Archive for March, 2008

Hunter’s new friend

Hunter often comes home from preschool talking about new friends. She’s not great at actually listening when people introduce themselves, so sometimes she has no idea what their names are, and sometimes it’s very evident that she has their name wrong.

Best example this week is her new friend Aamina.

Hunter insists her name is Enema.

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Poor little sick man

Poor Hugo is so full of cold that it makes me sad just to look at him. He has the most awful, juicy, chesty cough and his nose is drippy and red raw. He starts to cry if I even think about wiping it.

To top it off, he also has conjunctivitis. There was yellow gunk coming out of both eyes last night and this morning his little eyes were all swollen and red and sore.

He’s just so miserable it would break your heart.

This morning he was in his highchair eating his toast half heartedly. I left him for about two minutes to go put on some deodorant and when I came back in he was asleep! It was so cute – unfortunately I couldn’t (and still can’t) find the camera.

I took him to the doctor this morning to get something for the conjunctivitis. I don’t think it’s part of the viral illness causing the cold because it started a good five or more days after the cold, and it’s fairly full on. I think it’s another preschool lurgy courtesy of Hunter.

There was a huge wait at the surgery – two thirds of the seats were already taken when we got there at 9am. We got in just after 10, which wasn’t too bad considering, but it’s a long time for a sick boy who wants to go to sleep.

He was amazingly good. For the first 20 minutes or so he sat on my lap and looked around, gave me cuddles and tapped on the wall behind me. After that we went into the play area (there were no other kids there) and he crawled around and just entertained himself till it was our turn.

He didn’t much like being examined but he didn’t even cry when the tongue depressor went in.

He DID cry when I gave him the chlorsig drops, and I don’t blame him because those suckers sting and then they drip down into the back of your throat and leave a foul after taste.

He’s asleep now and I hope he feels a bit better when he wakes up.

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Facebook convert …. kinda

Leigh and I have resisted the Facebook phenomenon for a long time. We just didn’t want to get caught up in another internet thing that chewed up all our time and energy.

A while back we created a profile simply because people kept sending us messages and we couldn’t read them without one. We have a shared profile even though it’s supposed to be for individuals, because, well, we can’t be bothered.

We don’t ‘do’ things on Facebook. No poking and buying people and doing quizzes. We don’t put up pics on Facebook.

Leigh hardly spends any time on the internet and isn’t that interested. I spend a LOT of time on the internet and do not want to create another addiction.

But…. it has led us to catch up with a number of old friends and I am excited about that.

A few weeks ago we heard from our old flatmate for the first time in years. We’d had no idea where she was or what she was up to – and she was certainly surprised to learn we had two kids.

I’ve also heard a few times from my former singing teacher and friend, and we’re making plans to catch up next time she’s in Sydney (can’t wait!).

And I’ve been chatting a bit with a former colleague and friend, and have been so pleased to hear how she’s been.

Recently I’ve heard from a really fabulous friend who I have known for 20 years now. We used to be great about keeping in contact but the passage of time and jobs and family responsibilities got the better of us. She lost my details, I lost hers, and I’ve spent the past three years or so wondering how she’s doing.

Being back in contact with her is just fantastic! It’s a huge trip down memory lane, even though we’ve mostly been updating about our current circumstances. It reminds me of all the things we used to do when we were young and had the world at our feet.

I’m really enjoying renewing those old connections.

And, I confess, I am having fun looking up people from the deep dark past and seeing how they look and how successful they are (or aren’t…)

So, I don’t think I’ll be buying right into the craze, but I have come to think it’s not such a bad thing.

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Busy, busy, busy

It’s been a good while since my last post just because there hasn’t been time to update. Which is odd, because now that I sit down to actually write something, I am struggling to think of anything to write about.

Leigh’s dad paid a surprise visit over the easter long weekend so we spent a few days doing things with him. Actually, we mostly didn’t do anything, but it always feels busy with visitors even when you’re just sitting around.

On easter sunday we went into Darling Harbour, just for something to do. The Hoopla Festival was on and there were lots of quirky live performances – we saw a woman tearing apart a phone book with her hands and a really cool band that played music and did acrobatic tricks at the same time. There was also a great storytelling tent but it was aimed at kids around 8-10 so Hunter didn’t really have the patience for it and Hugo was cranky by the time we got there. Oh, and Hunter and Leigh tried a few things in an interactive circus workshop kind of thing that had juggling and stilt walking and a few other activities.

Hunter was mostly interested in playing in the water feature in front of the convention centre (a big spiral sunk into the ground that you can walk and splash around in) and throwing food to the seagulls.

Hugo was mostly interested in chasing the seagulls with rather dogged determination. He just did not get tired of following those stupid birds around.

Both kids loved the train trip there and back and honestly they would probably have enjoyed the day just as much if we’d just hopped on the train and looped around the city for five hours.

We did pretty well limiting the easter egg craziness. Hunter got a smallish bunny from easter bunny (after much wailing that he hadn’t come at all – we have the least observant child on earth). She also got a very small egg from us and a little one from grandma, plus a dvd from grandpa. We were pleased with that and it all seemed very restrained and appropriate.

