Monday, August 31, 2009

Spring has sprung...

And expletives are springing from my mouth. (that's 'swear words", for those of you who aren't quite as enamored with big words as I am)

See, I don't know if I ever told you before, (Lord knows I've fed you a lot of worthless drivel over the last year, so I may have - or I may not have) but I like taking cold showers.
Well, not the 'cold showers' part, per se... but rather finishing off a nice hot shower, with a blast of cold water.
Well, I take it back... I don't actually like doing it, but the health benefits far outweigh the down-side, so I force myself to do it...

And I try and remain cheerful while screaming "Holy freakin' mother of codfishes!!!" at the top of my lungs, as icy cold water sluices over me.

(Which makes me kinda wonder about my neighbor, who's front porch is opposite my bathroom window.
He's never, ever called the cops, thinking I was being ax-murdered or something... but then again, maybe he's watched Psycho enough times, to not worry - or care - about women screaming their guts out in the shower.
Or maybe he just doesn't like me, and he stands out on his porch every morning, wishin' and hopin'...
Or even worse... maybe he thinks I'm having, ermmm... sex - and he just puts ear plugs in his ears, not wanting to know?)

But I digress...

To get back to the story... Someone sent me an article a year or two back, and it was full of the joys and benefits of cold showers, and for some dumb reason, I thought I would give it a try.

Smoother more glowing, more resilient skin... lessening of dark circles under the eyes... natural lowering of blood pressure, because the ol' arteries get a damn good workout... lessening and improvement of varicose veins... (for the same reason) and a whole host of other benefits - including lessening of depression.

And that article (<- this one here and there's more info HERE as well) and that author - found a sucker in me.

I mean, what could it hurt?
If it didn't work, at least it would be good for my hair, because we all know that cold water makes your hair silkier and shinier... and if it did work, maybe...just maybe, I could turn back the clock a little.
Or a lot.
Hopefully a lot, and I could end up looking like Goldie Hawn or Cher or something...
And omigosh, that alone, would make it so worth it. Wouldn't it?
Not that I have any great desire to look like a well-preserved/ pickled old broad, with a live-in make-up artist-slash-magician on the payroll, but well... you know what I mean.
I just want to make the best of what little I've got left.

So during the winter, I have to admit that it is a bit hard to finish off with cold water on a daily basis, but I do try to do it semi-regularly, because of all those aforementioned health benefits...

But with the first day of spring, it WILL be a daily ritual again.

I mean just look at this...
Who wouldn't want to look this happy every single morning for the next 6 months?

And, all that screaming for joy, and gasping for air, keeps the cold germs from latching on to your throat as well - so I haven't had an actual cold or flu in years!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

17 years ago today...

17 years ago today, my sweet baby girl - my Jenny - went home to live with God... and it's killing me.

I had her in my life for only 17 short years, and today, she's been gone for 17 years... and it still just doesn't seem possible.

What would her life - my life - our lives - be like, if only she was still here with us?

Where would she be, what would she be doing, if only she were still here?

Would she be a wife and mother?

Would she be settled in a career?

Would she have the travel bug, or would she just be content to "be", in the same place that she grew up in?

In just a few weeks, on September 24th... she should have been turning 35 years old, just like back then, when she should have been turning 18... and I just can't comprehend how it's possible that she's not still here with me.

You know I love God.

I love him, I trust him and I have faith in his knowing better than I do.

But right now, I'm thinking "Indian giver."

Jenny, just know that you're loved and you're missed... more than anyone will ever know.

Jennifer Christine Davis
September 24, 1974 - August 31, 1992

Saturday, August 29, 2009

URP! I ate cat spit!

I had a pretty non-productive, lazy as a coon dog layin' in the sun, day yesterday... and I woke up this morning, feeling on top of the world.

See, yesterday, when I woke up... I did a few minor chores around the house, took a shower, put fresh jammies on and then did a whole lot of nuthin' for the rest of the day.
I read a bit, paid some bills and slept a lot.

I sat down at 11 to watch a little Flight Of The Conchords and dozed off, only waking when I heard the Old Guys key in the lock.
He made me a cuppa, we talked for a bit, saying nothing much of any consequence, and then he went home to do his laundry.
He always has to do his laundry when I want him to help out around around the house.

It's frustrating, but I've got to admit he always has clean towels.

Now, with the Old Guy, I don't ask much of him around here and I sure as hell don't tell him much of anything anymore - for a couple of reasons.

