Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas already?

Well, we'd been in the house a grand total of three weeks when we had (early) Christmas dinner here. I know, we're totally crazy but it seemed like a good idea at the time and it went very well considering the number of boxes still lying around and the noticeable lack of air conditioning.

Apart from some mad rummaging through boxes at the last minute to find the right amount of crockery and cutlery, it was a good evening. Mark, Bec and the kids made the hour long trek from their place in south Geraldton (It's really Ellenbrook but it's sooo far away, we have dubbed it south Geraldton); Clare and Richard made their own 45 minute trek from East Vic Park and the Mums came from a little bit closer (only 28km or so). 

We set up three tables in the dining/family rooms and covered with them with the good old faithful (still unhemmed) pieces of green fabric I bought to make pelmets at least two houses ago.

Despite most of the decorations not having been put up this year (couldn't find them!), I made an effort to make the table look a bit festive by putting some battery operated Christmas lights into some big glass vases I've had for years (still trying to work out why I keep them as I never hardly ever get flowers and certainly not bunches big enough to fill these vases).  I then came to the conclusion that they would probably look much better in a much darker room. Oh well, I thought they were pretty and, realistically, that's all that matters .. right?

Mark on the flying fox
After dinner my Mum, ever the motivator, had us all up and out for a walk around the neighbourhood. We headed for the main park as it has some play equipment. I think the adults had more fun playing on the flying fox and 'wobbly plank' than the kids did!  

Clare needing a helping hand
We headed back to the house for some dessert and then Alex brought out the gingerbread house he made in cooking class at school. He had been saving it for when everyone was together so we all had a taste. It was a little bit stale from having sat wrapped in cellophane for over a week but still tasted very good ... to me anyway! Soon after we broke off the first few pieces, Alex and Mark had a bit of a carving contest.

It ended up looking like something you'd find in serial killer's planning room ... knives stuck in everywhere!

All in all, we had a great evening surrounded by family and laughter ... what more could you ask for?

Thursday, 8 December 2011

So proud! (and yet still annoyed!!)

First things first: We're very proud of Alex for receiving an award for the highest mark in Mathematics 2C/2D for the whole school! Good on you son!

(That's his hurry-up-and-take-the-picture-already-cos-you're-embarrassing-me face otherwise known as his I-AM-smiling face! We only just made it to the ceremony in time so I suppose I'm lucky I got the picture at all!)

The boys' school has two Praise and Thanksgiving ceremonies at the end of the year; one for primary during the morning and one in the evening for the secondary students. The students have to wear full winter uniform (including their wool blazers) so not many students are keen to go as it means that they will

  1. have to get dressed in their uniform again

  2. have to go back to school after the end of the last day of school

  3. be hot in their uniforms in the un-airconditioned gym

  4. have to sit still and behave while some 'old people' drone on up at the front ("It's just like being in class and school's finished for the year ... whinge whine")

Bearing all this in mind, I had decided it wasn't worth the battle, once I got home from a hot day's work, of getting them all fed, showered and dressed in their uniforms and back to school, especially as they hadn't even been to school that day due to issues with getting them there from the new house. (I figured it wouldn't hurt to miss the last day as they would only have been cleaning anyway!)

I had planned on a nice quiet evening and all was going well until we had a knock on the door at 4:45pm. It was the postie with a big stack of mail, re-directed from the old house and post office box. Being slightly pre-occupied with other things, I left the stack of mail for an hour before having a quick look through it all.

Amongst the letters from the real estate agents and the bills, was a letter from the school dated two weeks prior informing us that Alex was going to be receiving an award at Secondary Praise and Thanksgiving and to please RSVP by one week prior to enable the school to plan the awards ceremonies. If he was planning on attending, he needed to be there by 6pm (it was now 5:50pm!) in full winter uniform.

After a hurried discussion with Alex, who decided that he would like to go, and his brothers, who decided they were quite comfortable in their pyjamas and didn't want to get dressed and go, he and I jumped in the car and broke some land speed records to get him there (close to) on time. Turned out that I could have taken my time (or at least another ten minutes) as he didn't really need to be there until 6:30pm and that the RSVP wasn't really necessary (thank goodness!)

Long story short, (I know .. too late!) we made it in time, I got to see him get his award, have a couple of free biscuits and then we got in the car and came home for a well deserved rest.

Well done Alex!

Not so well done Australia Post mail re-direction!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

I think I'm going to have to cut my fingernails ... the dashboard won't be able to take much more!

We were getting ready to leave this for school and work this morning and I was yawning my head off after taking Peter to the airport at dark o'clock. Andrew noticed and asked me if I was awake enough to be in charge of a vehicle. He then very kindly offered to drive for me to which I replied something along the lines of over my dead body maybe he can when he has a learner's permit. The instant gleam in his eye at that comment made me wonder what was coming next.

You'd think I would have learned to not speak out loud in front of my children, especially when tired, as it inevitably leads to a decision I find myself second-guessing for the rest of the day, with today being no exception.

Andrew's next response?

"So can Alex drive us all seeing as he has got a learner's permit?"

Yes, my first baby Alex has a motor vehicle learner's permit as well as his moped licence. He has been for two, count them: one, two, lessons in total (only one of which was on the actual road) and has had about 30 minutes of country highway driving experience (obtained last weekend with Peter). So, after a few seconds deliberation and reasoning that I'm already going grey (ssshhh!) so a few more grey hairs wouldn't really hurt (until I tried to pull them all out and sent myself bald), I agreed.

