Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Universe 2 - Jeanie 0

For those of you playing at home, you will recall last week I skited about my organisational skills and was smited (as opposed to smitten, a far more pleasurable experience).

Then I went on and thumbed my nose at the universe about lying. What the heck was I thinking?

And as we know, Monday began badly and I was apprehensive about what sort of child I would find on Monday afternoon.

Unfortunately, Monday afternoon came all too soon and I was to discover the nature of the beast the universe had concocted for me.

As I work at home and occasionally travel to other workplaces, 'Salina has the joy of going to After School Care on Monday afternoons. This way, I can get extra work done if needed, but more importantly she has a presence there if I need to book her as the need arises with my very fluctuating workload.

On Monday I thought that, as she had had such a shocker in the morning, I would go and collect her earlier than normal, even though the occasions I have done so she has protested as she was having so much fun and could I come back later.

As it turned out, that was not required. There was no protest, no early pickup, no fun at After School Care - because 'Salina "forgot" she had to go and had caught the bus home at the usual time.

Oh dear, I thought of my forgetful child, and went to call After School Care to alert them to the missing child.

"Heads up" said the lady I called. "I tried to get her from the bus, actually. One of her classmates told us she had planned to skip today."

Okay, my forgetful child had just morphed into one sneaky little girl, and my compassion flew out the window when I realised that not only had she lied to me, she had done so very, very convincingly.

Her explanation was that she "didn't feel comfortable", which I would have bought had she not had so much fun there whenever we went to collect.

She tried to give us "bullying boys" and "doesn't fit in" lines, but the fact of the matter is that the time to address that is not the day that you skip. She can talk to me about that, she can talk to the staff about that, and she knows there are techniques to overcome these things.

My thoughts - well, I would like to think there was an underlying Monday motive for it.

However - her immediate friends do not go to After School Care on the day that she does (although some do other days and one does every morning). The "best" friend she hatched the plot with does not have to go to care at all.

I think that she didn't feel like it because she was just having a blah day, she knew V was home sick and she thought she could pull some wool over our eyes.

The worst bit - part of the punishment is that, as a parent, I am so disappointed and no matter how endearing my child attempts to be, the underlying grain of sneaky little thing that has upset my trust means that I have to hold on to some degree of grumpiness.

All privileges have been stripped for a few days.

She had to write a letter of apology and understanding to After School Care.

Her room has never been tidier, her lunch box never better prepared and her violin never more practiced. Oh - and V gets to watch as many news programs as he wants in peace!

She did not get her normal Tuesday afternoon play with Girl Down the Road. I think that is the part of the punishment thus far that has hurt her the most.

Review is tomorrow as to what privileges she may get back and when - but frankly - she is actually quite enjoying the fruits of the punishment.

I don't enjoy that I discovered that my daughter can - and how well - lie. But I am enjoying the changes coming over the child since. There may yet be some redemption.

What would you have done - or have you done?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Good morning sunshine 'Salina

One thing I applaud about my daughter is her ability to spread sunshine in the morning.

Okay - some mornings it starts a bit early and could be dimmed a little but compared to the opposite I will take the sunshine every time.

Today I had a taste of that.

We just spent a wonderful long weekend away. I got to stay with my sister and her brood.

'Salina usually gets to stay in Dash's room. This is much loved by both Dash and 'Salina (most of the time) - however there is just one problem with this arrangement. 'Salina got her early morning sunshine gene from her grandfather - Dash did not receive such a blessing. Well, either that or the definition of "early morning" gets skewed.

Either way, 'Salina's habit of rising at the crack of dawn = Dash's rising at the crack of dawn = The Little Woman rising at the crack of dawn = total meltdown in the BushBabe stables.

So we finally did what has been threatened for a long time, and moved 'Salina to another part of the house. Of course, we did it with minimal grief at the outset by having the kids all worn out from too much local show and long drives home in separate cars.

It worked - of course, all three children still woke up hideously early, but they all managed to show us a few rays!

My mother had bought a birthday present for 'Salina and wanted to give it to her early (by about 6 months) as 'Salina is going great guns with reading time and it is very much horse-themed. 'Salina is in LOVE with the new clock.

There are only two drawbacks to it. One is that it is set for the right time, and we know how I love to mess about with the universe in 'Salina's room.

The other is that it has an alarm.

Today we experienced that wonder.

It is an experiment that I do not wish to ever take part in again.

Miss Sunshine was nowhere to be found - an evil time-wasting child came and took her place. As the alarm was set early enough to wave V off for work I had plenty of time to experience this new phenomenon.