Then the girl from next door arrived with a huge gift box with a giant egg and a whole pile of small solid eggs. There was more than twice as much chocolate in that box as in the rest of Hunter’s collection combined.

Obviously I am doing the parentally responsibly thing and eating most of that chocolate myself.

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Hunter’s thoughts on poverty

I had a conversation with Hunter the other day about choosing whether she would eat her dinner. It was funny, but also a reminder of how very lucky we are. She doesn’t have the faintest idea what it means to really go without.

Hunter: I don’t want that for dinner

Me: Well, that is what is for dinner tonight, but you don’t have to eat it if you choose not to

H: I won’t eat it

M: Okay, but that means you don’t get anything else.

H: That’s okay. I will have nothing to eat like those other kids

M: What other kids?

H: Those kids on the other side of the world.

M: Hunter, those kids don’t choose not to eat. They would like to have something to eat but they don’t have any food.

H: Why don’t they go to the shops and get some?

M: There aren’t any shops, and the people are so poor they don’t have any money anyway.

H: Why don’t the kids have any money? I bet it is because they don’t clean their rooms.

(Hunter gets her weekly pocket money if she tidies her room)

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Protected: Weaving a tangled web

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Protected: Avonex still sucks, but less

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Update update

This update is going to be a collection of smaller updates. Are you excited?

 The renos

We heard from the builder today, just checking in, I guess to see if we’re still alive since it’s been so long since he heard from us. He had told us a few weeks back that he give us a recommendation on an engineer since we’ll need some additional certification but he hasn’t come through with that yet. That seems to sum up the renovation process. People tell you they will do things, then they simply don’t.


I think we’re doing sorta okay. Definitely not being strict adherents but not abject failures, either. We haven’t bought much new stuff this year (though we have bought the occasional new thing) but more importantly we haven’t really bought very much ‘stuff’ full stop. We’re definitely spending less time worshipping the god of materialism.

We actually did buy a big armload of (secondhand) clothes at the markets on the weekend but it was all genuinely needed. Hunter’s winter pants from last year are all at least an inch too short, some of them closer to three inches. Even her dresses from the summer just gone are so short we can no longer let her wear them without leggings underneath because they’re just indecent.

So we bought a stack of leggings that will work under her dresses as Autumn outfits and will also work over tights with long sleeve tops and jackets in winter. We also got her some jeans and a denim jacket.

I am planning a brand new purchase, too. I saw on tv the other night this nifty gadget that turns a single flush toilet system into a dual flush. Our two toilets are both single flush and they waste so much water. This thing just screws in and saves nine litres every time you choose the half flush.

We’re also doing better at not buying so much overpackaged food. We’ve always bought potatoes and rice in 10kg bags. Now we’re also buying 1kg tubs of yogurt to spoon into our own smaller containers for lunch boxes, and we buy 5kg bags of flour. There are other things too, but you get the idea.

Meanwhile, I actually can’t remember the last time I bought something from Myer or DJs. I’d love to say I don’t miss it, but it would be a lie. Leigh is far less materialistic than me and I probably would have fallen off the wagon in spectacular fashion by now if she wasn’t along for the ride.

The veggie patch

It’s done much better than we anticipated. We’re still hauling in truckloads of tomatoes and we’ve been eating lots of silverbeet and rainbow chard. The other things are still growing merrily and in due course we expect cucumbers, eggplant, peas, onions, leeks, rhubarb, zucchinis and a LOT of pumpkins. I think I am forgetting a couple of things but they’re the main ones. We also have a stack of herbs outside the back door.

The kids

Hugo went through a very fussy phase last week where he barely wanted to breastfeed at all. He wasn’t eating much either, but that’s usual. I was starting to get worried by the fourth or fifth day of just-wet nappies, then suddenly yesterday they were full again.

Apart from that, the boy’s mostly his usual obliging self. He is starting to be clingy and it gets frustrating when I can’t go two steps without him crying and lunging at me, but he’s generally still pretty easy going.

He’s saying a good handful of words now (‘that’ just started today) but my favourite is “Hunter” (huh-duh). It is just too cute.

And speaking of Hunter…where do I start. We’re having behaviour issues again the past few days. She has realised that I don’t actually have any real control over her and if she chooses not to do as I ask, there’s not much I can do.

If she is being naughty (you know, like 75,000 times a day) I might ask her to go to the naughty chair/clean up the mess/say sorry etc etc. Lately she says no. If I try to institute some alternate discipline she says no to that too. Today I asked her to stay in her room and have a rest. She said no. Then she said “I am going to cough on you”, which she did. I told her to go to the naughty chair. She refused. I carried her there and she immediately got up and ran off. I told her she was going to go outside and she said “Fine, if you send me outside I will ride my bike and play and won’t care”. Which is exactly what she did.

Anyway, it’s not as bad as it was a month or so ago so I am hoping this is just a blip. she’s being pretty good at preschool and has lots of good days at home, too. She just makes me feel completely inept when she wants to.