I don't know who was more nervous ... him or me. I know they were all surprised that I said yes (so was I to tell the truth!) and were probably wondering if I was trying to kill them by letting him drive.

Overall, considering it was only the third time he'd ever driven on a road (no Peter, driving the Navara at the shed doesn't count!) and the third different car in which he'd done it, he did really well. A bit more practice (and Valium for me!) and I'm sure he'll be fine.

The curbs may be living in fear for a while as I'm sure Alex was trying to get my front passenger side tyre and the curb on every road to have 'intimate relations' or some sort of strength competition but that may have just been my perception from the death seat passenger seat.

I have decided that the entire world looks way too close from the front passenger seat ... must be something to do with the way light refracts through the windscreen and my fingers over my eyes ... as, despite knowing that we were only going at 55kmph for most of the trip, it sure seemed faster. Everything seem to appear suddenly in front of us and not having a brake pedal on my side of the car resulted in a few new dents in the floor pan .. nothing a mat can't cover!

His first time driving an automatic coupled with his rather large, very heavy feet, resulted in a couple of hairy moments like the time he got up to 80kmph between two roundabouts approximately 400m apart, at both of which he had to stop to allow other cars to continue. I don't think I dented the dashboard with my head but I'm sure I put a a hole in the floor trying to brake a la Fred Flintstone!

Seriously though, he did much better than I expected but I think I'll go stock up on some more Clairol Nice 'n' Easy and some Valium ...

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

(Just Another) Manic Monday

Snippets from recent Manic Mondays:


First official day of school holidays so of course I slept in to 7:45am.
No milk for a cup of tea (which I didn't really have time for anyway).
Noticed I had next to no fuel so crossed my fingers and hoped I'd make it to work.
Got caught at every red light and railway crossing on the way to work.
Made it to work (and only 15 minutes later than usual).
Walked into my office to a ringing phone and nearly broke my leg on the parcel some idiot person had kindly left right in front of the door as I raced for said phone.
Answered the phone to find Bradley on the other end asking if he could have ice cream for breakfast too.
Upon further questioning, I ascertained that the idea had been planted in his head by his supposedly more sensible older brother (Alex) who was at that very moment chowing down on a very large bowl of ice cream.
When I questioned Alex as to why he thought that eating ice cream for breakfast was a good idea or even acceptable, his response was that it was a dairy food so how was it any different from having milk?
Then he asked if it would be better if he put Milo cereal in it.
It was about this point that I realised it wouldn't kill him (his brothers maybe) so gave up and went back to dealing with the other children employees waiting for my attention.



My first day (of three weeks) at Austral Bricks Malaga.
After it only taking 35 minutes for me to get to Malaga on the previous Thursday, I was somewhat surprised to find that it took me over an hour to get there on Monday morning.
During the long and rather boring drive, I spotted a van in front of me that had all sorts of stuff crammed into the boot and back seat. It looked like the occupants were moving house and this was the dregs ... you know all those leftover bits that seem to hide when you're packing.
Upon pulling level with the elderly female driver, I realised it was in fact, an episode of Hoarders ... just on wheels!
There was so much stuff crammed into every available space, I'm surprised she was able to see out of the windscreen. There was barely enough room to turn the steering wheel and I'm not just talking boxes or bags of stuff. There was layer-upon-layer of receipts, paperwork, rubbish and junk mail. Some archaeologist would have a had a field day excavating that lot. There may have even been remains of some pre-2000 lifeform, possibly under the layer of stuff that used to be the passenger seat.
That wasn't the scariest part though. That was as I pulled level with her for the second time, she reached into the pile of stuff that was where the passenger seat should have been, pulled something out, peered at it for a second! Eeeeewwwwww!!
Then she turned up Kewdale Road and disappeared from sight ... off to scare some other poor unsuspecting road user.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Love this one!

funny pictures - "Don't make me come back there!"
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

The point of no return...

It has been six months since I started at Austral and I am now officially off probation.

I don't know whether to be relieved or amused that the boss didn't even realise I was on probation until I pointed it out to him at our last snooze-fest meeting. All the other managers/supervisors said they were aware of it (due to it being standard practice) but, as the probation goes both ways (ie. me giving them a trial too), they were hoping that if no-one mentioned it, I would be happy to stay. Nice to know I'm wanted.

I do enjoy the job and like (most) of the guys, but I am now at the stage of feeling settled, while at the same time feeling like I'm on auto-pilot ... and not just at work.

I have nothing but admiration for single mums who do all this on their own as well as all the other mums in similar situations to mine (hubby working away and working full-time themselves), but at the moment I'm not thinking about them. It's all about me people!

Auto-pilot is dangerous for me as it usually precedes a lower than usual depressive episode. The fact that I have resorted to my old organisational quirks to try and feel in control of my life is a bit of a concern too.

The boys think it's funny when Mum makes the clothes pegs match each other as well as the clothes they are pegged on.

And apparently it's hilarious when Mum makes sure that there are only white pegs on the clothes airer and a certain number per rung at that.

And then when she organises the pantry so everything is organised by type of goods and then size of box/container, they are almost in hysterics (until they are told that they now have to wash all the Tupperware containers they put back in the pantry empty!)

However, it's not so funny when Mum can't be bothered getting out the bed she has crawled into after work to make them dinner.

