27 February 2009

Photos for Heather

Heather wants pictures, so here are some.

1. Queensland Health's float in the Chinchilla Melon Festival Parade - a giant papier mache watermelon getting operated on.

2. Aged Care workers marching with watermelons in wheelchairs.

3. The Rock 'n' Roll society - the best fun of the whole parade, dancing to Jailhouse Rock.

4. Display in the window of Gleeson's Quality Meats.

This was the only time in my life that I've walked or driven through a town and found smashed watermelon on the road HERE and smashed watermelon on the footpath THERE ...

Good times.

26 February 2009

Blog Neglect

I know that you all understand that I've been having a holiday from blogging because things have been crazy-busy, but that doesn't stop me feeling bad because I haven't blogged.

Many things have struck me as blogworthy, each deserving a whacking great big post of their own. But unfortunately if I try to wait for time to do that, it will never happen. So here, very briefly, are the highlights.

The Chinchilla Melon Festival: We went and it was great but extremely physically exhausting. The kids loved the parade and the fireworks. The people who offered us their cabin for accommodation invited us to swim in their pool as often as we liked, so we did three times.

Before the Melon Festival: We wanted to check out a house that we liked in Toowoomba. It was nice. Very nice. At this stage, we have a contract on it and hope that everything will proceed with no problems. But if you'd like to know a little secret: I'm stressed out of my tiny mind!

After the Melon Festival: I've been buried in all the legal and financial phone calls and emails that I'm sure many of you understand about.

At the Moment: Some of our best friends in the whole world have allowed us to stay with them while we tidy our home up for a few urgent Open Homes this weekend. Their generosity is helping us out at a very difficult time.

Today: Another of my best friends in the whole world, Hippomanic Jen, came to my place early and spent hours cleaning windows, vacuuming, moving furniture and all manner of other cleaning and tidying tasks. The aim was to have the place looking nice for the real estate agent's photos this afternoon, and it did! (Most of it.) The agent was busily taking photos when she had a call saying that a potential buyer wanted to look through. We're excited about the weekend now, hoping that we get a good offer very soon on our home.

In the near future: I really don't know. I'm taking it one day at a time. One thing I am sure of is that there will be some more Blog Neglect coming right atcha.

19 February 2009

Greasy as a used chip packet

Thankyou all for your lovely comments! In answer to many of you - it's still not cleaned up! After calling Daddy, I shampooed her hair seven times, but it's still as greasy as a used chip (crisps) packet this morning.

And wow Joy - small world isn't it? You can tell your friend it's hot, humid and muggy here - maybe she is enjoying a change right now?

18 February 2009

Quiet. Too Quiet.

Me: Sonny, Smoochy has been too quiet for too long.

Sonny: (silence, for he is watching something of extreme importance involving an animated cat.)

Me: I think we should go and investigate;

Sonny: (continuing silence in the face of the animated cat.)

Me: Okay, I'll go. Ooh, hang on, I smell nappy-rash cream. Oh no. (Walks faster.)

Me: Ah yes, I thought so. Great. Well done sweetheart. Hold there while I get the camera.

Smoochy: (grumpy noises)

Sonny: (leaves the animated cat, interested in the unfolding disaster.)

Me: Okay, here, look at the camera. (Snap.)

Me: Oh save my soul, look at your hair. (Snap.)

Me: Hm. The legs. Show me. (Snap.)

Me: Look at your hands. (Snap.)

Me: Oh sweetheart. Your face. (Snap.)

Me: Oh well. I have a camera and you're gorgeous. SMILE! (Snap.)

Me: And now I'm calling Daddy.

17 February 2009

Random Photos

I've been taking photos on my phone to blog about, but when it comes time to blog, I am embarrassed about how trivial the topics are and how crumby the photos that come from my phone camera are. But I think, since it's been 5 days since I last posted, it might be time to share the low-quality stuff that's in my mind and on my phone.

