Wednesday, 31 March 2010

A quiet day

I had a lovely sleep-in this morning and woke to the sound of birds outside. I made a cuppa and then sat out on the balcony in the beautiful cool breeze with Peter, just enjoying the quiet before the boys woke up. Check out part of the view <<<<<<<<
We ended up waking the boys up, gave them breakfast then got into the car intending to go into Cairns to check out the tourist bureau. When we got to the T-junction, Peter wanted to turn right instead of left so we ended up in Port Douglas instead. Peter had a great time testing out the car and frightening the daylights out of me in the process. The road is almost on the beach in several places and the constant rain wasn't helping. Despite that, we made it safely to Port Douglas in time for morning tea.

I was very disappointed that there were no nice little bakeries in Port Douglas ... actually no bakeries at all unless you include the one in Coles supermarket. I was looking forward to a nice cream bun or donut, but still managed to enjoy my date muffin and hot chocolate, while the boys had their good ole standby of chips, at a little cafe across the road from the beach.

We went over to check out the beach and found this sign:

In case you can't read it, it says that there are stingers and crocodiles in these waters so please swim between the flags. I didn't know that crocs could read or that they obeyed the swimming rules and regulations! There was that and then a lifeguard in a raincoat so he didn't get wet! Comforting huh?

The rain started again in earnest so we headed back towards Cairns. I talked Peter into going to the Skyrail terminal so we could book a trip up to Kuranda. It's the one thing the boys said they wanted to do while we're here, so I thought I'd better book it so we didn't run out of time or money, which at the rate we're going is a distinct possibility.

After that we headed back to the apartment where Alex put himself to bed and slept for 3 hours while the other two went down to the pool. Peter and I caught up on a couple of TV shows he'd downloaded before we left Perth then we all had dinner and watched the movie 'Meet Dave'.
Now the boys have gone off to bed so we can just have some quiet grown-up time. Get your minds out of the gutter ... he's watching cricket (again!!) and I'm typing this. Tomorrow we're going into Cairns to have lunch with one of my aunties and my Nanna, as well as a wander around Cairns itself. Might even take a dip in the Lagoon:

I know, I know ... it's a tough life!

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

We're hee-ere!

We flew out of Perth last night just after 10pm and arrived in Cairns at 4:15am.

I was a bit concerned when I saw how many very young children were on the flight with us. I had visions of having to poke my eardrums with something sharp to stop the noise, until I remembered that there would be nothing sharp on the plane due to all the new rules and regulations. Then my mind wandered to other possible solutions, most of which involved opening the doors mid-flight to eject screaming child(ren) and their parents, if the parents hadn't already committed hari-kari from the sheer frustration of trying to quiet a fractious child 10 kilometeres up in the air whilst enclosed in a fragile tin can with wings. Luckily for everyone concerned, all but one of those children were absolute angels. Unluckily for everyone, the other one tried her damndest to make up for all the rest. Luckily, her cry, whilst being almost ceaseless, wasn't actually that loud. The boys managed to get small snatches of sleep between playing musical seats but they were still exhausted by the time we arrived, as were Peter and I.

Once we got off the plane, we discovered that Cairns airport is undergoing a major renovation so we had to walk halfway back to Perth to collect our bags and organise the hire car. We then went out into the rather wet car park to find our hire car (a literally brand-new Commodore with only 17km on the odometer) and headed for our home-away-from-home in Palm Cove, north of Cairns.

Seeing as it was now close to 5:30am, Peter and the kids decided they were hungry so when we spotted the golden arches, we stopped in for a quick bite to eat and then proceeded to get slightly 'geographically misplaced' .. thank heavens for GPS! We finally found our parking space only to find someone already parked in it, so we comandeered another unit's space, unloaded the copious amount of luggage and went up to our penthouse suite. (It's a really nice three bedroom apartment on the fourth floor with a lovely view out to the hills and over one of the seven pools available for our use during our stay.)