And it's not funny when there's no clothes to wear because they're all still sitting in the washing machine after being washed for the fifth time without being hung out.

And it's definitely not funny when Mum totally loses her shit and yells about every.little.thing (real or imagined) that should have been done but hasn't or hasn't been done right or hasn't even been thought of yet but why haven't they read my mind and done it without being asked.

Luckily, I am not as the stage of crawling into bed as soon as I get home or of yelling at them for anything and everything. I am aware of this particular slippery slope and am making more of a concerted effort to keep myself upright and moving forward; not downward.

I am not as terrified of showing people the 'real me'; the one that occasionally doesn't cope too well with the whole situation; the one who sometimes just wants everyone to just go away and leave me alone.

However, it is still hard to not feel alone and isolated; still hard to ask for help when you don't know what would help; still hard to keep putting one foot in front of the other even though you know people are depending on you; still hard to put on your game face and get out into the world.

I came to the realisation the other day that I am way more like my mother than I would like to be. Depression is hereditary after all. But hopefully my awareness of my own triggers and warning signs will ensure that they aren't too affected by my issues. Hopefully it will make them slightly more sympathetic to those who struggle with issues of their own (be they mental, physical or emotional).

Hopefully my boys will be OK.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Where does he get this stuff from?

Overheard in the car this afternoon, whilst driving home from taking a look at the house:

Brad: Drew, you know how they say 'you are what you eat'?

Drew: Yes. What about it?

Brad: It's really strange isn't it?

Drew: What's strange about it?

Brad: I really don't remember eating a sexy beast!

I'm kinda dreading what he'll be like once the testosterone really kicks in!!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

The things they say ...

Whilst having a discussion with the boys about our menu plan for the week, Bradley came up with a new term for boiled potatoes. It went a little something like this:

Me: Well how about we have vegetables and potatoes with that instead of chips?

Brad: Mashed potatoes?

Me: I was thinking jacket potatoes.

Brad: No, I want nude potatoes.

Me: What on earth are nude potatoes?

Brad: You know Mum (insert eye roll here) ... ones without their clothes on.

Me: (being purposely slow on the uptake .. honest!) What clothes?

Brad: The only clothes they have ... their jackets ... duh!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Be afraid! Be very afraid ...


I am now officially licensed to drive a forklift.

I had to have a photo taken for the new licence which resembles one of the 'after' shots from those scare-people-off-Meth programs. Either that or a drunken mug shot. (No, I'm not going to post it here out of courtesy to your delicate monitors and eyes).

Alex has his learner's permit for a moped licence.

Andrew has asked for braces which means you guys will now get to listen to me whinge about how much it's going to cost for the next three years .. lucky you!

Bradley, despite not yet being a teenager, has a full blown teenage attitude and he's not afraid to use it!

I think I'm seeing things that aren't really there. For example, on Wednesday evening while driving home from work, I could swear I saw an oversized troll doll riding a bicycle along the footpath towards the train station. After looking at 'it' several more times (all while trying to keep driving in a straight line), I discovered it was a middle-aged woman with an over-abundance of very orange spray tan and hot pink, fluffy, standing-straight-up-in-the-air hair. To quote my Dad,

"The sights you see when you haven't got a gun!"

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


Just had a phone call from Peter to tell me that Alex has been suspended for two days.

"What for this time?" I hear you ask.

Thankfully it is nothing involving violence or bullying. He has apparently taken a computer file of his from TAFE to school with him and, by using it at school, managed to compromise the school's whole network! Don't ask me how 'cos I don't understand most of what he spouts about computers these days which I know can be dangerous (hello .. suspension!) but I just can't keep up with it all.

My first reaction was dread upon hearing of the suspension .. what's he done now kind of thing.

Second reaction upon hearing what he'd done was relief. Thank goodness no-one has been injured kind of thing.

Third reaction .. laughter. He's only 15, been studying computers for a term-and-a-half and he has compromised a system managed by a rather large team of very expensive 'professionals'.

I keep having to resist the urge to slap him on the back and tell him good job! (There's a bit of history behind that comment .. knowledge about how the previous school-employed IT people were sacked with no notice and then escorted off the premises to make sure they didn't sabotage anything as revenge for the whole no notice thing. Good Christian attitude huh?)

While I don't agree with him messing with something just to prove he can, I honestly don't believe it was done with malicious intent and am therefore going to go into bat for him about the whole two day suspension thing. The system is still working; no private/confidential information has been accessed and there is no lasting damage so I think it is rather severe.

Plus there's the whole 'let's punish him by giving him more time away from school' thing. I've never really understood that especially with this child. I have explained until I'm blue in the face that it is not a punishment and teaches him absolutely nothing but the school insists that 'justice must be seen to be done'!


Sunday, 19 June 2011

Now I know where Brad gets his warped sense of humour from ...

Well, actually I already knew but it was just confirmed once and for all.

Peter, Drew and I were sitting watching Better Homes and Gardens on Friday night when a segment came on about some flowers that look like carnations but aren't (some sort of relative to them though).

As the presenter was extolling the virtues of this plant with very pink flowers, Peter pipes up with "Did you know there's no such thing as a pink carnation?"

I was just about to reply with something along the lines of "Of course there is!" when Drew asked "Why?"

Peter's response?

"Because every nation has many different coloured cars."

Cue groans here!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Channelling Ke$ha this morning ... "This place about to blo-ow"

I am going to kill the child. Feel free to guess which one!