1. Way back on the 6th, Heather asked me to go outside and soak up some sun because the weather was freezing over her way. I went outside to take some pics, and the day became cloudy and overcast. Every photo of my house looked ghastly because the lawn was in DIRE need of a mow. So I lay on my back and took this one of tree, clouds and sky.

2. Did I say the lawn was in need of a mow?

3. At work last Saturday, I had a very slow day. I had a slow day booked, then 2/3 of my speech therapy kids couldn't come. Afterwards I wondered if I could afford to go shopping for kids clothes, and I dcecided that since I'd worked that morning, there'd be no reason why I couldn't take $50 and get some clothes that actually fitted my kids, who are currently wearing clothes that are embarrassingly short and tight. I went to K-Mart and found that the summer stuff was all marked down, and in addition there was 25% off everything! I loaded up, hoping I wasn't going too far over the $50. Some things were $3, some were $4, and there was one nice plain black t-shirt for Sonny that was, after the two markdowns, $1.87! I got to the checkouts, worried I may have gone WAY over $50. But guess what - the total was $49.33! How GOOD am I?

4. My neighbours, who bought the house next to us in 2007, bought a house that had just had its roof restored. Imagine my surprise when I saw they were doing the roof yet AGAIN, only 2 or 3 years since the huge, expensive job was done! Imagine my ongoing surprise when I saw what colour the roof now is. Is this the brightest, reddest, most headache-incuding roof you've ever had the pleasure of looking out onto? I think we have to move.

5. I found a leaf that looks like a pair of lips.

6. My sister is a clever little chickie, but I caught her in a gullible mood one day. We were lying on our backs on the back deck, looking up at the evening sky and the TV aerial on our roof. On the spot, I made up a silly story about the three straight bits at the top being for the three commercial Channels 7, 9 and 10, the straight bit down the bottom being for the ABC and the final one being for SBS (national multicultural and multilingual broadcaster) with the attached squiggly bit being the Foreign Language Decoder. She believed me! It was a triumph for me, as I can't tell a story like that with a straight face and I can't fool anyone about anything.

12 February 2009

Alimentary, my dear Caiaphas

I was reading the wonderful Melissa today, and she said "annals."


And this reminded me of a story I've been meaning to tell you. It's childish, it's embarrassing, and it contains a butt-joke. But I still remember it.

When I was in high school, our Youth Group was doing a skit on the time surrounding the death of Jesus to be performed in front of the whole church. I have no idea what part I played, but I do remember two brothers Mark and Jonathan were playing the high priests Annas and Caiaphas respectively.

They were a few years younger than me and strong Christian kids, but their reading of the script was not as fluent and practised as it perhaps needed to be when managing unfamiliar names.

Being a linguistic sort of person and being a forward-planner, I inwardly cringed. Pronouncing weird names was always a hazard when up in front of a church, but making a donkey's breakfast of a name was only terribly bad if there was a chance you could accidentally substitute the name with an embarrassingly intimate body part.

And 'Annas' was in danger if morphing into the exit point of the alimentary canal, if one wasn't careful.

I saw it coming.

In the practises, I held my breath each time Jonathan came up to the part when he had to pronounce the name of his brother's character. "Please, please," I'd think, "Say 'Annas!' Don't say ... you-know-what."

And each time, Jonathan would say "Annas" and disaster was averted.

"Perhaps I'm being silly," I'd think. "In each practice, he's hesitated before the name, but he's never actually made the mistake. Anyway, 'Annas' is a lot easier to pronounce than 'Caiaphas'. He'll be fine."

So on the day of the actual performance in front of the church, I let my guard down. I stopped worrying and I stopped silently willing Jonathan to pronounce the name correctly as I listened from the side. Mark and Jonathan went through their lines a little more nervously than when they were in rehearsals.

Then of course, for otherwise I would not be writing this post, it happened. As clear as a bell, Jonathan said in front of a packed church, "Come along ... uh, Anus. We must be off."


Did he just say Anus?

Someone tell me - are we recording this? Did he just say Anus?

In front of a church full of BAPTISTS?

