Where the Toilets Smelt of Lemongrass

You may or may not have noticed I have been MIA for a few weeks.

Far too many weeks, as far as I’m concerned.

All has been well. Good, in fact. Just extraordinarily busy … you see, a few weeks back …

[insert wiggly graphic type thing here to indicate we are going back in time]

… first up came the settlement of our new abode.

Knowing it was forthcoming, I had commenced (as you know) the packing up of the house we were tenanting. This went as well as could be expected; a la everyone playing with the stuff that I was packing away and not actually helping pack stuff up.

I lost it over LEGO several times, clearly failing to explain how essential it was at that moment to have a clear run to various objects and exits. Ideally without being forced to attend an emergency department with a Clone Trooper embedded in my foot.

Up until the morning before settlement, we actually had no idea whether it was going ahead on the day we had anticipated, so it was still very much up in the air. Still, I had organised the removalist the week before, booked it all in, and continued on my merry way with the packing of our household into boxes.

This was kind of necessary as we were heading off for four days ‘holiday’, with the In-Laws, to attend the significantly-milestoned birthday for one of the many of them. Thus, our packing of the house coincided beautifully with the end of school term and the need to pack a family of five for a holiday interstate.

That was fun.

Approximately fourteen loads of washing per day, for three days, was performed in order to ensure we had the correct attire for our trip away, an email from the site/building manager of the new house indicated that a few minor touch ups – like replacing the entire carpet on the first floor, thanks to a painter and a painter-related mishap – were required and when were we settling? A quick phone call to him (“got your email, we’re settling in an hour and a half, removalist booked for tomorrow morning …”) was followed by a quick call to the removalist to confirm the time they would be arriving (“What do you mean you don’t have us booked in?! I rang a week ago and booked it!”).

This was followed by a mild tantrum, a quick ranty call to Grumpy Pants to update him on everything and find out if he had any intention of getting his shit organised for going away, and another phone call, to some random removalist I googled. Not my preferred option, but what can you do?

House mostly ready to go, beds and bookshelves dismantled and boxes allocated to a single area, whilst multiple requests for kids to get their stuff organised for holidays occurred. Grumpy’s work was, rather than quietening down for Winter, was picking up. This was both fabulous and rather inconvenient in equal parts.

Mostly, it was exhausting from my perspective.

Settlement occurred as was scheduled, which was a wonderful blessing, and happiness descended … mostly because I have a lovely, new, workable kitchen and my own, proper workspace for my Office.

ffa01(This ultimately means two of my three kids will need to share; but it is a sacrifice I’m willing to make …)

The removalist – the new ones I booked - did show up when they said they would, and although not filling me with as great a confidence as the original guys I’d booked, the job was done in a day. A FULL day, but it was done.


A vast majority of ‘stuff’ out of the old place, everything out of the truck and placed in their relatively correct spots, I could relax in the fact that we had ‘moved’ as we had planned.

I could now go back to the old place, we could all sleep on mattresses on the floor, and we could head off on our holiday and enjoy ourselves.


I would move proper when we got back.

A very early morning was had as we hauled our bags, children and arses out the door, setting off for the airport and our flight to the Gold Coast. Or was it Brisbane? Having left Grumpy Pants to organise the holiday, in his overworked and slightly stressed state, things were a little … lacking in detail. Mind you, it would have been much the same, if not worse, had the job been left to me. Which is why he had that particular task.

Bags fumbled in, tickets located and we worked out which flight we were to be on. A mild moment of panic when we couldn’t recall at which airport the hire car would be waiting for us at, only assuaged when we remembered our sister-in-law had our itinerary and she is a travel agent. We were fairly confident she did a better job of organising the hire car than we could have in that moment.

“Where are we staying?” Grumpy Pants asks me as we wait to board the flight, Chippie in tears and pyjamas saying he doesn’t want to get on a plane, and doesn’t want the plane to crash, Monkey Boy and Godzilla overtired and hyped up, which is always a fabulous combination.

“Um. You organised that,” I remind him.

We have no idea where we’re going …

The flight, remarkably, is not only on time, but lands a little early, we locate our hire car and we contact a relative to find out where we’re headed.

