31 May 2010

When Box Room turns into Play Room

I consider myself a pretty good tidier.  I have ways and means of making a messy area tidy.  But I knew I'd met my match with our "Box Room".  It is an awesome extra room tacked onto our house that would one day become a fantastic Play Room but after our move remained a dumping ground for boxes of Things We Don't Need and Things That Don't Have A Place.

Now THERE are some boxes deserving of a "Junk" label on each and every one.  That photo was taken late last April when I knew that no tidying would be done in that room until LONG after the baby was born and I was ready to attack the area.

Last November, Mr de Elba and I felt ready to attack the room.  Grandma and Grandpa took our two eldest children for a sleepover and Mr de E and I did a lot of work on the room.  Below is a picture of our garage (filled with Things That Don't Have A Place,) looking through to our would-be playroom containing many boxes of Things We Don't Need and a very awesome husband who has certainly done the lion's share of the clearing-out, without actually being a lion himself.

This same awesome husband has recently finished off the job by creating THIS:

Now the only job is to deal with the Things That Don't Have A Place that are still taking up half the garage.  Still, here is our functional playroom complete with toy-boxes, drums, an old-school X-Box, some beanbags, a few nice rugs on the floor, a bed and a playpen for trapping small children inside.

All ready for a blogging friend to come and stay.  She'd better bring her drumsticks.

30 May 2010

... if you can believe that.

This time last week, my little girl was most definitely in nappies.  "When will you do wee on the toilet?" I'd ask.  "When I'm bigger," she'd reply.

You may remember that I'd despaired of the situation and decided that washing clean clothes was just as productive as putting real effort into toilet training.

She had tried the world of underwear before, with little success. Once the undies were on, she's declare her desperate need to go and ablute, but instead would sit there shouting, "C'mon, bottom!" and "Wee?!  Where are you?" until she gave up, got dressed and walked around the house having toileting accidents as she went.

Then last Monday morning, she decided to wear underwear.  Unlike the other times she has made this decision however, she backed this up with 100% success with doing wees on the toilet.

What did I miss?

- - - - - - - -

Something else to do with toilets, then I'm done:

28 May 2010

Send 5c stamps! Urgent!

I read this article tonight and am still in shock.  Cost of postage stamps to rise.

Sixty cents.  Oh help me.  On 28 June, we will pay a crazy 5 more cents for postage on a standard letter.  It's no major assault on the purse, it's just that I will now need to add crazy little 5 cent stamps to all my current 55 cent stamps in order not to embarrass myself.

And I am still recovering from the last postage increase from 50 cents to 55 cents.  (When was that? A few weeks ago?  Seems like it.)  The first I knew of the previous postage increase was when my good friend Hippomanic Jen was bemoaning the fact that postage had gone up and she hadn't known about it!  I was even more behind the times than she was - her post was the only alert I received regarding the increase.

It bothered me at the time because I had just bought about a hundred 50 cent stamps.  I had to go and buy a LOT of crazy 5 cent stamps to make up the extra postage.

I have now finally used up all my 50c + 5c stamps, but in the intervening time I made the following surprise findings in a desk-drawer-cleanout:

   (1) Quite Ancient "Regular" stamps at the very outdated price of 45 cents.  These have until recently required two 5 cent stamps to make up postage on a standard letter, and from 28 June will require three 5 cent stamps.  (Forget higher denominations of stamp - who wants leftover 5c, 10c, and 20c stamps?  In this house, we go with the 5s.)

   (2) Not-quite-so-old "Christmas" stamps at the discount price of 45 cents.   These require similar 5-cent treatment: 

   (3)  Quite Ancient "Christmas" stamps at the extremely outdated and discounted price of 40 cents, currently requiring three 5 cent stamps, and from 28 June will require four crazy 5 cent stamps.

Now I hear of another postal increase.

It's not the increase that's bothering me, for what's 60 cents?  It's the fact that I seem to be perpetually swimming in a sea of under-priced stamps and a depressingly unequal number of crazy little 5 cent stamps floating around trying to make everything alright again.

Sigh.  I am tempted to save my 40 and 45 cent stamps for a little longer.  The way things are going here, postage will soon be 80 cents, then 90 cents.

The other option is to request emergency supplies of 5 cent stamps.  Lots of them.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Artwork for 60c stamp from here.
Artwork for 55c stamp from here.
Artwork for 50c stamp from here.
Artwork for 45c stamp from here.
Artwork for 40c stamp from here.
Artwork for 5c stamp from some forgotten dark corner over there.

