Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Bucket List

Stardate: October 8, 2012. Coordinates: Somewhere between the kitchen and the dining table.

Our local weekend newspaper has a supplement magazine thingy. One of the columns in this magazine thingy is called 'I would love to..'. It's basically where readers can send in a list of 10 things they'd like to do before they die.
These 'bucket lists' seem to be one of the latest must do- it's a must do to make a list of want to dos. Why are they called bucket lists? (I would call a list of things that are so horrible they make me vomit a bucket list, but hey, whatever, I'll go with it). Just by doing a basic search of bucket list I cam across a website promoting a book that could help me ' the best life.'
"Creating a bucket list is one of the best ways to make sure that you use your time and resources in order to accomplish and experience what you really want out of life". They then go on to list various categories of bucket lists-sport, languages, martial arts, music and dance. Although this page can only give me 530 things to do, they do provide a link at the bottom of their list to a page that can give me 3, 500. You know like meet the Dali Lama, find inner peace, attend all major US golf tournaments, milk a cow, swim with dolphins and the list goes on... 
So anyway, a couple of months ago I emailled off my 'I would love to...' list but so far they haven't contacted me about publishing it-they also put a little photo of the bucketee with it, and i haven't been asked for one yet so I'm assuming they're not keen, so I thought i'd share it here.
1. Make it through a day without the urge to strangle one of my children.

2. Have enough time to figure out where I could go for a holiday-to get away from the kids.

3. Sort out ‘under the house’.

4. Get a job that’s actually relevant to my qualifications.

5. Get some use out of my bike and surfboard that sit under the house, unused...due to the kids.

6. Have matching bed linen I'm actually nearly there on that one-priorities people.

7. Sew something from start to finish without having to unpick it, due to being distracted 20 kids.

8. Get a full night’s sleep for more than two consecutive nights (this may have happened but I can't remember due to the other 1400 or so 'broken nights' in the last four years-plus the rest.

9. Find things where I actually remember putting them.

10.Wake up with only one other person in my bed. That person not of my kids.

Maybe once this bucket list is signed off on, I'll get around to making a proper one, buy by then I'll probably be too old to do any of it anyway. maybe technology will be advanced enough and cheap enough that I can do it all virtually, then I wouldn't need to worry about my dodgy knees, dodgy back and dementia affecting my experience.
 To quote the pilot from the Young Ones 'Demolition' episode "best not to think about it".

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Six Important Little Words

I have a new motto.What's a motto? Nothing! What's a motto with you? (Lion King joke, still cracks me up though). Although it's way too late for me, I'm hoping that my experience can help someone else avoid the same drama-BE CAREFUL WHO YOU BREED WITH!!

If you are in a position where you are thinking about having a child, starting a family with someone, think of this-What is the one thing about your partner that drives you bonkers more than anything else, and how does this make you feel? Then multiply that  feeling a thousand-fold and that's how irritated and angry they will potentially make you feel if you ever seperate from them and have to do the whole shared custody 'thing'.

Every week for the rest of your life you could potentially be made to feel this annoyed. When you have to talk to them to discuss some aspect of your child/ren's life. Every time they haven't stood up to their end of the bargain. Every time they 'forget' to pick the kids up-or something else came up. You could get this urge to do hideous things. you may even get to the point where even when their name is mentioned you get the urge to sacrifice a living being, one preferably with similar features to your ex.

That's why it's always handy if you do find yourself in this situation to just be 'that little bit odd' around people, as that can only aid your insanity plea if something does happen.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Parenting strategy #345-Containment

Today’s parenting magazines and blogs provide us with a plethora of strategies for raising our children. From the controversial wisdom of Dr Spock that emerged in the 1940s, through to the multitude of modern day family-life commentators across a variety of media, a myriad of approaches assure us that by following their advice, we will succeed in raising well-behaved, well-adjusted, bright and happy children. An endless list of ‘behaviour modification’ methods and strategies are advocated to ensure well adjusted, well behaved little people for the future.

