Saturday, 31 August 2013

A Moment Amongst The Chaos

I remember Mum telling me that when my brothers and I were little, an older relative said to make the most of having small children because it'll be over before you know it. Mum said that at the time she thought 'Really?' as it seemed to be going on forever.

I know what she means. When you're knee deep in small kids it's hard to see the end of the week let alone any of them eventually being able to wipe their own bottoms. It does feel like it'll go on forever. But it doesn't.

We caught up with some neighbours for a drink last Sunday afternoon. "Bring whoever is at your place" I texted. "Sadly, just us" came the reply. They have four kids, their youngest one of George's friends, so almost 20. In years gone by, we've seen a variety of them and their current boyfriends and girlfriends at various drinks, street parties and get togethers. But last Sunday, it was just the two of them.

One Christmas I was telling a work colleague that I was in the throws of organising a sit-down lunch for 24 relatives for the big day. 'Lucky you', she almost chastised me. 'This year there's just four of us so we've booked in to a restaurant'. I understood what she meant but at the time, her plans sounded highly appealing!

So do you think like many things in life, that we look back with nostalgia? A kind of romantic view of the past? It's easy to do when you no longer have the smell of dirty nappies scorching your nostrils and you've had more than 4 hours of unbroken sleep.

Just after Sass was born we decided to go to Opera In The Park. We couldn't get a car park within a coo-ee so had to hatch a plan of military ingenuity to get everyone and everything to the venue in one go. We had George, Elle, Sass in her capsule, Jaz in her stroller with the Saturday paper on her lap so the four boxes of fish and chips weren't too hot, a basket with a picnic blanket, jumpers for when it cooled down, cups, serviettes and miscellaneous snacks, an esky with wine, bottle opener, soft drink, and water and two camping chairs for Geoff and me. I remember saying to Geoff as we staggered over the road towards the park, 'Can you imagine, in twenty years time it'll be you, me, the paper and a bottle of red.' He had perspective of the moment 'Yes, and how boring.'

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

It's Beginning To Look A Bit Like Christmas

Check the date people - that's right - August 28th. AUGUST!!!

So I was at Coles this afternoon and look what I spied?? An entire stack of Christmas Mince Pies.

I had some Christmas cards years ago that said 'It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...' on the front and inside, '.... and it has been in the department stores since September'

Well, this is proof - it's not just our imagination - it is coming around faster every year.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Solution to Nagging Teens

Elle has been nagging me since forever about having her ears pieced and I confess the age of permission has been rather rubbery.

My own parents were quite insistent I not have mine done until I was 21. But I was at boarding school and at 15 my 'friends', armed with a compass, a small carton of frozen orange juice and can of Spray Fresh antiperspirant (both for numbing purposes, although the Spray Fresh may have been handy to stop me sweating) and a large eraser to stop said compass piercing my skull,  pierced my left ear.
That didn't hurt at all! I declared. Do it again - I'll have two - same ear please.
I can only think the first was beginner's luck. The second was excruciating. The back and forth rotating combined with increasing pressure to get the compass through the skin on the back of my ear seemed to go on for a week. But finally it was done and I was very happy with myself.

Someone had lent me some surgical steel studs which did the trick for the first few weeks, but it wasn't long before the lure of cheap plastic pearls from Coles Variety Store was too much and in they went. Within days my ear was dripping pus. Hmmm - delicious! Not. Back to the surgical steel.

Needless to say I was in more than a spot of bother when Mum turned up unexpectedly and I'd had no time to remove the earrings. And yes, she did notice. I said I'd take them out and she stood there and waited for me to do exactly that.

It was more than 20 years later, when I won some gorgeous earrings in the local school raffle that I lined up again for a piercing. This time at the chemist with a gun and the regular one in each ear.

So when Eleanor kept going on and on and on - I suddenly wondered what the issue was. I let her dye her hair whatever colour she likes (it's currently one shade off being completely black), she uses public transport, she has her own debit card and makes her own bed - what's the big deal about the ears?? Beats a nipple.

I have finally discovered the way to stop a teenager nagging. Say yes!

