30 June 2008

Australia's Wonderful Animals

Well, it's here! Kids Games! It will be a long exhausting week, and I suspect it will be pretty stressful too, because the lead-up has seen my blood pressure skyrocket. It seems I have to fit in a trip to the doctor this week to discuss my hypertension medication.

If I can make it through the Kids Holiday program and simultaneous management of my own health and household satisfactorily, for a few days next week (7 July to 9 July) I will be bundling my kids (and probably a lot of laundry!) into the car and heading off to visit Aunty Crazy Sister in her new home. That thought is keeping me going.

This week, I'll schedule some posts for you. If I have anything else to blog about, I'll do that. But for the moment, I'll see if I can find some of my favourite songs from our Aussie comedy acts to keep you laughing. Here is one for today.

Some of my commenters ask about Australia. I thought this would be of interest.

29 June 2008

Blogs + Quotations = Blogtations

Thankyou very much to Blogtations for featuring me this week. I'm so pleased you liked my quotes about superglueing my fingers to a plastic dinosaur, changing nappies without contact lenses, sleep deprivation and small children screeching. It's an honour to be featured, and thankyou!

27 June 2008

It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you waste your time

Since I'm in the mood for embarassing myself by telling you the truth about silly things I do, let me confess that I set myself the pointless task of being the first commenter on The Secret Is In The Sauce (SITS) yesterday.

SITS is an awesome site developed by Heather and Tiffany who are dedicated to encouraging bloggers by promoting them one by one, asking readers to first leave a comment on the main SITS site, then head over to the day's featured blogger and comment away! Each weekday, a new blog is featured, and the post giving us the link is scheduled for midnight.

Over there, there's not exactly a competition amongst the nightowls to be the first commenter when the new post goes up, but there does seem to be a certain sense of achievement when your name can head the list of 130 or 140 comments for the day. Most of the early commenters sound very tired as they type a bleary Hello while they hug their coffees, but it is fun to be one of the first.

And I'm in Australia! The Land of Opportunity To Be The First Commenter! This is because when the post pops up at midnight somewhere in the States, it's a cushy late-afternoon time for me, and really, why shouldn't I aim to be first? Granted, there is Arsenic Hour to negotiate, but it's worth a shot, isn't it?

After much concentrated thinking, subtracting, adding and mixing numbers up in my head, I worked out that the posts are popping up at 5:00pm over here. Should be easy.

Not so, it turns out.

This is how it (approximately) went yesterday. I'll preserve Australian Eastern Standard Time, because it's my blog, and I can use my timezone if I want to.

16:45:00 - Realise that the new SITS post should be appearing in about a quarter of an hour. Kids are quiet and happy. Might go for the FIRST comment today.

16:53:00 - Trying to do some of the dinner preparation while keeping an eye on the time. Decide I won't sit down and focus on catching the new post until 4:55.

16:54:00 - Why does time go so slowly when you're "watching the pot?"

16:55:00 - Ah! Sit down and refresh the screen. Notice that yesterday's post finished with the text: "143 SITS Sisters commented" and decide to focus on that text. The minute it changes, I'm commenting my way to FIRST PLACE!

16:55:30 - Refresh screen. No change to the line "143 SITS Sisters commented." Reassure self that there probably won't be a change for the next 4 minutes 30 seconds. Dum-de-dum-de-dumm.

16:55:45 - Sonny Ma-Jiminy says, "My pants are wet Mummy." WHAT?!? Talk about great timing. Decide that I will only need to spend 4 minutes 15 seconds dealing with this and can still be first if I'm quick. Also sternly tell self that if I miss it, no big deal. Sonny's more important. (But gee - FIRST! Wow.)

16:55:50 - Sonny Ma-Jiminy says, "There's some wee on the kitchen floor too." That can wait until after I have blitzed the comment race, surely?

16:56:00 - Whisk Sonny to the bathroom. Decide that it's so close to dinner that he should probably have a shower anyway.

16:56:15 - Sonny naked. Shower water cantankerous. Two temperatures: 'Scalding' and 'Freezing'. Make mental note to change the 'H' and 'C' on the taps to 'S' and 'F' in line with Goldilocks-type showering experience.

16:56:30 - Success! Sonny proclaims the shower is "a bit perfecter" and hops in. I quickly wash everything that needs washing. He is independent in the shower, I decide to leave him for 3 mins 30 secs and head back to refresh the screen. "143 SITS Sisters commented." Still in the running for the fabulous prize of being FIRST! Woot!

16:57:20 - Sonny's tiny voice, "I need to do a poo!" Wow! Toilet training is working! Right-jolly-now-of-all-the-times-in-all-the-days. Well. This is truly more important than being first. I'll deal with this and take my chances on SITS.

16:57:25 - Water of "perfect" temperature switched off (gah!), Sonny out of shower, towelled down, sat on toilet.

16:58:00 - Refresh screen. "143 SITS Sisters commented." Realise that my heart is pounding and I am all nervous, just like in the closing seconds of an eBay auction you're winning and you hope nobody outbids you as the clock tick-tick-ticks along. Admit to self this is really pretty dumb.