Over my parenting lifetime of twenty years, I’ve seen many trends come and go. But in my house I currently have one strategy and one strategy alone when it comes to my two and a half year old twins-containment. This is a strategy that was used last century by the United States to stall the spread of Communism. It is also a strategy used to deal with environmental disasters. And well, to be honest, giving my twins free reign anywhere can only end in some form of destruction of a catastrophic nature- and tears. And you can be fairly confident that the tears won’t be theirs.

It may seem harsh to the uninitiated, but really it’s the only way to reduce the destruction. I actually wouldn’t be surprised in the future if we find that they actually have some ability to replicate themselves. It’s amazing how much devastation can be caused by two such seemingly harmless individuals.

I don’t recall having this problem of whirlwind destruction, even as long as 6 years ago with number three. Is it because I’m ‘that bit older’ and I can’t keep up as well as I once could? Is it a result of my dodgy old eggs? Is it because there are two of them and they feed off each other in their naughtiness? I’m sure that one deliberately distracts me whilst the other does something really naughty, it can’t be coincidence.

They can climb walls. They can crawl into small spaces. They can find anything that they shouldn’t have, no matter how well I hide it. They can open so called childproof containers. So along with this strategy of containment I also must use a minimalist strategy with what is accessible, even in their bedroom, because really if it’s accessible, it’s on the floor at the end of rest time.

I have a couple of times made the mistake of leaving nappy changing powders and creams on top of their wardrobe. Alas no more, although one would think after mummy’s psychotic episode after the first Pro Hart episode with the zinc cream on the carpet and pram it wouldn’t happen again. Maybe they just thought I was having a bad day. Who knows?

So now I have had to resort to a US military strategy from the mid-1900s, though looking at history I believe have chosen one of the more harmless ones. And the useful thing about containment, it can also be useful once they hit adolescence. You just need to improve the locking systems. In fact, you’ll be amazed how many of your toddler parenting strategies you revert to once they reach those teen years.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Art of Cooking...and my lack of interest in it

Cooking. I despise it. They say that 'hate' is such a strong word, but that pretty much covers my feelings to this ongoing domestic task. And now, to make it worse, there are cooking shows everywhere I look across the spectrum that is my free to air television viewing. Seriously, I would rather stick pins in my eyes than watch people getting excited about blending flavours, different textures and the excitement of improvising with ingredients. I'd be happy if I never had to set foot in a kitchen ever again.

It seriously does my head in some days trying to decide on what we are having for dinner that night. What will everyone eat? What can we afford this week? How long will it take to prepare? And can I really be bothered farting around for a couple of hours to create something that will just be gone moments after reaching the table.

I think part of the problem is that I don't particularly enjoy eating. I'd rather just take a tablet and be done with it. This aversion has nothing to do with weight or body image issues-eating just doesn't do it for me. It's so time consuming. I realise that eating is necessary, but not only does it take up time that could be used doing something else, it also creates a whole lot of other work. Washing up, cleaning the stove, wiping the benches, and doing that cold walk to the compost bin in the farthest corner of the yard.

Recently, when flicking through the television channels, I came across the final episode of one of  those cooking shows. The contestants had just about finished creating their dish, so I watched to see who would win. Well, it went on, and on, and on, and on. I channel surfed some more, figured out the meaning of life, knitted three jumpers, flew around the world-maybe I'm exagerating just a bit- and it was still going.

The dish was ready to be eaten. The judges had divided it up and they began to masticate-with the obligatory ridiculous facial expressions. Multiple compliments flowed. A few criticisms, but the responses were generally positive. This also went on for quite a while. I thought you either liked something or you didn't. Who knew that so much could be discussed when it came to a meal?

"Cooking a dish from scratch is so fulfilling, so enriching". Really? You'd think these people had just done a Jesus with some loaves of bread and a couple of fish. "It's a process," they go on to say. "It begins when you source your food". Source your food? Who came up with that one? From my experience, you either buy it from somewhere, you grow it yourself, or someone gives it to you.Talk about overcomplicating things.