Unable to wait the twenty minutes for our arrival, the extended family set off for some excursion, calling us to let us know and asking we meet them at some point. This forced them to wait on the side of the road for 30 minutes, whilst we found out where the hell we actually had to go, then find them.

Still, we had a lovely picnic in a national park, caught up with rellies we haven’t seen for ages, and taking a billionty photos of lots of things. T’was nice.

Dinner with family had, back to our room, bed and I even got myself a few moments to just chillax … I’ve almost forgotten how to do that …


Fun filled adventures the next day, where we set off – all 23 of us, aged 10 months to 55 years – to Currumbin Sanctuary, where there was LOADS of wildlife … and trains …

ffa05Despite my fatigued mind and body, I was incapable of just wandering around aimlessly and, instead, spent a good three hours climbing around tree tops at the Adventure Parc. My arms eventually gave out and said “no more”, but I left physically exhausted, bruised, grazed and sore.

The perfect indication of a fabulous day.

Quick showers and getting dressed for the Birthday Dinner we had all arrived wherever the hell it was we were (I believe we’d exited Queensland and were staying somewhere in northern NSW – three states in four hours. Not a bad effort!), where Chippie sat on my lap, the subsequently developed a burning temperature, shivered uncontrollably, and promptly fell asleep.

After consuming my dinner and singing Happy Birthday, I felt the best option was to leave the party early and take him back to our room. Arms and body beyond fatigued, I hauled his dead weight up and commenced the five minute walk back to our room. This saw him convulse in fits of delirious laughter, which then had me laughing; possibly due to contagious nature of his laughter, and more likely due to anxiety and freaking out about his behaviour.

Day three saw us driving two hours (back to Brisbane) to visit some of my own relatives whom I have not seen for some time, and back again. Plans to make our way back to Brisbane airport over some seven hours, exploring and visiting various landmarks as we went were made,and were promptly changed over breakfast the next morning.

Chippie, whom surprisingly ate a HUGE breakfast, threw it all up again in rejection of the taste of the panadol I had attempted to give him.

Instead, we found ourselves headed even further south, towards Byron Bay, a place I try to avoid.

Byron Bay … where the toilets smell like lemon grass and the scent of the breeze from the ocean consists of the distinct smell of dope, emanating from the joints smoked by past-middle-aged men …

Plans included heading to Byron Bay, pulling into a car park and saying “so, what are we going to do here?”

The walk to the most-Eastern point of Australia was stunningly beautiful, and scattered with one of my kids up every second tree along the way, the littlest one in tears from exhaustion, and the middlest one wandering off in his own little world.


It was worth it once we hit the top, and made our way even further up to the lighthouse.


Whales and dolphins were spotted and the view in itself was relaxing. I took a moment to wander away from everyone and everything and just sit quietly for few moments, on my own, taking it all in.


Our trip back to Brisbane airport was, therefore, more a direct drive than a slow, exploratory one. Arrive at car hire drop off place and realise we have not topped up car with petrol. Leave again to fill car up, taking a good twenty minutes out of our chillaxed time to check in and all the rest of it.

Return to drop car off. Arrive at Tiger check in desk to be greeted with a sign saying “Check in at Desk 15″, which was, as it turns out, around the back of where the sign was, and not the five minute walk across the frigging airport departures and check in area.

“Are you headed to Darwin?” asks the lovely girl behind the counter.

I wish, I thought to myself.

“Melbourne? No, your flight was cancelled. You were put on the 6.40 flight earlier this evening. Didn’t you get an email or text?”

No. No we didn’t. And a 6.40 flight, two hours earlier does not help.

“We can put you on the next available flight,” she says helpfully. “It’s at 9.10 tomorrow evening.”

Half an hour later, we have booked very early morning flights with Virgin. Peter, who served us, was extremely lovely and helpful and even tried to find us accommodation. Unfortunately, there was nothing, and we were back in Brisbane, staying with the brother- and sister-in-law we had farewelled not an hour earlier. Which was really lovely and helpful of them.

Up early again, where my day was spent between two houses; trying to organise and make one liveable, and tidy and organise a garage sale at the other.

I got my new Maid to do a bit of tidying in my new office space whilst I set about trying to avoid the foetal position and just find places for stuff.


Over the last two weeks I have sorted and organised and tried to remain calm as I dealt with squabbling children who did not want to go to school/share a bedroom/put things away/do anything asked of them.