Sorry, that is supposed to be:

I shall not kill the child. I shall not kill the child. I shall not kill the child. I shall not kill the child.

The only thing saving him at the moment is the fact that I have to go to work. I will however be phoning the school to confirm that once again, he has failed to complete a homework assignment and that they (once again) have my full permission to punish him as they see fit.

I'm at my wit's end with this child.

How can I help him to see that he is only hurting himself?

That even though I am the one ranting and raving, that it doesn't really affect my life to the same extent it does his?

That despite the fact that I understand that homework is, at times, both boring and seemingly pointless, he still must do it and hand it in, on time?

I'm sure he is sick to death of me saying that it is all up to him and then proceeding to make him sit down and produce something just to get me off his back.

I'm sure that the teachers think I am an ineffectual parent who isn't doing anything about this situation.

I see them look at me in disbelief when I tell them how long I sit with him (sometimes 5 or 6 hours), only to get a paragraph or two of actual work down on paper.

I'm sure they are thinking that I am exaggerating for effect, pity or attention when all I am doing is asking for help in how to get this child to complete the tasks they have set.

I wonder how he is going to survive in the 'real' world out there without me to poke, prod and push him to 'get with the program' and to explain the subtleties of human interaction.

It all comes down to just one thing really ... I'm scared.

I'm scared he won't be able to provide for himself.

I'm scared he will get himself into dangerous situations that he can't talk himself out of.

Sometimes, I'm scared that I haven't done enough to help him and at other times, I'm scared I've done too much and prevented him from learning a valuable life lesson. Then I think that he probably wouldn't be able to apply that lesson in another similar, but different, situation anyway.

It's not that I'm not worried about the other two boys .. I am .. just not to the same extent.

Is this because he is my eldest or because of the autism?

Is it due to our personalities being similar and really being able to understand his point-of-view?

Or is it just because I'm a Mum and that's what we do?

Sunday, 22 May 2011

A quick update ...

Wow, I hadn't realised just how long it's been since I was last here ... 9 weeks!!

As you may have gathered, I have been kind of busy and have been on auto pilot while I settle into some sort of routine with the new job, kids working, husband being away/home/away/home, household chores and all the other assorted things that we women/adults/parents have to deal with. This auto pilot mode has resulted in me basically cutting myself off from the rest of the outside world while I endeavour to find some balance, which I still haven't managed but I'm getting a bit closer.

The kids are being their usual selves .. mostly good with an occasional need for a 'come to Jesus' meeting. Alex and Drew are busy working and going to school while Brad is hanging out for the day when he can go to work as well. As I keep reminding him though, if he whinges about putting the groceries away, chances are he's not going to enjoy working much!

Andrew has decided that he doesn't much like this working thing. The money he likes; the actual work ... not so much! Apparently it's boring and it hurts his legs to have to walk around so much to which I replied that he needs to exercise more to increase his fitness/endurance levels. Should be interesting when he gets a 'real' (full-time) job where he has to do that all day, every day for the rest of his life ...

He has decided to hang in there until we move to the new house when he is determined to get a 'better' job at the Woolworths or Coles that are supposed to opening up out there. Personally, I can't see how it would be any different working in Woolworths supermarket versus a Foodworks supermarket but what would I know? It's not like I've ever worked in a supermarket ...

Alex is still big on procrastination and avoidance of things he finds distasteful ... like homework and housework. Strangely enough, he is quite happy to go to work and will take just about any extra shifts he's offered, but I suppose there is actual real money involved as opposed to some far off distant promise of improving his lot in life further down the track.

I am still concerned about what will happen with or to him once he is out in the real world after school due to his impulse control issues and lack of 'street smarts'. Last week, he and Andrew went to Gosnells after school on the bus (with my permission) and on their way back, Alex was baled up against the wall at the train station (where they were waiting for the bus) and punched several times by a complete stranger for seemingly no reason.

I was at work at the time and received a rather panicked phone call from Andrew telling me Alex was 'being beaten up'. I immediately left work to try and get to the train station to pick them up but they had managed to get away from the guy and get on the bus so I just met them at home. Alex was in total shock, crying and shaking and unable to talk about it. After calming him down a bit, I was able to get a few details out of him.

Apparently the guy approached him, grabbed his sleeve and said something about a smoke. (I'm assuming the guy was trying to 'bum a smoke'). Alex flung his arm out to try and shake the guy off, which the guy has probably interpreted as Alex taking a swing at him, and has then baled him up against the wall and punched him in the stomach a couple of times. During the course of this, Alex bumped his elbow on the edge of a sign and that was the injury he focused on .. for the next four days!

Luckily, there was no blood or lasting physical damage but I think the emotional scars will last a while. He is now extremely wary of anyone he doesn't know approaching him, especially if they are of a 'darker skin tone' than him. I tried explaining how he could have done things differently (which may or may not have changed the outcome) but I'm not sure how much of what I said has sunk in. The joys of being a parent ...

Friday, 18 March 2011

In a word ... OMG!

OK, so it's not actually a word, it's three letters .. picky picky! ... but those three letters describe my life perfectly at the moment. I've been so busy living life that I haven't had a chance (or the motivation) to write about it here.

The first big thing that happened during my little hiatus was Bradley turned twelve. His last year before the dreaded teenage attitude really kicks in! Just kidding ... he's a good kid (they all are though you'd never know it by the way I whinge about them all!) and I just hope he stays the lovable little pumpy-umpy-umpkins he is now!! Love you schnookums ... mwah!!!

