31 March 2011

La-Lo, and why I don't blog often

Woody came down the hallway, shouting at me.  It's the language that he speaks.  When I emerged, he saw me and started screaming and pointing towards the kitchen, squatting low for emphasis.  It sounded urgent.

Buzz had not taken his toys away, and Jessie had not smothered him with cuddles. In order to tell me what had happened, Woody led me to the kitchen bench.  I saw that he had pushed Jessie's chair up to the bench (!) and was now climbing up to where the kettle was (!) while gesturing towards the Milo tin and and screaming desperately, "La-Lo!  La-Lo!"

He wanted Milo, and had found that he couldn't make it himself, the poor little dear.  That was what was causing him such distress.

I was happy for him to have a drink of warm Milo, but to reinforce that I am the Milo-getter, I took the chair and child away, and hit the button on the kettle.

It took three seconds to boil.

Meaning it has been very recently boiled.

My 20 month old baby boiled the kettle to make himself some Milo.

Now this, I thought once my heart rate had returned to normal, was a bloggable moment.  But I hesitated to blog it, because a common fear had arisen.  "People are going to criticise me," I thought, "for allowing a universe in which Woody could push a chair up to a bench and access a kettle, even though he's never given any indication that he would think about it."

And this is why my blogging has been so patchy recently.  You can hardly fail to have noticed that I don't post as often, and I can pretty confidently say it is because of the horrible people out there on the Internet.  I have no fear of people wanting to find out our identities and hunt us down, but I do fear the thing that can never hurt me - words.

I've seen some ghastly things said about other bloggers, and I've had some dodgy things said to me on my blog.  All of it slices through me and leaves me wanting to retreat.

For instance I recently re-read an old post where baby Woody had been bitten by Jessie during a fight between Jessie and Buzz which took place in Woody's cot.  In response to the fact that something bad happened this one day that Buzz and Jessie climbed into the cot, some dastardly anonymous commenter had written, and I am not kidding,

"And what are you going to do to stop them climbing into his cot again?"

I know you're finding it hard to believe.  It's true.  Someone truly thought it appropriate to indicate that the whole thing would not have happened if I had somehow secured the area properly (true but outrageous) and that I should have foreseen all of this even though they always played so nicely together before (absolute lunacy.)

I don't know how someone so foolish even came to my blog.  I don't usually attract that element.  I usually get sound, sensible people like you.

And here we are with another domestic absurdity.  What will people say about this, I wonder?  That perhaps I should have foreseen the possibility that Woody would one day use that heavy chair to get to that bench to switch on that kettle? And perhaps I should have taken steps like:
► putting that specific chair into storage?
► selling my kettle?
► never allowing him to watch me make Milo?
► binding his legs together so he wasn't mobile?

Well, just in case you're wondering, that's exactly what I've done.  The chair and the kettle have gone and whatwasIgoingtousethemforanyway, and I have a blindfold near the bench so he can't ever see me doing anything.  I also have some strong ropes handy.  Just in case.

I only mention this in case anyone reading is thinking of blasting me because Woody tried to make himself a warm Milo.

(Seriously, would I be safe to blog more? I would love to, but fear a 'Killing A Fly Without Pity' site popping up somewhere.)

(Which, incidentally, is exactly how I kill flies.  Without Pity.)

26 March 2011

Have you ever superglued something to yourself?

I can honestly say I have never seen anything like this before. Words fail me.
Although I do remember doing this.  Seems we all have our Superglue disasters.

24 March 2011

What Nana doesn't know ...

When Mr de Elba and I were in college, we didn't yet own a car.  We rarely needed a car, and so this was okay.  But once, Mr de Elba's Nana was in a hospital in the middle of Brisbane City and didn't need her car so she lent it to Mr de Elba for a few weeks because he had some events he needed to get to during that time.

The car was a little white Hyundai Excel: perfect for running around town.  Mr de Elba found it tremendously useful  for getting to and from his events and in the meantime it sat quite happily in the carpark out the front of his residential college.

Not the actual Excel, but it gives you the idea.

One day, I walked over to his college to visit and we whiled away some hours reading, wasting time on his computer and talking about this and that.  Possibly this.  We had fallen into a state of inertia and were sprawled out on the bed and floor, wondering how long it was until dinner (not unlike the minions in my care in the present day.)

