29 February 2008


We used to race around attending back-to-back events, unable to decline any invitation (even the ones we dreaded), and filled up every evening and weekend completing a never-ending list of Things To Do That We Didn't Want To Do. We're different now: we treat our Sanity with great respect, never being afraid to cancel something if it will be the difference between being out-of-our-minds frazzled and calm & well-rested.

When life gets too busy, something's gotta give. Take tomorrow for example. Coming hot on the heels of a huge and exhausting week, we SHOULD be at dog training in the morning, and I SHOULD be at the IGNITE Children's Ministry Expo most of the day and Poor Tired Husband SHOULD be looking after Sonny Ma-Jiminy and Chubbity Bubbity while I do that.

But man, we are exhausted. Something tells me that we will be lying low tomorrow. Dog Training is really annoying because the trainers there have no people skills (I'm beginning to wonder if they actually have dog skills anyway) and we always come home totally annoyed, unheard and misunderstood. I'm betting that we won't go, and I'm certain we won't feel guilty at all.

And IGNITE is held so far away from our place - it's such a trek to get there, and the whole deal is most certainly NOT for people who have worked hard all week (inside and outside the home) and have young children. I suspect that I won't go, but I'm pretty sure that I'll burn in guilt over this one given that our Kids Pastor has worked hard all week (yes, inside and outside the home), she has 50% more young children than I do, and she'll most certainly be going for the whole thing. And perhaps she will be a tiny bit justifiably disappointed if I wag it.

28 February 2008

One Small Screwdriver - The Defence of Our Realm

Things break a lot at our place. I'm not sure why, and I don't particularly want to hypothesize. One light bulb will blow, then another and another and another. The kettle will stop working, a DVD will become hopelessly stuck up inside our DVD player, and our bathroom ceiling will fall in. That sort of thing.

The last in the latest craze of co-ordinated self-destruction is our garage door. It's great when it works: very handy to press the remote control as you drive up the driveway and *hey presto* it opens and you drive in. Press the remote again and you're in and secure before you get out of the car. Very nice.

But the receiver inside the garage has not been receiving very well recently, so I've had to drive up the driveway, take the remote out of the car, walk up close to the garage door, press the remote so its little radio-waves-or-whatever go through the gap between the door and the wall to be received by the thing inside, and only then does the garage door open.

Then one day, Husband sort of accidentally shut the garage door down onto the pram (Chubbity Bubbity not included.) The door is supposed to stop when it hits something in the way, but it didn't. It kept on pushing down. The pram is okay, but the whole garage door mechanism had to be unlatched and switched off - things are broken in there and I don't understand enough about it to explain it to you.

At this point in time, we don't really have the money to look into fixing it right away.

So now, we don't have any way of keeping the garage door shut tightly except by pushing a small screwdriver through a hole in the wall attachment and through a hole in the tilting door. That's it, folks. We have triple-lock security screens, locks, bolts and deadbolts, but when it comes to our garage door, the only thing protecting us from being ransacked (as opposed to just LOOKING like we've been ransacked) is a small screwdriver pushed through holes in two bits of metal.

And now when I leave the house - once I've strapped Chubbity Bubbity and Sonny Ma-Jiminy in to their car seats, made sure they both have their sheets to suck, shoes on their feet, plus the stroller, change bag and/or lunch box in the car) and ensured I've locked everything else up and also brought everything I might need in my handbag - I have a new rigmarole in order to leave the house.

I reverse into the driveway, get out of the car, shut the garage door from the inside, put the screwdriver in place, walk out the front door, put the key in my pocket (because if I lost it, I wouldn't be able to 'break in' past the impenetrable security of the screwdriver), get back in the car and drive away. All this is done in reverse order upon coming home.

I ask you - would YOU go out often if you had to do that?

26 February 2008

I didn't want to hear that!

Some things you don't want to hear. Like, "I've done a poo, Mummy" (Sonny Ma-Jiminy) or "AAA-CHOOO!!!! Oh, sorry about your mirror" (Crazy Sister, while admiring her beautiful self in MY mirror.)