25 May 2010

A brief thought after not-watching eight seasons of "24"

The effects of stress include:

  • Memory problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor judgment
  • Seeing only the negative
  • Anxious or racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying 
  • Moodiness
  • Irritability or short temper
  • Agitation, inability to relax
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Sense of loneliness and isolation
  • Depression or general unhappiness
  • Aches and pains
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Nausea, dizziness
  • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Frequent colds 
  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
  • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing).
So how is Jack Bauer still alive, functioning and still in that same job?

He should have resigned after Series 1 and got a job in retail.  He keeps going like this; he's going to get seriously messed up.

21 May 2010

Then simply type in your password!

Infinitely preferable to telephoning a government agency, sitting on hold for 45 minutes, being put through to four different departments and finally being accidentally disconnected by the agency's equivalent of the work experience kid, is the option of logging onto the Online Services section of their website.


They demand that I frequently change my password, adhering to the basic guidelines of choosing a new password that has no fewer than 6 but no more than 8 characters, contains a mix of letters and numbers, has no reference to dates like birthdays/anniversaries, names of children/partners/parents, or favourite things like colours/football teams/songs, is not a word that appears in a dictionary, and is not used as a password on other internet sites.

Then they tell me not to write it down.

Or tell it to anyone who might be able to help me remember it.

And change it regularly.


18 May 2010

A new insult

In honour of this beastly 666th post I shall inform you of a new insult Jessie slung at Buzz the other night.  She called him -if you can believe this- an "SB".  Hideous, I know.

It went down like this:

Mr de Elba: I think I'll put this onto a USB.

Buzz, contemplatively: ...hmm, USB...

Jessie, cranky and contradictory: I'm NOT!!!  You're SB!!!

15 May 2010

A Bloke In Peril

Today at the supermarket I saw a bloke in peril.  I knew he was in peril because he was carrying some packs of newborn nappies, a box of breast pads and was standing in front of the maternity pads, talking on his mobile phone.

All those who know what this means for him and his wife, please sigh now.**


When he hung up I asked if he needed help, but he seemed to be okay.  He smiled and mumbled something about something having started a few days ago and him only "getting away" now, and then he mumbled something about three hours sleep.  But he also mumbled that he was okay and said something about it being Number Four.

I took that to mean that the peril he was in was of the been-there-managed-that kind, and left him to his vague wanderings.

The dear family.  I feel like I know them.  I know what they're doing tonight, at any rate.

** - you don't need to be married or have kids to join in with this.

Shortcut to Toilet Training

For a simple, easy shortcut to toilet training that achieves the same overall miserable outcome, please follow instructions 1-5 below.

1. Take a pile of clean, folded underpants from child's cupboard.

2. Take a pile of clean, folded long pants from child's cupboard.

3. Submerge both piles in a bucket of water with Napisan.

4. Mop your floors.

5. Wash contents of Napisan bucket, dry, fold and replace in cupboard.

14 May 2010

A Grim Task Completed

I loved your interpretations of the pictures, especially from those who hadn't read this post!

I didn't want to complain to the deputy principal about our snarky lollipop lady.  I don't like complaining, and I didn't want to be "that Mum."  But her serial unkindness to children and their parents was really bothering me.

The toilet picture referred to my childish hopes for her career, not a half-baked plan to give her a "swirly."  (A what?  Yes, I wondered that too.  Thanks be to Urban Dictionary for filling me in on what a "swirly" is, and also some frightening alternative meanings for that term.  Always enter Urban Dictionary cautiously.)

It's funny how sometimes facing the meeting you most fear turns out to be the best thing you could have done in the situation.  The deputy principal understood my concerns, assured me that there were similar concerns from other parents, and said she thought it was time to have "another" chat to the lady with the stop sign about her approach to diplomacy outside the school gate.

Thankyou for supporting me and urging me to go to the school with my concerns.  I know that I can rely on my friends to give the right advice, and where patient negotiation fails, I know I always have some great friends to give her the stink eye as they drive past.  Thanks BB!  I'm glad you're on MY side!

Next up - a post about a cool new shortcut I've found to toilet training.

13 May 2010

A Grim Task

Tomorrow morning, I have a grim task to complete. I hesitate to write 'out loud' on my blog exactly what I plan to do, so I will use Google Image Search to find me a pictorial explanation of my proposed Friday Morning.

12 May 2010

Ethical Dilemma

I'm not that into Mothers Day. I guess I think that children should honour their parents every day and not require a special day for it. There's no point copying your brother by saying, "Mum, you're just like a seff (chef)" if you're going to say - and this is a direct quote - "Bleurgh!" whenever any food is placed in front of you.

