30 April 2008

A few random things

I got an enormous fright yesterday. I was changing the cot sheets when I saw what I thought was blood-spotting from bed bugs IN THE ONLY BED THAT HASN'T BEEN AFFECTED BY THE HORRIBLE THINGS!!! Sometimes I just need to take a closer look.

And today, Smoochy Girl was trying desperately to get into the cardboard box on the coffee table. We keep our piles of papers and coffee-table junk in there so she can't keep tossing the lot onto the floor. It's too high for her to get her little hands into. Or not.

The cheeky little monkey.

29 April 2008

Good Mum or Bad Mum?

Wah-hoo! Good Mom/Bad Mom featured me on their site. The first indication I had that something had changed in my tiny part of the blogosphere was that the hits to my site had increased overnight. Literally while I slept. When I woke up yesterday morning I had 16 hits since I went to bed, and this was approximately 16 more than usual. Then a friend from Seattle emailed me and congratulated me on being featured. I'm glad she did - I would have freaked out and forgotten to check my visitor's paths on my Stat Counter to find out where they came from.

Thankyou Good Mom/Bad Mom. It's been fun to have so many new visitors!

As of this morning, my pageloads have increased fourfold and my daily count of new visitors has increased tenfold. This means there is an influx of people who are interested in checking out Killing A Fly, but once they've read about why you shouldn't save a used pregnancy test, they're less interested to stay around. Hmm.

28 April 2008

Monday Joke

I don't have much to post about today, so I'll just share a joke with you. I've loved The Wizard of Id since I was very young!
(c) Creators Syndicate Inc http://www.creators.com/

27 April 2008

Scaring Mummy

Smoochy Girl, who is in no great hurry to actually WALK, scares her Mummy by climbing up the slippery slide and sliding down on her tummy.

Walking up
and up
and up so high now that Mummy is getting scared
Hello Sweetheart, please don't fall
Goodness is that the contents of two bedrooms under the deck in the background? Gack.
A quick check over there ...
and fah-lop down onto the tummy ...
and sliding down backwards with an enormous grin. Sheesh.

26 April 2008

Update on the Bed Bugs

You've probably been wondering what the bed bugs are up to. We are, too. I've tried to avoid mentioning them because I hate them.

We have now had six pest treatments, got rid of one bed and two mattresses, moved everything that belongs in bedrooms to the front balcony, under the deck and in the kitchen and living room. After the sixth treatment, we saw three bugs and had a few nights of bites, but have had nothing again for about a week.

Are they there, perhaps inside eggs waiting to hatch? Are they biting us but still in their nymph stage so we can't feel the bites? Are they all gone? I don't know. Having written with confidence a few times on this blog that I am sure we've got rid of them (once I said I was 101% sure) and then having more bites and finding more bugs, I confess I have completely lost hope.

I am losing my grip on domesticity. I have been completely displaced, I don't know where my clothes are, my home cannot be propery tidied or cleaned because there are so many things out of place by necessity. It's like we're in the middle of moving house BUT WE CAN'T SETTLE ANYWHERE.

It's driving me up the wall. Men don't mind so much - it's like camping. Women need to have their place to settle and nest. Without that we can't cope.

A bright spot in all this: we got our new bed. We needed to do this. I couldn't physically or emotionally cope with sleeping on the couch, air mattress (I hate the things) or the bare floor anymore.

I've kept the tea-tree oil everywhere hoping to deter any random bugs, but they've still been around despite the oil being strong enough to sting my eyes as I lie in bedding sprayed with it. It's been nice to sleep in a real bed, but even this little bit of settlement hasn't been enough to make me feel like a real human again.

I hate this next bit, but Hubs is right - it has to be done: we've totally completely evacuated yet again to put diatomaceous earth around the place in a last-ditch attempt to be rid of these things. So where our room once looked like this a few weeks ago:
it now looks like this:

(Yeah, that's Hubs!)

Can anybody out there understand why this is so hard for me to live in? In the middle of this chaos I'm trying to keep two children and a husband fed, clothed, happy and not living in a dump worthy of a Today Tonight Expose. Guh.

25 April 2008

Celebrity Chefs don't even know they've got it good.

Well another day is nearly over and dinner has again been an unmitigated disaster. I put a lot of effort into this one. Shame. I love cooking.

I can't help feeling that I'd have more success if I cooked under Test Kitchen Conditions. Television chefs make me green with envy.

It's all set up for them – the ingredients are complete, fresh, pre-prepared and presented in neat little glass bowls. Their kitchens are clean and all the utensils they need are at hand. If it all goes to pot there's 'one we prepared earlier' waiting in the oven (which actually works!) to be presented. Heck – somebody's even on hand to make sure their MAKEUP IS PERFECT. Pah.

My kitchen on the other hand, is a
Double-Dare Culinary/Parenthood Challenge Experiment.
I made that term up. Using a Thesaurus.

