Poor Old Sausage

Our recent move has been a bit of an upheaval for everyone, as, I’m sure, is fairly well standard.

That’s not a complaint … it’s just an Is.

We’ve slowly been settling ourselves in, redoing the pantry some 37 times, hosting a Tuppeware party so I can redo the pantry again and hopefully have it Just As I Like by the end of the month.

One of our biggest challenges with the move has been the Stupid Cats.

Over the last 17 years we’ve had a plethora of cats. When we moved in together, the Grumpy Pants and I, we had – or, rather, he had – two large dogs and a cat called Dimmy (yes, as in short for Dim Sim).

Not long after, because he is a pet person, both dogs and cats, and I am more a goldfish and Blob of Cake Dough pet kind of person, we obtained a brand new kitten from the vet. She and her siblings had been dumped, so she was a mere 4 or 5 weeks old when we got her.

She was promptly named Sausage.

A few years after that, we obtained another adoptee, whom we named Muffin, and it was quite a few months, possibly even a year or more, before we drove up the drive way one day and found two identical cats eating from the cat food bowl. On closer inspection, this stray cat was only slightly smaller, with barely discernible differences in marking to Muffin.

She was also a very, very nice cat, the nicest of the lot, and because she looked so much like Muffin, she was dubbed Cupcake.

I’m now starting to sound a little like a cat lady.

Dimmy, sadly, passed away at the age of 18, Cupcake had four kittens, one of which remained in our family, and was named Pants, because he looked like he was wearing pyjama pants, such was his colouring.

His full name, really, was Tim Tam Pyjama Pants, but we called him Pants for short.

Moving house, Muffin did a runner and never returned, although we looked and looked for her. Our hope is that she went to live with a nice family who cuddled her often.

Sausage, Cupcake and Pants remained in our family and made the move before this last one with us.

Sausage was turning into a crotchety old crank, and had never, really, been one for pats or cuddles or sitting quietly on your lap. In fact, I think we had more incidents requiring bandaids due to children attempting to pat Sausage than for any other reason. She didn’t mean to be mean, she just never learnt to play nice; I suspect because of her age when she was separated from her mother and siblings (she went into the vets, initially, without a mum, so I have no idea how long the kittens had been motherless) and her reaction from even that young was to roll over and gnaw at your hand.

This was totally adorable when she was a kitten, but not so much when she became and adult.

Cupcake, the lovely, placid cat, who would allow two-year-old Chippie to hoist her out from under the house by her tail and not react at all, contracted cancer in her face and had to be put down last year. A sad time for us all. She was beautiful.

Sausage and Pants made this last move, and the difficultly was in finding them a place. They have never been indoor cats, aside from the dog kennel we obtained for them, which they would sleep in. Unable to run, jump, or escape, Sausage was content to sit in patches of sun, and bite your hand off if you tried to pat her as she reposed.

Like our last move, Pants soon went into hiding. Last move, he was gone for a good 8 weeks, before making a reappearance, looking rather well and not at all like a cat who had been in hiding for two months. I suspect he may soon return.

Meanwhile, Sausage was content, being fed and spoken to, but not pat, crawling into her house at night and sleeping.

Which is where we found her last night.

Sleeping so peacefully that she had stopped breathing and was no longer with us. She looked very much like she had simply had enough of life and went very peacefully, snug in her little house, on her mattress.

Tears were shed, a candle was lit and we farewelled our cranky, yet long term family member.

Poor Old Sausage … we will miss you x

A Spark of Light on Depresson

I tend not to make too much comment on whatever the latest celebrity related news is doing the rounds. I feel it’s a little like jumping on the ‘click bait’ bandwagon, writing a blog post on a topic that seemingly everyone else is writing about at the same time.

However, I cannot let this one go right now, for I am deeply saddned by the loss of actor, Robyn Williams.

Not least because of his tragic end, and my understanding of the deep depression he was experiencing.

Not, also, because of hearing the ‘suicide is so selfish’ rhetoric, nor the ‘I just don’t understand why someone would do that’ mutterings.

How could someone, so happy, so successful, with so much money and support and access to whatever he wanted succumb to this insidiuous disease?