V didn't go to work today as he feels the effects of some mysterious lurgy. I hope it is not what my sister had last week.

I also hope that any mysterious lurgy had nothing to do with the gremlin I dealt with this morning.

I was forced into one of the motherhood roles that I truly despise.

I had to NAG.

I had to crack the whip on every single step of getting ready this morning. My wonderful child is normally dressed, fed and ready a good half-hour before the school bus arrives under her own steam.

I had to breath fire to get any steam to appear this morning - and when it did come through, it was entirely misdirected.

Note to the logical part of 'Salina's brain: Saying "I know" in a sarcastic manner to your mother when she has advised you (for the hundredth time) what needs to happen in the dwindling minutes will not change the status quo - but it will change the status of any priveleges in the forseeable future.

And if her logical brain is still not back any time this week - its okay, I have written it in large letters on the whiteboard to remind her.


I didn't get a goodbye kiss or wave this morning. She didn't get brushed hair. I hope that the monster leaves her body by the time I see her again this afternoon, else it will be a very long day.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Calling a lie a lifeskill

Do you know, when I was a child I did NOT know HOW to lie. Of course, my mother may refute that claim but I cannot remember a single instance (and I remember a lot of those) in my childhood (even that long ago) where I told a lie and didn't nearly kill myself with guilt over it.

That is what being a good liar is about, right? Because, as with so many life skills, it is not just the theoretical but also the practical exam you have to pass.

And, as a child, I sucked at it BIG TIME.

There is a difference, of course, between lying and telling a story - and there are probably as many angles to the line in the sand between the two as there are people willing to examine it.

I was pretty good at spinning a yarn, but the trick to telling a whopper in story form is to overemphasise the exaggeration, therefore you will never be called on being a liar and, for me, that meant less self-inflicted guilt injuries so all was sweet.

So anyway - me, child, crap liar, worked well on the other side of the line.

Grew up a bit, and the problem with growing up a bit is that I came face to face with the truth - and the truth was that there were PLENTY of people who were far better at keeping a straight face and a hidden conscience while telling whoppers on my NO GO zone and I was plenty confused.

  • Classmates did it. "You never gave us homework last week, sir."
  • Roommates did it. "No, I never saw your birthstone necklace."
  • Teachers did it. "There are three easy essay questions on the paper."
  • ParentsSanta did it. "Here is a combined present for you all this year, as I know you will understand there are other children who need more presents than you do." (Okay, Santa wasn't lying, but it still hurt.)
  • Colleagues did it. "I told the client how much work you did on this project."
  • Bosses did it. "There isn't enough room in the budget to give you that sort of payrise this time round."
  • Boyfriends did it. "She wasn't my wife."

And don't let me even get STARTED on professionals, politicians or pick ups.

I came to realise that there are many facets to this whole lying game. There is intent, there is outcome, there is degree of difficulty and there are mitigating circumstances.

Hey - I was still VERY crap at the whole not telling the whole truth thing, but I understood that other people used it, justified it to themselves, lived with it and maybe even enjoyed it. So, of course, I ran away from it all and became a hippie poet.

I tried, oh I truly tried to live that life where me and lies could just keep to our own sides of the street and I could hold my head up high and allow myself to be a truth-sayer. Most of the time I did that, the rest of the time I rhymed (or not) and used it as artistic expression. Oh glory days.

Then it all fell apart - I became a parent.

And all those little facets of lies started to beckon me over, offering an easier life, giving me justification and self-righteousness if I wanted to try a line or two of lies.

There were some nice ones used to camouflage pain. "He's working very hard at the moment."

There was one or two to dissolve anguish. "He is still very much involved in her life."

There were a couple to ease embarrassment. "He had an incurable illness."

Then there were those that seemed to be handed out in the classes I thought I had skipped in motherhood.

What answer do you give when your 2 year old admits to "loving Santa sooooo much" and you had never heeded his presence? You start working for the Santa factory yourself.

When you need something to brighten up a lonely Easter, don't you put your imagination to work and create a whole clue trail for the Bunny to lay for your child's delight? Especially when he has been so well moulded by relatives and friends.

When your 6 year old's best friend forever gets great presents from the Tooth Fairy - I wonder what she will bring us? (apart from the whole conundrum of yet another creature to lie about)

But, of course, now being the mother of an 8 year old, I realise that there is a whole lot more to this whole lying caper than the difference between a pork pie and a fairytale - and a lot more to being a parent than just telling the difference.