16:58:35 - Sonny is done. And wow. He must be lighter after that. Again: wow. Good going, kiddo. He declares he doesn't want his nighttime nappy, only undies. I race into the kitchen where we of course store the undies and step in the large puddle of wee that he warned me about, but I had cleverly decided to de-prioritise so I can have the delirious joy of being the FIRST COMMENTER ON SITS. Like there's a prize or something. Idiot.

16:58:45 - Get old towel and deal with puddle on kitchen floor.

16:59:00 - Refresh screen. "143 SITS Sisters commented." Cool.

16:59:10 - Negotiate with Sonny regarding the benefits of going with the nighttime nappy afterall. Nappy on. Pyjamas on. Cuddle, because I can't resist.

16:59:55 - Refresh screen. "143 SITS Sisters commented."

17:00:03 - Refresh screen. "143 SITS Sisters commented." Okay, maybe the SITS clock and mine aren't perfectly synchronised...

17:00:25 - Refresh screen. "143 SITS Sisters commented." No worries, it'll be real soon.

17:00:49 - Refresh screen. "143 SITS Sisters commented."

17:00:58 - Refresh screen. "143 SITS Sisters commented."

17:01:05 - Refresh screen. "143 SITS Sisters commented."

17:01:35 - Refresh screen. "143 SITS Sisters commented." Maybe the SITS girls schedule their posts for a few minutes after midnight.

17:01:47 - Refresh screen. "143 SITS Sisters commented." Or maybe they don't schedule them at all.

17:01:58 - Refresh screen. "143 SITS Sisters commented." Or maybe they've decided to play with us today, schedule it for 2am so silly ol' me learns a lesson about not playing pointless games like this.

17:02:05 - Refresh screen. "143 SITS Sisters commented." Or maybe it's just a life lesson I have to learn. The Hare and the Tortoise, you know. It's not about who wins or loses, but how you play the game.

17:02:10 - A thought dawns on me. This is not the top of the page. I keep refreshing and the page loads to the same spot it was before I refreshed. Any new post will surely appear ABOVE this spot here.

17:02:11 - Embarrassed.

17:02:12 - Scroll up. Yep, there's the new post. Three minutes old, with two comments there already. What a total schmuck.


(1) No children were harmed or neglected in the whole stupid debacle. On my honour, their needs, as always, came first. All screen refreshes were done in the "spare" blocks of 10 seconds which would have otherwise been used to say, "Hurry Up!" But instead of hurrying Sonny, I decided to hit "refresh". A better use of time.

(2) SITS offers awesome competitions and giveaways, and all right-thinking SITStas would choose to enter them with a view to win, rather than engaging in inter-continental competitions regarding who commented first on any given day.

26 June 2008

Did a SNAIL just slide over you, or is that ....?

We have all been sick, and therefore we all have The Snots. (It's a medical term.)

How many boxes of tissues (that's 'Kleenex', y'all) have we gone through? How many half-used and quarter-used tissues litter my floor? (I want to say 'about a trillion' here.) And how chaffed are our noses?

Four long stories short: Smoochy is better except for coughing and The Snots, I am getting better very slowly, feeling ghastly and my blood pressure is terribly high AGAIN, Mr de Elba has no voice so he can't even TELL me how he is or ASK me how I am (!), and Sonny Ma-Jiminy is recovering from ... da-da DUM! Bronchial Pneumonia! Still has residual coughing and again, The Snots.

I wasn't going to bore The Internets with our ills (I'm saving that for when I'm 80. Or, no-wait, how old is my Mum? 57. Yeah. About then.) But I mentioned it today because I thought you might be interested in ...


No wonder we've been drinking more fluids! Litres are pouring out of us in the form of snot! If we forgot to drink for an hour and kept on *producing*, I think we'd all dry out and go crackly and crunchy.

Smoochy Girl has found her nose, it's a great time. Her little finger is often up there: doing what, I'm not sure. She's either doing a reconnaisance of previously unchartered territory, or she's mounting a search and rescue up the twin caves. Which it is depends on if she brings much out with her when she emerges.

At the same time, she has also discovered my mouth, plunging the same finger deep into the oral structures with a similar manner of inquisition.

And she often does these two investigations in quick succession, in the order I have mentioned them. Gah.

And when I hold her on my hip (which is most of the time) she finds the easiest way to get rid of that wet-nose feeling is to just lean over and wipe on Mummy's shirt. I think people who used to recognise me by the baby food smeared on my left shoulder now recognise me by the snail trails of baby snot on my left shoulder.

"Who's that?"
"I don't know, haven't got my glasses on."
"Oh look, there's snot on the left shoulder. I know her."
"Oh, yeah. Snotwoman."
Sonny Ma-Jiminy is a bit sick of getting a tissue and wiping his red-raw nose. It's easier and quicker for him to grab his shirt or jumper, do a quick wipe, and go on his way.

Recently, I started the morning by giving him a huge hug. I love the feeling of my kids in my arms, and I held him close and squeezed him tight. I nuzzled my face in to his tummy to enjoy the lovely, cuddly Sonny-ness of his tiny body. But instead I felt a large quantity of something cold and slimy smearing across my face.

Having your face smeared with somebody else's cold slimy snot is a particularly bad way to start the day.

