30 September 2008

K-minus 6 days

It is now 6 days until K-Day (K=kitchen), the day when the old kitchen comes out. There will be ripping, chucking, sanding, polishing and installing, and four days later I've been told I will have a brand spanking new kitchen in there. It will look a little like this, but please picture pale wood-grain cupboard doors and a darkish stone benchtop (who knows where the pictured colours came from?!)

Today was the only child-free day I will have for packing things away into boxes before K-Day. It feels much too early to start thinking of that, but necessity is the mother of Doing-Things-At-Silly-Times, so with the help of my wonderful parents who came to visit, I started.

It really was good to have a little help! Thanks Mum and Dad! They must love me a lot, because packing away the kitchen was a ghastly job. We only got 30% of it done today.

It was all, "What do you want to do with this?" and "I have no idea," and "Do you want me to help you clean the top of the fridge?" and "No no, it's too awful, I'd better do that job myself," and "Will I pack this stuff into this box?" and "No we'll need that every day so I'll put it um-I-don't-know-where," and "Should I put this downstairs?" and "No, I'll never ever find it again," and "Should I put it on top of the TV then?" and "No, that would just be really wrong," and "I'll put it on top of the fridge then," and "Okay whatever go ahead knock yourself out."

So now, six whole days before K-Day, I can't find anything (even though Mum labelled all the boxes really clearly). I am using breakfast bowls to strain pasta, I am using an electric frypan to boil vegetables, and I am using lunchboxes for leftovers.

And there are six days until work starts in the kitchen. This means there are ten days until it's finished.

Ten days, people! Ten days of cooking in conditions more confusing than Cooking While Camping In Tents! Imagine it!

I am going to need some serious prayer.

29 September 2008

One Week until Kitchen Day

It's now one week until our old kitchen is removed and our new one will be put in. How MUCH are we looking forward to our new kitchen? A LOT.

Our old 1974 kitchen is very hard to store anything in. Most of the cupboards are far too shallow to put plates in and there are hardly any spots to store large things like the frypan or slow cooker.

The corner for the fridge was planned in days when fridges were much smaller. The corner cupboard was an innovation from a time when there was nothing better to do with awkward corner space than to make it more awkward.

The new kitchen will make much better use of the space, giving me more storage space while opening the room up a lot more.

I would like to post a picture of our old kitchen and the plans of the new one, but at the moment, a photo of our old kitchen would be too embarrassing.

Since we decided on the new kitchen, a few things have broken in our old one. I was boiling something on the stovetop one day when I attended to Sonny Ma-Jiminy and it boiled over. Boiling water somehow got into the internal workings of the oven and I heard crackling noises in there.

I peeked into a small hole in the front (left after the front glass cover was smashed when I dropped a heavy dishh into it) and saw sparks flying around in there. The oven was then switched off and it won't be making a reappearance.

Imagine cooking for a month with no cooktop or oven! I've had to think of meals to cook without them. But there is a great variety of things you can make with a rice cooker, slow cooker, frypan, toasted sandwich maker and pie maker.

Here's something else that happened since we said 'Yes' to the new kitchen - check out our kitchen tap.

Now call me crazy, but I don't think it's supposed to do THIS.

From The Past - A la carte, a la tente

I'm struggling to get back on track after camp with laundry, housework and the imminent kitchen pack-up before our new kitchen is installed next week. So I thought I'd find an old post I haven't visited for a while and re-post it.

Who has been on a church camp? Does any of this strike a chord with you?

Waiter: Good evening Sir, Madam, welcome to Dinner At Camp. Table for two this evening?

Him: Yes thankyou.

Waiter: Would you like to be seated in the Sun In Your Eyes section, or the Cold Food Served Last section?

Her: Mmm, they both sound good. We'll choose the Sun In Your Eyes section this evening.

Waiter: An excellent choice. Aerogard or Non-Aerogard?

Him: Aerogard.

Waiter: No problem. Please follow me. Now, would you like a drink to start with?

Him: Yes, please. We'll both have a Tank Water With Wrigglers.

Waiter: I'm terribly sorry Sir, due to Health Regulations the Water's been taken off the menu tonight. But I can offer a particularly good Weak Yellow Cordial if you'd be interested?

Her: That sounds lovely. Thankyou. (Waiter leaves.) Wonderful service here, isn't it?

Him: Yes, it is. I've never been seated in this section before. For lunch I was in the Downwind From The Barbecue Smoke section, and for breakfast I was in the Sitting At The Card Table Because I Was Too Late From The Cold Showers section.

Waiter (returns): Are you ready to order, Sir?

Him: Yes thankyou. I'll have the Gluggy Rice with Sloppy Meat ... incidentally, what meat is it?

Waiter: The chef said he's not entirely certain, as it simply says "tinned meat" on the side of the -er- tin.

Him: Never mind, it's just a minor detail. And can I have the Camp Toast with that?

Waiter: Certainly sir. How would you like it done?

Him: Tonight I'll have it cold, moist and leathery thanks.

Waiter: Very good sir, and for Madam?

Her: A very tempting menu. I'll choose the Gristly Chicken with Grey Watery Vegetables, that sounds nice.

Waiter: An excellent choice. And for dessert?

Her: We'll both have the Puddle of Melted Ice-Cream with the Children's Sprinkles, please.

Waiter: Certainly. Will you be having any other drinks with your meal?

Him: Yes, I will have the Lukewarm Tea with a Milk Arrowroot biscuit, and my lovely wife will have - what will you have dear? A Tepid Grey Coffee, thanks. International Roast would be perfect. And two anti-nausea tablets to finish thanks.

Waiter: Lovely. Now do you have any requests for music while you wait?

Him: How about the Superman Grace?

Her: Oh no dear, I cannot bear the Superman Grace. Could we have Thank You God For Giving Us Food instead please?

