Archive for June, 2008

I am so stupid it hurts

Smack me, someone! I am an idiot of the highest order.

A few weeks ago I realised there was no way on earth I could fit in a full time university subject load and work and look after kids and be sane. So I decided to drop one subject and do a half load. I emailed the uni and it was all sorted.

This weekend I have spent HOURS working on an assignment for the subject I decided to keep. Yesterday I read an entire novel.

Today I decided to check the subject forums to see what other people thought about the essay questions, before I started writing my response. Only to discover…

I DROPPED THE WRONG SUBJECT.

I am no longer registered in the subject I have been slaving over. And I AM registered in the subject for which I have done NO work in three weeks. Which has an assignment due next week – two essays.

There is no hope – none – of getting that assignment done.

I’ve just written a pathetic, begging, pleading email to the uni to see if I can possibly get out of the course I meant to drop without getting fail grade and without losing all my money. And I am hoping they can also get me back INTO to the course I dropped.

Seriously, what was I thinking? I looked at the email I sent and I very clearly asked to drop the wrong subject. I even wrote drop in bold, just to be sure I’d really screw myself over.

Okay, off to drown my sorrows. Pity I don’t drink alcohol. Can you down sorrows in caffeine-free diet coke?

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Grosser than gross

Hugo has a deep and unyielding obsession with the toilet brush. If the bathroom door is left open for even the briefest moment, he makes a beeline for it.

If I am in the bathroom I try to stand in his path so he can’t get to it. He squirms around me, squeezes through tiny gaps, performs all sorts of contortions to get it. And when he gets it, he is a happy boy.

I have never actually seen him put it in his mouth, and that is as much as I wish to think about it.

Today I was sitting at the computer when he marched in waving the toilet brush about like a baton. I put it in the bin. I am now on the hunt for a toilet brush that clicks into the container in a way that little boys cannot figure out. Meanwhile, it’s probably best to avoid the toilet at our house…

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The quote is in

And I was right to be worried. It is TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS more than the estimate. I’ll discuss it with Leigh tonight – I’m not sure where this leaves us.

Update: Leigh talked to the builder (and was far more conciliatory than I was expecting) and basically he’s not budging. He offered to take part of the payment in cash to reduce the GST we’d have to pay but I’m inclined to say no to that, mainly because he said it would help us and him, and I am not of a mind to help him. Our mortgage broker is investigating whether we can actually get any more money, and then we’ll see what to do next. Will this reno EVER happen??

Update 2: The mortgage broker emailed to say the valuation has been ordered, so obviously the bank is proceeding with the application, but we don’t know what amount they have approved! Guess we’ll do what we always do – wait.

Update 3: Well, the valuation is done. I don’t know what to expect. The valuer was an odd man who kept going on about the slope of the new roof and how we should test it by holding a super-long piece of pipe at the angle it will be on to see if water will flow down . Why? I don’t know. He’s not a building inspector, he’s a valuer. Just say the house is worth a million dollars and go about your business, okay?

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Weekend fun

We went to Leigh’s father’s place on the weekend for her brother’s 30th birthday party. Much as I like her brother and his family, there’s always a part of me that dreads these trips because 10 people in one house is always going to be chaotic.

We have five kids between us. The first three are separated by only 13 months, and the last two are two months apart. The older kids have a blast together for the first few hours then usually spend the rest of the time bickering and dobbing on each other.

Well, we did get a bit of that as expected, but not too much – mainly because Hunter was really unwell. As we were arriving she started complaining that she wasn’t feeling good. By mid-afternoon she had a fever that wouldn’t come down with nurofen, and a couple of hours after that she was shivering violently, complaining that the light hurt her eyes and clinging to me like a limpet.

She ate hardly anything, barely got off my lap all day and ended up asking to go to bed about 7.30.

Hugo was also unwell with a cold. He was happy as Larry while he was up and about (and actually had a total ball running around with the kids and entertaining everyone with his cuteness) but he was too congested to sleep. He had no sleep at all during the day and woke four or five times overnight.