Here are a few of my challenges:

Sonny Ma-Jiminy:

  • I don’t want dinner
  • I don’t like dinner
  • I only want a lolly
  • I think I will be able to eat dinner now
  • Can I have a lolly before dinner
  • I really really want dinner right NOW
  • Is it ready NOW
  • Can you make it ready NOW
  • I did a wee Mummy.
  • And a poo.

Smoochy Girl:

  • I don't want to be held
  • I don't want to be put down
  • I want to play with something
  • Not that
  • Not that either, guess what I want
  • I don't want anything, trick question Mummy
  • Hold me now
  • No don’t hold me: can't you remember I don't want to be held
  • I don't want to be put down either
  • Feed me right NOW
  • Don't feed me THAT
  • Oh I give up just give me a glass of water instead

Environmental challenges:

  • plastic ping-pong balls rolling on the floor
  • oranges rolling on the floor
  • onions rolling on the floor
  • onion skin being peeled all over the floor
  • toys to trip over
  • saucepans to trip over
  • bowls to trip over
  • containers to trip over
  • Smoochy Girl to trip over
  • *squash* what on earth is THAT between my toes
  • required utensils are lost/being played with/dirty
  • dinner is not quite ready yet the children are climbing the walls to be fed, bathed and put into bed
  • serve up dinner even though the meat isn't quite cooked, the potatoes aren't quite cooked, and the pumpkin is still rather raw in the middle

I think I’d better stop typing up that list. I can feel my blood pressure rising. Instead I will post some pictures of my recent culinary delights being enjoyed by our willing taster.

Puppity Doggity tasting a new recipe called 'Ham, Zucchini and Carrot Fritters Without The Carrot'. I thought we had a fridge full of carrots but we actually had, in round figures, none. Zero. As far as figures go, you can't get rounder than that. Forgetting the main ingredient (rice) was the reason Puppity Doggity ended up eating Attempt #1.

Puppity Doggity sampling "Bleating Roast Lamb" which was served up far too early under intense pressure from both children who wanted to be fed Now-Now-Now-Now-NOW!
Puppity Doggity testing "Gravy Of Doom." I see it as punishment for her recent naughtiness.

A Letter To My Bank

ANZ – Consumer Finance
Locked Bag 10
Collins Street West Vic 8007

To whom it may concern,

I received your recent letter dated 17 April 2008 regarding the possibility of a credit limit increase on my ANZ Gold Credit Card. Your letter follows this series of prior communication between you and me:

  • The first letter you sent me asking if I would like an increase, which I didn’t answer because I did not require a credit limit increase
  • The first phone call you made to me asking if I would like an increase, during which I stated that I did not require a credit limit increase
  • The second letter you sent me asking again if I would like an increase, which I didn’t answer because I still did not require a credit limit increase
  • The second phone call you made to me asking again if I would like an increase, during which I stated that I still did not require a credit limit increase
  • The third letter you sent me asking again if I would like an increase, which I didn’t answer because I still did not require a credit limit increase
  • The third phone call you made to me asking again if I would like an increase, during which I stated that I still did not require a credit limit increase. During this phone call, I detailed our past correspondence as outlined in dot points above, and your operator assured me that you understood that I did not require any more letters or phone calls to clarify whether in fact I did or did not require a credit limit increase.
  • The fourth letter you sent me asking again if I would like an increase, which I didn’t answer because I still did not require a credit limit increase
  • The fifth letter you sent me asking again if I would like an increase, which I didn’t answer because I still did not require a credit limit increase. Following this, I wrote a letter to you and sent it to the above address. The content was startlingly similar to this letter you are currently reading. (I wonder what happened to it? Perhaps it ended up on an office noticeboard? Pinned to the back of a toilet door to provide humour during tedious moments?)
  • The sixth letter you sent me asking again if I would like an increase, which I didn’t answer because I still did not require a credit limit increase
  • The seventh and current letter you sent me asking again if I would like an increase, which I am now answering by mail to reassure you that I still do not require a credit limit increase.


Should you require any further clarification on the matter of whether or not I require a credit limit increase, please feel free to contact me again with a specific request and I will be happy to provide you with maps, diagrams, and if necessary a PowerPoint display explaining the fact highlighted in large red lettering above.

Thanks again for your continued concern regarding my possible need for a credit limit increase.


24 April 2008

Sunshine all day long

I have paid the chicken money! Oh how light and joyful I feel today! The 75% of my brain that was previously devoted to remembering the chicken money is now able to be used for ... well, it's actually pretty empty now, to be honest.

22 April 2008

Motherhood has Changed Me

Motherhood has changed me. Before I became a mother, I was the sort of person who would cautiously nibble the toes off a gingerbread man first. Now that I'm a mother, the first thing I do is maul the head off. I like to hear it crack.

When listening to somebody expressing wildly ill-informed views, I used to think, "Well, even though I disagree, I think that perhaps there is some truth to what you're blah blah blah..." Now I simply nod my head, smile, and think to myself, "You, Sir, are an idiot." And after I have another child or two, I might just say it out loud.