Luckily for me, my daughter isn't very good at it yet - and so I am able to pretend I don't see it when it isn't that bad and hopefully, when she lies to her mother she will continue to show her hand. Is that lying?

I now have a new partner and I sometimes allow people to believe that we are the original family unit rather than bluntly assert that her father had died (after we had separated) (of a horrible mental health illness). Which side of the line is that omission?

Last night, when questioned about whether I looked older, V replied that I actually looked "younger and sexier". Will his guilty conscience keep him awake at night?

(Oh, and I turned 29.)

I don't know that I have it all nutted out yet, and I don't believe it is all right to lie - but nor is it all wrong all the time.

(By the way - I have used the inadequacies of Blogger to lie to you all - I have written this today, April 24 - but due to creating the title of the post yesterday, I can fool you all into believing that I hmmm'ed this on Hump Day! Head over to Julie Pippert - Using My Words - for other's takes on truth and lies)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lessons in Life - Don't Jest with the Universe

because man, that universe can smite!

Where was I? Oh yes, being all smug and stuff about my organisational talents.

Then I left the building.

The first part of my day was not so bad. I went to the shops. I called my parents who were to meet me. I spoke to the answering machine on BOTH their mobile phones. This is not so unusual - they come from an area with no mobile coverage, and have a bad habit of forgetting to turn it on when they come to civilisation. My mother also has a habit of switching it off when she doesn't feel it necessary i.e. when she is not making the call.

While waiting at the queue at the ATM, I bumped into my father. There was another REALLY good reason for me getting the mobile phone answering machines - they had forgotten BOTH of them. Close universe, but it was not my organisational skills in question on that one!

Then I had to go to the library. I cannot blame yesterday's trip to the library on the Universe's current gripe - obviously I have a habit of upsetting the Universe.

Many moons ago, I took out some books. I have to admit that I lost one - to compound my crime, I failed to return the rest while I was looking for it.

It appears that the library would not only like me to pay for the book that I lost (fair enough - I would too) and the GST for them repurchasing it (cheers) but also for the overdue fines on the books I failed to return in a timely fashion. I know, they do that but really, couldn't they have a "cringe override", realise that people do these stupid things and just turn a blind eye? No? You are much harsher than I.

Do you know what the really hysterical thing about the lost book is? Its title and subject matter. The book that I lost is (drumroll please) "The Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Wedding". I shall pause a moment for you all to regain composure.

So, not only did I not read and glean the secrets of the said book (shut up Universe, I can still hear you laughing), but our wedding has already us $37.95 (plus $15 overdue fees - which count towards costs, I think).

Oh, and to screw its heel into the butt of my library experience - they don't have EFTPOS so although I was organised enough to have the spare dosh in my account, I could not use it so I have to go back there another day for the overdue fees to be released and receive my free book fix once again.

I was going to go and give blood at the blood bank, but as they didn't open for several more hours and as I actually had things to do at home, they missed out on some quality O negative. Take that, Universe.

I got home and was recounting this to V. Have I told you about V's sense of humour? It is on par with that shown by the Universe yesterday. He mentioned that he would have to lay rocks for an extra hour and a half for my forgetfulness (I am sure in jest) but he forgot - Universal Smite can work both for and against.

I was very sweet in mentioning that this was not the week in which to jest about contributions to the household, so to increase his hilarity factor he continued to draw great big squiggly targets on himself with every comment he made for the next 20 minutes.

Unfortunately, I was unable to defend myself when I realised that during my run around that day, I had failed to return the overnight DVD we had taken out on Sunday - another $6.60 pissed into the wind he will have to earn for my affection.

The good news is that dinner was beautiful! Zucchini slice with steamed beans and left-over spaghetti - mm-mmmmm. And the taco dinner tonight will be brought to us by V, as he has to take 'Salina shopping for a surprise for me and I have a P&C meeting. Come on Universe - I think it's showtime!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Organised by Default

I am not by nature organised.

Oh, I know there are moments of brilliance when I get it all to a point that I LOOK like I have my shit plans together, but I know deep down I am not, so the moment of achievement is tempered by the freak-out that it will all come toppling down if I breathe too hard.

I try very, very, very hard to get some parts of my life into some sort of order, but it is in the knowledge that I cannot put too much effort in because nature has a balance thing going so will kybosh me the instant that I think I have it nutted.

That is why I get very happy INDEED if order is placed into my lap without me having to contemplate it!

