Saturday, 12 December 2015

Ho, Ho, Holy Crap ...

... Christmas is in 13 days!!

Less than two weeks and I have yet to get properly stuck into present shopping.  I have a few little things for a few people but none of the "big" presents are sorted and I'm starting to get worried I'll run out of time (I've already run out of inclination/motivation!)

I don't know if it is because one son has moved out and another is on the other side of the world, or if it's just because I'm older and more world-weary but I'm just not feeling the festive spirit this year.  I should probably just change my name to Scrooge and be done with it. :-)

Actually I think it may be due to my attitude of "first world problems" .. buying more stuff that no-one really needs just to fulfil a societal expectation.  Then there's the whole "what to buy someone who already has almost everything they want" scenario.  Short of taking out another mortgage to buy the really big ticket item, what do you get for people like that?

I'm seriously considering buying everyone a chicken or a goat from Oxfam Unwrapped and calling it a day :-)

Saturday, 14 November 2015

My baby is leaving home ...

.. temporarily at least.

Brad, the expensive lucky little bugger, is off to Italy in two weeks time for a two month student cultural exchange.  He will be away for Christmas and be back just in time to start Year 12 at school.

I'm still coming to terms with the idea that my youngest child, admittedly one who towers over me and could take me in a vocabulary or philosophy test any day of the week yet is still my baby, will be literally on the other side of the world for two whole months.  He is part of a contingent of 44 students from WA who are all going to different areas of Italy and won't see each other for most of the time they are there.  To top it all off, to allow them to get the best out of the experience, parents have been told to not contact their children while there (except for Christmas of course).

The biggest problem .. who am I going to verbally joust with now (because we all know this is about me!!)?  Andrew doesn't enjoy it, Pete just goes off on a tangent and frustrates me no end, the dogs just bark until I shut up and the rabbit doesn't talk at all.  And don't even get me started on the fish ... RUDE little creatures making faces at me through the glass!

Seriously though, I am so proud of him to wanting to take an adventure like this but am scared for him at the same time.  I have to trust that someone I have never met, in a country I have never been to, will take care of my offspring and return him to me intact at the end of the two months (well .. in at least the same condition that he went over there in).

I asked him for permission to friend his host mother on Facebook, but I think he thinks I will embarrass him or something.  He keeps muttering something about "social media blackout" and "going incommunicado" .. haven't quite worked out what he's on about :-)

Despite his brave fa├žade, I think he is a bit scared too and also possibly just a wee bit pissed off at the overbearing mother trying to organise him to pack before he's ready  (I'm surprised we haven't knocked the earth out of orbit with the amount of rolled eyes around here lately!)

Not long to go and he'll be on the plane on the first leg of a 16 hour journey to Rome ...

Buon Viaggio Braddles  xxx



Saturday, 18 October 2014

Personalities ...

Ever since I started my new more senior position, I've realised just how good I have it at my factory. Despite the ever-increasing hours and seemingly everlasting demands on my time, we (the management team) all work pretty well together with each focusing on their areas of strength.

For example, I hate working out in the heat of the factory unpacking boxes and putting things away whereas the 2IC hates being stuck in front of a computer in the office doing endless paperwork.  

Solution:  we trade duties .. he does the box-unpacking-and-putting-away and I do some of his 'paperwork'.  Obviously there are certain things that he still has to do (he is a manager after all)  but on the whole this works well for us.  There's very little complaining and assigning of blame and a lot of 'just get it done' happening which I am very grateful for.

The fact that we are all able to speak openly to each other (most of the time) and there isn't that whole "it's-not-my-job-I'm-not-doing-it" mentality really helps.  Don't get me wrong ... I'm not saying there's never any issues but we can usually resolve them without having to  go to Head Office for further intervention.  Every workplace has people who bitch and moan about every little thing but luckily, there's not that many and we have all got our own ways of ignoring dealing with him them.

Some of the other factories don't have it anywhere near as good as we do though.  As I now oversee all the other plants and their purchasing people, I am finding out just how bad it can be.