She had them done on Monday.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The Mothers Who Work Party

Not sure who to vote for? No... me either. Pretty slim pickin's I reckon. So much so that I'm thinking of starting my own party. I've mapped out a couple of critical policies and am keen for input but here's what I'm thinking so far.

1. National Lice Week.
I am so utterly sick to death of lice that I'm going to introduce a week when all kids across the nation must be treated at least twice in that one week. Yes, there'll be companies and businesses who will not be happy with my plan to eradicate the little blighters, but seriously peeps, I have had enough!!!

2. Dog Poo Non-Picker-Upperers
The next person who leaves dog poo on my nature strip will have their nose rubbed in it.
I'll add your nature strip too if you vote for me.

3. Road Rage
Anyone being rude and brutish on the roads will be dragged before a panel of angry mothers and given a proper telling off. That'll fix them.

4. Pick Up After Yourself
It will be law that everyone needs to pick after themselves as they go along in life. Not wait until after school, the weekend, the holidays to put that cereal bowl in the dishwasher - you will do it, now!

5. Lower The Driving Age to 14
A friend of mine suggested this one years ago. So fed up was she with ferrying kids to sport and social events she pledged her vote to any political party that would reduce the age to get a licence to 15. I'm going even harder - 14. Sue Cummings, this one's for you!

6. Help Out
When I ask you to tidy the bathroom, leaving half the crap on the bench and saying it's your sister's doesn't cut it. I don't pull your clothes out of the washing machine before turning it on. Just do the job. In fact, I shouldn't even have to ask, but we'll overlook that for this election. Penalty for non compliance will be the confiscation of a mobile phone to an off-location site for one week. There is no flexibility in this law. One week.

7. Stop Whinging
7. a/ For evey kid who whinges that they're bored, in spite of 29 electronic gadets at their finger tips, a room full of toys, games, puzzles and books, a basketball ring in the backyard and a shed full of bikes, scooters and other sporting equipment - you will immediately be awarded an hour's gardening duty. Two if you complain.
7. b/ If you open the fridge or pantry, stare at the contents and proclaim that there's nothing to eat, you'll be on dinner duty for a week. Add supermarket shopping if you complain.

Yes there are big issues to consider in the upcoming election - asylum seekers, climate change, unemployment, the economy - but I'm getting straight to the nitty gritty of what's really going to make a difference in the lives of we working mothers.

Please do feel free to put forward your policy contributions and to join the party!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

You Know You're An Adult When....

I was reading a post the other night called  20 Signs That You're An Adult. I stumbled upon it  via yet another blogger - Fox In Flats - proving yet again that it is a trap to keep surfing the net late at night when you should be sleeping!  Anyway, this post is so funny becasue it's so true and I was inspired to start my own list -  many of which you might recognise as I have posted about some of these things before.

So in addtion to the original, I add:

You Know You're An Adult When...
  1. You drive a minivan with sliding doors
  2. You can unstack a dishwasher and breast feed a baby - at the same time
  3. You need to know what 'superannuation' actually means - and realise it's not that super
  4. When $4,000 a year on private health insurance seems like a good use of your money
  5. When you're as excited over a new dishwasher as you are over new shoes - possibly even more if you've been washing dishes by hand for a week
  6. Sleep is a more attractive option than sex (especially when your kids are tiny)
  7. You decide not to buy that divine new coat as you know the money would be better directed to your mortgage
  8. You really care about turning off the lights and appliances to save electricity and not becasue of the environment
  9. You can clean up poo and vomit without gagging - or even batting an eyelid for that matter
  10. Activities like gardening are now enjoyable
So what do you think the criteria is? Feel free to add your own  and let's see if we can get 20.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Keep Calm

Good advise for those who panic. Unfortunately it appears I have moved to the other extreme. It's not that I don't care but I suspect I've had enough real drama in my life so far to appreciate that panic is just not a helpful state - but perhaps I could, on occasion, try to ramp up the concern.