Waiter: Absolutely, I'll go and tell the musicians directly. Enjoy your Weak Yellow Cordials. (Waiter leaves.)

Her: What a lovely evening. Pass the Aerogard? Thankyou. Could you please spray the back of my nec-

Musicians: THANK you God for giving us food! THANK you God for giving us food! THANK you God for giving us food! Ri-ight where we are!

Him: Oh, I've been meaning to mention how the lovely the decor in the amenities bloc-

Musicians: HAL-lelujah praise the Lord! HAL-lelujah praise the Lord! HAL-lelujah praise the Lord! Ri-ight where we are!

Him: Never mind.

27 September 2008

Manners disappeared in a puff of *Magic*

Sonny Ma-Jiminy has been taught to use his manners from a young age. He just thinks that he's above using them.

Yesterday I heard him straining and reaching for something in the loungeroom. When I went in, I saw it was his special sheet. He couldn't quite reach it from his throne in the beanbag.

I wasn't going to stand for the grunting and groaning. He needed to use words, he needed to use an appropriate question, and he needed to use his manners. And my goodness, I was going to make it happen.

"Is there something you need?" I asked.

"Yes," Sonny replied.

"And what would that be?" I persisted.

"My sheet," he said hopefully.

"Is there something you'd like to ask me about your sheet?" I prompted.

"Give it to me?" Humph. Not good enough.

"Is there a magic word you'd like to use there?" I asked him.

"Abracadabra!" he shouted gleefully.

25 September 2008

Nanna Night

Do you remember a long time ago I won an eBay auction for a nifty little Bingo Set?

The whole purpose was so that we could use it when playing Bingo with the camp kids on Nanna Night - the theme night on Tuesday 23rd September 2008.

That was the whole purpose.

Well, we forgot to take it. But all's well that ends well because Mr de Elba bought a blue plastic one from a shop close to camp.

I'll tell you about Nanna night and show you some pictures that were taken with my phone, which mercifully has low resolution and blurs badly in low-light.

The hall was decorated in Nanna-ish fabric ...and campers and leaders dressed as The Elderly ... and it didn't really matter what gender of elderly person they dressed as ...
I had to crop that, to protect our guitar player's identity. But those of us who know him are left in no doubt.

Mr de Elba did a hilarious job of bingo-calling on the night (with his tie tucked into his hiked-up Grampa Slacks), and was assisted by a colleague whose blue wig was a little less Nanna and a lot more Cookie Monster.
Whenever a number was called, two or three tables of heavily-disguised teenagers and young adults jumped into the air, whooping, cheering and stabbing the air with redundant walking sticks.

Good times.

The worst possible time?

Both children had rattly coughs. I had bathed them and tucked them into their camp beds hours ago, and snuggled into my own bed while the wind screamed at the windows and the trees roared in the gale outside. It sounded miserable out there.

I had dropped off to sleep when I became vaguely aware that a panicky sound was repeating in my ears. I woke up and realised it was a fire alarm.

My first thought was that it was certainly us who had set it off. But as I woke up fully I realised that it most certainly wasn't our fault, it most probably was a false alarm, and it most annoyingly meant I had to wake both my deeply-sleeping children and take them out into the blustery night to the evacuation meeting point which was a long walk through the whole campsite and down to the cold, cold oval below.

Which I did. I hate waking my children up under any circumstances, and this really hurt. I considered just ignoring the whole fiasco and sit tight until all the poor cold campers on the oval were told it was (of course) a false alarm and invited to return to their rooms. But in the end it comes down to the fact that my kids are too precious to take a chance with, so I picked up Smoochy, thankfully able to leave Sonny's dead-weight to Mr de Elba who had come straight to our rooms.

We cuddled them and their rattly chests close as we hurried through the wind to the oval. I had no contact lenses in so I was practically blind. Mr de Elba and I got separated. I chatted to another leader who said they had just got all the highschoolers to sleep in their dorms and finally, everything was quiet for the night when the alarm went off.

As I cuddled Smoochy close, I felt very thankful for the prompting to dress her warmly in long clothes, a woollen jumper and socks before I put her to bed. (Thankyou, God!) She nestled in closely to me and watched everything with big beady eyes.

Then we got word that it was a false alarm (duh) caused by the other camp using the site (grrr) using a smoke machine (unbelievable) during an extremely late-night party (furious!) Mr and I found each other and walked the children back to our rooms.

And here are three amazing things:

1. Sonny Ma-Jiminy slept on Mr de Elba's shoulder the whole time and didn't wake up.
2. Smoochy Girl was dazed by the whole experience and was only too happy to snuggle down into her porta-cot and go straight back to sleep.
3. The highschoolers were all back in bed asleep in record time.


Ten Vegetables

We are back from our camp. We had a great time although it was exhausting for me with both children being a little crazy to deal with. The camp finishes tomorrow (Friday) afternoon, but as I am working tomorrow and the kids were in need of some normal life, we came home a day earlier than everyone else.

The camp food was pretty good (for camp food) but it still wasn't what we're used to. And it was a complete eye-opener to see teenagers come to the table having refused the vegetables, with just a large slop of "mashed potato" (didn't taste like the stuff I make at home though!) and a giant fatty, spicy sausage perched on top with the whole lot smothered in tomato sauce. I couldn't resist saying that the kitchen staff had ripped them off by forgetting their veggies. The kids replied, "Oh I don't like veggies. Any anyway, there's potato. That's a vegetable." I didn't know how to tell them that it really was artificial whipped muck, so I gave up.

My own tiny kids didn't eat well during the week and this was partly due to the fact that the highschool kids bought bucketloads of rubbishy lollies at the canteen and fed them to Sonny Ma-Jiminy and Smoochy Girl. They did this because they were being kind and generous, but I cringed to see their little mouths consume rubbish they'd never known in their short lives.