We gradually became aware of a very annoying noise.  It had been going on for some time but we hadn't noticed exactly when it began.  It was the sound of a car horn being continually deployed in one very long beeeeep.  "I wish someone would stop that," said Mr de Elba.

"It's driving me mad," I replied.

Some time passed, and then he said, "It sounds like it's coming from the carpark.  I'm going to have a look."  We both went out onto the balcony to look over at the carpark which contained a few groups of disgruntled college men standing around presumably to see what could be done about the car emitting the noise.  We remembered our current good fortune in being lent the Excel by Nana, and swelled with pride.  We scanned the carpark to check it was still there, and it was.  Good.

It was around about this point in proceedings that we realised that the continuous car horn sounded not unlike the horn on the Excel.  And it then took us a few seconds longer than it took you, dear reader,  to grasp the inevitable truth that they were, indeed, one and the same.

We raced downstairs and into the carpark.

"We dunno whose it is," one bloke said with a shrug.  "Probably gone out," another assumed.

"Um, actually..." Mr de Elba started.

"What?  Is it yours?" somebody asked.

"Well it's my Nana's..." he replied weakly.  And we all trooped over to the offending Excel to see what could be done.  We gazed in through the window.

These were the days of those old steering wheel locks. 

Nana's lock had conveniently adjusted its position during the day, and had fallen down onto the steering wheel.  It fell to where it could easily depress the centre panel, which of course was the car horn.  Problem solved. 

Mr de Elba said, "Right, the car's locked so I'll grab the keys."  It was about then that those of us still gazing in through the window saw the keys hanging in the ignition.  Problem not solved, in fact.

Which do you think would take longer - for the RACQ to answer a callout to a residential college at 4pm on a lazy Sunday, or for a kind friend to drive Mr de Elba from St Lucia into the inner city of Brisbane to the hospital where Nana was to retrieve the spare keys?  Mr de Elba made the quick decision to do a mercy dash into the city, find Nana's hospital room, gratefully accept the keys, remain to engage in polite conversation for a decent period of time, all the while being mindful that the horn was still blaring in a carpark 30 minutes away, and dash back. 

He unlocked the door, removed the steering wheel lock and horn fell silent.

My whole body felt a physical WHUMP of relief as the noise ceased and the men went back to their rooms.  In the past hour, I'd built up a fair amount of stress because of the ongoing giant-mosquito-like noise ate away at my brain.  More stress had been piled on to me from being the centre of embarrassing attention, but perhaps the most stress had seeped through my bones as I witnessed what the college men were doing to Nana's Excel while Mr de Elba was away.

They had whiled away the hour by trying to halt the faltering, stuttering horn which was ever-decreasing in pitch as the battery drained away.

Men being men (and Excels being small and light,) they had busied themselves by getting three or four of them on each side of the car and rocking it violently on its suspension, trying to dislodge the steering lock.

I'm sure Nana never did that to her Excel, for any reason.

And so I judiciously chose never to tell her.

19 March 2011

Daydawn Muesli Bars and Disappearing Berlei Briefs

Sometimes, it pays to let a company know when their product doesn't come up to scratch.

When my sister was in high school, she and about a dozen of her friends were disenchanted with the new smaller size of the muesli bars produced by Uncle Toby's rival Daydawn.  On a spare page of her Science notebook, she wrote a kind note to Daydawn pointing out her disappointment and asked all her friends to sign it.  Daydawn thoughtfully sent her four boxes of six muesli bars each, all in very unusual flavours.

Inspired by her example, I have summoned courage to write to a company whose product's shortcomings should really be brought to their attention.

Dear Berlei,

I have always loved your products especially the black Berlei Curves Embroidery Wirefree bra, which is why, when I saw your ‘Barely There’ range of briefs, I had to give them a go.

They boasted ‘flat seams finished with velvet soft edging to help prevent ride-up’ which sounded great to me.  I was in need of new underwear, and knowing that Berlei was a great brand, I bought four pairs.

In the fitting rooms at Myer, they seemed like a great fit despite the constraints of not being able to actually walk around in them, and having the Barely Theres over the top of my regular briefs.

Outside the fitting rooms at Myer, the story changed.

The Australian Dental Association recommends regular flossing, but this was ridiculous.