Now that I've made your day just that little bit brighter, I'll leave you with it. And this should be the last time I mention snot in my blog.

25 June 2008

Coming Clean

Thanks to everyone for your support of my poem about Mr McGee and the Biting Flea. I was disproportionately proud of it and totally chuffed to be featured on Good Mom / Bad Mom.

As you may have guessed from reading the comments, I was quite eager for my comment count to "violently explode" into the double figures it had never reached before. Sad, but true. Nine (9) has been the previous commenty high-score and as you know, we bloggers LOVE comments.

What to do? I was getting a huge (well, huge for me!) number of hits to my page but although they came to read and stayed to snicker, they didn't click to comment! Argh!

Crazy Sister was in the middle of moving house and her telephone lines were not connected (things are a bit backward with our largest telephone carrier here, I don't think any Aussies will be disagreeing with me on this,) so not only could she not comment, she couldn't even read the post.

I thought about my brother. The Cool Cat has landed a great engineering job in a mining town and totally loves it. Work keeps him so busy that he is always sending and reading non-work-related email, so I decided to email him and ask if he could help.

Yes I am really this pathetic:

Subject: Ask not what your sister can do for you, but what you can do for your sister.

Hey Little Bro,

Can you help? I have written a blog post that was featured on Good Mom / Bad Mom on Sunday. So I've had a record number of hits to my site over the last few days but problem is they come to read and don't stay to leave a friendly comment!

We bloggers LOVE comments. In fact, our whole self-worth hangs on them. My comment count is always in the extremely-low range, and I was hoping that all this traffic to my site was going to help me EXPLODE VIOLENTLY for once into double figures.

But alas. My comment count sits at an embarrassing 9. N-I-N-E. 9. And two of them were from MYSELF! Can you help restore my self-esteem by leaving a comment for me? So you can be Number 10? Pretty please!

I promise I will come clean and blog about how I cajoled and wheedled my dear little bro into helping me out!!

Yours, etc.

And so I think I'd better actually come clean and admit this to you, pretending I'm not embarrassed because I write under a pseudonym. But of course, half my readers know me in real life so the pseudonym doesn't afford me much anonymity. They all know I'm a little bit pathetic though.

Well, in case you missed it, here was my amazing brother's first comment, displaying that he is better at spinning a rhyme than I ever was!

Your wee bro said ...

Your blog was hilarious
Really quite neat
Though seeing that halfway
'twixt shoulders and feet

Was kinda disturbing
Considering that
The book’s aimed at children
Like those you begat

But you’d better come clean
Re an email you sent
Asking your brother
To post a comment

To bolster the number
Of comments to you
Into double figures -
A record that’s due

Your loving young brother,
I’m glad to assist
In all ways I can
Including like this

I got it too late
But I’m happy to see
You made double figures
With no help from me

(Now you just need
Another one or two
To bring to said record
Those posts not from you.)

HOWZAT?!? The kid can rhyme! I thought that was awesome. And if that wasn't good enough, he came back for a second bite of commenting pie:

Your wee bro said ...

How is that possible?
I dissed you through rhyme!!
'twas not my intention
At least not this time!

I’m racked with guilt
And apologise fully
I can’t believe I’m guilty
Of being a bully

One Homer J. Simpson
Said that it’s wrong
And he hates it when people
Mislead him through song

I hope you’ll forgive me
For being a tool
And realise it’s just me
Acting the fool.

Superb. Bonus points for the Simpsons reference.

And the good ol' comment counter has hit double figures a couple of times since then. Whoo! Thanks to all my commenty friends!

24 June 2008

Pussycat on a Hot Tin Roof

Working my own hours in my own private practice is working outrageously well. I've been on leave without pay from the Department of Education for a few years now and although I will hold my job until July next year, I really can't see that I will want to go back to it.

Every now and then I receive a small amount of pay from the department for unexplained reasons. It's usually at the end of the year and has to do with "Leave Loading" which has been explained to me, but I still cannot understand it.

I received a letter the other day from the department telling me ever-so-politely that they overpaid me $500 last year, and could they please have their money back? Would I please call them to sort out the method of re-payment?

I have no doubt that they did overpay me, but due to my goldfish-like incapacity to understand what I get paid and when, it passed through my memory bank without hitting the sides.

Sigh. I had to call them. And although I see myself as a bureaucrat-eating, ball-busting go-getter, when I am talking to a real person whose fault it isn't, I turn into a great big docile pussycat. Double Sigh.


Me: Hello, I have a few questions about this letter I received asking that I pay you an obscene amount of money.

Him: Er, yes, please fire away.

Me: Firstly, what manner of incompetent boob overpays someone and asks for the money back?

Him: Yes, well, that is the usual procedure in these cases...

Me: And presumably it was paid in the first place as leave loading on a salary I am not being paid due to my leave-without-pay status?

Him: Err, it seems that way, yes...

Me: Fine. Well I see in your list of repayment options that it can be taken out of my salary?

Him: Yes, that's right.

Me: M'kay, I choose that option. Have a nice day! (Hangs up.)