(I'm not sure that Baptists know about anuses. None of them has ever mentioned the topic to me, anyway.)

It turns out, he did say exactly that. And to this day, I believe it was my fault for letting my guard down and trusting him enough not to require my helpful Willing-Away From Freudian Slips from my position on the sidelines.

This is what happens when I relax, people.

11 February 2009

Water Rats

I took the kids to the pool today. And there was only one thing that could have made that trip more difficult: Diarrhoea. But since that didn't occur, I'll tentatively consider the trip a success.

Talk about exhausting! My kids are Water Rats, loving the water and desperate to be as independent as they can be. There's only one problem: they're not safe enough to be independent.

There's a deep end, there's a shallow end, and it's heated. It's probably too hot for swimming laps, but it's perfect for those doing hydrotherapy, those with injuries and those with small children who get cold quickly. Because of the many people with disabilities who use the pool, there's a long pool-length ramp that starts at the deep end and goes down towards the shallow end with hand-rails on either side, getting deeper all the way.

Smoochy Girl no longer wants to be touched. It's a sign of weakness. She screams "No! Go WAY! I dooit!" so loud that elderly people in the pool look my way and smile at me. So I let her 'dooit' herself, and off she floats happily with her floaties, bobbing around.

Then: "Howp! HOWP! HOWP MEE!"

Sigh. Seems she can't quite 'dooit' all by herself then. I rush over so people don't think I'm not supervising her and try to help her.

"Go WAY!"


Sonny is really quite safe with his floaties on and I feel quite confident of his skills in the water. But of course, at nearly-four, he 'doesn't need' floaties anymore, does he? Problem: without them, he will drown.

Today he became adamant that he didn't need floaties and he wanted me to take them off. Well, I decided it was probably okay if the two kids stayed close together and within arm's reach of me, so I took them off for him and OWWW! That was Sonny swimming from the side of the pool towards me, and grabbing a chunk of grabbable flesh on my arm and pinching hard while he struggled to take a breath.

It's an interesting phenomenon that two children, who at home are compelled to need the toys each other is playing with, compelled to co-habit the same space and who both need to squeeze together to be the first in any activity, all of a sudden need to be as far away from each other as possible once they're both in need of arm's-reach supervision from one tired, heavy, pregnant parent.

Smoochy climbed out of the pool herself and took off at a run to the deep end. Sonny remained in the shallow end, swimming from one safe spot to another with a startling propensity to start sinking between the beginning and end-points.

Should I rush off and grab her? Should I stay with him?

And this began my morning of making snap decisions regarding which of my offspring was in most danger of drowning.

At one point, they both took off to the deep end and as I hurried to catch them, I saw Sonny making moves to jump into the deepest part of the pool. He often does this and is perfectly safe with his floaties on. Without them, he would go down, down, down.

Yelling to him not to jump in because he had no floaties only made me look more out-of control, but I did it. I reached them both and as I was corraling Sonny and persuading him to come back to the shallow end, Smoochy herself started wading down the long ramp towards the shallow end.

Sonny, who won't accept assistance if a more self-sufficient method can be followed decided to make his way to the shallow end by walking along and holding onto the hand-rail that separated the deep end from the shallowest point of the ramp.

So here we were again: Smoochy with floaties walking down the ramp into rapidly deepening water, Sonny without floaties whose body was fully out of the water but who was performing daredevil stunts without thought to the risk of death by drowning.

While I stood there trying to work out who was in the most danger, the question was answered by Sonny letting go of the handrail and falling into 6 foot deep water, going down, down, down.

I jumped in and pulled him towards the surface, by which time he was nearly at the surface himself, reaching for the side of the pool. The scare was enough to make him realise that Mummy was right, after all.

Sonny decided that Mummy wasn't the only person on whom he could rely to save him from drowning after feats of independent non-floaties swimming. He started chatting to an elderly man (who confided to me that he couldn't swim.) Thereafter he chose to launch from the ramp towards this gentleman as he walked in the shallower water, expecting to be caught. The man didn't know what to do. I explained to Sonny that people would get a fright if they saw an unknown boy swiming towards them, and would most likely get out of the way, not catch him.

