Thursday, November 30, 2006


There's that karma thing again..

I think I got 'got'. Twice. In one day. *Ouch*

So I gloated about our lovely weather.. over at Northern Girl's place.. and at Fracas'. Jinx. Noone likes a smartypants, really. Even if they did mention Australia and I just jumped in and went all 'yoo hoo! yes, Australia!, it's lovely here this time of year, come on over'.

So we suffered. 40 degree heat here yesterday. (That's around 110 Farenheit I think.)
God it was hot. Would have traded for some snow and ice in an instant. The poor kids had Touch after school, and we had to turn up because Cait was meeting us there. Alison wasn't keen on going, and I only made her because it was a team sport. I dunked their shirts in water and they put them on wet. And the Landcruiser has kick-arse airconditioning. The Kids Touch (for Zoe) was cancelled, but they went ahead with the Junior games, just as a gusty southerly (ahead of a storm front) blew in. That was insane in itself, with wind gusts of up to 85 kph nearly blowing us off our feet (I'm using the Bureau of Meteorology stats here) but at least the temperature dropped at least 10 degrees in 5 minutes.

I also spruiked about a breakthrough I had with Her Highness over an issue two nights ago. Where I handled something right for a change and she didn't stomp off to bed yelling at me. I was all smugly 'Eureka, I've got it!' I'd made the breakthrough and so now all I had to do was just apply that strategy next time and every time and .. voilà .. instant mother-daughter harmony. Barely 12 hours later we had the arguing and stomping and threats that "You are lucky I even told you I wanted to do that, I could have just gone and done it and you wouldn't have known" over something I decided wasn't necessary or appropriate for her to do today. (In other words I said "No" to something she wanted to do.) You're right Northern Girl. "Slushy". Some days it flows like a river of chocolate. Some days it's ice and snow and blizzard conditions.

Did I mention here we have decided to do the NSW Big Ride again next year? Yep, most people we know think that we're craaaazzzy... but before you start casting nasturtiums (*wink*), check out these guys who are riding around America and Mexico with their twin 8 year old sons on a triplet and a single bike. (Warning: if you are hooked enough to start reading their entries, they are up to #148, so you might whittle away a few hours on a vicarious adventure. Don't forget what else it was you were going to do right now!)

Anyway, back to our measly "little" Big Ride, then. Marc decided to pull out of the Touch tournament in NZ so as to spend the time doing family stuff. It may not be long before #1 is not interested in doing stuff like that with us. He is also conscious of how much time he spends away with work. I am proud of him .. it was a shit of a decision to have to make.

(Did I mention that I missed him when he worked away?)

Did I also mention that it was hot yesterday?!! Hot enough to melt! Love this entry in the Sculptures by the Sea exhibition in Sydney in early November.
(I nicked this pic, and cropped it, from Graces' Blog. I didn't think they'd mind!)

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


La plus ça change...

Same old, same old. Phone call from Marc in KL yesterday afternoon. When he rang me on the mobile, I kind of suspected what it was about. Delayed return again. Now not back till Saturday.

(So much for the endless platitudes that emanate every year (usually at the work Christmas 'do') that they are aiming for the away work to be shared around so it isn't such an impact on those with families...)

It must depend where I am at in my biorhythms or whatever. Sometimes when this happens I get all teary. Sometimes I get really angry (and take it out on everything around me.) I used to take it out on him, but I realise that he can't help what happens, and we are stuck in this job till some epiphany happens to lead us to an alternative. (Still doesn't stop me making "comments" about how sucky it is.)

Yesterday I just sighed.. and felt really flat. Numb, really. Ripped off - yet another weekend has been stuffed up. I had been looking forward to us going in to the community ride in Coffs on Saturday morning. Never mind all the Stuff we need to talk about. House plans. Christmas holiday plans.... and the Stuff we need to do around here.

It is lucky I am not one of these super-organised housewives who have the meals planned ahead for a week - I don't even know what we are going to have tonight! (He already had the taxi booked for getting to the airport this morning, then things changed.)

It is not an ideal way to live - this working away thing. The separations. I think it pushes me into some depressive tendencies.. a daily lethargy... where I do the minimum to get us through the day - as some sort of protest or something. I don't know. (Maybe I am just looking for excuses.)
I often say that the only reason I cope with the switches from Daddy/Husband here to Daddy/Husband away is that I am so disorganised, there is no status quo to be affected.

At least I do miss him. While he has the worst housewife in the world in me, at least he has someone who, after 21 years together (17 and a half of those married), still so wants to be with him.

Lucky I have never kept a record of all the time he has spent away... I am sure it would, cumulatively, add up to more than a year... easy. That's a sad fact.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Just shoot me..

What a crazy day yesterday. Yes, I found the swimmers.

Marc and I have this theory about finding things you have lost or misplaced. A good 90% of the time they are always 'in the first place you looked'. You just never look properly the first time. (Or even the sixth time in my case yesterday.) It's amazing how many times this holds true.

So they were in the car. The first place I looked. Behind one of the folded up seats in the very back. I looked behind the one on the right hand side (where I thought I'd draped the swimmers.) I didn't look behind the one on the left hand side. I don't know why.

So I missed my swimming for no reason. I cried.

And I did a number of other very vague things in the afternoon, as we headed into town for an appointment and then the shops, to the extent that Cait and Ali were shaking their heads and saying "You're seriously losing it Mum!!!" Just before they convinced me to get takeaway KFC for dinner.

I went to bed a bit earlier last night. (Though I had to get up to take some cough medicine around 3.30 am.)

And I took myself for a walk this morning before it got too hot.. (Exercise endorphins are supposed to help,right?.) After a stint in the primary school library- at around 35 degrees outside, and no airconditioning - I would have cheerfully jumped into an ice bath.. (or teleported myself to Northern Girl's place) but I have cooled down now. Thank heavens for our house and the sea breeze we get.

And, thank heavens for little gems that you find on the internet:

This guy started out putting up little videos of him "dancing" when he was travelling overseas.. as a way of keeping in touch with family and friends. A chewing gum company saw them, and approached him (!!!) and funded more travel for more dancing! He put together this video - I guarantee it'll put a smile on your face and make everything seem right with the world for a short time at least.

His name is Matt Harding and his website is called Where the hell is Matt?

And I just found his "Where the hell WAS Matt" on YouTube. Same music, different places. Still funny, but the other one is more polished.

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 27, 2006



I don't know if that's a peculiarly Australian saying.... meaning absolutely cheesed off, mad, cranky, etc etc etc....


I just went to get into my swimmers for my swimming squad. Umm.. where are they? Ah, that's right, I threw them in the car on Saturday when we went to that BBQ.. there was a pool there, and I thought if the adults went in I'd feel like a party pooper if I didn't. Rash shirt, and swimmers got thrown into the car... The girls threw in their stuff as well... loose.. but threw everything into a bag to take in. I could have sworn I left my swimmers in the car, as they were a bit damp.

However, they are (now) not in that bag (with the rash shirt, and sunscreen), and they are not in the car. The friends who we visited aren't home (contacted S. on her mobile; she hadn't seen it, but it could have been picked up and thrown in with their stuff... she will check when she gets home.)

Too late for my swimming. Which I missed last week because of the gyno appointment. And another couple of weeks because of returning from our bike trips.

I have no other swimming costume.... Arrrgggghhhhh!!!



Doesn't take much...

... for me to be a sook. [I've realised that any non Aussie/Kiwi readers might not understand that word - so there's a dictionary link!] My throat is a bit worse than last night, and I'm coughing a bit more, and I'm a bit headachy. Nothing drastic, and I'm not crying (as the definition implies.. you can actually be a sook in many ways.. and in my case, today, it's just using it as an excuse not to get stuck in to the vacuuming...)

I was up till 1am. Ridiculous! I know, I know. I was kind of hoping Marc would come online.. or rather, come back from being 'away'. He did, at around 11.30.. then said he was having a shower. I sat here playing Freecell.. then at 12.20 I shot off a "long shower eh?". Oops.. he was talking to his colleague (they are living in an apartment.)

So I spent the next 15 minutes grumbling about how stupid it is that we live like this.. him away, me hanging about the computer hoping to catch a bit of him when I can. Every now and then I have a cranky attack about the whole thing... usually on a weekend. It didn't help that he was supposed to be home yesterday, and is delayed. The extra few days just take it over the edge for me.. psychologically. And this one will only be 2 and a half weeks in total (with 2 and a half weekends stuffed up) ... How the hell did I handle the frequent 4 week/6 week trips? (and the 3 month one back in about 2001.)

