physiotherapy and the possibility of a palsied hand. Can we all shout out "I told you so"!!!

This was a very convenient excuse for her having shocking handwriting (even though she learned to then write passably with her left hand) for a long, long time - that and the genetic factor - until I found a school book of mine from her age.

Now, I know I have shocking writing and it was drilled into me in childhood what shocking writing I had. My mother gave me special exercises to do (even on the school holidays) to improve my writing. I am only now coming to terms with forgiving them (my father shall share the blame as he was in cahoots with her).

However - my writing at a year younger than her was vastly more neat than hers unless she really tries - and she really tries so rarely.

Her spelling is abysmal. With all of her creativity, she is in so much of a hurry to get her ideas down that the whole spelling concept goes out of the window.

Which is fine - I am no despot on spelling at the age of 7 - but words that she should have down pat as she learned them 2 years ago are part of the carnage, and it is all very well to write a book, illustrate it and then give it away, but if no-one can decipher it what has the world lost?

I asked the teacher for the words she should know (as she has had to do spelling for homework this year - when the homework actually gets home) and so got her friend's homework book.

I could have cried. Her friend has neat writing and such attention to detail, while my daughter cannot even remember to bring the darned thing home to TRY. I know she is only 7 5/6 - but that is part of the point. What do I have to look forward to?

My mother (again) was very tough on our spelling. We had our words recited every evening, with left field ones thrown in for good measure. My first letter home from boarding school was returned with the spelling corrected in red pen.

I come from a very mathematical family. We do maths problems for fun. I write computer programs, for goodness sake!

When she was very young, she too enjoyed playing with numbers and working out stuff with me. Now, however, she is learning to dislike even that part of life - because we are past the joys of addition, and apparently subtraction just doesn't bring the buzz.

To help her, I have tried to work out fun ways for her to have the necessary facts at her fingertips. Frankly, if you can add and subtract by rote numbers to 20, you are really set because the rules don't change.

But my daughter "can't remember" and I am starting to lose my mind.

Its not like I am an uninvolved mother and couldn't be bothered trying to keep up with where she is at in the classroom, either. If anything, I am slightly over-zealous and volunteer once a week just to keep abreast of her classmates, their rituals, how the teacher handles them and what they are doing.

I found out today that she is having special assistance - she is part of the "sentence group" that gets short sessions with a tutor (during school time, so she misses out on whatever they are learning at that time).

Now, I am at the school at least twice a week - once actually with the teacher in her classroom - am I asking too much for it to be mentioned to me that she is getting this help?

I am constantly wanting to know how I can help my enigma to move forward and always asking for feedback - and I don't get told "this is where she is falling down" but rather "she is always such a happy girl".

Am I unreasonable about that?

I remember the resentment I had toward my parents with their snap quizzes and spelling bees around the dining table; being thrown sums on drives and expected to answer in the snap of fingers; j hooks, lines and curves until my hand froze just to jump high enough for their expectations.

And I realise now that it helped me enormously - and I wonder if I have to become that figure of pain to get my daughter into gear.

I need help to help my daughter.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I got the "I got up too early to be feeling this slow" blues

Dear Abby
I need to do a course in time management - but I don't have time to find out about, let alone do, one. Between mothering, lovering, hovering, hoovering, working, washing, cleaning, cooking, blogging and volunteering it seems in my life nothing gets compl –darn – can I get back to you?
Ms I-really-truly-do-intend-to-get-around-to-it.

There are two reasons I wrote this - one is because I got up at 3am. This is what I do when I wake at 2.30am and cannot return to sleep.

Insomnia is something I refuse to bow down to, so instead I beat it by getting up anyway with many intentions. If it ain't giving me the satisfaction of getting back to sleep, I am not giving it the satisfaction of keeping me awake with senseless stuff - much better to blog than toss and turn.

If I cannot return to sleep in 20 minutes, then I have a vow that I will get up and do - and man I have a lot of doing on my plate - so a cup of tea is brewed and the 'puter is switched on.

Unfortunately it seems I need light to complete the task I set myself this morning - and that is something I cannot have, given that the "office" is in the bedroom and, while I love watching, feeling and hearing my honey sleep - it is a state that I like him to maintain at 3am (unless, of course, he has insomnia too and we have to beat that together) - so my backlog of blogs is being perused.

