Mother Who Works

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Sluggin' it out

I have an indoor plant that wasn't doing so well so, I popped it under a tree outside for a while. It seemed to be on the recovery and I brought it back in.

I think I must have also brought in some hitchhikers and for the next couple of weeks, we could see where they'd been!

The silver trail of evidence

More on the fire screen

I found two of the offenders, cringing under the pot, and deposited them outside. But trails still appeared from the overnight antics of their slithering.

I'm not sure where the others were hiding, but we had slug trails all over the place - those little guys get around! Geoff was very unimpressed to find that they'd had a bit of an excursion all over one of his speaker.

And now they've stopped.

Vale slugs.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Tough love

Elle's has been nannying some kids over the summer who are, well, let's just say a little challenging.

Not one to be backwards, Elle has been taking them to task over their shabby behaviour, calling them out on every eye roll, sarcastic remark and pretty much treating them as we mothers would want. She knows she's not winning any favours with the kids, but frankly, bad luck.

However, not long before she was due to finish up, the mother took her aside.
The children have been really upset... she said quietly, so said children couldn't hear.
Here we go, thought Elle, I guess this day was always coming - the kids have complained. She braced herself for a reprimand.
... they're so sad that you're leaving. I know you can't stay full time, but I'm hoping you'll keep babysitting for us on a casual basis? 

Elle could come up with only one explanation; Stockholm Syndrome!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

One very angry woman

It was only yesterday that I was saying how packed the gym is - and with that, of course, comes a parking issue.

This morning was particularly bad.

The car park was full, so I pulled back out into the traffic and attempted to park on the road. There was a woman who let me into the traffic and then seemed to be cross that I was trying to park. With the light change, I moved forward and could see the parking sign that had been obscured by a tree - no parking until 9am.

I pulled back into the traffic - now behind said women - who then went NUTS!! Gesticulating like the picture below, shaking her head, waving her hands, ranting to herself - for a full light change. It was quite the show!

She absolutely went OFF, eyeing me in her rear vision mirror - so I just calmly held her gaze and sipped my latte - which seemed to make her even madder.

As the lights changed and she pulled away, her final salute was the bird.

Seriously, she hadn't been at all inconvenienced by me - the traffic was shite anyway - I can only think she hates her life. She needs to breathe - or maybe go to the gym?!!!

Monday, February 12, 2018

New Year's resolution

I don't go in for them myself, but clearly others do.

How do I know this? Because since the start of the year, the gym has been packed - and I mean, PACKED! I can barely carve out enough space in a Pump Class to execute a lunge and have to take care not to smack the people around me with the bar of weights.

It wasn't like this when I joined - in August. Yes, it was busy, but this has gone to a whole new level.

There's a 'token' system that I'd never seen before where you pick up one of a limited number of laminated cards to secure your place in the class and - I assumed - ensure it's not overcrowded and there are enough mats and weights and whatever for everyone. Not so.

The other morning, while awaiting a class, I noticed others had the tokens, and I didn't. Whoops! I ran back to the desk and asked if there were any left. No, I was told, but just go on in and see if you can get a space.

There wasn't even any prioritisation for those with tokens - it was free for all! Maybe they don't want to disappoint people?

Eleanor assures me it will drop off as the weeks go by and that by Easter, it should be back to normal.

Not to be discouraging, but I do wish they'd hurry up and let it go - now!!

Friday, February 2, 2018

End of an era

Sass started high school this week. Here she is!

Yes -  a bit of late bloomer, she looks like she could be going into Year 4 but she really is in Year 7. With a bit of lippy and a fake id, I swear half her friends could get into a night club! Whereas Sass can still eat from the kids' menu - no questions asked.

But the real milestone is that this is the first time in 19 years (yes - nineteen!!!) that we no longer have a child in primary school.

Nineteen consecutive years.

George started school in 1998 and we've been doing drop offs and pick ups ever since.

I'd love to say how many cakes I've baked, stalls I've manned and funds I've raised - but the truth is, not many!!

And according to market research segmentation, we are no longer classified as a 'Young Family' - the criterion being a child in primary school. We've finally evolved to 'Older Family' and 'Empty Nesters' is sill probably a decade away.

Lucky I like kids!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A discombobulating start to the year

The start of the year is always a bit disruptive with various businesses taking different breaks.

That's all well and good - until it affects me!

First up was the cafe next door. I assumed it'd reopen in the first week or two of January. I'd arranged a couple of catch ups there with colleagues and when it didn't open, was forced to relocate. Frustratingly, there's no sign to say when they're reopening. I figured they were still in business as there was painting equipment on the floor and am contemplated sticking a sign, facing inwards, to ask what's going on and get them to call me.