Anyway, I brought them home and made a large chicken casserole with TEN different vegetables and served it up on rice. They ate it very quickly and asked for seconds. Then they asked for oranges for dessert.

Aaah, we're home. And Mummy is BACK IN TOWN, people!

21 September 2008

Off on a camp

Well it's that time of year again - we're off to be Hangers-On at a camp for highschoolers that Mr de Elba helps lead each year.

I used to plough through my own full-time work while he went off on camps, but in 2005, I went along with him, with a 6 month old baby to make it interesting

In 2006, I went along again with a 1½ year old.

In 2007 I had a 2½ year old AND a 6 month old.

And this year, I will have a 3½ year old and a 1½ year old. It gets more fun each year.

I am hoping to be able to post a little bit while I'm away, but if I don't, I'll just say "Goodbye til Thursday or Friday."

Now, to celebrate FINALLY getting some photos off my new phone, I'll show you some pictures of our winter beach holiday from early August.

Breakfast in our courtyard. It was easier to clean up the breakfast mess when we ate outside and the birds ate up the crumbs.

The warm spa is where we spent a lot of our time.

The balconies which rapidly filled with inquisitive people when Smoochy wouldn't stop crying after being accidentally bitten badly on the finger by an unsuspecting Sonny Ma-Jiminy.

And I just wanted to show you Smoochy Girl's little wet-hair pony tail. It's so cute, if you can handle her saying, "Owww!" while you're doing it, even though you're not actually pulling the hair at all.

20 September 2008

Phone Call to Pizza Capers

She sounds perky. “Hi! Thanks for calling Pizza Capers! I know what you’re thinking, not one of those annoying computers! But we’ll get through this together.”


“For Brisbane, press 1. For the Gold Coast, press 2. For the Sunshine Coast, press 3. To listen to these options again, press 7.”

I panic. I want none of those options. What do I press? Perhaps I press 1 for Brisbane. That’s the closest.

“For Brisbane North, press 1. For Brisbane South, press 2. For Brisbane East, press 3. For Brisbane West, Press 4. Please hold to hear these options again.”

Oh no. Again – none of those options is what I want. I hesitate.

“You have not made a menu selection. For Brisbane North, press 1. For Brisbane South, press 2. For Brisbane East, press 3. For Brisbane West, Press 4. Please hold to hear these options again.”

Perhaps we’ll go with Brisbane West. It’s the closest, I guess.

“For Inner West, press 1...” surely there’s not another menu? “...for Outer West, press 2. For Ipswich, press 3. Please hold to hear these options again. Press ‘star’ to return to a previous menu. Press 7 to return to the main menu.”

Finally, an option I feel safe with. I press 1.

“For Yamanto, press 1. For North Ipswich, press 2. For Redbank Plains, press 3.”

And although I am relieved to make the final selection and press the number that connects me to a real store close to my home, it’s overshadowed by a touch of embarrassment when I see on the BACK of the brochure is a list of all stores with their direct numbers listed.

19 September 2008

A Phone Call to Telstra

Automated Female Voice: Welcome to Telstra. So I can direct your call to the right place, in a few words, tell me the reason for your call.

Me: errr... Problem with Message Bank.

AFV: That'll be about messaging services for Message Bank or Telstra Home Messages 101. Is this for a Home, Business or Mobile phone service?

Me: Home.

Smoochy Girl (simultaneously): Waah! No, Muh-Yee!

AFV (after a pause): I’m sorry! I’m having trouble understanding what you mean. Is this for a Home, Business or Mobile phone service?

Me (leaving the room): HOME!

AFV: There are 2 message services: Telstra Home Messages 101 which is a free service accessed by dialling 101 from your home phone and Message Bank which is a personalised message bank. Is this enquiry for Telstra Home Messages 101 or Message Bank?

(Annoying, particularly because this is exactly what I said in my very first words to AFV, if only she had the capacity to understand me.)

Me: Message Bank.

Smoochy Girl, who had followed me (simultaneously): Aaah! Muh-Yeee!

AFV (after a pause): I’m sorry! I’m having trouble understanding what you mean. Is this enquiry for Telstra Home Messages 101 or Message Bank?

Me (leaving the room again): Mmmess-age … Bank!

AFV: Are you currently using Message Bank on your phone?

Me: No.

AFV: Okay here are the Message Bank choices. Would you like to turn it on or… (more options, yada, yada.)

(Here, I blanked out and gave her what she wanted. Identification, answers to silly questions, everything. I came-to when an actual man spoke to me. His accent was more difficult to understand than the slow, clear speech of AFV, but he was unable to understand much more of my problem.)

Actual Man (Incomprehensible & Uncomprehending): Hello, How may I help you today?

(Hm. So the last X minutes of informing AFV in detail about the reason for my call were all for naught?)

Me: Hello, my name is Givinya and I am having trouble with my switch from Message Bank to Telstra Home Messages 101.

AM(I&U): Could I please have your full name and date of birth for identification purposes?

(I provided these details for the second time this conversation, having given them to AFV above at some stage.)

AM(I&U): What is the problem with your Message Bank?

Me: Well, yesterday I changed phone plans and at the same time, I changed from Message Bank to Telstra Home Messages 101. And now, when I pick up the phone I can hear the stuttering dial tone that tells me I have a message, but when I access my new Telstra Home Messages 101, it tells me there are no new messages. Could there be one remaining unopened message on my old Message Bank? And now I can’t open it because I’ve had that service discontinued?

AM(I&U) asked many questions unrelated to my problem, all of which I attempted to answer while reiterating the real problem.

AM(I&U): I think I will give you the number for our Message Services. They should be able to help you.

Me: Okay, thanks very much. Sorry it was a weird question!