This morning I heard a new one. It started with Sonny Ma-Jiminy struggling by his little self to put the breakfast cereals and bowls on the table while I was feeding Chubbity Bubbity. I heard him get some bowls out of the cupboard, then SMASSHHH!!! (...tinkle-tinkle.) Then, "Oh dear. I was carrying five and I dropped them."

Turned out to be only 20% as bad as it sounded - he was carrying two and dropped one, but it made the sound of five.

Sonny Ma-Jiminy is getting very hard to handle. He's started a weird shy-thing, which involves going into a sook if people speak to him, try to engage him, give him presents, or in general are too positive about something ordinary. He's not really shy, just a bit petulant. But it's quite rude, and embarrassing for his mother.

Chubbity is beginning to separate from me a little bit. Which means I am able to periodically lose the eight or nine kilos that is her, sitting on my hip. Quicker than diet and exercise.

Since that ghastly day last October when Puppity Doggity bit another dog and I decided I needed a blog to help me vent, we have started taking Puppity Doggity to Obedience classes. Within the first five minutes of the first session, she had bitten another dog. I'm not going to go into HOW bad it was, or HOW much these vet bills will be, but the "word" from the trainers is that this is a Dog Thing, Puppity Doggity is a lovely dog, and we'll train her like crazy and get her socialised.

And of course, the bed bugs continue to bite. I found some spare pillows in a cupboard that really shouldn't have any bed bugs in it. I put a little bit of tea tree oil around the edges and took my chances.

Sleeping on a pillow was better than sleeping on a folded towel, like I did the night before. That was too much like being on camp, when you get back to your cabin late at night after your cabin-mates have gone to sleep, and you decide that accessing your pillow from Wherever-You-Put-It would make too much noise so you decide to sleep on a folded towel instead. Then as you realise that the towel is still damp from the cold shower you had earlier, another latecomer enters the cabin and makes the most awful noise getting ready for bed and you wonder why you didn't just dive in to grab your nice soft dry pillow from Wherever-You-Put-It in the first place.

Well, it hasn't quite been like all that, but it was pretty uncomfortable.

A change of focus

Hello, my wonderful blog-reading public.

I don't blog all that often, do I? And I should blog more, shouldn't I? Hm, yes, I thought so.

I've been wondering: Should I turn this blog into a mundane diary of daily events, rather than waiting for something exciting to write about just so I can let my literary side rip? Because I can really waste heaps of time waiting for the ideal event to provide something noteworthy, then take too long writing it up.

Here's the new deal: I'll try to blog every day or so. It'll be mundane. But at least we'll be keeping in touch more often.

Then when something noteworthy comes along, I'll do a darn good blog entry.

Let's give it a go.

20 February 2008

Good night, sleep tight, and call the pest control guy in the morning

I have been scratching for four months. Convinced I've had hives, I've wondered if my diet could be to blame (highly unlikely) or if there's something in my environment like grass seeds that is itching me (really quite impossible) or if I've come in contact with chemicals (I certainly haven't) or if it could be caused by a medication (but I'm not on any).

I read a completely disturbing description of a condition involving chronic unexplained hives which are not treatable because there is no cause, and which sometimes persist beyond 20 years. I think I would go mad if I continued tearing away at my skin with my nails for that long. Four months has been quite long enough.

And today I found them. Horrible things. Nesting in a corner of my brand new bedsheet, abdomens swollen fat, full of blood - MY BLOOD. Revolting parasites.

Apparently bed bugs are difficult to get rid of. They're also very easy to GET. And we've got them.

I am simultaneously relieved to find the cause of my itching and devastated to learn I am infested with bed bugs. Should I worry about my housekeeping? Well to be honest, I rarely do that. Sure, the place is not a display home, but with little kids, it would be ABNORMAL to have a tidy home. Totally freakish.