Next is the car wash over the road. My car is filthy. I always pre-purchase my car washes there and probably have about nine left. The sign said they'd be reopening on the 12th so figured I could hang out until then. As the 12th approached, the sign now said:

(In fairness, they did spell 'until' correctly!)

I tried calling - I think they've taken the phone off the hook as it's continually engaged. The shade sails have been removed so I was hopeful they were just renovating. However, Geoff's heard a rumour around the 'hood that they've shut up shop. Damn!! What about my nine car washes??

As I type, Sass is cleaning my car - for cash!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

More karma

Elle had been home from Sydney for less than 48 hours and I was already asking her, repeatedly, to tidy up after herself. In particular, her room, that in 30 seconds had gone from show-room perfect to looking like we'd been burgled and ransacked.

Naturally, she ignored me.

Actually, that's not true. She may have rolled her eyes and told me to stop nagging.

So, I was working in my study above the shed yesterday and heard someone yelling in a high-pitched voice 'Mum!! Mum!! Mum!!" I initially thought it was a toddler, then Elle, then maybe a toddler... then my phone rang. It was Elle, and through sobbing, I gathered she'd injured her foot.

I ran down to discover her face down, across the debris strewn on her bedroom floor, with this bit of a belt stabbed and stuck deep in her heel.


Take me to a hospital!! She screamed. Oh for goodness sake....
I'm just going to pull it out - are you ready?

I realised surprise was my best approach so without warning, wrenched it out.

I ran to the recently tidied medicine cabinet and got some gauze and a band-aid.

Is there lots of blood? Elle asked, still face down on the carpet.
Not really. It was pretty much a clean in and out, I calmly replied.

Furthermore, I managed NOT to mention that had she tidied her room like I'd been asking, perhaps this wouldn't have happened - at least I didn't say anything, or laugh, for at least a couple of hours 😂

Friday, January 5, 2018

Lady Elliot Island

Ever heard of it?

Neither had I, but on looking for a place to see the Great Barrier Reef, it seemed to be the place to go. Being so far south, the impact of Cyclone Debbie and bleaching has missed this spot. This is it - and yes, a large chunk is taken up by the airstrip.

We booked in for three nights in an eco-cabin before Christmas.

I'd heard it was renown for bird life so reminded myself 100 times not to forget my binoculars.  It turned out I didn't need them. December is breeding time for these guys and, they're literally everywhere. Some poor unsuspecting tourist had the bacon taken off his plate and breakfast! If you don't care for birds, this isn't the time of year to visit, but apparently, they all disappear in February.

Bird's eye view of the birds

No binoculars required!!!
The real attraction is the snorkelling. We saw a Spotted Eagle Ray (no Mantas, unfortunately), large reef sharks (about 2 metres), a mother of a stingray - perhaps nearly 2 metres across, nestling into the sand, a huge moray eel, a row reef squid that were eye-balling Elle and me in some kind of surreal Mexican stand-off, a massive grouper, trumpet fish, batfish that look like super-sized angel fish and hundreds of others. And each time, we saw turtles! Some as small as a dinner plate but most the size of an occasional table.
A whole row of these guys was just.. so...weird

Eagle Ray - they're big!

More of these than you could point a stick at

It was the egg-laying season for the turtles so a night walk along the beach was less about possibly seeing one and more like how many. They were very busy girls!

Gorgeous sunsets
To quote another guest;
"Turtle, crab, sunset - I don't know which way to look!!!"

Hermit crabs aplenty on the beach in the evening

I BYO-ed champagne. They were happy to provide glasses!

If you like a nap when you're on holiday, be warned, the eco-cabins (in fact, I suspect all the cabins) get very hot in the afternoons. There's no aircon, but they do have a ceiling fan - which changes it from being in an oven to being in a fan-forced over. Sass tried napping on the deck out the front, but baby birds kept jumping on her!!

Anyway, if you like a bit of what nature has to offer, I'd recommend it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Mini Schoolies

When I finished Grade 6, way back in the 1970s, there was no ceremony or celebration. As I recall, we packed up our stuff on the last day, said 'See ya!' and left.

My, how things have changed.

So Sass wrapped up grade six and there has been:

  • A graduation assembly
  • A final assembly (where she did win an award for intellectual curiosity - go Sass!)
  • The Lip Syncing competition (unrelated to graduating - but another event to attend)
  • The graduation party last night - at the Royal South Yarra Lawn Tennis Club no less - including a disco, photo booth, photographer and drinks and finger food for the 'rents in a separate room

Preparation for the party included finding the right outfit, new shoes, bag and accessories, a manicure, having toe nails painted, some gradual tan on the legs (thanks Elle!) and a trip to the hairdresser for some braiding and curling. It was like a mini formal!