"It's alright Mum, I'll just say, 'I'm Sonny,'" he said, as if introducing himself would then allow him to expect strangers to catch him.

"No sweetheart, seriously, people will think that you're OWWWW!!" - this as he grabbed another easily-grabbed piece of his mother - okay it was my boob - and squeezed hard as he tried to save himself yet again.

Is this the last swimming I'll do with my kids? I can't keep this up as I get more heavily pregnant, and once I have three children, they will out number my arms.

09 February 2009

Two kids

It's not often I watch the news with tears running down my face.

I'd been planning my afternoon just so that I could watch the news. I don't usually get to see it because of the dinner-bath-bed fiasco that is going on at the same time. But I made and served dinner for the children just before 6:00pm and sat down to watch.

Then it started. "Mum! MUM! I'm still hungry! MU-U-U-UM!!!"

And: "Muh-Mee! Muh-MEEE!!!" Desperate to get down from her highchair.

After planning dinner just so that I could watch the news and have a quiet cry, it seemed unfair. I considered getting mad.

Then this man came on the news and said, "I lost two kids mate. And nothin' will bring them back."

So I didn't get mad.

08 February 2009

The Dream, The Fears, The Calendar

Last night, I had a dream that we were packing and moving. I was crying a lot. I woke up and my body was shaking with real sobs and I was drenched in tears.

I've been doing okay, but I think it's time to cry again now. Now that we've got repairs on our home underway, the next steps are to list it for sale in a few weeks, and to find a home in Toowoomba we can buy.

Both of these next steps have me in knots.

I am afraid we won't be able to sell our house here, despite the fact that Ipswich has not been hit by the downturn, the market here remains strong and our house is a very attractive buy!

I'm also afraid that every house we see in Toowoomba will be un-buyable for SOME reason or other. The Mr and I need to both be in love with a place before we spend that amount of money on it, and that's a VERY BIG CALL.

So you see, the tears. Praying is coming easier for me these days, so I'm able to be more constructive in "presenting my requests!"

The calendar on my wall still sits at the place it was on the day I heard that the Mr wanted to move. I just went into shock and never flipped over the pages. Maybe it's time to take it down and get on with things.


We didn't want this. Latest numbers are 26 dead in the bushfires, but that number is expected to rise.

I am still thinking of you, all my southern friends. Hoping and praying you're safe and keeping cool. I hope today brings cooler temperatures and that the fires can be put out quickly.

07 February 2009

Oh No!

Victim of the heatwave: an ice-cream van. Oh No!

06 February 2009


Before I start, sorry about the promise of a post about HIDEOUS SHOES that you might have been waiting for. I knew that I'd mess up your Google Readers. My sister, whose Internet connection is dodgy at the best of times, wanted to see a pic I'd found of Lara Bingle's hideous shoes from the Allan Border Medal Ceremony. The easiest way I could quickly show her the pic was to flash it up quickly on my blog. Easier than emailing it anyway. I then took the post down because I didn't really want to be bagging Lara's shoes on my blog, but on second thoughts, they are JUST SO BAD that perhaps the world should be warned of their hideousness. They are described as Louis Vuitton Uber-Heels. My sister said that a similar thing happens to gumboots when you've been walking through thick mud:

These are truly horrible. If you don't agree with me, you're wrong.

Now, on to today's post.

My wonderful friend Heather from upstate New York did a post for me today. It's all about the weather. Because that's who we are when we start chatting online: a couple of old biddies who talk about the weather. But it's very interesting!

We Aussies find this very hard to believe, but right now, Heather and half the northern hemisphere are FREEZING. I guess that on a basic level, I completely understand why. Tilt the earth's axis, make it spin around a sun, yeah yeah, I get it.

I've listened in horror to Mrs Tantrum's stories of SNOWPOCALYPSE followed by RAINPOCALYPSE, two aspects of the WEATHERPOCALYPSE she is going through right now.