I have come to a position where I can be satisfied with the work I complete each day. I do a lot of "investing" - that just means spending time enjoying my kids, but also I do a lot of food preparation, clothes washing, house cleaning and general tidying up. I work part-time and do various other things.

And I am also completely satisfied with what I LEAVE. The sink, for example, gets into a clean state twice or three times a day, but in between those times, it's dirty. And I feel no guilt.

I tidy up the children's toys, and the toys are all over the floor again in record time. No guilt.

I spend a large amount of time washing clothes, drying clothes and folding clothes, but sometimes the folded piles stay in baskets. Guilt? No way. I feel I am doing quite well, given my hectic life with Sonny Ma-Jiminy and Chubbity Bubbity.

And then I read this completely demoralising statement relating to the acquisition of bed bugs:

"... severe infestations are often associated with poor housekeeping and clutter ..."

Seriously, I'm not that bad! What a blow to any homemaker's self-esteem.

*Sigh* Scratch, scratch.

Addendum: Since this post, there have been a few developments:
(1) I have heard and read that even if you are very clean, you can still get bed bugs! They live wherever people live. I can remove the phrase "poor housekeeping" from the back of my mind.
(2) I have still been scratching.
(3) I spent an hour on Chubbity Bubbity's floor one night to see if her room was too hot in this weather (it was fine, and she slept well.) I took my pillow with me, and kept on scratching. I thought I felt things crawling on my skin, and assumed they were psychological bed bugs only!
(4) I have had an itchy scalp (how much more disgusting will this saga get?!?)
(5) Today I soaked my pillows in boiling water, and like rats from the proverbial burning ship, bed bugs came crawling out! I disembowelled my pillows and although I didn't find any large nests, I found enough evidence and boiled bugs to know that the pillows had to go! They are in the garbage as I write, and I will be pillowless for a week or so until I am sure that my NEW pillows won't come into a bedbugging environment. Like I can do with less/poorer sleep!

18 February 2008

It's a nice-looking avocado, but does it have an interesting sticker?

I bought an avocado today, not because I needed an avocado, but because I liked the look of its sticker.

We eat an amazing volume of fruit and veggies, and they often come with a little sticker on them to help identify them at the checkout. When I'm washing the fruit and veggies, I peel the sticker off and then get frustrated because I have no idea what to do with it.

Many have been stuck on the kitchen sink, only to have to be scraped off later. Some have been put in the rubbish bin, which has involved opening the rubbish-bin cupboard with dripping wet fruit in my hands. It's never been a great burden, but when you eat as much fruit as we do, this sticker dilemma is a bit of a pest.

About a month ago, I decided to stick them on a piece of cardboard on the wall at the kitchen sink. For good measure, I printed a large picture of an apple on green cardboard, and printed the word "Stickers" in giant letters across the front, with "Ever wondered what to do with your" above it in tiny letters and "Put them here" below it in tiny letters.

I started filling up the chart around the 4 o'clock position and moved (mostly) clockwise. I didn't care much about what colour sticker to put where, I just whacked them on and watched the apple fill up with a sequential record of the succession of different fruits we'd binged on.

Our Granny-Smith craze yielded big white stickers with green apples on them, the dark blue was from some very nice end-season bowen mangoes, but most of our collage is green showing our hopeless addiction to white nectarines.

This little sticker chart started as a handy place to stick my stickers. It's ended up as an obsession.

Just between us, I confess that sometimes I do choose which variety of fruit to buy based on the colour or size of the sticker. For example, stickers on the imported citrus right now have quite a nice little stars-and-stripes on them. Can't go past a couple of those, even though the oranges are a bit dry.

I confess that I do reject sticker-less fruit for those with stickers on them. If I'm buying sixteen nectarines, I'd like to have sixteen stickers to put on my chart.

And sometimes I buy things that are not even on my shopping list, simply because they have an interesting sticker that would add diversity to my sticker chart. Hence the avocado in today's shopping basket with its cute little yellow sticker.

And Lucky Little Me gets avocado on toast for breakfast in the morning.