And if all that wasn't excitement enough, we were up before 5am this morning for the airport pick up because a bunch of them headed off to Merimbula for what one teacher dubbed 'mini schoolies' - a beach retreat with friends but sans boys, alcohol, fake id and dubious behaviour. 

Yes, 3 nights and 3 days packed with excitement and activities - hosted by a very brave and generous mum and the equally brave grandparents.

Seriously, it's times like these that I wish I was eleven again!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The season of goodwill... except at Chadstone Shopping Centre car park

What on earth was I thinking??

We're at liberty to go to Chadstone any day of the week, but Elle and I chose last Saturday afternoon, in the lead up to Christmas on a day of severe weather warnings and possible flooding to head to the self-promoted 'fashion capital'.

Naturally, the car park was hideous.

I told Elle that in these circumstances, the best strategy is to stop just inside one of the lanes and sit it out until you spot someone leaving. Driving around doesn't work as you continuously 'just miss' a spot.

So we sat.

An Audi 4WD pulled right up behind me so I popped my indicator on. I could see the driver huffing in my rear vision mirror as she pulled around me - but didn't expect the spray:

You can't stop there! She screamed at me. Wow.

So taken aback, my instant response was to yell back You can!

You can't! She yelled again,

You can! I screeched back.

So Grade 4 - it was actually pretty funny.

Meanwhile, some people had returned to their car just in front of me and we parked.

As we walked over the next lane way, the Audi was approaching in the  slow line of traffic - still looking for a spot. My gaze held steady but the driver was deliberately busying herself with something in the centre console while her young daughter was left to give us a filthy look.

I hope they have a very happy Christmas!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Brazilian

No - not that kind of Brazilian - I mean our rowing coach who hails from the South American country.

Yesterday he decided we should row in pairs, and oh my goodness, those boats are so skinny and narrow and consequently, feel very unstable.

I was rowing with Sal and made her stroke because I was terrified. I was debating if I should take my watch off in case we capsized. The school kids do all the time, sometimes several times a lesson, but we're middle aged women who are NOT interested in a dip in the river. Sal suggested I did remove the watch as that would assist the karma that would help us not to fall in. Turned out she was right - as I cheerfully admit, she usually is!

Our Brazilian coach was in the speedboat, espousing the golden rule - if you let go of your oars and grab the sides of the boat, you WILL capsize. Hmm, good to know.

For some crazy reason, being in the precarious boat made me forget everything I knew and Coach was giving me plenty of instructions. He talks a lot which is good, because I often have trouble understanding his accent and it takes me a while to cotton on to what he's telling me. However, I was surprised when he yelled out - several times - MWW! Why are you so dense??!

Now I've been asked some direct questions in my time, but this one takes the cake.

I could only respond with I don't know.

It was only when he followed up some time later with MWW! Relax your face!! that it occurred to me that he'd been saying 'tense' - not 'dense.' (Ironic I know - too dense to work that out!)

We didn't row particularly hard but I was shaking when we got out from having every muscle clenched for 90 minutes.

Apparently, he wants us to have a go at single skulls next. Maybe if I'm in my bathers I'll be able to focus on the rowing and not worry about the possibility of swimming!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Gym Junkie

Back before I had kids, and when g-string leotards and slouch socks were all the go, I was a bit of a gym junkie - but only aerobics.

I became so caught up in the trend, not only did I spend free time attending championship competitions (as a spectator!!!) but auditioned and was accepted to complete my Certificate in Exercise To Music at a local TAFE. And yes, that's not on my CV.

I got an HD in the written exam - which was mostly multiple choice and had such challenging and memorable questions

Which piece of equipment is essential when doing aerobics?
a.  Legwarmers
b.  Sweatbands
c.  A supportive pair of sport shoes
d.  All of the above

Anyway, I have recently rejoined a gym - the first time in many years and boy, has the business model changed! I think my annual membership now is cheaper than it was nearly 30 years ago. It was a significant expense on my budget in my 20s - now it's about $15 a week.

I've heard they have thousands of members and I suspect they don't care if they use it or not. They've discovered the sweet spot where even if some members only turn up occasionally, for fifteen bucks a week, they can't even be bothered cancelling it.

It is busy - they have about 70 scheduled classes a week, 60 bikes in the spin room, heaps resistance training equipment, over 20 treadmills and the classrooms are big.

I've had a shot at most things (but not yoga and pilates - they're not for me). I've stepped, cycled, boxed, body attacked, body gritted, CXWORX-ed, run, rowed, pumped weights, used kettlebells - it's endless!!

It's also a lot less pretentious that it was back in the day, with people of all ages, sizes and abilities and a really positive encouraging vibe from the instructors. And dare I say, it's actually pretty fun - even though the activewear is now less colourful.

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