At last the rain is here and from desert wasteland the back garden has turned green. Last week we were certain that the grass would never grow again, even though experience tells us otherwise. This week the children are already complaining that I have asked them to mow the grass, twice.
In celebration a picture of the first lemon blossom and a lovely blue (my favourite colur) flower called yesterday, today, tomorrow. The flowers turn from blue to lilac to white and go forever.
Even the avocado and pomegranate have come back to life, although the banana hasn't survived the drought. (Sorry M, who gave it to me). M brought me a banana plant to work wrapped in bin liners. She's vertically challenged and did look rather like she was bringing a body in to work over her shoulder. Customers kept eyeing up the package in the corner, warily. That's what happens if you cheese us off I felt like saying.
1.The cat likes sage smoke and chases it but I think one of the chickens may be asthmatic. Have you ever heard a wheezy chicken, its peculiar.
2.Small children help with this, but will try to set things on fire with the smudge stick if not watched carefully, so negating the whole purpose of the process.
3. Do the inside of the house way before the stick gets going properly if you want to avoid explaining to the fire brigade what brought about this false alarm.
4. Check for neighbours...I mean what would you think if you saw a portly middle-aged woman wandering around her garden muttering to herself, followed by a cat that looks like it's having fits and a child that seems to be trying to set fire to the bushes?
My sister has bought into Peppa pig in a big way. (No I don't know either, but I think its some sort of children's mass hypnosis experiment like Bob the Builder, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or the Teletubbies). About to leave a sarcastic comment on her blog I stopped when I recalled the BAMBI YEARS.
#2 had a thing for Bambi. Morning, noon and night Bambi, Bambi, Bambi. I could talk along with Bambi. And note all you youngsters out there, this was vid-ee-o, a thing that was popular before DVD's. Vid-ee-o, which meant the whole family had to watch Bambi as there was no such thing as a personal Video player, or playing videos on games machines or the family computer.
I really appreciated Nigella's "little joke" about Rudolph pie .
At least it sounds like peppa pig has attitude, unlike Bambi. I used Shrek for #3 and #4 until I discovered that #3 would rather watch Stargate, and #4 likes camouflage and taking things apart. I wonder if I can get a camouflage toothbrush for him?
Q: How many tiny, tiny ball bearings in a skateboard wheel?
A: I don't know, I haven't found all of them yet.
#4 just broke his skateboard doing a really ultimate something or other, in the front room. Now I've got Sting in my head singing "Every step you take" as I manfully try and sweep thousands of tiny ball bearings up off a tile floor. (I'd use my vacuum cleaner but I think they might break it.)
#4 wants to know how he's going to practise doing his really ultimate whatevers. I have a few suggestions.
So if I said "Olden Days Music" would you think, I don't know, Vaudeville? Waltzes? maybe even Billy Holliday?
Me: Where are you going with that?"
Me: That's your brothers ipod, put it back.
Me: You can borrow mine
#4: It's full of olden days music....aaaaaahhhhhh.
I knew I had an eclectic, and maybe old for my age taste in music, but I mean, there's ACDC, and Pink, and the Sex Pistols on it. (and Johnny Cash, and Creedance, and Led Zep and Neil Diamond admittedly, ) but OLDEN DAYS!!! I mean, really.
I'm often told that my children are lucky because I cook most meals from scratch. (Don't post me a halo, cooking is my hobby,) They often feel less lucky, words I have heard this week....
" Is that one of the cute chicks that you murdered?. Why are you attacking it with a machete? You already murdered it."
Thank-you #3, remind me not to let you watch me joint a chicken in future.
" EEEEhuew , mum, whats that? They eat dirt, the man on animal planet said they eat dead things, look, look, its got eyes, look.....eeeehuew..."
Thank-you #4, so now I know what crabs eat. (Slight aside, is it a cornish thing that the lungs are called "dead mens fingers"? When I called them that in the fishmonger he looked at me like I'd got three heads. )
"Eeeeeuuew, WE SAID we wouldn't eat slimy squid things and hiding them with dead mens fingers in fish cakes won't make us so there!!!!!" (No, the dead mens fingers weren't in the fish cakes, reminder to self, don't take #4 to fish mongers.)
"Mum, mum, why are you putting wee in the pan, mum...." (It was chicken stock!!!)
"This pizza isn't round, I can't eat it."
"Look #3, look, these carrot strings fit up my nose and when I blow..." (So don't practice julienning veggies on #4's tea in future.)
"Mum, why's it called sticky toffee pudding? It didn't stick to the ceiling, mum."
And of course my all time favourite, this week, " Why can't we have real food like they do on the telly."
Silence. I think to myself that I'm sure I brought it back from the ward and put it on that shelf there, and then I? Mmmm, I ring it. Silence. Maybe when I went back to the ward I took it with me and left it there? I go back to the ward and go around the beds. No, no phone. I ring my phone from the ward phone. Silence.
I go back to the department, keeping an eye out in case I dropped my phone. No. I get back to the department and use the department phone to ring my phone. I walk around the department listening for my phone. Silence.
Eventually the switchboard answer my "phone". No, they haven't got my phone, its just been ringing so long with no answer that it has diverted to them.
I stand befuddled in the department, gazing hopelessly into space. Where oh where did I leave my phone?
Colleague: "Whose phone is this?"