And then to light came a Dear Abby writing competition at This Eclectic Life, and thought I would put in an entry and encourage people to do the same. Unfortunately she wanted funny, and it seems funny has been kidnapped by insomnia in this current tussle.

It is a competition for bloggers and non-bloggers, with a very pretty prize indeed.

Here are the competition rules:

Here’s all you have to do to enter
the Dear Abby Writing Contest:
  • Write a funny Dear Abby letter that is 50 words or less (not counting the “Dear Abby” salutation and the “signature”)
  • It can be about any subject you choose, if you will please remember that this is a family friendly blog! It can be “from” anyone. You can choose a fictitious character (such as Just Married), or a celebrity (are they “real?”). Avoid profanity please, you are all much too intelligent to have to rely upon expletives. I reserve the right to delete your comment or refuse to enter you if you get raunchier than John Prine!
  • Non-bloggers: skip to the bottom of this post, hit the comment button, and write your letter there. If you are having trouble doing that, send your Dear Abby letter to me in an e-mail at shelly(dot)tucker(at)gmail(dot)com Then, I will post it in a comment for you.
  • Bloggers, you can enter with a comment, if you would like. I know that everyone would be able to read it more quickly then, but I would prefer that you post it on your own site, too. If you link back to this page to tell people about the contest, I’ll be happy to give you an extra link on this page.
  • You have until Saturday, September 15th at 11:59 p.m. Texas Time to write your ridiculous Dear Abby letter and post it.
  • On Sunday, September 16th, I will post my personal favorites right here on the blog, with a poll for voting. My readers will decide the winner. You will be able to vote daily, and you can send all your friend (s) to vote daily, too!
  • I will announce the winner on Saturday September 22nd at High Noon, Texas Time.
  • ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

    And, let me sweeten the pot! Send people to vote (you don’t even have to enter the writing contest to do that!)when I post the voting page on Sunday September 16th. You can link on your blog, or just tell your friends about it if you don’t blog. Have them comment and say, “_______ sent me.” Fill in that blank with your name (That would be Jeanie)!

    So go on over there - enter the competition (you don't even have to get up at 2.30 - and hey, if you don't you may actually have something humourous come along) and enjoy!

    I think I may go back to bed and see if insomnia and I can broker a deal - maybe I will let it have me after 5?

    Monday, September 10, 2007

    Turning the tide

    Just a quickie - suddenly very busy.

    • I had to finish a course in the next two weeks to get another bit of paper - so attended and did the final assessment this morning - woo hoo;
    • Car shenanigans, as my car did a "I don't like my water pump configuration" last week (which didn't help my procrastination tendencies) - so this week, V's car is spitting a "well, I no longer want my brushes on my sway bar" - luckily his should still be under warranty - just means additional running around;
    • I did a quote ages ago - and this morning I was advised it has been ticked to be completed and turned around "as soon as possible" - both Yay and Eek;
    • I also have to do all the stuff I didn't do last week to promote myself to the local business community;
    • Oh, and my usual washing activities will be of the hand variety until we work out the washing machine solution - Electrolux did send an automatic "we have received" response from the letter, but it is yet to be followed up by any advice. Anyone out there have any?

    As a result, I am very much limiting my indulgence keeping up to date with my bloglines feeder (now over 1000 ha ha ha) - I allow myself 1/2 hour here and there so will catch up on the other side of this load.

    Sunday, September 09, 2007

    Muddying the Waters

    For those of you not in the loop - I wrote a few long blogs about my washing machine in the past. If you want to wade through and catch up:
    (As is my style, you will need to sort through quite a bit of chaff to get the nuggets...)

    And, in lieu of
    • the happy blog I was going to write today about the sunshine and flowerbeds and muesli bars,
    • the traumatic blog going to write today about the screaming teenage couple having a domestic in front of our house and the plight and fear of the abused woman,
    • the moving blog I was going to complete alluded to in the previous post,
    • the funny blog I was going to write about my hairdressing therapist daughter,
    I am instead giving you the letter I wrote to Electrolux this morning:

    Dear Sir/Madam

    I write to you concerning my front loader washing machine.

    I bought my Electrolux EcoValve 6.5kg Frontloading Washing Machine from Myer Megamart in late July 2005.