So, yes. Up till 1am. Kids also went to bed late because I let them stay up to watch the Australian Idol final. Strangely enough I slept through the alarm and radio... woke up at 7.50 (Cait needs to catch bus at 8.15.) No, of course she wasn't up. And I hadn't ironed uniforms.. doh! Did that, and I was *ahem*.. in the bathroom.. when I hear (from 2 floors up) the 'proverbial' hitting the fan. Much shouting and then stomping.. all the way up to me. Zoe has unthinkingly used up the last of the low fat milk, AND all but a dribble of the full cream milk (that Caitlin insists on having). Cait wouldn't consider using my 'no fat', and spent 10 minutes of precious time chucking a wobbly about it. I don't know what she thought would be achieved... it wasn't as if (from my position on the loo!) I was going to be able to wave my magic wand and make a carton of full cream milk appear in the next 6o seconds. I could berate Zoe for not thinking... particularly as she can cope with no-fat milk. And I berated the lot of them for blithely having Actavite and milk last night for 'dessert'... and not considering whether there would be enough left for breakfast. But it wasn't going to miraculously produce milk.

And it's probably why I have the headache on top of the scratchy throat and cough. It's all so trivial in the whole scheme of things, and pretty normal teenager behaviour, but it has the capacity to send you nuts.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, November 26, 2006


The big picture and the little picture...

"If a government wanted to figure out how best to defend the country, it wouldn’t hold an inquiry into the air force. It would hold an inquiry into … defence. So if a government wanted to figure out how to plan for responsible energy consumption in an age of climate change you’d assume it would hold an inquiry into energy consumption. Instead, the Australian government holds an inquiry into … nuclear energy." newsletter 22/11/06
Yes indeed. It was something that had been bothering me, but I hadn't been able to put my finger on it. Just one more current political.. issue.. that leaves me staggered.


Ah, but, you didn't think you'd be reading political comment here did you. It's another side of me that I haven't given much airing to on here. Usually I'm too mired in the everyday trivial stuff, but I actually do have a reasonably active political conscience, even if I'm not so good at expressing myself in that department, or doing anything constructive about it. Amongst the blogging and reading of blogs, I do spend some time reading the papers (online, and on Saturdays the old-fashioned way.) And I am cheered by the intelligent blogging emanating from the States.. it is hard not to lose hope when they put Bush in as President .. (and Australia has continued to put the morally bankrupt Howard in as prime minister.) Sometimes lately it is tempting to do the proverbial ostrich.. but I can't let myself lose touch with the bigger picture. Expect more quotes.


However. The little picture. Today has been a lazy day. Biiig sleep in. Couple of loads of washing, which I am keeping an eye on because of some ominous clouds building up. Drove Caitlin to a friend's place (she'd have to have a school friend who lives just about in Coffs and not round the corner...)

I've caught up with the washing up. (What an admission that is...)

I've looked at the vacuum cleaner a few times and said to myself "I really should get that out."

I've put the cricket on the telly because it makes it feel like Marc is home. And it's always good to watch Australia flogging England, no matter what the sport.

Marc is finally online (on Skype).. at the office on a Sunday I gather, because their internet at their apartment is mucking up. However he is 'away'. I am tempted not to wander too far away from the computer, despite the call of the vacuum cleaner, in case we get a chance to chat. Such is my life when he is away.

I am checking the time and wondering when it is appropriate to switch from coffee to a beer.

I have checked the tide times, and I *think* I will take a walk up the beach in a couple of hours.. when it is getting closer to low tide.

I am fighting off a sore throat/cough thing.

I let the younger two go to the park, with money for an icecream at the shop. Got sick of Alison's hang dog face... despite the fact that I was so cranky with the state of their bedroom yesterday - discovered when she was already at a birthday party. She says it is cleaned up, but I didn't even have the energy to go up and inspect.

I *could* start thinking about Christmas plans!

Labels: , ,

Saturday, November 25, 2006


So what meal is that?

If you get an invitation to someone's place.. for a surprise birthday bbq for another friend... for 1.00, what meal do you assume it's for?

If you thought lunch (a late lunch) like me.. then you are wrong! We are all a bit out of whack here tonight... and that's saying something for a family that is capable of sleeping in and not having breakfast till 11am... and lunch at 3.00!

Not that we starved; there were biscuits and cheese, and chips, ... and at around 3.00 they brought out some garlic prawns - split and done in the oven somehow. So I wasn't starving, but poor Zoe didn't get to eat them because I had to take her to a ballet dress rehearsal at 3.15, and a friend at the gathering did her hair and makeup for me - before the prawns were served.

So there I was thinking I was going to miss out on the food while I did the ballet run... and I actually chose to come back (a 10 min drive each way) rather than sit at the hall for an hour... and then go back and pick her up. When we got back after 4.30, we hadn't missed a thing!

So I guess it was an 'early' dinner.. somewhere around 5.30/6.00 by the time the meat was cooked... We've just got home at nearly 8.00.. and the kids are telling me they are hungry! "But you just had dinner!" ... "Yeah, but we've only had 2 meals today!"

I'm confess I'm a bit confused as well. Must remember to clarify that sort of thing next time. Otherwise it was a pleasant afternoon; the birthday girl was mid-60s, and had never had a birthday party in her honour. (She is our netball club/association 'matriarch'). So she was pretty chuffed about it.

And after a few wines (after I didn't have to drive on the highway)... I'm almost ready for bed myself. (And at least my asian crunchy noodle salad was polished off..)

Labels: ,

Friday, November 24, 2006


Anxious? Who me?

I didn't realise I was that anxious about it.. but after mentioning my trip to the gyno to my M.I.L. who said "Oh that's another worry".. or something similar.. I think I started to wind myself up. You know that lying-in-bed-mind-running-riot -I'm-going-to-die-of-cancer kind of winding yourself up.

I should have taken my cue from the doctor. She had said she would send me a letter about the results. If she was that worried, she'd have been phoning, wouldn't she?

So I decided to ring today, and the wonderful receptionist was wonderful about it, and found the letter in the pile ready to go out, and read it to me, and it was all ok as expected.

I got off the phone and burst into tears - of relief. Chump.

I continue to be overwhelmed at how great the receptionists there are. I must have struck too many receptionist nazis in my past to be this grateful.. but I am.

Tree man hasn't rung me back. This is what has to be cleared. I went round to inspect it more closely, thinking I could at least pull it off the neighbour's fence, but no way.. much too heavy.


Thursday, November 23, 2006


As the days go by...

I've achieved a few things this week. A few more things crossed off the list.. only the list remains static as inevitably new Things That Must Be Done are added to it. It will blow out when I finally turn my attention to The Christmas Plans... however I've been avoiding that particular issue all week, and might just wait till at least Sunday before getting all hot and bothered about it.

The girls are starting to count down till end of year excursions and camps. (Cait to Dreamworld; Alison to a school camp for 5 days.) When Cait mentions how many days till Christmas I block it out. Don't want to know yet.

Meantime. This week. Cargo barrier. Tick! (No more Bob sagas...) 5 new tyres for Landcruiser. Tick! (Big bucks on credit card. Tick!) Helped at school library. Tick. Haircut. Tick. Line up friend (whose daughter is in Zoe's ballet class) to do Zoe's makeup and hair for me* for dress rehearsal this weekend. Tick.

Neighbour who lives diagonally behind us (and next to the vacant block that is directly behind us) called around tonight to tell me that a branch from a big gum tree along our back fence had broken off and fallen into the vacant block. (A bit close to his fence.) New list item: arrange for tree lopper to come round, cut it up and cart away, as well as pruning other branches. More expenses for this week. Tick.

Marc reminded me tonight about getting the rego check on the cruiser. Oops. Forgot that was the reason behind the big rush on the tyres. Better write that on the list for tomorrow.

Other jobs for next few days:

That thing on the list I keep ignoring and putting off till "tomorrow". The 'clean this house' item. Yeah, that one.

Zoe's ballet dress rehearsal.

Work on stiff upper lip. As forecast, his return home has been delayed till midweek - which means not getting home till Thursday - which is one whole week away still. Not too happy about that one.


* A ballet mum I am not. I've just managed with hair and make up in the past, but she is at a bigger studio, and the hair and makeup instructions were just a bit daunting for me. (Brown eyeshadow with white highlights. Eyeliner. Meh... I can't even put eyeliner on myself. I fail Ballet Mum 101. Lucky I'm friends enough with another mum now to be ok about being hopeless and asking for help! )

Labels: ,

Wednesday, November 22, 2006



Not what you think. I mainly use that term to describe what I do to myself on a daily basis. Regarding what I shouldn't eat. And what I shouldn't drink. And why I stuff it up. Ah, and I was doing well today. I stopped myself buying chocolates or coke in the supermarket - and ate a nectarine instead. Hi fives to me. Feeling very virtuous. You can do this, Tracey, you can do this. Then I got home from the shops and had 'just one' biscuit (cookie) with a coffee. I had bought a pack of these 'homemade' style ones from the bakery section of Woollies. For the kids. Because they nag about not having nice stuff for afternoon tea. It had bits of Mars Bars in them. Mmmm. Then I had another one. And then I felt ick. And tonight I've had more. And I sabotage myself along those lines all the time. Idiot!

