Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Good news!

Apart from being understandably stiff and sore, Brutus is doing really well. He had surgery today to fix his dislocated hip and they've said he should be able to come home either tomorrow or Friday.

We have a long road to recovery ahead of us but he will recover and will get back to the way he was before ... hopefully slightly less pyscho! I just have to try to keep him quiet and relatively still for the next 6-8 weeks to allow the pelvic fractures to heal ... no mean feat! At least he won't feel like jumping around all over the place for a while yet .. poor thing!

Thanks for all the good thoughts and wishes sent our way. I know to some people he's only a dog, but he's a member of our family and we're all overjoyed that he's still here with us.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Update on Brutus...

Whatever you guys did, it seems to be working!!

Even though his dislocated hip wouldn't go back in today, everything else is improving.

He will have to have an operation to fix the hip back into place (does anyone have oodles of money to spare?) and will need to have 'cage confinement' treatment for 6 weeks or so to allow his pelvic fractures to heal but the internal bleeding is almost non-existent and the collapsed lung is slowly fixing itself.

Thanks for all the thoughts, prayers and/or crossed fingers but please keep them coming .. we still have to get through the operation (either tomorrow or Wednesday).

Please send good thoughts and prayers our way...

Sorry to put a downer on people's festive celebrations, but our dog Brutus was hit by a car last night and it isn't looking too good for him at the moment.

He has multiple fractures of the pelvis, a dislocated hip and internal bleeding so any good thoughts, prayers or crossed fingers sent our way would be mightily appreciated right about now. Some thoughts and prayers for the poor couple that hit him would also be good as they are absolutely devastated.

I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Saturday, 19 December 2009

What an interesting day ...

Peter had been hassling asking me nicely to take the boys up to meet him at the block so we could have our first overnight stay in the shed as a family. Once I figured out that it wouldn't be hotter than Hades out there, I agreed to pack Peter's other car, the Pajero 4WD, full of the necessary stuff, the children and the dog and make the 2.5 hour drive, hopefully arriving in time for a late lunch. (I wasn't sure how my new car would go with the car fridge drawing on the battery for the whole trip, so I decided to take the car that had already done the trip numerous times.)

He sent me a text message at dark o'clock (aka 5:30am!) and then rang me at please-leave-me-alone-to-sleep o'clock (aka 7:20am), to say that he had finished work early and would be at the block a lot earlier than originally expected so, once I woke up a bit more, I tried to hurry the packing along.

We managed to leave the house and be on the road to the block a full hour and a half ahead of the original schedule, which I thought was pretty good considering that I didn't even have to go back to the house for any last-minute bits and pieces. I had remembered to check the oil and water in the car, put petrol in it so we wouldn't get stranded on the side of the road with no fuel, pack almost everything asked for (except the camera .. some scrapbooker I am!) and still managed to be nice to the children and the dog.

We were about 1.25 hours into the trip (roughly 100kms from home) and having a lovely drive, singing long to the music on my iPod because the radio station had just started to drop out, when the car started making a funny rattling noise. I thought it was just struggling a bit to get up the hill in cruise control and was reaching to turn the cruise control off when the car decided to save me the trouble and turned itself off.

So there we were trying to use the momentum to keep going as far as we could so I could pull off at a safe point, when Alex asks from the back seat, "Did you check if the battery was connected this morning Mum?" After wrestling the car to the side of the road (no power steering without power!), I turned and yelled smiled sweetly and explained that the blasted piece of crap car wouldn't have gotten us this far without the battery connected.

I popped the bonnet (hood for the Americans/Canadians) and had a quick look around the engine bay to see if anything obvious jumped out and screamed "Here I am!! I'm your problem right here!! Yoohoo!! Over here!!" and when nothing did, I rang Peter and said "Your car's broken. Come and fix it." After talking to him for a few minutes, I tried to start it and it worked so we limped along a bit further before the horrible rattling noise suddenly got drastically worse and the Pajero drove itself to the side of the road, threw up its metaphorical hands in defeat and cried "Rrrrr - rrrr - rrr - rr - r - ..... "(insert silence here), which I believe means, loosely translated of course, "Get out and walk 'cos I give up!"

I rang Peter again and he said he would come and pick us up but it would take approximately 1.5 hours for him to get to us. Biting down on the urge to scream at the world, I once again popped the bonnet and when, once again, nothing jumped out at me, I got the kids out of the car to stretch their legs by taking the dog for a little jaunt into the roadside vegetation for a potty stop. This little jaunt also afforded me the opportunity to curse, quite profusely, whatever gremlin had decided to pick this day and this particular long-range trip to befoul my best laid plans.

It was at this point that my subconscious piped up the reminder that I had recently rejoined the RAC roadside assistance service and also furnished me with the phone number. (All I can say is that as much as I curse our phone provider for so many of the mindless things they do, at least they provide coverage in the areas I need it.)

I managed to get through to a real person the third time I phoned and after explaining that I did indeed have a membership and have the $190 scar on my credit card to prove it, she finally accepted that a) I was a member, b) I was in fact a premium member and c) I was stuck on the side of the highway far from home with three kids and a dog. I then had to explain numerous times that I didn't know exactly where I was, apart from on the side of the main east-west highway across the state somewhere not too far past a turnoff to Irishtown (yes it's a real place). Then we got to the real doozy ... she asked what the problem was.

Being a non-mechanically minded person, my description of the problem was limited to some very poor imitations of the rattly noise along with a very weak follow-up of "it just won't go". Her response was "So it's not a flat tyre or battery then?"

Deep breath ... "No. No it's not."

"We'll have someone out to you as soon as possible. It could be up to a 2 hour wait."

I thanked her as politely as I could, then settled back to play the game of waiting to see who would arrive first .. Peter or the RAC man.

It was during this time that I started to wonder about the state of the world today. So many people drove straight past a car with the bonnet up surrounded by 1 woman, 3 children and a dog. Most of them seemed to purposely look in the other direction to avoid getting involved. i suppose they figured that in this age of mobile phones that I had already called for help and given that I wasn't jumping up and down on the side of the road like a woman possessed, that I didn't need their help. Trying to give them the benefit of the doubt here, people!

Anyway the RAC man turned up first, asked a series of questions then got me to start the car. It would still start but wouldn't stay started unless I kept the revs really high. He made the universal symbol for 'kill it' (dragged his thumb across his throat) and then pointed out that there was hardly any water in the radiator. (At this point I would like to remind you that I remembered to check the oil and water in the car and I topped them both up to the correct levels. I had also been keeping an eye on the temperature gauge and it hadn't moved from the halfway point .. at all!) In the process of trying to explain possible causes for the overheating that had caused the water to boil off, he managed to burn himself on the very hot engine not once, but twice .. not a great confidence booster but he was nice enough and he had come to try and rescue me so I let it go.


He couldn't fix it so he arranged for a tow truck to come and get the car (and us) and take it back to Northam to the workshop. I had mentioned that Peter was on his way from the block so he made arrangements for us to wait at the workshop for as long as it took Peter to get there. Then he got into his van and drove away leaving us, once again, on the side of the road in the middle of almost nowhere waiting for the next knight in shining armour to arrive, which he did in his lovely air-conditioned tilt-tray tow-truck with plenty of room for the kids and the dog.


Once we got to the workshop, we settled in for rather a long wait and I would like to say I'm very proud of the boys for the way they just took everything in their stride. There was hardly any fighting or niggling each other, no complaints of 'I'm bored/hungry/tired' and they listened and did as they were told. Thank heavens for small mercies .. and a handbag full of treats and a cold drink machine at the shop across the road!


Peter turned up a while later and we packed as much from the Pajero into the ute as we could and then headed back home. Again, the boys did really well, especially considering we had gone from an airconditioned car with plenty of room to a non-air-conditioned ute with not much leg room, arm room or any other kind of room. Throw the dog into the mix and they all acquitted themselves quite well.

We arrived home at about 5pm so, when all was said and done, it took 6.5 hours for the boys, the dog and myself to travel roughly 200kms. An interesting day out but not one I want to repeat in a hurry!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

A little advice

Having worked in retail over Christmas, I came up with some helpful tips for customers last year to enable them to get the best out of their shopping experience during Christmas in retail.

