Sunday, April 24, 2011

I COULD HAVE BEEN A CONTENDER...




We went to a party on Good Friday with a relatively new bunch of people.  Well, not really new, but new in the sense we shared pina coladas and got caught in the rain.  Literally.

 

And in those moments of sucking down frosty beverages which may or may not have had double the amount of alcohol recommended, a few admissions came out.   One of which may lead me forever, to  look at our host and neighbour Nick, differently.

 



Now both of our neighbours, Jen and Nick, are,  well, fucking hot.  I can’t really put it any other way.  All of their friends are also, well, fucking hot.  It was like a Chadwicks Lookbook over there.  We’ve been fairly social with them, but not to the point where it got to this:


 



So what was this admission that blew my mind? 


Well, it was this:  Nicholas was age champion in AUSTRALIA when he was under ten for Walking.  You know? The kind of walking that you nearly do a hip on because you must have one foot on the ground at any one time.  I still can’t quite remember how we got onto this topic but here’s a picture of me when Jen told me:



re-enactment
 

Of course I held on to this info until I could pin Nick and drill him about his very close call with the Olympics.  It was apparent the indignation and the passion still burns.  See, apparently his mum totally ripped him off.  She went out and bought him long, over the knee socks and although, yes, he did “cheat”, it was more noticeable with the long socks and even though the other kid cheated too, his short socks left that kid, undetected.  Nick walked away from the sport after that. Jesus, who knows what could have been?


 

This got me to thinking, on my very slow recovery from the night, had I had a close call at being great at something?  I thought and I wondered and I contemplated and yep.  No.  I hadn’t.

 

All I could come up with was when I made the Top 5 in "Junior Sale of the Century".    I got knocked out by a buck toothed wing nut who gave me the sneaky middle finger when no one was looking.  No pick of the board for me.

 

Oh, wait, there was that one time we took out the inter-McDonalds cheerleading competition.  I’ll let you digest that for a minute.  The inter MCDONALDS cheerleading competition.  Um, why weren’t we getting busy flipping burgers?  Far as I know, no one gave a shit if I could make a perfect Pyramid, it was all about getting their meal to them in less than 2 minutes.  Team building exercise on roids.  But, hey, we still got the trophy and I take it where I can get it.

 

What about you? Did you nearly make it?  Were you involved in something obscure that just doesn’t get the recognition it deserves?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

HOLIDAY FROM THE SCHOOL






Driving home from a long day at Seaworld on Saturday I overheard this from the backseat:



 

Jack (4yo):                     I’m famous
 

Sam (8yo):                     No you’re not, you’re ordinary
 

Jack (screaming)            I AM FAMOUS!
 

Sam (8yo (quite calm)    No, you’re just an ordinary kid with,  from what I can see, no acting ability whatsoever.
 

Jack: (still screaming)    I AM FAMOUS
 

Sam: (half smirking/still calm)   You my friend are a Dreamer
 

Jack (cryscreaming)    I AM FAMOUUUUUS

 

REPEAT, but, with a variant in the topic.  It could just as well be about whether Tom would defeat Jerry in a UFC smackdown or if cold Milo is better than a hot one.  The topic is irrelevant.  The winner is not.


Welcome to school holidays people.


 

To be fair, I usually don’t stop working over school holidays and don’t do the solid two - eight weeks of hard core 24/7 parenting.    But this time round, the Easter Holidays, at least in Queensland, have been a bit screwy and we find ourselves with some time off.  Good thing I didn’t throw out the bedazzler.

 

So far, it’s been five days of school holidays.  It’s been raining pretty much the entire time. Cabin Fever doesn’t even BEGIN to describe the situation we have here in this cripplingly tiny house.  So, in the spirit of all things lists, I present the PROS and CONS of the school holidays

 

PROS


  • My bedazzler gets a workout.  Oh yes, it, along with Monopoly and the Wii Fit get pulled out and rewelcomed into the family.  Sure, it’s isn’t long until one of the kids does a hip trying to catch a hoola hoop or one of us puts a rhinestone through our fingernails, but it starts off with so much potential.
  • There is bugger all traffic on the road.  No seriously, you know where you usually get banked back to Ayres Rock every Monday morning?   School holidays are like one of those tollbooth advertisements where everyone just flows right on through. 
  • School lunches are suddenly redundant.  There is no need to explain this to anyone who has a school or kindy aged child.  A little piece of your soul dies each time you cut carrots into a million tiny pieces.  School holidays temporarily give those teeny tiny pieces of your soul back.
  • Sleep Ins – Sure, Jack the 4yo old human alarm clock with no Snooze button still wakes up at 6:30am on the dot, but I can shoo him back into his room to play, quietly for at LEAST another two hours while Mummy sleeps.  At least.
  • You become the master of empty threats.  Especially when you’ve told them in advance they are going to see friends/to a theme park/to the movies.  One foot wrong and it’s all over red rover.  Those empty threats will get you through any getting milk/bread meltdown scenario at the local shops.  A simple “If you do not behave, we will not be seeing Rio tomorrow” brings them back into line quick smart.

