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Monday, February 27, 2006
Our weekend away was OK but Lex's youngest sproglet broke her foot the night before the trip. They spent all Friday morning in A & E and all the little one could talk ask was, "Are we still going camping?" so we did. She was so upset that she couldn't go off and play with the others. We did the glass bottom boat stuff then peg-leg could see the fish, then went snorkelling. It was nice but I don't get the whole snorkelling/diving fascination... seen one of each fish, then seen them all. There wasn't a lot of colour under the water but there were these amazing blue coloured fish.
Ok, so camping I can do... but the laundry afterwards! Sheesh. That's the 4th load that's gone in today. All the bedding has been changed and the duvet inners put back into their liners. I took them out as the weather had been so hot but it's started to cool now. Not enough to send the cicadas running though. The noise those buggers make is maddening; no really, I mean it. I truly believe it could send a person crazy. Click here and have a listen. Now, multiply that by a gazillion and you have an idea of what I'm talking about.
Not a lot going on today really, or tomorrow as I have to take Sproglet A to school early. He is on a waterwise programme at school so is going sailing (!) and Sproglet B is off to the beach for a Kindy field trip. That'll mean even more laundry *groan*.
Friday, February 24, 2006
RCL came back. Everything now to her satisfaction. Breathe - and calm.
I feel shite. Completely numb from the neck up. Some would said nowt new there. Happen they're right. Happen.
Tried to limit my evenings with Keifer to a Friday but instead found myself doing two hours a night with him. The cracks are beginning to show. Folk said they would. Once a week was grand but the temptation proved too much. We still have a good time together though.
As I now do with My Name Is Earl. Funny. Laugh out Loud. Well I would if I could.
Voice has gone. The Hubster thinks it's great.
Will be away at weekend. Camping at a marine reserve in the middle of the Northlands. Should be nice. Now, if only I could get rid of this bloody cold.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Today I woke up with the mother of all sore throats. What I'd like to know is from where it came and why?
Kindy mum today. Whoop-de-fucking-do. Am not cut out for dealing with sproglets other than my own. Nor glueing and sticking. Nor cutting out and painting. Sigh. I want to go to bed.
Monday, February 20, 2006
Missing In Action. Why not? Hehehe. OK so it's only funny to me. It's a bit like the 'olden days' when you came back from your jollies with three rolls of film, not having a bloody clue what was on them, then waiting... and waiting... and waiting for them to be developed. Oh the anticipation upon entering the chemists and handing over a handsome ransome to see the delights you tried to capture. Oh the surprise! Oh yes, there's something to be said for film. Waipu Cove looking towards Whangaparoa Kayak Ant rides the surf The Hubster boogie boards home
That's where I've been.
M.I.A. With C.T.U., F.Y.I. LOL.
24 with Keifer Sutherland. What seems like a lifetime ago, we sat down to the first episode of Season 4. There was nothing on TV that we wanted to watch and so we figured we'd give it a go. After the first ten minutes we were hooked. Line and sinker. Before long I wanted to mother Jack and smother Marwan but all too soon, twenty four hours became twenty five. We did manage to get through a Friday night without Jack Bauer - only one mind. And it was a struggle. So much so that when Valentine's Day rolled around, the Gods smiled upon me leading me to purchase Season One of 24.
Once again I am the Gift Queenie! The Hubster thinks I am wonderful (and I am I have to say) plus I get to watch it too. Friday nights are bearable once again.
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Enter The Jalan Besar Dragon.
If you come here often (and I know you do, even if you don't comment), you will have witnessed me bemoaning the fact that Chinese New Year didn't seem to happen here in New Zealand, a country with quite possiby the largest Asian community outside of China. The Harbour Festival seemed to outshine it but then we discovered that it was being celebrated - for a whole two weeks in fact and culminating the events was the Lantern Festival, a weekend of family entertainment, delicious food and... lanterns. Hundreds of them, strung up throughout the city's Mt Albert Park. (Clickie linkie for lovely photos not taken by me.) However it must be said that my dragon one (above) is better than theirs, even with the golden-haired lurker in the bottom right. The one below is also one of mine. I can't quite get the low level lighting thing sussed. Hints and tips most welcome.
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I have my photos back! You guessed from the ones above? Oh.
Why not? Hehehe. OK so it's only funny to me.