Somehow, today, the term sabotage seemed apt for something I felt like doing to a place I passed a few times. I am a bit bitter and twisted little puppy about an experience I had [*more than a year ago now] and I wish I had had the guts to be proactive about it at the time! Yeah, yeah, so this is another woe is me Tracey moment. (In perspective of course... but sometimes it's the little things.) So.. how would you feel about a salon where the owner, when doing an eyebrow wax, took half your eyebrow off and didn't tell you. And you didn't realise till spotting yourself in the mirror that night around bedtime! When I say half, I mean laterally... ie. my left eyebrow finished about in the middle of where it should have. And after that appointment I'd wandered happily around the shops and probably taken the girls to some activity.. and THERE I WAS WITH HALF AN EYEBROW.

Now, get this. When I rang the next morning, she said she knew! She knew and didn't tell me! All she could offer me was for me to come in (yeah right, another 25km trip to town - and it was then the weekend) and she could draw it in with eyebrow pencil. I didn't go back, ever. But I did have to suppress the urge to go in during the next week and stand outside their door making a scene to warn off potential customers. If she lost even one customer then that might be appropriate retribution.

I guess that's the sort of thing that might upset anybody... but I was particularly cheesed because I felt that she didn't really care because I am not at all 'glam'. Maybe that is just my paranoia, but I'm a bit of a fish out of water in a beauty salon. I had only started getting my eyebrows done fairly recently.. believe it or not. Bit of a dag's midlife crisis to start doing that after turning 40. (I was a bit miffed that Marc never noticed that I had started getting it done! - but I suppose you do that sort of stuff for yourself more than anything.)

I may have been able to move on and get over it, except that, since then, I've seen in the local paper that this particular salon has won awards! It's in a part of town I don't go to that often, but today I happened to walk past it several times, and they have advertising out the front proclaiming proudly about all the awards they have won. And it still makes me grind my teeth and mutter to myself.

And, while the idea of a rock through the window holds some merit, what I'd really really like to do is sabotage the business. Stand out the front and hand out pamphlets or something.

Pity I'm so gutless! I'd be scared of getting arrested!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


A girl's got to have a good gynaecologist.

Did I really just put that as a heading?

What about:
Why I am choosing to do a 5 hour return drive to go to a gynaecologist.

It does seem a bit crazy.. (and I know at least one other mum looked at me as if I was insane when I mentioned that I'd gone to Port for this minor surgery back in August instead of seeing someone locally.)

I never used to be particularly concerned about having to have a female doctor for all 'that stuff'. In the past I had my share of pap smears by male doctors, and with my first two pregnancies I saw a male obstetrician, and I thought he was great. And by far the best midwife I had (for Alison's birth) was a male. I could wax lyrical about him all day. Superlative. By far the easiest delivery of the three, and a lot of that was down to his support (despite the fact that I fainted twice when I was in labour because I'd been throwing up from a gastric bug till 10pm the night before!)

Then I moved up here.. fell pregnant with Zoe, and, seeing the previous pregnancy had only gone to 19 weeks, I was understandably just a bit fragile. And, like, super-paranoid.

The GP referred me to a particular obstetrician (who happened to be male) - who 'didn't have a good bedside manner' but was 'an excellent obstetrician'. Damn right about the bedside manner. His attitude throughout the pregnancy was pretty 'detached'. Wasn't interested in all in how I was handling the pregnancy emotionally. Then for the birth, I was, this time, only a medicare patient, and I was the responsibility of the doctor on call. He only turned up an hour after she was born. I tore pretty badly.. and he stitched me up as if I was a piece of meat.. at one point turning to the nurse (because I was reacting to the needle, imagine that...) and said 'Don't you believe in using gas around here?' and, to the registrar who was observing.. "Some use a small needle for this, but I choose to use a large one so it doesn't get lost in the vagina." Marc was sitting helpless in the corner because they'd shoved the baby in his arms. I sobbed the rest of the way through it, on gas, and so when it was over, and I was taken to my room and the nurse put his name down on the sign as my doctor, I was verging on hysterical: "I_don't _want_that_man_anywhere_near_ me_ again." (She changed it.)

The first hospital visit I got from the other obstetrician I'd been seeing was a 'nod' across the common room. (You're alive? Fine. Goodbye.) I then got mastitis; he did see me.. and prescribed stuff.. and I recall sitting in the hospital bed with him standing there, debating whether I was well enough (physically and emotionally) to go home. And he said "Well, I can't stand here talking to you all day".

Needless to say, I didn't go back to him ever again. I took myself and baby to a GP who did obstetrics for the 6 week check up.

I'd never needed a gyno again till recently... and believe it or not I didn't think much of the choice I had round here. Dr 'Can't Stand Here All Day' had retired. Dr "Blood" (as I later heard he was referred to as) was not an option. I'd heard good and bad about another .. but I just couldn't face one more male doctor.

When the Women's Health nurse recommended this woman gyno in Port, I said YES. 3 hours to Port? Who cares.

And, thank the stars I did. She is so wonderful. I could just hug her. I know when Marc drove me down there for the op in August he was wondering about this crazy choice I'd made.. but as soon as he met her afterwards, he simply said "Now I understand."

And yesterday's follow-up appointment; a pap-smear, and a 'look'.. and she ended up doing a biopsy.. which she warned me wasn't going to be 'nice'.. But she was so caring and apologetic throughout. "I'm so sorry about this..." And she said at one point "It's no fun being a woman sometimes is it?" Empathy has a lot going for it.

And she gives you all the facts and reasons. She's straight with you about the whys and wherefores.

And boy do I need someone like that.

And on top of that, the receptionist has been just fantastic in regard to fitting me in with appointments that will work with the drive there and back. I thanked her yesterday too. She was a bit taken aback, but I meant it. You don't actually come across that many specialist's receptionists that are that helpful and understanding. The total package at that place makes it worth the 5 hour drive.

Meantime, the biopsy was to be absolutely sure.. some slight "anomalies" but no other 'pre-cancerous' indicators. I asked her straight out how concerned she was, and she said 'I'm not, but it's best to be sure'. So I am optimistic. I might have to have some cauterisation type thing done.. (I hope not though.. that option means 6 weeks of bleeding, but no tampons, and so no swimming!) Fingers crossed though, that everything is ok. At least I feel like I am good hands. The total package. And that, these days, is just so underrated.


Monday, November 20, 2006


Fate, karma.. and reality checks

I won a competition! I've won an entry in the Big Ride.!

I think it depends who I tell as to the reaction.

Told some other tandem riders (on a yahoo groups site), and they are all like 'woo hoo, congratulations'! Told the girls at the netball committee meeting tonight and they just went 'riiiight' in a 'you call that a prize?' kind of way.

I was driving back from Port today when I got the call from Bicycle NSW on my mobile. My immediate thought (after the Oh My God, I won something!) was 'Oh boy, this makes things a bit complicated.. for Marc'. The only reason we hadn't signed up to do it all again (and I have it documented in that journal that he was already ready to sign up for next year at the Finish line) is that he wasn't paying attention to the different dates for next year's ride, and made himself available to be selected in this Australian Mens Over 40s Touch side to play in New Zealand next March. And it clashes.

He already has the clock ticking over making a decision - the Touch people need to know. They already had to make a case for not participating in the "compulsory" 10 day tour associated with it. And he knows I'm not really keen.. because it's a one person thing vs a whole family thing. and I reckon the Big Ride kind of had dibs. And we just bought the triplet so it would be a shame not to use it.. and .... and we now know quite a lot of people who will be on it ... and ra, ra, ra.

I spent the rest of the drive home barely able to wipe the smile from my face BECAUSE I WON SOMETHING - GO ME!... and worrying about being able to claim it.

I told Marc it was Fate.

(So far he has suggested - flippantly - that we go for the first half without him... Cait and Ali on one tandem (hah!).. and Zoe and me on another. One of the Sydney tandem guys suggested that I'd be fine doing it myself - he'd just have some logistical issues involved in taking the girls with him (to NZ) Hah! to that too.

So there you go... Fate. Karma.. whatever.

Now.. about my reality check on the weekend. Let's see if I can be more succinct than I was when I attempted to write about it yesterday. Alison was invited to go shopping with 3 other friends, by a newish friend who was wanting to do something a bit belatedly for her birthday. I finally got to talk to her Nan (who she lives with) about what was happening (wanting to be sure about supervision).. and she asked if it was ok if the girls went to visit Ali's friend's mum in hospital first. I was aware that her mum was in hospital, but to my shame hadn't paid much attention to the circumstances. She has a muscular wasting disease of some sort... needs to be on a ventilator.

Ah gee. No, of course I didn't mind. Aside from the physical ramifications, imagine as a mother being in hospital.. and not knowing your daughter's friends. And all that. Each time I went to speak to Alison about it I got all choked up.

Like I said. Reality check. With a pointy stick.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, November 19, 2006



New look. Thanks to daughter #1 who is becoming a bit of a whizz with the graphics. She's left me for dead now. Still tweaking the colours of headings and links... and she hasn't finished the masthead yet... still got a few more ideas of stuff we want to put on it. She spends way too much time on the computer these days, but I guess at least she is teaching herself some very useful skills.