I think this is one of the great misconceptions about depression. No matter who you are, where you live, your income, your lifestyle, and whether or not you are doing the thing you most love in the world or not, or whether you are surrounded by the most loving, supportive, happy people in your life, or not, Depression is still a disease that infiltrates your mind, your body, your spirit, and your entire life.

It is, and I know this will offend some and I will preface this with the most humble of apologies if it does offend, for it is not inteded to … it is like other debiltating and/or terminal diseases.

It is, for want of a better term, like a cancer of the mind and soul. The difference is, it doesn’t always present itself as a physical ailment, nor give of physical signs of its presence.

It is still a terminal disease for many, and the fatalities are much less understood by most.

Okay, we don’t understand they ‘why’ of cancers, or heart diesease, or other known fatal illnesses, as in “why is this happening to me/them/her/him” … and we don’t understand the ‘why’ someone gets depression.

Part of this, I believe, is due to our perceptions of the disease … as though it is entirely environmental or circumstantial and you can’t have it if you are perceived to having everything you want.

That’s the thing with perceptions, too, isn’t it? It is one person’s pereception about another, and Person One thinking Person Two has it all. Person two is living the life, the reality of the life and all that goes with it, constantly, 24-7, all day, every day … their life is there with them.
Person One only ever sees what is presented to them, whether via celebrity gossip magazines, or Facebook status updates and small chats in the school playground at drop off time. Not only do they see this limited insight into another person’s life, they then put their own spin, their own beliefs, values and their own perception on it.

It’s not ‘real’, really. It’s just a version.

For one in four people at any given time, Depression is there, in their life, along for the ride.
Although so sad at hearing the news, and at the loss of a great actor in itself, a spark of light, an epihpany, a revelation hit me as I sat in my car, hand on my heart, a billion thoughts going through my mind.
We see Depression as the person, not an illness within the person. The kind of misconceptions that have us think “oh, they’re depressed” and, the unspoken, “therefore, they are incapable”.

Depression is not the person. The person is one who is full of dreams and hopes, and that you can still acheive those things, to follow your dreams, to do what you love, despite having an illness like this.

Robyn Williams, for me, was the epitome of this. John Cleese and Stephen Fry are others.

The happy face, the comedic persona both on and off screen, are not necessarily masks, but the version of the person they really are.

They are examples, and an inspriation to me, that the Demons can be fought off and overcome … actually, no, I don’t like that term. The Demons are rarely slayed or overcome. Instead, they are lurking in the shadows, ignored, neglected, placed high on a shelf for periods of time, and the person – not the Depression – is seen.

Regardless of they happy, the contented life, or the dreams followed, those Demons are still there to some degree, and will be feeding off those parts of life that are not so great.

Being a successful, disgustingly rich, acclaimed and much loved actor does not stop the voices of Depression, the self doubt, the self deprecation, nor real life from occuring. Actors are faced with a disgusting lack of privacy – sure they get paid bucketloads for it, but this doesn’t make snide comments, constant monitoring, and hurtful tabloid reports any easier.

It may mean the can send someone to punch a journalist in the face, but it doesn’t make the comments and thoughts that feed the Demon any less significant.

Actors and other celebrities still face a multitude of life issues the rest of us face; they have parents or children or close friends experiencing severe illness or death, they lose their car keys, and can’t remember what they walked into a room for.

They are still people, and they are no less affected by Depression than ‘the rest of us’. Sadly, in many cases, they have the means to assuage their Depression with drugs and alcohol and other vices that are of no benefit to themselves and of great benefit to the power of their Depression.

They are overcome.

What Robyn Williams has taught me is that you can follow your dreams, you can be so uninhibitedly you, because of or despite your Depression – which one you choose is a matter of personal opinion and circumstance.

He showed me that you are not your Depression, and that Depression is one of the many facets of your hugely, multifaceted being.

I don’t want this to sound all “think positive and you’ll cure yourself of depression” kind of wank, nor even imply that it is easy, or that even in your times of being YOU that your depression will simply vanish.

Even as you smile, entertain your toddler or the world, and exude enough light and happiness to make others laugh, the Depression is still there, and, for some, always will be.