Most Mums talk about losing their memory and clarity of thought. I was never very Clear Of Thought at the best of times, but nowadays, I find that all my mental notes have been erased before I've had a chance to act on them.

If Smoochy Girl does a poo in the bath, I'll make a mental note: "Deal With Poointhebath." Then I'll wash her off, dress her, give her a drink of water, sing to her, put her down for her nighttime sleep, dress Sonny Ma-Jiminy, give Smoochy Girl another drink of water when she wakes, supervise Sonny Ma-Jiminy's Crazy Toothbrushing Fun, read him a story, sing to him, leave him for his nighttime sleep, give Smoochy Girl another drink of water when she wakes again and then I'll say, "Whew, I'm glad that's over."

Then I'll make myself a cup of something and sit down to blog. I won't even think about the Poointhebath again until Hubs goes to have a shower hours later and shouts, "What in the name of ...?" Then I'll think, "Ah yes. I remember."

I can be minding my own business and step on a piece of half-chewed apple at, say, 4:00pm and forget to put it in the bin until Next Monday.

But sometimes your memory lapses can provide you with interesting experiments that you wouldn't have the guts to do deliberately. Take my credit card.

When I first got my current credit card, I put it in my front jeans pocket, forgot about it and sat down. It got bent. I had trouble getting it to work for a few days, and for a while I thought I'd need to get a replacement. But it came good again, and worked well since.

I cannot count the number of times since then I have forgotten it's in my pocket and put it through the wash. Now that I have two kids with me when I go to the shops, I really don't want a handbag continually slipping off my shoulder. So all I take with me is my two kids in my arms and my credit card in my back pocket. It works well, but I never remember to put the card back in my purse, so it goes through the wash. Often. The signature washed off ages ago, so I've had to present my Driver's License for about a year so they can verify my signature.

But this morning I thought it was dead. I'd accidentally put it through the wash AND ALSO THROUGH THE DRYER. It came out different: for a start, the slight bend was gone (healed!) and the raised numbers were now not-very-raised-at-all. Also the whole card had a weird colour to it. I assumed this was the effect of tumbling about for an hour on the hot setting.

I decided to give it a go at the shops before cutting it up and ordering a new one (probably not in that order). AND IT WORKED! Amazing.

The same cannot be said for our car's Keyless Entry remote. It went through the wash once with no negative effects, but twice is a different story. It's dead.

21 April 2008

Strychnine, Arsenic, Cyanide and Decaf

I am about to confess something that will shock some of my readers, all the way from Seattle to my own neck of the woods.

I am drinking decaf.

Did you hear that? Somewhere in Seattle, a MommyBlogger just fell off her chair in shock. But wait, there's more, and this is even more horrific and appalling.

I am still alive.

Yes folks, it's true. Here's my sorry story.

As you know, I live by the rule "If I don't blog it, it doesn't exist." It is for this reason that I have been avoiding mentioning in this blog that my blood pressure has recently shot up quite worryingly.

Long story short:

  • family history of hypertension
  • pre-eclampsia while pregnant with Sonny Ma-Jiminy
  • pregnancy-induced hypertension while pregnant with Smoochy Girl
  • have been described by one doctor as "a sitter for essential hypertension"
  • blood pressure shot up after months of ongoing stress with bedbugs etc.
  • sent off for many tests to make sure it wasn't due to something ghastly
  • i.e., more stress
  • tests are clear
  • diagnosed with "essential hypertension" (which doesn't mean it's essential that I have it, it means "primary" hypertension: not secondary to something else wrong)
  • all settled down quite well with medication
  • and also ... dum dah dumm ...

  • My doctor said I should drink DECAF!
When the doctor told me, I thought I might wither up and waste away. Then I remembered that I don't drink coffee for its pick-me-up qualities, so if the taste wasn't too different I should be okay on decaf. And yes, I AM okay.

Wikipedia told me that coffee has over 400 compounds that give it its taste and admittedly, you couldn't remove the caffeine without altering the overall taste in some way. But if you're not a real coffee aficionado, you can drink it and come out okay on the other side of the experience. Real coffee is a bit sweeter and smoother, but I can handle decaf. I'm tough.

What I'm not handling though, is the reaction of others.

"Can I borrow some of your coffee?"
"Thanks." (pause)
"It's decaf though."
(Dropping it like it's a snake) "YUCK!! WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME?!?" (i.e., 'before I'd touched it with my hands'.)

"Mmmm, that coffee smells good!"
"It IS good." (pause) "And you know, it's decaf."
"I - er - um - okay, I guess I must be."

Really, you'd think that decaf was the most potent and quick-acting poison in the world, the way some people go on about it.

Trouble is, most 'coffee snobs' won't even try it. It won't pass their lips. They might try dishes from other countries made from the cuts of beasts that should have ended up on the slaughterhouse floor, but they will never even TASTE their favourite brew minus one little compound casually separated out from the 400-odd others. Not one sip.