I spent most of the morning doing a post, then lost it when something went weird with the internet connection (or possibly just the blogger connection.) I was a bit peeved about that. But as the post had been about a particular Reality Check I'd experienced this weekend, I couldn't let myself get too stressed about it.

I'll expand on that during the week.. when I find the time to get it all down again.

Must go to bed. I need to be organised in the morning. I have to drive to Port for a gynaecologist appointment. A few hours driving involved there... Then I back up in the evening for a netball committee meeting. I managed to get the minutes done today, but there is some outstanding correspondence I must tackle - before the meeting preferably, so I don't look like the complete slacko that I have been.

We had our first beach swim of the season this weekend. The girls went in yesterday afternoon - and I wished I did because the water was amazingly warm. So I went in with them this arvo. Even managed to catch a few waves in, despite the surf being a bit messed up with an onshore breeze. Just feeling a bit guilty that we did it without Marc. What he would give for a swim in the surf instead of the stress of the work in a grimy Asian city away from his family.


Friday, November 17, 2006


Recalling a freak out moment...

I was just reading a post by Northern Girl about feeling all weird and uncomfortable about going to the loo when a male was in the Ladies and using the other cubicle. (Open door - ewww!)

That story slammed back the memory of a real freak out moment I had, as a parent, back in July this year.

As a background to my paranoia, the most gut wrenching and awful murder had been in the news only a few days beforehand, and parents round the country were reeling from it. An 8 year old girl had been in a shopping centre in Perth with her uncle and a brother. She'd skipped off to go to the Ladies - and never came back. They got worried, and a search finally found her body in the Disabled toilet. She had been raped and brutally murdered.

I'm pretty sure I speak for most parents in that we are always extra vigilant about our kids going to the loos in public parks and the like. But I know that in a big shopping centre I have let my kids - as young as 6 or 7 even - go to the toilet themselves. Shopping centre, lots of people around... always well lit, etc etc. Surely it's safe. No wonder the Australian public were in shock.

I tried not to let the above case make me ridiculously paranoid... and just determined to be a bit more watchful of them when they used public toilets anywhere. Any parent knows that eternal dilemma about letting the apron strings out (and when) despite all the godawful stories you hear.

Days later, at the beginning of school holidays, we travelled down to Newcastle for Caitlin's rep netball (State Age)... Cait wasn't with us, she was with the team, so it was just Marc, me and the younger two (then 7 and nearly 11).
We'd booked into a motel attached to a pub with a bistro, and we went to the bistro for dinner.
Like many pubs, the family bistro dining area is separate, but adjacent to the public bar. We were eating our dinner, and the girls needed to go to the loo.. so.. watching the door of the Ladies from.. oh.. maybe 15 metres away (max).. I continued my meal, talking to Marc. I can't remember now but I may have even been telling him about my paranoia about letting them go to the loo themselves since that awful event. He had been away overseas, and then away locally (we had actually had to drive down and meet him at this place at the end of a work field trip) so he tended to miss out on a lot of current affairs.

Next thing Alison comes out of the loos, without Zoe, shaking her wet hands, and she says to me "There's a man in the toilets!"

OMG, I don't think I have ever moved so fast.

I met Zoe on the way out, and they filled me in. There had been a man standing outside the stalls talking on mobile phone, but he wasn't there anymore. I went through.. it turned out there were two entrances to the toilets.. one from the bistro, and one from the public bar - and each entrance had its own basin area.. but the stalls were common.

There was no man there anymore. He had obviously taken a call on his phone in the bar.. couldn't hear, and absentmindedly walked into the wrong toilets in an attempt to get somewhere quiet.

My stomach was churning, though, and I had the tears welling up. I had to do something, so I went to the bar, and reported it. "In the light of recent events, I just thought you should know..." The poor security guy was sent on a wild goose chase, and I knew it wasn't achieving anything.. but I still didn't stop shaking for a while.

I think Marc thought I was over-reacting. Maybe it was just a mother thing. Maybe he was more numb to it because he hadn't been in the country when that particular news story broke.

We did talk to the girls about handling weird situations like that though. Told them if they ever EVER saw a man in any Ladies loos to just turn and run and get one of us. Even if they are busting. And to always go with someone. 99% of the time it will be as innocuous a reason as our experience. But don't take chances.

And so you have to let them continue to go to the loos in "safe" places... They need to grow up being able to be reasonably independent, but with some street 'smarts'. By the time they are in high school (or younger) they might be going away on school or sport trips. And you won't be there to hold their hand every inch of the way.

And men should watch which bloody toilets they go into so they don't send women prematurely grey.


Thursday, November 16, 2006


Priorities, priorities...

Which would be more important? Making a dent in the bomb site that is this house.. or playing around with the layout of your blog? "Playing around" being the operative word(s).

Like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Actually.. when I think about it, it's very similar to the approach I take with the housework!

A bit here, a bit there. Don't do a proper job, because you're bogged down with the idea of the time commitment it will involve. A 'lick and a spit'... "Next time I'll do a full on clean... just not today.. I don't have the time.. because...." (Because....?) .... "Got to get round to taking those curtains down and hemming them." (They've only been hanging, pins going rusty, hems sagging, for.. oh... nearly 2 years now....) "Only.. not today. Before I do something that major, I need to clear my sewing table... and really, before I do that, I should do a spring clean of the linen closet so I can fit stuff in that's hanging round in the way of the sewing table.. but, before I do that, the place really needs a full on, proper vacuum from top to bottom, and the windows need cleaning, but before I do that I should get on top of the kitchen mess... and... and....."

So.. today I was doing just a quick fiddle with the layout, and playing around with what I really want the blog to be called.. (and reading other blogs and deciding I'm a piddly fish in a big sea of very clever bloggers.. so it's barely worth it.. but... anyway..)

I am putting off the bigger job of going to a better template, or even biting the bullet and learning about something like Wordpress... Because I feel guilty about the household jobs I'm not doing you see. (And stuff like the netball committee minutes and some letters I should write for that..)

So I spend an hour on the name/header, and exchanging a pic of me for one of my ironing basket (?!).. (and nearly forget to pick Zoe up from ballet..) And then another hour tonight tearing my hair out over why IE and Firefox handle the sizing of the sidebar and main column differently. What in god's name possessed me to go changing the picture to a wider one? And I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS BLOGGY HTML CODE STUFF when it behaves differently in different browsers!

So, whatever... I'm leaving it. It's clunky.. But it's .. adequate.

Meanwhile. Back in the real world:

I am missing my husband. Who is working his butt off on this project in KL. Must try not to start counting days, as the ETD so often gets put back, but I tend to ignore the little voice in my head reminding me not to count my chickens till he's on the plane and instead fix the date (weekend after this) in my head that he's made the tentative return booking for.. and set myself up for disappointment. Every. Single. Time. Not saying it's been put back yet. It's early days. But I already want him back.

The weather is insane. Yesterday it was 32 degrees. Today it maxed at 17. (And that was warm compared to places south of us - *Reminder.. we are a couple of weeks off the official start of summer!* ) But, relatively speaking, it still felt COLD. This morning I was Thinking About going for a walk... (or mowing the yard) and by the time I Really Really Thought about it, I heard thunder.. and then it rained.

I did sort clean laundry. Gold star please. See, I'm the type that has an ironing pile and a sorting pile that erupts in a shield volcano manner - like Mt Kilauea in Hawaii - with a lava flow of clothes bubbling over and spreading out all over the floor (we have a large bedroom area) - and converging with each other until you can't see the floorboards for clothes; the ones that were in the ironing basket, and the undies and socks etc that were in anothe pile. They get mixed up, you can't find a damn thing you need, and you can't get to the verandah door without jumping over it all. I am trying to get on top of this.. And if I manage to have the clean laundry sorted within a day of it coming off the line, then that's major league pat-yourself-on-the-back material. See.. it's not so hard, Tracey. You could make a habit of this... like normal people do....

And I did go into town to pick up the sketches for the possible house extensions. And I brought forward my chiropractic appointment (in the hope that he could do something about the weird nagging pain I'm getting in my thigh.. sort of lateral quadriceps.. and normal quad stretches don't do anything...) I had hoped the tyre place would ring and I could have had the new tyres put on, but of course they didn't call till after I left home. Typical. That will have to happen next week now.

No major kid dramas today. One got up early off her own bat to prepare palm cards for some talk she was supposed to give in library class about bushrangers. A talk she "forgot" about till about 9.45 last night (an hour after she'd been sent to bed..).. and got the Unsympathetic Mother treatment despite tearing up about it. (She got up early... did her research on the internet (so I figured - the computers were on).. wrote out stuff on little palm cards.. and then left them at home!!! I don't know whether there were tears at school about it.. but she just casually told me tonight. "So what did you do?" ..."I wrote them out again at school."..."Good oh." (Category: Tough Love - "Learning to take responsibility" and "Mum is sick to death of this 'forgetting about stuff until one hour after bedtime" shenanigans."

