I have been out of paid work for over four years now. I say out of paid work because, while I no longer lodge a tax return, I am still working. A bit like a 1950’s housewife I am taking care of the business of running the house and caring for the child while Mr B Badger heads off to work. So up until 2013ish I had never been out of work since I rocked up to Quigleys Deli at Killarney Vale as an over-confident 12 year old who wanted to earn some cash. That’s almost 30 years of paid work. So I have been hanging at home with my mini me and we have had amazing times that no amount of money or promising career could ever compare….if I had the chance there are many events throughout my life that I would change or do differently – the last four plus years being the exception.
Hang on maybe that time when I was throwing the ball to MrRooben and instead hit Little Boss as she was laying in her pram….or when I accidentally cut the end of her finger off while trying to trim her nails – it wasn’t that bad so don’t call the authority on me. Ok so I’ve had a few parenting fails along the way, it hasn’t all been huggy bears and unicorns.
Anyhoo Little Boss started Prep this year and will start full-time school next year so I decided to start the dreaded job search. I started by only applying for roles where my skills met the selection criteria – I don’t like having my time wasted so I figured I wouldn’t waste the recruiters time by applying for something I “might” be able to do. Now we are five weeks into the school year and I am applying for anything and everything I am remotely qualified for, hoping that somebody out there looks at my CV or cover letter and says “this looks good, let’s get her in for a chat”. Last night I got an alert from my local Bunnings warehouse to tell me they were hiring so this morning after the school drop off I got busy on my cover letter and then got online to apply only to find that the job had disappeared…nooooo I love Bunnings. I would totally rock as a Bunnings employee. So I emailed them to see what was happening and they called me – this is why I love Bunnings, it’s their culture – so the lovely lady was calling to say they had to take the ad down due to the overwhelming response .
I will persist – persistence, resilience and perseverance are pretty awesome employability skills BTW and I’ve got ’em in spades. But I had to write this post just to get it off my chest because it does get me down – I can’t lie. Mr B Badger was out of work for four months when we moved and we applied for just over 70 jobs and received a reply from only 10% of those. I know something will come up and this too, shall pass…I just need to be patient – which is a skill that I don’t seem to have much of…
Five years at home with a smaller version of me….plenty of time to have a good hard look at myself.
During my working life I had a boss with a touch of the quirks….he would only eat sweets in multiples of two and if there was only one left in the bag he would break it in half to make it two pieces. Yes I gave him a hard time about it and always offered him the last one. So fast forward a few years and turns out that I have a touch of the quirks myself.
The under vs over toilet paper debate rages on facebook and I don’t really care about that one – since it’s only me that replaces the roll it goes on however it lands. My quirks continue to surprise me at how much they can generate a reaction and a rise in my blood pressure – I now know how TE must have felt when I left a solitary white freddo on his desk.
I first discovered my quirky behaviours while hanging out the washing…when selecting pegs I will only hang a garment or item using pegs of the same colour and I have wasted countless seconds sifting through the peg basket looking for a peg the same colour as the one already in my hand. Sometimes, if it’s too hard, I will abandon the peg I am already holding and choose another colour. Recently I have tried to break this habit and have hung the washing using mismatched pegs….this lasts only minutes and then I go back and match them up.
When I put my knives on the knife magnet all the blades must face away from the kitchen.
When I hang the clothes in the wardrobe all the coat hangers must hang over the rail not under-over and all the shirt openings must face to the left. If Mr. B Badger hangs his clothes up it sends me into a pre-menstrual rage regardless of where I am in my cycle.
My most recent addition to my growing list of quirks is putting the lids on the plastics before putting them away. Yes it takes up more room. It also means you don’t have to take a bex and a good lie down after spending time searching for the lid to your kids lunch box. I was unfamiliar with this quirk as it seems to be something I have always done….so if someone else does the generous thing and puts the plastics away I then go in afterwards and match up containers to lids.
All of these quirky little OCD behaviours – there are more – have lead me to the conclusion that I need to get a job. Something meaty that I can sink my brain into so that peg colour, coat hanger placement and to lid or not to lid can become things that I used to focus on when that was my focus.
Last week Little Boss started school. I naively thought that raising a child and being a stay at home mum would make the sands of time slip a little slower through the hourglass…man was I wrong. These have easily been the fastest five of my 45 years.