    Until April this year, I had no problems with the product. However, I was required to exercise my 2 year warranty with the problem at that point. The local Electrolux servicemen took the machine away as some motherboard component had failed (to quote his words quoting the big Electrolux repairman training them that week, it always happens on these machines.)

    Obviously, my Electrolux EcoValve 6.5kg Frontloading Washing Machine will have run out of the 2 year warranty period recently, so (it seems with all household products these days) it decided to stop working today.

    During a normal load, the "end" light and "door" light both came on and nothing will change that configuration.

    Using the users manual, we have drained the machine and checked and cleaned the filter - to no avail.

    During the time of having the machine turned off, we were able to open the door and take out the load - but upon reconnecting, the "end" light and "door" light both came on no matter what cycle we tried or button we pressed.

    Could you please advise if (a) it is worth while attempting to repair your product, given the 2 year warranty period has expired and the design is set for that factor, (b) what we should be looking for if it is a repairable problem, and/or (c) which of your competitors products we should consider when replacing this.

    I anticipate your response.

    Jeanie InParadise
    Slightly disgruntled (previous to April relatively joyous) Electrolux client

    Saturday, September 08, 2007

    Excuuuuse me - I have conundrums

    And therefore I haven't been around much.

    I had a lot to do which means that I avoided doing anything that was related to not doing what I was meant to be doing. So what I did instead was avoided doing what I was meant to be doing (because I procrastinate that way) and ended up doing nothing except avoiding.

    But then it rained which means that V was home which means that I kept getting distracted by things that needed doing that I wasn't doing but I had someone else to blame and because I can be quite dense that way.

    As you can see, I can go round and round and round on the "should-be-doings" rather than the "just-get-dones" like a pro, and nothing ever does get done but I can generate quite a lot of angst power. They should find a way to convert it.

    I did start a post - it was a beautiful post that needed to be started and it is a beautiful post that needs to be finished but it is getting long and needs editing because I want it to be perfect but then I will have spent so much time and effort on it that I will be scared of putting it out there because it will be JUDGED by the world and what if it isn't as perfect as I thought or what if someone gets the wrong end of the stick about it and what if it doesn't come across in the manner that I meant it to and do I want scrutiny and why don't I just crawl back into bed and think about it some more. Refer to above paragraphs for end result analysis.

    I have had many ideas for posts - I haven't written them. Refer to early paragraphs for time management strategies and to previous paragraph for self-esteem issues. But I did take some photos - I am a crap photographer.

    I will get back to trying to be insightful soon. Maybe I will find some while shopping this morning. Maybe there will be some in the prolific garden out back. Maybe I will just read the 744 posts I have outstanding on Bloglines and get either inspired or devastated or tired.

    Oh - and if I have ever commented on your posts and you use Typekey, Robin at Pensieve finally let me know that I didn't have any link on my profile which I have now fixed. Of course, if I have ever commented on your posts and you use Typekey you don't know where I am and you therefore cannot read this.

    Thanks for standing by.

    PS - at first I had posted "Jenn at Serving the Queens " for finding my Typekey problem - but as she is also on Blogger she actually commented. Isn't she sweet!

    PPS - oh, I did do some things - like cooking the most exquisite muesli bars, then cooking even more more-exquisite muesli bars and the magical parsley patch had its weekly harvest for wonderful tabbouleh. I even did my weekly super-volunteer-of-the-tuckshop. I just didn't get done the stuff that I really needed to get done THIS WEEK.

    Tuesday, September 04, 2007

    Enough About Me

    Overcast in Paradise today - good for seedlings, gardens, studying and getting things done.


    Anyhow - 'Salina DID make a sign for "my mother" - and it worked because I remembered.

    However, while on "my mother" last night and today, I found many more important things than me to blog about.

    Things like shopping trolleys.

    Here are just two trolley incidents in blog life that brought me tears

    (Oh, and just to bring it all back to me - or rather V - he had a shopping trolley story on his dating profile. Hmm - should I consider therapy - or shopping?)

    Monday, September 03, 2007

    What are you, my mother?

    Due to a late one last night, I offered to drive 'Salina to school. Again we forgot to take the Quick Chess set to school.

    "I should write myself a note," I said.
    "You should write it on your hand," she said.
    "I should write it on the mirror," I said.
    "You should write it on your computer," she said. "You spend all your time on there. You should call it your mother."

