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 …

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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 draws” 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.

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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?

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

Awesome!

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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.

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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.

Awesome!

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

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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 …

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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.

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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).

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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.

 

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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.

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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…

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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 …

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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.

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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.

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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.

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*sigh*

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

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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 …)