Friday, August 25, 2006

Howdy. I guess some of you may have been wondering why I still haven't posted an update about Little Man's party. Well, work is to blame but I'm on it now. In case you are wondering, I didn't get any more done on the truck/dolphin but I'm still hoping I'll get something ready by Sunday.

Anyway, the morning of Little Man's birthday arrived. Princess had stayed up late (late for her) helping DW wrap a few presents for the boy and come morning, she was ready to give them, even if he wasn't ready to get them. Fortunately, we were able to convince her not to wake him too early because he needed his sleep. We knew Princess would be FAR more excited about all this than Little Man who still doesn't know poop from apple sauce. Princess had picked out some Superman PJs for Little Man and I must say, they do look pretty cool on him. And she had written a card and drew a picture of him on it. I have to say, it is the best picture of Little Man I have ever seen. It doesn't look exactly like him as a photo might but it highlights every specific feature that Princess associates with her little brother, right down to his belly button and two bottom teeth. I'll try to remember to scan the image and post it in the next blog.

Princess is trying really hard with her drawing/writing and the effort is paying off. Her reading is still limited to a few words and letters that she recognizes but I get the feeling it won't be long before she really gets into the swing of it. She is also learning to sew, though at this point it is simply pulling frilly thread through a piece of card with hole-punched edges with a needle that is so large she needs both hands to wield it. Fortunately it is also very blunt. However, Princess has shown an unexpected adeptness and patience and will even sit for a minute very quietly while she threads the great big needle herself. This is the needle Jesus must have been referring to when he said it would be easier for camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get into heaven. (Matthew 19:24) Anyway, kudos to Princess for even being able to lift it.

Back to the party day. Little Man eventually rose from his slumber with the grace of a wounded bear. His damn tooth was still bothering him, and does so to this day. I have had DW tell me several times, "Its so close, I swear, it'll be through before you get home." If its through before his next birthday, I promise I'll be surprised. Anyway, he greeted toddlerdom the way he greets anything he doesn't like. He pooed with emphasis, the emphasis being the radius around him in which the smell would make your eyes water. He actually loves being able to walk and totters around everywhere. He is also very cute with his nappy-wobbling walk and frequent over-balancing. However, when he is grumpy, he cries at everything. He cries when you put him down. He cries when his dummy falls out. He cries when he puts it back in. He cries at Princess. He cries at fluff on the carpet. He cries at not being able to eat fluff off the carpet. He cries at the carpet. He cries at the crying kid in the mirror. So you can imagine the party preparations were a hoot.

I stayed home to help and I really tried to help as well. Mostly I got in the way. The party we where having for Little Man on his birthday was actually just a Mum's Group gathering with the mum's from when Princess was born, so most of the kids coming were actually Princess' friends. That's ok though, because Little Man doesn't really have any friends yet and he would have just cried at them anyway. And why not, its his party. Anyway, so Princess is getting over excited because it was Little Man's birthday and he was getting Little Man presents and there would be friends and cake after lunch. Little Man was crying and sulky because his mouth hurt and people kept walking past him and stopping him eating fluff off the carpet. I was trying to help by pointing out things that should be done and how I would do them if I were allowed back in the house. DW was getting a little stressed and I'm tempted to make a joke about how she was using the broom as a personal transportation device but I won't. She wasn't that bad but she was getting a little annoyed and pointed out that "helping and trying to help are NOT the same thing". The pressure cooker was building up and DW had jsut finished telling me where I could put the ironing board and I was saying how we would then need a new cover when the phone rang.

One of DWs friends was unable to come over because her little boy was misbehaving. It had gotten to the point where she finally had to follow through with a threat not to let him attend the party. Needless to say, DW was very concerned for her friend as we both know all too well how that situation feels. Its odd how you can think the whole world exists inside your own little space and forget that the reason you are cleaning it up is because people from outside your little world are visiting. They also have their own little worlds that need cleaning and maybe they are coming to your little world just to get away from their own for a bit. Appreciating how hard life can be and remembering how important it is to have someone there who is willing to help (or even try to help) allows your world to expand and gives a perspective that can include other people and their troubles even if they are not right there in front of you. It could be tempting to think about how lucky we are to not have those specific troubles at that moment, but DW is not like that. Her first thought is for her friend. She knew she couldn't do much to help but I think she would have liked nothing more than to be able to pop over to her friend's place and given her a hug.

As it happened, DW did have to pop out and pick up some extra bits and pieces for the party. I kept tidying up by putting stuff under the couch and into the study and testing the snacks, when I noticed DW had returned home and was chatting to a neighbour. I kept thinking she is leaving me in here to hide this crap and snack while she is out chatting. She didn't stay out there long and when she came in she told me why she had been chatting. Our neighbour's husband had decided to leave her with the two little kids. She was still in shock because it had come as a surprise and had only happened a few days earlier. Needless to say DW was also shocked and very worried for our neighbour.