We had a sleep until about 11am then went food shopping. It's amazing how much money you can spend on junk food and ice creams when you're on holidays! Actually, it's amazing how much you can spend on it any time but especially on holidays!

So far this afternoon, we've had a bit of a rest while Peter watched some cricket, had a very relaxing swim in the pool downstairs and now all the boys (Peter included) are watching "The Cannonball Run" while I sit here and think about what's for tea.

A mother's job is never finished ...

Saturday, 27 March 2010

The countdown has begun ...

It is now only two sleeps (three if you count the plane trip) until we arrive in Cairns.

As much as I have told myself (and you) that I don't really want to go and that we won't be able to do much due to budgetary constraints, I think I'm actually looking forward to it. (Hey, I'm a woman .. I'm allowed to change my mind! I just wish I could change it for one that worked better and more often!!)

The house has been cleaned, the bags are (almost) packed and the house-sitters have been introduced to the Lord and Master, aka 'The Dog', 'The Boss' or in lighter moments, Brutus. I have to admit, I was rather concerned about his reaction to having a 'strange' male in the house but he reacted to Bevan like a chocoholic when finding an open box of Lindt: initially wary (what's the catch?) then all over him like white on rice. (Sorry for all the similes .. or is it metaphors? I can never remember which is which and surprisingly enough I know, I don't actually care .. lol!)

Isn't it strange the things we women get in our heads to do just because someone else is coming to stay? I was pondering that exact thought just the other day as I sat on the kitchen floor, surrounded by mismatched Tupperware while trying to stop the dog from pinching any to use as a chew toy. There I was, completely emptying out all my cupboards so I could wipe them out with disinfectant and boiling hot water, all because a stranger was coming to stay.

It didn't seem to occur to me to make the front of the house more presentable by pulling out the triffids weeds growing along the edge of the driveway, or to empty both the carports of the extra stuff that I'm sure has parties after we go to sleep (parties that have been advertised on the internet and as a result now other people's leftover junk is still 'sleeping it off' at our place).

It didn't occur to me to me make sure that the numbers on the letter box were all still there so the house-sitters could find the house without the aid of a search party and bloodhounds, lured by the scent of the doggie treats I used to try to distract the dog from the all the lovely chew toys plastic ware strewn from one end of the kitchen to the other.

It nearly didn't occur to me to ensure there was sufficient food for the 'Lord and Master' but luckily one of the children is slightly more on the ball than I, so Brutus will be well nourished during our little trip to the other side of the continent. (The child will be given food but I cannot vouch for its nutritional content as we will, after all, be on holidays and that entitles us to some leniency in our intake of all things artificial .. apparently.)

However, it did occur to me that I simply must:
  • paint the main bedroom (which I managed to achieve)
  • paint the boys' bathroom (which I did not manage to achieve and have forgiven myself for .. temporarily at least!)
  • have matching mats on which to place all the different candles and their decorative holders that I have acquired (despite the fact that they have somehow managed to still look pretty in spite of their lack of a suitable resting place for the past few years)
  • clean underneath the fridge and freezer (because every house guest I've ever come across moves the fridge and freezer the second you're not looking .. don't they?)
  • re-pot the peace lily that adorns the bench in my ensuite (because the pot was black and every else is shades of brown/beige/blue and we wouldn't want them thinking I'm colour blind)
  • torture the children ask the children to help me get the house into some semblance of order by removing their will to live cleaning their rooms ... Yes child! I meant under the bed too! ... even though no-one would be staying in their rooms. (I know, how incredibly unfair of me to make them empty their rooms of dirty clothes, the rubbish in their bins and the mutating lifeforms under their beds and in their school bags.)

And on that cheery little mental image (school bags always make me shudder with apprehension .. eewwwww!), I shall take myself off to the Land of Nod to dream up more torture things for the boys to do tomorrow.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

But Muuuummm ...

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

This was the boys on Monday night during the storm that knocked our power out for 12 hours.

Actually it was me, not the boys.

They were happy enough to light every candle we could find, then lounge around reading books or playing their DS's until it got late enough for bed.