Now that I am back on the other side of the fence, so to speak, I have formulated some teensy-weensy pieces of advice for the braindead morons couldn't-be-less-interested-in-helping-you-if-they-were-dead teenagers masquerading as shop 'assistants' this Christmas.


  • Rolling your eyes at a customer who has just asked you to get something down from the top shelf, because you have a ladder and she doesn't carry one in her handbag, will get you filthy looks in return. If said customer is in a bad mood, it may even earn you a telling off, both from the customer and your boss!
  • Answering the phone, telling the customer you will have a look out the back, putting them on hold for 10 minutes while you finish your conversation with your co-'worker' (used in the loosest sense of the word!) about who is 'hooking up' with who, then going back to your phone customer to tell them you don't have any and won't get any more before Christmas, all in full view of an entire counter full of customers, is probably going to get you in trouble with the management. Try not to act surprised when you are caught out!
  • Comparing your customer's well-behaved child, who is restrained in a trolley with entertainment to keep them quiet, to 'devil spawn' and then asking, at full volume, 'why do people bring their bloody kids shopping at Christmas time?' will probably also get you into trouble with aforementioned management. Once again, try not to act surprised when you are caught out!
  • On the same topic, muttering disparaging comments about said child's parentage loudly as you walk away is also going to get you reprimanded by the big guy (be that the manager, Santa or God, who knows!) Whilst I can understand the stress involved in dealing with the incessant screaming of some children (been there; done that!!), do not take your frustrations out on one of the few children who is actually behaving and being quiet.
  • Telling a customer to have a proper look and they might find it all on their own, may earn you a slap upside the head! You are a customer service assistant; act like it!
  • Jumping the queue at the checkout because you are on your break and must have that bag of M&M's now, is likely to incite a mob mentality and you may find yourself being bodily removed from said checkout line by a big bikie type who just happened to shopping with his grandma. Don't mess with a bikie's grandma .. ever!

Now that I have exhausted my current public service abilities, I am off to find some more blog material presents for the rest of my family and friends.

Seven people down ... fourteen to go!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Facebook is ...

many, many things; some positive and some negative. Lately I have found myself there more and more often and have been formulating a list of pros and cons in my head that I have decided to share with you all in the hopes of weaning myself away it.

Pro: It is a useful social networking tool
Con: What exactly is a social networking tool and why do we all suddenly need one?

Pro: Somewhere to play games
Con: Games that quickly become addictive and require an intervention to stop playing

Pro: A place to find people from your past
Con: Isn't there a reason why they're in your past?

Pro: You can keep up with friends on the other side of the country or even the world
Con: Because it is just so important that you know that they have been food shopping this morning or have gone to work with a hangover to rival the seventh circle of Hell.

Pro: You can stay in touch with family that you wouldn't otherwise get to see due to you all having such busy lives
Con: You have to monitor what you say and who you say it to for fear of family being offended or "disgusted at the young people of today"

Right at this very moment, however, I feel that Facebook was designed by people who have no life, to try and entice other suckers to sink to their level and lose whatever semblance of a normal life they did possess. And they have succeeded, in this house at least.

So as of now this afternoon tonight sometime this week month, I resolve to spend less time on Facebook and more time on my blog. That sounds fair doesn't it?


Oh wait ...


Swapping one addiction for another .. probably not such a good idea huh?


So now what? I know..


I'll read instead. That's got to be more of a mind-improving thing to do.


So whose blog should I start reading first?

Sunday, 6 December 2009

It's official!

Daisypath Wedding tickers


Presenting Mr and Mrs Brazendale ...
(Sorry for the picture quality. The sun came out from behind a cloud and shone straight into their faces just as the celebrant announced them to be husband and wife.)

I got a tear in my eye listening to them promise their lives to each other and watching the way they looked at each other made me feel all 'gooey' inside. To quote a fellow guest: "She looked at him like he was her favourite chocolate bar and she was just dying to eat him all up!"


The whole bridal party. There were four bridesmaids and two groomsmen .. each groomsman had two bridesmaids to escort everywhere .. shame for them that none of the bridesmaids are single!

The cake and the penguins (Clare's favourite creature) that Mum dressed up for her.




Cutting the cake.

It was a beautiful event, despite the 37 degree heat, and everything went off without a hitch on the day. The night before is a whole other story involving broken zippers on bridesmaids dresses at 10:30pm and then discovering stains on the same dress the next morning, but thanks to some good old-fashioned running-around-like-a-blue-arsed-fly by several people, all was fixed in time.

So even though I'm now feeling really old and decrepit due to my baby sister being married, I wish them nothing but the best for their future life together.

Oh, and here's hoping they hurry up and have some kids .. it's time for another baby around here and I'm certainly not having any!!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Overheard this morning ...

Peter was outside tormenting playing with and chasing the dog.

Andrew: Dad, stop being mean to the dog.

Brad: Dad's not mean Drew. He's just not very good at being nice!

Very quick with the witty replies this morning, aren't you Brad? Cheeky boy!

Monday, 30 November 2009

Just when I started to feel motivated ...

... things go wrong!

I just got up from my scrap/craft table where I have been trying to make the menu for Clare's wedding reception look pretty, to go and do some laundry, the dishes in the kitchen and mop the floor, only to find out that I have no water. After ascertaining that I had paid the water bill, the water meter is intact and turned on and that there wasn't a flood somewhere in or around the house, I rang the Water Corp to find out what's going on.

Apparently there's a burst water main outside the house six houses up the road from me and, according to the lovely young lady on the phone, there's an emergency repair crew there fixing it at the moment and it should be back on in about three hours. Unfortunately, I think her magic computer is lying to her. There is no repair crew there and, surprisingly enough, there isn't copious amounts of water leaking everywhere, unless it's under the road, which given the amount of potholes that have been appearing lately, is quite likely.

I've decided that I'm going to interpret this as having been given permission by the Universe to ignore the housework and go to the scrapbook shop down the road to buy some more paper to prettify the menu and seating plan.


Or to ignore the housework and read a book.


Or to ignore the housework and have a nap.


Or to ignore the housework and have lunch.


Or to ignore the housework and put the Christmas tree up.


Or to ignore the housework and ...


just ignore the housework all together. Yeah that's the one...

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

You know you live with a house full of boys when ...

  • there are more items of clothing on the floor in their rooms than in their wardrobes.
  • you are the only one who seems to think this a problem.
  • you find yourself doing the 'sniff test' on clothing you find around the house.
  • you use almost an entire container of spak-filla patching all the dents and dings in the walls of only one room!
  • you buy clothing, manchester, furniture and paint based on whether the colour of said item will show food and/or bloodstains.
  • despite spending over $300 on groceries, there's "nothing in the house to eat."
  • they yell at you "where's my (insert item here)" and then yell "it's not there. I already looked" only to mumble a very sheepish "Thanks Mum" when you walk in and take said item off the shelf where you said it was, which happens to be right in front of their face, and then hand it to them.
  • you turn the TV up to drown out the sounds of "Kill him!" coming from the other room.
  • despite having an entire wardrobe full of clothes to choose from, they wear the same three items over and over again until said items come crawling down the hallway to find you, begging to be washed.
  • you realise that you understand a foreign language ... 'grunt'.
  • you're told someone is hurt and your response is "No bones or blood? Still breathing and conscious? Yes? Then I'm not interested!"
  • you burp and say "better out than in" instead of "pardon me".
  • food stains are considered part of the pattern on the shirt and not as something to be removed.
  • you have to remind them that deodorant, soap and toothpaste are there for them to use more than once a week and aren't just decorations in the bathroom.
  • despite having been in the shower for over ten minutes, they still come out with dirty hands, feet and hair.
  • they start coming up with alternative uses for your kitchen utensils. Did you know that a pasta server makes a good back scratcher?
  • topics you would be uncomfortable discussing with your doctor become standard dinner table conversation.
  • you realise that dyslaundria and fridge blindness are real!

And yet, despite all of this, all they have to do is give me a hug and all is forgiven.

Well, almost all...

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Recent conversations ...

Me: Andrew, could you please get the plates out ready for me to serve up dinner?

Andrew: It's already done.

Me: Gee, you're organised today.

Andrew: Of course I'm organised. I'm a legend in the kitchen.

Me: What about me? Am I a legend in the kitchen too?

Andrew: Nope. Just me.

slight pause...