Neither do I like the commercialism of it all. "Give Mum a Hammer Drill this Mothers Day!" Ridiculous. Anyway, I already have a hammer drill. I got it for Christmas. I don't quite know how to use it yet, but I have it. I asked for it, actually ... well, I asked for a little simple girly drill. But Mr de Elba found a good deal on this huge I-Am-A-Professional-Handyman Drill with a 120-piece bit set, and then decided I also needed some Elizabeth Arden perfume "to balance out the drill." All in all, I did quite well for Christmas.

But I digress, perhaps because it is one of my favourite pastimes. I actually have a Mothers Day Ethical Dilemma story.

A few weeks ago, I received 10 tickets for the school Mothers Day Raffle to sell on behalf of Buzz. I put $10 in the envelope and sat down to write my name (for it was the Mothers Day raffle after all) on all the tickets. I had done two tickets when I realised that it might be nice to put the names and numbers of other women I know. Some were mothers, some weren't, but they were all deserving women and I started imagining how excited I would be if they won!

I didn't give much thought to the possibility that I would win.

However, I did. First prize. Err, congratulations, Me.

On Mothers Day, after opening the cute little magnetic notebook that my thoughtful Buzz had bought at the Mothers Day stall (the only thing I would permit my family to buy for me,) Mr de Elba presented me with a huge cellophane-wrapped basket containing body wash and scrub, moisturiser, soaps, lip gloss, face washers, a gift certificate to a local newsagency, a voucher for a free massage, and a nifty red handbag that fits Mummy's stuff and Nappy stuff at the same time!

I was quite overwhelmed.

Now I am left shaking my head and wondering how ethical it is to win first prize in a Mothers Day raffle when one "isn't that into" Mothers Day?

I have been pondering this for a few days now. I've wondered if I should have an issue with being such an undeserving winner (while using the body scrub) and I've wondered if there's anything I could possibly do about it if I finally decide that I should ask to school to give it to someone else (while applying the lip gloss.)

You know, upon reflection, there are some things here in the prize that might just persuade me to start "being into" Mothers Day.

08 May 2010

Excalibur embedded in my dining room table

This morning, due to the conspicuous absence of my little point-and-shoot that takes nice-enough video, I was unable to film an absurd scene where Jessie, avoiding the issue of actually eating her breakfast, firmly held her spoon standing vertically on the table and claimed that it was "stuck" and no matter how many grunting, groaning noises she made, it WOULD! NOT! COME! OUT!

As I'm sure would happen at your dining table in such a situation, a discussion of the legend of King Arthur ensued.

Unfortunately, we were not too far in to this discussion when I realised I'd shot my mouth off. I'd interested my children in a topic in which my only knowledge comes from Monty Python.

"Why was the sword in the rock?" asked Buzz.

"Umm, The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, -er- held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water ... You know Buzz, I'm not really sure if this is fact or if it's just a legend."

"Who put the sword in the rock?" he wanted to know.

"Well, Graham Chapman didn't exactly say ...."

Buzz got that dreamy, faraway look in his eyes. "I would have been strong enough to get the sword out."

"Mm, perhaps you would have," I said.

"I could get the sword out, Mum, "offered Jessie.

"Oh, so you could be Queen!"

"NO!" roared Little Miss Threeyearsold, for this is how she interacts with the world at the moment, "I'M GOING TO BE KING!!!"


I shall end with this clip in lieu of the post (like the conversation and the movie it was based on) dwindling to nothing and ending in us all getting arrested.

07 May 2010


TGIF. Literally.

There are many things to thank God for on Fridays, I find. I love Fridays. When I'm working in between children, I usually work a half day or a full day on a Friday. That way, every day has a pleasant TGIF feeling about it.

And when I say TGIF, I mean literally, T. the real G. that I.F.

You see, I often am struck by how blessed I am to live in a country where a girl can be educated. I am very thankful for that, and I am also thankful that I made it through school and university, events which stun me afresh each time I get to pondering.

I am thankful for my first terrible job which taught me how to duck and weave through the minefield of middle management. It taught me that if you have several different bosses, quietly clarifying Boss A's unreasonable requests with Boss B can be a bad idea. It taught me that Boss A and Boss B could possibly be in a relationship with each other. It taught me never to discount possibilities like that simply because Boss A and Boss B are both women.

I am thankful for my second wonderful job in which I got plenty of practise in the basic skills of my profession, and had the opportunities to work with brilliant colleagues, inspirational school staff and to attend some wonderful professional development.