Me: "Mine, Oh thank-you, where was it?"
Colleague: "At the back of the cold room, see it's covered in frost." (And it is, it's little screen has ice crystals on it.)
My sister was discussing with me on the phone how much she had to get done this week. She's singing at a wedding on Friday but has much to get done before then, including nursing our cantankerous father after his hip replacement. (Pain makes him cranky but taking pain killers is a sign of weakness.)
The bride has offered her a spray tan, but she doesn't know how she'll fit it in. This is probably a good idea she says, as the last time she had one she was orange and "Looked like fourteen Victoria Beckhams in one Hermes Leger bandage dress all fighting to get out."
We carry phones around at work. The advantage is that we can be found anywhere at any time to answer queries and problems from our wards. The disadvantage is that we can be found at any time to answer queries and problems...
Of course remembering to carry these phones everywhere can be challenging for some of us.
Colleague: Has any one seen my phone?
Us: No, try ringing it.
Colleague: Yeah, I'll do that.
A loud ringing is heard from the colleague. She looks down. Her phone is attached to a lanyard around her neck........ (and these are not small handsets, think brick sized.)
It's always been a bit of a problem getting #4 clean, and now he's finally told me why. Apparently water makes his skin feel "funny". When pushed I discover that "funny" means "wet" and/or "clean". I suggested maybe a shower instead of a bath. He assures me that that would be even worse, as it would involve getting his hair wet.
I pointed out to him that getting wet didn't cause him any problems when it meant playing in the storm drains . He assured me that that is different, as the water is already dirty in there.
Number one went for his year ten equivalency test on Saturday. He needs to do this test to join the Navy. We are sure he completed year ten but for some reason his records have disappeared. We know he completed year ten because we have a report card from year eleven, issued on the same day as a letter explaining to us that school probably wasn't the right place for our uneducatable son.
"Uneducatable, is that a word? " I asked.
"It is now." replied a clearly traumatised year eleven co-ordinator. (I'm sure she didn't have that twitch when I first met her, strange, oh well.)
The lack of formal education, and what can only be described as atrocious report cards, have understandably held him back in the job market. He's going to join the Navy. (Army, risk of shooting self: Air force, risk of falling out of sky: Navy, hard to shoot oneself with a cannon pointed away from the boat.)
So year ten equivalency test. He says it was easy. Most of the questions were really easy and the answers were written down anyway. Further prompting led me to the conclusion it was a multiple choice exam, with some graph reading. I had to use torture to get that much information out of him (I told him his play station controller was broken).
I took him for a beep test as well. He has to get to six point two to get in. (That's quite fast.) I got to two point two. I was pleased with that, after all three months ago I thought the only thing faster than walking was driving in a car. He only got to four, and then we had to push his nicotine stained lungs back up his nose with a stick.
Beep test: Pointless running of laps between two markers twenty meters apart, in time to beeps that get gradually faster and closer together. Invented by the KGB as a method of keeping warm in Siberia.
As you can imagine school report time is an "interesting" one in our house. When it involved #1 and #2 school report time was signalled by #2 handing over a pristine piece of paper, her halo gently shining in the afternoon sunlight. Her report was full of comments such as "A pleasure to teach", "wonderful student", "helpful", "interested" and "lovely attitude".
Before my head could fill up with pictures of my cherubic children gazing wide eyed and excited into the world of learning I would wake myself up with the knowledge that I now had to search #1 and his environs for his report. This was full of such gems as "lacks concentration", "disruptive" and "if I could read his hand writing maybe his marks would be higher." This report would be found crunched up with a few rips and possibly holding some half chewed chewing gum in the bottom of his school bag. On one occasion it was in a puddle next to where the car was parked on report day. I was called into school the next day and presented with the evidence of my child's "careless disregard" for the school's authority.
My favorite comment from this era was on #2's report. "Hard to believe she is the sister of #1."
Time passes and now the school has to deal with #3, they heave a sigh of relief as they realise they have a shiny new version of #2. Then comes #4.
Pop quiz...guess who these are about.
"Thinks outside the box", "has a refreshingly different view on many subjects", "a master of independent thinking", "has an old mind, we can only hope it's Isaac Newton's and not Attila the Hun's" (That last from the religious studies teacher).
At the bottom of the report is a section advising whether a parent interview is required. Number three doesn't require a parent interview ("No" box ticked). Hand-written in the small area at the bottom of #4's report " The regular weekly update should suffice."
Here's a shot of my new Sunday morning activity. Watching #4 play AFL. The backdrop is the rain forest behind our house. #4 can be seen ignoring the coach's final words of wisdom before running onto the pitch.
And here he is helping the ref with a tricky decision. P.S. slimy squid things were ok by #4, but #3 refused on principle.
Madonna says that now I have tried out "run...ning" and "tri....cep....dips" I should get my diet in order. Luckily this is Madonna my personal trainer, not Madonna the anorexic baby adopting streak of gristle. I don't think I'd last long on her regime before testing out the edibility of my keyboard.
No, my Madonna gives me easy targets. Week one was eat fruit. (Tick) Week two was eat fruit every day. (Tick) Week three was eat vegetables with every evening meal (Tick). Week four was eat vegetables every evening and fruit every day, not one or the other. (Oh, woops, tick) Week five has been stop eating chocolate, (actually, an easy tick, I don't eat chocolate, just don't tell her about the cheese.) Week six, she found out about the cheese...(sulky tick). Week seven, eat fish.