We did still have a good time but we were glad to be home yesterday. Hugo burst into a big smile and gave me a hug when he realised he was going to be sleeping in his own bed.

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Bad Mummy, Take 2

I have to start out by saying this title includes the ‘Take 2′ because it’s the second time I have blogged about a Bad Mummy experience. It is certainly not only the second time I have done a Bad Mummy thing.

So last night I was getting the kids into the bath. I’d run the water and Hunter was in. Hugo was in the loungeroom with me and I about to put him in too when the phone rang. I assumed (stupid, stupid, stupid) that leigh was watching Hugo, so I went off to answer the phone.

About 30 seconds later I heard leigh yelling, “no, no, stop” then I heard her running. I got off the phone and found her next to the bath with a wet Hugo.

I’d left the bathroom door and the loungeroom door open and Hugo had run in and climbed over the side of the bath. He was in the water when leigh got there.

Now, she was only a second or two behind him so he didn’t even come close to anything really bad happening, and Hunter was there so she would have let us know quick if leigh hadn’t already been there, but still.

It was stupid in the extreme to leave those doors open and I am still kicking myself.

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Cross your fingers

The builder called tonight to check a few final details and said he’d be back to us with a definite price in the next day or two (which I am going to go ahead and assume means “next week or two”).

I am feeling very nervous. I swear I could hear cash registers kerchinging as he spoke. I have this awful feeling that his final quote is going to look nothing like his original estimate.

I hope I am wrong!

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Perfect playgroup

We tried another playgroup today – and it was exactly what I was looking for!

There were lots of kids Hunter’s age and lots Hugo’s age. The parents were friendly and social. And, it’s held at Hunter’s future primary school, so we’ll get to check the place out and make some great school contacts.

My friend who invited me to the other playgroup (that we decided was not right for us) came along today too. She had been planning to give the other one another go, but having thought about it some more realised that she too was looking for a more diverse age range.

She also liked the new playgroup, so it looks like we’ll both be going to this one. I am really pleased about that because I like spending time with her and her kids and we wouldn’t have seen each other too often if she was at another playgroup. We do catch up wednesday mornings during preschool drop off but that’s just a five minute hello.

As a bonus, I met a woman who has rather the same kind of job I do. She works from home on various writing projects. At the moment she’s doing tertiary curriculum development, where I am doing very commercial PR stuff, but her background’s very similar to mine. It’s nice to meet someone who knows what it’s like to try and actually get work done from a home office.

There were lots of other friendly folk there, too. All up, it seems like it will be ideal for us.

except…..

It starts at 9.30 am. Too early for Hugo to sleep before we go, and he was utterly wasted by the end (about 11.30). He was totally wired today and I spent a good amount of the morning getting him down from tables and chairs, chasing him across the quad, and untangling him from the blinds. He slept for a woeful 45 minutes when we got home and was a mess when he woke up.

He’s clambered onto the lamp table (via the couch) more times than I can remember this afternoon. I was dragging him off the thing at least every 60 seconds for a good stretch. Redirecting didn’t work – if I moved him away from the couch he just found something else to climb on. And grumpy doesn’t go halfway to describing his mood.

So, I expect Tuesday afternoons will be entertaining for the next while, but I figure it’s only once a week and what we will get out of the playgroup will probably make the afternoon pain worthwhile (famous last words?).

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Committing to a date

Leigh and I have always intended to have some sort of ceremony, but have gone back and forth about what to do and when.

Many years ago, before the kids were ever thought of, we had chosen a date and booked a celebrant. Then life got in the way and we didn’t go ahead.

After that we were distracted by the pursuit of parenthood, and then the demands of young children. At the same time, I developed a real aversion to the idea of a ceremony that would have no legal significance. The thought of it just made me angry and I decided I didn’t want a mock version of what our straight friends could have. So for a time I wanted to just wait until our state/country finally did the right thing and gave our relationships proper legal recognition.

Now, I just want to have a ceremony and to hell with the legal bit. I want a nice dress and a white gold ring and a fabulous wedding cake.

So we’ve set a date – Sunday, November 8, 2009. Yes, it’s 18 months away.