The voices will be telling you how crap you are, as you confidently go about doing the thing you love, self-doubt will big clutching at your heart, and the insidious black thoughts working their way through your mind.

The degree of their presence may vary from moment to moment, day to day, or week to week …

You, however, are not your Depression, and I now fully understand that I am not mine and never have been.

I am a person filled with love, hopes, and dreams who also happens to have an illness that you cannot see, because it does not manifest physically, and more often than not, I choose to show Me to the world, and not my illness.

Thank you, Robyn Williams, for the lifetime of laughs, quotes for me to use on my kids, and for being so unequivocally you.

You will be greatly missed.

sparkofmadness

Cultivating Positivity in the Home

As one would expect, homelife has been somewhat stressful. Strains and stressors are coming from all directions, tempers are easily lost and located some hours, if not days later, at the bottom of a wine bottle.

I suspect a more significant amount of calm may be located in the spirits cupboard. This, however, is blocked by a big arse photo frame and I am frantically attempting to sort through photos, locate the ones I thought I lost, then thought I found again, but appear to have misplaced (or lost) when my hard drive died a few years back.

Fuckery!

Also, note to self, sort the fucking photos the moment you upload them to the computer, for fuck’s sake. I have no idea which voice in my head said “Nah, she’ll be right. Do it later!” As a result, My Pictures folder is telling me there is 33,000+ photos to sort. I know this is not a correct figure, as I have since found that some folders have doubled, tripled and even quadrupled up.

I did wake this morning, screaming into my pillow, however. That was a result of Asking For Help. Yet another one of my brilliantly stupid ideas.

Thus, positivity is waning a little. Well, let me rephrase. Grumpy, whilst generally a happy, irreverent, funny old bastard, who has a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, and constantly able to get away with being revoltingly inappropriate, is always slightly on the negative anyway. It’s just a little worse, and he’s a little more intolerant of late.

Then there is the thirteen-year-old who is, well, thirteen, and aren’t they delightful little rays of sunshine to be around?!

Both smartarses in their own right, they have been at each other. Most of it is funny, but it is wearing me down. I’m happy and content right now, although the demons that are the killers of my self confidence and happiness are circling about. I am trying to keep them at bay and, to be honest, the negativity, even said in jest, is making the fight a little harder.

As we sat at dinner this evening, the two of them started what can only be described as a Smart Arse Comment War, waged against each other.

I slammed my fork down, pointed my finger at the thirteen-year-old and said “YOU! I’m sick of this negative bullshit. Stop it NOW! Find something you like and comment on that instead of always finding the negative in everyone and everything. I’m over it! I want some positivity!”

Barely pausing for breath, I pointed at the smirking old one, and said “YOU TOO! You’re just as bad, stop it, stop it now! I can’t do this anymore!”

In typical Grumpy Pants fashion, he checked over his shoulders to see who I was pointing at. Obviously, it couldn’t possibly have been him.

I sigh, and calm down slightly, bringing the tone of my voice towards some sort of calm version and repeat.

“Seriously, guys. It’s dragging me down. I just need to hear nice things instead of all the hates and bad stuff all the time. Please? Just say something nice.”

The look suitably chastised and Monkey Boy puts his arm around his father and says “Dad,”

“Yes, son,” replies Grumpy Pants, clearly making a complete mockery of the situation.

“I really like it when you look over your shoulder and pretend Mum isn’t talking to you,” Monkey Boy says.

And they laugh and laugh and laugh …

As did I.

Bastards!

Friend? Or Evil Psychopathic Overlord?

I did have a moment of panic a few days ago, after feeding Herman the German Friendship Cake his first feed on day four.

He didn’t look terribly, well, vivacious or energetic. His bubbling had come to a standstill, and the instructions explicitly stated that if he stopped bubbling, he was dead.

Still, I’m a bit of a ‘wait and see’ kind of person, and figured if I just covered it up and pretended everything was okay and that I hadn’t really killed it, then all would be well with the world.

Denial can be handy at times.

Also – I killed a frigging blob of cake mix. Yay, me!

Surely there’s an award for that somewhere?