A trip to Ikea was undertaken in a bid to get some semblance of organisation in the place and provide me with somewhere to put stuff.

A quick stint on Channel 7 News, filmed in my new house, between boxes and piles of cushions and blankets that are currently performing the role of ‘couch’ occurred.It was nice to have a proper shower, do my hair and wear some good clothes, even if only for ten minutes.

(You can view the story at https://au.news.yahoo.com/vic/video/watch/24467487/investigation-into-baby-formula/ )

Now, most of the new house is set up – including my very own office space! – a garage sale has been organised and had at the old place, Chippie still does not have a bed and some things do not yet have a home, but at least we now know what needs what.

And I am finally, finally,  sitting at my (very old) desk in my very own space and back to doing what I love.

It’s a nice feeling.

How about you, what have you been up to this last month?



Hit a Brick With Family Day

Family Day has come around, yet again. Although, the last few weeks we just haven’t been able to manage it.

One kid going away here, another kid off to parties there, yet another kid with a better social life than I …

We’ve been busy.

So an invitation to the VIP pre-launch of the LEGO Brick Zone, which will be functioning during the upcoming school holidays, at Watergardens Town Centre was just what the Family needed.

Also, it was something I knew they’d all like and I didn’t have to think too much about what to do. Great timing!

Admittedly, it was a bit of an effort for all of us to get out of bed, and we were forced to forgo the usual Sunday Morning Pancakes that we make Grumpy Pants cook for us each week, and off we went.

I did, inevitably, kick off with a coffee. I must.


It was a very special event indeed, not least because we were able to meet with, and speak to, LEGO Man Dude Person Whose Job It Is To Play With LEGO All Day, Building Stuff And Travelling The World.

Monkey Boy was most in his element.


Ryan McNaught (aka LEGO Builder Man Dude) then took us on a ‘tour’ of sorts. Basically, he has some of his creations around the shopping centre. So we went and had a bit of a squizz at them and he had a bit of a chat with us about why he built them, how long the took, how many bricks were included and that sort of stuff.

He is really a remarkably talented person! I’m in awe at what he can do with several hundred handfuls of highly sophisticated interlocking pieces of plastic.



Back to the Brick Zone which has been set up with kids of various ages and interests in mind. This impresses me greatly … there’s no fighting over stuff, and there’s a bit trough down the middle of the tables to house bits of LEGO. I also suspect this may be to reduce the risk of bricks ending up on the floor and being stood on, thereby creating some kind of agonised scream that could potentially rupture the eardrums of other shopping centre patrons.

And probably shatter the ceilings and entrances.

A huge accident risk, averted, really.

Anyhoo, all the kids got into it, including the biggest one.

lbz-05 lbz-04

Then we made our way to a VIP viewing of the LEGO Movie, where Monkey Boy got shirty with me because I sang “Your mums is awesome!” and “I am so awesome!” all the way over to the cinema.

Afterwards, Chippie lost the plot and got shirty because Grumpy Pants refused to sing “Everything is awesome!” on the way home.

It was a fun day.

If you get a chance, go check out the LEGO Brick Zone and the utterly amazing – indeed, AWESOME! – LEGO creations on display around the Watergardens shopping centre.

The added bonus is that the kids are so super inspired that they are motivated to spend much of the holidays creating stuff and things from LEGO.


From the Album: Family Day at LEGO Brick Zone

Just a small selection of photos from our morning at the LEGO Brick Zone at Watergardens


All The Help I Didn’t Want

After a rather productive week on the Boxing Stuff Front, I had an afternoon of “Help” from the entire family.

They were all there, and my idea had been to delegate tasks.

Apparently, all this boxing of stuff has caused my brain to malfunction. Also, everyone else knows better and were choosing their own tasks.

I had also managed to offload some large items of furniture and organised to have them picked up.

Grumpy Pants had chosen today to construct a shelf we had obtained and were planning to use  to not only display items we planned to Garage Sale, but also to sell in said Garage Sale.

Not all a bad idea, except that there are boxes and piles of organised stuff everywhere and I really wanted some sort of Area Organisation for it all; you know an area that housed all the boxes and large items to be picked up by removalists, an area that was allocated to all stuff for the garage sale, and another for items to be donated. And each of these areas to be separated enough that there could be no confusion as to what was what.