1. Is that he never listens anyway, and it just tends to go in one ear and out the other.

2. Is that it saves on arguments.

At least we don't get into a row because he says "no, you never told me that" when I know that I did, and we don't end up with the whole "yes I did", "no you didn't", "yes I did so tell you", no you did not", never ending argument.

So anyway, as soon as he left around 2 o'clock, I went right back to sleep, sitting up in the chair.
(have I told you that I love my new lounge suite? My chair is so comfortable and cozy that I'm thinking of making it my new bed)

Then the Old Guy came back at 6-ish (waking me up again in the process) and we ended up having leftovers for dinner, while watching a bit of Funniest Home Videos... then we talked a bit more, and an hour later, he went home again.
I did another few little things around the house, played on the computer for a few minutes, read a bit more and then got ready to go back to bed with my book.

But before him heading home, and me off to bed, the Old Guy fed the cats for me.

They have their own little bowls, so he fed them all, but as a special treat for Jazzy, I usually pour a bit of milk in her special little pink bowl, add a tiny amount of butter to it and then add a bit of hot water to it, to melt the butter.
To Jazzy, this is about as close to heaven as it gets, and it's kind of like her night time kitty chocolate.
It's the purrfect way to finish off her day, you know what I mean?

So anyway, before he left, the Old guy got a bowl out, filled it as usual for Jazzy, put it on the counter, and then headed home... and I headed off for my date with the sandman.

And I might as well admit to y'all right now, yes, I (and the Old Guy) do feed her on the counter - mainly as a way of keeping the other cats away from her nightly "treat" and to keep me from stepping in a bowl of milk and falling and breaking a hip or something.
(Not that that's any big worry, because my bones are in pretty good shape, thank you very much... but when you start to get older, you start to worry about this kind of stupid crap, and at some stage, those little Medic-alert doo hickies that you can press the button and say stuff like "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up", well... they start to look more and more attractive - you know what I mean?)

Now remember that I said that I never tell the Old Guy anything?
Because this is what happens?

Well, that includes the fact that I bought some new "decorated with cute pictures" dishes for the kids. Plates and bowls, with adorable little matching mugs.

I did however, tell him that the old bowls could now be used as cat dishes, but I never specifically told him about, or showed him the new ones, or told him that they have cute little kiddie-type decorations on them.

So what did he use when he fed Jazz?
A new "special" bowl of course.
Not that I paid any attention, because quite frankly, I was itchin' for my date with Mr Sandman, and just wanted to get the Old Guy out the door.

So anyhow, I woke up this morning, had my first cuppa of the day outside, while watching and listening to the birds.
And then I came in and decided to have a bowl of cereal.

So when I saw the brand new, cute little Fairy Princess bowl on the counter, I decided that I would use that one... never ever thinking that it might have been the one the Old Guy had used for Jazzy's nightly treat.

It wasn't until after I had eaten the whole bowl of cereal that it dawned on me that I had just used the same exact bowl for my cereal, that he had given to Jazzy.

The bowl was totally and completely licked clean of all traces of milk, looking to me like a clean bowl and ready to be used....

But there was plenty of cat-spit in there, I'm sure.

So I ate a bowl of cereal this morning, with a side of cat-spit.

I've brushed my teeth twice, and had a complete rinse and another gargle and spit with mouthwash. ( I debated using vodka as a rinse and then decided against it, because it was too early in the morning to start drinking and I knew I would want to swallow it.)

But I swear... I can still taste slimey cat germs.

And maybe that's a furball lodged in my throat... or maybe it's just my imagination.

I'll probably survive, but if I get any urges to lick my bottom, or spit on my hands to wash behind my ears, I'll be sure and let you know.

So if you see me doing some weird kind of contortions, please call the vet...I probably have worms or sumthin'.

Never mind, I'm going for that vodka now....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The good... and the bad.

Hey, I'm still walking on air, where Costco is concerned!

See, when we were at the grand opening of Costco on the 17th of August, I bought a very large, very good looking "beef rib-eye roast", which was around the $40. mark.
(Well worth it, in my opinion, because of the size and quality of the meat)
At the register, we got $4.00 off, which brought it down to $36 - and I was quite happy.

But in yesterdays mail, I got a letter of apology from Patrick Noone from Costco, saying:

"Due to a system error, our records indicate that on the 17th of August, you were incorrectly charged at the register for your purchase of Kirkland Signature'Beef Rib Eye Bone-in Roast. (item # 11907)'
Your refund for the amount overcharged, plus an additional $5 is enclosed.
Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused"...
yada yada yada...