Him: But you're not actually being paid a salary... hello? Hello?!? Oooh, I don't think this is going to work. Bother. No bonus for me.
But did I say that? No. Instead of that, I spoke to "Him" above who had no clue whatsoever and gave me the phone number of Beryl, a very cool, efficient, unemotional, polite lady who treated me to the following conversation with my real-life Pussycatness.

Me: Hello, can I talk to you about this letter I've received?

Beryl: Yes, and I can help you arrange the method you'll repay the money.

Me: Err, okaaayyy, I guess I'd also like to ask what manner of ... I mean, who - on earth - um, overpays someone and then has to ask for the money back ...? But I mean of course it wasn't you, certainly not your fault personally, so ... (losing confidence) just wondering who does that, basically ...

Beryl: Well, the Department does, and when that happens, we arrange for the money to be given back.

Me: It just seems a little ...

Beryl: ... because it's taxpayers' money you see. And we can't be wasting taxpayers' money. (This from the Department of Education! Ha!)

Me: Okay, I see. Yes, yes, I get that. Ummm... errr. Okay, well, (but she didn't save me from myself at this point, oh no she didn't, she just waited until the Pussycat found her own tongue and blurted out:) Well, I guess that Direct Debit would be the best for me. And my bank account details are ...
See? Hopeless.

23 June 2008

Pointless Tidying

Guess how many toys/clothes/books/puzzle pieces I picked up off the floor today. Go on, guess!

A trillion.

That's right. I know it was a trillion because I counted them as I picked them up. Well, I lost count after about 12, and had to estimate after that. It was a trillion. About a trillion.

This is a real picture of the mess before I tidied it up. This is not a joke. My children had thoughtfully arranged it all like this. I am not hamming it up for the camera. This is how it actually was:And then after about 90 minutes of Extreme Tidying (yeah, it's an extreme sport at our place. Like Extreme Cleaning and Extreme Laundry) it looked like this: Man I'm great. Of course, those of us who know how the world works will immediately recognise this as the first two steps of the following repetitive three-step cycle:

I also attempted to sort out the puzzle pieces from those trillion objects and slot them into their proper places on about six empty puzzle boards in front of me while Smoochy Girl crawled over them, taking as many out as she went as she possibly could.

And I, a 31-year-old woman, couldn't get the darn Q into its little hole in the alphabet puzzle board. Turns out I had the Q back to front, which shouldn't have stymied me because I have pretty good spatial awareness. But I decided that if I can't get a Q into its spot on a puzzle board, then Life must be sucking the guts out of me and something needs to change.

So after Kids Games is finished, I'll be dropping some of my commitments and spending more time enjoying life and smelling the roses. (Ooh, better plant a rose garden then! Might need Aunt Debbi's help!!)

To help me drag myself through my final Kids Games, I've written a list of New Resolutions. Not New Year's Resolutions, because it's not the New Year, but they certainly are New, and they're Resolutions. So ... New Resolutions then. This is what I've got so far, not including this rose garden I've just thought about.

  • Spend more time looking up new recipes
  • And more time trying out new recipes I've found
  • Go to the Library once a month to take out books for me and the kids
  • Get a new Bible study book and do more Quiet Times
  • More lamingtons for the family. It's ages since we've eaten lamingtons.
That's all, apart from following up on my decision to do more trips to the Grandmas and Grandpas, and Aunty CrazySister and her whole gang.

By the way, I am in the process of getting Crazy Sister to write her own blog. She is deadset ten times funnier than I am, but is more of a pen-and-paper-and-post-it-in-the-mail sort of gal. She said she sent me a letter today, and that she wrote it in the bath (?) so I am to forgive the messy writing and water damage to the pages.

Bring on her blog!

21 June 2008

Preparing to Hibernate

Hello all my blog-reading friends!

I will be a little bit absent over the next fortnight. This is because I am doing a mad scramble to prepare everything I need to prepare for Kids Games. It will be big, it will be exhausting, but for the kids, it will be fun.

For me though, it will push me as close to the edge as it can. I am finding this sort of preparation with two very active kids extremely difficult. Some Mums can do it. They can organise awesome kids ministry, both ongoing and one-off programs while shepherding two small kids and balancing a baby on their hips. I am not that woman.

So hey. If you're a praying person: I will need prayer! If you're not, spare a thought for me as I scramble around for the fortnight. I'll drop in on and off, and I'll be back more regularly later.

Hey - have you seen this?

18 June 2008

When did that happen?

Paul Hester is dead. I'm shocked.

Not because I knew him, not because I was cool enough to listen to much Crowded House, and not because I was a groupie or anything.

I'm shocked because I've been going along thinking that this musician I had vaguely heard of was alive, and it turns out he died.


I like to keep up with the news, and I guess I thought that if something noteworthy happened three years ago, I would have learned about it, assimilated it into my world-view, and moved on.

Apparently not.

Then I realised just why I'd missed the news that Paul Hester had died three years ago. It was simply because Paul died three days after Sonny Ma-Jiminy was born.

Ah yes. I have some fuzzy memories of the post-birth period. I might as well have done four days of solid movie marathons then tripped when walking out of the movie theatre, sustained bad gravel rash on my nipples, and bathed them in lemon juice. Yep, that's how I felt and that's why news and current affairs were pretty much washing over my addled brain for a few months.