I did gather enough courage to check him out later that day and – phew! – despite my attempts, he had survived. A miracle!

We both make it through the next few days without much trauma or disaster. We even made it to the point of the second feeding and the divvying up of cake mix to distribute to friends or family or whomever I could convince to take on some live cake mix.

I seconded a friend and made plans for the delicate exchange.

Which is when things got a little weird.

Monkey Boy, suddenly interested in the idea of Herman and his Friendshipness, started making some serious enquiries.

It was a conspiracy, he decided, on the cake’s behalf. The aim of the cake was to ensure it was spread as far around the community, if not the country, or even the WORLD!, and it would rise up – quite literally, it would seem – and take over.

It would, with all its little minion-y type cake mix blobs, enable some sort of widespread Yeast Uprising, with all the blobs, now spread across our fair land, coming together and forming one great big blob.

It wasn’t really friendly at all! Instead, it is some sort of evil psychopath that is going to kill us all, smothering us in festering, yeasty, cakeyness and become Overlord of the Universe.

Although, really, I’m not entirely convinced that some people would be miffed about being Killed by Cake.

My friend’s daughter, the only recipient I had for the evil, uprising, cake mix blob, agreed with Monkey Boy.

The two were a little disinclined to facilitate this Blob and its wicked and evil plans.

Thus, I was left to take matters into my own hands.

With the three remaining blobs, I fed two of them some more; one got apple and sultana, and the other frozen raspberries. I mixed them about with a few other bits and pieces as per the instructions, and placed them in a hot oven.

Yeah, that should teach them!

I have managed to prevent two of the blobs from taking part in this evil conspiracy to eliminate all humans from this earth. Except. possibly, those the Yeast Blob chooses to keep as slaves or something.

The third … well, I’m keeping it as my pet for the next ten days. It may give me some leverage with Monkey Boy, allowing me to remind him that I can unleash a tide of sticky, smelly horridness upon him if he is a smartarse to me again.

Also, there’s something a little satisfying about raising a pet to the point that you can turn it into cake.

Not, say, pet cows or sheep or anything like that. I’m not sure I could cope with that … but cake … yeah, I can do a pet cake.

Working with Kids? Check!

Never work with kids or animals is an oft use phrase.

More often than not it refers to working with kids and/or animals when making a movie or something that involves a camera, filming, and wanting said kid/animal to do what you want.

Ain’t gonna happen.

‘Course, with kids, you don’t actually need a camera, still or otherwise, present for them to not do what you want.

Still, I’m giving up some of my ‘spare time’ to volunteer to work with kids in a specialist program. Because I quite like kids, but more importantly, and despite my best intentions, I relate to kids quite well.

Some may argue that that is because I am extremely immature and really  need to grow up.

They would probably be correct.

Also, they needed a responsible adult. I offered, so they took me.

In the concise words of my thirteen-year-old, “They’re fucked!”

Anyhoo, volunteer I did and part of this putting hand up business requires a Working With Children’s Check. Quite rightly and understandably, too, I might add, although, really I know that I’m not actually a homicidal maniac, so I’m fairly sure I’m okay.

Still, rules are rules, and I went with the requirements imposed upon me.

It was a process that was far more difficult than one would have anticipated; more difficult, in fact, than filming a bunch of kids at a farmyard. Jeebus!

After spending some 47 minutes attempting to locate the bloody form online, completing relevant details, printing it off and heading to the post office to get a photo and authorisation, I was sent home because the supporting identification I had was not ‘right’.

Basically, my passport had expired, so was not counted – fairy nuff – but what I did have was not good enough. I was provided with a list and told I need 3 things from one list, and one thing from another list and given so many options I think my eyes glazed over and I passed out from confusion.

Thus, I had to wait an entire weekend, collecting the required, supporting documentation, and ensuring it was on my list to conclude first thing Monday morning.

Alas, this was not to be. Because what I offered was ‘wrong’ and I had strayed considerably from the “three things from this list, one thing from that list”.

By ‘considerably’ I mean I had four things from the one list. I was sent to the local branch of my bank for supporting information, and was faced with deciding between paying some exorbitant amount for a single sheet of information to be printed, or waiting an exorbitant amount of time for supporting information. I chose time.