Every week, I read how organised some other bloggers are with their plans for dining during the week. There is a blog called "I'm an Organising Junkie" that hosts Menu Plan Monday and while I applaud her and the efforts of her linkers, I know that I would be defrauding her system by subscribing to it.

However - and PURELY BY LUCK - I can now boast that (for this week) and I am so happy about that!

So our dinner plans are:

Monday: Leftovers (cause they are clogging up the fridge) - yep, we have Saturdays spaghetti with possibly a fresh salad and a side of whatever I can concoct from the odds and ends that are new enough not to give us food poisoning.

Tuesday: Repeat after me "Tuesday Night is Taco Night"...

Wednesday: Lamb Shanks - because they are in my freezer, and because its my birthday and I get to chose my own dinner and do NOT have to bow down to the pecularities of childish obsessions with not wanting crockpot cooking.

Hopefully my sister will feed us, unless we leave the house too late and need to find take-away food.

Friday: Not only do I hope my sister feeds me, I also hope that she will let me help her in the kitchen for the event.

Saturday: Crap from the local agricultural show.

Sunday: Yay for us - spaghetti again, as there is spare sauce in the freezer and will be easy to contemplate after driving home.

Now, aren't you all happy for me being so darned organised? Ha ha - I have just seen my filing and realise that indeed, this universe is BENT on balancing itself!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Plastic Bag Fetish - my big green environmental post

I have been thinking long and hard about the environment this morning. One reason is because Julie requested that we Hmmm it, one reason is that I read the daily chip-wrapper, and one reason is that it crosses my mind fairly often. There are probably other reasons, but they spring to mind.

The only problem with me thinking long and hard about anything is then I get all worked up looking at all angles of a problem, find new nuances, get agitated at a stance on it and start arguing with myself - it is quite wearing and doesn't solve any problems at all.

This is why you tend to find posts here about my bellybutton, my garden or my family - I just get all confused and argumentative about bigger issues and it ends up in serious therapy that blogworld cannot help me with.

(Hang on - even that requires a therapeutic moment of calm. Hmmm)

Deep breath - points I have covered this morning and WILL NOT blog about - sustainable farming; carbon offsets; cows; car travel; nappies; cities; footprints; agitating; deforestation; alternative energy; desalination plants; damning rivers or vegetarian egg alternatives. Just believe I have some very strong views on all of them and argue a lot about them within myself.

I do, however, have a take on one thing that I can focus upon and give you my view without getting too upset.

That is the humble plastic bag.

Do I believe in them? No. Do I use them? Some. Do I have an OCD hereditary thing going on with them? Heck yes.

As regular readers know, I grew up on a cattle property 50 km from the nearest town big enough to boast shops. With such a background, I failed to learn certain things. I didn't know that most people used money for shopping - everyone used accounts. I didn't know that people actually chose clothes and shoes in shops - my mother brought everything home on appro for us to try. And I didn't know that people got their groceries in plastic bags - ours always got boxed - wrapped in newspaper if it was a fridge item, but that was the extent of extraneous packaging.

Oh, I was not so naive that I didn't know of the existence of plastic bags. I had more than ample knowledge. As my mother's little helper, I got the joy of hanging dozens of them out after they had been washed in the washing machine - my mother was a great one for reusing things - and as my mother's little helper, I got the joy of reversing them and rehanging so the sun could do its wondrous antibacterial job - and as my mother's little helper, I got the joy of folding dozens of them after they had dried and sorting them into their bags to be used again and again and again until the day that they finally perished.

And as my mother's little clone, to this day those plastic vege bags get rinsed, washed, pegged, reversed, folded and stored for reuse in my house (unless V finds my stash, and then the chain gets broken).

I am not as green as I should be. I eat meat and sometimes the fruit and vegetables that I get are not locally sourced and organically nurtured. I drive a car, sometimes with only me in it, over long distances and sometimes for no better purpose than "I want to". I have been known to buy packaged materials, even foodstuffs for the freezer, my only reasoning being that it would be handy.

But I am green enough to feel guilty about it.

So I have a line that I draw in the sand. I don't OVERDO plastic.

If I buy fruit and vegetables, unless its little things like beans, cherry tomatoes or strawberries it doesn't get its own itemised little plastic bag. The checkout chicks store-employed cashiers love that approach.

I have green bags (and blue bags and even black bags) that I have PURCHASED for the intent purpose of not getting another plastic bag. Heck, I have even PURCHASED more when I have forgotten to take them to the shop and my budget allows. And double heck, I have so many that I have LENT my green bags to mere acquaintances in the shops when I overhear that they have forgotten theirs.