AM(I&U): Okay, I will be putting you through …

Me: Thankyou very mu-

(Disconnect. Beep, beep, beep. End of call.)

18 September 2008

Outwitting The Poo Police

There is one thing I never ever want to do.

They tell me I SHOULD do it. They tell me I will get in trouble if I DON'T do it.

But I never EVER want to do it.


I just blanch at the thought of picking up my dog's poo in a plastic bag, and walking around with it.

It is one of the reasons I exercise Puppity Doggity by playing "Fetch" in the back yard and never take her out for walks. I just can't bear the thought of picking up the... ergh.

I want to tell you about a great idea I have had, an idea that should preclude me from ever having to pick up Puppity Doggity's poo in a plastic bag, and carry it home. Here's my idea.

Tell me: How many plastic bags would a reasonable person expect a dog-owner to carry with them on a walk? How many bags of poo would it be reasonable to see tied to the dog's lead? A rough guess?

I am thinking three. Nobody should really expect a dog-owner to take more than three plastic baggies with them on a walk, right?

And once each of those three bags is filled and tied to the lead, dangling down as a visible badge of responsible dog ownership, nobody should expect that if the dog hunches a fourth time in order to become considerably lighter, that the hapless dog owner should fill a fourth bag, and tie it onto the lead alongside the other three.


So my plan is simple. Before I take Puppity Doggity for a walk, I will take three plastic baggies and into each I will place a wet, brown sock. I will tie each one onto the lead, and then head off.

If she should stop and hunch over, and if we should be observed (by the Poo Police, I assume,) all I have to do is visibly admonish Puppity, gesture towards the three already-filled baggies hanging from the lead, and throw my hands up in dismay. And off we'll go.

No reasonable observer could be unhappy with that, could they?

17 September 2008

I'm an iPhone Widow

Since I married Mr de Elba, I've become a succession of Different Types of Widow.

Most of the time, I am some level of Computer Widow. Lying alone in bed at night while Mr de E gazes through portals into the world. It gets worse when there's a new piece of technology for him to play with. Phone, set-top box, digital camera, video camera, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Becoming a Computer Widow used to bother me terribly. Then I started writing a blog. Now I am left to wonder if this means he is a Computer Widower. And what then does that make 'Us'? Just 'Two Dead Computer People'. How lame.

Humph. Til Technology Do Us Part.

Actually, any new technology will do the job just as well. As we gradually replace pieces of technology the "wobbers" took (as Sonny Ma-Jiminy says) I am resigned to the fact that there will be many long, lonely nights as Mr de Elba gleefully pores over a new mobile phone, two cameras, a video camera and a notebook computer.

Tonight I an am iPhone Widow.

And I have no hope that Mr de E will read this post and understand where I'm coming from. He's got an iPhone. 'Nuff said.

16 September 2008


We were standing at the deli, waiting to be served.

Sonny Ma-Jiminy caught sight of a lady who was morbidly obese, standing some way off.

"Mummy, look!" he shouted, "there's a lady who is even fatter than you!"

Even kindy teachers have bad days

What a relief!

Last night I was standing at my sink thinking, "Well there you go. That kindy lady said she was going to start ringing parents tonight about kindy places for next year, and I'm first on the list, and she hasn't rung, so ... Boo Hiss."

Then the phone rang. It was the kindy lady, and she was nice. She sounded like she had time and brain-space to talk about 2009, and she was able to offer me a place in the group of my choice.

I asked about the teacher Sonny Ma-Jiminy would most likely be having. She gave me a name, and I have since found out that friends of mine have recommended her as "a lovely lady," which is exactly what I want for Sonny's teacher.

I feel much better about the whole thing. Thanks for your lovely encouraging comments.

15 September 2008

Just. Can't. Win.

I have been a bit worried these last few months. Will I be happy with Sonny Ma-Jiminy's new kindy when he starts next year (late January on this side of the earth)? It's much closer to home. The teacher couldn't possibly be as particular as his current teacher. And if I'm not happy with it, what does that make me? A difficult-to-please mother?

I felt a weight lift off me last Friday. I submitted my form to Sonny's current kindy saying thanks for 2008, but in 2009 Sonny Ma-Jiminy will attend a kindy that's closer to home. Then I called the new kindy and spoke to a LOVELY aide. She said that everyone was just about to head off on an excursion, but that if I called later, they'd be happy to answer my questions about next year.

I decided to leave my contact details in an email to the centre, and had a happy weekend.

Then this morning, I received a phone call. The voice at the other end was pushy, harsh and crusty.

Me: Good morning, it's [Givinya].

Her: Can I speak to - [realised it was me she wanted to speak to] - oh it's [Name] from the kindergarten. I got your email. I haven't done the ringing round for next year yet.

Me: That's alright, I was just making a few enquiries so I can work out which days ...

Her: That's what I'm saying. I don't know the days yet. I haven't done the ringing round yet.

Me: Oh.

Her: I can't tell you if he'll be in the 2-day group or the 3-day group.

Me: Well he's already done a year in the 2-day group at a different kindergarten ...

Her: I don't know if he'll be in the 2-day group or the 3-day group or if he will get in or if he won't get in at all.

Me: Er, not even if he's on the waiting list?

Her: No. See I need to work out which people want to pull out to see if I can give you a place. It all depends on when you put him down on the waiting list. When did you put his name down on the waiting list?

Me: I put his name down in late 2005. He was the first on the list. You had to rule up a new page for me.

Her: I'm going to start ringing round tonight. It's going to take me about 4 weeks to ring everybody and work it all out.

Me: Okay, thanks anyway.

I don't want to be that mother: the one who is always complaining, always unhappy with the teachers, always wanting some better solution. But wow. That woman was bad. And she's the director of the centre.