Andrew: You're a legend everywhere else ... as well as in the kitchen.

Me: Nice save son!

Andrew: I've had twelve years of practise so I'm finally getting the hang of it!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alex: Mum, I have an upset stomach so can I stay home from school today?

Me: Only if you think you're really unwell and not just faking it.

Alex: (goes into graphic detail of toilet habits and various other TMI-type things that I won't put here .. you're welcome!)

Me: (gagging) OK, you can stay home but I have things to do so you can help me in between toilet visits.

Alex: Thanks Mum. Sorry for any inconvenience this has caused you.

Andrew: (giggling) That sounds like one of those announcements you hear at the shops .. you know .. "Attention please customers: your life will suck from now on .. sorry for any inconvenience".

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Busy little bees ...

... and I mean literally!

This is the 'really big black bug' that was in Brad's room buzzing at him when we came home from Bali. Mum had checked on the house two days prior and there was no sign of it then so they really were busy little bees to have created this in so short a time.


I let him sleep in my bed with me for the night on Thursday and tried to get an exterminator to come and deal with it on the Friday. After leaving a message with each of four different companies (that I still haven't heard back from over a week later .. 24 hour/7 day callout my backside!!), I let him sleep with me again on Friday night and, after another night of little sleep due to 'someone' hogging all the covers and most of the bed, resolved to ring a new lot of pest people on Saturday.
I managed to speak to a real person at Allpest Services on Saturday and was assured someone would be out sometime that day. Upon asking whether they could narrow the time frame just a little, for example to morning or afternoon, I was informed someone would ring me back within ten minutes to try to do so. Now I know you're probably expecting me to tell you how I'm still waiting for that call but I'm not because ...
... gasp ...
... they rang back in only five minutes! And they had narrowed the time frame to 2 hours!
I'll just wait for you to all pick yourselves up off the floor before I continue ...
Ready yet?
How about now? No?
Still waiting for the shock of a tradesperson actually calling back to wear off? Don't hold your breath because I'm still waiting for that to happen and it's been over a week!
Anyway, the young guy who turned up to do the job was on time, didn't smell or have a bad attitude, was very pleasant (both in personality and to look at!) and got straight to it. I took him down to Brad's room to show him the invaders and was assured that it would be no problem. His little remark on the end of that was "I don't normally do bee jobs but I was the closest so I said I'd pop past."
Of course, I had to enquire why he didn't usually do bee jobs; was he scared of them or something? His response was "Not so much scared. More that I'm allergic to them."
Thinking he was joking, I laughed and then seeing his perfectly serious face was compelled to ask why on earth he had a job as a pest exterminator if he was allergic to some of them? Apparently he likes the job and it pays well, so he just carries his Epi-pen everywhere with him and has wonderful fun killing them all.
After that little nugget of wisdom, I decided to keep a close eye on him, purely for safety's sake of course, and managed to get this picture of him in full work gear taking care of the little problem.

So thanks to the allergic bug men of the world (or this part of it at least!), the 'big black buzzing bug' is gone and Bradley is back sleeping in his own bed again.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Day 10

Thursday 29/10/09

After finally falling asleep at about 2am, I woke up hoping that the taxi company had found my camera but they hadn’t. Was still feeling pissed off at myself so I sent the boys down to have breakfast while I fumed (and packed) on my own. Came to the conclusion that it was meant to be .. all the talk of karma and the gods must have rubbed off on me .. and resigned myself to not seeing my camera again. The boys were really good about it saying that they have their memories and they don’t need the photos and then Alex piped up with “anyway, you’re so far behind in your scrapping, this will make it easier for you to catch up”. I know he was only trying to help but I couldn’t help laughing/crying.

Arrived with 3 suitcases (one with the laptop in it), 4 little backpacks and my CPAP machine. Left with 4 suitcases, 4 stuffed to the brim little backpacks, 1 large sports bag, 1 laptop bag and my CPAP machine.

Elle and the boys arrived to have a chat before saying goodbye. Left the boys to discuss Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon and went shopping for last minute stuff at the Hard Rock Megastore. Came back to find that our airport transfer bus had arrived so we said our goodbyes and headed out for the airport.

Got to the airport and paid the porters so that I wouldn’t have to try and juggle 3 kids and 11 items of luggage. We could do with some porters at Perth airport .. in fact all of the Australian airports could do with them! Had to hang around the airport for nearly two hours so the boys spent the last of their money on little knick knacks to pass the time. Had Macca’s (again!) for lunch then boarded the plane for the flight home.

I dozed most of the way home while the boys watched the free in-flight foxtel. After a mostly smooth flight, we landed at 6:20 and cleared Customs/Quarantine by 7:20pm. Word of advice: don’t buy woven placemats in Bali .. they’re full of little beasties and AQIS will either seize them or keep them for 2 weeks to fumigate them and charge you $30 (in advance) for the privilege of getting them back. Considering they cost me all of $4, I let AQIS seize them.

Mum met us at the airport and after that we went home, via the takeaway chicken place down the road, by 7:45pm. After dinner, we showed her some of our souvenirs and gave her the presents we’d bought for her. The boys headed for the shower and then Bradley came running down to the lounge room crying about ‘a huuuuge black bug in his room’. Sympathetic mother that I am, I told him to stop being such a sook because it was probably just a hairy spider but he kept insisting that it was buzzing at him. I went to check it out and found a colony of bees had set up a hive on the outside of his window. I told him he could sleep in with me until I got an exterminator to come deal with it. I’d already had him or Drew sleeping in my bed for the past 9 nights so what was a couple more?

Mum finally left at 10:30ish then it was straight to bed for me, complete with nightmares of all the washing to be done and wondering whether the dog would talk to me when I picked him up in the morning. It’s good to be home… I think!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Day 9

Wednesday 28/10/09

Was woken up by a text from Elle saying that she wouldn’t be able to join us as her two dogs had been in a massive fight and needed to go the vet.
After some discussion with the boys, I decided to not go to the Bali Wildlife and Marine Park as originally planned and we planned to go shopping instead. At this point I realized that I had left the camera at Flapjacks the night before in all the kerfuffle over the spilt milk, got the front desk at the hotel to ring and check it was still there and then went down to pick it up.
Took a taxi into Denpasar to try to find some computer stuff Peter wanted, to no avail, then headed back to Discovery Mall to get some stuff for the boys that we hadn’t been able to find anywhere else (stuffed turtle for Brad, turtle figurines for Alex and Brad and some postcards for me).
Had lunch upstairs in the food court overlooking the beach. Boys had chicken nuggets and chips; I had nasi goreng ayam (chicken fried rice). Andrew ended up giving the rest of his food to Alex and sharing the rice with me.
Went downstairs for some more shopping and got some more money out of the ATM… only 3,000,000 this time! Headed back to the hotel for a rest (too hot!), boys went for a swim and then we headed out to Legian where the boys managed to get themselves wet in the ocean and I managed to get some photos of the sunset over Legian Beach. Went up to the Legian Pesar (Art/craft market) where I managed to buy some more souvenirs (but no sarongs!) then jumped in a taxi to go to Elle’s.
Stopped at McDonald’s to buy dinner for all 5 boys then hung around Elle's place chatting for a while before getting another taxi back to the hotel. Realized once we were back in the room that the camera was missing again. Got the front desk to call the taxi company and McDonald’s but it was gone for good this time. It must have fallen out of my bag in the taxi and been picked up by the next passenger or the driver. According to Elle, it would sell for the equivalent of 5 or 6 months wages so the temptation must have been too great for the person who did pick it up. I was really upset at myself and took it out on the boys a bit. I apologized to them later but kept beating myself up because I hadn’t downloaded the photos of Tanah Lot, Ubud, the monkey forest and Legian sunset. At least I had some of the photos from earlier in the trip but I really wanted all the others as they were more about the traditional side of Bali instead of the touristy things like Waterbom Park.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Day 8