I wander back, and … ta da! … this information is no good either.

“Seriously?” I ask.

It was rhetorical.

“Why does this process need to be so hard?” I ask.

“Although, I do get it. But I’m not a homicidal maniac and just want to help kids who need it,” I continue, still not waiting for an answer.

“Having said that though, if this bloody goes on much longer I may very well turn into a homicidal maniac!” I tell the lady behind the counter.

“Is this why they do it like this?” I ask. “To find out who will turn into a homicidal maniac and weed them out early?”

“I’ll make sure I make a note on your form when we send it in,” she tells me. Laughing.

They make it so bloody hard for those of us who are genuine about it. Seriously, if you wanted to go all postal on kids, you’d do it and the forms wouldn’t be a problem for you. It’s not going to stop those who really want to get to kids.

Ha!

Now you understand the term “going postal”.

I come home. I get my birth certificate (also in list one or something, but giving me more points) and a bank statement. Which, of course, has our previous address. Part of the issues I’m having are due to address changes.

I take these documents back.

“Do you have your marriage certificate?” I am asked.

My head hits the counter.

“Well, we need to connect this name with the name you’re applying for the Check under.” she explains.

Patiently.

And goes out the back with a handful of my documents, comes back some moments later – just before I run screaming from the post office – and says “It’s okay, we can use this one with this one” and I don’t care any more.

The standard, horrible, passport type photo is taken and stapled to the application for, that she assures me they will submit. I am given a receipt.

“It’ll be sent in about six weeks,” she advises, farewelling me with a lovely smile.

I swallow a scream …

(And in all seriousness, the chicks – all four that I dealt with – at the post officer, were bloody awesome, patient, helpful and had a sense of humour.)

Shafted for being ‘too nice’

Amidst the chaos of packing, moving, unpacking and attempting to settle into some sort of routine (a greater challenge that anticipated, for various, child-instigated reasons), Monkey Boy has been struggling to maintain some sort of contact with his friends.

This is heavily thwarted by the fact that we don’t yet have a proper internet connections, although Telstra are being wonderfully fabulous in regard to the customer service side of things. I haven’t yet had to have a tantrum.

Not only is the extremely limited internet access a problem, but his horrible mother is being even more horrible about it’s use, because she needs it for work and running her business. Thus she gets first dibs on usage and … well, basically, I’m the Worst Mother In The World.

 

This pretty much sums up our house at the moment.

This pretty much sums up our house at the moment.

Pffft.

Like I didn’t already know.

Despite this, he has found an alternative solution, that doesn’t involve MY internet connection, and during the week managed to organise a social outing for he and several of his friends.

A couple of adults were required along for this particular occasion, and it was Grumpy Pants that was asked to accompany them.

I thought it was really, really lovely of Monkey Boy to invite his dad along, and he clearly saw the need for Grumpy to get out and do something not work related, to have fun, and to just chillax. Not entirely sure an outing with a bunch of 13 year olds was terribly relaxing, but anyhoo …

Today rolled around, Grumpy muttered something along the lines of not really wanting to go out, and preferring to stay home, Monkey Boy’s plans were starting to all apart, which happens when you have something like eight teens, a majority of whom are incapable of making any sort of decision, two whom will one day make great dictators, and one whom likes to please everyone and ends up having to choose between the suggestions put forth by they dictators …

I told Grumpy I’d happily go if he’d prefer not to. Didn’t bother me none. Also, I could use a day out of the house.

Monkey Boy quickly leapt in to state that I wasn’t invited.

“What’s it matter?” I ask. “Dad doesn’t really want to go, and I’m happy to. What’s the problem?”

“Well …,” he explains, clearly trying to decide just how honest he should be.

“Welll, we had a meeting at school, and we discussed which parents we would ask along, and we chose the parents that weren’t going to be, like, pretending they’re all cool and who wouldn’t talk to us and be all embarrassing and stuff. It was decided that you were not allowed to come along.

“You talk to my friends and be, like, all friendly with them and stuff. It’s embarrassing. So you can’t come,” he concluded.