It's not like I'm even drinking it by choice! Please don't kill me! You'd just better pray your blood pressure never decides to head on up for a little chat with mine, or we'll be drinking decaf together.

Five Star Friday

20 April 2008

Chicken Dreams

Last night I dreamed a man dressed in a giant chicken suit offered me a huge novelty cheque if I could sew an elastic loop onto his hat. I told him I couldn't do it because I didn't have a needle and thread on me. He then squatted down and laid an enormous egg which cracked open and hundreds of bed bugs came out and started crawling into the sheets we'd brought for Sonny Ma-Jiminy to have his rest on at kindy.

Save me now.

19 April 2008

... chickenmoney, chickenmoney, chickenmoney ...

So today I did a Google Image Search on the only thing that's occupied my mind recently.

It's amazing what comes up when you search for something like "chicken money." Between a recipe that required "the best chicken money can buy" and a long and complex rant complaining about "money-grubbing chicken farmers" I found these:

Oh sorry, that last one was me being silly with Photoshop.

... chickenmoney, chickenmoney, chickenmoney, chickenmoney, chickenmoney, chickenmoney, chickenmoney, chickenmoney, chickenmoney, chickenmoney, chickenmoney...

Chicken Money, Chicken Money!

I am trying very hard to remember to pay this stupid chicken money. I am walking around the house silently repeating this mantra: "chickenmoney, chickenmoney, chickenmoney, chickenmoney, chickenmoney, chickenmoney ..."

Kindy is sending me mad.

18 April 2008

Chicken Money

Yes, I'm really quite worried about forgetting the chicken money. Hope I remember next week.

The Verdict on Kindy

Sonny Ma-Jiminy turned three recently, and his constant drive to learn new things (Mrs Play-School I ain't) has led us to enrol him in Pre-Prep, which used to be called kindergarten (Kindy). You know, the thing for 4-year-olds, but 3-year-olds can come if they want to.

This kindy has some extremely specific requirements for their children, and they strictly adhere to very particular rules in every aspect of kindy life (in stark contrast to home, where a child can manage to paint the decking with a used pregnancy test and some sunscreen while his mother is on the phone.)

Sonny Ma-Jiminy:

  • has loved it (for the most part)
  • has brought home some lovely craft
  • can now discuss at length the life cycle of a chicken.

On the other hand, I:

  • have been tying myself up in knots about it
  • have been worried about the expense
  • have been bothered by the inconvenience in driving him quite a distance away and picking him up (we pass at least three other kindies on the way, only because this placement 'fell into our laps' at the right time)
  • have been intimidated by the constant commitments e.g., parent volunteer day, yard maintenance, sausage sizzles, fundraisers, participating in our city's festival street parade etc.
  • have been stressed because I'm sure I will provide the wrong type of lunch wrapped in the wrong sort of wrapping, the wrong size sheets, insufficient spare clothing, the wrong type of hat minus the essential elastic loop for hanging, the wrong hand washer minus similar essential elastic loop, the wrong sort of cup, dress him in the wrong clothes and forget to apply sunscreen liberally on exposed areas before dropping him off at kindy, as per the agreement that I was asked to sign.
  • and of course, I have worried incessantly about his behaviour for the whole 11 hours he has spent there so far. He's not the most compliant kid.

But I'm glad to announce that we've made it through our first two-day week, and we have not been asked to refrain from coming back. Here is the report card from our first week at kindy.

Pre-Prep Report Card
Name: Sonny Ma-Jiminy's Mother

Key Performance Areas:

PROVISION OF FOOD: PASS - Sonny Ma-Jiminy's Mother has achieved competence in supplying only healthy foods from the provided list of acceptable foods, and has enclosed all foodstuffs in acceptable packaging (no plastic wrap, yoghurt etc in washable plastic containers, no disposable containers). As specified, lunch was provided in a lunchbox, clearly named, and placed in the fridge while the morning tea was provided in a plastic container, clearly named, and placed in her son's pigeon hole with his backpack.

PROVISION OF CLOTHING: PROVISIONAL PASS - Sonny Ma-Jiminy's Mother provided sufficient spare clothing in his backpack, but on the second day she failed to force her son to comply with the absolutely-no-shoes-worn-for-outside-play rule. Was unable to override three years of habitual shoe-wearing while playing outside.

PASS - plastic cup with handle
PASS - lunchbox
PASS - washer with elastic loop for hanging
PASS - legionnaires hat with essential elastic loop for hanging (Thankyou Grandma!)
FAIL - Library bag - still not purchased
PASS - sheet bag (40x40cm with drawstring)
PASS - top sheet 135x75 cm
PASS - bottom sheet 135x75 cm with 12 cm thick elastic sewn into each of the four corners with half a press-stud at each end so that the sheet can be secured around the tube of the stretcher.

We do suspect that the sheets, sheet bag and washer provided by Sonny Ma-Jiminy's mother is not actually her own work. (* Thankyou a million times, Becky.)