So I figured the check would be for 5 or 6 dollars or something... ya know? But when I checked the envelope, there was a check enclosed for $12.13!
Actually hand written, and hand signed by Partrick Noone (Managing Director, Costco Wholesale Australia Pty Ltd) himself.

I'm impressed as hell.. and happy as a clam, for a number of reasons - the main one being that I haven't experienced customer service like this is 14 years!
How sad is that?

In the past, I've taken strawberries back to Safeway, after discovering that the bottom ones were moldy...
I've gone back to the store within 30 minutes of purchasing them...literally leaving the rest of the groceries on the table, only to be told by a "I've got a bad attitude because my husband left me for someone much nicer than me" check-out chick, that they weren't that way when they left the store.

So I asked for the manager.
And the manager told me that she was sorry, but it was my responsibility to check them before purchasing them - not theirs!
She even questioned if these were the same strawberries that were on my receipt, basically accusing me of bringing back old strawberries now that I had new ones.

I walked out of that store with no refund, and no exchange... just a bad taste in my mouth from my dealings with the so-called "The Fresh Food People".

And I haven't been back for a full grocery shop since.

Oh, I go in occasionally if there is something small I need, or something that I can't find at the other stores, but as far as I'm concerned, I will never do my weekly shopping there ever again.

I spend my "$200 a week on average" grocery shopping money elsewhere.

Anywhere but Safeway.

Not that they miss me or anything, and my piddly little amount of shopping money is just a drop in the bucket to them.

But it's a matter of principle with me... you know what I mean?

And the phone companies? Don't get me started there!

On second thought... too bad. lol !

Our national phone company, Telstra, decided last month that they would be adding a further $2 to every bill.... An additional charge, simply to PAY your phone bill.

I was less than impressed, let me tell you, and I got busy patting myself on the back, for opting years ago to use another company... AAPT.

The Old Guy's with Telstra though, so he decided that he would call up Telstra, ask why this was happening and then tell them that he would be switching phone companies.
To be honest, for a whole myriad of reasons... but basically because of their stand-over, rip-off, "we are never wrong, the customer is always wrong", tactics.

But then yesterday, I got my phone bill in the mail. I looked at the total and I was quite happy with it, considering the long phone calls I sometimes make... mobile (cell phone) calls, the bundling with my Internet connection and everything else.

I thought it was a pretty good phone bill at $105.00... and I was happy, ya know what I mean?
But when I read through it, down at the bottom were two new additional charges!!!

Non direct debit admin fee: $2.00
Printing of your monthly bill: $2.00
Rounding adjustments: -$0.02
This months charges: $3.98

Not happy Jan... Not happy at all.
But now that other phone company's are now following suit with Telstra, it's just a matter of time before the electricity and gas companies start doing the same thing.

The customer service here in Australia sucks... from the bad-attitude check-out chicks and managers in the grocery store, right down to major companies now charging you fees for the right to pay your bill.

This country could learn a thing or two about customer service from Costco ... let me tell you!

Okay, rant over.

At least we now have Costco!!
It's a start, eh'?

Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm taking the challenge !

I'm taking the challenge that Robynn over at Robynn's Ravings put to us.. and I'm doin' the

I have to admit that the timing sucks a little, in view of my recent Costco experience, but hey.. when IS a good time to make some life-changing changes?
I can hem and haw all I like, but hemming and hawing doesn't get you anywhere... and I KNOW that.

It's time... and even if the timing of "the time" sucks a little bit, I'm taking up the gauntlet that Robynn has thrown down, and I'm running with it.
Okay, well to be honest, I'm shuffling fast - not exactly running.
I do have post-menopausal continence issues after all... and there's nothing worse than pi**ing in your shoes.
So running will be out of the question.

But I have been making some pretty good (or at least better) choices lately when it comes to what I buy, or what I put in my mouth... especially after reading Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle".

So I'm willing to give the 30-Day Throw Down a go, and I'll be taking the recent changes we've made around here, a step or two further.

Head over to Robynn's Ravings and read the amazing post she's done... and then tell her that you either:
A. Think she's absolutely nuts. (in the nicest way of course... because I love the girl to bits - and I would hate to have to hurt you.)
B. I'm taking the challenge!

So here ya go, Robynn....