“Sooo … I’m not invited cos I’m nice to your friends?” I ask.

“Yeah, pretty much,” he confirms and goes back to sorting out the mess of his plans.

Game on I think to myself. There will be payback for this.

Several hours later …

Monkey Boy arrives home with several of his friends in tow. They’re invited and welcomed into the new house, the first of his friends to come inside. I am tempted to hug them all, but given most of them still call me “Monkey Boy’s Mum” I felt that might be pushing things a little.

Also, with this far to PC world, I’ll probably end up being sued for being nice to teenagers or some shit.

They find my Swear Jar …

SwearJar

.. and they laugh.

“Please don’t laugh!” he begs his friends.

“But it’s funny,” they reply.

“You’ll only encourage my Mum. Please don’t.”

And in that short sentence he gave me all the encouragement I need …

The New Pet

Although we haven’t been in our new abode for a terribly long time, and still cannot access the garage (that’s Grumpy’s domain and …. well … you know …) and we’ve only managed to just settle our geriatric cats into the place and eventually get their ‘house’ in some sort of sleeping order, I have managed to acquire a new pet.

Not convinced this is a brilliant idea, given I’m not entirely sure whether Hermit Crab Number 6 is even still alive, especially now it is set up permanently in Godzilla’s room and, therefore, out of the public eye, and the fact that, well, I managed to reduce nine pots of fresh herbs down to two, and I’m extremely concerned about their wellbeing.

HerbsThe one on the left I may be able to bring back. I may also be extremely deluded. Grumpy Pants isn’t showing a lot of confidence in my abilities and, well, he is well within his rights in this case.

I’m not convinced the teensy bit of green in the one on the right is a good sign, nor if it even part of the herb that was in there in the first place. It may very well be a small chip of plastic.

Plants are not my forte …

Still, this new pet found it’s way into our house.

His name is Herman.

He is a German Friendship Cake, apparently a sourdough thingo, with some sort of starter dough … given to me as though I know such things.

Herman is currently a blob of yeasty-smelling goo.

Good thing I am well used to goo.

I’m supposed to stir him daily and give him food every four days. Flour (gluten filled), sugar (highly refined) and milk (the cheap stuff from the supermarket) – not that the recipe/Looking After Your Pet instructions say those things, I just want to reassure everyone that I’m still me and haven’t gone all sourdough cake making fancy schmancy.

I did try to fob the responsibility off to Grumpy Pants (because he is a chef and everyone has told me that “It’ll be fine, he’s a chef” and I’m not really sure of the connection between being a chef, and being responsible for a food based pet), to Godzilla (“Come on, it’ll be an awesome science experiment!”, to Monkey Boy (“Go on, it’ll be fun!”) and to Chippie (“Come on, it’ll be your very own pet and you can love it and look after it. It’ll be fun!)

Still, that I have acquired a pet that is of edible origin is not at all surprising. After caring for it and feeding it once or twice, I am required to chop it into four bits, add some fruits and even more sugar and stuff to one bit, then cook it and, one presumes, eat it.

The other three bits are more starter bits, in which I guess I’m required to find three more suckers friends or relatives to pass bits of Herman over to.

It all sounds a little bit morbid, really, when you put it like that.

I do worry I’ll become attached to it, and continue to hang onto a piece of Herman and end up with some sort of perpetual, yeast-based pet thing that I end up looking after for years at a time.

And I’d feel a little bad if I just used all four bits of Herman to make four different Friendship cakes with, as this would be a little like breaking a chain letter. It just feels wrong.

Although, on the other hand, four cakes … hmmmm …..

I guess all I have to do know is keep it alive for ten days and see how we go from there.

Wish me luck.

Or, rather, wish Herman the German Friendship Cake Luck. It’s not his fault he ended up in my hands!

Here is a photo of Herman, before he was fed this morning …

Herman

 

A Sick Quandary

A fortnight ago, I was subject to multiple, middle of the night wakings by smallest child; a feature of my nights that were particularly painful for the entire household and turned me into someone akin to the love child of Adolf Hitler and Attila the Hum, before she’d had her morning coffee.