REMEMBERING TO LIBERALLY APPLY SUNSCREEN TO ALL EXPOSED AREAS OF CHILD PRIOR TO TAKING CHILD TO KINDY: FAIL (but really, who should care when the playground is usually in 90% shade?)





Well that's something, isn't it?

Parasite Pals

If you haven't seen it already, please hop on over to Momma's Tantrum: she has found the most amazing accessories I have ever heard of and because of our recent bed bug hassles, she thought of me.

In her own words: "May I introduce to you Parasite Pals!! These fun accessories feature a fun little line of life's more annoying creatures, in easy to use daily items. The creatures featured are: Dig Dig the head louse, Blinky the eyelash mite, Zzeezz the BED BUG, Tickles the tapeworm and Heidi the adorable host."

Worth a click!

Thankyou Blogtations!

Thankyou to Blogtations for featuring my quote: "If I don't blog it, it doesn't exist." At the time I didn't think it was all that special. Thanks for posting it and linking me, and thanks also to all you new readers who have come via Blogtations to check it out here at Killing A Fly!

17 April 2008

My dear boy

Early this morning, I heard Sonny Ma-Jiminy shouting something loud. He had his sheet in his mouth at the time so it was a bit muffled, but - there it was again!


Oh no. That's not good.


Sure, there are words out there that are worse, but the thin end of the wedge always has a thick end a short distance away.


I mean, today I'm typing D-A-M-N and tomorrow I'm doing asterisks. So that's not good, is it?

It was then that I noticed he was mumbling something on the end of the D-word. It was fairly unintelligible, being muffled through the sheet he was sucking, but there was certainly something else on the end.

"Damn! Mumblemumblemumble..."

"Say it again, Sonny?"

"Damn! Mmblmmblmmbl..."

I took the sheet out of his mouth and asked him to repeat it. And my dear boy said,

"BAM! And the oven is gone!"

This has become a catch-cry of our family since my recent post about the oven cleaner: check it out here.

And I thought my dear boy was cursing into the early morning! Sorry, little feller. You dear little thing.

16 April 2008

Darn, Wrong Meme

I've been tagged for my first meme! This means I have friends, people! Problem is, I was hoping to be tagged for a different meme. Oh well, nevermind.

Mommastantrum said it so well: "I've been tagged for a meme and since I want all my new friends to keep playing with me after school I'm going to suck it up and do it."

Then she said I had to write Five Classes You Wish They'd Taught In School, said wishfully that she hoped they didn't involve parasites! Oooh, tough one. Let's see how I go, hey?

1. How to keep the layers of a sponge cake together in transit
2. Managing a plastics fire in your oven
3. Cooking under pressure: how to make a roast dinner with a child attached to your leg
4. Strategies for avoiding Tupperware parties, cosmetic parties, bookselling parties, lingerie parties, linen parties, candle parties and beading parties.
5. Recognising items that must be thrown away after use.

My school didn't teach these things. I had to work them out for myself. My school did however teach me:

1. Matrices and vectors
2. Titration
3. Conjugating French irregular verbs
4. Imaginary numbers
5. What the inside of a frog looks like

None of which I remember today.

Now I really was hoping to get tagged for the meme in which you post 5 pictures each with 5 words of description. I was lying in bed last night dreaming this up ...

Zis relevant to mah interests.

But by doze wuz ruddig.

Where DID that gecko go?

You'd think butter wouldn't melt ...

"No, No, NOOO!!!" - "Sowwy, Mummy."

15 April 2008

And now for something completely different ... a leaky sewer.

The council workers are here right now, fixing *something* that goes from *somewhere* to *somewhere else* and got broken *somehow* spilling sewerage all over our front lawn. Bless their hearts.

I apologise that due to the lack of outside material, this poor sad sorry little blog has reflected the downward spiral that has been our poor sad sorry little lives in 2008. I must say, that this P.S.S.L. Blog is the only thing that's kept me going. So THANKYOU to all my readers who faithfully log on and show that I'm making a few people out there laugh a bit.

You're laughing AT ME, yes I know, but that's something.

But my subtitle is just a puff of wishful thinking, isn't it? "A mother's thoughts on happiness and the numerous distractions from it." Hah! Happiness? Come on! When was the last time I posted about anything but the "numerous distractions"?

Now I must tell you, I'm not planning to change either the title or the subtitle at this stage. But I've been playing with a few ideas and I'd like you to let me know what YOU'D change it to if you had the power.

Here are a few headers: does anything seem good to you?

Please vote for your favourite.

What's your pick?
Killing A Fly (bad hair day)
Dead Flies in the Strings Section
Ukulele Fly (more distraction)
pollcode.com free polls

14 April 2008

Happy Birthday Smoochy Girl!

My Dear Girl,

A year ago at 9:30am, the midwives, registrars and even the consultant said I was in pre-labour. This was right. They also said I had plenty of time to wait until you were born. This was wrong.

