The party’s over…

Four weeks ago I started work. From full-time mum to full-time employee and part-time mum. The decision to return to work was purely economical…apparently you can’t pay for things with old receipts and a Medicare Card – crazy world we live in. So I was offered a job and I took it. And I feel like ever since that day I have seen nothing but posts on facey and insty that are all about listening to your heart and doing what you love and life’s to short so follow your dream…I think those sentiments are all wonderful however they do not pay the bills. See if I truly was to choose a career path that would give me ultimate fulfillment and fill my heart with joy I would be a writer or a renovator. I write this blog and I really love it – I don’t make money from it and that’s ok. Would I like to be paid to write – ahhhh yes please! In the meantime I will continue to write and won’t give up my day job. As for renovating – if someone wants to donate about $400K to me in the hope that I flip a house for profit and can give them back some interest then please contact me now. Seriously though it is nice to think that we could all just chuck in our day jobs and follow our dreams but if we all do that then who does the jobs that people rarely dream about?  Since starting work I have had my world turned upside down. I am away from my little boss all day and only see her for a couple of hours at night. This makes her a bit of a terror – they say children crave attention and it doesn’t matter if it is good or bad as long as they get it they consider it a win. It also makes me exhausted and short on patience – which I am in fairly short supply of most days. The up shot of this is that we will be able to save some pennies and will be able to visit people we love and spend time with them. That makes it all worthwhile. So I guess in a sense we are following our dream and doing what we love in that we are going to stash some cash and then take a trip – make some memories, take lots of selfies – repeat. And if I can smuggle my laptop or tablet into our suitcase I might even be able to indulge my passion….and write about it.

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Those pesky inbetweeners

Last week our little boss turned five…wow. It feels like only a few short months ago that I first started writing about the delights of visiting the obstetrician as an over 40 first timer and here we are five über fast years later. Many things have changed during this time and I have noticed that having to wait around for Little Boss to do whatever the hell she pleases has made me slow down a notch. There is no greater frustration than trying to get a child into a car or into a bath or out of a bath or dressed or undressed or into bed….you catch my drift….so you either get crazy mad or you just let it happen organically and either continually turn up late with crazy eyes or get out of bed wayyyyy earlier than usual just so all you have to worry about is motivating a fiver. I am working on just letting it happen and slowing down a bit and I like her to think she can go at her own pace. That is unless it’s pissing down and she’s taking “just one more” run around my folks lawn while I wait for her to get in the car – this will cause me to crack out the old “you’ve got five seconds….5….4….3….” we never usually get to 1 and I don’t know what is meant to happen if we do…

Anyways so last Sunday we were having the family round for a get together to celebrate her big five and I needed to get some hot-dog buns so I legged it to the shopping centre and grabbed enough rolls for a half day Bunnings Sausage Sizzle and began my fast strut back to the car….which came to a standstill when I hit the travelator and got stuck behind a lady with a trolley. See once you have positioned your trolley its locked in and doesn’t move til you get off at the end….so this lovely lady turned to me and said “sorry, I’ve blocked you in” not at all I assured her. Then while I was “blocked in” by her trolley I found out that she is 80 years old, loves living at the village across the road and feels that once you get past a certain age people – in general – are very nice to you. Which, she said, was lovely. I remarked to her that we seem to use up all our nice on the very young and the very old and had nothing left for those pesky in between years but wouldn’t it be so pleasant if kindness was commonly used in all age groups. I felt really uplifted by my encounter with this lady. We parted ways at the exit and I wished her a happy Sunday before strutting to the car to get the buns home. I have been thinking about our meeting on the travelator and have been trying to up my kindness quota…..don’t get me wrong, lots of things still push my buttons but I am working on it. I have a long way to go before I am Zen Master of my domain, for now though, if I can minimise the amount of times I mutter “for fuck sake” under my breath I will consider it a small win.