Now this is an easy one for me, I like fish but I am not world reknown for my ability to cook it. More for my ability to buy it deep-fried in batter. So, as I understand that this might not be what she means by "eat more fish" I went to my local fish market, of which there are at least three in easy reach of my house. (Line through another excuse there.) I've brought home some squid for salt and pepper squid (which ticks Homer's no bones box) They are cheaper to buy ready prepared than not, which confuses me, but saves me the bother of covering my kitchen in squid ink.
#3 "Whats that?" Me "Squid." #3 "What for?" Me "Dinner" #3 " Oh yuck, #4, #4 she's bought slimy squids for tea and we've got to eat them raw or she'll spank us she said so #4 #4." Me "?" #3 "look at the slimy squids, they look like dead things yuckeeeeee" Me"?" #4 "YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEUK we can't eat them slimy squid things they'll be all slimy and yuckeee. I'm ringing up the shops to tell them not to sell you slimy squid things"
So...slimy squid things for tea then....Can't see them being called that down at Gordon Ramsey's but hey ho, that's what they are in our house now.
I called my sister yesterday for our fortnightly twenty four hour call. It was my turn (as it has been for a long time), and I got her on what would be Saturday morning there.
Obviously with a toddler in the house there is background noise, "Hold on a sec while I take this drum off her...There that's better." Now as I chat to my sister I can hear a small voice in the background saying, "Bang, bang, bang." She overcame that obstacle then.
The conversation turns to her toddler ways, the stubborness, the shoe fetish, the demands for food, the general happiness of being. I don't know where she gets it from sighs my sister, I have to point out that its probably genetic. "I don't have any unusual love for shoes," sighs my sister. This time I clearly hear her husband choking to death as he tries to stop swallowing his tongue laughing.
Now I can hear faint banging in the background, "What's that?"
"Oh, She's sweeping the hall. She stands in one place and jumps up and down holding the broom. I blame myself she doesn't know how to do housework because she's never seen me do any." A genetic link between me and my sister then.
I know forty something is probably a bit late to get your first manicure but I never seemed to have the time, money and inclination all at the same time before. With some trepidation and excitement I set off yesterday to have my first ever professional manicure.
Full of eagerness I turned up at "ProfessioNAILS" (No appointment necessary) and asked for a ?. My first problem is that I don't know the technical term for what I want. (Nice looking nails that can take laundry, housework, typing, hospital hand cleaners, #4's leavings, the cats leavings, gardening, weights at the gym and possibly some light mechanical work on my car.) Apparently I want acrylic nails with a french finish.
Can I have them now? The shop looks busy (surely a good sign), and clean except for the little Chicky in front of me who looks, well , dirty...Yes I can have them today if I come back in fifteen minutes.
Fifteen minutes later I return and am led to a chair by the surly, unkempt, dirty girl. Oh well. She immediately stops all conversation by placing a mask over her face and waving me to sit down opposite her.
"What you want?" (Actually she had to say this three times as the combination of the mask, her Filipino accent and the fact she was looking at some one else whilst asking the question threw me slightly.) I re listed my requirements to the top of her head as she got her tools from the draw. Firmly grasping my hand she proceeded to clip off my existing nails...."You no mind I cut these, EH!" I still don't know what I'm getting but she's got a grip like a vice on my hand so I figure I'm along for the ride now.
Next she takes a small angle grinder to my nails. She holds my hand firmly whilst flicking the desired finger up as she needs it, meanwhile I quietly writhe in agony and twist about like a fish on a line at the other end of my arm as she moves it for a better angle. (I am quite certain that the nerves in my nail beds somehow conect with my fillings after this experience.)
I'm a little stunned mullet a this point. Now she starts talking and gamely I try to keep up, until I realise shes talking to her Filipino friend next to her in Tagalog. Probably saying something along the lines of "I've got a right one here" or alternatively talking about the game last night or her husband. (I'm going for the latter from the way she stabs my nail with the grinder.)
Next a box of false tips comes out and she wearily starts measuring my fingers, sighing as she goes. I feel like apologising that my nails don't fit the plan she had in her head...my nails are the same size as the tips she has, just not the first one she picks up.
Idly I start to look around the shop. There are women having pedicures and foot massages. The girl giving one of them is staring out of the door behind her as she massages the clients leg. How is she doing that I wonder, is she double jointed? "HEY HEY HOW LONG I SAY". Oh, she's talking to me now. I indicate the desired length, still not entirely sure what I've signed up for here and her head goes down again as she sets to work.
I start to pay attention to my hand again as she asks about shape. She kindly explained this to me following the blank stare I gave her when she asked. She gamely grinds the tips with a different angle grinder and takes my fingerprints off at no extra charge. Next she puts on another mask (on top of the existing one) and gets out a small pot of steaming something. She squirts something on my nails (I don't know what) and then tells me to go and wash my hands. (I assume this was some sort of oil for conditioning.)
Back at the desk she looks like a CDC worker in the middle of an Ebola outbreak. I worry about what she's going to use on my nails...is it toxic?...it's too late she's ground my nails to tissue paper now. With amazing skill she deftly mixes powder and juice on a brush and applies it deftly to my nails. (I was amazed at the skill, when I was at an angle I could see, as she was still flipping me about like a dead fish on a fishing line.)