With no sign of any decision being made any time soon I could watch no more.  I still don't know who won, but I won't be losing any sleep. Thank goodness for dodgy movies on SBS.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'd just like to buy a dress

Stardate December 31, 2011

There was once a time in my life, in a galaxy not so far away, when I would see a piece of clothing in a shop that I  liked, so I would try it on, and if it fitted I would buy it. Decision making over. Now however, after two pregnancies and  three more children-and having just turned 40- it's a completely different story. Not only do things not fit as they once did, I find myself in a quandary, between young people clothes and old people clothes. And the conversation with shop assistant, well it goes something like this...

"I would like to buy a dress. Just an ordinary dress to slip on when I feel like wearing a dress. Nothing fancy-it's not like I'm going anywhere, anytime soon (as I glance at the pram to make sure the feral twins are still strapped in). I all ready have a couple of dresses for those occasions  (that will hopefully fit should the need arise).  I just want a simple dress.

Can I get something that's plain without a pattern on it? Yeah, I've noticed floral is big this year. I'm not really into flowers, but I guess I could do small ones because they may just look like dots if I don't look at them for too long. And I don't really wear yellow or brown, and I definitely don't wear green-due to a teacher that traumatised me many years ago- in fact you probably weren't even born then, so I really should get over it. Shouldn't I?

Hang on a minute, I'll just give the kiddies something to keep them quiet. Molly get off Alice, she really doesn't want a cuddle!

I don't want spaghetti straps or ruffled shoulders because they make me look like an American footballer in drag.

I really don't want to spend a lot of money, but can the material be a decent thickness? I'm not into flaunting the silhouette of my belly button, or every bump on my stomach and bum. And I don't really want to have to wear a singlet top under it to hid my bits.

No,  I don't want a maxi dress. I have a couple of those in the wardrobe that I don't wear now. Not really that practical for chasing kiddies I find. Yes I've noticed that they are 'in' right now, even with my limited capacity to socialise. BECAUSE THEY'RE ALL I EVER SEE WHEN I LOOK IN A SHOP FOR A DRESS!

SIT DOWN MOLLY AND PUT YOUR SEAT BELT ON. Sorry, she tries to escape if I stay still for too long. But I would like it long enough so that when I bend down to pick up a child, or do something child-related, everyone doesn't get to see my incredibly attractive undies. Oh, and I don't want lace or any of those sparkly things. I'm not really into that. Though I guess I could pick them off if I needed to.

I saw something in your shop a couple of months ago that I quite liked. Oh that was last summer? Whoops how time flies when you're living the dream in your trackie daks and cleaning up after everyone else every day. Oh well thanks for your help, I'll just keep looking."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The car drama

Stardate November 18, 2010

Last year as I was dropping daughter number two and some friends at soccer training, i reversed into a big square bin. I know I was being too reliant on my sensors, I also know that I've have frequented the University of Tasmania soccer grounds for the last twenty years so I should be able to successfully drive around there with my eyes shut. Well I may as well have been because I ran into the bin thing.

Every now and again I would think 'must get a quote on that and fix it'. Then I would tell myself- with my other voice- "Yes dear. Later". Hence a year and a bit later there's still a scratch and broken tail light.

A couple of months ago I went to a BBQ at the Tolosa Street Reserve. It was more of an 'I'll see how long the kids will last' drop in visit that lasted just over an hour. As I was loading everyone into the car and saying my goodbyes, a girl- who will now be forever known amongst our friends as random woman because she wasn't random at all- approached me to say that a man had just hit my car. On the other side!!

When I went over he was checking out his bumper and his first words were "I think I've done more damage to my car than yours". This may have been true as the resultant dent in my car was really only the size of a fist-but he didn't have to go home and tell the registered owner did he?

Luckily he was insured, we swapped numbers and off we went- I won't go into the screaming (in hindsight, possibly traumatised from the crash) children in the back.

Over the course of the following week I organised the quote and said I'd be in soon. A week passed, and they rang me. "Yep I'll be there". Another couple of weeks passed, they rang again "Yep, I'll be there" and so on.

So just before the number of  reminder calls entered double digits, I finally booked it in and it was fixed. Ready to be collected this morning. It was ready at 4:45 last night but I don't think I need to point out how inconvenient that was .So the plan was this morning- walk child number three to school, with four and five in the pram, catch a bus to the childcare centre, drop them off, and catch another bus to town.