Youngest had tears the night before last over school stuff. This week's "News" segment involved "entertaining" the class with something. (The things they do! - glad i'm not a Year 2 student these days.) She had decided to do some sort of card trick - but hadn't thought it through - and got a panic attack over it. After much sobbing well past her bedtime (theme of the week it seems), I advised that the best course of action was to ask the teacher if she could do it the next day. So she did. And last night Alison taught her a trick she'd read about in a book. And Caitlin helped her set it up .. and they both helped her work out the best way to present it... and we all lived happily ever after till the next crisis.

Her class is preparing for the Infants Dept musical, and year 2 is doing some version the teacher has written of A Partridge in a Pear Tree. They auditioned last week for the speaking roles.. and she had high expectations of getting one of those parts. And she has apparently been tentatively cast as "Me" (playing opposite "My True Love") She told me this afternoon (on our way back from ballet) that she was pretty sure she'd get one of the parts.. ".. because I'm one of the .. talented ones."

*Mum splutters....*

I casually mentioned that saying about not going out in the wind.. (because of the tickets blowing off..).. but the reality is that she's not got a big head about it. Just matter of fact. "There was only about 10 of us who read with EXPRESSION, Mum... so I figured we'd all get those parts."

Fair enough. My gorgeous girl. Who you wouldn't now recognise from the 4 year old who used to be so shy she hid from her own grandparents.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Fun's over..

On my List is a long overdue "mother clean up" of the kids' rooms and playrooms.

I hadn't intended to start that quite today, but while I was emptying the waste paper bins from the bedrooms, I decided to have a bit of a poke around Caitlin's room.

And I've only scratched the surface. They have been warned that if they don't clean up, I'll get in their rooms at some point in the near future, and have a big throw out.

Guess the future has just arrived.

And on the other bedroom floor is a mix of clean and dirty clothes... I've ventured no further than collecting dead tissues that never made the wastepaper bin. Alison's school uniform from Monday was amongst the debris. Did I or did I not recently have words with her about not putting stuff in the wash? Question is, how to deal. She has enough school uniforms, courtesy of hand-me-downs, to get away with them missing a wash... I'm at my wit's end as to how to get her to complete that simple chore. Never mind the towels not hung up in the bathroom, and all the other stuff lying around everywhere.

I know, I know... mea culpa... I've not brought them up to be tidy freaks... because I am not myself... but, as I have said many times.. THEY ARE TAKING ME OVER THE EDGE!

(Maybe not as bad as these two pics that arrived in my email inbox this morning as one of those forwarded emails... with the title "Should I get a dog or have a child?")

Suppose I should be thanking my lucky stars...



What's the party ?

Phone call this morning. It's old mate, Bob of the Cargo Barriers. [ref: last few posts] Yes, they finally have a price for freight. Total added up to less than the quote from the other dealer at Port Macquarie, so I said "Order it!"

Got off the phone and went "Yay!" in a bit of a Kermit take-off.

Zoe emerged from upstairs and asked "What's the party about?"

'What party?' I ask, and then, with Caitlin in support, break into a rendition of 'Hot, hot, hot' as we samba round the kitchen (what can I say.. when I'm overtired, I get a touch manic...) till Cait yelps . "Ouch.... I flicked myself in the eye with my ponytail!"

No sympathy, just mirth, from her mother, who isn't into the whole long hair thing.

Zoe is still bemused, so I explain the saga of the Bobs and the Cargo Barrier quote.

Caitlin then relates having done the same thing with her ponytail while playing netball yesterday afternoon. More shaking of head and smirking from mum. Like 'ha, ha, well, you do insist on having long hair...' kind of Unsympathy.

So she says "Can I get my hair cut?"

I stagger back, clutching my heart... because I've experienced much fallout in the past when I've dragged her in to get her hair trimmed. This is great material for a mother to work with. I get the rolled eyes at my poor acting... and then:

"Still a ponytail Mum... not a bob."

*boom, tish*

I am easily amused some days. Until Zoe informs me my face is going all red from laughing.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Not the Christmas post.... yet...

.. I was too busy today taming 'Contact' to think about it - 'Contact' as in the generically referred to brand of self-adhesive, clear, book covering stuff that I usually avoid like the plague. Now I've decided to be a library volunteer, I have to use the stuff... (Last couple of years I resorted to covering the kids school books in non-adhesive plastic because I get in such a mess with the contact.) I spent a few hours in the school library, and got to do exciting stuff like repair a grand total of three books and type up some labels for some shelf markers. With the contact, as usual I ended up with one side sticking to another side - and I was only using small pieces. You should see me when I try to cover a whole book.

It didn't seem like I achieved much, but I suppose every little bit counts, and I can feel that in the absence of doing any paid work anywhere, I am contributing to my community. (Despite the fact that I know mums who work AND put more time in helping up at the school than what I do - What's wrong with them, I wonder? I suppose they just haven't discovered the world of blogging, and the intellectual stimulation reading and writing blogs for hours a day can bring.)

So anyway - if I stick to this (hah! very 'punny') - I might end up becoming expert in the highly sought after occupation of library book repairs.

I also contributed to my local community today by standing in the netball clubhouse for over an hour this afternoon; selling a few lollies to kids, and ringing the hooter at the appropriate time, and trying to answer questions about a twilight social netball comp that I didn't organise myself. And I played bad cop, by growling at kids who were playing in the loos.

I am trying to talk up the virtuosity of it all, and divert attention from the state of my house. Is it working?

So, yeah... um... no more news from any of the Bobs today (still wondering why it is so hard to get a price on a cargo barrier)... but I did order the tyres after due consultation with Marc in KL last night. And the Building Designer rang - Marc and I went to see him last Friday - and he's done some more rough sketches for extending the living area down on this ground floor. I'll pick them up this week, and I guess I'll scan them in, email them to Marc, and we'll talk about them when we can. If I leave it till he comes home, it will just prolong the whole process... and it's been prolonged enough over the years we've not got round to doing anything about it. (see, there's another thing on the List of Things That Must Be Done that can be marked In Progress.)

Household domestics just never seem to get crossed off the List - they are just constantly In Progress. Partly because I keep putting stuff off till 'tomorrow'. But mostly because I find cleaning, and putting stuff away, mind sappingly boring, and it never stays done for more than a day. Vacuum and mop the floor? By the time the kids have been home half an hour, you wouldn't know it had been done. The mowing will stay 'done' for longer than the vacuuming, so no prizes for guessing which I'll be most inclined to do first tomorrow! Which I'll be all bright eyed and bushy tailed about because I have gone to bed so early again .. NOT.

And there's the Christmas thing to start stressing about as well...

Monday, November 13, 2006


Parlez-vous All Terrain Tyre-ese?

After spending a good part of the morning making phone calls to various tyre dealers, I can now talk 4WD Tyrish. (Or is it Tyre-ese?) Passably, at any rate, although I still use the 'My husband has given me the job of ringing around' line, to cover any technical inadequacies I might put across. It's sad that I play the 'female' card, but it works. And then you can blow them away when you can ask intelligent questions and sound like you know what you're talking about.

I got better as I progressed, to the point where I felt qualified to make a "pffft" type judgement on a place that didn't automatically give me the information I needed. (What do you mean I can only get Highway tread in that size of tyre? - What about the 265/75 R16 ATR which can substitute for a 275/70?) Consumer power, yeah, go me. Reports have been made to Marc via email, and scheduled for Skype discussion some time later today. The deadline for 4 new tyres for the Landcruiser is 24th November, when it will need to pass rego.

So I am onto it, and feeling all so efficient. I even compiled the information in a 2 page Word doc, printed it out, and highlighted stuff. PA of the month here. And despite feeling like I'd wasted the morning sitting on my backside, I have at least made progress on one of the items on the list of Things I Must Do This Week.

The saga continues with the acquisition of the cargo barrier. Remember Bob? He got someone else to ring back last Wednesday.. Marc took that call when he was home early that day, and I was out rescuing kids from a thunderstorm at Touch. They have a price for the barrier, but still need to confirm the freight. Five days later they are still unable to get that component of the final price because the one and only dude at the distributing company that deals with the freight aspect has been off sick. My god, it's not as if it's rocket science, or an issue of high national security. I'm constantly amazed at the places I strike where the absence of one employee brings sales (or dealing with customer complaints) to a grinding halt. (And why a price doesn't automatically include freight I don't know...)

So, more waiting. I rang today to hassle them.. and they were chasing it up today. At least they rang back this afternoon and left a message that they haven't forgotten about it.

Tomorrow I intend to make a speedy trip to town to make some t-shirt exchanges (Cait's twilight comp netball team.. story behind them is worth a post unto itself, but I am realising that you can't detail every little drama in your everyday life.) I forgot to take said t-shirts on Friday AND Sunday. *le sigh*

Then I am going to turn up at the school library to do book repairs. I've been feeling guilty about my lack of involvement in the school this year, so it's a last ditch effort to make amends before the end of the year.