CONS

  • Your solo time on the toilet reduces by 80%.  And that’s a pretty shit statistic if you started at having that place to yourself only 20% of the time in the first place.  Get ready to say goodbye to your happy place. Just for a bit.
  • You may or may not spend inordinate amounts of time attending to green ant bites.  Not sure, this might be a Queensland thing, but without fail, within 2 minutes of us going outside, one or all of my children have been bitten by a green ant.  Often times, it sounds like they are on fire.  I am quite adept at my icing skills now.
  • Expectations.  See kids’ associate holidays with fun.  Funny that.  Thing is, even though we live in one of the biggest tourist destinations in Australia, everything costs a bomb.  To go to a theme park with the five of us costs almost the same as an NRL clubs yearly salary cap.  Yep, even when we try to pass the four year old off as being two.    This doesn't take into account the overpriced lunches you invariably buy from some dodgy hot food stall, because apparently Vegemite sandwiches will just not cut it.  Here’s a tip, when a kid throws up on your shoes after a go on the corkscrew, it doesn’t matter if it was a hotdog or homemade sandwich, it’s still rank. Bring it in from home.

Seriously though, I know I sound like a Nanna, but it just doesn't feel like our parents had the job we do of entertaining our children over the school holidays.  Pretty much, we hung out, swam, rode or lay on our beds listening to music and reading.  And from memory, that was pretty rad.  Or am I romanticising?



 

Feel free to add your pros and cons below.



It starts with so much promise.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

PAY THE MAN



About five years ago, someone I know well, casually asked me why we still had our shitty Daewoo Nubira when we “clearly must be rolling in it, with me working and all?”  and “shouldn’t we be able to just buy a new car outright with all the cash we must earn?”  I was kind of caught off guard and I stuttered and spewed forth an answer that in all honesty, this person didn’t deserve.  I manically tried to explain that we owned our cars and although they weren’t new, to get better ones would mean new loans.  And with Sam needing Speech Pathology, paediatric care and basically, well,  just life, we didn't really want to do that.  

 

It wasn’t until I got home and dissected the conversation,  did I realise that this mother of one, who had rarely worked, who didn’t have a mortgage and had recently been the recipient of a brand new car courtesy of daddy, had made me feel inferior for working.  And had clearly made assumptions about my life. 

 

But here’s the thing, two working in the family when you have children, doesn’t necessarily equate to coming out on top moneywise.   It often just equals survival.

 

My personal situation is this:  I work part time, between 3 and 4 days a week,  spending one day with my wayward son  Jack, the exuberant four year old.  This means we pay for four full days of child care a week, four days of afterschool care for the older two per week and vacation care during the school holidays.

 

The amount we are subsidised for this child care each week  is based on our income.  Meaning that  our daily fees are reduced by X amount from the Family Assistance Office, depending on joint taxable incomes.   The amount you are able to be subsidised reduces when a certain level of income is achieved.  To work out the exact level it reduces at however, would require you to master Centrelink Childcare Rates x Income x amount of children x the exact date sputnik was launched.  Basically it should be taught at Uni as Centrelink Mindfuckery 101.  


Then, at the end of every quarter, because I qualify (meaning I work, study or am training) I am refunded 50% of our out of pocket child care expenses.  This at present, is not means tested. 

 

This week however, the whispers have been getting louder that along with slashing Education and Health Care (Do not even get me started) that the child care rebate is about to be means tested.  Meaning that, if you earn a certain total income, you may no longer be eligible for the 50% rebate. 

 

So here’s what I imagine will happen.  One half of the couple will probably either cut back or quit their job altogether, therefore ceasing to be a taxpayer.   On the flip side however, Family Assistance will then step in and pay more in FTB A and B because of the income and the fact that there is now only one person working.   Childcare will also be subsidised higher by Centrelink due to the fact that their joint income has gone down.  So in essence, the government will not be saving themselves any money.  In fact the only thing that will have changed here is that someone who was once gainfully and presumably, happily employed, is no longer  a) paying taxes and b) where they wanted to be. 