I'm taking the Challenge!!
Besides.... toast in my room, makes for a pretty crumby bed.
So yeah...
"Let's struggle together. We'll eat bugs, and we'll eat grass, and use our hands to wipe our tears."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm still floatin' on air!

I think somebody needs to slap me... and bring me back down to earth!

One minute, I think I'm doing okay... and then I open the fridge or cupboard and see what's inside...
And the next thing I know, I'm dancin' on air again!
Geez Louise... I haven't been this high since the dippy hippy '70's!!!

Costco costco CostCO... Costco costco CostCO!

And as far as what they had, and what they didn't have goes... well, I just don't know.
It got so crowded after the first hour, that there were parts of the store I never even got to, so they more than likely had an oil/shortening aisle or section, and I just didn't see it!
They may well have had Crisco at Costco, but I didn't get a chance to check everything out as thoroughly as I wanted to.

I know that they didn't have American-style bacon, because I looked and I asked, and I asked some more... but they did have Hormel Bacon bits in the bag... and they did have authentic bagels and a whole slew of different sized Philadelphia cream cheese's to slather on them...

Which is what I had for my birthday breakfast yesterday...
A lovely perfectly toasted Onion bagel with cream cheese, and a cup (okay... well, 4 cups) of Kirkland signature coffee... you know the one.

The one with Juan Valdez and his cute little ass on the front?

That big ol' 3 pound can full of wonderful, wonderful, Colombian coffee beans... hand-picked by Juan Valdez himself...
What a way to start the day!

Geez... I just can't quit thinking about the bargains we got!!!
You know bell peppers, right? (we call 'em capsicums over here) Well, at Safeway, the green ones usually sell for about 3-4 dollars for 2 medium sized ones - and the red and yellow ones can be so expensive that I hardly ever buy them. I just refuse to.

Not that I even shop at Safeway anymore, because I don't...
I've been actively boycotting them for almost 6 months now.
Just on general principles.
I would rather drive a few miles out of my way, rather than put a penny in the greedy bastards pockets.
Not that they miss me at all, but hey, I'm nothing, if not principled.

Even though Maxi Foods may be slightly more expensive on some items, they operate in an open, ethical mannner... and they treat their customers like valued customers... instead of like dirt under their feet.
But enuff about that...

Because on Monday, I snagged a 6 pack bag of mixed bell peppers at Costco - green yellow and red - and decent sized babies to boot... for less than I could pay for a couple of the green ones!
They were $4.99 for six!!!
And zucchini.... 6 medium sized ones for $1.99, which is about one quarter of what I paid a few months back.

So guess who's having ratatouille tonight? Even if mine isn't quite as good as the ratatouille that we had at the restaurant when we went out for dinner with Miz K and Mr R the other night.
Our celebratory " YAY!!! Australia's first Costco opens in the morning!!!!" dinner out.

See, the Old Guy sampled the ratatouille I had ordered,
( He always does that. Passes on something, and then he eats off my plate...grrr!)
and then he quite rudely and stupidly deemed it slightly better than mine...
Which means he's definitely in the dog house now... and he won't be getting any of mine tonight.
Which is fine with me, because I could eat the stuff until the cows come home, and still die a happy woman.
And if he ever disses my cooking again, he'll be the one who dies... of starvation!
Or I'll stab him repeatedly with my fork, while yelling "fork you, you ungrateful, criticizing my cooking, fool you!"

Oh oh OH... and I missed out on picking up some Russian King Crab legs ( I was hoping for Alaskan King Crab legs, but hey... If Sarah Palen can almost see Russia from her kitchen window, that's close enough for me, okay?) and some lobster - Lobster which was less than half the price we would pay for frozen over here!

Yep... we sure missed a lot, and for that reason alone, we're planning on going back before my week-long holiday is over.

Costco Costco CostCO!!!!
(feel free to slap me at any time... okay?)

I know I'm excited and I know I've been grinning from ear to ear all week - But hey...Miz K's face says it ALL...

Oh my goodness... I just LOVE this picture, don't you? It certainly gives new meaning to "Happy Snaps"!!!

(Miz K... thank you for the kind permission to use the pic.)

Monday, August 17, 2009

We came, we saw, we conquered...

We went, We saw, We consumed...

We mass consumed anyway - which doesn't necessarily mean that we ate a lot, but I have to admit, I did my fair share of sampling as well as mass-consuming.

See, yesterday... WE WENT TO COSTCO!!!