This week the grass will need mowing - I insisted to Marc that I could do it and he should spend Saturday doing other stuff. We've had a lot of rain, with warm, humid weather in between, so the grass is going ballistic. How I wish I could send some of this precipitation west where it's needed.

The other major thing on my mind (apart from the extreme lengths to which I go to (on an everyday basis) to put off the normal, everyday domestics) is that I will have to start planning for Christmas. And which, unlike most normal people, stresses me out to the max. I am an insane mix of 'I Hate Christmas' and ' Must Make Personally Produced Greetings and Presents.' I am also OIC Present Buying (it was written in the fine print in our marriage contract apparently).. and of Packing to go away without overloading the car with too many bags of this, that and the other.

The tension is mounting, and I'm ripe for a big whingey post on my Christmas Blues. Soon. Very Soon. Before I fall into a screaming heap of gibberish over it all and come over all incomprehensible about it.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


It's the sleep thing...

I wonder if it's possible to turn a night owl into a morning person?

It's not actually crazy to get up with the sun. What's crazy is to only give yourself 5 hours sleep before doing so. So yesterday morning, when the alarm went off at 5 am.. (Less than a week later than doing it for the Gong Ride - what am I doing?) I did carry on a bit like a pork chop, giving Marc something to hassle me about for a while.

And I know there's plenty of people who routinely get up at that hour. That Ungodly Hour! Good for them. (Good for you!) I've just never done mornings. Happy to stay up till after midnight, without wilting. But wake me up while it's still dark, and I feel like death warmed up.

So yesterday morning I stomped round a bit as I found my bike gear... muttering melodramatically, "This is stupid. This is stupid." With actions to match, so I'm told. Pretty infantile of me. But I was getting flashbacks to the Big Ride and wondering what on earth I think I am doing talking about doing it all again next year. (Admittedly on the Big Ride, we tried to be in bed by around 9.30 - something of a novel experience for me, but easy when you've been riding a bike all day! - so I actually had more sleep in store.)

I did feel ok by the time we got to town, and on the bike. And, wow, seeing we were back around 9.00, we had the whole day to get jobs done (like a line full of washing).. with the smug knowledge that we'd very virtuously done our exercise for the day. [Mind you, the kids slothed all day, and it was only thinking that we'd had them riding 90km the previous weekend that stopped us feeling too guilty that they didn't get out and do something active...] And early morning is a very nice time of day too. Just that normally I'm happy enough knowing it's there, without having to experience it, thank you very much.

By mid-afternoon I was good for nothing, and took myself off for a nap. History-making stuff in this household, as I usually only sleep in the day if I'm sick. (Or completely stuffed.)

But we would like to do this community ride thing more often... and it is a workable 'no need for babysitters option' for Marc and me to get out for some 'together' time; the girls are still asleep for most of the time, and would usually only sloth around on the computer or watch tv on a weekend morning. With Cait now being 13, it's a doable thing to leave them at home for reasonable periods.

Sounds ideal? Except for the need to rearrange my bodyclock to get to bed at a more sensible hour. The major, major hitch in that plan is not only getting us to bed earlier. But getting the kids to bed too!

I've been reading mommy blogs where the topic of conversation is how to handle it when bub/toddler drops a day time sleep. I remember that! That time when nap time = precious "me" time, and when they get older, and don't sleep as much, you grieve for that lost time you had to be with yourself. For sanity's sake.

Funnily enough, I am now feeling a similar thing with the Teenager of the house (and the 'Tweenager') resisting bed time more and more. Wanting to go to bed later and later. (We used to think we had it made. From an early early age, Cait used to sleep in till the very civilised hour of around 8 am. Other parents were so envious. "How can we have just woken you up at 8am on a Saturday morning, you have a toddler!" Hah.. now it's coming back to bite us, as, like me, she hates getting up early.. but also hates going to bed early!.)

So when do I get my ME time? (Especially if I intend to try to get to bed earlier.) I desperately crave that time in the evening to chill out, and spend some time with myself (and Marc- when he is home -especially then, as he has a tendency to work late).. Even when I've had 6 or so hours to myself when they are at school. Sounds selfish of me doesn't it... but the idea of going to bed at the same time as the kids just doesn't seem right.

Maybe the only solution is to lose the night owl tendencies, and get me my 'me' time before they wake up. Radical. (And as I'm still proof reading and editing this post at 11.50pm.. it's not something that's going to happen overnight.)

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, November 10, 2006


Now I know I'm going crazy...

Getting up at Some Ungodly Hour tomorrow morning to drive into town and do one of the Community bike rides that happen every Saturday morning... on our road tandem. We attempted to do it 2 weeks ago, but the info in the newspaper was wrong. (Wrong place AND wrong start time.) It's actually a 6.30 am start.. Which means leaving here no later than 6 am.

This is truly manic. For me.. the ultimate Not a Morning Person.

If we were normal, we'd get Him and Me time by going out to dinner and a movie!

He goes to KL for work (about 2 weeks) on Sunday. Suppose I'll take him to the airport on Sunday morning, which means no sleep-in this weekend. What's the world coming to?

Seeing it is 11pm now, it would be a sensible idea to go to bed.

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Tired Boy...

All catching up with him. The trip down to Sydney... back Monday... up early Tuesday for work to drive up to Tenterfield (a few hours drive).. overnighter, 7.30 am start, work in field.. dropped back home about 3.00 yesterday, but he got out his laptop and kept working till dinner (and after dinner for a bit too.) Sitting on lounge watching TV last night. Crashed and burned.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006


So Naprogesic actually works...

Change of plans for today. I was supposed to have the gyno appointment in Port Macquarie. Two and a half hour drive (at least) each way. Had things sorted for kids to get lifts to Touch after school. (Of course Marc would be on a work field trip and unable to step into the breach... I don't know how it would all work if I got myself a proper job!)

When the receptionist rang me yesterday to change the appointment time (yet again) I mentioned that I'd been considering ringing because my period was 'sort of ' starting (though it had been carrying on like that for about a week - it made for an interesting bike ride, trying to be prepared, and using tampons anyway... have I commented before how I think that guys just don't realise what we girls put up with!) She made another tentative appointment for me in 2 weeks time... as doing a pap smear at that 'time of the month' isn't really going to work.

The way things were going, though, I could have still been "spotting" in another 2 weeks, so I left the appointment for today. Then of course, I woke up to it starting full on today. Complete with the cramps, so I was pretty sure it meant business this time.

No point driving all the way to Port just to discuss what's going on so I cancelled (and now have to miss another Monday swimming class to get another appointment in the not too far distant future.)

So, here I am at home again, and sitting at the computer all day. I felt I had a good excuse to do so... being the sook that I am as soon as I feel any pain.. but now the Naprogesic has kicked in, so I don't really have an excuse!

Looks like I made one good decision though - not to do any washing. It's 1pm, and it has come over all dark and gloomy and thundery. I am actually sitting here thinking please, please, oh God of Storms, time it to pour down around 3.30, so we don't have to do Touch today. That's what good mothers do, right?! Meh... I have an excuse today. Last thing I feel like doing is standing in a thunderstorm.

What else? I have an ongoing saga happening with trying to get a price on a cargo barrier for the Landcruiser. You wouldn't think it would be that hard - but the employment of two Bobs at an Autoparts shop in Grafton - and the inability of either one or both to keep records of quotes they have rung people up with - is becoming worthy of a comedy skit. I now await yet another phone call from the original Bob,who, a few weeks ago, rang with a price when I was out, leaving the message with Cait. When I rang back last week to confirm the price he left, Another Bob told me that the Original Bob had left the job. And he couldn't find a record of it in his book. So Another Bob was supposed to ring me back, but never did. When I rang up AGAIN today, I got Original Bob, who hadn't actually left. But who also can't find his own record of the quote, although he remembered doing it. And so I am waiting for him to call me back. Again.

It would be easier, of course, to shop somewhere else, but we do live in regional NSW, and there is not often the choice of distributors for certain products. The price I got from the other nearest Distributor at Port Macquarie was about $100 more, so it is worth me confirming this one at Grafton. Indeed. Despite the saga.

The Building Designer rang me back! Hurrah. We can move forward.. he took a rough sketch to the Council Building Inspector, who had no objections to us submitting a plan with a garage extending out the front and close to the fence line. Which is what BD expected, but he had to go through the motions. The next step is to decide at what point do we get rough quotes from a builder. Now with only around $200 invested with BD and very rough sketch? So a quote would be VERY ball park. Or get BD to put $900 worth of work into a better plan so as to get a more accurate quote. I am thinking the latter, which would include Marc and me both sitting down with him, and nutting out what we really want. I suppose you have to throw money at this sort of thing if you want to do it properly. The big question is at what price would you draw the line and decide it is more economic to knock the house down and start again.