There are of course, many variations to this situation.  Single parent families, single income families and to be honest, I'm not even sure these changes will affect our family.




And hey, I understand there has to be cutbacks.  I get that we've just had major disasters on a scale never seen before.    I also understand that these are my children and such, it was always my responsibility to budget for them.  But life isn't that simple.  These kids will be the ones paying the way in the future, they are necessary and to sustain them these days, and I'm not even talking about having a fancy lifestyle here, often both parents have to work.  But making it more difficult for people to work, whether they have children or not, just does not make sense. 




 
I know I am seeing this from my point of view, as a working parent, but hopefully I’ve pointed out here that we already penalise hard workers in Australia.  The more you earn, the more you pay in tax.  There is no incentive.


And hey, Mr Swan, you know that cash economy you guys are constantly trying to stamp out, yeah, this idea is not going to help you there.


Thoughts?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

CHECK IT OUT




OK Question:

Do you automatically check out peoples wedding ring finger to see if they are married?   I, as a rule, do not and can honestly say, I never  have.   Apparently though,  I am in the minority here.  It seems it's quite common, and for a variety of reasons.
 


  • First and foremost, people are sizing up the other person for a potential tune
  • Habit 
  • Comparison.  “If that person can find a person to not only like them, but spend a month of their wages on a big fuck-off engagement ring, then there truly is someone out there for everyone” that gem from an unnamed source.
  • Comparison again: the newly engaged are right into rings.  It’s all about the cut, the colour and the price.  
  • People are just nosy fuckers

 

This week in the news, it was reported that Prince William won’t be wearing a wedding ring when he marries Katey 180 in a couple of weeks.

 

Now look, I’d understand if like my husband, he has his hand up an S-bend all day long,  or had the potential to obliterate it with a wayward hammer blow like a lot of our tradie mates, but let’s be honest, he’s not going to do too much damage to a gold band waving to his peeps from the Royal Balcony or attending a Royal Ball.


It was also while having a conversation with my friend Roberto* during the week, that I even realised that to check out anothers ring finger was  an actual “thing”.  See, Roberto* is a good looking, single 3o year old guy, who says his ring finger checker-outering is bordering on an obsession.  He also went on to say, he actually finds it easier to speak to married women, because they know he’s not there to crack onto them. True dat.


 

Then, as we were talking,  it dawned on me, that for the last, oh, 5 weeks or so,  I haven’t been wearing my engagement or wedding rings.   And this is because of such a lovely story really.  I get dermatitis from the platinum.  See, told you it was lovely.  It seems, although I have great taste, my body was never quite ready for my highbrow ways and rejects the precious metal on a six monthly basis.    But over the last five weeks, has the crack on factor gone up?  Um  no.  In fact, I can honestly say, the attempted pick ups I have been involved in the last 16 years, has rounded out at precisely zero.  Oh, wait,  except for this one time a lady in my creative writing course  decided I was her muse and started to tell me about her erotic dreams that involved me.  Yeah, except for her. 



So, this got me thinking, is this normal?  Do you look at someone’s left hand and take the lack of ring as a green light?  Perhaps sspying a wedding band means it’s on like Donkey Kong?    Or is the evidence of a wedding band an immediate stop sign.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200, do not try and hit on the married person.


Love to know your thoughts.


*Not his actual name.  But it sounds like he cleans zee pool right??

Sunday, April 10, 2011

LUCKY SEVEN





There’s a rumour doing the rounds, or maybe it’s more of an urban myth, that if you consecutively sneeze seven times in a row, you will have a spontaneous orgasm. Now this might have a lot of you reaching for the pepper, but if I sneezed seven times in a row, they’d need a new definition for LBL.    Google it people, after three vaginal births, it aint pretty.

 

OK, so writing about vaginal births is not where I intended to go with this post.  No. Rewind.


I wondered the other day, after I sneezed and scared the bejesus out of my workmates, whether I was sneezing right.  My sneezes give me absolutely no warning and are shitscaringly LOUD.  I usually sneeze once.  Twice max.
 


My only real point of reference is my husband.  I know full well he sneezes like a wolf man, often with no warning and wakes our sleeping children so much so, they believe the world is about to end.   This could also be, because he sneezes about 6 times in a row.  Not the lucky seven unfortunately, so I don’t have a viable subject to ask about the “orgasmic seven sneezes”.    Although, let’s be honest, if he was getting off from sneezing, not only would he be buying white pepper by the truckload, he would also have no problem with me securing a new cat.
 