And on those odd occasions when both my memory and my bank balance fails me and I am absolutely required to bundle my goodies in a store offered bag, I try and make them cram as much stuff as possible into as few as possible (really, those checkout chicks store-employed cashiers welcome me warmly). And when they get home, they are tied and reused as garbage bags or given to charities.

So okay, I am not saving the planet today - but please, when you paint me brown, can you tint me with a LITTLE khaki?

And maybe we could move that spectrum a little greener, after I read this about the plastic bag - I am going to hit publish, and then put that stash of green bags down into my car and save the planet doing this weeks groceries MY WAY.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - the feline and his little equine friends

Monday, April 14, 2008

Go Fish

When I went fishing for V, I used lots of description about who I was and who I wanted to meet.

Under "Sport" I said: "I am a good one. Best at barracking and fantasty..."

Which is not a lie - I will happily give encouragement if required, but in terms of participating then I like things other than sport to physically challenge me.

And truth be told, there are avenues in life that are termed "Sport" that should not have that moniker. I will not name them here, because it will bring all sorts of jellyfish to my pond who will no doubt want to argue the finer points of their "sport" and while I think debating has merits, it falls into the "meh, can't be bothered unless I really care" category.

One of those murky areas is fishing. If there was a category on the internet dating site that I landed V on, my response would have been "great excuse to read a book" - and I probably would not have even had a nibble from him, let alone a tug on the line.

Because pre-Jeanie V had a hardened habit of keeping the rods in the back in case he ever had a spare half-hour to see what was biting (besides mosquitoes).

It doesn't bother me - as I said to him, if he is not home by 9pm he had better have some bloddy fish - not that that rule has ever been tested.

And it didn't bother me that he gave 'Salina a fishing rod of her own for Christmas. I think it wonderful that he wants to share an activity he enjoys with "the middle one" and that I might get a few hours of reading time at some point.

Of course, there have been a few weekends since Christmas, but for one reason and another the line was only attached this weekend, and Saturday afternoon one very eager 'Salina was casting across the back yard for practice. She caught several trees and a ginger cat!

Sunday we finally decided that the day had arrived. I packed snacks and books, 'Salina danced a jig and applied sunscreen while V tied hooks and prepared the bait box. Unfortunately he heeded my "oh, we can get some there" advice - but then, he should not have asked my opinion as to whether we should bait up in our local village or the smaller but fishier villages to the North.

We learned - Northernmost village has NOTHING open (except the international sugar transport shed - I need to take a picture some time for you) on a Sunday.

We also learned that Nextnorthern Village shuts most shops at 2pm - and we had aimed for 2.30pm. However, we did find one general store that sold everything from bait to health food to lollies. It was one of the only times we have ever left such an establishment without a plea for the latter - 'Salina was THAT excited.

The little cove that we chose for our initial foray into fishing was ideal for the purpose - so ideal, indeed, that every kid on their first fishing outing for miles around went there on Sunday! However, following the unwritten "personal fishing space" rule we still managed to get our little bit of sand and set up.

Lines baited, 'Salina and V both cast and waited for tugs. I found a comfy spot of sand and got my magazine out. My reading did not even get to start however, as V asked me to hold his rod for a moment or two.

Now, I know there are some traits that learned and some traits that are genetic, and I am not sure which one patience falls in to the category of - but either way, 'Salina is not the girl to understand "just sit there for 10 minutes" command - nor is her mother.

Luckily the fish were hungry, and we got many tugs - we were far busier feeding the fish our prawns than hooking them, however. V had an almost full-time job of baiting (he said he was a master) and lo and behold - I spent a whole afternoon fishing.

I stand before you today and even confess that I learned to cast!

Cost for the day: 1 bag frozen prawns, 1 sand worm, 3 hooks, 1 sinker.

Tally for the day: baby flathead (on the left - courtesy of 'Salina's line - he swam free after this shot) and baby bream (on the right - courtesy of V's my line - feisty little beggar, eh?

'Salina wants to go fishing all the time now. Me - well, I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would, so I may tag along - so long as the baiter and line de-fisher
is available, because I do so shriek like a girl!

Friday, April 11, 2008

In which Ms Jeanie explores the mother-daughter bond

While at my sister's at the start of the week, 'Salina had shown a certain fractiousness at being dragged from pillar to post by her mother being the adored centre of the universe by two tribes of younger cousins life. I know, I didn't tell you about it, because I try not to highlight every sordid detail of my amazing parody at motherhood. Aren't I nice?