A message I don't need!
I know that there are plenty of people in the world who've done it much harder than my family - I'm fortunate to have that perspective. But compared to the average first world family (whatever that means), we've had more than our fair share of medical 'incidents'. I have had to call the ambulance more times that I can remember, administer drugs as serious as morphine and Valium (not to me, although it was very tempting at times), I've been summoned by the hospital day and night as 'medical emergencies' have been called on my children, I've stood by as they were intubated and transferred to ICU, rapidly declined and bounced back. I've learned to drive a ventilator, an oxygen extractor and a respiratory suction machine, I've dressed wounds, witnessed countless seizures, resuscitated non-breathers and performed CPR. And of course, I've seen death.

So perhaps it's not all that surprising that, as one of Geoff's friends says of me, 'She's battle worn'.

But last week, I excelled myself. Geoff called me just before 9am.
I've got the worst chest pains, it feels like someone's squeezing my heart. I'm just letting you know I'm going to the GP.
Good idea. I said, nonchalantly. Let me know how you go.

Geoff's brother had a cardiac arrest (ie no pulse, no breathing) on the basketball court a couple of years ago and was thankfully revived. At the time, Geoff had some tests and they appeared to be, well, passable. So there was reasonable cause for concern.

An hour later, Geoff phoned again.
They've called the ambulance. I've had an ECG and it's normal but I'm still in pain. They need to do some tests.
I figure if he could talk on the phone, how bad could it be? I had a  moment of guilt and called back:
Do you want me to come to the hospital? 
He knew I didn't really mean it and said no, he'd be fine.

Lunch time. I'm at Di Stassio (a very fancy-pants restaurant for peeps not from these parts) with my business partner and a colleague. 
How's Geoff? enquires my well meaning colleague.
Shit! That reminds me.....I sent a text: "Are you still alive??! x"
He was.

He'd been admitted for more tests and given morphine for the pain, so I swung by with Sass and took a few essentials as requested - PJs, phone charger, book, glasses. We arrived to discover an old friend was his nurse! Oh, we nattered away and had a jolly good catch up - then I remembered why we were there -  Geoff! Sorry - you okay?? That's right - this is supposed to be about you!

Anyway, he spent 3 nights in hospital, had multiple tests to discover he doesn't need a stent, his ticker is just dandy and that it's either muscular or heart burn. So see, no need to panic.

Update on the lethal bag: Customs have refused to let it in. It's gone back to my friend in Thailand. I'm a little bit sad about that...

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The Weapon

Check out this clutch. Isn't it just divine?  

I spotted it in a fancy-pants boutique in Chiang Mai and it was love at first sight. However, it was also rather expensive, so I dismissed it immediately. 

For the next 10 days, I thought about that bag. 'Just buy it!' Mandy, my business partner encouraged. (Hang on, we are in the same business aren't we??)

On the last morning I announced that I had almost convinced myself to buy it, but then realised because it's made of snake skin, I may have trouble getting it through customs. So that was that. But it wasn't. I got home and pined for that bag.

I emailed the boutique. No response. I emailed our Chiang Mai work contact. No response.

Next, I get a phone call from the contact - she's in the shop haggling with the owner who insists he also has a buyer from Australia. It takes them a few minutes and one phone call to confirm both buyers are me. But now we're have action! I transfer the money to my contact, (plus transfer fees, postage and the exchange rate has dropped, so yes, it's costing me more by the minute). She pops it in the post and let's me know it should be here in about a week. Yay!!!

But no. On Thursday I got a letter from customs regarding my overdue bag. They've seized it. And not because it's snake skin - I did in fact check that with the boutique owner who assured me that wasn't a problem. But because it's a weapon!! The handle is modelled on a knuckle duster which is an illegal item.

So I have filled in the appropriate paperwork and pleaded my case, even including a screen grab of all this season's knuckle duster handbags from Alexander McQueen through to high street chains. I've explained that I would never ruin a perfectly gorgeous clutch by ripping off the handle, that I'm a mother of four with no criminal record but I do have a Working With Children card. I confessed I may be guilty on the charge of being a fashion victim but I did stop short of sharing that the last time I punched someone would have been one of my older brothers when I was in primary school - and I swear that would have been provoked! Oh I want my bag!!! Please, keep it in your prayers.

And the name of the signing officer? Colin. Says it all really.

The Moroccan Bath

The girls and I have come up to Dubai for a few days to escape the Melbourne winter. It's in the 40s so we've thawed out - quickly. ...