November 8 is our anniversary and I have always hoped we could have our ceremony on our anniversary. It would have been nice to do it this year when it falls on a Saturday but we may well still be mid-renovations by then and at any rate the new section of the house certainly won’t be completely finished and we won’t have any money.

So, next year it is.

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Mea culpa

Okay, I was wrong and the builder was right, on two fronts:

1) Calling the engineer WAS a good idea; and

2) Knocking down the walls and rebuilding IS a better approach

We saw the engineer on Saturday and he was fantastic. Obviously very experienced, and he has worked with our architect and our builder and our council assessing officer in the past. So instead of me making a trillion phone calls and asking stupid, ill-informed questions, he said he’d just contact everyone directly and get the information he needed.

He also confirmed that we DON’T need to raise the slab height by 10cm, which is what the builder has been freaking out about, so I am hoping that issue will be put to bed and we can get on with it. And he said he agreed with the builder about knocking down the existing walls – he even thinks it might be cheaper that way because it will be quicker, and labour costs are the killer in reno projects.

He also talked to us about the option of doing an online owner-builder course for $95 instead of spending a couple of thousand dollars getting homeowner’s warranty insurance through the builder. For a few thousand bucks I’d rather keep the builder on side but it could be a good option if the builder doesn’t mind either way – most of the money would go to the insurer, not the builder, and it would mean he’d be employed as a tradesman instead of a project manager and therefore would carry less liability.

The upside of that approach for us is that we could do it quickly and actually collect our stupid paperwork from council, but the downside is that we’d be project managing the renovations and I just don’t want to do that. I am already sick to the back teeth of the whole thing and building hasn’t even started. I want someone else to do all the chasing – ideally someone who actually knows something about building!

Anyway the engineer said he’d have the drawings done today and I am hoping he’ll pass them directly to the builder, and I am really, really hoping the builder will then get on with getting us a final tender for me to pass on to the mortgage broker.

I wish the engineer had known our mortgage broker and then I could have just taken myself out of the loop all together!

At any rate, the engineer made us feel a lot calmer about the whole process because he was very knowledgable and he’s open to being contacted throughout the project if we need further hand holding. His work will cost us $400 but for once it feels like money well spent.

The stats:

Weeks since we started this project = 21

Money spent = about $4,500

Building work completed = none

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Tremendous Tuesday

An amazing thing happened yesterday. The kids and I had a good day. Even though it was Tuesday.

I’ll confess it did not get off to a great start. I was waiting to see if my additional freelance project was going ahead and feeling deeply stressed about trying to squeeze it into my schedule. In amongst all the angst I needed to finish off some projects for my other job (the one where I don’t work on Monday or Tuesday. Ha) and that included making an international call to someone I had never spoken to before.

Hunter actually obliged and kept quiet during the call – very unlike her – but made me pay for it afterward by insisting that she wanted to type when I was trying to finish off my media release. It resulted in me snapping at her, her crying in a tragic way and me feeling horribly guilty because it’s not okay to yell at her because I have overcommitted myself.

But once we got over that, we actually had a really nice day. I really enjoyed Hunter’s company yesterday. She was funny and kind and helpful and really a joy to be around. And she played nicely with Hugo, giving him toys and generally accepting that he’s younger and gets a bit more leeway in lots of areas.

There was one incident that resulted in a series of red marks on Hugo’s face, and I am not sure what happened except that Hunter “didn’t do NOTHING!” – but we’ll just ignore that, shall we?

For the first time in such a long time, we got to the end of Tuesday still smiling. The house was even tidy at day’s end, and I tell you, that simply does not happen here!

I’m so pleased and feel like we might have a pleasant few months ahead.

Leigh and I both feel like we’re seeing the demise of the Terrible Threes (that whole Terrible Twos myth is very misleading. If your child is two and you think next year will be better…well, you’ll see). We know there’ll still be difficult days, but we’re seeing a lot more of the thoughtful, sweet kid we know Hunter can be. And it’s still two years before Hugo turns three.

So, that’s one great Tuesday managed. Let’s see if we can repeat the feat next week.

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