Or is it something else? Is it just that I haven't yet found a teacher who isn't anal and who isn't harsh?

Are there nice ones out there?

Do I have to have Sonny home with me next year so I don't kill a kindy teacher from frustration?

14 September 2008

Cake Wrecks

I stumbled on this site last night:

Cake Wrecks
When professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong

It struck me as interesting because I am hopeless at decorating cakes myself.
We've discussed this already.

I'm thinking about cakes at the moment because my good friend Swift Jan recently made a cake for her Dad's birthday. The finished product was amazing! It so closely resembed the picture she modelled it on, I was in awe. I thought only Cake Fairies could do that, not mere mortals. But maybe with Swift Jan, I've been entertaining a Cake Fairy unawares.

I'm sure she won't mind if I post two pictures: her model, and her finished product. Get ready: this is rather awesome.

Left: the picture she modelled it on; right: her finished product, which was in my books, simply amazing!

Now check out these cakes that fell far short of the pictures they were modelled on.

I'm not good at cakes. But I'm not this bad. And there's no way that I'd make something like that and believe it was anywhere close to the picture I'd been given as a model.

You're getting the picture, aren't you?

Now I'd like to show you the funniest concept I've ever seen in a professional cake. Ladies and gentlemen, Allow me to introduce to you ...

The Naked Mohawk Baby Carrot Jockey Cake

And the ever-festive

Anti-Sexual Harassment Cake

And then there's THIS. I'm not even going to show the picture. Follow the link if you dare.

If you're feeling down and need a laugh, please go to Cake Wrecks. Whether you are good at cakes or bad at cakes, it will lighten your mood.

Unless one of your cakes is featured there, I guess.

13 September 2008

Make a Man Blush

A week or so ago, I invited you to share your stories about things dogs have chewed on or how to make a grown man blush. I loved reading your replies!

Adelaine and Dysfunctional Mom told about dogs who loved chewing on used feminine products. Dysfunctional Mom also had a story about a dog who ordered a pay-per-view event while chewing on the remote control for the TV.

Which reminded me of a totally bizarre problem we had with our home phone earlier this year. It was rendered completely useless for anything but incoming calls because a tiny girl's fingers had been pressing buttons, and had managed not only to set an undisclosed 4-digit PIN, but used that PIN to key-lock the keypad. We couldn't use that phone to call out or to check messages until it had been factory-reset. So I can totally believe a dog could order pay-per-view TV, a taxi and a home-delivered pizza by chewing on a remote.

On to what can make a man blush.

Heather of the EO once discovered that a very elderly man lying still on the ground next to his car was not in fact dead, but rather ...err... fixing his car. I'm with Heather. I'd be doing CPR before he could say, "Pass me the wrench."

Hot Tub Lizzy likes to go to the store and load up on tampons and watch the male clerk try to scan the boxes without actually touching them. I like her style.

Maternal Mirth once inadvertantly left a 'stanky diaper' (love the term!) in her husband's boss' private office. If I understand the story right, the boss didn't notice until it got a little malodorous. I like that story because that could have been me!

My own dear Crazy Sister once found herself saying to a hardware store salesman, "I need an extension for the [here she made a clicking, ratcheting noise with her tongue] spanner so that it's long enough to take out the agitator of the washing machine so I can vacuum out all the gravel." Some of you spend your days saving lives and upholding justice; others of us vacuum gravel out of the bottom of washing machines.

Heather quite amazingly combined a Things-Put-Through-Laundry-Cycles Story with a Making-Men-Blush Story and told us of a little smile-shaped piece of metal caught in a clothes dryer that shorted out the whole machine. Heather confessed that the "little" piece of metal wasn't all that "little" afterall, and its existence seemed to horrify the repair man.

My own story involved 18-month-old Sonny Ma-Jiminy having a tantrum while we were hangers-on at a camp for high-school students that Mr de Elba was helping lead. One morning we were in the dining room and I was holding Sonny in my arms when he became upset at Some Minor Thing. He started screaming and complaining, drawing the attention of a group of teenage boys.

He wriggled out of my grasp and slid down my body. I held tightly to him with one arm while the other hand was trying to keep a bowl of cereal and milk from spilling on the carpeted floor. In order to manage both of these tasks, I slowly bent my knees and sat on the floor so I could put the bowl down and deal with Sonny.

I sat with my legs apart in a V-shape and Sonny slid down and out in front of me until he was lying between my legs, inching away from me. Screaming.

I smiled at the group of boys and said breezily, "We're fine here - we're just reenacting Birth!"

They were utterly horrified. I think I damaged them.

12 September 2008

Perhaps I should have worn a dress?

My Crazy Sister just reminded me of a very weird afternoon I had once when I was in college. I'm very tired, so I'll make this brief.

I was walking home at dusk when a man rode up beside me on a bicycle. We were rather close. He looked me straight in the eye and cheerfully greeted me, "Hello, Richard."

And it was then that I first suspected that I wasn't as attractive a woman as I initially thought.

Immediately following that, I walked into a thick cloud of gnats.


10 September 2008

Waking up is hard to do

It's so hard waking up from a daytime sleep. Sonny Ma-Jiminy, Smoochy Girl and I all had a sleep after a busy morning (and in my case, less than one hour sleep overnight due to an incredibly unwise cup of caffeinated coffee at about 8pm.)

Smoochy woke up first and I put her in the shower because she'd had a haircut just before her nap, and had cut hair on her neck. I used that time to try to wake up. After the shower, Smooch was a bright as a button but I still felt like roadkill.

Sonny isn't allowed to sleep too long or too deeply during the day. I'm sure you can guess what happens to the nighttime sleep when he has 3 hours of deep deep sleep starting at midday or 1pm. So my policy is to wake him up after an hour or so, but he's not at his best after being woken.