I've also ached for Jen who has to keep four young children mostly inside for months on end as the snow deepens and things freeze over.

And I was interested to see Tracy P's family making snow clouds and blowing bubbles that froze and then shattered in the sub-freezing temperatures.

But isn't it completely weird that I can be chatting to someone in real time who is experiencing weather like this, when we are experiencing the complete opposite?

Let me tell you what's going on here.

My poor fellow Aussies are either baking, roasting or swimming in flood waters. The weather here is perfect. I've got "Bad Weather Survivor Guilt."

Here are some pictures from the floods up north (#2 is a pic of wallabies crowding onto a small island, #4 is cattle trying to find dry land):
Here are some animals, trying to escape the heat:

But there are no pictures of those who I am most worried about: the elderly. There are sharp increases in deaths on hot days, and I really worry about them.

Another thing we all worry about when the temperatures soar is this:

For those of you who measure in Fahrenheit, I'll give you some idea of the temperatures 'down south' from here (a term usually synonymous with colder weather, not hotter weather):

The hot bits of Aus have been about 104F to 113F.
We're worried about tomorrow, when the west of New South Wales is expecting 117F.

Spare prayers can be directed to the people (and animals) in both the North East and South East of our crazy land!

03 February 2009

Can She Fix It?

Smoochy Girl loves to brush her teeth. I think it's actually eating toothpaste she loves, but let's pretend it's Good Oral Hygiene she's shooting for.

She's fallen out of love with kids' toothpaste and will throw a tantrum and wipe the toothpaste on the carpet if she decides to be displeased. But if her majesty is satisfied, she walks happily around the house with her toothbrush in her mouth (because that's SUCH a safe thing to do.) She then leaves it wherever she is when she loses interest.

This means that next time she goes to find her toothbrush, it isn't where she thinks it is, which is not good because this qualifies as A Major Incident.

Yesterday, she couldn't find her toothbrush but instead of having a meltdown, she tried something new. She opened the drawer that contains our unopened toothbrushes and toothpaste and found a packet of two new toothbrushes. She couldn't open it though, and wandered the house for a bit with toothbrushes in hand, wondering what to do.

I lost track of what she was doing, so I had to put it all together later.

It seems she then got up on the chair in my study and from there climbed up onto the desk. She found my tin of stationery items and chose a pair of scissors.

She then climbed down and wandered the house with the toothbrushes in one hand and the scissors in the other, because that's even SAFER than wandering with a toothbrush hanging out of your mouth.

And I first noticed her like this, presenting brushes and scissors to me, asking in a sweet little voice, "Cut Piece? Cut Piece?"


It's like three minutes ago she was a little bit like this:

Yeah. She slept in a box in the living room.

02 February 2009

Just because I haven't blogged for 4 days

Mr de Elba is spending most of this week in Toowoomba at his new job while I hold things together here. We have tradesmen coming Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and there are more calls to others I need to make.

Now here's the thing ... the kids are ever-so-slightly PSYCHO! Gorgeous, yes, and they keep melting my heart every twenty minutes of the day, but in between that, they are driving me insane!

The mess, the fighting, the rudeness-to-Mummy, the asking for X and violent declining of X and asking for Y and aggressive declining of Y and the asking for Z ...

It reminds me (I don't know why) of when Smoochy Girl was a newborn. I was so worried about Mr de Elba going back to work after a few weeks off. I was sure I wouldn't cope.

Well, I did cope, but that doesn't mean it all became easy.

Five minutes after Mr de Elba drove off to work on that first day, Smoochy was in my left arm, Sonny was in my right arm, I was on the lounge chair, and all three of us were crying HARD. Not just sniffling, we were fully bawling our eyes out.

And you know what? That's okay. There's nothing wrong with that.

Well, we're older, wiser and a tad ruder to Mummy, and we don't all cry together like that anymore. But it continues to be hard, and we continue to manage.

And I think that means I'm pretty awesome. Yes, I'm sure that's what it means!