    Touche. And ouch.

    Sunday, September 02, 2007

    Father's Day

    Spring has sprung in Paradise - sun is out, birds are singing and V's footy team has got a last minute reprieve and are into the final rounds.

    When 'Salina's dad was first ill and moreso when he died, I felt very sad and alone. Although we were no longer together, while he was still him I knew there was another adult in the world who had the memory of our relationship, of how 'Salina was conceived in love and how special she would always be to another.

    When he was ill, his memories were no longer reliable and his feelings mercurical - but I still had another adult who would regard her as central and wondrous.

    When he died it was as if that fact had been stamped out. It was me and only me who could look at my darling, precious daughter and KNOW how important and special a person she was. It was me and only me who knew her whole history. It was me and only me who would ever be really right there for her as a parent.

    I think that is partly why I never did go out to find another relationship - while I might find that person for me, it was still me and only me for her, and that was more central to my life.

    I did have many wonderful male figures for her to know about Dads.

    My brother and brother-in-law were wonderful in showing what good Dads were with her cousins - and were more than ready to step in whenever I had need for her to have a "Dad" around.

    My father and I have had our ups and downs along the path, but he is a wonderful Dad and Grandpa - especially to his oldest grandchild.

    (Her father's brothers are more of the "big goofy brother" brand of adult males - and she has met her paternal grandfather twice.)

    When I first dipped my toes into the pool where possible relationships are offered it was really only to see what was in there. I was in the process of making many changes to my life and frankly, finding someone else was not the first priority.

    It was a casual conversation on a forum and then with a friend that caused me to update my profile on a online dating site.

    (Yes, I did have a profile - which was activated and quickly hidden several times over the past few years, each time when I thought "maybe" and then as quickly thought "maybe not".)

    Perhaps this may have happened again except for the conversations that lead to the update - and except for the fact that, of the 7 immediate "hits", one was intriguing. The words "honesty" and "integrity" were used - two words I value very much.

    I thought "why not" and the rest, they say, is history.

    Although my relationship with V went fairly smoothly and was all smiles for me and he, 'Salina did not have as smooth a path.

    For a start, her mother had NEVER entertained the idea of anything serious. And who was this clown with messy hair, anyway?

    She was a seriously unhappy child at the time. I had moved her 500km, away from her home, away from some extended family, away from our social network - and away from her "best friend".

    (Let me whisper to you, I consider the last point to be a point in favour of moving away in the first place, but that is another story.)

    The new school "fit immediately in the groove with a new circle of friends" did not happen for her. She was aloof and careful of being untrue to her "best friend" - not a formula for clicking with the social set.

    No longer were there cousins to see regularly, dinner parties with and babysitting by my friends. The playdates that peppered our lives were not as easy to find in the new home.

    She was miserable. And there was one defining point to place all of her misery on - and his name was V.

    Her one hope when I found a "boyfriend" was that she would get a sibling - immediately please. She actually asked that of him on their second meeting. Luckily he stuck around.

    But he did grow on her. Despite his messy hair she was pleased as punch when he took a day off work to come early and see her in the school concert.

    It wasn't easy for either of them. She had to give a little and he had to learn what little girls were all about.

    And then (with our help) she learned to ride the bike alone - and her confidence grew.

    She went into another class at school - and friends did come with this change.

    Although he and she are not related, he is "hers" at family and social gatherings - not just "Mum's boyfriend" but "her V" - and he really is there for her.

    He may not have the shared memories that 'Salina's dad should have held - but they are creating their own history in the building of a relationship.

    And he is someone she can trust to ask things of, to build traditions with, to play baseball in the backyard or go cycling, to promise to go swimming, surfing or fishing together soon.

    He is also someone who I have learned to trust with my most precious possession. I can duck off to the shops - and return not to fear (every single mother's fear) but to homework done, projects launched and laughing (generally) taking place.

    So happy father's day - to my brother, my brother-in-law, my father - for being there when my daughter needed to know what a dad was for all those years.

    And happy father's day V - thank you so much for being someone that 'Salina can hug and say "I love you" to.

    And thank you for being the person that I can love myself, but not just for myself but also because you do KNOW how important and special a person 'Salina is.