Archive for December, 2008

Another one for the trophy cupboard

Those (Crap) Mother of the Year awards just keep coming, and I am pretty sure I got myself another nomination yesterday.

Actually, this time it wasn’t really my fault, but it still wasn’t fun.

I worked at the office yesterday and hugo went to daycare (Hunter went to preschool – leigh did pick up). When I went to collect Hugo, the day carer had a christmas gift for him, and one for hunter, and one for Leigh and me. So I had to carry all that plus my handbag and hugo’s bag back to the car.

I had it all slung over one arm and was holding hugo with my other hand, but he kept wiggling free and running off. I ended up grasping him pretty hard around the wrist and managed to get him to the car in one piece.

Dumped all the packages on the roadside, wrestled him into the carseat, clicked him in and shut the door.

Went to open the front passenger door to put all the packages in and discovered the car was locked.

I’m not sure how that happened – either Hugo intentionally pressed the remote button and locked the doors after I had opened his to put him in, or I bumped it by accident.

At any rate, he was in the car, the windows were up and the car was locked.

I fished around in my bag for the keys and didn’t find them. And then I spotted them on the floor of the car in front of Hugo’s feet.

It was hot yesterday, and our car is like an oven even on a cool day. And here I was outside, looking at hugo inside.

Thankfully my bag was on the outside, so I called NRMA roadside assistance and they listed it as an emergency job. But it was 4pm and traffic was pretty heavy so I knew it would be a while before even someone closeby would be arriving.

To start with Hugo was happy enough (I’d given him his christmas present to hold on the way home and he was delighted to open it while I stood and watched).

Within a few minutes, though, he was getting very sweaty and cranky. I called leigh then and asked her to start making her way from home with the spare key, knowing that the NRMA guy would probably beat her, but I was getting a bit panicky. There was a big chunk of concrete on the footpath next to the car and it would have gone through the window if leigh or the NRMA hadn’t arrived soon.

Another few minutes ticked by and Hugo was really crying, red faced, dripping with sweat. I was standing outside in the breeze and was really feeling the heat so it must have been much worse in the car.

The NRMA guy turned up about 15 minutes after I called, so Hugo would have been in the car less than 20 minutes all up, but it felt like such a long time. The car was unlocked within about 45 seconds of the guy’s arrival – he actually ran between his car and mine, and was obviously a little stressed. He said he’d been caught in the traffic on the other side of Merrylands.

I opened the doors and turned on the a/c, and Hugo gulped down some water, and 10 seconds later he was fine. He actually seemed pretty entertained by the whole drama.

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It was always going to happen

Last week leigh went to collect Hunter from preschool and as they were gathering Hunter’s things from her locker, one of the other preschool kids piped up with

My mum says there’s no such thing as two mums. You can’t have two mums.

The girl’s mother was right there and was trying to shush her and tell her that that is not what she said, or not what she meant. But the kid was insistent.

You can’t have two mums. There’s no two mums.

Leigh didn’t respond to the kid, and didn’t say anything to the mum except, “Kids will always embarrass you, won’t they?”

She said it in a ‘I know what it’s like’ kind of way, but meant it in a ‘if you say bigoted shit to your kid you deserve to be publicly humiliated’ kind of way.

Anyway, I feel mostly sad about it. Leigh says Hunter didn’t appear to take any of it in or even to be listening, which is good, but it’s still there.

And the mother is someone who’s always been so chatty and friendly with us. I wonder how many of the other parents there treat us like we’re a valid and real family when we’re there in front of them, then tell their children we’re not real or valid when they go home?

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The builder called Monday morning and said he’d be around that afternoon or the next to figure out how water’s getting in through the roof. It’s wednesday now and we haven’t heard from him since.

The electrician did come on Monday, as promised, but the zapping issue is not fixed. In fact, the electrician all but said he did not believe anything had happened. First, he tried to say it must have been because of the wet weather. Well, Hunter’s zap was before the rain, leigh’s was way after – and at any rate, it’s not okay for the power points to zap us in any weather!