I sat there with them, talking to them and reading my own book(s) all the while annoyed at Mother Nature for ruining my evening of planned comedy watching. It's just not the same watching Good News Week on the computer .. sulk, sulk, stamping foot, sulk some more ...

Yeah, yeah .. I know .. Toughen up Princess!

Toughening commencing ...

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Letters I'd like to write ...

also known as: "things I have to stop myself from blurting out in case I get hurt".

  • to the man sitting at the traffic lights: putting your window all the way up before picking your nose does not make you invisible. Incredible as it may seem, glass is actually transparent and we could all see exactly what you were doing. Thanks for that .. NOT!!
  • to the parent who flipped me off in the drop-off lane: I'm so sorry I dared to indicate my intention to move out in front of you and then, after seeing you stop in the through traffic lane to let your children out (naughty, naughty .. very dangerous!), pulling out in front of you, leaving at least four car lengths between us 'just in case'. Good thing I did, as how was I to know you were going to roar up behind me and do your own little impersonation of the road runner .. beep beep! Next time, I will make sure you have exited the drop off lane school zone hemisphere before I even attempt to do things by the rules.
  • to the rude little 'darlings' who (a) throw money across the counter at me, (b) grunt and scowl at me when I wait for you to pick it up and put it in my hand nicely and (c)conveniently forget all semblance of manners in the process, all while I'm on canteen duty: do that again and I will ensure I personally squash, mutilate, mangle and otherwise destroy every item of food you wish to purchase. Oh and I might just forget my maths and give you the wrong change .. not that you'd notice because you're too busy being up yourself!! (disclaimer: most of them are really good and have had manners instilled into them. There's just a select little group who think they are above interacting politely with the 'help').
  • to the woman who snatched the shopping trolley out of my hands because she "saw it first": I realise that getting a good shopping trolley, one that goes in the direction you want it to, is becoming an increasingly rare occurrence, but snatching it off me .. did you really need it that badly? And how stupid did you feel when it turned out to be a dodgy one that I was just moving out of the way to get to the decent one behind it? Karma, lady .. go look it up!
  • to the young people wearing clothes that are totally the wrong size: I think you should all swap clothes. The guys with pants 3 sizes too big, that hang down to their knees, and the very large girls wearing shorts 3 sizes too small, and therefore so tight we can all see what they had for breakfast the day before, should all swap clothes so that they all have some chance going out in public without blinding all those around them with flashes of underwear or worse! Just a little hint people, underwear is called underwear for a reason!

Thus endeth my gripe session.

What gets your goat? Let me know in the comments .. please?!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

It's been 22 years and boy does it show!

I have been sitting with Alex for most of the morning so far, trying to motivate him to finish at least one piece of homework that is due in the next week. As far as I know,we have he has an English essay to research, a maths worksheet to complete and a rough draft of a SOSE (social studies/history) essay to write.

His English essay is on the effects of the internet on today's society and the pros and cons of the internet in general. One of the cons he had listed was the unreliability of some information on the internet; for example: on sites like Wikipedia. The best entry regarding this particular topic was found on .. you guessed it .. Wikipedia! We have managed to find evidence supporting some of the points he had made in his initial summary, but after trying repeatedly to find out the actual due date of this assignment, and whether or not it was to be done in class from his notes (quite a common occurrence), I we have moved on to his maths worksheet.

This worksheet was actually due at the beginning of last week and he has already received a lunchtime detention for not handing it in. However, as his teacher's aide explained to me, he is still required to complete the work and hand it in for a zero grade. I realise that this is supposed to teach them to hand it in on the due date next time, but that concept just does not fly with Alex. His logic is that he knows how to do all of the problems and has demonstrated this in previous tests, so why should he have to do it all again. I can understand his point but rules are rules, and contrary to certain people's beliefs coughcoughPetercoughcough, they don't just exist to be broken or bent so much they resemble a yoga master impersonating a pretzel.