I am thankful for my first job in a private practice where I learned about running my own small business. I worked with some wonderful, generous, helpful therapists, and will always be in their debt.

And now I am thankful to join a new practice a short walk from my new home in my new town. Fridays are again quite wonderful. After a day of using my brain to its potential in my magnificent new practice, I walk home to my house (which seems cleaner and tidier than when I left it although it isn't,) and my children (who seem happier and calmer and nicer-smelling than when I left them although they're pretty much the same,) and my husband (who seems a little more dashingly handsome than when I left him, which is WOW because did you see him before?) and there in the slow cooker is a half-leg of lamb slowly simmering in gravy and vegetables.

On Fridays I am reminded of so many things I need to be thankful for.

06 May 2010

Perhaps I shouldn't have said there was ONE error...

Oh dear. Perhaps my grammar should have been better, Emily Sue. And perhaps I shoud have proof-read before I hashed up the spelling of "Cluedo", veiledturnip. Thankyou both.

Alas, the error was in the title. I hit "Publish" before I checked to find that there is, indeed, no "Drawing Room" in the original game.

NOW I realise that I wrote my comment relating to this error before I'd done a further search to find that there is, again indeed, a "Drawing Room" in the UK version and in the "Master Detective" version of the game (and who knows where else, too.)

Please feel free never to play along with my silly little "find the error" games again.

05 May 2010

Mrs Peacock - in the drawing room - with the candlestick

Sometimes, through blogging and commenting on other people's blogs, you make some friends. Believe it or not, I've made a friend. Her name is Emily Sue and she blogs at Reaching For Green. Emily Sue has become such a good friend of mine that she's coming to visit. When she comes, she plans to spend time with me, my Crazy Sister and another friend of ours, Hippomanic Jen who lives a little over an hour away.

During the week that Emily Sue will be here, I have a few other visitors to slot in as well. Emily Sue and I were sorting out which nights might be better for her to stay with someone else, when she said, "Whatever works for you is totally fine with me. Stay with one internet-crazy, stay with two, stay with three... what's the difference? :D" (We were on Google Talk, hence the smiley.)

Which raises a good point. In coming to visit us, she's really having to trust that we are not
murderers, thieves or ugly smelly old men.

I pointed out to her that she can't be murdered by all three of us, and perhaps whoever hosts her first can have first dibs on killing her. (Sorry Hippomanic Jen, you weren't privy to any of this conversation.)

She then went on to suggest she may stay with first (and -erm- last) the person who would kill her in the most painless way. A conversation about methods of murdering internet acquaintances followed.

She was understandably worried about Death by Puppy, as we all have dogs and she has a fear of dogs.

Crazy Sister joined our chat and volunteered that she favoured fire, herself. (Is it any wonder her neighbours rigged up an electric fence, Emily Sue mused later. She did not suspect it was because of the dog.)

I prefer a more Cleudo method, so long as I can dress up as one of the characters. Perhaps I could don a Colonel Mustard uniform (not out of the realms of possibility) and if Emily Sue and I just happened to be strolling through our conservatory and I just happened to see a spanner ...

I wonder what Hippomanic Jen would choose?

Please feel free to comment, Hippomanic Jen, and then Emily Sue, you will be free to plan your itinerary.

02 May 2010

Random thoughts about three random children

Today, my little girl Jessie said the word "mosquito."

Sob, sob.

She used to say "segito." (It was so cute!)

When will "bisketti" turn into "spaghetti," when will "dame-coze" fill out into "daytime clothes" and when will "macky" make way for "nappy?"

Oh, the growing up is killing me.

On a completely different note, the big boy Buzz has been lovely recently, just lovely. He usually eats a big helping of whatever dinner I serve up, and says "You're just like a chef" two or three times. What's with that? That's so nice. I won't tell him that he's overstating the case a little.

And the other day when my wet drippy hair was hanging down, wetting my shirt, he said, "That's lovely hair, mum!" He says the same when it's in hot rollers, and can't quite understand why I take the rollers out instead of showing off my nice do.

And on a note that is completely different to that, Jessie and her baby brother Woody were in the bath tonight, sharing an ice block. Once dinner is finished, things are usually a bit messy and it's hard to imagine adding dessert mess to the mix, so eating ice blocks in the bath seems perfectly logical to me.

Poor little baby boy. He enjoyed being offered bites of the ice block, but he did not enjoy having it planted on his back as an experiment to see what babies do when ice is placed on their bare backs.

And by the sudden paroxysm of kicking and weird facial expressions, one can only assume he didn't like the sensation of having a stray chunk of ice block dropping under the water and lodging under his boy bits.