The older boys finally got their first shift at work ... three hours of checkout training on a Saturday morning ... and have done many more shifts since then. They've each received their first pay and Alex has already spent most of his. Andrew wasn't sure how much he had been paid as he didn't get an email notification/payslip, so he decided to not spend anything until he could find that out. He's also hassling me to help him set up a savings account for his car .. yes you heard right .. a car. Glad one of the boys has a forward planning gene in there somewhere!

We've had Pre-Start for the new house!! We finally got our preliminary plans on the 24th February and got booked in for pre-start on Friday 4th March. It was a long day and we didn't get the pricing done then and there as there was only one estimator and three pre-start consultations happening at the same time. (The fact that we asked for prices on everything under the sun to be included may not have helped our cause!) It was a long weekend as well so we had to wait until the Tuesday to find out that we had majorly 'overspent'.

After sitting down with a red pen, we managed to reduce the pre-start spending from $35,000 down to $18,000 ($4000 was electrical changes and $6650 was to have the house smart wired) and have now officially signed the contract to build the new nest. All we're waiting on now is the final finance approval which should hopefully be through by the end of this week. Fingers crossed!!

I can't remember if I've mentioned before (and I'm too lazy today to go back and read through all my previous posts!) but I applied for a job at the end of January and was granted an initial interview on the Thursday 3rd of February. It was advertised as a 'Production Clerk' and the duties included data entry, stock control and other general office duties. It sounded perfect for me, is nice and close to the new house (and not too far from this one either) and I was still keen even after taking a tour of the dingy, dusty transportable building that would serve as my office and the equally dusty manufacturing plant attached to it.

I came away from the interview and subsequent tour of the office and plant feeling that I had interviewed well and feeling confident that I would pass though to the next level. I received a call on the Friday afternoon asking if I wanted to progress to the next stage but was having second thoughts about working full-time so I asked for the weekend to think it over.

On the Monday, I rang John (the plant manager) and let him know I was prepared (as prepared as I could be anyway) to go through. He arranged some psychometric and aptitude testing (apparently a standard thing for this company) on Wednesday 9th February at the head office in Caversham. I was told to allow 2 to 3 hours to complete the testing but was out of there in just over an hour and then sat back and waited for the results, which I was told would take about 48 hours to come back from Sydney.

And I waited.

And then I waited some more.

I finally gave in to the insecurities and phoned John on Wednesday 16th February to ask what was happening. Apparently he hadn't heard anything either and wasn't getting any response to his calls about it. Eventually, he rang (22/2) and explained that the person responsible for dealing with the reports had gone on holidays for a week and no-one thought to check her mail for anything urgent. Luckily the report was favourable so I went off for a medical on 24/2 (another standard thing for this company) and then waited for, what I thought would be, the inevitable job offer.

Another week passed and I still hadn't heard anything so gave up on stressing about it for a while and focused on pre-start and the new house instead. During our pre-start meeting, John rang to say that they would like to offer me the job but the contract had to be drawn up by the eastern states head office, so he would call me when it was available to be signed.

Yet another week passed and John rang to say that head office had finally signed off on the contract and he would drop it around to me on his way home from work on Friday night. Oh and could I please start Monday. I'm sure the Universe was working with me on this because I didn't get the request to start until we had finished pre-start and signed all the necessary documents.

Anyway, I have survived my first week of training and will be starting the company funded psycho-analysis sessions at my own job any day now. Pray for my sanity if you have a moment as I am the only woman on a site with 37 men most of whom, judging by the double takes when I worked there on Thursday, have never seen a woman in their workplace before and are all worried that they'll have to mind their P's and Q's. Can't wait to set them all straight!!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Do you think he's trying to tell me I spend too much time on the computer?

"Please pay me some attention .. I'm begging here!"

Or is he trying to help me type?
"No silly. That's not how you spell hamburger!"

Or is he just hungry?
"You're just not getting it are you? Feed me ... please?!"

Can't decide.
I still think he's trying to tell me something.
Please let me know if you work it out ....

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Our new addition ...

Her name is Bob (short for bobtail) and she lives at the shed. At least I think it's a she and from her habit of crawling inside out of the sun, I'd say she's related to me! She was just there one time when Peter went to the shed on his way back up to work. He said he was a bit startled when he noticed a plastic bag moving along the floor so he went to investigate and found Bob. He released her from the bag and she has lived there ever since.

She loves banana, eggs and the occasional insect and so far has been very little trouble at all apart from hissing at Peter the first few times they met ... so definitely related to me then!! We fed her some banana last time we were up at the shed and then the boys tried to get her to go outside. She walked about 15 metres along the shed wall then turned around and came back inside to the cooler air. A woman after my own heart! Here's a picture of her and her beautifully coloured tongue trying to eat some banana:

And here's a picture that Bradley took of her skin (on my dining table ... eeww!!) that she very kindly left out in the middle of the floor for Peter to find:

Brad loved the fact that it is almost complete and that even the legs have turned inside out. If you look closely, you can even see the little holes where the claws were. Now he wants to keep the skin but won't keep it in his room .. oh no .. it has to stay out on my bookshelf where I keep seeing it out of the corner of my eye thinking it's some creepy crawly invader come to frighten the daylights out of me and doing a very good job of it. It may just have to disappear one day when no-one is looking ....