Talk time about that with Marc tonight, when he gets home from his one night field trip. He is scheduled to go to KL again on Sunday - for about 2 weeks - so it would be good to get the ball rolling on that. And it will give me something constructive to be dealing with while he is away... although ideally he would be the one more suited to talk to builders.

I am not really sure what I am more suited to doing. According to him it is everything involving birthdays, and Christmas, along with deciding what to have for dinner, and all the other domestic division of labour stuff that is logical for the full time stay at home partner to be doing. With my friend MiscMum starting to get all excited about Christmas already already - and me starting to do think my Grinch thing with it all (minus the stealing of presents of course... I would never do that!) - I have been pondering why I feel the way I do about it all. I am sure some of it is because Marc doesn't get into Christmas AT ALL.. so it is pretty boring trying to do the Christmas hype thing all by yourself. Particularly when you don't feel that hyped about it in the first place.

I am psyching up for a full-on post about it sometime soon. Stay tuned.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


"Wheelie wild and woolly"

Well, we're back from the Gong Ride and we made it... despite the weather! On the bright side, it only rained on us the last 6km. But the southerly winds (sometimes gusting up to around 70kph) made for rather insane riding the last 40 or so km down the coast into Wollongong. The bit that we were looking forward to for the coastline scenery! At one point Cait and I just laughed and shook our heads and said 'This is insane!' At least there were around 10,000 other crazies doing it, so we weren't alone.

Anyway, I'll be writing up the bike part of it in the bike blog. Sometime this week!

We also survived staying with the relatives... which in some ways was as much of a challenge as the ride itself - mentally, at any rate.

We'd decided to impose ourselves on my sister this time. (After all, they stayed with us for a whole week at Christmas).. and although my brother in law is a major fuss bum (anal-retentive type) in his own house, we felt that for many reasons (not the least being the topography of their house/garage/car parking being flat and close, unlike my parents' place) it was time to have a go of staying there. Warned my sister we'd need to get the girls to bed early.. and that we'd arrive at around lunchtime so the cousins could spend enough time together.

Leading up to the weekend, she emailed me, suggesting they get pizza for dinner. Pizza wasn't the most ideal thing for us to eat the night before riding, so I offered to bring down some spag bol. She then got a bit uptight that I might have thought she couldn't make spag bol... (I said that I couldn't very well say 'I don't want pizza, I want you to cook!!'). She said she'd considered a BBQ.. and I said 'that's fine, it was just the pizza issue...'

So then.. of course.. she turned it into a bigger than Ben Hur type production. She had thought she wouldn't have mum and dad come up as well because it would be harder to get the kids to bed... but then they did come. And she had prawns and calamari entree (on the BBQ)... and then sausages and steak. And fruit salad for dessert. And my brother-in-law is a fiffer and a faffer, and, as usually happens, seems to expect her to do everything, including tell him how long to cook things on the BBQ, as well as organise all the other part of the meal.... and of course, time got away and it all ended up being later than was ideal.

And because I brought out Lisa's laptop (it has a wireless broadband connection) - to show Dad something - my brother in law got the shits with Lisa because she was talking to Marc a few times about Computers, and he has this verging-on-Luddite loathing for Computers and resents any time Lisa spends doing stuff on Them (never mind that she earns money doing bookkeeping on them).. or even talking about Them.

The fact that I brought it out to the table, not Lisa, didn't seem to rate. Nor the fact that in doing so I discovered that the wireless connection only worked if it was plugged into the power!!! Crazy. So Marc stuffed around for a bit solving that problem. (You'd think Brother in Law would be appreciative, but he just had the shits - with Lisa- which he exhibited by trading more than the usual amount of insults - with Lisa! - Which is always part of the "entertainment package that is them.. always a bit uncomfortable for the spectators... and this time even more so.)

So of course, with dinner ending up late, it was after 10.00 by the time we got the kids into bed. And so of course, we didn't get to bed as early as would have been sensible either.

With Dad having offered to do the car shuffle for us (by catching the train to St Peters (where we left it).. driving it to Wollongong, and catching the train home again), Mum therefore ended up going as well, so therefore got involved in the whole thing... including incessant phone messages to us during the day. "Where are you? When do you think you'll get here?" - at which point we were out of mobile range down in the national park - but that didn't stop her trying.

When we got back into range, I rang her quickly (while we were waiting to be let down a particularly steep hill) and instead of quickly telling me where the car was, she had to have a chat, and say 'So it's really tough.'.. and when I said (at that point) "We're doing ok".. she said "Oh...Everyone who's come in so far looks exhausted." She sounded almost disappointed that I wasn't sounding shattered and regretful that we had decided to do it.

To be fair, we had the worst part into the headwinds to come.. but I didn't need the .. commentary.. with the overtones of disapproval for us dragging the kids through it. That's what it is... it's not overt.. but it's there - always there. Should have heard her last year when we decided to do the 50km Spring Cycle. And then the Big Ride!! - even Dad told us last year he thought it was too hard for the kids; at least I was able to tell him that it was our call, and our judgement, not his! (Couldn't say that to mum without her getting all hoity-toity.)

After we successfully completed both those, and didn't manage to kill the children in the process, they have, at least, learned to shut up about it. Overtly. And this time they decided, thankfully, to go catch a train home before we finished. Thank god.. didn't need the carry on about the poor children being wet, etc.... Yeah, sure it was wet. We got wet. But we had the gear. .. thermals are wonderful things! And bike spray jackets. So they weren't going to get hypothermia! (Unlike the only time I ever got taken to the Snow as a kid, but that's tangent I don't need to take here.. maybe some other time !!)

To cap things off.. after finishing (and it was raining by then).. we rocked up to the 'leisure resort' where I'd booked a cabin, only to find out that it was a rip off... The $135 cabin to sleep 5 0r 6 (instead of $89 for 4) had as its 5th and 6th person "bedding" just a corner lounge. (Not even a sofa bed). An extra $45 for that?!! We spat it, and took the refund they then offered. And decided we had no better option than to ring my folks and ask if we could drive back up to Sydney and stay there. That's family for you. You whinge about them, but don't hesitate to make use of them. (Well, I do hesitate, often, but there usually isn't much of an alternative.. as they'd be offended if you didn't! And it was the most logical thing to do.)

So I survived the unplanned extra night with Mum.. She didn't make any comments, but, because Zoe was pretty damn tired, and struggling to finish dinner, Mum jumped up to make her bed up (before I could) with the obvious insinuation that we had dragged Zoe through something too tough for her to handle., and I was not being caring enough.

As Marc said later, Zoe wouldn't have been quite so stuffed if we'd been able to get her into bed earlier the night before. (Funny how when the fortnight before when we'd stayed there without mum and dad, and could control things, we had them all in bed by about 8.30!)

She also said to me that I looked really tired.. and I said, yes, well, I am, but it's mainly feeling windblown, and physically, I did it easy. (So shut up, eh...)

Plus, you know... despite it all looking incredibly insane, and difficult... it's not actually something me, or the kids can't cope with. I'd like to think that by doing this sort of crazy stuff with us, our kids are learning (much earlier than I did) that you can cope with a lot more than you often think you can. Falling into bed totally stuffed, physically, isn't going to kill you! - in fact, it's a fantastic feeling!

Not that my mum would agree.. because she's ever experienced it. But then... that's her.. and I am me.. and we are us.

And today, I have a truckload of washing to get through (3 loads done and on the line.. 4th load ready to hang, and then I need to make a trip into town for a few things.) Marc left early for a one night away field trip... and he leaves on Sunday for probably 2 weeks in Malaysia. I suppose we have now had our "quality time" together with these two mad bike riding trips.

Back to the planning room for the next adventures of Team Schmidt.


Friday, November 03, 2006


Fighting genetics...

Please please tell me I have a chance. Tell me that 'environment' (and choice, and being an educated child of my generation) can win out over genetics. Otherwise I'm doomed for my adult children to end up hating me.

It's a harsh word. Hate. Maybe I should soften it up a bit. "Can't stand." ?? (But that terrrible, terrible word keeps bursting into my head when I get the shits over yet one more thing that she has said... and it's feeling like the proverbial straw and camel's back scenario.)

My mother is turning into her mother with every year. (And she didn't feel anything for her mother, that much she has always made clear.) And I've come to the point where she pisses me off so much, I can't even think, let alone say, 'I love you' to her. Which is how you're supposed to feel about your mother isn't it?

She is so critical. So contrary. So.. unsupportive...

Last night, while we were packing, Alison had just brought to me her favourite t-shirt. "This is dirty." Me: And your point is? Did you wear it today? No. So, if I washed everything this morning, it means it wasn't in the wash. So.. too bad. "But I have no other shirts." Oh, I think you do. And even if you didn't, it's too bad. Have I or have I not been ranting quite a lot over the past week about you kids not putting your dirty clothes in the wash? Etc etc.