This got me thinking: what other things did I miss when I was in that fuddled brain haze after I gave birth to Sonny Ma-Jiminy on 23rd March 2005? Wikipedia helped me.

In the Post-Sonny-Ma-Jiminy Haze, I managed to catch the news that Pope John Paul II died and Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles were married. Yeah, the big humanitarian issues.

I also remember hearing that Crown Princess Mary of Denmark announced her first pregnancy on 26 April. Sort of stealing my thunder as I'd just given birth to my first child, but hey, sail on the wings of my success. Whatever.

What I missed was considerable. There were the news stories I wouldn't have cared about, like the first 13th root calculation of a 200-digit number being calculated by a mad Frenchman with way too much time on his hands.

But news items I would have been interested in included the Court of Appeals' decision regarding Terri Schiavo's feeding tube and Terri's death soon after, the revolution in Kyrgyzstan, the demonstration in Taipei, the earthquake in Sumatra and the State of Emergency in Ecuador. But these things happened, along with the deaths of Anne Bancroft and Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, without my knowledge, permission or blessing! Huh!

What on earth must I have missed in the Post-Smoochy-Girl Haze (then known as the Post-Chubbity-Bubbity Haze) that started on 14th April 2007?Well, I wasn't totally living under a rock. I did mourn with the world over the Virginia Tech Massacre and felt sick in my stomach at the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

I became very suspicious of Crown Princess Mary of Denmark who, after giving birth to a baby boy just like I did in 2005, gave birth to a baby girl who looked startlingly like then-named Chubbity Bubbity a mere week after Chubbity's birth. She seemed to be stalking me. I formulated a cunning plan to test my stalking theory by scheming to next give birth to a multiple or a monkey. Copy that, Princess!

Again though, large chunks of current affairs sailed unnoticed right by my sleep-deprived, milk-engorged existence. Some were uneventful - what do I care if the Pound Sterling hit a 15-year high against the US dollar? - but other news would have been of interest to me. If only I was accepting new information.

Chess Champion Garry Kasparov was detained for participating in a banned march(!) American cartoonist Brant Parker, embarrassing Russian ex-President Boris Yeltsin and Billy Graham's wife Ruth Bell Graham died. Nicolas Sarkozy was elected President of France, and here I am with a world view that still has Jacques Chirac smugly sitting on the French Presidential Throne.

Wow. Whole chunks of history passed me by when my babes were tiny. And I didn't really care. I was too wrapped up and do you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.

Notes To Self: Paul Hester is dead. Things happen without my reassuring presence. Must investigate birthing multiples and monkeys, and closely watch the Danish Royalty. And it's hard to find a baby photo of your kids that doesn't have a breast pump in the background.

16 June 2008

Ten Seconds

She's alright.

Smoochy Girl is alright. She's sleeping in her cot, full of lasagne and high on life.

(Just so that we're clear.)

I've been out of the loop for the last few days, visiting both my family and Hubs' family as part of my decision to keep visiting family despite the laundry pile. Both kids were quite sick, but it was nice to be out and about instead of being cooped up at home.

On Sunday morning, we were at a tiny country church (and had a wonderful morning!) Smoochy hadn't slept by midday, even though she usually has a nap at about 9:30 or 10:00am. She was exhausted and hot, and very upset to be strapped into her car seat. She was even more upset to be taken out (as a 'second thought') so I could get her jumper off, and strapped back in.

She cried hard. You know when little kids cry so hard that they keep breathing out and out and ouuuuttt... and they can't breath in? She did that. I looked up at her face as I strapped her in and said, "Breathe!" but she didn't. She breathed out and out and out ... her lips went blue, she closed her eyes and went floppy.

I screamed her name and patted her cold pale cheek. Then I tore her seat belt off and grabbed her out of the car, still calling her name and stroking her face. The longest ten seconds of my life.

She opened her eyes and started breathing very quietly. Her colour was no longer blue, but she was pale and her face was still cold, especially her lips. It was a full five minutes before I felt she was stable enough to put her back in the car. I only had a few tears when I realised that there was no mobile phone reception and we couldn't have called out in an emergency.

I sat with her as we drove to the emergency department of the hospital, Smoochy sleeping peacefully as her colour improved and her skin became warmer.

Ten seconds - much shorter than the length of time some parents have seen their children blue and unresponsive.

A happy healthy Smoochy Girl - a much better outcome than the outcome some people are forced to accept.

Every time my mind turns to the 'what-ifs' of yesterday morning, I force myself to be thankful and pray for people who have had it much worse than we did in those awful ten seconds.

Eating a chocolate-chip muffin

12 June 2008

60 Days is a Long Time

If you check the little counter in my sidebar over there ... no, down a bit ... under the button with the fish guts (click it to visit All Mediocre, by the way!) ... you'll see my little counter.

Since 13th April this little counter has been counting up the days. 13th April was the last day we woke up and declared we'd suffered bed-bug bites, using words best transcribed by holding down "Shift" and bashing away at the numeric keys on the keyboard.