Tuesday 27/10/09

Elle and her boys came and picked us up for the 1.5 hour drive to Ubud and the Monkey forest. Mitchell was sitting down minding his own business when a monkey came running down out of a tree and climbed up on to his head. Alex had to bribe the monkey with some watermelon to get it off! Another monkey was investigating Ryan’s sling and trying to take it off him. We worked out that Ryan and Mitchell had used shampoo with banana extract which was attracting the monkeys! Brad and I went into Temple wearing sarong/sashes. Watched monkeys throwing themselves off trees into pond … funny! Baby monkeys very cute but older ones ... not so much!
Had lunch at Deli Cat (322,000rp for 7 people’s lunch & drinks) then walked up to see Royal Palace. All open air pavilions with no walls. Centre one was/is used for teeth filing ceremonies… teeth filed even at age of 17 so that canine teeth are even with the rest of them. (dogs and therefore canine teeth are considered evil/bad) Pavilions have decorated carvings which are coated with real 24 carat gold!
Checked out a few of the shops on the way back to the car and bought a carved limestone tealight holder for Mum.
Went up to a Japanese restaurant where we had a drink overlooking rice paddies where the workers were harvesting the rice. Boys had ice cream and soft drink then we headed back down to Kuta. Stopped at hand-blown glass factory where Elle bought a beautiful bowl and some plates and I bought some frangipani glass plates.
Got dropped off at Flapjacks restaurant where the boys wanted another ice cream and a milkshake each so I indulged them to the tune of 334,000rp! When we were leaving Brad knocked his milkshake glass over which shattered on the table spilling glass and chocolate milkshake everywhere. Apologised profusely and left the staff to clean up the mess… love being on holidays!
Checked out a few more games shops for the boys, bought Andrew some Crocs then staggered back to the hotel for some cool air, a shower and bed.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Oh so true!!

song chart memes
see more Funny Graphs

Day 7

Another short and sweet update...

Monday 26/10/09

Went to Matahari shopping centre to check it out. Bought personalized keyrings for almost everyone.
Left boys in hotel and went shopping with Elle to Toko Dianne and then to pick up her boys from school. She calls it Hogwarts as it is complete with turrets and towers.
Picked up boys and went out to Tanah Lot Temple for sunset .. bit of a failure … but bought more sarongs with the reasoning that they make great presents. Boys had Hindu blessing done while Elle and I checked out the ‘holy snakes’ .. sea snakes hiding out in a cave at the bottom of the cliff. Little man told me to touch and make a wish.
Went up to top of cliff to have a drink and watch the sunset. I had a young coconut to drink and tried to get the boys to have a taste .. only Andrew was game enough! Bought Alex some Crocs at the official outlet at the markets.
Then back to Elle’s for dinner .. McDonald’s delivered to the door just like a pizza.

Day 6

Short and sweet for today...

Sunday 25/10/09

Had breakfast with Brad after Alex & Drew had breakfast together.
Went down to Poppies Lane II for shopping. Getting the hang of this bartering thing. Only one bad experience .. woman wouldn’t let me leave her shop .. kept jumping in front of me, grabbing hold of me and yelling at me .. escaped while she was dealing with someone else…poor suckers!
Went to Discovery Mall and bought more stuff then had Haagen Dasz ice cream for lunch because the KFC here is weird! No nuggets, popcorn chicken, wraps or potato & gravy and if you want chips instead of rice, they charge you extra.
Went to Carrefour (another big supermarket like Makro but cleaner) for more shopping. Price checks done by guys on roller blades. Shop is huge .. about as big as Bunnings warehouse including the garden centre and the yard outside.
Brad and Drew bought themselves a watch each at a little shop on the way out. We’ll see if they last.
Came back to hotel with many many bags. Tried to sort it out but gave up and read a book instead while boys went for a swim. Ended up ordering room service for dinner which Alex threw up in the middle of the night. Nothing to do with the room service food.. more likely to be the many, many packets of Mentos lollies he scoffed with filthy dirty hands while out shopping during the day. Mentos lollies have now been banned and I made him clean up the mess!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Day 5

Saturday 24/10/09

I took a taxi out to Elle’s this morning and the driver went a completely different way resulting in a higher fare than last night's trip 'home'. Today's fare was 59,900rp (about AU$7.00) but last night's was only 43,750rp (AU$5.00). Not happy Jan! That's $2.00 I could be spending on sarongs!!

The boys stayed at Elle’s with her boys and her pabantu (maid/housekeeper) while we went shopping at the Denpasar Art Markets. We were about 2/3 of the way there when Pa Putu (Elle's driver) said that the markets would probably be closed due to Kuningan (a religious holiday for Bali Hindus). Elle wasn't happy that he decided to wait until almost the last possible minute to tell us but we went anyway. (If looks could kill, he would have died on the spot!)

She had been telling me about how crowded, hot and smelly the markets were and that you could barely move but luckily for me, it wasn't like that at all, thank goodness! I'm kind of glad that it was a holiday and only some of the stalls were open as I was hot enough just thinking about it. I could still smell the river over everything else... so polluted with rubbish and leftover offerings to the gods that it stunk to high heaven.

We had a wander through and bought some sarongs and things for kids to take back to their classmates. I found a lovely set of candle holders and was just reaching for them, when a rather large rat scurried across the shelf, stopped and stared at me for what seemed like forever, then hissed at me and scurried off again. I'm sure it was just as startled as I was but I'm glad it didn't stick around... eeewww!!!

After the markets, Elle wanted to go to 'her' sausage shop and get some chicken sausages. Apparently these ones are imported already made and therefore don't have any questionable content .. well no more than 'normal' sausages anyway. We parked on the side of the street then went for a walk down one of the back alleys of Denpasar. Not the place I would have expected to find a reputable sausage shop, but what would I know? Apparently, it's at the back of the house where the import guy lives so I shouldn't have been surprised to find his pets in the yard outside the shop.

Now when I say pets, you would normally think, dog, cat or bird, right? Well this guy has rather unusual taste in pets. Check this out:
Yep, that's a lion and a tiger. And in the cage next door are their children, a couple of ligers. Lion's mane and very faint tiger stripes on the male and a lion's colouring with faint tiger stripes on the female. There was also this cute little one chained to the tree outside the cages, but we aren't sure if it's a new liger or a completely unrelated big cat in the making.


Just as I recovered from the shock of seeing these very unusual pets, I was faced with a couple of huge pythons, a fruit bat, what looked like a miniature dragon without wings and lots and lots of fish. Thank God those sausages are imported (complete with Australian labelling and import stickers) or I'd be wondering what the hell was in them!

I was starting to feel the heat a bit by this stage, so Elle decided it was time for some air conditioned shopping in Bali Mal (or mall as we westerners would say). I managed to buy some really cheap T-shirts for Andrew and Brad... none of them were big enough for Alex. That's the only problem with shopping where the locals do... everything is local sized and seeing as Alex is taller than me now, there wasn't much hope of getting anything to fit him.

Elle took me upstairs to check out the pet shop. There were Australian bearded dragons, pythons, turtles, tortoises, mice, fish and a crocodile, all for sale with no permits required. I'd love to know how the bearded dragons got out of Australia and into Bali. Actually the 'into Bali' part I can imagine there were no problems if the smugglers had the same customs/quarantine guys we had when we arrived.

We headed back to Kuta for lunch at the Green Garden Hotel. I ordered chicken satay sticks and they arrived still sizzling on their own little 'stove'. It was like a miniature BBQ complete with coals and smoke but it all added to the flavour. They were yummy!!

We were supposed to be going to the shop of one of Elle's contacts but she was closed due to Kuningan so instead we checked out the shops either side of Dianne's. I found a couple of things I liked the look of but Elle had a conniption fit when the woman tried to charge me 680,000rp for three items of clothing. Lucky she was there or I probably would have bargained her down to 300,000 and thought I'd got myself a bargain. Elle hustled me out then spat chips about it all the way back to her place, saying it was insulting that that woman thought we were that stupid. When I tentatively asked how much they should have cost, Elle replied "no more than 100,000rp for all three items; not each, all together!" Once I'd heard that, I understood why she was so annoyed.

We went back to her place to check on the boys (and to make sure they hadn't killed the pabantu!) and then went out to Ula Watu temple. Have to do the cultural thing you know! My only complaint is why do so many of the cultural things involve stairways that seem to go on forever? In between dodging the sacred monkeys, all their 'leftovers' and the busload of Japanese tourists who acted as though it was their temple and the rest of us should just move out of their way and/or leave, those bloody stairs just about killed me!!! Can you see how red my face is? I'm sure Elle thought I was going to have a heart attack on the spot!
Once the colour of my face had cooled enough to resemble a molten pool of magma, we headed back to her house where I picked up my boys and went back to hotel for shower to feel half human.