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Hi. I'm Donna and I'm weird.

I'm sitting here listening to my iPod while browsing some house/building/decorating blogs and I have just realised that I must have one of the weirdest music collections I've ever come across.

The iPod is on shuffle through my 'upbeat' playlist and here's the last 20 songs ('cos that's all I've had time to play so far):
  1. The Way I Are by Timbaland
  2. 1,2,3,4 by The Plain White Tees
  3. Sharing the Night Together by Dr. Hook
  4. Fearless by Wes Carr
  5. A Little Too Late by Delta Goodrem
  6. Ain't No Other Man by Christina Aguilera
  7. That Don't Impress Me Much by Shania Twain
  8. The Rose by Bette Midler (not sure how that made it to the upbeat playlist)
  9. Pon De Replay by Rhianna
  10. Blackbirds by Linkin Park
  11. Sunny by Boney M
  12. If Today Was Your Last Day by Nickelback
  13. Hey Baby by No Doubt
  14. Annie's Song by John Denver
  15. If Tomorrow Never Comes by Ronan Keating
  16. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
  17. Axel F from Beverley Hills Cop
  18. Just Lose It by Eminem
  19. Me and My Shadow by Robbie Williams
  20. Sadeness by Enigma

And that's not including the 'classical' or 'mellow' playlists... both of which my kids absolutely hate for some reason. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the volume at which I insist on playing the classical music (as loud as possible) or the fact that I usually end up either singing along or crying (or both) to the songs on the mellow list.

Oh well, at least there's some variety in there. Nothing worse than listening to the same ten songs over and over and over and over and over and .. I'm sure you get the picture (Are you listening Alex?)

Help me feel not quite so weird here people .. please share what you have on your iPod/mix CD for the car.

Oh and "I Like to Move It" has just finished and "When They Come For Me" by Linkin Park is just starting ...

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Don't you just hate it when your kids beat you at something?

To try and encourage me the boys and I to get jobs, Peter said to all three of us (Brad is still too young for a job) that he would give $100 to the first one of us to get a job and keep it for at least a week. Call it an incentive, a bribe or whatever you want; point is, it actually motivated the boys to put their resumes out in the big wide world. (Mine was already out there with not much luck.)

They put their resumes in at about ten places between the two of them and got a call for an interview each at the local little supermarket. Andrew's was last week on Thursday and even though he was really nervous, he went into the interview on his own and seemed to do quite well. He was in there for about 15 minutes and came out feeling rather pleased with how it all went.

Alex's interview was supposed to be on Friday but was re-scheduled to Monday and was all over and done with, with him back in the car ready to go home, in about 6 minutes. I was thinking that wasn't necessarily a good thing but kept my thoughts to myself at the time. Despite Alex being the older child by nearly two years, in some ways Andrew seems a bit more mature and I thought that may affect Alex's chances of getting a job seeing as they were supposed to be interviewed by the same person. Alex's interview ended up being conducted by a different person, which may account for the time difference as he wasn't given the interviewer's entire work history before proceeding to the questions about him.

I have to admit, I was rather concerned that there would be all sorts of problems if one got a job and the other didn't and had a little chat to each of them about that possibility. Luckily we don't have to worry about that as I have just received a call asking me to let them both know they have been "successful in their applications" and could they please call in ASAP to collect an employment package. Congratulations boys and welcome to the beginning of your working lives!

So it looks like I miss out on the $100 bribe incentive and as they both got offered a job at the same time, there is bound to be some discussion with Peter about who gets what. I'll leave that completely up to them to work out while I go and have some psychometric and aptitude testing for a job I've applied for.

Wonder if they'll pick up on the voices in my head?

Monday, 7 February 2011

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Public Service Announcement

When you are on the roof of a house, attempting to attach a new patio and effect repairs to said roof, do not be tempted to look in the windows of the house two doors over.

People think they are safe from prying eyes while inside their houses and will quite frequently wander said houses in various states of undress. Especially when they are looking for the remainder of their clothing before attempting to go outside and face the world.

So, unless you like looking at larger ladies wandering about in jeans and a pink bra (with no shirt), don't be tempted to peek! (Readers: you're welcome for that mental image!!)

And you can't blame me for blinding you ... it might have been the glare from the roof next door that blinded you.

It's not totally my fault my skin is so white that you can see it from outer space.

Or that the bra is day-glo pink and lights up the inside of the washing machine when the lid is closed. (Well actually, that kind of is my fault 'cos I bought it in the first place ... but it was cheap!)

So, in short, (too late I know!), it's your own fault if you nearly fell off the roof. That will teach you to be a Peeping Tom!

Theyr'e baaa-ack ...

... at school that is!

I thought I was doing relatively well with being organised for the boys to go back to school. I had purchased most of the book list requirements, checked that uniforms and shoes still fitted and even thought about what they could have in their lunch boxes. Then on Sunday afternoon I realised that I was still missing some of Alex's text books.

Being in Year 11 this year, he's doing six subjects plus his TAFE Cert IV course. Actually, technically he's only doing five subjects, as the school have allowed him to use one of the grid lines as a private study session to enable him to catch up on any lessons he misses by going to TAFE all day on Fridays.