It's a bit like the 'olden days' when you came back from your jollies with three rolls of film, not having a bloody clue what was on them, then waiting... and waiting... and waiting for them to be developed. Oh the anticipation upon entering the chemists and handing over a handsome ransome to see the delights you tried to capture. Oh the surprise! Oh yes, there's something to be said for film.
Waipu Cove looking towards Whangaparoa
Kayak Ant rides the surf
The Hubster boogie boards home
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Right, here goes:-
We have today received your letter dated 3rd February, 2006, detailing your inspection of 33666 Huia Road which we believe was carried out on Tuesday 24th January and not the 19th January 2006 as stated in your letter. We feel a ‘Notice of Breach’ is rather harsh when, in this instance, two of the three points you mention are highly subjective and could easily have been resolved with a quick telephone call to us.
The battery was removed from the smoke detector due to its bad positioning. We are sure you are aware as rental agents, that smoke detectors should ideally be in every room other than the kitchen and the bathroom. To fix a smoke detector directly between these two places in a corridor which opens immediately into the kitchen with no door is bad planning. This positioning of the smoke detector will simply mean that it will frequently sound its alarm almost every time the oven, grill or hotplates are used to cook foods which either require the use of added oil or those which have a higher fat content, therefore creating smoke. May we suggest that a good prevention of this would be to install smoke detectors in the two bedrooms off the corridor and the corner farthest from the kitchen in the living area? This would then ensure that we and the property are indeed correctly protected in the case of fire, which is as much of a worry to us as to our Landlords.
Whilst we welcome your inspection on Thursday 23rd February 2006 at 10.30 am, it is unlikely that anyone will be present that morning and so you are free to let yourself into the property. Trusting everything will be found to your satisfaction upon your second inspection.
What do you think? We sent that yesterday. At first I got all waffley with details such as those blogged yesterday but then I took it all out and just left the important bit in. We shall wait and see.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Actually, it isn't three weeks ago; she has her dates wrong. She says she came on the 19th January but I've just discovered an email I sent to her at ten past five that afternoon, asking her if she would possibly call early the following Tuesday, 24th January, as we would be away for the weekend (Lake Taupo, Huka Falls - remember?) and we would at least be out of the house so she could feel easier about checking it. She replied with yes, that's fine. So HA! I shall incorporate that into my snidey letter back to her.
Now I'm not known for my tidyness but the bloody cheeky bitch! How dare she! Rental Checker Lady came three weeks ago. Three weeks and one day to be exact. It has taken her two weeks to type a letter and one week to send it, headed up BREACH OF NOTICE. It transpires that the shower and the oven need cleaning. WTF??? Both showers work better now than they did when we first moved in due to me dismantling the heads, soaking them and then poking out the shitty calcium deposits with a toothpick, each tiny hole by tiny hole. And the central draining - I take that apart too, soak it and scrub it to rid it of all that yucky, orange soap skum that can build up. Did she fucking look that far, superficial cow. As one is an over-the-bath-shower, I assumed RCL means the shower in our room so when he came home from work, The Hubster and I stared and stared at it. "I have absolutely no idea what she means, " I said. "Is she sure she's got the right house?" "Nope, neither do I," he said. (I love him when he's supportive. Usually, I can count on more support from my bra, but The Hubster does have his moments.) And who's cooker doesn't need cleaning? It gets used and needs cleaning. She came on the day we were due back from camping. It was school holidays. I live, quite literally, half the world away from family and friends... what does she expect - that I take the children around to my mum's for a couple of hours then I can get some housework done? The battery was also missing from the smoke detector. The smoke detector is located in a corridor that is just off our open kitchen and so everytime you cook something with oil, the bloody things blares away, so yes, we took the battery out. OK, we admit it was very stupid of us not to put it in when we knew she was coming to check, but we really do take exception to it taking three weeks to give us a Notice Of Breach Of Contract for something that could quite easily have been done over the telephone. Two days after moving in this house, I rushed The Hubster to our late night doctors clinic with a severe asthma attack. The hospital didn't have the right facilities and so sent him by ambulance to hospital at the other side of Auckland. He had 4 nebulisers before he reached that hospital. He was put into observation overnight and woken every two hours to be given drugs. Whilst he was there, I completely cleaned this house, despite the fact that contract cleaners had done it, the Dyson picked up two cylinders full of cat hair. I cleaned all the window and door frames where the previous occupants cats had come and gone and left hairs behind. Under the dishwasher was old, stale catfood and balls of hair and fluff. The handle on the cooker, on upside down and so loose that it fell off everytime we opened the oven. And the bitch has the fucking front to say the shower and oven need cleaning? Oh boy would I like to see inside her house.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
During the holidays, we went out for a coffee which arrived in a big bowl. "Looks like soup," remarked Sproglet A, "Coffee - soup," he laughed. I told him I had a friend with a blog called just that, Coffesoup. Michele, over at C.S. hasn't posted since Christmas but I thought I'd pop by in case she was back online and lo and behold, a post. And one that really struck a chord with me is the one I've linked to, above.