Yep folks, it's true...
Yesterday was the grand opening of "Costco" here in Australia... and I have to admit, I was like a kid in a candy shop! I'm still walking on air...

And I'll bet you just about anything, so is Miz K !!!!!
We stayed with our friends Miz K and Mr. R Sunday night, so we could all get to Costco first thing Monday morning... and I don't know about the boys, but Miz K and I were like little kids on Christmas Eve!

She even had a cute little song and dance thing goin' on... and she would break into the "Costco dance" at the drop of a hat. Even her sweet little dog Skeeter got into the act, doing his own little doggie version of :
COSTCO COSTCO, CostcoCostcoCostco!!

The night before, we debated what time we needed to get up, and what time we wanted to get there... and finally settled on about 7am for the 8 o'clock opening.

Of course, I was up at 5am, because I just couldn't sleep anymore, and I swear... it was like being a kid again, on Christmas morning!!
I wanted to sneak into Miz K's and Mr R's room at 5am, and ask if we could please, please, please get up... and ask them:
"Has Santa been here yet????"
We finally left the house around 7am, heading towards Costco ( it's just a few minutes from Miz K's house!!!) ...and between Miz K chanting her Costco song, and me waving at total strangers and yelling out " Hey, look at us!! We're going to Costco!!!!" the poor Old Guy thought he was in the company of a couple of mad women!

Which might not have been that far from the!

So we got there, we stood in line while a bunch of guys in suits did a little ceremony thingie, with camera crews for all the news programs and then ... WE WERE IN!

We were in, and right back home at the same time... because everything about the store was just like being home again...

From the layout of the store, right down to the never-ending samples people, fantastic bargains... and even just the smell of it all.

We were like kids in a candy store, and even though we ended up getting split up and going different ways, we were constantly tracking each other down, or jumping up and down and waving at each other across the aisles, squealing stuff like:

HEY! They've got Best Foods!

OMG! They've got Monterey Jack Cheese!!

Did you see the Tide?!

LOOK! They have Bounce dryer sheets!

It was heavenly, let me tell ya!
And the bargains? OMG!!!
See, an awful lot of what I spend on food, or buy for around the house, is totally 100% tax-deductible... so I've saved every single grocery receipt, for the last seven years.

I know my prices, and I know a bargain when I see one.
I know what I use on a regular basis, and I know when I'm getting ripped off.

So I've known for years, that the damn duopoly of Coles and Safeway, has been on a mission to not only knowingly rip off the average Aussie consumer, but they've been making bigger and bigger profits for itself - at the expense of the average shopper, every single year.
And do they care?
Elderly pensioners recently got an approximate $40 a fortnight raise, and before the end of the week, grocery prices rose accordingly - leaving the poor pensioners almost right back where they started from - if not slightly worse off..

So when I saw this... knowing what we're currently charged at Safeway and Coles, of course I bought it!

The small Best Foods mayo on the left is 295 grams, which = 10.405 818 775 ounces...And for that, just last month, I paid $5.45... 52 cents an an ounce - give or take.

The large one on the right is 2 quarts, or 64 fluid ounces /1.9liters.... And for that baby, I paid a mere $10.29! Which works out to about 16 cents an oz - so quite the little savings, eh? And even if I only used half of it and threw the rest away ( like that would happen, the way we entertain and with the children around) I would still come out way ahead. I do make my own mayo when time allows (Thank you, Marjie!!) but when you've got hungry kids and they want to eat now... it's always good to have supplies on hand... ya know what I mean?

I also bought a heavy duty, rubber backed, carpet/mat for in front of the sign-in cupboard, and I honestly think it was my biggest and cheapest bargain of the day... I paid over $68 for the last one I bought, just a few months back... and the one I bought yesterday - exact same quality, exact same size, and probably the exact same manufacturer, for all I know... I only paid $31.99!LESS than half price!!!

Some of the other goodies I bought...

Bounce sheets, 250 count, $13.99 minus the $4.00 coupon...

Kirklands signature brand coffee... $13.99 for a 3 lb can

18 pack of highlighter pens...$10.99 (based on grocery store prices, I bought 3... and got 14 free!)

Nurofen tablets... 24 count for $3.99

Skippy Peanut Butter... $5.99 (48 oz/3lbs or 1.36kg)

Tide Laundry liquid $36.99, (1.31 gallons/5.2Litre) minus $8.01 with coupon

3 pack of Ritz crackers, $6.29

A huge block of genuine, authentic, oh I've longed for this moment for years, Monterey Jack cheese... for $17.99 (we divided this one several ways!)

