Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Short but sweet....

Child 2's most memorable report comment. She changed schools in her last year, and with great trouble and after loud demands was put into a manual arts class. (Woodwork and stuff).

End of year report for manual arts: "#2 who? "

She hadn't attended a single lesson and the teacher thought her name was a mistake on his enrolment list. At least it explained why I didn't get a new mug tree and stool that year.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Number one seeks work..

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.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Report time...

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."

Sunday, June 14, 2009


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.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Eat more fish....

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"
#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.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The phone call...

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.

My first manicure..

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.