I began to worry a little as she got up and walked off, shouting to lady who'd just come in, "Choose a colour, JUST CHOOSE A COLOUR I SAY CHOOSE A COLOUR." I begin to worry that she means me, as usually when she talks to me she looks at some one else. No, she is definitely talking to a lady who's just come in. A regular client with an appointment, who looks cowed by the experience. I relax slightly and go back to watching the bored pedicure girl. "HEY HEY YOU PAY NOW!" I look doubtfully at my nails but oblige by paying up and then I'm directed back to my seat and thankfully the nails are coated in some sort of quick drying pottery glaze, or possibly car wax. Let any-thing try and stain that..huh!.
My girl leans over and flicks on a small electric fan. "Five minutes" and stomps off. I hear her shouting at her next client, "YOU CHOOSE COLOUR EH?" About five minutes later I leave the shop feeling like I've been in a small car accident in a foreign country, but with sexy nails.
So far I've done cooking, washing, typing and gardening with them. They are still pristine. I will probably maintain them (early days yet) and may even go back to the surly girl who doesn't speak to me, as after all, she did a good job.
I mentioned to Homer that it was "ABOUT TIME I GOT MY PATIO". #4 has obliged. I'm not sitting on the stool though, look at the left hand leg.
I of course was working hard, planting up the winter veggie patch. I treated myself to shiny new bean canes this year. I have recycled the last ones so often they are now a lethal weapon splitting into flying splinters the second a puff of wind hits them. Note the patented bird preventing cage over the cabbages.
Last year the pigeons waited until I was ready to pick the cabbages before descending en masses to devastate the entire crop. They were closely followed by the cockatoos which devastated the bok choi. Cockatoos may seem exotic and exciting when you first move to the tropics, until they descend like a flock of ill behaved teenagers on your fruit trees a fling half eaten starfruit to the ground. About that time you go off them. This is underlined when they repeat the act with your fig tree. Similar behaviour is the reason that minah birds are locally called flying rats.
Now we all know that we shouldn't say bad words in front of the children , a lesson I learned the hard way when I braked hard in the car and a small voice piped up from the back seat..."PRATT". Of course,at this point you mustn't correct the child about the naughtiness of the said word, or it gets worked into every conversation. For example,
"Just blow into this tube madam."
"Oh that was the two year old in the back."
"Pratt, pratt, pratt, pratt..."
"I see madam, just blow into the tube."
I wanted to say it isn't my fault that on the day you pulled me over for a random breath test my child had just learned the joys of a new way of irritating its mother, I want to say it but can't. After all, who did the child learn that word from? I have instead had to learn new words to describe other car drivers.
Of course that early lesson didn't stick and all my children have repeated things I'd rather they hadn't.
"Mummy, mummy, the interfering old bat from over the road is at the front door!" (Called loudly through the house with front door open.)
"Mummy, mummy, didn't you say you'd boil your head before she came in our house again?"
"Mummy, mummy, what does a warthog look like, does it really look like Aunty Jean? Mummy, mummy, does it?"
And of course there is #4's unnatural talent for burping tunes. I have to grudgingly admit that I can name the tune fairly often, although I'd never admit it to him. Especially not since he burped along to his rival classes song in school assembly, cracking up the back three rows and a couple of teachers, before being hauled out to his seat outside the headmasters's office.
It's official, I have a sad life. My most exciting news is that I have a new vacuum cleaner, and worse still, that it has made me excited. It is a very good vacuum cleaner. It sucks, (and it blows, as Bart Simpson would say.)
I have had at least three vacuum cleaners a year since I moved into this house. They languish unloved, kicked and hated in the back of the garage until they go to the dump. My unnatural rate of vacuum cleaner destruction is a composite of many problems, so I compiled a list of questions for the unctuous young man in the vacuum cleaner shop. This particularly oily salesman has served me before and really he should know by now that raising one greasy eyebrow at me is not going to drive me to a quivering heap on the floor. I have heard the patter before about various devices that will make my cleaning life fun and exciting.....as if!!!
Instead I presented my questions.
1. Does it suck...hard..and for how long will that suck last? Will the suck recover if we "accidentally" vacuum up a moist substance such as jelly?
2. Does it blow? I mean if I jam the hose up with something, say a small piece from a board game which has then captured a family of dust bunnies, two feathers and something green, can I reverse the hose to blow out the obstruction?
3. If a helpful child tries to clean a Lego piece out of the hose with water and doesn't tell me will the suck recover?
4. Allied to 3, will attempting to rescue a pet fish from the toilet with the vacuum kill the vacuum? (The fish was already dead.)
5. Can people of between 2 foot six and six foot five use it? can they do it easily, as in "I couldn't be bothered setting the vacuum up for me to use, it's still on your setting....." (This last one removes all upright vacuums from the equation, but so do many more of my questions.)
6. Can I vacuum under furniture without actually lying flat on the floor?
7. If something small and heavy is vacuumed up is there an effective backstop? (This last from a bad experience with a small bolt about three vacuums ago.)