Anyway, enough about me. As I was saying, she got a little tetchy and wanted to go home. right. now. Unfortunately it was 9pm on a Tuesday evening, and I had not planned on acceding to her every wish leaving Gordon Ramsey in the f*ing lurch breaking up the sister time that I so rarely get to share with BushBabe, so instead I did a bit of a placatory "there there" (but with a little more spirit) and allowed her the ultimate luxury of sleeping in my bed (a treat she has so very rarely had in the last 2 years after a nightly midnight habit) and made her the ULTIMATE promise of a special Mummy-Daughter Friday where we could do whatever she wanted.

* Of course, I then deserted her the next morning (while she was mustering - hey, I am not a totally callous mother - I waited until she didn't have to watch) to return to Paradise, a paid job to finish, a romantic night to anticipate and, ultimately, a migraine to cherish.

So I totally missed her "really fast ride" while mustering. Apparently, Dad (the man with two man-made knees) had to hop off to get a gate with his little ringer holding the mob. The mob did not wish for that to be the case and thus caused a bit of anxiety, a fast ride for 'Salina and a quick get on for the old man.

I also totally missed her falling out of the truck (which is what happens when you think you have a step but don't). I didn't get to miss the screams as she realised that antiseptic does hurt, taking off a bandaid is painful and sometimes fixing takes more than a kiss. Oh, and nor did I miss the screams as she skinned it again this morning while doing gymnastics on the swing and failed to clinch the landing, realising that antiseptic does hurt (again), taking off a bandaid is painful (again) (especially when done by a child and slowly, as opposed to being ripped off by a loving adult) and sometimes fixing takes more than a kiss (again).


Well, when she arrived with Nana yesterday, she came bearing a cough, some sneezes, a sore throat and a raging headache and therefore all she wanted to do on her special Mummy-Daughter Friday was stay at home with Mum.

So we bonded today.

Rainbows and Hearts
We painted.

I washed, pegged and folded four loads of laundry (okay, truth be told I washed and pegged four loads, left two loads on the line but folded the remainder and the umpteen loads that had been left in the spare room for the last week - as we have Nana visiting, this is now a required option).

A Peaceful Place
We shifted furniture and detrius. I swept and washed floors that needed sweeping and washing and vacuumed floors that needed vacuuming. She rearranged her stuffed animals.

Giraffe House
We watched Ella Enchanted. I did Robin's Haiku challenge on Spring - a real challenge as its not spring and I don't haiku; Julie's Hump Day Hmm on Fate - I know, its not Wednesday but I argued in the affirmative; and thought about the Carnival of Australia. As I did none of this in front of the computer, it is staying firmly locked in my head and may never get out!

Ah yes - nothing like that mother bond that one gets with a child over doing the housework. I was taught by an expert and still have memories of the automatic response to "I'm bored" being a can of silvo and the good cutlery.

Speaking of mother's, mine is here again tonight which I do enjoy. More than she, possibly - she retired early when the TV was offering Gordon Ramsey yet again f*ing a kitchen. Fixing, I mean, fixing.

Tonight we have the footy on offer - a little less testosterone perhaps, but at least we can all yell at the same team umpire.

Oh - and there is always the washing up!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Things I have learned in the past week...

  1. That driving 350km to a wedding while watching the clock AND coping with a migraine IS NOT MUCH FUN AT ALL.

  2. Weddings always make me cry. So does pretty much anything else involving a little emotion - heck, I can cry at ads or a horse race. I fairly frequently cry at other people's posts, too. (I rarely cry at my own, except when they are REALLY REALLY bad.)

  3. You can pull on a party face and really enjoy a reception when you have great people around you and are genuinely happy for the couple. Oh, and when you are dancing to the same songs that you have danced to with the same girls you have dance to them with at all the other family weddings.

  4. Your child can prove to babysitters that she can stay up past midnight. Your babysitters may not have the staying power. Your child can then dance through the remnants of a reception and be far more brilliant than you socially. Your child can refuse to go to sleep for a myriad of reasons, mainly the one that she wants to stay up all night. HOWEVER you can (eventually) steer your child around to realising that all night can end just before 1am if the mother is serious enough.

  5. Just because a resort is expensive and swanky DOES NOT MEAN there will be hot water for a morning shower - or bath even, when you realise the water ain't heating up so you try a different method. A cold bath in the morning does not automatically give you the shining successful persona you so want to put on as you greet the thousand or so relatives who all believe we should meet for breakfast at 7am. It will make no difference to your daughter, who is fresh-faced, bouncy, joyful and still wants to swim in the unheated pools for a few hours before leaving.