Originally when my predecessor left, his plant's management wanted me to move up there as they wanted someone with a lot more experience and knowledge.  Despite being given the company car and fuel card, I didn't (and still don't) want to go there as it is about an hour's drive each way in traffic and I didn't (and still don't) want to work as part of that particular 'team' (and I use the word very loosely!).  Add in the fact that my team didn't want me to go and the decision was made to hire someone through a labour hire firm to take his place. Unfortunately, she only received 4 days of on-the-job training with him before he left. The plant she is working at is a 24/7 operation which means that it is pretty full-on from a purchasing perspective as she needs to make sure everything (spare parts, additives and packaging) is available at a moment's notice so there's no lost time.

She has been doing an awesome job, especially considering the complexities of learning a whole new computer system and way of doing things, but over the last month or so, there have been a lot of issues (mostly started by other 'team' members) and she is now at the stage of wanting to leave.  She has openly said that she is looking for another job and as soon as one comes up, she's out of there!

Most of these issues seem to be related to 5 or so people who are all supposed to work closely together on a daily basis to ensure everything is as it should be.  Unfortunately, of those 5 or so people, at least 4 are (or come across as) rather arrogant and know-it-all types.  The person doing the purchasing job is also a bit fiery and has a tendency to bite back immediately and collapse into tears later.  Add in the pressures of the job itself and it's not really a surprise that there's issues there.

There's also some issues relating to what she is actually required to do.  This position does vary a bit from site to site but there seems to be a lot of "that's not my job; you do it" type stuff happening too, resulting in procedures not being followed and her actual duties not being completed due to lack of time.

As I'm the senior purchasing person, I'm now in the position of "what-the-f***-do-I-do-about-this"?  Some of the things going round and round in my head night after night are:

  • do I try to get her to stay if she's that unhappy?  
  • do I swap plants with her (hopefully only temporarily) to get things sorted out?  
  • if I swap plants, am I going to be allowed to leave to come back to my own plant?
  • is me swapping plants actually going to help or will it make things worse? (I'm not a great one for tact!!)
  • do I bury my head in the sand and leave it up to plant management?  (who have been doing such a bang-up job of dealing with this to date ... )
  • do I try to get the head office people more involved?  (not likely to be helpful)
  • do I quit and find another job? 
Despite all my tough words of advice to others, I hate conflict and confrontation and am a bit of a huge wuss when it comes to calling someone on their bad behaviour. I'm a people pleaser so will often put myself out to do things for others at work.

Talking to hubby for advice of dealing with assholes blokes in a male-dominated workplace has resulted in "just tell them to pull their heads in" which is fine in theory but as they've already been told this numerous times, isn't going to make a difference in this case.

After much thinking and stressing and then thinking some more, I've come up with the following ideas:

  1. Go up there and work alongside her for a few days so I can (hopefully) see what's happening.
  2. Ask for a meeting with all concerned parties (with a head office representative as well)
  3. Set out her actual duties in writing to clear up any confusion.
  4. Give her a roster/schedule of when things have to be done (eg Monday - stock take & invoice processing)
  5. Cross my fingers and hope to god it all works!
Please cross your fingers for me and if I disappear, I'll be under the desk curled up in a ball!

Monday, 20 January 2014

It just keeps getting weirder around here ...

My Mum just went and got her phone so she could ring one of the boys at the other end of the house.

The really weird thing is that she didn't want to talk Drew herself .. she wanted to let Brutus tell Drew that he was hungry and wanted his dinner!

Basically she just made a mobile to mobile phone call so the dog could bark down the phone ...

... (whispering) save me ... save me now!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

On our way to becoming ...

... property moguls.

As of yesterday afternoon, when the loan was officially approved, we are now the owners of a rental property.  Well, we aren't legally the owners until settlement goes through in about 3 weeks time but, barring any mishaps, we will be the owners very, very soon.