8. Are the bags strong? (See 7.)
9. If I vacuum up a large spider can you guarentee it is dead? It's not going to crawl out later is it?
10. If I vacuum up homework can I extract it without a blowtorch?
11. Will sawdust catch fire in it? (see vacuum 2.)
12. Just exactly how good is the filter? and how easy is it to remove and clean?
13. Is the electric cord long enough for me to vaccum more than one corner of each room at a time without constantly changing power outlets, or using a spaghetti of extension leads?
14. All those handy gadgets that come "free"? Do they live on the cleaner, handy for when needed, or at the back of the cupboard under three years of junk? (Although I think the thing I'm using in the kitchen as a jam funnel was a gadget for vacuum four.)
15. Does it look enough like a space ship that children will use it in their bedrooms?
16. If children use it in their bedrooms is it loud enough for hamsters to know to move very quickly the other way?
17. Is it manly enough for a man to use....big, black and brooding with a headlight etc? (The Hummer of the Hoover world)
18. Is it light enough for me to use?
19. Does it reach the edges? Can I get the end off to reach in the corners without a screwdriver and a degree?
20. Oh and if it could do all that on its own while I sit with my feet up and a good book.......
He did sell me a vaccum, although he says I shouldn't vacuum workshop debris up with it. I explained that its not workshop debris, it's the debris of my life but he didn't believe me.
As has now become a family tradition we spent the public holiday at the doctors. We spent Boxing day, New Years Day, Australia day and now Easter Sunday at the local emergency doctors.
Number three was looking a bit peaky on Thursday but we (foolishly) decided he'd get over it. He did, he just gave it to #4 first. #4 spent Saturday night crying and weeping, moaning and thrashing about. He demanded cuddles, but not too hard, and vomited many, many times, usually just after having medicine.
Sunday morning I put on my last set of clothes that had not been vomited on and, pausing only to check I had no vomit encrusted in my hair I headed out to the doctors, with both children and Homer in tow. Homer drives whilst I hold the basin under #4's face as I don't want my car to smell of vomit for the next six months. While driving Homer rings the clinic to make sure our standing public holiday referral is still open and I ring home to make sure #1 moves some of the washed bedding from the washer to the dryer, and refills the washer.
On arrival at the clinic we go through to our usual cubicle. A nurse I didn't know, but with a full "Working on a public holiday and not happy " face asks in a condescending voice when #4 has last vomited. Just at the opportune moment he covered her starched white blouse with vile green liquid, a la exorcist. "Just about then" I blithely say.
#4 gets an injection to stop him vomiting, so we can him medicine to bring down his temperature.
We know he's recovering when he tells #3 that he's just had an injection in his BONES and that #3 will have to have one too, and it really really hurts,....a lot. (Funny that, he didn't flinch while he got his, but he knows to tell #3 its gonna hurt..)
Number 3 has taken up trumpet playing. Actually that isn't as bad as it could be. I have discovered that by having three closed doors between us I can no longer hear him practising.
Every now and then I go and listen to a tune, and try and name it. Sometimes I get it right!!
Number 4 has not taken up trumpet playing. He has however developed a fascination with valves and brass instrument construction. I can now put a trumpet back together with one hand whilst driving over the speed limit on the school run. I have heard that in the SAS you have to be able to break down, clean and re build your gun blind folded. Huh, child's play. They should do it whilst trying to re-assure one child that the trumpet will be fine, and the other that he needs to put his seat belt on NOW! All this to the accompniament of each child screaming that the other is on HIS side of the car.
"Mum he touched me...MUM HE TOUCHED ME."
"Mum, He's on MY SIDE of the CAR..MUM...MUM"
I'm changing my name.
The music teacher assures me that that is not spit that has drained out of the trumpet over my work uniform, it is simple condensation. The "oil-like" stain IS however oil, brass instrument valve oil.
Thursday was my day off, so I made three lemon cakes. I always make two cakes, one gets eaten as it comes out of the oven, the other might even cool down. This time I made three so that I could take one to work. When I got up Friday morning all that remained of the three cakes was a pile of crumbs and a dirty knife.
Friday I made three apple cakes. These last a long time in a container. Well they would, but on Saturday afternoon I opened the tin for a piece and found a currant and a few crumbs.
Saturday afternoon I made two chocolate cakes. (I only had enough eggs left for two cakes, the girls can't keep up with the demand.) I just went to the kitchen for a piece of cake. I found a small pile of crumbs.
In the front room Homer and numbers 1, 3 and 4 are seated in a semi comatose position in front of the rugby, unable to move through cake poisoning.
Footie practise this evening, all the parents are sat in their cars watching the practise (or in my case reading and silently thanking the Lord that someone else is supposed to be in control of my child).
The scene is picturesque. The green grass of the oval, the backdrop of gum trees with the occasional call of the Kookaburra. To my left is a large mound of mud, (soon to be spectator seating) and to my right other parents settled down for an hours peace.
Suddenly from my right,
"Hey, hey, yes, you A, you. Don't look behind you, you're the only A here. get on the oval or I'm putting you in the boot." (That's the trunk for Americans).
A quick glance to my left reveals child A on top of the mound of mud, with a large clod in his hand.
"I mean it, get back on the oval.....now"
Child A heads for the oval and I duck my head back into my book.
"Hey, A, I told you , back on the oval or I'm putting you in the boot."
Half time and the children descend on the cars for a drink.
#4 ducks to the back for a drink. His cherubic (I'm his mum, I'm supposed to think that way) face smeared in mud and sweat. Child A heads to the next car.