The boys requested 'something normal' for dinner, so I took them to McDonald’s. We all enjoyed our 6 piece McNugget pakit (combo meal) then walked down to check out the Poppies Lane II stalls only to find they were all closed. Brad was complaining about being hot, having to walk, that it was too dark, too light, too noisy, too smelly and just generally about having to breathe for himself... why couldn't I do that for him too?... so I snapped lost the plot calmly decided to take them all back to the hotel and bed.

Upon arriving back at the hotel, after a slow 10 minute walk, Alex announced he wasn't tired and wanted to go look at some shops on the other side of the hotel. I took the younger two up to bed, then Alex and I checked out the Hard Rock Megastore (bought some stuff for Peter), Bagus Watch shop (I'd have to sell Alex to pay for the watch he wanted), and another clothing shop that Elle would have had fits about (350,000 for one top!). By this stage, I had well and truly had enough of shopping and headed up for another shower and bed.

Unfortunately the kids are all asleep but I’m still wide awake at 11:30! Might play on facebook for a while and see what happens.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Day 4

Friday 23/10/09

Today we went to Waterbom Park which is a park full of pools and slides for the kids and poolside bars for the adults.
Despite being in Bali, which as I seem to recall is part of Indonesia, the entrance price was in US dollars... about $100 US dollars just to get in... and you can't take any food or drink in with you... everything has to be purchased inside the park including bottled water.

They have a really good system in place to make it easier to deal with purchasing the necessary bits and pieces so you don't have to carry cash around all day. You pay a $5 bond and get a waterproof velcro wristband with it's own barcode that you load up with whatever amount you want and then when you want to purchase something, they just scan the barcode and deduct the amount from your credit. At the end of the day, you get any unused credit back as cash as well as the $5 bond. If you run out of money during the day, you can top it up at several places throughout the park. The other good thing is that we only got two wristbands, one for each adult, so the kids couldn't go off spending money willy-nilly... nasty aren't we?
Elle and I parked ourselves at the poolside bar and sent all the boys off to explore while we checked out all the 'tourists'. Apparently I didn't count as a tourist because I was wearing clothing/bathers that covered all the necessary bits, was the correct size and wasn't fluorescent. As my dad used to say: "the sights you see when you haven't got a gun!"

Elle was a lot gamer than me and went on a slide called the boomerang. You come down a near-vertical slide, then up a near-vertical wall, then back down the wall and off the end of the slide into the pool. I had great fun checking out the eye candy watching the people on the slide and their reactions.

I did put sunscreen on the boys and myself 5 times during the course of the day, but we still managed to get quite sunburned. At least we weren't glowing red like most of the other tourists... just a shade below nuclear explosion. Thank heavens for aloe vera gel!

After we'd all turned into bright red prunes and the boys were starting to argue amongst themselves, we left the park and went to one of Elle's local supermarkets called Makro. This place really was a 'super' market, selling everything from TVs to packets of chips to fresh fish to a side of beef. They even sold real Australian Tim Tams as well as the nasty local imitation version. Most things were sold in bulk lots like the caterer's pack (10L) of mocha ice cream that Mitchell pleaded to be allowed to buy.

Alex went mad buying boxes of rolls of Mentos lollies and Oreos and probably would have bought the whole shelf full if I'd let him... which of course I didn't!! Andrew wanted apples and grapes, which don't grow in Bali, so the prices were very high compared to the local fruit. Elle just about fainted when I paid 24,000rp for 6 apples (which works out to be about AU$2.80) and then nearly had a heart attack when I told her it was still cheaper than the same apples at home.

After stocking up on some other little bits and pieces, we headed back to Elle's place where we had a chat while the boys played Yu-Gi-Oh again. When they started squabbling amongst themselves, we hailed a taxi and went back to the hotel.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Day 3...

22/10/09

Decided to have a quiet day at the hotel to try and relax a bit... it is a holiday after all! Woke up a bit later than usual (7:45am!) when Alex and Andrew asked if they could go down to breakfast by themselves. Nasty mother that I am, I told them to wait for Brad and me. We all had a lovely breakfast together topped off by some laughs at Alex’s expense when he was frantically looking around the table and then demanded as loudly as only Alex can, “Where’s my fork? Who took my fork?” We all just looked at him in stunned disbelief as he put food into his mouth using said fork and then asked again “where’s my fork?” I wish I had been able to capture the expression on his face when he realized what he’d just done, but I wasn’t quick enough with the camera. The people at the next table thought it was pretty funny too!

After breakfast we went down to the pool where I decided to splurge by hiring a cabana for the day for the low, low price of 200,000 rupiah (AUD$25) with the sole intention of lying back and reading a book while the boys tried, once again, to turn themselves into prunes. Five minutes of that was enough so I sent Elle a text inviting her to join me (her boys were at school) which she did as soon as her driver turned up for the day.

We lay back and chatted for hours until the boys started making noises about ordering food from the poolside restaurant (I think my purse is still shaking from the shock of that thought!). We ended up going for a walk down to Poppies Lane II to see if we could find a cheap little place for lunch, walking straight past McDonald’s and Pizza Hut, much to the boys’ disgust.

Bradley started whingeing about almost everything so Elle offered him a piggy back ride. I tried to stop them but they seemed quite happy until Elle took a tumble on the very uneven ‘footpath’ and ended up with skinned knees. Brad escaped without a scratch and I’m still wondering where’s the justice in that? Of course, Savlon, Dettol and other non-sting equivalents aren’t available over here so she ended up buying rubbing alcohol to clean her knees and then had to drink half the bottle to numb the pain... just kidding! By this time, we were at a little place called Bagus Pub (means good pub) so she had a beer instead.

The whole concept of changing things on the menu seemed quite difficult for the waiter to comprehend. There were jaffles (toasted sandwiches) but both Alex and Andrew just wanted cheese and tomato sandwiches, untoasted. I asked the guy for them and was told “we don’t make sandwiches” so Elle piped up with “OK. We’ll just have a cheese and tomato jaffle, not cooked.” “Oh, OK OK. Can do uncooked jaffle with cheese and tomato.” We both just sat and shook our heads. The sandwiches, oops I mean uncooked jaffles, arrived and were polished off very quickly.

Dessert was the next big milestone to overcome. I asked for 2 chocolate and 1 strawberry ice creams. Keep in mind that there are three children sitting at the table. He came out with a single sundae glass that had two scoops of chocolate and one scoop of strawberry ice cream and put it down in front of Elle, who hadn’t even asked for an ice cream! After some explanation from us and many apologies from one of the bosses, we got three ice creams, two chocolate and 1 strawberry, each with three scoops of the same flavour in each glass. Now before you go thinking it was a lost in translation/language thing, this guy spoke better English than most of the Aussie tourists I’ve come across so far. I think he was just too busy scoping out all the bikini clad girls walking past at the time!

After lunch, we took pity on Brad and Andrew, whose faces were hot enough to start fires with, and took a taxi to a mall called Discovery. The first stop was Dr Fish. Elle had mentioned Dr Fish and how it was brilliant for your feet a couple of times and I thought she meant an actual person called Dr Fish who did reflexology or some such thing. Nope, she meant actual fish that nibble at your feet to get rid of all the dead skin cells and leave you feeling rather refreshed. After overcoming my initial westernized fear of something nibbling on you while you’re still alive, I thought what the hell and gave it a go. The boys were a bit hesitant but decided to try it. It’s definitely an unusual experience, more from the thought of it than the actual feeling. If you don’t look down and see the fish, it feels just like you’re sticking your feet into a bubbling spa bath. Very relaxing but 20 minutes was definitely enough at one time. The boys want to go back again!


We had a wander around the rest of the centre, checking out prices on the types of souvenirs the boys want to take home and then went down to the bakery that Elle reckons has mud cake to die for only to find that they had sold out for the day. The boys bought some chocolate fudge cake and a muffin each instead and then we headed back to our cabana by the pool.