We read somewhere that if you go for 60 days without a bed-bug bite, you can be fairly confident you no longer have them living in your home. I hope that's true. Because I've also learned that without a food source, they can hibernate for 18 months and come back to feed, grow, breed and re-populate after that time. And if that's true, the practicalities of starving them to death mean that we probably never would get rid of them.

It's been a while since I posted about bed bugs. I felt my blog was becoming too focussed on them, so I stopped blathering on about them. But if you're new and would like to take a trip deep into our parasitic nightmare, you can read about when I found that bed bugs were the cause of my four month-long incessant itching problem, when I actually found their nests after three pest treatments, a bed-bug-related theft known as 'The Case of the Missing Pantyliners', the extreme measures that I thought were a last resort, the day I found a shocking pair of parasitic pyjamas, having to go further than the 'last resort', then the nightmare of living the whole sordid thing out in real life, day after day.

If you have the fortitude, you could also read about three depressing finds that made me feel quite helpless, more rain to set us back further, and a photo(shopped)graphic example of why poor body image is a surprise side-effect of ongoing bed-bug bites.

There's also the find that signalled the light at the end of the tunnel, a cautious dabble in the world of FAITH that we were really getting through this whole ghastly episode, and an indication that the FAITH was ill-placed, or at least, premature.

Since then, I've stayed mostly quiet on the topic except for an update telling you that we were exploring all avenues to get these horrible critters out of our lives once and for all.

They've affected us psychologically, of course. Many times we see seeds in our muesli or bits of dirt or spots in a pattern and our flight-or-fight response kicks in, making our hearts pound and our bodies go hot and cold all over at the possibility that it's yet another bed bug.

But the good news is that we haven't seen any. We haven't had any classic bed-bug bites despite many itchy bouts of "psychological bed-bugs."

And now we're at DAY 60. We'd feel elated if we hadn't seen two tiny blood spots on the sheets at Day 30, and a further blood spot on a pillowcase at Day 47. They were the classic bed-bug-looking spots too, and it's difficult to dismiss them as a nosebleed or scratch on the skin in the middle of the night.

Are we ready to move back in to our bedrooms? It's been months since our clothes were in our rooms, and our books were in their shelves. We've been living in a crazy world of limbo - a bit like moving house, but never settling anywhere. It's driven my home-maker instincts absolutely crazy, and it's been a huge lesson in letting go of things: allowing mess where once there was tidyness, allowing chaos where once there was order.

You'd think I'd be over the moon. I assumed that once this day came, I'd move right back in.

But today, I didn't.

I looked at the makeshift 'chest of drawers' for me and hubs in the living room. I looked at the makeshift 'chest of drawers' for Sonny Ma-Jiminy in the kitchen.I looked at the disorganised and chaotic assortment of who-knows-what on the front balcony.I looked at the spider-infested, water-damaged boxes of books and clothes under the deck (my beautiful deck!) outside.And I wondered if I would ever have energy to put my life back together.

I doubt anyone will ever understand just how difficult these last few months have been for me.

10 June 2008

Screechy Girl

I wish my daughter would scream and shriek at a pitch slightly higher than the one she currently uses. Because then only dogs could hear her.

Google. And you shall find.

Wow. Google just blows my mind. Well, any search engine really. You can find stuff you never imagined you'd find. Here are some of the recent hits to my site c/o Google, making me glad I chose a blog title with the word 'ukulele' in it, linked to the pages the poor Googlers ended up at:

None of the poor Googlers learned anything to further their pursuit of learning, I suspect. Again, if I am speaking about YOU, well thanks for hanging around!! Love to increase my readership with people who wanted to learn some Sunday School songs for tiny stringed instruments, and stayed to read about my kids' Sunday behaviour and my bleeding dog.

You can learn all sorts of amazing stuff on the Internet, and it's not usually the stuff you'd deliberately set out to learn.

Yesterday after a random wander c/o Google, my husband emerged from the study, very excited. "Guess what!" he shouted to Puppity Doggity, startling her out of a doze. "I just learned how to give CPR to a dog!!"

Case in point.

And now, for no other reason than that I like them, here are some of Calvin's Snowmen for you to enjoy. Calvin and Hobbes is copyright Universal Press Syndicate (UPS).

09 June 2008

Would you like fries with that?

I had bathed my two kids and was struggling to dress Smoochy Girl. She hates lying on her back while I do the nappy and pyjamas.

She kicked and screamed and tried to roll over. She escaped from my grasp and pulled herself up to stand on the change table so she could reach the light switch. I tried to dress her in that position but it was impossible. I continued trying to get her pants on her kicking legs while I held her around the middle with one arm. No luck.

I then assumed the Last Resort Position. I sat on the floor with a naked, kicking, screaming baby lying on her back on the floor in front of me. I put each of my feet on a tiny flapping arm to pin them down while I used both my hands to get each of two kicking, thrashing legs into its respective pants leg.

I am a master.

I was in this position when Sonny Ma-Jiminy assumed his pose between the column heater and the wall. The column heater became his serving counter, and he was determined to sell me a 'burger'. Naked. Because it was such a convenient time.

Smoochy: [loud screaming]

Sonny: What will you have Mummy?

Smoochy: [continued loud screaming]

Sonny: What will you have Mummy???