My best friend Bonnie sneezes three times in a row.  Always.  I have learnt not to say bless you until she’s done with the third.  But hers are small, almost polite sneezes. It's like she’s quietly telling you about something a little unfortunate.  Mine sound like they intend to rip the heads of small children.  Can I change my ways??

 

My friend @kj_nash  on twitter told me this:  I sneeze LOUD. My Husband once 'lost' me in Myer and found his way back after I sneezed. #betterthanaGPS

 

But back to the original question.  Is the Big O achievable from sneezing?  Well according to SNOPES the answer is a big fat no.  According to 99% of the people who responded to me on Twitter, it was also looking negative.


So back away from the pantry boys and girls, nothing good other than perhaps breaking a rib can come from sneezing too often.  I did learn this today though. 


A little ditty about Sneezing:



Once – A Wish
Twice – A Kiss
Three times – A letter
Four times – Something better



Wow, guess that means you kids with hay fever are going to win the freaking lotto!!



Oh, and if you haven't already seen this cute sneezing panda baby, you're welcome because I'm about to make your day:






Thursday, April 7, 2011

I GOT CHILLS, THEY’RE MORTIFYING




Maddison is eleven. Wait, don’t go anywhere, because this could totally relate to you.  Presumably you were eleven once.  And, I’m guessing, just like me, you were embarrassed by your parents at least once.  Perhaps even mortifyingly so.

 
My mother was an absolute bandit for embarrassing me.  She didn’t mean to of course, but well, when a massive generation gap meets limited budget, it was to a teenager, like social death. 

 
Let me count the ways....  I guess  the worst thing my mother ever did to me was cut my hair.  Short. Like a boy.   In Year 6.  Well technically I gave her the go ahead.  See, she loved me with short hair while I on the other hand knew the only way to my first kiss and/or boyfriend was to not look like a dude.  But she got me with the almighty dollar.  She offered me fifty bucks if I would get my hair cut short.  See, right there, that’s messed up.  I mean, who does that?  But being the clearly easily bought little tramp that I am, I accepted.  


I took my Dolly Magazine down to the salon, showed the hairdresser a picture of the model with a short, yet stylish flicked hairdo and sat down waiting to be transformed.  The result?  A brunette Ronald McDonald.  Pretty much no one spoke to me at school for almost 5 months.  Here’s a heads up:  Fifty bucks can only buy you so many packets of chicken twisties to take away the pain. 

 
Now they say clothes don’t maketh the man, but they almost certainly make the teenager raging her way through puberty.  I am testament to that.  See, back when I was around  14, I wanted labels.  Those labels here on the Gold Coast were Cheetah and Oakely.  There were a few other surf brands as well, but mainly those two.  Sadly, even back then, over 20 years ago, a pair of Cheetah togs were $70.    Oakley sunnies were over a hunghy. Yet, the fact that mum could not supply these made me feel undeservedly hard done by.  So we improvised.  Or I should say, she did.  Rather than forking out for a pair of Cheetah Tracksuit pants to take away on my year ten camp, she Hobbytexed CHEETAH on my $7 Best and Less pair.  Oh I was popular.

 
She also made a lot of my clothes.  Here I am in a little number I would wear skating at Skaters Paradise even years later. Sometimes with a fetching flip skirt.




 


And the fact that they she was a few decades behind the fashion didn’t stop her from whipping up new matching twin sets on a constant basis.  This, to a girl trying to forage her way in the very fucked up pecking order of early high school, caused issues.  Now of course I know she made these with love and with the best of intentions.  In hindsight I do, but let’s face it, 14 year old girls  can be complete moles.

 

And it appears as we get older, our parents don’t stop the rot.  Phil’s dad, my now Father in law, embarrassed his son beyond belief the very first I met them.  Now, Allan, Phil’s dad,  is a lovely guy, so much so, he was super excited that his son was bringing home a “new” girl to meet them.  Clearly Phil had been just lovin and leavin em before that.  He asked me upon entry if I’d like a drink.  Now Phil’s parents do not drink. Like Ever.  Yet at some point they’d been given a bottle of Baileys, so that was what was on offer.  I accepted happily, loving not only a bit of Baileys but also the social lubrication.  That’s when Allan poured the Baileys into his best glasswear and chunks fell out.  See, at some point, probably at least two years prior, he’d added some Milk to the Baileys BOTTLE and then returned it to the abyss of their liquor cabinet.  Ahh, I’ve loved his dad ever since.