Whilst reading that post I was nodding away to myself. "A-ha. A-ha. Yep. A-ha," because I always feel that I'll embarrass The Hubster at a Works Do, due to me being a stay-at-home-mum. It's all fine until someone asks, "And what do you do?" to which their eyes glaze over when you say you haven't worked for 10 years. What the fuck is that about? Why do I say that? I mean, I work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and don't get a day off. Can't phone in sick... if you're sick, tough. Gotta get the children to school. There has been the odd day - when the gastric flu has made its presence felt - The Hubster has had to have a day off to look after them. That's the only way it can work in our household. As yet I haven't worked out a way to change gears in the car whilst every aperture emits some foul liquid mess. It's even worse when they are sick at the same time as me. That's just plain cruel.
Due to always buggering off and travelling, we have no family nor long term friends to look after them. My children are with me constantly. ('Cept for when they're at school of course. Don't take it literally, but you get the drift, don't you?) Sure, we have been able to get a friend to babysit on occasion and we always return the favour, but it is bloody hard. Yes, being a mum does sometimes make me feel like my brain is turning to mush as my children are still young. Sometimes I think I'd really like a job just for the break it would give me. And if it wasn't just Dora the Explorer and Steve and Blue that saw me daily, I would maybe make more effort with clothes and hair and waistline... but they don't care, so I don't waste my time.
However, in the 10 yrs that I 'haven't worked', I have come to realise that a big part of why I am tired and overweight, is because I am unselfish. When The Hubster worked overseas and only Sproglet A and I lived together, he would be asleep by 7pm and the rest of the evening was my own. I wrote letters to The Hubster (no computer, shock, horror), did cross-stitches, worked out and watched a couple of programmes I really was interested in. Well I couldn't go out in the evenings so I had to find something to do!
Now, out of the four mornings I have free whilst Sproglet B is in Kindy, I spend one morning food shopping, one morning cleaning, one morning catching up with emails/writing a shopping list/sorting paperwork and bills and the fourth morning doing all the bits I didn't have time to do in the first three mornings as I ran out of time. My afternoons are spent with Sproglet B, then later Sproglet A and homework, cooking tea for them, getting them ready for bed, cooking for The Hubster and I and finishing laundry that was started during the day. I am truly blessed here in NZ as our rental home has a dishwasher! Bit small though and not everything fits in it, so I still have to wash by hand, although The Hubster is very helpful in that department. By 9pm it's done and I sit to watch TV or chat with The Hubster. I find I am doing so much stuff for other people that I don't have time to look after myself, but I don't know how to be selfish. I'm an only child and the only way an only child makes friends is by sharing and giving and that seems to have moved onto the big, wide world with me.
So it really annoys me when people think I'm overweight because I don't do anything all day... in fact, it's the exact opposite. I am so busy that I don't have time to sit down to breakfast, rarely do I sit and eat lunch so that by the time I'm cooking for the children, I will eat anything that's in sight before cooking dinner for The Hubster and I later on in the evening. So in the next few weeks, I think I might have to aim to be a bit more selfish and try and reclaim some time for me. I'll let you know how I get on. In the meantime, if you could just spare a few thoughts for the chubbies amongst you... it's not that we're all too lazy to take care of ourselves, it's that we're too busy to take time out to care for ourselves.
Sorry for the ultra long post.