  6. That driving 350km back from a wedding while analysing your life in minutae as your child is sleeping IS NOT MUCH FUN AT ALL. It also doesn't help to do so while balancing the factors of your nuptial organisational skills vs those of the extended family, your lifetime plan vs those of the extended family, your dreams and realities vs those of the extended family. Blogging, as a life skill, is apparently not a saleable commodity when no-one has ever heard of it (or you don't even bother discussing it because they won't get it).

  7. That you can start a one-sided argument with your partner for NO REASON AT ALL after such a journey, and nothing he can say or do will alter the path of the dispute before you throw the biggest wobbly and have a complete meltdown.

  8. That if you chose the correct partner (and apply the correct hold) this will be forgiven.

  9. That, after you leave him again and travel 250km to spend time with closer extended family, you cannot have the sort of phone calls you used to have with him if you happen to be in the same room as members of your family especially if it involves yelling, screaming or delighted children or adults who know the innuendo.

  10. That you can have a great time with your closer extended family, especially if you enjoy watching your daughter's face light up when she is promised she will go mustering with Grandpa, and watching your father's face light up when he has a good little ringer at his side.

  11. That everybody should watch Andrew Denton's Enough Rope - Angels and Demons to understand more about mental health.

  12. That, as much as I enjoy being away from home, I enjoy being there more. Even when it involves child-free time. Heck, on occasion especially when it involves child-free time. NOT when it involves more migraine time. I hate migraines. But I also especially love the cessation of that child-free stuff and am looking forward to seeing 'Salina again in a few minutes after a day of such.

  13. That there is NO WAY I can read all of the posts that I have missed, so you will all miss out on my scintillating comments. Sorry, folks - I will try and catch up some time.
Hey - guess what? My first ever Thursday Thirteen!!! Probably not in the rules to have so much bellybutton fluff, but oh well, its not like I am a real player!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Sparkies, sparklies, tuck-shop sagas and school holidays

Bit of a mish-mash today.

Got woken early by my darling so nicely this morning. After he had ensured I was awake, he had something to announce.

"I turned on the downstairs light switch this morning and the switch went through the plate. We need an electrician."

Yes, good thing I was awake for that. Grumble grumble.

Do you know that most electricians - besides having a hefty price attached - are booked until next week, and the light is on?

Which reminds me, I had better pay the electricity bill. Because of address mix-ups and other shenanigans, I only got told about the final notice recently. Oops.

Although - if I don't pay the bill, the light won't stay on all weekend if I can't get a sparky here beforehand. Hmmm... Of course, the fact that the computers, fridges, freezers and most importantly fans won't work during that time probably precludes me from such manoeuvres...

Luckily, I found one who will be here late today. Could be very late today - or sometime in the next ten minutes. Its better than Wednesday next week, anyway.

Speaking of next week, I will be away for most of it (starting tomorrow) with family weddings to get to and visits to cousins and such.

It is the school holidays here from next week - 'Salina gets an early mark as we have to travel 5 hours to the wedding, which is being held tomorrow afternoon. Unless it rains, V won't accompany me due to work stuff. I suppose someone had better earn all this money we are spending on fripperies like electricians and electricity, let alone wedding gifts and fuel.

Oh, and have I mentioned the tuck-shop saga is (sort of) over? They have employed a lovely lady who I gladly handed over the reins to. Of course, they have not yet given her authorisation on accounts, so I am still needed for groceries and emergencies. And of course, all the volunteers failed to materialise for her as much as for me, so I get suckered in more often than I should. But yay, hey?

So yeah, pointless blathery post as I gird myself for organising a sudden influx of work I have just won - bound to coincide with the holidays, hey? But maybe, just maybe, it will help us get our heads out of the quagmire of week to week and get us ahead to - I don't know, a fortnight from now?

I will leave you with a beautiful picture of 'Salina, because my sister thinks I will need to fork out for counselling for her after yesterday's shot (or a good attorney when she commits matricide) (or a decent inheritance when she gets off the charges).

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My daughter the 'medienne

'Salina has always been a bit of a clown.

When she was only six weeks old, she rolled off my breast, looked up at me and giggled. It scared her witless at the time - it was her first laugh - and then she got into the swing of things, continuing that feed with the roll act and giggling.

At 8 months, while on my lap in a busload of tired and grumpy commuters one afternoon in Brisbane, she took one look at a bored audience and started to dance for them - bounce, bounce, bounce, working that bus into a smile.