Kirklands signature brand of toilet paper, 48 rolls for $29.99

I had a ball... let me tell you! I haven't heard that many American accents in one place, since we were in the States last year... and it was a little mind boggling to realize that there are so many of us in the Melbourne area!

Everyone was so friendly... and we literally got stopped dozens of times, by complete strangers coming up up to us, grabbing something in the cart, and saying stuff like:

"OMG...where did you find this... or that?? Oh look Helen, she's got Tide - and she says it's over on the next aisle! Have you guys checked out the cheeses yet?" It was fantastic!!

I don't like crowds at all.... but yesterday was more like a party, or even a family reunion... With everyone smiling and in a fantastic mood, and everyone laughing and talking to one another!!!

Oh... and The Old Guy and I even made "The Age" last night!!They spelled my name wrong, but who really cares? I got a cart fill of bargains, baby... and did it whilst in the company of good friends. And that's all that counts!!

The Age Article

Excuse me now, but I need to go look at my stuff some more. ;-)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I need to "de-brief"

I need to get it off my chest, get it out in the open, and then move on...

Yes, I'm talking about the 10 days I just spent in the company of a family of 4 children.
And anyone who thinks that spending 24/7 with four kids is a piece of cake, needs their head examined, even more than I do.
Which I do.

Oh it was good... and I enjoyed most of it thoroughly, but it wasn't a walk in the park either.
Parts of it were so traumatic, that I'm thinking off applying for "hazardous duty pay."
Or Sainthood.
One of the other.
But since I'm not Catholic, maybe that one's a reach... eh?

Now see... take the third night, for example.

Dinner went swimmingly, with burgers and potato salad, green salad and ice cream for dessert.
The 2nd oldest kind of picked at his food, but he ate most of it and seemed to like it all just fine... and there were no problems.
Until 9:45.

At 9:45, the oldest came and knocked on my bedroom door, saying "brother's been sick".
So I drag my tired-arse little self out of bed, throw on a robe and go down the hall to see what's up.
Halfway down the hallway, the stench hits me, and I swear... the smell was so strong that it was pushing me backwards.

And when I entered that room, just for a minute there, I was transported back to my college days and the memories of several frat parties I attended. (under duress, mind you)
Vomit everywhere.
Because younger brother is nothing, if not an "equal opportunity" spewer.
Not only his bed was christened... but 3/4 of his brothers as well.
As well as an entire box of Legos... and the Wiggles poster, 5 foot up on the wall.

Okay, deep breath... I can do this - and "do it" I did.

Everything was cleaned up, kid in fresh jammies and then tucked back in his nice clean, crisp sheets.

Now off to the laundry, to get started on 2 full sets of bedding.
Two top sheets, two bottom sheets, 2 thick blankets, 2 bedspreads and a set of very yucky jammies.
Oh, and towels and rags, as well as a by now, very nasty teddy bear that had also been in the line of ermmm... fire.
So at 10:30 at night, I'm doing washing. ( I had had a grand total of 20 minutes sleep before they woke me - max!)

At 3:30am, I'm still doing washing.
Because as you probably know, if you have kids, chucked-up-upon sheets and blankets and bedspreads can't simply be thrown in the washer.
Scraping and shaking, and more scraping is involved first...
So for a couple of hours there, I had a distinct fragrance of Eau-de-vomit lingering about my person.

At 3:45, said kid did it again! And failed to use the bucket that I had provided, as a way to save the bedding and carpet - as well as my sanity.

Bless the mother, who as a gift for my reliability and trust-worthiness, gave me a brand-new dryer when she dropped her children off.

Which at first, I thought was a wonderfully thoughtful gift.
Then I thought " well, she just didn't want to pack 10 changes of clothes for each of her 4 children, so a $300+ dryer must have been her way of avoiding packing huge bags, and hiring a U-Haul to get it all here."

Then my next (and final) thought was: "She KNEW this was gonna happen, and the woman just decided not to tell me that her 2nd oldest was an Olympic-caliber cookies-tosser! That's the real reason for the dryer!!!"

Which looking back over the many years I have cared for this family, made me realize that this wasn't the first time this kid has made me go through this kind of thing.
I just forgot.
Or I had had years of "lucky-ness" and thought that he had outgrown it.