You were coming. I knew you were coming. And if I'd trusted my instincts, we wouldn't have had to jump in the car in a mad panic at 3:00pm and do that crazy dash to the hospital, park the car, walk across the street, go down one floor, and get to Birth Suite in time for you to violently explode out of me at 3:16pm.

I'll never forget that sensation of giving birth quickly. One day, you'll see a movie in which there's a graphic depiction of an air bag explosively deploying with a loud "Pkwhwwwrtt" noise. And you won't believe me when I tell you that THAT is what it was like.

The year since then has been a good many things. But overall, it's been wonderful having you here. Thankyou for brightening our family with your giggle, and melting us with your little baby words.

Your first birthday was a low-key event, but I hope you enjoyed it. You opened presents from your friends and family, had a dear little baby girl cousin born, and at night time we had a special birthday dinner.
You ate a huge amount of your roast chicken and veggies.You were privileged to receive a strawberry cake that looked half-decent. And you had some gingerbread birthday wishes that tasted pretty good too.
You loved your cake. That's fresh whipped cream and strawberries, for any readers who are sitting there aghast, thinking that's a thick layer of icing [frosting].

We love you Smoochy Girl. Here's to many more years of happiness.

Love from Dad and Mum, and Sonny Ma-Jiminy.

13 April 2008

Toothbrush People

Sonny Ma-Jiminy loves brushing his teeth. Just LOVES it! First thing in the morning he asks to brush his teeth, and he does it again and again all through the day: before meals, after meals ... anytime except during meals (when his mouth is otherwise engaged). He doesn't care whose toothbrush he uses, and he certainly doesn't care how much toothpaste mess he makes.

It's cute, it's to be encouraged, but - yuck. What a mess. And what a sharing of germs. I found these cute little toothbrush holders that stick onto the mirror with little suction cups to keep them out of his reach:
Note how my little Toothbrush Person is the only one with a generously rounded chest region. Very appropriate.

The problem I hadn't anticipated however was the trail of 'Toothpaste Yuck' that drips from Sonny's toothbrush after use:

Is it worth it?

Probably not.

12 April 2008

An on and on and on ...

More bed bugs. Sixth pest treatment. Liquid chemical on carpet (again) and gas throughout house. Had to vacate today. Washing didn't get done. Massive backlog. Kids still lovely but with crazy behaviour. Currently waking an hour before dawn. Dog still stupid. Blood pressure medication no match for pile of stressors higher than pile of washing to be folded. Too tired and depressed to say much more.

Givinya De Answers - Blue vs Pink

I can't really just leave it at that today can I? Sure, it's looking very grim here. But I have to see if there's something more encouraging to say. At least it will take my mind off my itchies.

I'm loving this Givinya De Answers segment. Thanks for your questions - they brighten my day. Like this one:

Dear Givinya,

I'm a SAHM to 4 lovely boys and I think your Smoochy Girl is really cute - can you give me tips on getting that elusive girl?

Mum 2 4 Boys.
Dear M24Bs,

Firstly: boys are great! So are girls! But if you're really keen to try for something different, here's a true story.

When I was pregnant with Sonny Ma-Jiminy, the home pregnancy test had two blue lines.

When I was pregnant with Smoochy Girl, the home pregnancy test had two pink lines.

I recommend you buy a different brand of test - one with pink lines. I had 100% success with this.

Wishing you the best, as I remain,
Givinya De Answers.

Do you have a question for me?
More to the point, do I have an answer for you?
Try me.

11 April 2008

Givinya De Answers - Justly Judged?

Well thankyou for your overwhelming response to the new Givinya De Answers service we offer here at Killing A Fly. I will attempt to answer your questions but it may take some time to work through them. I'll start by dealing with this tricky issue first:

Dear Givinya,

I have been reading your blog with great interest for some time now, and this morning was reading Exodus Chs 7-11. It occurred to me that (although a plague of bed bugs is not specifically listed) there could possibly be some little naughty in your life, or some part of your life that belongs to God that you have not fully given over to Him.

Just Wondering?

Dear Just Wondering,

Thankyou for your query. And thanks to your distinctive ISP on my log, I know who you are and I know what you've been reading! And I know that therefore, it's tongue in cheek! How are you, my good friend?Allow me to direct you to the whole book of Job and ask you to consider that this whole terrible ordeal could equally be viewed as a test. Am I failing, or am I just scraping through? I'm blogging it all at least, which helps me to do the best I can while treading the waters of these minor catastrophes of life.

But I approach this part of Job 1:20 with trepidation: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart." This scares me a little, because I've been there before.

So thankyou for playing the role of one of Job's miserable complaining po-faced friends, and allowing me to get yet another link to my post about church camp. Now ... Job 42:7-8 ... quick, grab your bulls and rams!

A side-note to this is the extraordinarily applicability of Job 3:26 as both children are having some disturbed sleep at the moment: "I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil."

Wishing you the best, as I remain,
Givinya De Answers.