This would also enable my currently overloaded brain, full of lists for parenting, entrepreneuring and moving etc would have fewer things to think about. As it is, I can’t remember … something …

The only ‘free’ area happened to be the foyer, in which Grumpy chose to commence the construction of the shelving. My appeals to wait just a moment were mostly ignored or talked over, until I managed to just deflate and say “We need to move a couch out soon, trough that area. Can we just move this to there, that to over there and set this up here so we don’t have to move it again?”

It took Monkey Boy to say “Are you okay, mum? You’re not, like, yelling and angry, but you’ve got a lot on” to point out that I may, perhaps, have reached the end of my tether.

Things moved, shelf erected, painkillers had, couch picked up, no children stashed in ottoman of couch, and not children not belonging to me left behind.

That done, I made everyone sit and watch a movie so I could get on with my job in peace – and productivity.

Dinosaur Adventures – A Short Story in Pictures

We were given a couple of tickets to check out Dinosaur Adventures before its official opening.

A fun night … best presented in pictures …


Moving a Mad House

Still without a confirmed date, and knowing we have a few days interruption, where nothing will be able to be achieved right in the middle of all the moving and stuff, I figure it is best just to be prepared and get stuff done.

I generally don’t like to do things without absolute confirmation.

The Universe has a horrible habit of realising I have been Tempting Fate and has a bit of a laugh and joke at my expense.

Although, to be fair, it’s relatively mild, just terribly frustrating and annoying.

So, I’m totally outside of my comfort zone, right now, as well as just the general stress of packing and moving.

Which, to be honest, is rather not-stressful, given this time I am doing a vast proportion of it on my own. I have set up my days, dividing them between working, the Usual Daily Stuff and organising to move.

There is no one here to ‘help’, to offer suggestions, to check in with, or to check in with me, and I just go about stuff and things, music up (MY choice of music), dancing and packing as I go.

Progress is being made. Slowly, but surely.

So fabulously productive and not stressed was I feeling when the kids were home after school, I was under the delusion that we could quadruple productivity and have them assist.

Mostly, they were relegated to their respective bedrooms and given Child Appropriate Tasks to complete. By Child Appropriate, I mean appropriate for each of my children. Monkey Boy is essentially told “pack your LEGO up” cos he can handle that kind of vagueness.

Godzilla, on the other hand, needs more specifics, and given his bedroom looks like a tornado has whipped through a stationery shop, with paper and his veritable mass of writings and drawings he does instead of sleeping, I am required to break the task down into the smallest parts possible.

Taking a look at his room, however, I have no idea where to start, myself, so just choose the first item that I see and direct the relocation of it. I wander in intermittently to choose another object, and those that can be similarly categorised, toss in another box and have these items allocated to it.

Chippie is just advise to get everything out from under his bed.

Off they go, into their rooms, and I distract myself with larger boxes, packing tape and red permanent market to get more stuff done.

Wandering through the living room some time later, muttering to myself and trying to find yet another roll of packing tape I find … Monkey Boy ‘packing’ his LEGO up, which has essentially been received as Build All The LEGO and make a fabulously huge scene in the middle of my office where I am trying to pack shit up.



Godzilla, on the other hand, has found a lovely pile of virgin paper and finds it absolutely essential that he draw some more, and add to his MASSIVE collection of drawings he’s already done that I will have to go through when he is not home, so I may cull it significantly (and probably cry doing so).



Chippie, meanwhile, has been bringing things out from under his bed, followed by being so ecstatic about it he simply must play with each item for twenty minutes before leaving it wherever he happened to be utilising it (generally right in the middle of where I need to walk at that moment) and venturing back into his room to find The Next Thing.



The tying trains up with bandages that they obtained many months ago and that have been floating around the house and performing a variety of roles over that while.



I am reminded why I was enjoying doing these things on my own …

My Kids. Totes Embarrassing.

After my foray into the city of Melbourne a few weeks back, exploring the new delight that is the Myer MyKids Emporium, complete with a plethora of toys, kids’ clothes and fun stuff, and after much dealing with poor, neglected and traumatised children (my own, apparently neglected and traumatised because I did not give them a day off school so they could accompany me) I chose to take the Biggest and the Littlest in for a bit of a looksee.