So, at 5am I was still up and washing bedding and jammies.
And what time do I usually get up, boys and girls?
Yep... you got it.

So here I was, tired and smelling like Eau-de-Vomit... and I had to start a new day.
Which meant I had to put in a further 15-16 hours, without the chance to lay my head down.

But I survived.
I survived by not giving a rats arse, and by just going through the motions.
I survived by, when being told (in an extremely whiny voice) "Taaaater, Sally hit meeee!" simply saying back:
"Well just kill her and get it over with.
At least there will be one less mouth to feed, and less mess for me to clean up at the end of the day."

And when a chorus of little voices said "Tater, the cat is on the bench, licking the cheese", I just replied:
"Oh it's just cat spit. A little cat-spit never hurt anyone... and beside, cats have stuff in their spit
that helps to break down the emzymes in cheese - so you won't get constipated, okay?"

Which I really think is frowned upon.
In child-care circles anyway.

The next 7 days weren't bad, and at least there were no repeat-performances, but still...

The kids are gone now and I have the next 9 days to myself, but I wonder if I need to get counselling for what I'm sure is post-traumatic-stress?

The smell of vomit still lingers in my nose... and I'm tempted to see if I can pluck every nose hair in my poor traumatized nostrils out...
Just to get rid of the the ever-lingering fragrance of *Eau-de-Spew*...

Yep... I deserve a medal, alright.

I also deserve to have my head examined.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I can see light at the end of the tunnel!

The battle to have "a life" continues, but at least I can begin to see light at the end of the tunnel.
It's just the tiniest of pinpricks right now, but by noon today, I should be whippin' out the sunnies and doing a bit of squinting...

I've been flat-out working my arse off for the last 10 days...
Not only with the family of 4 that I told you about, but with 3 of my regularly scheduled children, as well.
So I've had a grand total of 7 children a day, for a minimum of 9 hours a day...
And then when the 3 "regulars" go home, it's time to feed, bath, get the 4 long-term ones in their jammies, get their teeth brushed, beds ready... and all the other joys of trying to get young kids to bed.
That is, IF it can be termed "joys".
And it's been wearing me out... particularly the picking up toys part.

Not that I pick up toys...
Because it's my firm opinion that if you pulled it out or you played with it, it's up to you to put it back where it belongs when you're done.
Not me.

I'll cook for you, I'll wash your clothes for you, I'll change your nappies for you... I'll cuddle you when you hurt yourself - or sometimes ( well okay..mainly) just for the joy of it, I'll jump rope and break my back trying to do somersaults in the backyard - but when it comes to stuff that you have hauled out and left laying around...
Hey, it's not my job.

Unfortunately, in their opinions, neither is it theirs.

But Tater... I didn't play with that, so I shouldn't have to put it away.
Bobby played with it, not me.
No I didn't, you did.
No, you did. I saw you.
No I didn't, I just played with it for a little bit and then gave it to you.
No you didn't, I was playing with the Lego's and I saw you playing with the trains.
Did not.
Did too.
Did not!
And then the tears start.
Funny... but tears don't move me much anymore. Not like they used to, anyway.

Argghhhh!!! How in the world, this place can end up looking like the clearance floor of Toys R Us at the end of the day, is beyond me...
Especially since no one touched or played with a stinkin' thing!
All day long!!

And then there's been the seemingly, never-ending battles with special services (or rather the mum) over my young lad with autism...
We've had 3 meetings in 2 weeks, (the worker, the mum and myself) and at the end of each meeting, everything seems to be resolved...
And then 2 days later, the mum presents me with a schedule that in NO shape, form or fashion, resembles anything we discussed or agreed upon.
Or looks anything like the schedule we drew up.

See, I have the entire month of October off... which seems pretty clear and straight forward to me... or to just about anyone else... Right?

Yet, then why is he booked in, in October - for 5 days one week, and then 2 weeks later, it's another 6 days?
A grand total of 11 days booked in the month, when I have said it repeatedly :
I am OFF for the entire month of October.
I will not even be here.
I will hopefully, be in the US, spending time with friends and family.
Which is now completely debatable, because of the on-going financial issues. It may have to be put off until spring... which is well and truly gonna break my heart. And my son's as well.
But still... that's not the point.

So, to make a long story short (yeah right... can I dribble on, or what??) I've been run off my feet, been drowning in bills, and haven't had 2 moments to scratch my bum in a month of Sundays.