Me: I - um - oh. LIE STILL!


Me: I can't hear you over this - OH! Just a little bit longer - you can crawl away once you're dressed!

Smoochy: [continued loud screaming]

Sonny: Mummy! ... What! ... Will! ... You! ... Have!?!


Sonny: Here's your burger. (Hands me an imaginary burger.)

Me: (Sigh) I guess that'll have to do.

07 June 2008

The Devil is in the DETAIL

"Mr McGee
and the Biting Flea" -
an Australian classic
for kids over three.

I saw it somewhere,
since then I have sought it.
It popped up on eBay
and promptly I bought it.

The story starts well:
McGee flying his kite,
but then it goes pear-shaped
when he feels a sharp bite.

You see, it gets tricky
for poor old McGee.
He gets badly bitten
by (of all things) a flea.

Details of undressing
would lengthen this rhyme.
I'll show you some pictures
to save us some time.

He tears off his clothes
with startling rapidity
and adds to Kids' Fiction
this case of ... nakidity.

Now today I've wiped noses,
seen poo and seen dirt.
Then I read this cute story
and now my eyes hurt.

My eyes fell on DETAIL
that makes it quite rude.
Can you see the small DETAIL
to which I allude?


I looked. I blinked.
I was shocked and amazed.
Seeing the DETAIL
Has left me quite dazed.

Now here's a weird thought.
We'll read this one day;
Will the kids see the DETAIL?
And what will they say?

Now the end of this story
re-told on my blog?
'Twas good for McGee
but bad for the dog.


05 June 2008

Who killed a fly with a ukulele?

Nobody. Well, at least nobody I know of.

A few of you have asked about my blog title. Where did it come from, and is there a funny story?

I could make up something or I could truthfully admit that sorry, there is no funny story.

One day I was playing with the sentence "Killing a fly with a ukulele is probably the wrong thing to do." It certainly sounded like something I'd say to Sonny Ma-Jiminy: "Sonny, throwing your food THERE is the wrong thing to do." "Ah - no, I'd say that painting THIS all over THAT would certainly be the wrong thing to do, wouldn't you Sonny? Mmm?"

But I couldn't seem to work it into a post because nobody ever killed a fly with a ukulele. In my house, anyway.

At the time, I was looking for a new blog name. My previous one was "You, Me, and The Oxford Comma," and of course, nobody understood it. Probably because there was nothing to understand, really. It was dumb. So I decided to replace it with "Killing A Fly." I had no other ideas about using it.

Now until recently, I'd never had many hits from Google searches. Over the last few weeks though, I've had plenty more and mostly, it's been thanks to my blog title. Here are some of the things that people have Googled, haplessly ending up in my little bloggy world:

  • clouds suddenly appear on ukulele (a musical rendition was what they were after. How disappointing to end up here!)
  • fly with ukulele (a Wannabe Birdman, looking for inspiration?)
  • ukulele mouse pad (all they got was a blog title and my desire to win this competition)
  • making my own ukulele top and back sizes cm (They wanted to build one, and yet they still clicked on a site that appeared to discussing killing flies with them. Love it!)
  • somebody loves me ukulele (I'm sorry about that, but I guess it's better that ya' ukulele found love in someone's arms. It could be worse if nobody loved ya' ukulele.)
  • drawstring sheet bag for preschool (oh what pathetic comfort I was for this poor Googler!)
  • fly killing for kids (are you KIDDING me? This is too funny.)
  • killing a fly with a ukulele (either this person was looking for me specifically, or wow, there's someone out there who needs to buy a swat!)
  • blue colouring in ice blocks (luckily they came to my incredibly scientific discussion on blue food colouring)
  • Jatz biscuit recipes (they wanted recipes and they got Smoochy Girl's Pinup Boy)

I apologise to all of you. I can tell from your searches that you didn't want to end up here. But if you did, and if you're still reading me, I'm very pleased you stuck around! Welcome!

Maybe you could confirm this for me, but I suspect that having a title that is both absurdly long and strangely intriguing, people must notice it, like it and click it.

Sorry there's been not much news of late here at Killing A Fly. I'll try to pull back my blogging over the next week or so, for the following reasons:

  • My eyes are getting scratchy at night (from too much blogging)
  • I've had some mild headaches (I think from my blood pressure medication, combined with too much blogging)
  • I'm losing my mind (from lack of sleep caused by blogging late at night.)

To illustrate the third point, I'll confess this piece of vagueness (but it's just between You, Me, and The Oxford Comma).

This morning I opened the dishwasher and as usual, had to ask myself if the stuff inside was clean or not. Better not unpack it and put it away if it's just been rinsed and stacked, not washed. I saw that it was still dirty and needed to go through a dishwasher cycle.

Then I went into a Mum-Daze and absently 'dried' half the load with a tea towel and put it away. I only noticed after I'd done a few plates, knives, forks and miscellaneous containers. It was then I realised I was getting far too vague to warrant spending sleep-time blogging.

So for a week or so, I'll just try to post something small and funny each day. I'll try to visit your blogs a little and leave comments when I have something coherent to say. Don't worry if you don't hear from me too much, I'll be here. But I might be folding laundry or cleaning up petrified food from behind Smoochy Girl's high chair, and you can rest easy knowing I'm working on decreasing that 'Ransack Chic' at my place I sometimes complain about.