At 10 months, I did a charity performance at Maleney with a friend looking after her in the audience. I have a piece called "Teaser" that begins "Hey! You!" She actually heckled me!

She learned to wink at 14 months old, and used it mercilessly to astonish adults.

She learned to say funny things in parallel to learning to talk. She used funny voices at the age of two to get a laugh. She used props to dodge Mummy-gets-stern moments (such as the blue bear utilised when I had told her not to touch something I was doing).

(The title of this post is in relation to me calling her on it one day in the car when she was just 3. She was outraged. "Mummy, I am not a 'medienne. I am a little girl!")

At 4, she discovered the comedic value of using the word "bottom" in jokes to get the audience rolling. The fact that the rest of the joke was completely unfunny did not phase her at all, and she would trot out her "why did the head go up the tree?" line over and over and over again. (Hey, even the best stand-ups have dull patches). (Oh, and the punchline? "To find his bottom". Yeah, still not that funny.)

At 5, she discovered she could flare her nostrils and roll her eyes. The added bonus of physical comedy was born.

At 6 she had her entire class in merriment with her witticisms and wisecracks. I am sure the teacher was not as appreciative of the interruptions, but she did prefer it to some of the behaviour displayed by other members of the class.

When we moved here, she was quite a sad little girl with feelings of ostracism and heartbreak at leaving old friends. The new audience thought she was just quite warped, but she eventually won them over.

Her first meeting with V was punctuated with an imitation of me. She put on my shoes, pointed dramatically and said "Do this. Do that." It should not have been funny, but when I told her to "Put those shoes away and stop it" the resemblance to her imitation cracked everyone (including my new beau) up.

I wish that I had a video camera, as she has an act called "Cowboy Doll" where she loosens her shoulders, does the walk and shoots six-guns in the air. If you "press her buttons" she changes moves.

Where is this going? Well, she forgot about my little prank yesterday and this morning woke me with "its 6.18 in my bedroom, but only 6.09 in here" and I can see her cogs ticking over, working it into a routine when she is an adult.

Oh yes, for all the visions she has of herself being a "violin-playing horse-rider" when she grows up, I have few doubts that she may find herself a few routines to entertain her mates (or the world) with.

Or maybe she will have a blog.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Big April Fool

Oh my, we all slept in a little late this morning! (Thank you, television gods, for putting funny shows on just when we really need to go to bed.)

I waved V off to work and stumbled assiduously started my morning routine.

'Salina slept through until I thought I would have to drag her out of bed, but she did rise when I was in the laundry putting washing on.

"What time did you get up, darling?" I asked her.

"7.20" she replied, and that is when my perfect world unravelled before me because we both glanced up to the living room clock - which said "7.15".

See, I like my mummy-free time in the evenings, and to assist in getting as much quality from those precious hours, I am ever so slightly sneaky.

'Salina's bedtime is 7.30-8.00 most nights, but sometimes stretches to 8.30. To not have her bedtime encroach too much into the territory of mummy-free time, I have called upon technological assistance. Yes, I am the mother who has the clock in her daughter's room set 10 minutes fast.

'Salina went back into her room to see what had occurred. Was it time travel? Is there a warp between rooms of the house.

Perplexed, she came in to the kitchen where I had hidden myself from interrogation I was attending to the morning routine.

The kitchen clocks (stove and radio) both said 7.18 by this time. It was messing with her mind.

"Which clock is wrong?" she wondered.

As she wandered back through the house gathering data, I knew that I had to think fast or my deviousness would be uncovered.

"Its April Fools Day, honey, better watch out your classmates don't trick you." I said, warming up. "Don't believe anything this morning."

"Oh yeah." she said, and I hoped her mind had turned to creating plans herself.

However, darn it, the girl has a worry on her mind, and she did the circuit of the clocks again.

"Virgin Blue are offering no-seat tickets today as a trick in the paper." I said brightly. "People do all sorts of strange things."

"Oh yeah." she said as she ate her breakfast, but I could see her thoughts were still on the interesting case of missing minutes (or was that my overactive guilt centre at work?)

"People even change the clocks for a laugh." I offered desperately.

Darn, so I have now April Fooled myself of that ten minutes of freedom a night. Not a lot in a day, but it adds up to 2 1/2 days a year!

Edited to add that Bettina at Dances to the Beet of her own Drum has the inaugural Screw Up Tuesday today, so I have linked there. I think this fits the criteria?