Bradley had been begging me to go into the pool the whole time I was talking to Elle, so I jumped in with him as soon as we got back. The pool looks lovely but at that time of night (5:30), it was like swimming in pea soup. I swam and played with the boys for about an hour then (gasp) ordered some dinner from the poolside restaurant: 2 ‘don’t worry, be happy’ pizzas (design your own so of course the boys ordered ham, cheese and pineapple!) and a drink each which came to only 250,000 rupiah which was much more reasonable than I had expected. If we had ordered individual meals it would have been at least 520,000. Sometimes I thank my lucky stars that my kids like plain stuff!

After dinner was completely demolished with nary a crumb to be seen, Alex and Drew went up to the room to have a shower, get into their pj’s and read. Brad wanted to finish watching a movie that was playing on the big screen over the pool so I waited there with him, then headed up for the comfort of my bed.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Day 2 ...

21/10/09

After waking up at OMG o’clock (aka 7am) we went down for our included breakfast at about 8am to find a vast array of food and drink that would probably feed most of Bali. Having had lap band surgery, I don’t usually eat breakfast, so I contented myself with a glass of fresh mango juice while the boys tried numerous things before finding something they all agreed tasted ‘normal’. Most things taste different, eggs/bacon/milk/bread, but they finally settled on fruit, specifically watermelon, and one of the 8 or so different kinds of bread, one of which is green! We resolved to bring our tube of Vegemite down to breakfast the next day so that if they couldn’t find anything else to eat, at least they could have toast with Vegemite! Then it was back up to the room to get changed into their bathers so we could go down to the pool to wait for Elle and the boys.

By the time we got down to the pool, they were already there waiting for us and it was funny to see all the boys to pick up where they had left off the last time they saw each other. They all ran off to check out the pool while Elle and I sat and caught up over a drink or two. She kept freaking out about the prices of everything in the hotel and I just freaked out about the fact that a soft drink cost 20,000. This currency takes a bit to get used to as everything is in thousands or millions. Typical me, I spent most of the time trying to convert it all back to AUD$ which, given how much the exchange rate had changed since I bought rupiahs, was probably a completely useless exercise.

Several hours later, we decided to head out to a place called The Stadium for lunch, as my guys weren’t feeling very adventurous food-wise and it served all sorts of food, but mostly western style things like hot dogs and burgers. They got to sit at the bar and have their lunches as it is perfectly acceptable for them to do that here. Elle was saying that the locals find it very difficult to pick ages, especially of 'white' teenage boys, so if the boys had asked for alcohol, they probably would have gotten it no worries. Luckily, they still think like kids who've been brought up with all sorts of laws about kids and alcohol and thought themselves extremely lucky to have 'gotten away with it'!

Elle and I had a lovely chicken Caesar salad each, ‘dressing on the side’ (name that movie!) while the kids went and spent some money at one of the games/DVD shops next door. I think that's going to be a whole new learning curve for them when they get home .. caveat emptor! The good thing about having Elle's boys there was that they tend to know which shops sell games/DVD's that actually work.

It was quite interesting watching some of the other tourists’ faces as they walked past the guy playing with a taser at the stalls across the road. I’m sure some of them thought he was going to rob them in broad daylight .. not that it’s unheard of but highly unlikely with several security guards standing right there watching him. Turns out he was actually selling them, along with knives and machetes!

After lunch we headed to Elle’s house, driven by Elle’s driver Pa Putu. (Pa is Indo for Mr and Ibu or Bu is Mrs). Even being driven, it was rather scary watching the other drivers just pushing in and overtaking on the wrong side. Several times there were oncoming vehicles on our side of the road until right before we would have hit them, and then all of a sudden they would miraculously manage to find a space to fit back into the traffic on their side of the road. It seemed amazing that there were no accidents, but as Elle pointed out, they do this all their lives and hardly ever go above 50 kmph so maybe it’s not so surprising after all. Even so, it doesn't help your blood pressure or stress level to see an oncoming truck on your side of the road!

Once we got to her place, the boys hit the pool while we sat back in the poolside bale (said ba-lay which is a cabana) with a cool alcoholic beverage each. When the boys started turning into prunes, we decided to have dinner which had already been cooked by her maid/housekeeper. The boys still weren’t too keen on trying Indo food so Elle sent Ryan and Andrew literally next door to the local pizza place for a couple of pizzas. Their version of a Hawaiian involved ham, pineapple, capsicum, mozzarella, parmesan, anchofish (anchovies) and chili sauce. Very different indeed! Probably goes without saying that we had a special order without some of the more unusual things but I tried the Indo food and found it very good. Of course, Elle had asked for it to be made very mild so it didn’t burn! I also tried the Indo version of a Tim Tam .. not good at all! At the risk of TMI, it was the only thing that made a re-appearance once we got back to the hotel.

After dinner they boys all got to playing Yu-Gi-Oh but I had developed a headache so we got into a taxi and went back to the hotel. We all had showers and then the boys read for a little bit while I went straight to sleep with a couple of Panadeine. Probably just lack of sleep because it couldn’t have been dehydration as I’m sure I kept the water company and Coca-Cola in business single-handedly!

As you may have gathered ...

... we are in Bali at the moment. I've been keeping a holiday journal so I'll post some of the entries from that along with some photos once I can find my camera's USB cable.

So far on Mrs Average's trip to a whole new world .....

Day 1
Tuesday 20/10/09

After finishing packing and going to Clare’s wedding dress fitting, it was time to head for the airport. Not having flown overseas since the age of 13, I was a bit nervous about the whole thing but was trying not to show the kids. Bradley kept talking about a book he had read recently in which a whole lot of planes had been fitted with faulty parts and subsequently crashed, which really wasn’t helping the others to be calm about the whole thing either.

We checked in, went upstairs and then had to wait around for another hour and a bit before boarding. I’m sure the boys thought that there was an endless supply of money instantly available as they immediately started asking for lollies and books and drinks and spare body parts, just in case Bali didn’t sell the ones they liked. I went to check out the duty-free for the one thing Peter asked me to get for him only to find they didn't have any in a size price I could afford but according to the lady who looked she was trying to turn herself into a rainbow lorikeet, they should have some by the time we flew back in. We'll have to wait and see on that one.

We made it on to the plane and found our seats which were in the first row after the premium economy seats which were, surprisingly enough, completely empty. Why pay extra when you’re all going to the same place anyway? After a relatively uneventful flight, which included the 'lovely' rather inebriated lady sitting behind us very loudly trying to chat up two poor unsuspecting Irish backpackers by serenading them with her own 'Irish' song complete with profanity, obscenity and several things that I'm sure are illegal even in Thailand, we landed in Denpasar at dark o’clock, whisked ourselves through the very efficient (insert disbelieving snort here!) Immigrasi and customs sections and were out into the 29-degrees-at-midnight-air.

Bradley, due to being overtired, started in with the whingeing almost immediately, but we were soon whisked off to the partially air conditioned hotel (only sections are air conditioned, like reception, parts of the restaurants and the actual rooms). Elle had packaged up a lovely welcome basket full of drinks, nibblies and chocolate so we wouldn’t have to raid the mini bar and then sell a kidney at the end of our stay to pay for it all.

Soon thereafter, we were ensconced in our 18 degree hotel room where I sent the boys through the shower to cool them down a bit more. Elle rang to make sure we had all made it here in one piece and after arranging to meet her the next day we headed for bed. We were all completely zonked out by 2am but were awake again at 7am. Damn school routine! Oh well .. we can always catch up on sleep tomorrow on the weekend when we get home.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Passports are in the house!

I was starting to get worried that our passports weren't going to arrive in time for us to go to Bali but thankfully, they have all finally turned up.

I took the boys shopping on Friday for Mackenzie's 1st birthday present (I can't believe she's one already .. where does the time go?) and we were out for a couple of hours. I checked the post office box on the way home but no passports. I checked the mail box when we got home, at 1:30pm, but still no passports so I curled up on my 'throne' in the front room, right next to the front door, to read a book. Looking up from my book at 6pm, I resolved to ring the passport office first thing Monday morning to find out what was happening.

On Saturday, I checked the mailbox for junk mail and sitting in the bottom all by itself was a parcel collection slip saying that they had tried, and failed, to deliver a registered letter at 2:30pm on Friday (liars!!) so I would now have to go to the post office to collect it. Luckily I read the collection slip properly because it was being held at a different post office to the one I normally use. So on Monday, I went out to the above mentioned post office to collect what I thought was all four passports. Nope, there was only one in the envelope .. mine.