Today we had one of those totally absurd conversations that only occur between two totally exhausted people who don't want to waste words or do more than the bare minimum.

Me: Would you like something to eat?
SMJ: Yeah. Fruit. (All manners float away while you sleep.)
Me: Here's a bowl of chips (much easier to prepare than cutting up fruit.)
SMJ held bowl of chips in hands, then as if paralysed, dropped bowl upside-down on floor.
SMJ (angrily): You gave me too much! (Started crying.)

Surreal. And very hard to know how to respond when you're 2/3 asleep yourself. As it was, I decided to pick up the chips and eat the best-looking ones myself. And blog it.

Something tells me that those were not the correct responses. I think I must still be half asleep.

In my own personal Magistrates Court

Defendant: Sonny Ma-Jiminy

Offence: Harassment of your mother involving whining at her All. Day. Long.

Plea: Guilty.


Defendant: Sonny Ma-Jiminy

Offence: Grievous body-slamming of Smoochy Girl occasioning screaming.

Plea: Guilty.


Defendant: Sonny Ma-Jiminy

Offence: Theft of toys from Smoochy Girl occasioning screaming.

Plea: Guilty.


Defendant: Sonny Ma-Jiminy

Offence: Wilful destruction of a favourite mobile. Defence: "Smoochy liked it - she laughed when I did it".

Plea: Guilty.


Sigh. But I guess we can't go and visit Constable-Uncle Crazy every day of the week for a look inside his paddy wagon.

09 September 2008

Happy Birthday Mr de Elba

Happy Birthday to the Daddy who makes the BEST Shrek Band-Aids!Here's what your son said this morning:

Sonny Ma-Jiminy: I've got a headache.
Me: Oh no, that's not good.
SMJ: It's from eating too much ice-cream.
Me: Wha-? But we've just had breakfast. You didn't eat any ice-cream. You can't have an ice-cream headache.
SMJ: I can. I ate too much ice-cream, and now I've got an Ice-Cream Headache. (pause) ... And a Bean Headache. From eating too many beans.
Me: Riiight.

08 September 2008

A Party at Blogtations

One of my favourite bloggy friends, tinsenpup, reminded me by way of her recent blog post that I should have mentioned the Blogtations Party over here.

Blogtations is playing a party game in the lead-up to the 500th quote being featured on the site. And I'd like to play along, becuase Blogtations has supported my little blog so nicely and sent so many new readers to Killing A Fly over the months due to Musing's ability to see something funny or worthwhile in the quotes of mine that she's featured on her site.

So to play the game, I must first find a favorite blogtation from the site. No easy task, as so many thoughtful and funny people are featured over there, and coming up with just one favourite quote is impossible. I will instead give you three of the funniest and you may choose which is your favourite. I have to include one of my personal favourites from tinsenpup herself.

So here they are. Enjoy.

No drinking maple syrup from the bottle - always use a cup.
- Tinsenpup

If you put your bake potato lunch down on your chair while you clean some space on your desk for it, what ever you do, don't sit down.
- Invading Holland

Nothing says "Good Morning Monday!" quite like finding two flies copulating on your windshield as you depart for work in your car.
- Sveedish

07 September 2008

I Mrs, take you Mr ... Argh! CRIKEY!!!

Your comments are cracking me up!

Amanda said...
... That's a lovely wedding photo - although (I hope you won't mind me saying this) it looks a bit as though it was taken inside a zoo enclosure. I half expected to see an alligator to the left of you and people peering over the railings on the right!

Heather said...
... That is a lovely picture - very "arty" too what with the angles and perspective and all, though amanda's comment above also struck me as true. Was there a croc just off camera? ...

No ...? I'm paralytic with laughter just thinking about it! (But with us two and our crazy bride's & groom's attendants, the comment about it being a zoo enclosure rings just a little bit true.)

Our photos were taken at Picnic Point, a lovely park on the escarpment at Toowoomba, Queensland, my home town back then. There is a playground, picnic facilities, a trillion lovely flower gardens (Toowoomba's big with flowers) and bushwalks heading down into the National Park on the Toowoomba Range. The stucco walkways and chrome handrails that the photographer liked so much are around the restaurant and kiosk that looks out over the Lockyer Valley.

No elephants.

No tigers.

No gibbons.

And no crocs.

Crikey, what a thought.

06 September 2008

Mr de Elba

In a few months, Mr de Elba and I will have our 10th Wedding anniversary. 1998 was a big year for a few of my bloggy friends - many of us seem to be having our 10th anniversaries this year.

I am posting this picture so you can see what we look like. Pictures of us are few and far between on this blog, not least because we're usually behind the cameras taking the photos. And look - there are a few of my loyal readers in the background! Like stalkers.

Some of you have noticed that I don't blog about Mr de Elba much. This is true. I have a number of reasons for not blogging about Mr de Elba.

1. I don't want him to be worried about what might be going out into The Internetz regarding him, his life or his work. My mother, when she does something embarrassing, often says, "You can't put that in the blog!" which of course, I won't. If that was my style, you would have heard of the unbelievable story of the green onions by now. But you, my dear reading public, can attest to the fact that I don't put anything too embarrassing or too personal about my loved ones into my blog. Even my children, if you can believe this, are spared from having their dirtiest linen aired here.

2. I don't post many photos of him because, to be honest, he is devastatingly photogenic, and frankly, I am jealous. I don't post many photos of myself here either because I am shockingly unphotogenic, and I would be embarrassed to do so.
3. In his work he supervises a number of school chaplains, and I feel it would be irresponsible to post anything too interesting, embarrassing, meaningful, dull, trite, etc., in case his chappies read it and that embarrassed him.

4. My blog has evolved into a story of the exploits of a mother and her children. That's just the genre we've slipped into. Maybe some Daddy-Action could pep it up a bit? He does get very busy in his work so it's hard to find some bloggable Daddy-Involvement at times, but I'll do my best.

