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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
okay so I have been off the grid for a while which has given me plenty of time to observe the world around me…and by this I mean what occurs under my roof. we have a distinct lack of funds so if it’s happening, it’s happening at home. anyhoo…today I observed one of the most spectacular tantrums to date. there was full body gyrating, tears, snot, head banging, binky throwing…you name it and we had it today. what was I asking that created this hot mess? I wasn’t trying to get little boss to eat brussel sprouts or even brush her teeth…no I was asking her to take a nap. and by the response I got, it was long overdue. so it got me thinking what are some of the behavioural differences between my two-year old and myself and here is the start of my list.
if you told me to take a nap, I wouldn’t even question you. I would slide into the sheets and drift off.
if you cooked my food for me and served it up at the perfect temperature and it was all my “favourites” I would eat it. there is no way I would push it away and say “I don’t like it”. no way, never, ever.
I would never eat ice cream for breakfast. little boss would eat ice cream for breakfast everyday if it were offered. we are fortunate to have a standard fridge/freezer where the freezer is at the top otherwise I am certain that ice cream would be on the menu 24/7.
if I had the option of sitting in the trolley versus walking while doing the grocery shopping I wouldn’t have to think about it for too long.
and my last observation of our recent differences is if I am in pain and am offered medication to “make the pain go away” it could taste like tripe and I would still gobble it up. unfortunately for us our little boss will only consume pain medication if we disguise it in “a special drink” also known as juice. our recent experience with two-year old molars was possibly the toughest test of our parenting journey to date and had us getting very creative with the administering of panadol. many people have recounted times where they held their child down in order for them to take the foul-tasting medicine but I just can’t bring myself to do that so disguise it is. so she has cracked the bottom two molars and it only took two weeks of eyebrow raising behaviour and lots of discussions about our hopes that it wasn’t permanent. two more to come and even the thought of it fills me with dread. for now though, we have our delightful little person back….and as long as we get her to bed before the overtiredness creeps in she is pretty funny to be around….even if “no” is her favourite word and “don’t like ” is her catchcry du jour she is still pretty amusing – to us.
anyhoo so I am back to writing barrybadger. its been way too long and I am hoping that there are still some people who can laugh along with me, otherwise it is very similar to my day-to-day so please feel free to comment.
okay so its been a while between posts on barrybadger for me and things have been interesting to say the least. unfortunately hand foot and mouth disease has been making the rounds and decided to spend a while at our place. I thought little boss had managed to dodge it but on day seven of the two to seven day period for symptoms to make themselves known she got the tell tale blisters in her throat and that started a four day stint of her sleeping for only 30-40 minutes at a time. poor love she looked terrible and I am surprised my neighbors didn’t call in child services after one particularly bad night….I called in my mum who fortunately only lives around the corner and is not precious about cruising the streets in her pj’s and having her here meant I was able to sleep for a couple of hours. what a terrible virus it is. apparently it is more the discomfort of swallowing with throat blisters and not much else that babies have to deal with….the real horror of HFMD is reserved for adults unlucky enough to have a compromised immune system – which unfortunately was me due to the earlier rota-virus I had endured. so once little boss was back to her usual cheeky self it was my turn to blister up. and did i give it a fair crack or what. when the doctors – yes there were two – are talking about you like you are not in the room and asking each other questions like “have you ever seen anything like this” and the response is “not in my 30 years of practice” its pretty hard not to scream at them “give me some fucking pain relief” yes I was tempted to swear but I had self medicated to a near catatonic state and having them discuss me like I wasn’t even there was probably more due to me not actually feeling present in my own skin. I didn’t really want to be in my own skin at that point cause it was burning, itching and incredibly painful all at the same time. it was about 11 degrees outside and I was sitting in the doctors wearing shorts a singlet and thongs – flip flops not g-strings – and covered in purple blisters….hardly surprising that they didn’t leave me in the waiting room for long. so I had to put old barry on the back-burner for a while…at least until I could move my hands and the new skin became less sensitive to allow me to type. lets hope it’s all over now and once the scars clear up I will have no reminder of it. I have included some pictures to give you an idea – they don’t really do it justice but at least I can share it with you….sharing is caring right???
recently my cousin and her daughter visited us and they bought with them a swag of the latest magazines. they came armed with heaps of other stuff as well but for the purpose of this post I wont go on about krispy kreme donuts….it’s just fried dough, get over it. anyhoo so I used to be an avid collector of magazines…I really enjoy some of the articles but mostly just like to look at the pictures. fast forward to the brave new world I live in and the magazines I look forward to come pre-loved. so one of the magazines my cousin left behind has the following claim on the cover “50 great buys under $250″…what a bargain, sign me up, where can I get all 50? seriously, is under $250 the new bargain? I am clearly well out of the loop on what is hip and happening in fashion due, in part, to me currently sporting a size 16 arse, not the 10 required by the fashion forward and the fact that my current budget extends to the two for $30 offered by Jeans West. one of the magazines that I really enjoy reading and looking at is Marie Claire but who buys the fashion? a pair of shoes for $3ooo, a bag for $1200 and a dress for POA…sounds more like a deposit on a house to me. the people who buy this stuff must surely be very wealthy or live on credit cards cause for the average joe who might fancy a pair of neon blue snake-skin heels by Gucci or Prada – I can’t remember – the price tag is way out of reach. it has made me wonder if they are missing their mark in selling the magazine to people like me – well not actually me, I get the pre-loved ones remember – who, even if I did win big and skinny down, wouldn’t buy half the clothes featured in these glossy pages. years ago I was at a convention in Hawaii and while waiting for my room to be ready went for a wander through the mall that was part of the hotel. there was a Louis Vuitton shop and in the window was a bag that had $1200 in small gold writing on the tag next to it….the “bag” itself was probably big enough for two tampons and a lipstick and the exchange rate was 73 cents…then a couple of years ago my besty from Sydney came over for my big four ohhhh and we went for a wander through the designer stores of Perth’s King Street….well the ones we could get into without an appointment anyway. In Prada there was a pair of black men’s rubber thongs with PRADA in white on the sole…$499. seriously…who buys that? and if you do, or you know someone who does, please let me know how freaking awesome they are. cause for that much money they would want to be some crazy amazing comfy thongs. I will continue to invest $20 on havianas at the beginning of summer knowing that by the end of april they will be ready for the bin.
a note for my American friends – the thongs I refer to are not the underwear, up your bum, ones they are the rubber soled on your feet ones. thongs, jandals, flip-flops, pluggers – or if your upmarket – double pluggers.