"Hey, shut the boot, get out of the boot, I'm not telling you again, get out of the boot. Is that mud you're putting in there? "
It's good to know I'm not the only one. (Incidentally the baby ogre has transferred from AFL to soccer, it's less violent. )
"It's for you Eve, I don't know who it is, they sound upset?"
Me: Hi, how can I help you.
PC: It's #4.
PC: Hello.......hellooooo, I know you're there.
Me: Ye..es, it's me. Did you try home.
PC: You don't know what he's done yet.
Me: Did you try our house first?
PC: Yes, Come and get him.
Me: I should be able to make it in....
Me: (carefully) What did he do?
PC: It's shave for a cure day in a few days. (People shave their heads for charity.)
PC: S****** J***** had long blond hair this morning. (My heart beat really fast here.)Do you use food colouring at home?
Me: ? (gulp)
PC: Green food colouring?
Me: ? sorry
PC: S.J's hair is green, all over.
Me: Thank God for that. (People colour their hair as well on shave for a cure day.)
Me: Oh I thought you meant he'd cut her hair off. (Short pause) How blonde was her hair, and how long?
PC: White, she can sit on it.
PC: Come and get him, NOW.
Luckily SJ's mum is being pretty cool about it, she laughed and said "It'll come out easier then the bubble gum did. I have two boys, don't worry. Really, don't worry."
I had my doubts that #4 had done it as there is no trace of green on him, which seems highly unlikely. The teacher says he put his hands in plastic bags to protect them while he coloured S's hair, "like the hairdresser does". The teacher looked meaningfully at my newly coloured hair.
I decided I would get a new doctor, one that instilled confidence into me, one that seemed to know what he (or she) was talking about, one that would tell me what the heck is going on with my health. I did research and found a GP that 1. Is known as good at hearts and 2. Is open when I can see them. (A combo that is no small feat in our town.)
Mmmmm. For my survival a good idea, for my peace of mind a bad idea. I need ten more years before #3 and #4 are "old enough", obviously I'd like more.
I explained how every time I'd seen my last doctor he'd given me a new diagnosis, worse than the last, so I'd stopped going. A plan that, so far, was working very well for me. My new doctor agreed that some of my old diagnoses did seem a bit "out there", so we'd start from scratch, so to speak.
It got worse though, apparently denial is not an effective cure for heart disease. (Who knew?...me lol). So, an increase in blood pressure meds, a new medicine added and a new shaking of head and tutting at my ecg and another armful of blood later I await a new dreadful diagnosis in a state of denial.
Also, I can't start smoking again. This is good news, I have always maintained that when I get ill enough I shall start smoking again as it was a past time I enjoyed. Once my health is truly stuffed there will be no point in maintaining my abstinence and I shall restart.
Yes, folks it's six months since I quit and although I wouldn't kill anyone for a cigarette, or even harm them severely, I still want one, a lot.
Unfortunately (actually fortunately) I can maintain my exercise regime and increase it, but the lard butties have to stay off the menu.
My new doctor gave me a talking to, and a plan of action.
1. Actually get blood pressure under control.
2. Probably add more meds to the ever increasing list I am on, although he did stop two as pointless.
3. Try and actually lose some weight....perhaps 20 kilos? mm? (I didn't hide my sulking about this)
4. Increase my exercise (see 3.)
5. Lose about three inches off my waist ( a deal struck from the initial six he wanted.)
6. Less cheese and salt.
7. And, No, smoking is still out. (I knew that, but I keep checking.)
A slightly depressing post, but I need to itemise my plan of action and actually stick with it. Writing down what needs doing means I (may) have to do so some of it, or at least face facts.
Cyclone Hamish is sitting off the coast, lurking with intent. So far it is taking after its name and wavering about like a Glaswegian on Sauchiehall (or something) street on a Saturday night.
Jokingly, last time they called a cyclone a stupid name (Larry) I said that nothing with such a dumb name could do much damage, at which point it set off for our house in a straight line unheard of before or since in cyclone mapping. In deference to this history I shall say that Hamish will be taking after all things Celtic and causing mayhem and madness (or falling down drunk in the middle of the coral sea after an all nighter.)
Hamish is only a three, and we've bought a generator, so I think all in all we'll be fine.
#1 wants to be sure we've got enough beer in, #2 wants to go to her boyfriends, #3 has practised the trumpet (oblivious as always) and #4 wants to know if the roof is going to blow off. Yes, yes, stop that and hopefully not.
Yesterday was my birthday and I got presents. Presents with thought behind them!
1. Homer had scoured the Internet and got me two books of Wilfred Owen's poetry. Not to every ones taste but I find it very moving, if in a rather gruesome way.
2. My sister sent my wedding album, having rescued it from the dank room it was being stored in in the UK.
3. My father finally sent my mothers hand written recipe books, which go back to the turn of the last century with recipes having been written in by my Great Aunt Ruby and my Great Great grandmother. (Faggots wrapped in caul anyone?)
4. My sister, dad and sister sent flowers.
5. Homer took me shopping, and didn't complain when we went to more than one shop, and made me spend money on myself.
6. My birthday tea was fast food, followed by eclairs. I get to do that once a year. The extra salt has put three kilos of water on me over night so an extra diuretic needed this morning, but its only once a year!