5. I don't blog much about Mr de Elba because he doesn't do any of the following: poo in the bath, do embarrassing things with used pregnancy tests, go to kindy, whinge and whine at me all day, find my site by Googling really weird search terms, sit tranfixed at the computer watching the video clip of the Muppets rickrolling him, eat dog food, think of 12 reasons for not eating spinach and feta pie, wake me up by shouting, "THE JELLY'S READY!!!" an inch from my face, tell random strangers that in fouteen minutes, he's going to be a year and a half older than he is now ... I could go on ...

I love Mr de Elba. We have had some great times in the last 10 years. I just don't blog about him often. The same goes for God - I love Him, I interact with Him often, but our joyride together doesn't make it into the blog all that often. Maybe I should change that!?

05 September 2008

What did I put through the wash?

A rolled-up newspaper.

Sorry to disappoint you, that wasn't half as interesting as you all thought. I have no pictures to show you because we now don't own any cameras after the burglary last week.

I thought it was a pretty awful thing to wash because it made a mess similar to the horrible disposable nappy incident of 2006, but with the added mystery of "What's this long round heavy soggy thing at the bottom of this pile of cloudy snowy wet clothes?"

But I stand corrected. Your suggestions showed me that there are various other items that are much more bizarre to wash and/or can a make a more horrific mess.

Sometimes I forget there's anyone out there listening. Then I idly ask a question and get a flood of replies or suggestions and I realise that there are quite a few bloggy friends of mine out there, most of whom I've never met in person but who enjoy reading my silly meanderings enough to put some thought into what I might have washed.

And your suggestions had me laughing out loud! The list was long so I tried to put them in some order, but they were so random that there wasn't any point trying to order them. In honour of their randomness, I have put them in reverse alphabetical and here they are:

wheat heat pack
tube of toothpaste
tootsie rolls
toilet paper
the toilet brush
something feathery
Puppity Dog (I wish) (kidding!)
permanent marker (gasp)
PB&J, though I'm really hoping you guys don't have small pets... (this comment had me rolling on my keyboard laughing.)
paper towels
paint pots
one of those stuffed animals filled with those little bitty white balls
old cheese (any cheese)
magic marker
kidney beans
ketchup packets
ink pen
glue bottle
cotton wool
chewing gum
candy of some kind
bubble gum
a sucker
a barrier contraceptive device (what a thought.)

So obviously Mum-me wins the Prestige Of Winning with her suggestions of toilet paper and paper towels, provided she meant large rolls of the stuff.

I also loved your confessions about items you've washed. I thought I was the only one who wasn't 100% sure what's inside my machine once I set it to "Wash" (or "Macerate", in the case of Trojan paper products.) I feel so much better knowing that my friends have washed things like (alphabetical this time):
a baby monitor that didn't survive
a baby pillow that needed mending and got pillow fluff all over the place.
a gameboy (Wow! That’s gotta win some sort of prize!)
a number of cell phones
a pantyliner
ball point pens
child’s toy with those little bitty white balls
husband’s cell phone (heh!)
husband’s pocket knife (heh heh!)
husband’s wallet (har har haarr!)
money: spare change and paper bills
own drivers license
plenty of tissues
random pieces of paper
small toys
black permanent marker
toy cars

And I loved the story offered by Amanda:
I once blocked our washing machine when a breast pad went through into its innards. The washing machine repair guy was mystified as to what the object was - then highly embarrassed when I explained. I love making grown men blush!

So - want to share stories about things that make grown men blush? Or the items (animal, vegetable or mineral) that your dogs have chewed on? I can't wait to hear.

04 September 2008

Olympic Sports that Baffle Me - Gymnastics

I had a go at gymnastics in highschool. I started gymnastics at the age of 15 which is about 2 years from retirement in the gymnastics world. It's also about twice the age of the gymnasts winning medals at the Olympics, so obviously, I approached the sport all wrong.

My favourite apparatus was the floor, working on the theory that you can't fall off a floor. I found though that you can sprain your ankle pretty badly and spend a week on crutches.

My concern with the asymmetric bars is that you could wind yourself or fall from a height and do untold damage. But the worst I remember from the A-bars was getting a wedgie in competition and being unable to retrieve the lost lycra until the end of the routine.

Retrieving wayward lycra results in a deduction of points in competition, and it is a measure of my [lack of] professionalism that my policy was always to forego those points and get my butt cheeks out of public view ASAP. Anyway, it was my fault for forgetting to hairspray my cheeks before squeezing into those leotards. (And that's an awful lot of hairspray, in my case.)

The beam was the most terrifying apparatus for me. You can do a pretty serious injury to yourself on a beam, but even though I was scared silly, I never fell too badly. I wouldn't have much to report about this apparatus except that my sister remembers that once in competition, I fell and then I was deducted a further 0.5 because I swore. Well wouldn't you?

You might be able to hurt yourself on the other apparatus, but I believe that you can kill yourself on the vault. And since studies show that people fear public embarrassment more than death, I can say that my scary vault memory was even worse than that.

My run-up went wrong (as usual) and I baulked at the last minute. I sailed over the stupid vault head-first horizontally and landed on my tummy on the crash mat. My body, obeying Newton's first law of motion, kept sailing forwards while my lycra leotard, bothered by its own frictional coefficient, remained where it first made contact with the rubbery surface of the mat. And the physicists wrote a new law involving Collective Attention being drawn to the Point of Exposed Breasts. Or something.

Not the most successful sporting story of modern times.

Five Star Friday

Cutting Corners

Do you ever cut corners? You're just so busy with so many things on your plate that you just take the easy and quick option? This is how I live, people.