I started doing some of the questions on my own piece of paper and was actually doing quite well with problems like:

If y = x(cubed) – 2x(squared) + 3x – 5, find the value of y when x = 4

therefore y = (4x4x4) - 2(4x4) + (3x4) - 5

therefore y = 64 - 32 + 12 - 5

therefore y = 39

and this:

Simplify (5xcubed - 7xsquared + 8) - (3xsquared - 9x + 2)

5xcubed - 7xsquared + 8 - 3xsquared + 9x - 2

5xcubed - 10xsquared + 6

Not bad for 22 years since I looked at algebra .. or so I thought. The next question involved compound interest which I always hated. I left that one for him to do and moved on to the next one:

A golf club has a 5-year-old lawn mower, which is now worth $5190.35
and which the club has been depreciating by 18% pa.
What was the purchase price of the lawn mower, to the nearest dollar?
What will the value of the mower be, to the nearest dollar, if the club keeps it for another 5 years?

It was at this point that I decided that I didn't need to know the original purchase price, as surely the club's accountant would have this information stored somewhere, for no-one to ever look at again. Besides, it was probably purchased from a 'mate' at a heavily discounted price, which was done as a favour to the president of the club to enable the seller to keep his membership after he was caught sleeping with the president's wife, so the paperwork was probably doctored anyway.

The value of the mower in five years time may be relevant to the tax department but considering that it has probably died a slow painful death due to planned obsolescence and the fact that it had probably been out in all sorts of weather, I think that working out the value of the rusting hulk behind the maintenance shed is a slightly over-rated pastime.

There were several more questions along the lines of the 'simplify' one listed above and then I got to some more word questions:

Bronwyn received her pay and spent 1/3 on rent and 1/4 paying off her mobile phone bill.
She then had $210 left. How much money was Bronwyn paid?

I did manage to work out that she was paid $504. What I'd like to know is:

  • Weekly, fortnightly or monthly pay?
  • Where Bronwyn is living that she only has to pay $168 rent! Maybe she lives in a share house with heaps of friends but that seems to be unlikely considering that her phone bill was almost as much as the rent. I mean .. come on .. $126 on a phone bill? Has she never heard of mobile phone caps?
  • If that's the phone bill for the assumed share-house and not her mobile phone, was that just her share or is she paying the whole thing? If she is, she needs to move out and find somewhere else to live 'cos she's having her generous, giving nature abused in a major fashion!
  • Didn't anybody teach her to budget? Why is she paying 1/4 of her wages out for a phone bill? Don't spend what you can't afford people! Oh, and don't forget to put some of that away for a rainy day and a bad hair day does not count as a rainy day!!
  • Why do I give a damn anyway? She's probably one of the young kids of today who don't appreciate that I had to walk ten miles, barefoot, uphill, in 50 degree heat just to find a phone box to prank call someone! I don't know .. kids of today!!
Now that I have totally lost the plot forgotten where I was going with this, I think I better go have a nice cup of tea and a good lie down!!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Some of the things in my head right now...

I have so many things running through my head right now and have a need to get some of them out so I can filter through them all to decide what's actually important. Apologies to those who were hoping for some profound words of wisdom (snort!)

I have been seeing a hypnotherapist to try and help me with my weight issues. Despite having the lap-band, I have managed to persist with my old, bad habits of comfort eating and making the wrong food choices. This morning I made the decision to stop seeing her as I haven't noticed any improvement in these behaviours and really can't justify the cost involved, especially as I don't get any money back from my private health fund. I'm sure that if it was working, I would find a way to pay for it but as it's not, I'm letting it go. I have lost 19 kilos but I still have about 25 to go and I need to get myself into the right head space. "If it is to be, it's up to me!"

Bradley's hypnosis seemed to have worked well until the last couple of days. He isn't back to having 'accidents', but is also not 'going' as he should be. Looks like more intervention is required .. oh yay!! (Please note the dripping sound .. that would be the sarcasm!) It's just difficult finding the right balance between too little and too much interference. I don't want to make his body dependent on the medications to be able to function but at the same time, he obviously needs some help or we end up in the emergency room. The possible complications, whilst unlikely, are enough of a possibility to make me want to avoid them at all costs.