After my initial panicky thoughts of where on earth are the boys' passports, I realised that if they don't have their passports in time, I get a holiday to Bali all.by.myself. The euphoria at such decadent musings was soon deflated by Alex ringing to tell me that a man had come to deliver a letter addressed to Bradley and could he sign for it or did I have to do it.

Biting down the urge to scream at Alex for answering the door while I wasn't home, I politely enquired if the man in question was prepared to accept the signature of a 14 year old boy for a registered mail document. It was at this point that I found out that Alex had not, in fact, opened the door to a complete stranger but had been conducting a rather loud conversation through the front door. Once we ascertained that the man was wearing a postie's uniform, riding a postie's bike and did have a letter addressed to Bradley that he held up to the front window for Alex to see, he signed for it and we were the proud owners of Bradley's passport.

Considering that Bradley's application was put in two weeks later than the others due to a .. ahem .. 'slight error' made by Peter (no honey, I'm not going to let you forget it .. for a while anyway!), I was starting to get rather concerned that we still only had two passports and four people trying to travel. I rang the passport office and, after chatting to the quite personable young man on the other end of the phone, was informed that they didn't have any applications for the other boys, but if I wanted to pay the priority processing fee of 1 million dollars direct to his account, he'd see what he could do for me .. no promises, mind you! Oh and that fee was for each passport required but he would consider reducing it slightly seeing as I sounded so nice.

Thinking to myself that this formerly personable young man was very lucky I didn't know where he lived, I once again enquired as to the progress of the missing passports and was told that they had been dispatched on Friday at the same time as Bradley's.

They turned up this afternoon while I was hanging out washing out the back, so I nearly missed the postie. Thankfully he knew I was waiting for them and called out to me over both back gates just to make sure I had, in his words "every chance possible to avoid going back to the post office."

So to cut a long story short (I know, I know .. too late!!) we finally have all four passports in the house for our trip to Bali in two weeks time. Now all I have to do is organise the suitcases, buy more sunscreen, print out all the paperwork we need to take with us, exchange some money, ensure the children have bathers that fit (not even going there for me!), buy a power point adapter for my CPAP machine, organise someone to look after the dog and about a thousand other things that I can't think of right now and probably won't remember until we're halfway to Bali. But at least it will be relaxing ...

Time to tax your brain ...

Bradley has been wandering around the house with a joke book asking things like:
  1. What goes up a chimney down but can't go down a chimney up?
  2. Why did the boy sit on his watch?
  3. What do you call someone who doesn't have all their fingers on one hand?
  4. Why is a bride always out of luck on her wedding day?
  5. What two words starts with P and end with E and have a million letters in them?
  6. Which word if pronounced right is wrong and wrong is right?
  7. What burns longer: a 10cm candle or a 20cm candle?
  8. What can you hold but never touch?
  9. What is the centre of gravity?
  10. Where does Friday come before Wednesday?
  11. What starts with E, ends with E and only has one letter in it?
  12. What has holes and holds water?
  13. What has four fingers and a thumb but is not a hand?
  14. How long should a person's legs be?
  15. What do you a ship that lies on the bottom of the ocean and shakes?

Brad wanted me to put these questions up overnight and see how many of you got the right answers but I'm not that cruel! Answers are:

  1. An umbrella.
  2. Because he wanted to be on time.
  3. Normal.
  4. Because she never marries the best man.
  5. Post Office.
  6. Wrong.
  7. Neither; they both burn shorter.
  8. A conversation or your breath.
  9. V.
  10. In the dictionary.
  11. Envelope.
  12. A sponge.
  13. A glove.
  14. Long enough to reach their feet.
  15. A nervous wreck.

Now that I've have totally used up all my brain power, I'd better go do something that doesn't require any in depth thinking, like housework.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Came across this recently ...

... and thought I'd share with you all. It has helped me reduce my stress levels immensely and I'm all about helping my friends!!

THE STRESS LESS DIET

This diet is designed to help you cope with the stress that builds during the day.

BREAKFAST
1/2 grapefruit
1 slice whole wheat toast, dry
8oz skim milk

LUNCH
4oz lean broiled chicken breast
1 cup steamed spinach
1 cup herbal tea
1 Oreo cookie

MID-AFTERNOON SNACK
Rest of Oreos in packet
1 jar hot fudge sauce
2 pints Rocky Road ice cream
Nuts, cherries and whipped cream

DINNER
2 loaves of garlic bread with cheese
Large pepperoni and cheese pizza
4 cans beer or large bottle of wine
3 Milky Ways/Mars/Snickers bars

LATE EVENING SNACK
Entire frozen cheesecake eaten directly from the freezer

RULES FOR THIS DIET (and any other you decide to try!)

  1. If you eat something and no-one sees you eat it, it has no calories.
  2. If you have a diet soft drink with a chocolate bar, the calories in the chocolate are cancelled out by the diet drink.
  3. When you eat with someone else, calories don't count so long as you don't eat more than they do. Also, calories consumed with good friends never count!
  4. Food used for medicinal purposes NEVER counts, for example: hot chocolate, brandy, toast or Sara Lee cheesecake.
  5. If you fatten everyone else around you, you will look thinner.
  6. Movie related foods do not have additional calories because they are part of the entire entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel. Examples: jumbo sized hot buttered popcorn, Choc Tops, M&M's, Jaffas or Fantails.
  7. Cookie/biscuit pieces contain absolutely no calories as they leak out when the whole cookie/biscuit is broken. Allow at least 60 30 3 seconds between breaking biscuits/cookies and consumption to allow for optimal calorie leakage.
  8. The process of baking cookies/biscuits dramatically reduces their calorie content which means you may have twice as many as you thought you could.
  9. Things licked off knives and spoons have no calories if you are in the process of preparing something. Examples: Jam on the knife used while making a sandwich, ice cream on the spoon while making a sundae, dough off the side of the bowl while baking biscuits/cookies, batter on the beaters while making a cake.
  10. Foods that are the same colour have the same number of calories. Examples: white chocolate has the same number of calories as mushrooms, mint ice cream has the same as celery, mixed lollies have the same as mixed vegetables. NOTE: Chocolate is a universal colour and may be substituted for any other colour.

Hope this helps you all as much as it has helped me!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Rambling thoughts ...

As I sit here listening to my children decimate what is left of their brain cells as they watch The Simpsons yet again, I have many, many thoughts flitting in and out of the bottomless pit that is my conscious brain. For instance,

  • why do I let them watch The Simpsons within earshot, subjecting myself to more repetitions of d'oh and the ensuing cackles of laughter than is humanly bearable, when I know I'm going to hear it again word-for-word in the car on the way to school in the morning?
  • I'm soooo sick of hearing (and seeing) that stupid AAMI insurance ad with the swans and the cars on the freeway bridge. Luckee-ee-ee you're with AAMI my shiny white backside .. should be luckee-ee-ee I don't know where you advertising people live or I'd come around to your place and subject you to endless repetitions of my children singing your stupid jingle everywhere we go and in Andrew's case, in his sleep, as well as the endless questions about what the actual ad is supposed to be telling people while it's on the TV. (Have to have 'TV' last in that sentence so it rhymes with the luckee-ee-ee part.)
  • what on earth have the children been feeding that dog to make him smell that bad? cough, cough, cough ... medic required ASAP!! (Sorry for any spelling mistakes at this point but my eyes are streaming from the toxic cloud floating through the room. Hopefully it won't strip the paint from the walls .. I already have enough painting to do!)
  • jeez this muffin tastes baaad! Note to self: when recipe says use a grated green apple, don't try to improvise with a grated red apple that has probably been in the fridge since just after the dawn of time (or has been put back in the fridge at the beginning of last week after spending the week before that in the bottom of someone's school bag), even if it is the only apple you have. Go without making apple muffins if you have to .. make chocolate ones instead!
  • I really hope I get a good grade for presentation on the project Andrew handed in this morning. Considering I have no creative inclinations whatsoever at the moment, I think it worked out pretty well for a five minute rush job after a night with almost no sleep due to trying to cough up half a lung and while trying to get the other two dressed enough to go to school, refereeing the inevitable fights over who gets to sit in the front seat on the way to school whilst reminding them that it doesn't really matter who sits in the front seat if they're all dead so just get dressed already or they'll all be going to their funerals in their pyjamas and they better not be the ones with holes in them because I told them to throw those ones out last week and for the love of all that is holy, GET DRESSED ALREADY!
  • inhale-2-3-4-5, exhale-2-3-4-5, inhale-2-3-4-5, exhale-2-3-4-5 ... repeat ad nauseum as necessary.
  • Ikea should offer a counselling service for people like me, who want everything in the storage and organisation sections but who can't afford to buy it all now, this instant! Nothing OCD happening here people .. move along .. nothing to see here .. except for the whimpering mess under the desk who really wants a whole room full of Billy bookshelves with the extensions on top and the cute little lighting system that suits it so well and some of those lovely frosted-glass-front doors and the big Expedit shelves with the made-to-fit woven storage baskets and the wonderful drawers and doors for the kitchen that close themselves quietly and the drawer organisers for the kitchen and some of those cute little shadowbox frames and ....
  • why is it that the child who is forever telling me to not waste water is the one who has the longest showers?
  • the neighbours need to pick some different music or change the bass settings on their stereo. It currently sounds like a very unco-ordinated elephant trying to tap dance on a wooden floor .. ooops spoke too soon .. now it sounds like an amplified version of the elephant's heartbeat after attempting aforementioned tap dancing but right before the complete meltdown of its entire cardiovascular system. I could be wrong though .. it might have been a hippo and not an elephant.