Then he basically said it wasn’t possible for us to have been zapped because the points are plastic and plastic doesn’t conduct electricity. Not strictly true, and at any rate, it IS possible because it DID happen.

So he pulled off the switch and said there was nothing wrong. I replied that there clearly was something wrong because we were getting zapped. He said that if there was an issue the circuit breaker would kick in every time. Well, it hasn’t kicked in every time, it’s kicked in once. And there have been zaps, mate, zaps!

Eventually he said we should call him if it happened again! Does he want to experiment on our kids?

Meanwhile, we’re still waiting on the bathroom basin that was supposed to be installed by monday “at the latest”. This one’s not the builder’s fault – the supplier gave us a cabinet in one size and a basin in another. They offered to switch the basin and take care of installing it (since the plumber would have charged us for an extra visit), which was all nice and dandy, but now they’re saying they still haven’t received the correct basin from the manufacturer. But apparently it will be here by tomorrow…”at the latest”.

And we also found last night that the electrician did not connect the TV points to the aerial. We discovered this after leigh and her sister moved all the furniture from the old loungeroom to the new one, and lugged the zillion kilo TV in, too. So now our 42 inch LCD is hooked up to the rabbit ears. Looks pretty funny, actually, though my sense of humour is diminishing.

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On Friday morning, the builders turned up, did a few final things, cleaned up, took down the ‘construction site’ sign and went on their merry way. Yay! Finally all done!

It felt so great to be finished (all bar the carpet, which is coming on the 15th). We planned to enjoy our busy weekend (three birthday celebrations in three towns in two days, anyone?) then get stuck into the painting and moving furniture.

On Saturday we were out from 8am till 5.30 pm, with stop overs at Maitland and Pearl Beach. We got home exhausted and ready for a quiet night. Clouds started rolling in and we gathered at the window with the kids as the rain got heavier. And then it hailed and everything went to shite.

I knew the windows in the new section of the house were open so I came out to shut them. I had to shield my face with my hand while I closed the one in the spare room because the hail was pelting in. Then I saw that the new bathroom was being pummelled too, so I went in to close that window as well.

There was no window. It had been flung clear off its hinges and was on the ground outside. The hail was coming in so hard and at such an angle that there was a drift of ice in the shower recess at the opposite end of the room.

I yelled for leigh to come see, and as she was inspecting and deciding what to do, I went off to grab towels to mop up. And as I went past the loungeroom door I saw a much bigger problem.

Water was GUSHING into the loungeroom. I couldn’t see exactly where it was coming from but it was flooding down through the blind (the window was closed!!). The floor was absolutely saturated and we went through 10 towels before it stopped. It was like someone was standing there with a hose.

And of course all the water shorted out the power. Leigh couldn’t get it to turn back on – she knew there was a trick with the fuse but didn’t know what it was.

We couldn’t use the phones because ours both need power, and the mobile was dead because I’d used up all the juice running the GPS all day. So we had to load the kids into the car in the pouring rain and drive to a phone box.

Leigh called her dad, who told her how to get the power back on. We did that, got the kids to bed, then messaged the builder – who didn’t reply till just now.

In the meantime, we’ve discovered another big problem. Something is wrong with the electrics. Hunter and leigh both got zapped by the same light switch in the new loungeroom. I’m concerned that leigh got zapped, of course, but I am absolutely fuming that hunter did. Leigh wants to tell the builder he should bring HIS kids around and not leave till he’s happy for THEM to turn on all the switches.

So. The roof leaks like crazy. The switches zap us. A window has fallen off. And we’ve also realised that the plumber did not reconnect the taps at the back of the house (he said he would at the start of the project when he left with metres of our copper piping) and our TV aerial is still attached to the fence.

So, not as finished as we thought. Ugh.

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