I was also motivated by the gift of some vouchers in which to utilise at said store – yup, there’s the disclaimer I have to include right there. I was given a couple of vouchers to put towards products purchased in the toy and clothing sections – and that the Middlest Child had a few friends coming over and Monkey Boy and I needed to escape for a bit, so we didn’t completely lose our wills to live.

A short car trip and tram ride to the Emporium building situated in the pocket that is Elizabeth, Lonsdale, Swanston and Little Bourke Streets in the Melbourne CBD, up some escalators and into some sort of Child Valhalla.

And where the kids went into the What Do I Look At First Frenzy.

Not difficult for Monkey Boy; straight to the LEGO section, easy to find, well stocked, Monkey Boy heaven …

Chippie was a little more scattered, flitting between the range of How To Train Your Dragon products, and the Thomas the Tank Engine section…



Before, yes, heading back to the LEGO section and checking out all the fab LEGO creations I had already had the delight and pleasure of telling them about …


Half the fun of the place is being able to touch, feel, test, play with and explore the range, all of which is easy to find, thanks to the sensible layout.

Of course, this also means you can’t do the “Oh, I don’t think they have them here” and dragging a child out of the shop before you have to explore each and every item in the range of whatever it is they’re looking at.

Another great part of the fun is the displays they have around the store, like the LEGO above, and Iron Man, whom we did some sensible posing with.


And then because we couldn’t help ourselves, and I - *ahem* - was heavily encouraged by my teenage son to do so, we took a few selfies with Iron Man. I’m sure he was totally into it as well.


Then there’s the  other stuff; face painting, balloon animal and other balloon based creations, as well as the ‘roving entertainment’ and bunch of characters who are happy to entertain and talk to the kids, and pose for photos.

My teenager was totally embarrassing when he agreed to have a couple of pics with some Super Heros who happened to be wandering around at the time; just standing there all sensible and stuff.



So I showed him how it was done properly … being all sensible and stuff and getting Spider Man to hold my cape and stuff …



I found him some twenty minutes later, hiding behind a wall of LEGO and pretending didn’t know who I was.

I don’t know what’s wrong with him sometimes.

But I can’t have been all bad, because he did say, several times, on the way home “Thanks for taking us there, it was awesome! Can we go again?!”

(Also, we are now the proud owners of even more LEGO and Thomas stuff …)

It’s snot personal

Chippie is going through a wonderfully fun moment where he is refusing to eat his dinner.

I think, mostly, because he is five. Also, it is just what children do.

He fails to appreciate that I have experienced this phenomena before, twice before, in fact, and that I have far more experience with five year old boys than he does.

So, ner.

A nightly event, one in which Grumpy Pants and I are completely bored with now, we cook and serve his meal and, despite what it is he informs us, loudly that he “doesn’t like that!”

With the exception of pasta, which he will immediately smother in cheese, sit and eat, regardless of the sauce included with it, he maintains this rhetoric despite being mostly ignored.

His plated dinner remains on the table, until he deigns to consume it.

Ingenious child that he is, realising that his stubborn refusal is not working (for him),  the last few weeks he has been conjuring up increasingly valid explanations as to why he can’t eat dinner.

He decided a few weeks back he’d “make his own”. This usually involved an apple. Initially, it also involved tantrum-like demands for me to cut the apply for him, but as I persistently and consistently refused and pointed to his dinner, he gave up and just ate the apple whole.

Until we ran out of apples and he had to utilise his creatively ingenious mind to come up with something more suitable to convince me.

Last night it was “I made my own dinner. I had snot.”

Which is good, because it means there are no dishes or cutlery to wash. I just tossed him in the bath afterwards.

I think he was most miffed that we didn’t react more according to his desires.

Little does he know I know that snot is actually beneficial as a meal.

It’ll be fun, they said …

Over the last three to four weeks, we have been receiving vague, verbal indications as to when we’ll be allowed to move into our new abode.

We haven’t really had a good look at it, only from the outside, and it is looking rather marvellous and exciting.

And we are both stressing. Will all our shit fit in, stop calling it shit, it’s just stuff that we have collected, but it’s shit, no it’s not, it’s good stuff and stuff the kids used a lot but have now grown out of, and how will we set up all the rooms.