So we have the uniform ready to go, the bag packed and everything labelled. All I have left to do is get her ready and pack her lunch…how hard can it be?
We have one of those fancy Bento style lunch boxes that has multiple little areas for food and it looks super cool so I set about filling up those little areas with a wrap, carrot sticks raspberries, cheese, chicken and grapes. I don’t have an ice brick to keep it all cool but I did freeze a yogurt pouch so that should do the trick. I am winning at parenting. Off she goes. No tears, from either of us. Fast forward to pick up and I say “what did you get up to today?” and her first response above anything else is “my yogurt exploded in my lunch bag and it went EVERYWHERE!” I said that was no good and that we would get her an ice brick for next week so it didn’t happen again. The next comment about the day was “the teacher told me that I had to keep some of my fruit so I had something to eat at fruit break” Now the theory behind the Bento Box is small portions that provide variety and it turns out that this is not suitable for Prep. I feel just a teensy bit shit that the top of mind memories from my childs first day at school were about my rookie lunchbox fails. Not only did I fail at lunchboxing but I also didn’t put a braid in her hair OR a ribbon which was very disappointing for her. To be fair I am still waiting for her hair to thicken up and one hit of static has her looking like a dandelion seed so braids are just not going to happen.
This week I feel as though I have redeemed myself – the exploding yogurt and the subsequent smell are still fresh in my nose – we have a new lunch box and an ice brick. Today lunch is a sandwich, grapes, strawberries, popcorn and crackers. There is a plait in her hair and a ribbon that I don’t expect to see this afternoon. I congratulate myself even more by turning up early….which I will never do again. When I got home I was having a look at Facebook and as if by magic a post appeared about school lunch boxes. Some parent in South Australia has been put on notice for sending chocolate cake to school with their child…shut the front gate. As I read through the comments I spotted one that made me laugh out loud…one parent got a note home saying that a Vegemite sandwich was not a green light food as Vegemite contains too much salt. While I don’t expect to see a note in Little Boss’ lunch bag, if I did I am pretty sure I would not be outraged enough to post it on facebook. To be honest I know Vegemite is salty and not the best choice and I would love to be able to load up my kids lunch box with awesome healthy options BUT I have always believed that fed is best and if the only thing she will eat is a plain wrap with no filling or a Vegemite sanga then that’s what will be in her bag. These are things my parents never had to concern themselves with….I got Vegemite on white and it got squashed in my bag and I ate it alongside my pals who had either Vegemite or Peanut Butter or, if they were really fancy, Devon and tomato sauce.
Hopefully today I get to hear about some friendships made, some books read and games played…the stars have aligned in the lunch and grooming galaxy so here’s hoping the rest of the days go well.
We are about to see the end of another series of The Block. The renovation show that is more about getting tradies to do the work while you go and spend ridiculous money on fluffy stuff and then complain cause you’ve run out of money and can’t pay your trades. It’s all a fantasy and I love a good bit of escapism on my telly so I like to watch it and yell at it. I also love to renovate. We bought this house and it was filthy and in fairly average condition so it’s been painted – mostly – flooring ripped up and new flooring laid, new window coverings, security doors, garage door, ceiling fans, light fittings blah blah you get my drift. We have a tight budget and some of our ‘nice to haves’ have been put into the ‘you’ve got to be joking, how much?’ file. We would love to do so much but one of us works for money and one of us works for love – and the only time love pays the bills is in dodgy 70’s porn films. Anyhoo this weeks project is to finish what we started last week and that is to re-roof our pergola and paint the patio floor. We took the roof sheets off last week and removed 28 cup hooks from the timbers – must have been the hanging gardens of Babylon at one stage – sanded, washed and repainted the timbers ready for new roof sheets. We worked together and we didn’t end up having an argument, which is pretty amazing really. Our budget for this job is $1000. Yep that’s right, only three zeros. Will it be the super awesome outdoor area we would love? Probably not. But it will be a shelter from the weather so we can cook and eat outside while MrRooben chases his ball and Barry Big Hole practices riding her bike. We don’t have a budget for pillows and cushions and throws for our bed…we have four pillows and a doona cover my mum picked up in the recent closure of a House store – thanks mum! To be honest even if I did have spare money pillows and cushions would be last on my list. I would rather buy a coffee table or side table so I can put my drink down without MrRooben whipping it onto the floor with his broom like tail. We currently use the two small chairs that form part of an Ikea chair and table set that Barry Big Hole has in her play room – they do the trick but to be honest it would feel more of a grown up space with a coffee table. We’ll see how we go in the budget. Our guests might have to continue to play dodge the dog tail with their coffee or wine so we can plant out our neighbours instead. Turns out that at $27 our kids Ikea setting was a sound investment with multiple functions….it just won’t be appearing in Vogue Living anytime soon.