Sometimes I have a small enough load of washing that I just pile it all into the machine and wash it rather than saving up more washing, sort it into whites/colours or cleanish/filthy or adults/kids etc. The problem here is that as I tip the laundry into the machine, I don't check through the pile to find things that shouldn't go through the wash.

When I put a few toys through the wash, I felt a bit dumb. But they survived.

When I put the car key through the wash, I felt really dumb. But it survived. The first time it did, anyway. Yes, the first and second time. Not the third time though. It's remote locking system is shot.

When I put my credit card through the wash in the back pocket of my jeans, I felt frustrated. Hadn't I learned my lesson? But it survived being washed. And being washed again. And again. And again and again and again. And again. It just kept on getting washed, with the only damage suffered being that my signature washed off the back. It even survived a trip through the dryer. I'm not sure how.

When I put a disposable nappy through the wash, I discovered what it was like to have a Winter Wonderland in your washer.

And today, most probably thanks to small fingers dropping objects into my washing basket coupled with my propensity for cutting corners, I put something absurd through the wash. Something that made the nappy mess look tame.

The closest guess wins. (Wins what, you ask? Wins ... err ... the prestige. Of winning.)

03 September 2008

Olympic Sports that Baffle Me - Modern Pentathlon

I'm not sure what I thought the pentathlon involved - I suppose I guessed it would have involved five fairly similar sports (like the triathlon: swimming, cycling and running.)

But the modern pentathlon? Five of the most random sports I could have picked out of a hat while blindfolded: épée fencing, pistol shooting, 200m freestyle swimming, show jumping (on horseback) and a 3km cross-country run.

I would have said that there was nobody in the world who would be good at all five of those disciplines, but apparently there are!

And why are those five chosen? I found out from Wikipedia that it's because it simulates the experience of a 19th century cavalry soldier behind enemy lines: riding an unfamiliar horse, fighting with pistol and sword, swimming, and running.

I'd like to see athletes train in various disciplines that simulate MY experience in day-to-day life. My events would be:

1. Synchronized Dirty Nappy Change (two dirty bottoms side-by-side)
2. Slalom Kitchen Sweeping
3. The 3-Basket Laundry-Folding Marathon
4. Artistic Grocery Shopping (yeah, that doesn't even make sense)
5. Culinary Weightlifting (cooking with children in arms.)
What disciplines would a pentathlon involve if it was to simulate YOUR life?

02 September 2008

Olympic Sports that Baffle Me - Marathon and 50km Walk

How can anyone run 42.195 kilometres while all the time they are pelting along much faster than I could ride a bike?

How can anyone do that funny wiggly walk for 50 kilometres and not burst out laughing at the sight of the butt of the guy in front?

How can anyone voluntarily enter an event in which it's perfectly normal for competitors to stagger, vomit and collapse as they near the finish line?

It baffles me.

01 September 2008

I'd better do a meme!

My apologies to all who have tagged me for memes over the last few months and haven't had anything from me in return! I am now overwhelMEMEd and hardly know which meme to start on. I was trying to make my own - combine aspects of a whole heap of memes into a poem but the whole thing fell apart in the first verse and it was quite appalling. So instead I'll do one that I found when I was tagged by Jen from Buried with Children.

I'm going to tell you two quirks about each of the people in my family. Please feel free to leave and read another blog when you get bored.


1. I have a terrible phobia of the hotplates on our stove. Once I've taken a pan off a roasting hotplate, I have to get a clean saucepan and fill it with water to cover the hotplate with until it cools down. For this reason, I am splurging on an induction cooktop in my new kitchen.
2. I have a cowlick in my left eyebrow. What's with that?

Mr de Elba:

1. He played the cello all throughout school. I'm sure he could play something now, but there aren't many opportunities to pull out your stringed instruments from highschool.
2. He loves playing a game with the kids that we call "Rough And Tumble On The Big Bed". It involves him and one of the kids doing rough play on our bed. He recently broke our new post-bedbug bed by jumping on it when playing R&TotBB with Sonny Ma-Jiminy.

Sonny Ma-Jiminy:
1. He was 5lb 1oz when he was born but he always seemed to have these big Boy-Feet (even thought they were small). They're a bit like flippers. And he LOVES swimming. His flipper feet are much bigger now, and I love looking at them, remembering when they were the same shape, but tiny.
2. He has a fierce temper and is an Alpha. For this reason, I was terrified I wouldn't parent him well, and raise a difficult child for my first. I was worried he would cause problems for future children, setting a bad example. I wish I hadn't worried - he is a lovely kid and his strength of character will be good as he rubs off on Smoochy Girl.
Smoochy Girl:
1. She has only just started walking at 16 months. She was in no rush to sit, to crawl or to walk. But when she started, she was very certain of herself and hardly ever fell over.
2. When she was born, I thought she was a gentle delicate little thing, the opposite of Sonny Ma-Jiminy in personality. How wrong I was. They are cut from the same cloth. She can be fierce.
Puppity Doggity:
1. She was the smallest in her litter, but the first to open her eyes, try solid food and escape from the whelping box.
2. She has a fear of a step about two-thirds up the flight onto the deck. She always baulks there, she usually tries to run through the 'danger zone' too quickly and therefore she sometimes trips, reinforcing her fear.


Thanks to everybody for your kind words. We're ploughing on, collecting lists of Things We Used To Own and any serial numbers we can find. In the meantime, we're enjoying the thought of a new kitchen, which we finally decided on and ordered less than 24 hours before we ceased to own our rather expensive electrical items.

It's so exciting thinking about the delicious newness of the kitchen, wondering which cupboards and drawers we'll keep particular things in, what things will go to charity because they don't work in the space (e.g., numerous large round fruit bowls), what new things I might get (e.g., a square fruit bowl) and what pretty little things we can get to decorate with.

Must dash!