So, my mum rings just after this interchange. So, you'd think it was reasonably normal to be able to relate your exasperation over all this to your mum, and get a bit of sympathy, or shared rolling of eyes, or something.


I have a short memory, apparently. I was hopeless as a kid. And she still has to pick up after Dad.

I lightheartedly said 'oh, so, because you weren't able to have a whinge to your mother about that sort of stuff, you want it to be the same?'

Apparently so. (So, despite never wanting to end up like her mother, here she is striving to be like her mother, because that is the sort of thing her mother would have said.). And at the same time she managed to convey her impression that she thinks I should be packing for the kids anyway.. that I expect too much of them to be packing themselves. At this age. Seemingly.

Felt like telling her to f*@# off, really. I gritted my teeth through the rest of the conversation (about arrangements for this weekend.. Dad (and consequently she) are picking up our car from near the start of the Gong Ride, driving it to Wollongong for us, and catching a train back to Sydney.)

Marc said that she thinks we expect too much of our children in many other ways too, like taking them on long bike rides.. so don't worry about it.

I'm just sick of the lack of support. The assumption that everything she did was right with the way she brought us up, and there is no other way, no other variation... And even if she didn't agree, doesn't she know that it would be more.. motherly.. to just pretend. Or even just go 'ah kids, they drive you nuts don't they'.

In this particular example, I don't think I am a shining light of a child brought up to be tidy and self-sufficient. (I don't think I was particularly independent or organised when I left school).. and I don't think it's a DREADFUL thing to be teaching your kids to learn how to pack, to be responsible for their own stuff, and to not treat their mother like a servant!!!

In so many other ways, she lets it be known that she thinks we are too hard, or too odd, or something. With eating rules/guidelines. Whatever. I can't think of much that I do as a mum that she has ever been positive about, actually.

So.. that's it. Confessions of a very sad-about-it adult daughter.
(And seeing I had a lot to say to my kids last night about their behaviour, and in a VERY LOUD VOICE because it seems that otherwise nothing gets through... then I am quite possibly headed in the same direction. When I hear myself sometimes, I can't think why they'd love me.)

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Where is the 'oomph'...?

You would think someone who can do a 500km bike ride with husband and three kids, camping, would have the get up and go to be super organised around the house.

Not so. Not me, anyway.

Am struggling today.. knowing I have a deadline of packing for this weekend's Gong Ride.. leaving tomorrow afternoon... and I can't get my act together.

I've spent the morning finishing the Spring Cycle blog post. And doing another one about the new triplet rack. Marc's the one whose been industrious with that.. and he's been up early and into work the last two mornings (mainly because he's been taking time to get the rack organised.)

And I've continued putting off doing stuff - apart from keeping on top of the laundry. Six million things I could be doing, and I'm wallowing in I don't know what.

Doesn't help my body is stuffing me around. My 'cycle' is stuffed. Now my period seems to be coming early (after running late last time round).. either that or the mid-cycle spotting that characterised (as it turned out) the polyp symptoms, has happened again, and either way, it's playing havoc with my emotional state. PMT again?

Maybe it's that. Maybe it's part of a greater lethargy. I mentioned my late grandmother's addiction to Vincents powder yesterday - and it has occurred to me that my incessant coffee drinking, and the inability to go an evening without either a wine or a beer (even though I usually drink lite ) has some scary parallels.

My mother has always been quite scathing of her mother. Didn't have a happy childhood.. never talks about it. They never did anything worth remembering, and she talks about the scenario my uncle related with much derision. Now that I look at it, I wonder if my grandparents (both of them) were dealing with depression. It's bizarre, you know. My mother was born a year before WW2 started.. and so it must have been a difficult time to raise a family. (Yet mum never acknowledges any of that.)

So... shake your tail feather, Tracey. Don't want to go there.. (for more reasons than the example given here...) Outwardly, with all the STUFF that we do, I'm not in danger of succumbing to a life of no interests (and being bitter and twisted like my grandparents ended up). And, given the opportunities and standard of living I enjoy, there should be no reason to live in a cloud.

So on a day to day basis, I do need to find some way of getting a rocket under me! And being good at doing all that stuff I don't feel like doing. That's the difficulty.

My greatest skill is the ability to put off doing something till "tomorrow". Cleaning, in particular. Having a 'drink'-free evening is another. Taking myself out and getting those exercise endorphins happening is yet another. Not eating something full of way too many calories because I will feel better about myself if I lose weight is another one still.

On the plus side today, the building designer just rang, and will move forward with approaching council with the concept of extending out front (and close to the fence line, like examples A, B and C in the street that he observed on the weekend.) If I could make progress with the cargo barrier, I might really feel like positive things are happening.

Right now, although I could probably do with some zingy-zing-zing endorphins, I can't go out for a walk.. the triplet needs babysitting! So I am stuck with cleaning, or packing. My favourite things. NOT.

I will have a good time once we are away. (And once I've got through the Ungodly Hour wake up on Sunday morning!!) It's just the getting there.. and getting through this current funk.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006


What is it I do all day again?

Lately I've been spending a lot of time reading blogs.. Time when I could have been doing my own. (Marc keeps asking me if I've posted in the Bike Blog about the Sydney Spring Cycle, and the answer is 'Not Yet'.) And time when I could have been doing a kazillion other things around the house. As usual. Doesn't take much to throw me off my good intentions.

Hell, how many good blogs are there out there? And if people regularly read even half the blogs they have on their 'Blogs I Read' lists, then how do they get anything else done in the day?

My M.O. the past few days has been to get on the computer as soon as the kids leave for school. While I eat my breakfast. Which is ok, because you can't, for example, clean the toilet while you're having breakfast. And while I have my coffee. Because you can't vacuum the floor while you're drinking coffee. And you're entitled to a bit of relaxation time. Right?

Problem is, next things it's nearing 11am, and I've done stuff all, except maybe throw on a load of washing, and maybe hang it out. Then have another cup of coffee. And sit back down here again for far too long.

So then the guilt kicks in. I think of stories I have heard about my maternal grandmother. When my uncle was still living at home, and going to uni, for the first time there were days when he'd be at home. He discovered that she would apparently wander around all day, reading magazines.. and drinking cups of tea with Vincents powder. Then get the vacuum cleaner out just before my grandfather was due home from work, and act all tired. Grandad would then feel sorry for her, and tell her to put her feet up while he got dinner.

I'm a bit scared of turning into my grandmother! Although there is not much danger of Marc getting home in time for dinner, let alone to cook it. Though as I write this I realise that last night that is exactly what happened. I was so disorganised. I procrastinated all day over what to have for dinner so that when he arrived at the netball twilight comp at around 6.30 - where Cait was playing and umpiring, and I felt obliged to stay because I am secretary - he had to go home with the younger two via the supermarket to pick up stuff for dinner, because I hadn't made it there yet. And prepare it when he got home. OK, so it was just ravioli, and sauce. But still. I felt bad. Except that because I didn't cook, I actually felt like washing up! (Novel idea that.. the cook doesn't wash up - except every other day of the year in our house.) And I had left the kitchen clean, and water on the stove ready to boil, and saucepan out for the sauce, and bowl and board out ready to prepare the salad (which Alison did)- so why the hell am I feeling bad?!!

I wasn't actually sitting at home doing nothing all day yesterday either. (Only the morning!) I put my name down for a school library book repair workshop... so I spent from 12-3 learning how to repair books (and eating the lunch that was provided!) I have taken a bit of time out from helping with anything at the school this year. (I have "issues" with the current canteen supervisor, so no longer do canteen.) So I decided I should make an effort to be involved with the library.. Yesterday was the first step, and I will try and make it a weekly thing.

In between reading blogs, what else have I managed to achieve, one might ask? Apart from barely keeping up with the laundry, not a lot.

On Saturday morning Marc and I got up at Some Ungodly Hour and took the Santana (our road tandem) into town - ostensibly to do a ride for the first time with a cycling group. Unfortunately the times advertised in the cycling column in the paper were wrong. We went the same route that was advertised and passed them coming back... We later tracked them down to where they were having coffee, and got the low down - half hour earlier start time - and different start location! - so will possibly try and do it again another time. Clocked up 30km at a fair pace, plus it was him and me time, so all good really.

We were fairly industrious the rest of Saturday. The clothesline was chocka full of washing, and I mowed the back yard while Marc did the whipper snipping.

Sunday was Zoe's belated birthday outing - ten pin bowling with 3 friends. Had a big sleep in - helped along by the start of Daylight Saving - but by the time I'd done the cake decorating after Caitlin failed the time management test (ie. she was going to do it but kept doing stuff on the computer... so I ended up doing it) it was time to go, and that took care of Sunday.

Monday was swimming.. which was hard but good. 50 x 50m - in 70 seconds. Ok when it's freestyle.. much more of a challenge when it's drill, or just kick. One of those classes when you think 'shit, this is outrageous' but you feel quite chuffed to have achieved it. It must surely be doing you some good.

In between all that, I have, however, been reading a lot of blogs.

Labels: ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?