Many years ago I worked in the family business and my Dad would always recite the five P’s….
Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance….yes, yes it does. So it was with his words ringing in my ears that I asked for a refund on my coffee as I didn’t have the 15-20 minutes to “be patient” while they caught up.
It was Fathers Day last Sunday and my Dad loves to tell anyone who will listen that he’ll probably get the same gift he got last year – that would be nothing – and then he will regale the listener with woeful tales of how his kids never buy him anything for Fathers Day blah blah blah. I call bullshit cause I get him a bag of chocolate bullets – from Darrell Lea – every year and he eats them all, no sharing. So I am at the shops early on Sunday to get his bullets and to see if any of the other usual Fathers Day suspects have been marked down and I decide to grab myself a long black before heading round to remind Dad that my brother is still probably waiting for his wife to remind him to call. So I order my coffee and stand aside to wait for them to call my name….about four minutes in a man approaches the baristas and asks if it’s going to be much longer on his takeaway coffee…uh oh.
Then a women standing near me heads up and asks the same question….she’s been waiting longer than him. And I have a four-year old, who doesn’t drink coffee, whining about wanting to goooo. Both of the baristas gave the same excuse – we’re really busy.
Yep – it’s Fathers Day. And you forgot your first three P’s and you are now only left with Poor Performance. I was done after that so I went to ask for a refund as miss whinger pants had stepped it up a notch. While I was waiting for the people in front of me to order I heard one of the baristas tell a customer – you just have to be patient – then it was my turn to ask for my money and the cashier doesn’t know how to do refunds…so the barista says “we’ll just make it for you now” ahhh no you won’t….I would like my money back please. So they open the till and give me my $5.30 and say “sorry we’ve just been busy” to which I said “yeah, it’s Fathers Day”
So this really grinds my gears….if you own a cafe or restaurant or outlet selling food don’t you want to be busy? Isn’t that your goal? And if you do have one of these businesses don’t you also track historical data from previous years so that you can understand and project how busy you might be on any given day – let alone an event day such as it was? I would really like to see a change in the language that staff and managers and owners of these businesses use when they are struggling to meet the demand. Try saying we’re really sorry, we’re unprepared or we really didn’t expect this, please bear with us. At least that puts the onus back onto the business and takes it off the customer – cause saying to me “sorry we’ve been really busy” makes me think you should also say “and you just made us more busy with your order so now you’ll have to wait”.
Anyhoo I finally got round to see my Dad and give him his bullets and make myself a coffee and it seemed fitting that most of my morning had been spent with my Dad at the forefront of my mind.
A note to anyone who may follow along from the USA – I did not give my Dad actual bullets for Fathers Day – they are called chocolate bullets and they are small sticks of licorice covered in chocolate, delicious!
Okay so my threenager is heading towards her fourth birthday and, up until a couple of days ago, still wearing nappies. I have tried many times since she turned two to get her using the toilet or the potty without any success. I have had reward charts, incentive schemes, reading while sitting, turning on the tap, telling not asking, special seat on the toilet, three different types of potty (all chosen by her), multiple underwear options, modern cloth nappies blah blah blah. I’ve read books, blogs, forums and websites all offering up suggestions, opinions and judgement in healthy proportions. I consider myself to be a person capable of solving problems and developing alternative solutions yet here I am getting owned by a threenager. It finally hit me last week when she lay on the bathroom floor with a nappy containing a package only blueberries and grapes can deliver and told me we were “playing babies” oh dear.
Two days later little miss starts pre-school. So I take her along and inform the room leader that she is not toilet trained and I have supplied her pull ups in her bag. I feel fairly confident that a bit of peer input might help her to see that “playing babies” is actually for real babies or dolls.