Having also been working on quite a number of things at the same time; a couple of business things, a few teenage related stressful things, a few ASD things, tantrums, extended family and close friend dramas, my life is somewhat full.

The issue of Packing Stuff To Move has reared it’s ugly head and as much as the idea of creating a large bonfire and starting over again is appealing, most of the Stuff (Not Shit) is stuff that would break my heart if it were burnt to death, so that is not an option.

Also, it would require the need to take The Grumpy Fucker shopping for all new Stuff That Is Not Shit But Actually Necessary; like couches and fridges and bookshelves and shit-that’s-not-shit.

You can imagine how much fun Life is right now.

Taking into consideration all that is occurring in Life right now, for both Grump and I, it became crystal clear evident that I am going to be the one largely responsible for the packing and moving.

Also for the Fitting Of Stuff In, and the Getting Rid of Stuff That Won’t Fit.

It’s just the way things are right now.

In order of this to work, though, without my having to explain to authorities just how my husband managed to walk into a knife 37 times, I had to have a chat with him. A chat along the lines of “If I’m doing it, shut the fuck up and let me do it my way.”

I said it nicely. I think he got it. I think we’ll be okay, now I have that off my chest and out of my head.


Sadly, I am also burdened – although, mostly, I admit it is a wonderful thing to be ‘burdened’ with – a need to know What’s Next. I need to be able to visualise things and to at least have an idea of options … I do not like to have a great, gaping void in front of me. Which is also occurring right now, as I know that some of our furniture will have to go, to make way for stuff that actually fits.

Coupled with Grumpy’s natural desire to assume that every time I say “I need to go look a couches/beds/bookshelves/storage” that I want to Buy All The Stuff Now, tensions can rise.

No. I need to look.

And that’s where the Voice In My Head said Go to Ikea and get a feel for what’s what.

This is, indeed, a brilliant idea that will go a long way to assuaging the Great Gap Of The Unknown in my head and fulfil my need for a visual reference for down the track.

The Voice also added, Take the kids.

It’ll be fun! it assured me.

A few more Voices piped in and agreed, some also suggesting I could extract feedback from them about a few things for their bedrooms so they would Feel Like They Have Had A Say or some such Good Parenting Handbook Shit.

So, after offloading a few small items I have managed to organise to offload already, we head off to the Great Blue And Yellow Shop at the edge of the City.

Monkey Boy and Chippie vanish almost immediately, and are relatively quickly located, delivered a Stay Close speech and vanish again.

Godzilla is Hungry, and Needs To Eat. This is fairly normal.

Grumpy calls everything Shit, but in that sense of just using the word Shit in place of all kinds of other, more appropriate words like “could work”, “might go into the family room”, “it’s a choice between this and this for the TV’ and “shit”.

By the time we hit the children’s bedding area, I am armed with the full Ikea catalogue, several information booklets for various constructions, and a worsening pain behind my right eye, which is usually indicative of an imminent migraine.

I constantly have to reassure Grumpy Pants that I don’t necessarily intend for us to purchase everything right now or, indeed, at all, and that I am just trying to get ideas.

I am also attempting to de-hyper Monkey Boy and Chippie, both of whom are either hyper-stimulated or hyper-bored.

Godzilla also requires a few words along the lines of yes, we’re trying to get out of here!

I attempt the suggestion that if he stops sulking and attempts to participate, time may go quicker.

My head starts to throb.

We get back to the car and I discover that within my pile of booklets, three of them are identical and I’m probably not as enlightened as I thought I would be.

Despite all this, there were a few upsides to the whole experience …

I have some ideas for what we may or may not need, and what we may or may not need to offload before we make the move.

I have some sort of visual reference for the above mentioned.

Despite my belief that my kids were somewhat obnoxious, I realise they are no where near as bad as most other children and I really probably don’t need to be as hard on them as I am at times.

In fact, relatively speaking, I think, as a Family, we’re pretty okay.

(Oh, and I had a few words to the Voices In My Head about being So Horrible! Bastards!)


Super Long Weekend Work

The two primary school aged Cherubs were given the day off school today.

Report writing/extended long weekend pissup for teachers/a little from Column A and a little from Column B was the reason given.