Simple? You'd think so.

9:00 am: I dropped number 3 at school, and as we were about to cross the road to the bus stop a bus came, and stopped. I gestured to the driver that I wanted to get on and he shook his head and drove off. I checked the times on the timetables, contemplated ringing the bus company and continued to walk towards town until it was time for the next bus.

9:30 am: The next bus came. It had some steps, but I wasn't going to let that stop me. I was on a mission. However my mission was thwarted when the pram wouldn't fit up the aisle of the bus. So I'm now assuming that's why the first guy shook his head. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt this time.

"How do I know when as bus is coming that I will fit on?" I ask.
"You need to ring headquarters" said the obviously sympathetic driver.

So off we got and the twins screamed. The lady at headquarters could tell me that the next appropriate  bus wouldn't be coming through until 11:30- as long as it didn't breakdown in the meantime. That was reassuring.

I continued to walk. Not 5 minutes later it started to rain.

10:00 am: I was over it  and called a taxi.

Pram wouldn't fit in the boot, so the driver had to occy strap the boot shut.

10:12 am: Got to childcare centre with no lunch for the twins so I said I'd be back before lunch.

10:30 am: Caught a bus into town where it started to pour, so I bought myself a $3 umbrella because nothing was stopping me now!!

11:30 am arrived at car repair shop to collect vehicle.

11:50 Phone call asking how far away I was with their lunches. Only two minutes as it happened.

As I got in the car to drive home and make some use of the rest of my day, I couldn't help but think "I could of just waited at home for the 11:30 bus- and stayed dry!"

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Do we really need India to find ourselves?

Stardate October 6, 2010

I found myself this morning watching the start of Kerry-Anne's morning show, and the whole episode was going to be about the release of a film called Eat, Pray, Love, which is based on a book, coincidentally, by the same name.The brief goes as follows:
  • 32 year old educated, married, successful writer. Wasn't happy, cried in the bathroom, divorced eventually, travelled to Italy, India and Bali for a book- nice work if you can get it- and came back with a cleansed soul (I haven't read it so apologies if I've missed a bit out).
Do we really have to go on a 'journey'- that word drives me insane, as does 'it's an organic process' -to be all that we can? Or are we all on a journey all ready, and some journeys involve the accumulation of more frequent flyer points than others? Will I ever be complete, as I can't see myself travelling to India,or anywhere remotely exotic, any time soon?

So it got me thinking. I'm basically happy. I could have my act together a bit better but really what's the point of stressing about it? The twins would just climb on the furniture and do some more writing on the walls whilst I was dwelling on it anyway. So for those of you who care, here's what I came up with for a happy life (in no particular order and by no means the whole strategy):
  • Pretty high up on my list is to surround yourself with good people, people who are looking out for more than themselves, and people who make you laugh-because if you're not laughing often, it can't be a good thing. Choose your friends wisely, and do be picky- you don't need to be everyone's friend all the time. Whilst it is important to be there for your friends and support them through their hard times, some people just have too many dramas and this can wear you down.
  • Pick your battles, especially when it comes to your kids, or you could spend your entire life talking to deaf ears, and that's going to drive anyone crazy.
  • Realising that the world does not revolve around you and your wants and needs is another starting point.
  • Acceptance of other peoples' differences. As they say in the song 'If everybody looked the same, we'd get tired of looking at each other.' If their behaviour's not hurting anyone, then why worry.
  • Recognise that there are always people out there doing it harder than you.
  • Do what makes you happy. Again, whilst it is important to consider the feelings and wellbeing of others when making decisions, you can't live your life striving to keep other people happy if you're not.
And let's hope that if there is a 'higher being' that Buddhists or the Hindus have got it right, and he/she/it is not as judgemental as some other religions would have us believe.

So as long as we pull our heads out of our bums and notice those around us, we should be able to save ourselves an airfare? Is it that simple?

As for how to get your dream job, or any job for that matter? No idea! You'll need to read someone else's blog for that one.