Due to the exorbitant cost of some of the text books, I had tried to get most of them second hand which I managed to do for two out of the five subjects. One of the remaining subjects (English) only required a novel which I purchased from Big W as it was heaps cheaper there than at the school supplies place. So we were down to books for two subjects: Biology and Food Science and Technology, neither of which seemed to be available second hand.

Shouldn't be too bad I thought.

Got out of this easy this year I thought.

$100 should cover it I thought.

Guess what?

I thought wrong .. majorly wrong!

One, just one, of the biology books was $90! The other two were $40 and $36. The foods book was $59. For those prices, they should sit the exams for you and guarantee an A grade!

It could have been worse though .. I could have bought all of the books at full price. That would have cost me a grand total of $452 plus stationery and all those other must-have items (like a new wireless mouse that he just had to have for the new laptop he got for Christmas.) As it was it only cost $370 for text books .. a saving of $82 .. I get to keep both my kidneys .. yay!!

Anyway, 'nuff complaining for now. They're all healthy and happy to be going back to school and I'm happy to have a little bit of peace and quiet in which to whinge endlessly write a post about the little darlings.

Hope you and yours all have a great first day back too!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Something new to read ...

We are in the process of planning to start thinking about building a new house so I decided to make a new blog for all the stories that go with it. Being the ever-so-slightly mad person I am, I have called it "Building A New Hawk's Nest".

I'm hoping it will be updated more regularly than this blog because there will be heaps of things happening with which to update you all. So far there hasn't been much progress but it has only been 7 months since we bought the block .. can't rush these things!

Anyway, feel free to check it out and let me know what you think!

Friday, 28 January 2011

The sympathy is overwhelming ...

After asking the boys to keep the noise down because I had a thumping headache, Brad and I had the following exchange ...

Brad: Would you like a Panadol?

Me: No thanks. Just some peace and quiet.

Brad: Do you want a Panadeine instead?

Me: No thanks.

Brad: So do you want a saucepan?

Me: A saucepan? (insert quizzical look here) What on earth for?

Brad: So I can hit you with it and you'll forget about the headache pain for a while and give us some peace and quiet.

Nice to know I can count on them when the chips are down ...

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The job search continues

I've been looking for a job, admittedly rather half-heartedly throughout December, and had managed to apply for quite a few when I hit a snag.

My computer decided that it wasn't going to play anymore and it would lock my files up tighter than a fish's backside. After a minor breakdown (for both me and the other computer I used to try to fix the problem), I was finally able to extract my photos favourite websites resume and previous cover letters to follow up on some of the applications.

Now, I have a couple of gripes regarding this whole process; mostly about how things have changed since I first started applying for jobs all those years ago (in the Jurassic era, according to Bradley):
  1. Is it really so hard to just acknowledge an application? Considering that they are all sent electronically these days, it shouldn't be that difficult to set up an auto reply acknowledging receipt of the application even if they can't be bothered replying individually. Something along the lines of "Thank you for your application for a position with our company. We will be assessing candidates shortly and will only contact those that have been short listed." Not hard people!
  2. When placing a job advertisement, it is wise to put in the hours and days of work required. It is not ridiculous to assume that because one is applying for a full-time administration position, one expects to work 'normal' working hours. A full time admin position that starts at anything other than 9am should state this in the advert. An admin position that needs you to work six days a week should state this in the advert. An admin position that involves split shifts on every day of the week should state this in the advert! One does not normally expect admin positions to start at 6am, break for a rather long unpaid break between 10am and 12 noon, then go through to 4:30 and be Monday through to Saturday (inclusive) unless it says so in the advert!
  3. If you require applicants to have extensive knowledge of a specialised computer program, it is wise to state this in the advert to avoid wasting your time and the applicant's as well. Just because they don't currently have a job doesn't mean that their time is any less important.
  4. Last (for now) but certainly not least, if the position has been filled, remove the ad from the job search websites. Ringing on Tuesday for more information about a job that was advertised on Monday is not 'weird' or 'pathetic'. How are we to know that you filled it in-house and only advertised it because you had to? Oh and make sure your receptionist knows that you actually have advertised a job and also that she knows how to press the mute button before screaming across the office about 'another weirdo asking about some job'. If I were you, I would be advertising her job ...

I did get an interview for a position at Smith's but unfortunately it starts at 7am and with two sloth impersonators coupled with a squirrel on crack for children, I felt it may not be the best fit for our family at this time. (In other words, I would be pouring money down the drain paying school fees to a school that they would probably miss the bus to every morning, thereby negating any benefit of paying for a 'quality' education.)

I have received an email from another advertiser thanking me for my application and advising that I had passed the first level of their screening process. They will be in touch via phone sometime in the next week to arrange an interview. (Yay ... someone who is actually with the program ... the manners program!!)

There are still 9 other outstanding applications for which I have received no acknowledgement or interview request. I shall just keep applying with my fingers crossed. (I'd cross other body parts too but that just makes me look as crazy as I am seem.)

I feel like I'm stuck in a version of Donkey Kong where you have to jump over a certain number of barrels (or through metaphorical hoops) before advancing to a face-to-face meeting with the big man himself, only to slip on a banana peel at the last possible moment. I was never any good at Donkey Kong as a kid. Maybe I should have paid more attention to that and less to my books and education ...

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Spare a thought for those in Queensland

As a lot of you know, I'm originally from Queensland and still have a lot of extended family there. For those who haven't been watching the news in the past few days, there has been massive flooding in many areas of Queensland, including a freak 'inland tsunami' which took out most of Toowoomba. Here's some pictures of the damage done so far:

The flash flooding in Toowoomba

A house in Rockhampton

Rockhampton airport

People have had to be rescued from their roofs

Not sure which town this is, but can you imagine the devastation?