Without the structure of elastic in the seams, the flat-seamed velvet-edged legs of my new Barely Theres were free to slide wherever they pleased, and settled on following the path of least resistance into places where only an involved Search and Rescue could find them.  And when you’re out in public, involved Search and Rescues are not quite the done thing.  Especially at work.
The effect was somewhat lessened with liberal application of moisturiser to the butt cheeks, but that’s an awful lot of moisturiser in my case.

Oh Berlei, can you offer me something to soften the disappointment in my large purchase of expensive disappearing briefs?  If nothing else, it’s costing me a fortune in moisturiser.

Givinya de Elba

Have you ever written to a company?  Have they assuaged your disappointment in their product?

09 March 2011

The King's Speech

A tremendously professionally interesting movie, by all accounts.

08 March 2011

Who let the pedant out?

Diabetes in the news: remember this scary government proposal?  Although doctors apparently disagreed, it appeared that the government was proposing "diabetes" for us, which I was reluctant to take advantage of.

I was checking out some of the Recipe Collections on taste.com.au recently, and I noticed that when I clicked on a link, it automatically filled in the search box for me. The diabetes-friendly recipes came up with this spelling in the search box. You only have my word for it that I did not fill the search box in myself this way.I thought that somehow, the spelling "dietbeties" was appropriate, given that the recipes listed were appropriate for people with diabetes.

International Womens Day has been a time of renewed calls for equal pay for women.  I am fortunate not to suffer this glass ceiling in my industry (in fact, I earn more than many men I know, but don't tell them.)  This article was on a news website today:
I was surprised - I'm left wondering which industries pay a worker more if he is male, and less if she is female? I have only worked in government where the pay is the same, and in private practice where I set my fees.  Can anyone tell me about where the pay discrepancy lies?  I'd be genuinely interested to learn more.

The caption below the picture (of women walking to work) does offer us hope though.  Perhaps women don't earn more money than men, but they do get to walk home with 84% of the men they work with, which is a good consolation prize.  They could put their accumulated men to work in the home, doing the floors, washing, lawns, etc.  So that's good at least.

04 March 2011

Enemy of All Year One

I take all three children into Buzz' classroom in the mornings.  I have decided to manage them as well as I can in the mornings while I help Buzz get a new home reader and write the title in his folder - I figure this means I have permission not to take the little ones in to school when I pick up Buzz in the afternoons.  (Buzz comes to the car by himself in the afternoons.)

Jessie is quite easily managed while we help Buzz sort out the morning routine, but Woody is another story. He
☻ walks out of the classroom
☻ sits on the big seats outside
☻ wanders back into the classroom
☻ touches some stuff
☻ drinks from three or four kids' water bottles
☻ raids the baskets of markers
☻ tries to draw on the blackboards
☻ touches some more stuff
☻ steals pencils off kids' desks
☻ tries to write on the walls
☻ walks out of the classroom again ... etcetera.

Yesterday while I was busy helping Buzz (whose real name is Nat, you might remember,) transcribe the titles of his new reading books into his folder, I realised I'd half-heard a bit of classroom chatter that was strangely repetitive.

There had been a few comments referring to the same person, and it seems that the person was fast becoming a Nuisance of Grand Proportions.  A Nemesis, an Enemy of All Year One.

The name of the Nuisance was, apparently, "Natsbaby."

And Natsbaby was threatening to destroy the tiny worlds of the Year One students.

"Natsbaby has gone outside!" called one.

"Natsbaby came back in but he's got pens!" yelled another.

"Don't let Natsbaby near the books," warned a third.

One child was climbing up a stepladder, trying to find a safe place to put a hammer and some nails left by a workman.  "What are you doing?" Buzz (Nat) asked his friend.

"I'm just hiding these from Natsbaby," he said, "he's trying to get 'em."

So I guess that's Woody's Nemesis Name.

When he is good, 
he is very very good, 
and when he is not, 
he is "Natsbaby."

01 March 2011

Hits a little close to home

I wrote a new song today, while I was driving the children home.  It goes to the tune of "Rock-a-bye your bear."

       Everybody cry ... Wah! Wah! Wah!
       Everybody moan ... M-o-o-o-a-a-a-n!
       Whinge to your Mother ... MUH-MEEEE!
       Then you turn around ... Yippee!

Buzz and I were in stitches, rolling about in our seats laughing.  Buzz was gasping, "Whinge to your Moth... ha ha ha!"

Jessie was petulantly hissing from her corner, "It's not even funny!"

I guess someone was feeling a little challenged by the song.