the luxury of choice…

As I write this post – primarily to get the words out of my head and give them to this page – I realise that I am so very lucky to have a choice. A choice to live where I would like to live, within financial means, a choice to speak some of my mind – my family might read this so it’s the PG version – and, in general, a choice regardless of what the circumstance might bring. Two years ago we chose to relocate to The Hunter Region of NSW. Our reasons were to be in closer proximity to family and to be on the east coast where travel north and south gets us closer to other family. For the most part this has been a wonderful decision. We have reconnected with family and they have welcomed us which has been nothing short of amazing – especially for Little Boss who loves everyone the instant they meet. The part that has been constantly challenging has been around financial stability and job security. So Mr B Badger has a great job that pays very well…and he is a full-time employee which years ago would mean a job for life. Unfortunately in this economic climate it means a job til China can make it cheaper. Yep he works in the steel industry. and come June 1 we will find out if he will be one of the “lucky” ones to keep his job or whether we will be financially unstable – again – come June 30. We are not alone and I am very aware of the fact that things could be a shitload worse for us…but stress is stress and regardless of where it comes from or what causes it, stress can be very harmful. Now I am hoping that his employers understand the tactic of holding onto the people with the right behaviours in the knowledge that work skills can be taught but who knows? I know that I am currently working in a full time job with the title of “Job Searcher” and I am not having any luck – unfortunately no amount of “you’ll find something” or “everything happens for a reason” is cutting it for me. At the end of the day I think it’s probably time for me to get my groove back and start my own business and invest myself into something that I love and believe in. It might not make me millions, but it will make me proud.

Thank you to this screen I type on for taking all my words and helping me get some clarity. And to anyone who reads this….thank you for choosing to do so and share my life. When I started this blog I did so to unburden my mind in a way that didn’t cost $$$…when I was earning money I could afford all sorts of things – counselling was one of them. Now I work through some of my head space by talking out loud to a computer and occasionally typing some words.

just like pi…

So Louann Brizendine from the University of California came up with some research that suggests that, on average, women speak three times the amount of words per day than men. Now I do love a bit of data and I am married to a man who would definitely reduce the amount of words spoken by man to about a quarter of what was found to be the magic number of 7000 words per man, per day. This leads me to wonder if the original data that Louann collected may have been skewed by mums. How many mums were in there? Sneakily pushing that average up with repeated phrases like…”have you flushed the toilet” “have you washed your hands” “are you listening to me” “eat your breakfast, lunch, dinner” or my most recent favourite “no, not just one more minute, get in the bathroom and brush your teeth” I may as well record that one and just keep pressing play.

I consider myself to be a fairly resilient person. I can usually weather the storm. I am also in complete awe and amazement at how this almost five-year old can persist in the face of adversity. We have entered a phase of the “just one mores” just one more chocolate, minute, TV show, game, drawing, book, thing to tell me – this one is almost always in the resistance period before bed. To be perfectly honest she doesn’t go to sleep til 8.30-9pm and is up again at 7am so I am all out of my just one mores and I am ready to disappear into a world of Netflix. Mr B Badger blames me – I am quite stubborn, headstrong and I will negotiate and influence to get my own way. My mother just laughs and says “oh yeah, I remember those days”  Me – well I just get sick of the sound of my own voice and will happily not talk at all once she goes to sleep. It’s not great socially but I feel that I have used up my 20000 words for the day by repeating myself ad nauseam in trying to negotiate with someone who has wayyyyy more staying power than me. Sometimes, if I am not up to the challenge, I just go with it. Ice cream for breakfast? Sure in a cup or a cone? Want your mattress on the floor cause the bed is too itchy? Move outta the way and let me make it happen. On these days my average word count would be quite manly….and then there are the pi days where I just go on and on and on repeating the same request/instruction/warning of pending injury all day long. At some point during the day I remember that I need to fight the battles worth fighting. I was recently reminded of this when, at bedtime, I was told she had “just one more thing” to tell me. OK just one more. “Mama, tomorrow, I want to have 10 hours where you just let me do what I want and you can’t say no to anything, okay?” so I said “okay, no go to sleep and get some rest. You’ve got a big day tomorrow” fortunately for me she has little concept of time.

strange days indeed

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…

to lid, or not to lid…

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.

 

The real reality of home improvement…

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.

The Five P’s

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!

 

less of the serving suggestion please…

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.

In the words of The Beatles….

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.