And now that I have displayed my state of total lunacy for the entire internet to see, I think I may go take some more cold medication and turn in for the night.

Stay tuned and I'll let you know what I turn into ...

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Where has the time gone?

This year is going past so quickly, especially the last month or so. It's been 11 days since I posted anything because I have been busy but if you asked me what I've been doing, I couldn't tell you .. well not all of it anyway! I can tell you what I 'should' have been doing (the minuscule edition):
  • getting my computer fixed properly so I can
  • finish Clare's wedding invitations so we can
  • post all the invitations so we can
  • work out how many place cards we need for the reception (and the names to go on them).
  • finish the audit on two years worth of records for the P&C, uniform shop and canteen
  • housework/cleaning
  • washing
  • painting
  • cooking meals/school snacks
  • paying bills
  • deal with paperwork/passports for Bali holiday
  • wash the dog weekly
  • weeding/gardening
  • help mother with computer stuff
  • de clutter house .. again
  • scrap
  • organise photos for scrap weekend in October
  • exactly what I have been doing ... deciding on a day-by-day, moment-by-moment basis what is important enough to warrant my attention as well as what is able to be done at that particular moment in time.

Unfortunately, quite a few things are still lingering on the ever-increasing to-do list, but I have come to the conclusion that the list will always be there and no-one else in my house seems to see all the things that I see need doing. On a tangent .. is that just because they're male, children or have been spoiled rotten by a mother who, up until fairly recently, didn't seem to give a damn about the state of the house? Probably a mixture of all three .. lol!

On a happier note, my weight is slowly and steadily going down, the children are all behaving well (most of the time) and things are starting to settle down for a couple of friends who have had their own sets of problems to deal with. Here's to the good things in life .. cheers!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Computers suck!

Not the one I'm on, obviously, but only because this one has deigned to allow me to access the internet and sign in to whinge post an update on my dreary life.

My desktop computer is deader than a doornail, courtesy of Alex's 'help' in downloading updates I didn't want or need, and the other computers in the house will let me on the internet but have major issues with letting me sign in to anything. It's like having a personal version of Net Nanny that follows you wherever you go .. and it's starting to creep me out just a bit. Are they all talking to each other after I go to bed to decide what I'm allowed to view or is this just in retaliation for the death of their much loved brother, who is now patiently waiting to go to the giant scrapheap in the sky? (Though I suppose when you're dead, there's no such thing as waiting patiently, is there?)

My hatred of all things computeresque was cemented today when I made a special trip into the city on the train, for the express purpose of getting a certified official copy of my marriage certificate so I can get a passport (which is a whole other story for later).

I rang the Department of births, deaths and marriages yesterday to find out the quickest way to obtain said certified copy and was told to come in to the city office where they could print one while I waited. I then enquired as to payment methods and was assured that, unlike most other government departments, they had eftpos so I wouldn't have to make a special trip to the bank to get cash.

So this morning after dropping the children at school, I went to collect my new glasses, caught up with a couple of friends from work for a quick coffee and then headed for the train station. I had decided to catch the train because the car I am currently driving has roof clearance issues in city carparks and I have issues with paying for parking in the city. I didn't really feel like leaving body parts behind as payment because they will never accept the body parts I want to leave. They always want useful things like an arm and a leg as opposed to a huge pile of shiny white backside or post-baby belly .. spoilsports!

The last time I went to the train station, the parking was plentiful and free. Not any more .. every man and his grandma had parked their car there today and it's now a flat rate $2 which would have been fine if I'd had 20 cents more in my purse. The machine wouldn't allow me to get a ticket with $1.80 and didn't accept the $5 note I had, the shop on the station wouldn't give out change or put through eftpos transactions under $15, so I took a chance and left the car there without a ticket, despite the signs up everywhere saying that the carpark was patrolled every 15 minutes and cars without tickets would be fined. Not wanting to risk a fine for travelling on the train without a ticket, I manged to find a ticket machine that accepted notes and then just made it on to the train.

I selected a seat and had settled in to read the book I had brought with me when a man sat down right next to me, despite having almost every other seat in the carriage to choose from. He was having a lovely conversation with someone which was great for him, but rather unsettling for the rest of us in the carriage as we couldn't see who he was talking to. I was hoping it was the hygiene fairy giving him some pointers on deodorant, toothpaste and soap, but unfortunately I think it must have been the anarchy fairy because he kept ranting about how it wasn't fair that governments got to spend everyone else's money and by the way did I have any money I could give him because the government took all of his. I refrained myself from asking who did the twenty dollar notes sticking out of his pocket belong to as I was afraid the answer would involve a complicated story, complete with actions that would have involved lifting his arms. Luckily it was only a 24 minute train ride or I think I would have passed out from the fumes, both bodily and alcohol!

After a few trips up and down the main street of the city, where it was blowing an absolute gale, raining and freezing cold, I finally found the entrance to the building hidden behind some scaffolding and machinery. After working my way through the building mess while trying to not get in the way of all the obviously-I'm-more-important-than-you-because-I-have-a-job-in-the-city people, I managed to find the lifts and made my way up to the tenth floor. (I'm sure I was never that rude to people when I worked in the city .. you know 'cos I'm perfect and everything!)

I filled out the necessary paperwork, stood in the queue for half my lifetime 40 minutes surrounded by cranky people on their lunch breaks, only to find out that their computer system had crashed right before I reached the window. The lady behind the window of doom offered to post it out to me but I would have to pay for it in advance.

No problem says I and produced my eftpos card.

Sorry, can't take eftpos because the computer system is down.

Fine says I, through gritted teeth. What about credit card then?

Sorry can't take that because the computer system is down.

What can you take then? (with much wailing and gnashing of teeth).

Cash only and it has to be the right money because I can't give you any change because the drawer is locked because .. (wait for it) .. the computer is down.

Thanks anyway. I'll have to come back another time.

Then she says, you do realise that you can go to your local courthouse (which is ten minutes from the boys' school) and do this there.

My facial expression must have been an interesting sight to behold and I'm sure she had her finger poised over the raving lunatic button ready to press it at the first sign of total meltdown. Luckily for the men in the little white coats, I composed myself and left quietly.

I had an uneventful trip on the train back to the car, only to have the skies open over my head as I stepped out of the station. Dreading returning to the car and finding a ticket, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that something went right and I hadn't copped a fine. After profusely thanking the parking gods for not inflicting more misery, I headed for home and some quiet time before picking the boys up from school.

You know how you say to yourself, I'll just close my eyes for five minutes and then I'll ... ? That's what I did, but it wasn't for five minutes .. more like an hour! Luckily my phone alarm went off or the boys would probably still be sitting at school wondering where their delinquent mother has got to this time.

All in all, not a very productive day but at least I have my new glasses which according to Brad and Drew, are really funky and would go really well with my hippie shirt. I can't work out if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

I'll let you know when I work it out.