Do you have a question for me?
More to the point, do I have an answer for you? Try me.

10 April 2008

Light at the end of the tunnel extinguished

It started with sunshine. Good! I'll wash the woollen doona!


By midday it was bucketing down. I put the doona in the washing machine to spin it. It put the machine badly out of balance and frightened the kids. I took it out and draped it over some spare space in the cluttered house. It sits damply there now, smelling like sixteen wet sheep.

I received some very bad news today that was so bad I can't blog it just yet. It was eerily similar to the worst of the ghastly events posted on 11th October 2007. Yes, THAT. The event that scarred me so deeply that I began blogging. And all about a stupid dog.

I was dealing with the stress of The Ghastly Thing by pottering around the house when I smelled a strong smell. That can never be good.

First let me say that saving a used pregnancy test is a silly thing to do. A baby is the best proof of a positive pregnancy test. You don't need to be saving something you peed on two years ago. That is gross. Don't do it. Besides, kids can do weird things with objects they're not familiar with. And sunscreen makes a good paint.

Canvases are everywhere for the artistic child...So that was slightly bad. I was filling a bucket with warm soapy water when I received a phone call in relation to That Which I Don't Want To Talk About Yet. Sonny Ma-Jiminy and Smoochy Girl were being too loud so I took the phone into another room to talk. When I came out, I saw that Sonny Ma-Jiminy had become bored and "re-organised" Daddy's clothes which had been neatly stored in those jolly cardboard boxes that are our chest-of-drawers until the bed bug problem is 100% sorted out.Never leave it there. Always look further.

Did I mention that it had just been raining hard?

So what have we learned?
1. It will rain if you put something difficult-to-dry on the line.
2. The smell of sixteen wet sheep is not good.
3. In fact, even if it reminds you of the beach, any strong smell is bad and it is your cue to run fast. Preferably, run AWAY fast.
4. No matter how happy you are about a positive pregnancy test, you must throw the thing out after use.

And yes, despite what I've told you today, I was happy about the positive pregnancy test, and I would be again. No wisecracks about that. I love these crazy kids.

But maybe not the dog.


09 April 2008

Givinya De Answers - The Great Rubbish Bin Debacle of 2007

Thanks to "Anonymous" for your query in the comments section of 8th April 2008. You pose a question and I feel it's my duty to answer. So I have started a section called "Givinya De Answers" - a Q&A section where I attempt to answer some questions from my loyal readers. This will be similar to the Ask The Dad section in one of my favourite blogs called Looky, Daddy!' but perhaps with fewer laughs. I'm nowhere near as funny as The Dad, but will keep reading him in the hope that some of his Funny will migrate to me.

Oh, by the way, you never did get around to describing the Great Rubbish Bin Debacle referred to on the 4 November last year!

Dear Anonymous,

You are correct in saying that the Great Rubbish Bin Debacle was never described. However it was never described because I thought it was too disgusting to make it into my blog. Until then, my blog had only contained Wiggly multi-tasking, one-eyed fish and weird frog dreams, and the shift from the amusing to the putrescent seemed a little shocking at the time.

However since you ask, and since my blog has been one sordid twist after the other in the Great Bed Bug Chase 2008, it might be time.

It was simply this. After the rubbish bins had been emptied one day, I casually looked into the garbage bin to see if it was empty before I put it back at the side of the house. It was not empty. It had a used nappy (diaper) in the bottom that had come out of the plastic bag it was in and assisted by the General Liquid Yuck that is found in rubbish bins, become fused to the bottom. Of the bin, that is.

A cursory glance would have been less disturbing. I happened to fix my gaze just long enough to notice that this particular nappy was crawling with maggots. In the recent drought and follow-up rain, the flies have been reproducing like crazy, and it's nearly impossible to stop flies laying eggs in previously-closed nappy bags.

These maggots certainly originated in the nappy, but had moved further afield and were making their way up the sides of the bin. I was so repulsed that I blindly dashed around, looking for something to kill them with. I found some laundry bleach. Should I dilute it, I wondered, and how much? I decided that I'd pour some down the sides of the bin, neat. If dilute bleach was to kill them, neat bleach should really do the job.

It didn't. They lived, and swam around in the bleach for hours. The cleanup was so repugnant, that instead of blogging it, I just referred to the Great Rubbish Bin Debacle.

Now that I've typed it out, I wish I'd left it that way.
Wishing you the best, as I remain,
Givinya De Answers.

Do you have a question for me?
More to the point, do I have an answer for you?

Try me.

08 April 2008

I never thought this day would come

Is that a light at the end of our tunnel? We have a new bed! Look at it!It's new, it's bed-bug-free, and it's OURS! We might not have to sleep on the floor or the couch or the air mattress for much longer! I never thought I'd see the day.