The study plans

I’ve done a lot more thinking about what I want to do since I first stumbled on the idea of some more study. The more I have thought about it, the more I have realised that what I really want from my career is enough money to pay the bills and a whole shitload of holidays.

So my current plan is to get out of PR and into teaching. I intend to take my time and hopefully be done with study and ready to get a full time teaching job around about the time Hugo starts school.

The prospect of all four of us being on the same timetable is very appealing. I could make more money doing what I am already doing but there’s just no way I’d be getting 11 weeks off a year.

Leigh’s MS

I could sum up this update by just saying that it still sucks. We think she’ll do the injections on a Thursday night rather than Saturday as originally planned. It seems the side effects are not going to be as bad as they might have been (touch wood) so we kind of like the idea of making the injection part of the drudgery of the week, not a low point in the weekend.

The nurse actually suggested Friday night but leigh really looks forward to Friday night because she has a couple of drinks with her colleagues after work and just gets to take a breath and relax. I really think it would spoil it to know she has to come home and inject herself, especially since it’s probably going to continue to be really difficult for a good while yet.

She thinks this week she wants to go off by herself and do the injection in her own time. I have no issue with giving her the space she needs but I am a little bit worried about coming in to find her passed out. I guess we’ll see what feels right at the time.

Meanwhile, people are coming out of the woodworks with their own stories about their friend’s friend’s friend with MS and the miracle cure that worked for them. Some guy that did prac at leigh’s school gave her some dumb book that purported to have the cure for, well, everything. We didn’t even glance at a single page. We figure if there’s some actual scientific evidence favouring any of these theories then the MS Society will clue us in.

(I just want to add here that I know two people whose partners have MS and while I have been generally unhappy with everyone else sticking their oars in with assvice, I have been very grateful to them for sharing their firsthand experiences)

Right – I’ve been typing for ages and Hunter’s been occupying herself by doing a big poo. She’s just come in with her dress bunched around her waist and an invitation for me to do some wiping. Who could resist?

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Swimming success!

Finally, we had a great swimming lesson where everyone had fun, Hunter was happy to join in and it was actually warm.

Hunter came into Hugo’s class again. There’s a fairly wide range of ages, experiences and abilities in the class but I’d say most of the kids are 12-18 months. Sharon, the instructor, is great at tailoring the activities to suit each child while still involving them all in the same songs and games.

On Saturday she encouraged Hunter to use a pool noodle under her arms. Hanging over the noodle, she was less reliant on leigh to hold her up. She was nervous at first but got the hang of it with some gentle encouragement and by the end of the lesson she paddled and kicked her way the whole way across the pool with no assistance. She loved it and was very proud of herself.

Hugo had a good time, too, since the water was warm enough that he wasn’t on the cusp of hypothermia by the end of the lesson. In the past weeks he’s been blue and shivering and getting pretty miserable by the end of the class.

We stayed in the pool after our lesson and played with the kids for about 20 minutes – the first time it has been warm enough for that. Every other week we’ve beeen dashing straight from the lesson to the showers, trying to warm up.

So, a really good morning.

Then yesterday we went to the markets and got a great haul of winter clothes for Hunter, then went out to dinner with friends last night, so the whole weekend was good.

Hugo got up at 4 this morning so today’s not going quite as well, but we’ll see how it goes!

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Renovation “update”

“Update” gets quote marks because there is basically nothing happening. I realise now it was just youthful (ahem) foolishness that led me to ever think this process could be (a) quick or (b) simple.

We lodged our plans with council three weeks ago. It was a combined application for development approval and a construction certificate. Basically, the DA means council agrees you can undertake the project. The CC means you can go ahead and start building.

All the paperwork was prepared by the architect (you know, the one who jacked up his price by 60% because the job was ‘bigger’ than he expected). He assured us he had supplied everything we would need. Well, when we lodge the application we were told we had sufficient paperwork for the DA but not for the CC.

And what else do we need for the CC? I boldly asked. Call on Tuesday when the file has been assigned to an assessing officer, the nice lady replied.

I called Tuesday. Assessing officer was away for the day. So I called again on the Friday and had a very circular discussion with the officer that went something like this:

ME: Can you tell me what additional paperwork you will require in order to grant our construction certificate?

HIM: Hmm, you’re going to need some more structural details.

ME: Okay. Can you tell me exactly what details you need?

HIM: Hmm, yes, definitely some more structural details.

ME: Okay. I really need to know specifically what you require so I can arrange it.

HIM: Yes, we’ll need more structural details


Eventually I asked if I should just wait to hear further from him, rather than trying to actually provide the appropriate paperwork in a timely fashion. He said that would be better, and that he’d be able to tell me more details after he did a site inspection. He said the site inspection would be done within two weeks.

That was two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, I’ve left my permanent part time job and that will make getting finance very complicated. I am not doing a huge amount of contract work at the moment (by choice) but will pick up to three days a week later in the year. But it’s a per-hour contract and even though I have a verbal agreement with the agency, it’s not in writing.

So, there’s a very good possibility that some time in the next, oh, thousand years, we’ll actually get the green light from council, only to get a red light from the bank.

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