 

So have I learnt anything from my childhood?  Will I zip my lips or buy my children all the cool stuff so they fit in?  Maybe, because I remember only too well how this stuff can pre-determine a kids coolness factor. 


Mind you, I did find myself leaping out of the car this morning and pinning Maddies hair back for the school photos she had on later that day.  I then may have proceeded to wet my finger with my own saliva and wipe Milo from her chin.  Oh God.  It’s started. 

How did your parents embarrass you?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

MAINTAIN THE RAGE











We women are quite wonderful. We have the ability to maintain our rage and hide it away for just the right amount of time so it can be released with maximum effect at precisely the right time.  This my friends, is truly a gift.

 

I don’t find I get the opportunity to maintain the rage nearly as much as I once did.  When I was younger and unmarried, I had a boyfriend, and whilst he tried hard, he often got it wrong.  Usually in social situations.  So I would go along with the game, keep a straight, often giddy face and say nothing.  Nothing until we got home. And then I would unleash hell.  Ahh, those were the days...  I bet he misses me.

 

However, Phil and I are pretty much masters of the silent fight.  We rarely ever have an all out shout out loud, call the cops, argument.  We keep quiet about it, yet are both so in tune with one another, we know exactly the minute something is up. Yet neither wants to break.  So there are nights of going to bed and retreating to our own sides of the bed.  Or speaking to each other in limited statements.  Such as “Jack just crapped his pants”  or “The toilet is blocked”.  And often, I wonder if this is healthy.  I’ve got girlfriends who pretty much just lay it all on the table.  If something bothers them, well then, in front of all and sundry, they will pretty much have it out.  Now this of course makes us, the people they’ve invited over for a BBQ, a little uncomfortable. But hey, at least the rage is not being maintained.  Is this the best way?

 

Probably my biggest moment of suppressed anger started on the 2nd of December, 2006.  Why do I remember the date so well?  Oh well, probably because it was the day before I gave birth to my 3rd child, Jack.  I was about 100 years pregnant and ready to pop.  No seriously, it was my due date.   It also happened to be the night of our annual street party.  So, feeling AOK, we walked up the hill to the party, socialised and I left Phil to continue cooking sausages and shooting the shit and took the other two kids home about midnight.   

 

Around 2am, I heard the scraping of a badly manoeuvred BBQ onto the deck and felt my husband flop down beside me into the bed.  That’s when the smell of a thousand beers hit me.  Ha, I thought to myself, he’ll be riding the porcelain bus come 7am.  He never got that chance. 

 

Around 3am I felt a twinge. Now, no matter how many babies you have given birth to, you still never quite remember the feeling of going into labour until it actually happens again.  I guess this is nature’s version of temporary amnesia because clearly, without it, we’d never go back for more.   So, I felt it and tried to ignore it.  I mean, my husband was blotto, passed out beside me.  




I did my best and held out until about 5am. That’s when I had to rouse him. To his credit, he sprung out of bed, I rang my best friend and she came to look after Maddie and Sam.  We were on our way to the hospital by 6:30am.  Clearly this was ridiculous.  He would still have been highly intoxicated and in hindsight, a cab or ambulance would have been a better mode of transport.  Jack Morley, the one eyed willy, gigantic big balled baby was born just after 8am.  Phil, was at this point, fading fast.  Here’s him, having a little lie down with Jack about 20 minutes after he was born.  Because, he was “a little bit tired”.  Fucking What?






I had just done the majority of the labouring at home, in silence, (Because apparently I’m now a Scientologist) not wanting to bother the pissed irresponsible husband and he was a “little bit tired”?  Here’s the thing. I didn’t even realise I was annoyed about this, nor did I particularly want to be, but it just kind of snuck up on me.  About a week later, when it all sunk in and I realised that I was that mother whose husband was basically flammable in the delivery suite, I realised I had been sitting on a teensy bit of suppressed anger.  It might have been when he was relaying the story about how tired he was and how the day seemed to “drag on forever”.  It was about 10pm that night that he copped it.  



Needless to say, when, four weeks later he was resting a pack of frozen peas on his nuts from the vasectomy he'd breezily put his hand up for, my sympathy levels were thin on the ground.    

So, do you maintain the rage?  Or do you let fly in situ?  Or a little bit of both?