7. I gave myself a designer sofa makeover...sad but true, new cushions and a throw rug.
I spent the day lounging on my newly dressed sofa saying "peel me a grape". (Which no-one did). I spent the evening telling the children to sit on the floor so they didn't disprupt my cushions. (Which they ignored). I did make them have a bath before they sat on it so they didn't get muddy footprints on it, that won't last.
Number four has taken up AFL (Aussie rules football). I've always called the sport "Aussie no rules", as to the uneducated spectator, it resembles an all-in fight that an oval ball pops out of occasionally.
There's lots of running about, both into and over the opposition, with fists and boots flying in profusion. There's blood and sweat but never tears.
Well who knew? There's rules! Number four has been three times and has been sent off twice. The coach is very impressed. Apparently no child has managed to knock over the one #4 took on for the past three seasons, and #4 did it twice, and that was just in training.
The boys are grouped by age but no-one, except the new boy, is ever put against this infant behemoth. He is the height and weight of some-one at least five years older. His parents have his birth certificate laminated to produce as and when needed. #4 was told to brace whilst the baby ogre tried to push him over, so he did. Baby ogre was sweating and turning red ( not attractive over a green skin), but #4 budged not an inch. Right says the coach, swap sides. #4 pushes the baby ogre over. Baby ogre bursts into tears. (Another Christmas card list we're off, it all saves me money in the long run.)
I huddled quietly at the side lines pretending the mighty midget with the psychopathic outlook was not mine.
My hairdresser has become a mobile hairdresser. This is because, like me, she has a tendency to say what she thinks. When she was going through hairdressing school they forgot to remove her smile, meaning that she can laugh at a joke instead doing that "what is the smell under my nose" look that most hairdressers adopt when faced with my hair.
When she asked me about my hair care routine the first time I saw her I looked blankly at her and said, "Oh, you mean if its wet I open the car windows on the way to work?" She only looked vaguely surprised and cut my hair into a style that blow dries itself if I open the car windows!!! How good is that!
As a consequenxce every time she "moves on" to a new salon I move on with her, and now she's become a mobile hairdresser she came to my house for the first time. (I just hope she never moves too far from where I live, I'll have to move). She paid me one of the best compliments anyone has ever paid me... she said " Oh it was such a relief to be coming to your house, I felt so relaxed when I got here."
Any way, she's smearing orange goop on my hair and #3 says "What are you doing?"
Hd. "Dying your mums hair"
HD "To hide the grey hair."
#3 : "Oh" small silence " Do you like doing that?" (Slightly puzzled tone in his voice).
HD "Yes, why, do you want to be a hairdresser?"
#3 ; "NOOOOOOOO"
HD " But all the girls would like you, you'd see all the pretty ones."
#3 : Giving a small shiver "But you'd have to touchthem, and their hair, YUK!"
#3 turns huffily back to his war game on the computer, touch girls, the very idea!
Bright eyed and bushy tailed, all those years ago, I went to my careers adviser,
CA: So Eve, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Me: I'd like a job where I fly around the world and get paid to eat cheese.
CA: Ha ha ha
Me: Oh, I'll think of something else then.
Many years later as I examine another rash on an unmentionable part of the body, accompanied by a less than interesting smell the conversation comes back to me. (Maybe the smell coming from the patient is reminding me of cheese?) I come home and there on the food channel is a man telling me how he gets paid to fly around the world and eat cheese. "B#####d" I think, "you took my job."
Number four was nine yesterday. (That makes him Aquarius, Aquarians march to a different drummer than the rest of us, sometimes its not even drums....)
As a special treat my children have always been able to pick their favorite meal for birthday tea. Now as I am an evil mother and refuse to go anywhere near MacD's, Hungry Jacks, or any other fast food outlet I usually get let of lightly in the birthday tea department. All most of them ever want is a fast food meal, result all round. They get a special treat and I get an easy meal to "prepare"( as well as fast food which I usually avoid.)
What did #4 have for birsday tea yesterday? Fish fingers cooked in the microwave with garlic bread, followed by chocolate mud cake with extra chocolate bits in. We had to make the chocolate cake together. #3 is my usual chocolate monster so this was a surprise but as it was a Sunday I kept my end of the bargain and made a chocolate mud cake with chocolate icing and chocolate chips in it. We then all gamely sat down to garlic bread and fish finger sandwiches with chocolate mud cake to follow. Yumm.
The only other time I haven't got away with fast food was chockit strawfairies for #3. (That was strawberries dipped in melted chocolate and left to set.)
Doctor Foster Went to Gloucester In a shower of rain. He stepped in a puddle Right up to his middle And never went there again
Rain is weighing heavily on my mind, and the garden. We've had over twelve inches in the last twenty four hours, and the twenty-four hours before that, and etc. etc. etc. We've had so much rain that the chickens are considering getting trench foot, and I've had to raise their roosting pole to keep their little toes dry.
Hence the "themed" nursery rhyme with the picture of Edward I (Longshanks), the alleged inspiration for the rhyme. He apparently fell off his horse in Gloucester, into a puddle. He was probably on his way to quell some rebellious Celts in Wales. He was so embarrassed that he refused to go there again.....if only the Welsh had known, all they had to do was get him muddy and he'd go away. (I don't know why Edward longshanks became "Dr Foster", so there's probably another explanation for the rhyme, but I quite like this one.)