A new bed for Chippie had been purchased, to save him from the boredom of his eldest brother, whom he is forced to share a room with. He had, for a little over a week, been sleeping on a mattress – his mattress – on the bedroom floor which Monkey Boy had been referring to as “my room”. So frequently was he saying “my room” that the rest of us inadvertently reverted to calling it “Monkey Boy’s room”, further enhancing Chippie’s distress and feelings of displacement.

So, the bed – a loft bed – was purchased and erected, and placed over Monkey Boy’s bed. Before we’d even got the flat packs up the stairs … actually, now I think about it, it was before we’d even purchased any sort of bed, Monkey Boy was on about how he should have a top bunk because he was the oldest. I will give him full points for commencing an argument about something that wasn’t even a reality at that point, and for his persistence, despite my repeated reassurances that we had no idea whether Chippie was getting a loft or bunk bed at the time.

I will also give him credit for not dying at my hands in those very, very long and repetitive moments.

I’m not sure if it was our subconscious, or pure practicality of fitting everything into the room that saw the actual purchase of a loft bed.

Chippie was most happy; partly because it was up high so he could build a nest, and partly because he was now out of easy reach of his tormenting brother whom had already managed to poke Chippie in the eye with the toothbrush that was sticking out of his mouth. Apparently, Monkey Boy assured me, he was brushing his teeth, yet was unable to fully explain how an asleep Chippie, in repose on the mattress on the floor managed to cope a toothbrush in the eye.

Chippie was safe, happy and had something to call his own.

Monkey Boy, clearly realising the futility of his complaints about a bed, including rejection of all his arguments, finally shut up about it. Godzilla, seizing the opportunity to get a word in now his brother had shut the fuck up, commenced the “It’s not fair, how come I never get anything new!” rhetoric.

That poor Chippie has had no bed to speak of for some months now, and his “chest of drawers” was technically for the purpose of sorting and storing toys was lost on them both.

I threw my hands up in exasperation.

But he’d had a few good night’s sleep and now, overnight, he’d woken at Stupid O’Clock, crying. I was most unimpressed. I staggered to his room where he told me he wanted to give me a cuddle, but could not get down because the bed was shaking too much.

I gave myself a point for selecting a bed that significantly reduced his ability to wander into our bedroom.

The bed shaking, however, concerned me, until I climbed up with him, onto the barely moving bed, to find him shaking violently. An intense heat wafted from his body as he grasped me around the neck for a cuddle, and refused to let me escape. My exposed legs and underpants clad bottom were not so fortunate, pushed up against the metal bars of the bunk, and I was subject to equal parts furnace and freezer on various parts of my body.

A fitful sleep on both parts, I was able to extract myself at around 7.00a.m. and mentally prepare myself for lunchmaking. This morning, it consisted of me standing in the corner of the kitchen, MUG of coffee in hand and mumbling about how it may be best that they make their own lunches today.

And after almost two weeks of Chippie tantrums and tears every morning before school, to the point that I asked him to please just skip the twenty minutes of screaming and get dressed, because we know what the outcome will be, I was so relieved at the quiet, that I forgot he was still in bed.

Venturing up to rouse him for school, I noted he was still out to it.

I faced a small quandary, for I didn’t want him to think that he could play the sick card to get out of school. Especially given 9 days out of 9 in which we’d had vehement resistance.

It was one of ‘those’ moments where any decision made on my part could lead to a term of crap.

But for his repose, I would have done the “go to school and I’ll come get you if you’re not well” thing.

He awoke late morning, just long enough to babble at me for a bit, taking a sip of panadol and falling asleep again. A few hours later, he was up and about, Grumpy returned home and I was afforded the opportunity to procure some provisions, such as bread and milk.

A concerned phone call from Grumpy, talking of some horrid red rash and lumps that had come up all over Chippie’s face had me back home sooner than intended.

The rash appeared to also feature heavily on his arms and legs, but not his torso. And it looked angry.

A trip to the GP had us coming home with the usual “plenty of rest, plenty of water” – a prescription I actually stated to the doctor who just said “yep” – and by the time we got home, the rash was already fading. Hives, it was, apparently, from some reaction to whatever was in his system. Probably viral.