So six hours later I pick her up and she is not wearing her nappy….and hadn’t done since about 10am. Her “teacher” asks if she wants to do a wee before she goes home to which she squeals “yes” and runs off to the bathroom. I am unusually lost for words. I knew that if she saw what the other kids were doing it would inspire her to do the same….unfortunately the other kids don’t come home with us so despite my supportive comments she was in the cupboard digging out a nappy for me to put her in about an hour later. I refused and reinforced the pre-school, big girl, you’re awesome message but after a solid hour of sobbing and snot exploding screaming – I relented. Yes I know….she owned me. But you know what – I’m tired. Sometimes I have the energy for the battle ahead and then other times I am just done….yep I’m human.
Now we’re on day two of no nappies since tomorrow is another pre-school day. So far our wee counts are one in the potty four in the pants on day one and today we have one in the potty and two in the pants so far….I have period pain that is so bad if it weren’t for the drugs I would be rocking in the foetal position so it will take all my power to persevere with wee watch today. Oh how I wish I had persevered back when she was two….she’s always been willful and independent but is definitely a tougher nut to crack as she heads closer to four. Wish me luck….this won’t be the only battle of wills that she and I will engage in – this is just the battle du jour. And I don’t think my mum has stopped rubbing her hands with glee since our little miss arrived….
Little Boss is three and a bit. Up until recently we have been able to talk in whatever manner we have wanted and have not had to worry about what we say or who we say it about. And then IT happened. I had my niece – technically she’s my second cousin but her mum is like my big sister so let’s just say niece – over to stay for a couple of days and she was helping little boss colour in some Hello Kitty. I was taking full advantage of the distraction by catching up on chores – yewwww! Anyhoo Mr B Badger yells out from the bathroom for a towel and in my moment of frustration I mutter “ohhh farken hell”. As I walk back to the bathroom with the towel I see my nieces face – eyes wide in shock/amazement and hands over mouth to prevent laughter. So I drop off the towel to the lord of the living room and I return to see what had happened…turns out that my multi-tasking little dynamo got my tone and the pronunciation spot on as she coloured Hello Kitty with one hand and held her forehead with the other while repeating after me. This seemed to spark an increase in the amount of phrase mimicry with “you’ve got to be joking” a new hit and when asked “would you like a ” the response is mostly “ahh maybe that’s a no” complete with eye rolling…not sure where that came from but I do know that I don’t like it, despite it being pretty funny the first time….
I am not a shopper. I don’t particularly like the shops, I don’t really enjoy buying things – other than stationary. I find myself to be on edge and mildly pissed off from the minute I enter the carpark so it’s never a good start. Unfortunately I do have to venture into the shops on a fairly regular basis, though I do know that I can get my groceries delivered however it is a painful process and shits me to tears when the order is wrong. Yeah, I know, first world problems. But I am living my life and no one else’s so this is just my perspective. Anyhoo…clothing shopping is diabolical for me so I usually go for the cheapo tee-shirt and jeans combo and jazz up my outfit with a funky haircut. So imagine my dismay when my recently purchased $10 tee from BigW went from a flattering hip length to almost crop top after one wash. Turns out not so much of a bargain after all – which was a bugger cause if things had been different it could have been the start of a summer wardrobe. Apparently, in this case, you get what you pay for and I paid for shrinkage. I see this as yet another way marketing companies give us ‘serving suggestion’ like when you buy a box of weet bix and on the pack it has this amazing picture of weet bix floating in milk with berries on top…really?? Just try to replicate that at home. By the time you have your camera ready for the shot those cheeky weet bix have sucked up all your milk and are a soggy – but delicious – mess. Then you will see in very teeny tiny print *serving suggestion only. For more examples of this tomfoolery lets just look at the home shopping network. Those wire free bra thingys that were meant to still give amazing cleavage AND be super comfy but in truth made you look like you had sausage boob and the minute you sat, bent or generally moved the bottom of the thingy rolled up. Don’t get me started on all the gym equipment that you only need to use for 10 minutes a day and all of a sudden you’re a tanned and toned god or goddess. Of course I know that if honesty was used in advertising we would all buy far less so it is in the manufacturers best interest to have a powerful sales pitch but please how gullible are we as consumers?? Take ladies shape wear for example…modelled by a woman who is probably all of a size 8-10 and, unless she has the curves of an ironing board, I’m guessing she does not need shape wear. So why not choose a bigger sized model to give the target market a better idea of what it can do for them? What about Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meals…should come with a disclaimer “meals will only take 15 minutes if prepared by Jamie Oliver, purchasers of this book should expect to add at least an hour” ohhhh I could go on and on but you get the idea. I guess the one that is affecting us the most right now is the advertising ramp up towards Christmas on the kids telly. Man they really need to help out the people buying for these kids. Cause my little boss thinks that the Paw Patrol whatever the hell it is comes with a whole team of pups and their transport when, in fact, it only comes with one dude. Major let down when you see it on the telly and the whole gang is there but fast forward to the big day in December and Ryder is hanging out solo – not cool, toy company, so not cool.