We can't really afford to go on our holiday to Queensland but seeing that we would lose all the money we have paid out so far (over $4500), we have made the decision to go and try to enjoy ourselves anyway. We were originally supposed to be going for a family reunion (of all the cousins on Peter's side) but the plans for that never eventuated, so we're just going for a holiday instead. The boys are looking forward to it so I will just put my game face on and get on with it. I realise this probably sounds incredibly ungrateful .. I mean we are going on an interstate family holiday to one of the more popular tourist destinations in Australia .. and I'm sure everything will work out fine but I guess I'm just too much of a homebody at the moment to want to go anywhere else. To quote myself though: "Suck it up, Princess!"

Speaking of money, I really need to get a job. There's not much point in applying for jobs yet, due to the holiday in a few weeks, but I am going ever-so-slightly-crazy being at home. Then there's the whole what-sort-of-job-do-I-want/am-qualified-for, full-time-or-part-time and local-or-further-afield questions to answer. Peter wants me to go back to work full-time but I don't want to do that with him being away so much. I know there are lots of parents, single and partnered, who don't have the luxury of choosing not to work full-time, but I do and I want to be there for the kids at least some of the afternoons during the week. Plus, I think working full-time and dealing with teenage boys would tip the scale so far into the crazy spectrum that it would take forever to tip it back. Oh well, I'll cross that bridge when we get back from Queensland.

I have managed to do some of the things around the house that I have been meaning/wanting to do for ages. You know, stupid things like emptying out cupboards to clean the shelves, organising bookshelves, finding the floor in the laundry .. stuff like that. I have also managed to paint a feature wall in the master bedroom, just in time for Peter to come home and help me to empty the water bed, fix the bed frame and move it all. Here's hoping it all fits and looks good after all that. Next up is painting the boys' bathroom .. the idea of which started the whole bathroom re-tiling saga of 2009 and still has not been started, yet alone finished!

All this introspection has made me thirsty, so I'm going to take myself off to find some refreshingly cold water and then start re-assembling the bombsite that is my bedroom. If you got this far, thanks for listening/reading and hope everything is going well in your respective parts of the world.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Recent conversations ...

Me: Good afternoon! How was your day?
Brad: Aren't you going to ask me if I learned anything today?
Me: In a minute. How was your day?
Brad: Educational.
Me: That sounds interesting. What did you learn today?
Brad: That it hurts when a basketball hits you in the face.
Me: Ouch! You OK?
Brad: Yep. Just missing a few more brain cells. I'll be fine ... eventually!

Andrew: Hey Mum!
Me: Yes Drew?
Andrew: Prepare yourself!
Me: Sounds ominous! What for?
Andrew: (jumping around the corner in the hallway dressed only in undies)
For the adventures of Nearly-Nude Man! (strikes superhero pose)
Me: (laughing) Who?
Andrew: Nearly-Nude Man! Ta-dah!!
Me: Well, Nearly-Nude Man needs to change back into the mild-mannered Andrew, and some clothes, before his arch enemy the Tickle Monster finds him!
On that note though, I suppose it would make more sense to be a superhero dressed only in undies:
  • no cape to get caught in things.
  • very easy to change into your crime-fighting outfit.
  • no expensive costume to keep replacing because some super-villain managed to damage it.
  • no agonising over the colours and/or symbols to go on the costume in the first place.
  • very easy to get back into your mild-mannered persona's clothes (provided you can remember where you left them!)

On the down side:

  • it would be rather embarrassing if you were going commando and forgot.
  • it was washing day and you were wearing your 'only-in-case-of-laundry-emergency' undies.
  • having to have lots of the same type and colour of undies so people recognised you as a superhero and not as some weirdo running around in their underwear.
  • it could be rather cold which, in the case of male superheroes, could result in shrinkage and diminishing your 'image' in the eyes of your fans.
What do you think?