I took this opportunity to address the three  ‘home project’ sheets that have been fluttering around our dining room table for the last few weeks; shifted from one place to another to avoid being lost/covered in pasta sauce/recycled.

So, after they had been tossed into and recovered from the recycle bin several times, lost and covered in a variety of pasta sauces, I spent a few hours shifting even more papers that appear to have been breeding like randy rabbits, thumping and banging things and eventually locating the sheets of paper that tell us what needs doing.

It’s all fun, so far.

First up, they are both required to do a small project, a poster, for their Italian class at school. Well, for the bigger one, Godzilla, it is a must and for Chippie, it’s an ‘if they want to, with parental help’.

The children are given a checklist of what needs to be included on said projects, and are also given free rein on what their topic is. So long as it is ‘Italian …’ something, then it’s all good. It also must be written in Italian, and able to be read in the same language.

Godzilla – oh, thank goodness! – has chosen ‘Italian Landmarks’, which seems relatively simple.

‘Relatively’ particularly relative to Chippie’s topic of choice, which is ‘Italian Dragons’.

I’m not surprised. I’m not particularly thrilled either. To be honest, I hadn’t really thought much about dragons having a particular race or ethnicity. I guess, if I think about it, I do at least know of the Chinese variety, and those from Scandinavian countries.

In my defence, I’ve more been trying to focus on assimilating my five-year-old into school in a more human, less dragon form. It took two weeks before we managed to get him to stop speaking Dragon at school and have him use his human words. It’s been a tough gig, if I’m honest.

Google and Wiki it was, and I did my best to involve Chippie as much as possible, which pretty much resulted in him yelling “OOOOH, YEAH! THAT ONE, THAT ONE!” and being all pointy with his fingers when we searched pictures of Balaur and Zburator dragons (yes, I did learn summat!)

Content and images collated, by both kids, and everything printed off, it was time for even MORE fun. This involved a trip to local, oversized shopping centre to purchase some suitably sized cardboard on which the could paste their pieces of acquired information.

I was NOT going to let this drag on any longer. Off we set, along the way discovering Chippie’s shoes were not only falling apart, but also possibly a size too small, of not more.


Bypass to the find suitable shoes, get sidetracked by toys, get sidetracked even further by hunger, get sidetracked by sales in shops, stop for food and coffee and milkshakes on the way out the door towards home and then remember why we came in the first place.


The newsagent under the food court/the exit nearest home is no longer there. As fate would have it, it is now allllllllll the way down the other end of the oversized construction.

I debate saying fuck it and heading home, but the idea of leaving this any longer was enough for me to hoist the purchases we had collected so far, and tell the kids “It’s just down here, then we can go home” (yes, the I Want To Go Home Whine was in full force, also).

An argument ensues over who could have the blue cardboard. About 103 shops before we actually make it to the newsagent. As though they can’t possibly both have blue cardboard, being in different grades, different classrooms and having different projects. That is just not on.

We eventually make it to our destination, no one having run off, screaming and lying under a bench in the foetal position and find that there is no blue cardboard to speak of.

The choices are red and green. Apparently, everyone in the area was also doing a project today, or my Luck is running as per normal.

I also recall Chippie having a second project to do, and thankfully remember to purchase a second sheet of cardboard for him.

Stand at counter waiting to be served. Am ignored, so move around to different counter. A line up where I was forms and everyone at the first counter I was at is served. I continue being ignored whilst at the second counter.

I move back to the first, where the salesgirl is suddenly distracted by someone somewhere else and I continue on this being ignored thing.

Again, I am very, very tempted to say fuck this and walk away.

Before I get too narky, I am served. They cannot find the prices. They tell me it is $2.00 per sheet. I said “fuck that” under my breath (at least, I think it was under my breath) and said “That can’t be right.”

Salesgirl agreed. I’m still sure she overcharged me a little, even if she did drop the price considerably.

Finally, we arrive home with our sheets of cardboard, unscathed (the cardboard, the kids and I), spend half an hour trying to find one of three glue sticks I’m pretty sure we have lying around, all whilst thinking please don’t make me have to go back there!

The bloody glue sticks had been popping up in my way for about a week. Now I can’t find any anywhere.

A single, functioning glue stick is located, and the projects are completed, ready to be taken to school on Tuesday morning.

I now cannot wait until they are out of the house.