Two hours later, the rash was gone, the fever was gone, and five slices of pizza had vanished down his gullet.

As though nothing had gone on inside his body all day.

Weird.

Still, it was nice to have a child who was significantly less Grumpy than he has been of late. If a virus for some 18 hours could cure him of his obnoxiousness, grumpiness and tantrums, I might see about getting something put on the Immunisation Schedule.

Putting the Sex(ual innuendo) Back into your Marriage

The last few weeks have been somewhat tumultuous in this particular household.

Well, really, it’s been the last year or so, but the last month, in particular, has been considerably more so.

Everyone is out of sorts, out of routine, anxious, tired, frustrated, tired, grumpy, argumentative, and with tempers that are verging on falling into the negatives.

Yes, we are a fun bunch to be around at the moment! Why do you ask?

Needless to say, Grumpy Pants and I have barely had a moment together, nice, angry or otherwise. Those moments we do, we’re either exhausted, tired, grumpy, tired, frustrated, or I’m head down in a box and trying to find places for everything.

Even the head down, bum up; whilst most husbands would normally take great advantage of such a wifely position, Grumpy has been flat out working.

The teenager is lucky to still be alive, the littlest is melting down at just about everything, and the middlest is being more random than usual.

To top it all off, we’ve had to visit Ikea twice in the last fortnight in order to purchase flat packed items in which to assemble and allocate a variety of household items, electronics and children to.

Stupidly, our first venture in was on a Sunday afternoon. Apparently, everyone else in the known universe also goes to Ikea on a Sunday afternoon. Our second attendance was yesterday, during school hours. Much more pleasant.

Grumpy Pants and I have excessive experience with the interpretation of instructions and assembly of Ikea furniture. Whilst, initially, it was a close call between calling Ikea Support and a Divorce Lawyer, we ultimately worked out not only how to best decipher the instructions, but also how we each work.

For example, I know he is going to not read the instructions, because he knows better, and will be forced to dismantle a semi-constructed Malm or Kallax, find the instructions, and recommence, using the instructions.

I have learnt to be patient with this, and make much of an effort to not roll my eyes and say “Why didn’t you just read the instructions in the first place, like I suggested?”

He knows I’m likely to swear more than usual, then tell him to ‘fuck off’ when he tells me to “watch your language”. He also knows I’ll probably drop something into something, requiring a partial dismantle to retrieve lost something.

We’ve learnt a lot. Both of us.

So whilst Ikea gets a terribly bad rap, at times, and is often the scapegoat for many a disharmonious relationship/marriage, I now beg to differ.

Perhaps it is the high levels of stress, coupled (or not) with a virtually non-existent sex life, the additional attendance to anxious/obnoxious/annoying child’s needs or that I may be slowly losing my mind, but our latest stints at putting together a Lappland and a Svarta were a veritable minefield of sexual innuendo.

“Bang it harder” and “I need a screw” were bandied about like bullshit at a gathering of ministers of parliament, and the odd “you’ve got the wrong hole” and “where’s the hole gone” made their appearance.

“Get your finger out!” caused sniggers amongst the two of us, and an random “Harder, harder, harder” almost caused convulsions in our extremely mature and sophisticated minds.

Much ball-passing (pardon the pun) and “ask your mother/father” occurred as a result of “what are you two laughing at” that came our way on more than one occasion.

After much banging and screwing, and an occasional “I’ve got a screw loose”, we were both exhausted and in good need of a lie down. And possibly a cigarette.

We went to bed, sore in places we weren’t aware could experience pain. Much like a good night of romping and rogering. Although, usually one wakes up sore and happy, rather than goes to bed like that.

Hrm.

Anyhoo, I do think Ikea needs a little credit for putting the sex(ual innuendo) back into marriages, rather than just being blamed for causing cracks in the relationship.

Or, just be super stressed when whacking a Bjusrta together. Add a kid complaining about how he never gets any new furniture and another incessantly asking “what’s for dinner” whilst the third refuses to eat anything you put in front of them.

Your weakened mental state may very well reduce to be in line of that with a ten-year-old boy.

And you either laugh … or cry.

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.

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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.

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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 …

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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?

 

 

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