If you are so inclined and can spare a little, could you please donate to the Queensland government's flood appeal to help out our fellow Aussies in their time of need. Thankfully all of my family is OK but please send up a few prayers/good thoughts for those who weren't so lucky.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Out of the mouths of babes ...

I was taking the boys and Debbie's daughter to the movies today and we parked in the underground car park. As we were walking across the pedestrian crossing towards the entry doors, Bradley said "I wonder what people would do if I put road spikes all along the crossing? You know the kind with really pointy needles in it? Yeah that would be cool!"
Amy responded with "You could even put medicine in the needles for all the kids that walk on the crossing so they wouldn't have to go to the doctor's."
Then Brad came out with "Nah, not medicine. It would be better for everyone if it was sedatives for the little kids before their mums take them shopping. Would make it heaps quieter for the rest of us wouldn't it?"

Out of the mouths of babes ...

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Missing in action ...

... and oh so much action!! As is typical for most people at this time of year, we have been rather busy. Here's a brief update on some of the happenings around here:

Dec 1: Alex finished school and had his river cruise.

Dec 2: I decided to take on the rather fiddly task of making cake pops and went to Clare and Richard's for dinner for Clare's birthday.

Dec 3: Went to work and skipped out for an hour to watch Brad receive a certificate for participating in the Maths Olympiad this year.

Dec 4: Took on the even more fiddly task of making Christmas themed cake pops which turned out quite well, if I do say so myself (and I do!)

Dec 5: Had a lovely child-free High Tea at Nicola's house with Debbie, Tracey, Irene and Nicola (of course!)

Dec 6: Bradley had his Year Six Dinner Dance (to which I forgot to take my camera when dropping him off .. aaarrggh!) He came home feeling a bit under the weather due to the volume of soft drink consumed but soon perked up once home.

Dec 8: Attended Primary Praise and Thanksgiving at school and watched Brad up on stage as part of the graduating class of 2010, singing and dancing his way to the end of year 6. Upon returning home, I was unable to get into the garage due to an uninvited guest taking up residence right where my tyres would have gone ... a bobtail lizard. I didn't run him over and just left him to find his own way back from whence he came, which he did .. eventually!

Dec 9: A day when the children had great fun dressing the dog up in his blanket and turning him into "Superdog".

Dec 10: Peter arrived home and Andrew immediately pounced on him and begged to be taken to have his ear pierced. Due to school uniform rules, he's not allowed an earring at school so we had to wait until the beginning of the longest school holidays of the year before having it done, to enable it to heal sufficiently to remove the earring during the day. Apparently it didn't hurt as much as he expected it to but that didn't stop him from being very careful about removing shirts over his head for a week or two!

Dec 12: Due to Peter not being home for Christmas, we had an early Christmas with extended family. Mark, Bec and the kids, Clare and Richard, my Mum and Pete's Mum all came for a lovely lunch followed up by Christmas pudding, pavlova and more Christmas themed cake pops. All the kids (and the adults too!) had a great time opening presents and just enjoying each other's company.

Dec 13: Watched Brad playing with his new skateboard thingy ... one like a Ripstik called a Switchblade. Watched Brad fall off numerous time as he tried to get the hang of it. Rejoiced with him when he managed to a full circuit of the back pationwithout falling off!

Dec 16: Peter left to go back up to work.

Dec 17-23: Tried to organise kids and self for planned holiday at Moore River with Mum, Clare and Rich.

Dec 23: My Mum arrived to whisk the children off to Moore River for the extended long weekend. I got to stay home by myself for one night then joined them up there on Dec 24.

Dec 24-28: Enjoyed a lovely (very hot .. thank God for air conditioning!) weekend away complete with another Christmas lunch, more presents and lots of lounging around by the beach/river and at 'home' in the holiday house.

Dec 29: Washed (what seemed like) every item of linen and clothing in the house while trying to make sure I had presents organised for Peter's birthday.

Dec 30: Tried to ring and message Peter to wish him a happy birthday but he was 'feeling unwell' and 'unable to work' so his mobile phone was turned off. Eventually sat back and resolved to wish him happy birthday the next day (when he was due home) only to have him turn up at home in time for dinner. Gave him all his presents and thanked the heavens that I had the children make him his birthday cake that day instead of leaving it 'til he was actually home.

Dec 31: Had a very quiet New Year's Eve at home and was in bed by 10:30pm ... Boy are we getting old!

Jan 1: Realised it was time I started getting organised for the children to go back to school. Freaked out majorly over cost of school fees, uniforms and book lists then had to go lie down. Decided to face that after next pay day.

Jan 2-5: Did very good impersonations of a sloth and a meerkat on crack ... not at the same time obviously! The sloth was happy to just lie around, reading books and consuming whatever snack type food put in front of her. The meerkat on crack would walk into a room, spin her head around surveying the room and then bark out orders to "move this, clean that and what on earth are those and why are they there?" before scampering off to the next room. The meerkat impersonation usually only lasted a small amount of time before the sloth took over again and as a result the house still looks like the proverbial bombsite but is slowly getting better.

Now I'm off to fill out more applications for jobs and cross my fingers that I actually get an interview for at least one. Wish me luck!