Let it Be….Vegemite. just be happy to be Vegemite. so far we’ve had Vegemite mixed with cheese spread and called Cheeseymite – not cool. if you want cheese with your Vegemite you do just that, you make a sandwich with cheese and Vegemite. that way you can choose the desired level of Vegemite and the preference for cheese. they have also just launched a Vegemite that is lower in salt. how ridiculous?? the reason we love Vegemite is the salt. now the most absurd of all collaborations is the Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate with a caramel and Vegemite centre. just let it be Kraft….stop trying to make Vegemite for everyone. the truth is it’s not for everyone so just be happy with the knowledge that those of us that love it will continue to do so and know that by putting it in chocolate and trying to make it something it’s not will not make more people like it. these poor souls that have tried the Cadbury Caramel Vege combo are going to buy Vegemite and think it tastes totally different than it does.
so while I’m on Vegemite how about Aussie celebs stop trying to get Americans to like it. Americans feel the same way about Vegemite as we do about Dr Pepper. just let it be, Hugh Jackman, they don’t like it and that’s okay. you don’t see American celebs popping down under and trying to force us to eat grits or biscuits and gravy so I think it’s time we just left it alone….just let Vegemite sit on the shelf next to its old pal Peanut Butter and we’ll all be happy with the knowledge that our one constant in Aussie life is the same as we remember it from childhood – thank you and good night.
in 42 very quick days our wee baby girl will turn three. and a whole lot of stuff has changed in that time but the one thing that still remains is….nappies. clearly it is bothering me more than anyone else because I am the changer of all nappies, the wiper of the bum, the person that has – on more than one occasion – put my finger in the back of a nappy to see if it’s mine with the offending odor only to find that it is also now my finger that smells as well. so I’ve read books and blogs and web sites and articles and spoken to other mums and the advice ranges from she’ll do it when she’s ready to just take away the nappies and she’ll have to use the toilet….or wee and poo on my mums bamboo flooring – not my preferred option. we tried last week – I had days of not much planned so we could stay at home and give it a red-hot go. we have the toilet all set up, she picked the pink seat for the toilet, we made a chart to show progress with stickers, she picked underpants and we had a chat about being a big girl and nappies vs toilet…so after many attempts and lots of wiping and flushing and washing of hands at approximately 3 pm she declared “I don’t think I am ready to use the toilet yet mummy, can I have my nappies for a bit longer please?” so while the experts may disagree I did what she requested and pulled on another nappy….but today she said she needed to go to the toilet – nothing happened, despite my initial excitement – but it’s a start, right?
I blame disposable nappies. their absorbency is ridiculous. I’m sure if you were on a tight budget you could get away with using less nappies simply due to their ability to stay drier for longer. I wanted to use the modern cloth nappies and after getting my mum to bring them home from the US for me we found that after a very short time our very hot-blooded bundle of joy was suffering from heat rash from wearing them….disappointed doesn’t explain how I felt. Mr B Badger was less upset as it was he who wore the mustard coloured goodness that leaked out of one of my earlier attempts at putting them on.
I’m certain that if the children of today had to walk around with half a wet bath towel between their legs held up by a pair of plastic pants they’d be trained a whole lot earlier than they seem to be. I can’t help but think that the nappy is her remaining tie to me and that in giving that up she won’t have that extra bit of one on one time that for her is probably still quite fun but for me can sometimes resemble mud wrestling gone horribly wrong.
anyhoo I will persevere and she’ll get there eventually – or I’ll just have to start buying the adult diapers once she gets too big for Huggies….