I can't believe we've done this so quickly as we only just started talking about it last week and here we are, having seen several different places, narrowing it down to this one, making an offer, having it accepted and with finance all ready to go.  This is the only time we've managed to have everything just happen without having something fall apart to wreck our plans.

Now I just have to find some tenants ...

Completely random ...

Bradley just walked into the lounge room where I was reading and said:

"We should go on a family holiday to Mexico and while we're there, we should overthrow the government."

He then patted both dogs and walked out again.

Sometimes I really wonder where he came from and just what is going on in that head of his ...

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

So many things to do ...

and never enough hours in the day to do them all.

Well, that's not strictly true.  There are plenty of hours; it's just that I have a tendency to waste use them differently .. like instead of painting my many, many walls, I spend hours and hours 'some' time playing mindless games on the computer. Or instead of actually making some of the wonderful things I keep pinning, I keep pinning and dreaming of making some of the wonderful things.

As I followed along with the blogosphere with my last post, I figured I would do the same with this one.  (Be gentle please, I'm trying to find my mojo again).

So I can hear you asking:  What is my resolution for 2014? (And yes, I did mean to type resolution .. as in single, one, only, not-setting-myself-up-for-total-failure-this-time, forget-the-diet-and-get-fit-bandwagon, solitary and much-easier-to-cope-with).

Nice and simple answer:  I want to do more this year.  By more, I mean detach myself from all of my electronic distractions (yes, I realise I'm on one now .. sssh I'm on a roll!) and actually start (and hopefully complete) more craft projects, more DIY stuff around the house, more gardening and more just being without a screen.


In theory, this sounds really easy but it's rather hard at times to put the devil electronic distractions behind me and focus on the real world. It something I keep telling my boys to do (go outside .. the graphics are better!) but haven't done myself. What's that old saying .. children learn what they live? I obviously am way more addicted than I thought I was if their addiction are anything to go by ...


Sunday, 5 January 2014

Being a sheep ...

... and following along with the flock doing a "quick" 2013 round up.

January:

  • Still (quietly) patting myself on the back for winning Austral Bricks WA Employee of the Year for 2012.  The fact that I managed to (unintentionally) insult the Managing Director and keep my job apparently got me more points than all the work I did, but I'll take the win (and the $1500 Flight Centre voucher .. woohoo!  I can see a nice holiday in my future).
  • Actually went out quad bike riding with the boys (all four of them) and didn't kill myself, break anything or hurt anyone else .. go me!
  • Celebrated Alex's friend Chris' 18th birthday at Sizzler's in Kelmscott.
  • Managed to get some more of the backyard finished and made some quirky crafty items for my upcoming birthday.  Bowls made from old records anyone?
February:
  • Finally got the backyard landscaping guy to come back and finish it.
  • Turned 40 ... aaaargghh!!  Celebrated with a 70's themed birthday party and had a great time.
  • My 'baby' boy, Brad, turned 14!  Where is the time going??
March:
  • Painted the 'spare' room for Mum to move into while she builds her new house.
  • Tried my hand at fruit and vege gardening...
April:
  • Let Alex drive us up to Ikea for a day out only to have his car die on the Cedric St off-ramp .. thank God for RAC road patrol! $250 for a new battery later, we were able to get his car going again just in time to go home.
  • Celebrated Debbie's 50th birthday with high tea at Little Nich's Cafe.  Nice food, dribbly teapots and lovely company .. great day!!
  • Clare came over to have a ride on the scooter to practise for her trip to Greece.  
  • Commiserated with Deb over her baby, Amy, turning 16.
May:
  • Had an early Mother's Day celebration with Mum, Clare, Rich and my tribe at the Mundijong Pub.  Peter and Richard went for a country motorbike ride first and met us there.
  • Took Andrew and Debbie to see Cirque Du Soleil's OVO show.  Fantastic night out except for the bucketing down rain :-(
  • Mum moved in.
  • Went to Tasmania for our 20th wedding anniversary with no kids and using the voucher I won. Awesome but tiring (not for the reason you think ... get your mind out of the gutter!)
  • Had another Mother's Day celebration when we got back from Tassie.  Love, hugs and presents .. yay!
  • My middle baby, Drew, turned 16.  He booked himself in for his learner's test and passed first time ... go Drew!!
June:
  • Ate the first apple from the Pinkabelle tree.  
  • Got a wild idea to rip my wedding dress apart and use (what I thought was a hug amount of) fabric for other purposes. (Didn't get very far with that .. there was nowhere near as much silk in the skirt as I thought there was ..oh well).  Made Brad pose for photos in the bodice of the dress, mean mummy that I am!
  • Painted Drew's bedroom wall with "racing stripes".  He likes it even if no-one else does!!
July:
  • Had to race Xena to the vet in the middle of the night once we worked out that she had eaten almost a whole box of dark chocolate.  Got home at 2am and had to go back to pick her up at 8am to avoid paying another day's worth of ICU charges.  
  • Went to Sydney for a work trip ... on the same day that I had raced Xena to the vet.  Couldn't sleep on plane so had an early night when I got there.  Found out that the company hadn't paid for the accommodation in advance so got hit with a huge bill on check out.  Thank goodness for 'secret stash' money...
  • Took another trip to Ikea and found some inspiration for what to do on the long wall in the family room.  Besta bookshelves are my new best friend ... I think.
August:
  • Had a night at the shed, just Peter and I (despite vowing not to go .. a girl can change her mind!)
  • Drew had his first official driving school driving lesson.
  • Finally got floor coverings in the bedrooms .. spotted gum floorboards.
September:
  • My first 'little baby', Alex turned 18 and somehow became 6'1" tall ... waaahhhh!!  j/k .. so proud of him for the hurdles he's overcome and the wonderful young man he is.  Love you son!
  • Had a belated Father's Day (as it was on Alex's birthday .. how rude!)
  • Drew bought his first car, a Longreach Falcon ute, which was brought home on the Sunday afternoon and then stolen in the early hours of the Thursday afternoon.  Fire brigade found it on fire and reported it to police.  By the time the Police got there, it had been stolen again and still hasn't been recovered.  Thank goodness for insurance!
  • Did some more crafty/practical projects that I will slowly be updating over the next couple of weeks .. I promise!
October:
  • Took a week off work during school holidays and spent some time with my growing-way-too-quick boys.
  • Thought about going to the Perth Royal Show(for about an hour), regained my sanity and stayed home instead.  Saved amount of money equivalent to the GDP of a small African nation.
November:
  • Drew got his official Certificate II in light automotive servicing ..well done!
  • Took yet another trip to Ikea .. just because.
  • Got the windows tinted in our bedroom, the home theatre (or as I call it, the lounge room), the family room and Alex's bedroom.  Makes a huge difference to the amount of heat coming in from outside.
  • Peter bought a new bigger motorbike.  Continued to hassle me about getting my bike licence ...
December:
  • Put up the tree with the boys with minimal grumbling (from me!)
  • Drew picked up his new car .. 1999 Lantra with very low km's for it's age.
  • Made three Pepparkaka Hus kits from Ikea (otherwise known as gingerbread houses for English speakers).  Used an entire year's worth of lollies and royal icing between the three .. yum!!
  • Had Christmas breakfast at home, lunch at Mark and Bec's and home again for dinner.
  • Quiet day at home on Boxing Day, then out for dinner with Nonnie and Clare down in Shoalwater.
  • For Peter's 47th birthday my lovely boss let me take half a day off so we had lunch at Hog's Breath in Kelmscott, then home for presents.  Managed to surprise him with the Springsteen tickets I'd bought back in September as well as the usual littler presents from the boys.
  • Quiet New Year's at home with the boys (Mum went out .. has a better social life then me!).  Managed to see in the New Year, then slept like a log until 9am.
So there you go, a whole year in a rather large nutshell.  Here's hoping I can get my shit together slightly more organised this year and manage to post some of the happenings as (or soon after) they happen.

 A girl's got to have dreams ... right?