That single-bed-shaped object on the slats is Sonny Ma-Jiminy's mattress topper. I've done a lot of washing of sheets, blankets, doonas, doona covers, mattress protectors, mattress toppers, pillows, pillow cases and clothes recently. And it is therefore I who the farmers have to thank for the lovely rain we've been receiving. No problems - don't mention it. My house is filled with sheets, blankets, doonas, etc., draped over things while attempting to get dry.

Now I'm afraid that as the bed bugs leave our lives, so too will the blog posts. By my count, the number of posts I've made about these bed bugs has now exploded violently into double figures. It's kept me posting, it's kept you reading, and now I'm worried that both will stop. What do you want me to talk about now?!? I haven't flashed myself recently, and I've run out of one-eyed fish!

What will I blog about now? Maybe I'll just have to post pictures of my kids hating the post-bath crazy hair. Here's Smoochy Girl, plus crazy hair, minus smoochy.

06 April 2008

Hand me the microphone, and hear me clear my throat.

Today was the first of two days of a totally awesome workshop entitled "Sound Management: Working with Children with Speech Impairment" presented by Assoc. Prof Sharynne McLeod. It is this year's Speech Pathology Australia National Tour, and I'm attending it! Long-term problems with bed bugs can stop you feeling like a proper person with a profession and a brain. It's good to be reminded. I'm loving it and learning heaps of things that I'll be able to use in my practice.

Today we spent some time on phonetics which gave ME a buzz, because that's always been a part of being a speech pathologist that I've enjoyed and understood quite well.

One of the activites involved all the participants being given a piece of paper on which was a symbol for one of the non-English consonants. You know, slurpy, spluttery, clickey sounds that you get in other languages, but it hurts the mouth of a English speaker when they attempt to say it. We had to describe the sound, and then attempt to say it into a microphone, making it sound like we all had either a strange vocal tic or a bad case of phlegm that we needed to share with the group.

"Umm, it sort of looks like an exclamation mark but it's a postalveolar click, a bit like (clicks loudly into microphone.) This sound is found in Sesotho." The group makes an appreciative mooing noise.

"Well this is a, err, an 'n' with a little dippy thing. It's a retroflex nasal: NNYAHR," (participant practically swallows own tongue,) "... which is produced just in front of a palatal nasal: NNYAH, but with the tongue tip retroflexed. This sound is only found in Norwegian." We moo again.

"I've got this 'c' with a squiggle underneath," ("Cedilla," mutter all the French speakers) "... it's a voiceless palatal fricative ... it sounds like HHCHCHCH ... it's found in German, Norwegian and sometimes Greek." The participant hands the microphone over quickly, hoping nobody notices that they just spat great globs onto it.

"I can't say this," an anxious participant says. "Have a go," Sharynne encourages. "Well, mine is this weird symbol: it's a voiced velar fricative, and I can't really say it..." (anxious pause) "... it's a bit like ... GHGHRRGH ... sort of ... and ummmm, it's found in Vietnamese and Greek." (Relief!)

All good clean fun. Unless you get the microphone just after someone has tried to say a voiceless palatal fricative into it.

04 April 2008

Cautiously optimistic

The bed bug bites continue. Five pest treatments later, we're still getting bitten. We have narrowed it down to Sonny Ma-Jiminy's room now, as it is only the people who sleep in his bed who get bitten. Which is everyone except Smoochy Girl, given that Sonny Ma-Jiminy's is the only proper bed in the house. It's sort of a treat to sleep on it, even if you get the odd small elbow in the back.

We have evacuated everything from his room. Well, nearly everything. And it seems that the word "nearly" is the clue to the "ploblem", as Sonny Ma-Jiminy himself would say.

A few assorted items remain, presumably treated with Ficam powder well enough to kill all bugs remaining on them. Of these assorted items, the following are my list of "Usual Suspects" lined up on the back deck:

  • Exhibit A, bag taken by Hubs to sail around the Whitsundays last November, bought new for the purpose.
  • Exhibit B, Sonny Ma-Jiminy's beloved rail, which kept him from falling out of bed until it was retired to a position under his bed.
  • Exhibit C, bag seldom used, stored in the very top of the cupboard, currently full of pictures in frames.
  • Exhibit D, oil-filled column heater, will be required for use in the next month or so.
  • Exhibit E, flimsy little wooden blackboard, waiting for a suitable time to be presented to Sonny Ma-Jiminy as a gift.
Well your honour, we find Exhibit B guilty as HELL.Objection, the judge cries. We don't find against EXHIBITS! You must name a DEFENDANT!

Stuff due process, there's a nest of bugs inside the rail!

IF we don't get bitten tonight, and IF we don't get bitten tomorrow night, and IF we don't get bitten for a week or 10 days after that, then (and only then) will our lives return to normal. We will tentatively bring our new bed into our house. We will wash every single piece of linen we use on it in tea tree oil (thanks mommastantrum!) We will wash every piece of clothing in hot water and dry it in the sun or in a hot dryer. We will inspect each and every book that is returned to our shelves.

And perhaps we'll sleep with one proverbial eye open for a while.