For the moment, I'll leave you with Classic Cleese and his Ministry of Silly Walks. Just Because.

03 June 2008

Competing for Something Saucy

A competition! I am entering this competition to win a Blogger's Survival Pack. As you know, I judge a day to have been a success if I get through without seeing BLOOD or FLAMES, so you can imagine that in my life, a little Survival wouldn't go astray!

Please head over to The Secret Is In The Sauce to see what is in the pack that my friend Mrs Mommastantrum is certain she will win!

1. A Blog Makeover by Eightcrazy Design - who among you hasn't been a little disappointed at my inability to come up with a masthead that features a ukulele and a dead fly? A makeover is sorely needed, I think.

2. A Fuji Fine Pix Digital Camera Kit - essential for capturing the next one-eyed fish, sunscreen-painted decking, dope-related church sign or injury-producing kitchen implement.

3. Sony Digital Voice Recorder - Oh how I need one of these! Admittedly I need it more for my work as I assess littlies' speech and language skills, but I promise I will use it to record ideas for blog posts when they come to mind. I'm currently working on a list of my top 100 pet peeves, but can never remember items for the list once I'm sitting at my computer - a voice recorder would really help!

4. Gift Card for iTunes - Oh please take me out of Mummydom and into the real world! I need a musical makeover in my life. There's only so much "Toot-Toot Chugga-Chugga Big Red Car" I can take!

5. An oh-so-cool "Comment Junkie" T-shirt. But be warned. A high-necked tee like this will only make me look like Mrs Shelf-Bosom. When you're a little -erm- large in the -erm- 'upper body', a high neck will turn you into a frumpy dowager. On the other hand, a low neck screams "Barmaid!" This particular tee is best on the much-envied Itty-Bitty-Tittie Committee, but I'd like it anyway! Perhaps with an unzipped hoodie over the top. Can't you just see me in that, listening to my iTunes on my iPod taking photos of something bloggable with my new digital camera? Aw, c'mon!

6. A Gel Mouse Pad. Oh wow. I'm using the wooden surface of my desk now.

7. As if this giveaway isn't enough, there's chocolate! The incentive for Heather and Tiffany to pick me as their winner is that, as an Australian, I can't redeem this voucher over here. Google Maps has told me that my closest Trader Joe's is 12,000km away, interestingly recommending a long kayak trip across the Pacific Ocean. So hmm, I don't know, perhaps Heather and Tiffany may find a little chocolatey something coming back THEIR way if I win!

If it doesn't appear, you'd better start searching the Pacific Ocean for me and my kayak.

02 June 2008

Conservation of Matter - Disproved

The law of conservation of mass/matter would have you believe that in a closed system (like my own private Mum-iverse,) matter cannot be created or destroyed although it may be rearranged. We of course know this to be untrue. It has been disproved by the evaporation of my Nice Black Shoes.

They are nowhere, where once they were somewhere. Because of this, at tonight’s function I wore black open-toed heels (sounds like an oxymoron, but isn’t) when really I wanted my mid-heeled closed shoes. It’s been raining for four days and winter is on the way, so it’s cold and wet here and those are the shoes I really needed.

Before I got to the function centre, I stepped in a large puddle in the dark. When we arrived I had to negotiate a steep wet hill without making a spectacle of myself on my heels. And once I was inside, my toes got cold.

So where is the law of conservation of matter when it comes to my Nice Black Shoes?

And Sonny Ma-Jiminy’s Kindy Pie Drive form?

And Smoochy Girl’s pink fleecy hoodie?

And Hubs’ black leather belt?


It’s very late right now and so my brain is a little addled, but the way I see it, the law allows for matter to have been rearranged. So perhaps my shoes were rearranged into the pink fleecy hoodie, the black leather belt was rearranged into the Kindy Pie-Drive form, and both were then re-arranged into something that’s right under my nose.

I bet it’s that vase of artificial gerberas.

Now I’ve sorted that out, I can go to sleep.

Thanks, Schmutzie!

Five Star Friday

01 June 2008

Yum. Wax.

Naughty Mummy. Sonny Ma-Jiminy never ate any chocolate until he was about one. Smoochy Girl has the benefit of being the second child. You just can't hide chocolate from her, and life goes a whole lot smoother if you just GIVE HER SOME CHOCOLATE. So yes, she eats it occasionally.

One night recently I gave her a small piece and she loved it. I can still hear that pleasant chocolate-cracking "Crook!" sound that echoed around her mouth as her little teeth bit into the dark sweet goodness.

The rest of us hadn't finished our chocolate by the time Smoochy Girl had eaten hers so to keep the peace, I gave her another little bit. Again, "CROOK!": that wonderful chocolatey snapping sound in the mouth. Mmm.

Enough now. A one year old doesn't need any more than that. I put her down on the ground where she busied herself with some of Sonny Ma-Jiminy's crayons.

I saw it happen, but couldn't stop it. Smoochy reached out for the brown crayon, put it in her mouth, and ... "CROOK!"
Yeah, great.