Swimming lessons and how to find a good one. I don't know. I did some research and found one that isn't too far away and is set up by a former Commonwealth Games representative for NZ and coach of NZ swimming teams. But Oh Dear; the woman teaching Sproglet A is simply awful. Horrible. Now, bear in mind he's just turned nine, he went over to her to introduce himself with a cheery, "Hi, I'm Luke. I'm a new one for you," and she said, "Pardon? What did you say your name was?" So, a little taken aback, Sproglet A just said, "Luke." She ticked his name off her list. "Right, get in the water then - this lane - warm up." Whoa... and who took her ball off her??? She (Jackie) ended up dropping him back a class as "I don't see him progressing as fast as the others in this class," which is fine and dandy; if he ain't ready, he ain't ready, but to tell it to me whilst he stood there, wet and shivering... that's a real confidence boost for him, isn't it? He doesn't like her. I don't like her. I told him that if he didn't feel better with her after a whole term, and if he didn't feel that he'd learnt anything from her, then he needn't go back to her class next term. She was only about 30, but surly, barking orders from the side and her movements, when she was showing the children, where fast and sharp. Her whole manner is very abrupt and terse. :o(
In complete contrast, Sproglet B started her swim lessons today with the most amazing bloke ever! He was just like a real jolly uncle and she was the giggling motivator of the small group. If Sproglet A met him he would think him wonderful and he is, so I'm happy. She wears arm bands in the pool whenever we go but he had her take them off, which she's pleased about, and I think they just use board floats to get them to swim. In fact, I don't know how they teach them to swim without some sort of floatie device - we shall see. In the meantime, let's hope that Jackie gets some sort of personality transplant. Or just gets a personality.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
BACK TO SCHOOL. YIPPEE!!! When you look to the sky at night it's fantastic; I now understand the word 'stardust'. It literally looked like dust because there are so many stars who's light only just reaches earth that it looks hazy as they cluster together, but there were many, many bright ones too. Absolutely beautiful. As The Hubster zipped up the tent and crawled under the duvet beside me, I heard the ocean rolling in and the waves crashing. "Christ, let's hope a tsunami doesn't hit," I said in a rare moment of mild panick. "Yer on an airbed love, you'll be grand," he said, and kissed me goodnight.
Yesterday saw the return of NZ's school children to their rightful place within the teaching/learning environment. Unfortunately it also saw me doing my shift at Kindy with Sproglet B who was a bit clingy. Neither Sproglet A or B wanted to go back to school. "But surely you want to see your friends," I said. Nope, quite happy at home with mum it seems. Y'see that's where we I went wrong. My mother used to make my summer hols so bloody boring that I couldn't wait to get back to school whereas my children have been camping 3 times (yes we sqeezed another one in at weekend, more on that later), been for days out and have had Christmas, New Year and Sproglet A's birthday take place too. They've had far too much fun and frivolity and so it was a bit of a push to get us all out the door yesterday.
I packed Sproglet A off to school this morning, weighted down with all his new books, swim togs and a packed lunch. Here in NZ, it's the start of the school year and parents must make a 'donation' *tut* to school (this year it's $150/60 quid), pay a paper fee towards letters sent home from school and an activity fee for umm, activities - field trips and the like. Oh and buy books, pencils, compasses, highlighters etc. etc. etc. Bit of a surprise that one: in the UK we didn't pay for anything towards school, except the raffles and fund raising events which we always gave towards. Kindy isn't free either. Sproglet B had her 'free child place for every three yr old' in England but here we pay around $250/100-150 pound per term, depending on the length of the term and this is for four, 3hr mornings per week. Will be better off financially when she starts school in April. This is just Kindy mind, not a private Nursery affair. I'd hate to think how much they cost if this is what we pay for everyday Kindy.
Anyhow, enough of my whinging. Had a beautiful weekend camping at Waipu Cove, lovely campsite just over the sand dunes to the sea. Whilst we were putting the tents up, all this was happening... and we missed the whole thing. By the time we got on the beach around 4pm it was all over and done with. We went body boarding in the surf - the older children are really getting the hang of it - and even took the kayak out (not ours, we went with Lex and the Family Five) although I didn't have a turn on it. Looked like too much effort so I jumped waves with the smaller ones and hunted for shells. We found a starfish and some shells that still had their occupant, which made the shell 'snap' and the children scream!
When you look to the sky at night it's fantastic; I now understand the word 'stardust'. It literally looked like dust because there are so many stars who's light only just reaches earth that it looks hazy as they cluster together, but there were many, many bright ones too. Absolutely beautiful. As The Hubster zipped up the tent and crawled under the duvet beside me, I heard the ocean rolling in and the waves crashing. "Christ, let's hope a tsunami doesn't hit," I said in a rare moment of mild panick. "Yer on an airbed love, you'll be grand," he said, and kissed me goodnight.
picture from Getty Images
edited using Adobe Photoshop CS2