But the kids go home today at noon-ish... Tomorrow afternoon, we head to Miz K's for some much needed R&R... and then bright and early Monday morning, we all hit the 7:30am grand opening of Costco!

COSTCO, baby!!!
I can't wait!!!

But the best part?
(other than Miz K's company, of course - and I mean that from the bottom of my heart)
The best part is that I have the entire week off, next week!

A whole week of nothing-ness and peace and quiet and best of all... no toys anywhere in sight!
Time to catch up on blogs, time to spend with y'all and to just enjoy myself.
Time to scratch my ass again.

It's time to have a life again...
And to see if I can remember how to do it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

'mama's been a bad, bad girl...

I'm sorry I haven't been posting with my usual regularity lately, but I've been a bit, ermm... irregular.
And I have to admit, I've been more than a little ticked off about it.
I hate how day to day life, can sometimes get in the way of actually having a life.
And it ticks me off, because I don't think I have one anymore.

I miss blogging.
I miss reading blogs.
I miss reading in bed of a night and getting out in the garden and pulling weeds during the day.
And I guess I miss my mind the most.

Lately, it's just been a battle to put one foot in front of the other, and to tell you the truth, my "get up and go" has done got up and went.
My mojo ain't a-workin' anymore, and I'm pretty darned sure that Elvis has left the building.

Oh... it's been nothing major and everything is actually fine, but it's just been one small niggling thing after another,
And it's been going on for so long now, (well, actually it's only been a few weeks, but it feels like longer than that, to me) that it's beginning to feel like second nature.

I've gotten myself into a deep rut... and I've been feeling so down with it all, that I almost have to take off my socks to see.
And even my socks feel worn-out and crusty.

It's just life... but lately life seems to be doing it's best to throw me curve balls, and no matter how hard I try, my bat just isn't connecting with the balls... you know what I mean?

It started about the time that Jazzy had her ears done, and although the surgery was a tiny little bit of financial worry, it was definitely no biggie.
Jazzy cost me approximately $500, and I was glad to pay it and gladder yet, that I had the money saved to do it.

Then the security lights were installed, because of the damn intruder and the car break-in.
That was another $500, approximately.
Not to worry, I've still got savings.
Sort of.

Then the computer up and died on me.... literally.
The poor baby died in the middle of the night, and when I came out in the morning, there she was, with her toes pointing to heaven. If computers go to heaven that is...
And my cute little techie charged me... you got it...
$500 to get her re-built and up and running again.
If I can even call it the same computer, since everything that she had in her, has now been replaced.
But anyway, I'm back on-line again and even if this new baby is taking some getting used to, at least I'm not having to do without...

Then the washing machine started leaking... and the "not quite as cute as the computer techie" but definitely worth looking at, washing machine repairman charged me....
You guessed it.
Another $500...
For water pumps and hoses and switches and thingamajigs.
But this washer is worth it baby. Worth it!!
It's a big, hulking, American made Hoover washer, that I bought second hand years ago... and it's been one of the best "major investments" that I've ever made.
Because that baby gets a work-out on a daily basis... let me tell you.
And it hardly ever complains, so what can ya do?

So, around here, it' gone from "thank goodness I have savings", to fix Jazzy's ears.... right on down the line, within a matter of weeks... to being forced to "rob Peter, to pay Paul.
And in the midst of all this financial drain and woe... guess who has a 9 day holiday scheduled...

Well, come what may... I know I need it, and it will be worth it, energy-wise. At least that's what I'm hoping for, anyway.

See, right now I have 4 extra children... and I have them for 10 days straight ( we're actually on day 2 at this point while mum is in the hospital having a hysterectomy) and although they are honestly wonderful, wonderful kids... having an extra 4 children in the house, giving me a total of 7 children underfoot on a daily basis... then having 3 leave at the end of the day, and getting the evening routine of dinner and baths and bedtime started...
Well, all I can say is... "Oh my..."

I can do this. There's no worries there.
I can do this with one hand tied behind my back... because quite frankly, this is what I was built for, and I love it.
But still...

At least these long, hard days are gonna be more than a little bit "lucrative" and it should put me well ahead. Or at least put me within the ballpark of where I was before those $500 bills started flying out the window.
Fingers crossed anyway!

So boys and girls...
That's it in a nutshell.

I've been flat-out like a lizard drinkin'.
I've been flat as a tack.
I've been flatter than a road-kill rattlesnakes' belly.

But I will survive.
Because that's what I do.

I just miss you all... that's all.


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