If you feel down and you put on a tiara or a cute sparkly headband it like totally brightens up your day" - Paris Hilton
My sister found that quote. So, all you slightly older, slightly plumper and a lot poorer girls out there don't you feel better now Paris has revealed the secret of conquering depression?
As my sister's small child is in the middle of a snot fest cold we discussed whether dried snotty bits on every item of clothing she posseses counts as "sparkly" for these purposes. We also covered the wisdom of scraping your hair back off your face with a head-band when you have only had three hours sleep in the last seventy-two and need to go to the shops before hiding behind three inches of caulking (sorry, make-up). Would that scare small children? and would the stares from other shoppers "like totally brighten" her day?
There's a reason it's called the rainforest. In June and July it's not always obvious but we're in the middle of the wet right now. Unlike every-where else in the world where you tell the seasons by the temperature and day length here we define them as the dry (hot and dry) and the wet (even hotter and wet). I was going to take some pictures of my coffee beans today but it has been raining, very hard, for three days now.
Usually there are hills rising on my back door, today there are clouds. Humidity is about one hundred percent. It seems unfair when parts of Australia are in the middle of a drought and bushfires that others would be flooded. The "rain days" have made me "stop and smell the coffee" so to speak and I have taken a moment to count my blessings.
I sit gazing out of my window and feel like I am wrapped in clouds, similar to a misty day in chillier climates. Shortly I shall go out in the rain (which is of course warm) and empty out any containers I find to stop the mozzies breeding and I will be thankful that I have the rain, and it is warm and it is falling, not grumpy because I am wet.
I've been a bit slack lately on the blogging front. There are two possible explanations for this, first that my life has hit an even keel leaving me nothing to blog about, or second that I have been too exhausted with all the "excitement" to blog.
Unfortunately for me the second explanation is correct.
My new job brought levels of discomfort and stress that I had not felt since I was a teenager....all self inflicted.......but its all good now that the drugs have kicked in........
We are having ever increasing power cuts in the area at the moment. The latest two nights ago following a birds nest on the pylon. This bird's nest knocked out power to about one eighth of the country (area wise not population wise....voters don't get treated like that.) The birds nest apparently caused an ark between the old power line which was the sole provided of power to Northern Queensland and the new one which is its back up since cyclone Larry.
(Yes, we the populace did point out that maybe having the old line and the new back up lines on the same pylons was may be a "tad" NAIVE. After all if a cyclone or storm or lightning or stray road train, or, I don't know, a birds nest, caused an outage of the pylon then both lines would be affected...huh?)
Ergon energy in their wisdom ignored the screams of outrage and strung the new lines alongside the old ones, and then put up the power bills, apparently we can look forward to a twenty-five percent increase this year. After all we in FNQ don't have much of a power base numbers wise, just resources wise.We've got all the water and the South's got all the votes. ( Oh and BTW wouldn't underground lines be an option in a storm hot spot?)
Last year we lost power for a day because someone in Brisbane dug up a road. This shut down all the electricity in Queensland. You couldn't make it up, I live in Terry Pratchett's home universe.
This theory is backed by the fact that our local MP wants us all to travel armed so we can shoot crocs when we see them in rivers and storm drains. Bob, mate, I live in an urban area (relatively speaking). The only crocs we see here are more worried than we are. The guns would be used by the ute drivers trying to get right of way at the traffic lights that aren't working during the power outages. Your time in parliament would be better spent getting a power station up here.
Number four has a tendency to get overheated. He runs around all day in the sun without wasting time with hats or drinking water and then comes in as darkness falls. As the sun sets and he stops moving he suddenly develops a headache, demands all the lights be turned out and vomits copiously.
The first few times this happened as you can imagine I was straight to the hospital, thoughts of meningitis screaming through my mind. Eventually a kindly doctor suggested that maybe if we got him to drink something, maybe?
We nurse him through these turns, and try to prevent them with water and hats but they still happen occasionally.
Today number three got a headache. Number four swung swiftly into action. He got a head ache tablet (after checking with me) and took it to number three. He lay him down in the bedroom and shut the curtains, and then went and got him a glass of water.
"Try and drink this" he cooed while stroking number three's head. "You'll soon feel better."
Gently he left the room and as he closed the door he sighed, "Stupid little twit, when's he going to learn to keep his hat on." (I can't think where he heard that.)
BTW he soon got sick of the nursing thing and went and poked number three until he cried thus requiring an intervention from mummy.
I am officially ancient. My oldest child is eighteen, I can't believe it. That means I was about twelve when I had him!!!!
I have done a quick mental retrospective on his life and have decided that time flies when you're raising monsters. I remember him being born, I set a new foul language record for the hospital, which wouldn't have been so bad except I worked there at the time. People kept coming to visit me and asking if some of what I'd said was true, unfortunately most of it was.
I remember him being tested for Downs syndrome as he has single palmar crease, and having an operation at only eight weeks of age. I remember looking for the "666" on his head at three in the morning. I remember his first day at school (I cried) and his last ( I cried, he was expelled). I remember the first time I caught him drinking, and his first serious girlfriend ( AKA the Troll).
I realise that he's grown up and he's still a baby. He answers me back and sulks like any teenager, but I can still make him twitch nervously with one look, and he'll never be able to lie to me.