I was thinking about how it was only Wednesday and I had already had a very odd week. I had chatted to an old friend on Sunday who has just had a baby and she was finding the sleeplessness difficult and her partner was also struggling and feeling the pressure. Another friend was having a dilemna about when to have her second child because she was worried about having too big a gap between kids would mean they wouldn't get along as well and she was also worried about how she and her partner would make ends meet. My brother then found out his wife was having triplets and in a few monhts he would have four kids under the age of three. He would need a new car and prams and cots and all he could see was headlights. Followed up with DWs friend and our neighbour's troubles, it occurred to me that really, a party for a one year old isn't really that hard and certainly not worth fighting over. So I stopped dropping food on the floor and DW got off her broom and we hugged and apologized and set about enjoying the rest of the day.

Well, when I say enjoy, that might be stretching things a little. We certainly enjoyed seeing the end of the day. The party went pretty much as all kids parties do. Princess didn't like the way her bestest friend in the whole world was playing catch and so threw the ball into his face. Her bestest friend in the whole world didn't like being hit in the face with a ball and punched her right back in the face. He ran away and she chased him. She ran away and he chased her. Several others joined in and chased each other. Princess fell over things, off things and under things and cried each time. Her best friend crashed the bike, collided with other kids and also cried. Another kid fell off the swing. Another got hit in the face with a swing and headbutted another kid. Crazy monkeys stole another kid. All the kids had too much sweet food and soft drink and fought and yelled and cried and sang "Happy Birthday" and cheered and cried and fought and fell over. Little Man just tottered around the backyard on his own and ate sand. We also gave him some cake but he preferred the sand. So I ate the cake. It was good cake.


Thought for the Day: Never assume you can jump all the way across a creek. Never assume you will find sure footing on the other side. Never assume no one is filming you.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My efforts to make myself more personable and outgoing took a dent yesterday when I was walking home after work. It was just after dusk and I was listening to music and I decided to try out my new "say hi and smile" policy. A young lady was approaching and I smiled and said "Hi". Apparently I am unable to correctly gauge how loud to speak when I am wearing headphones and I gave the poor girl something of a fright. It probably wasn't helped because I wasn't sure whether to go with a small, polite smile or a warm, open grin and ended up doing a bit of both. Because it was getting dark, I wanted to make sure she knew I wasn't dangerous or strange so I opened my eyes really wide as well. Anyway, it didn't go very well. She all but bolted past me. It was probably lucky I didn't see anyone else before I got home.

Tomorrow is a big day in our household. It is Little Man's birthday. We have put up with him for one whole year. Each year for Princess' birthday, DW has made a very pretty party dress to celebrate, however, we have decided not to encourage Little Man to wear dresses, party or otherwise. He can choose to do so when he can choose to do so. Anyway, that's my attempt at political correctness. So I decided to build him a truck. Not because he is a boy, but because a making a truck out of wood is easier than making a party outfit out of wood. Only, I haven't actually tested this and I may be wrong.

Now it has come to my attention that not only is reading the operating manuals of power tools and valuable equipment a good idea, it is also considered prudent to have more than just the word "truck" written down as part of the plan for building a truck. DW was good enough to point that out for me. So, a while back we visited DW's parents place and we took several photos of a wooden truck that her brothers played with when they were little, and Princess plays with when we visit. Having ample source material from which to guess how to make a truck, I then set about guessing the measurements. Remembering my usually, "measure once, cut twice, make smaller truck" philosophy, I got stuck into it on the weekend. Fortunately, I allowed enough wood to practice with and I even bought a coping saw to help with the tricky bits. I told DW I needed a coping saw. DW asked if I had been using a not coping saw for my previous projects and if I perhaps should have thought about coping earlier. This comes from a woman who laughed at me because I needed a cold chisel and she suggested I should try a band that was still together.

Anyway, I cut and coped and measured and realised that I had completely forgotten what the truck actually looked like. So I went inside and checked the laptop for the photos we had taken. After my six or seventh trip, DW suggested I should maybe print out a couple of the photos and take them out to the garage. I pointed out that we would need a printer to do that and she pointed out the printer. So, I printed out a couple of key shots and headed out. Now, in my very forward-thinking manner, I had thought to pop one of Princess' shoes on the tray of the truck in order to provide a reference for measurement. I wanted the truck to have a very "me" feel, so precise measurements were obviously unacceptable. Anyway, it turns out that kids grow pretty quick so Princess' feet have gotten larger, and accordingly, her shoes. So the truck, which was intended to be "ride-on" would have been more of a "ride-in" had it not been saved from gross hugeness by my "measure once, cut twice, make smaller truck" philosophy. It all works out in the end.

Well, I hope so. I haven't finished it yet. So far it is a bunch of miscellaneous shapes of wood that I believe will look like a truck when placed together in the right way. It may yet be a dolphin. Which wouldn't be all bad because it doesn't have wheels yet either. I probably won't actually be able to give the truck/dolphin to Little Man tomorrow so DW suggested I buy a couple of presents "just in case you don't get it finished, though I'm sure you will, but better to be safe, yeah?" We are having another party for Little Man on Sunday so I am hoping I can have it ready by then.

Still, I think I am getting better at woodwork. I was going to build a dolls house but DW bought one just in time. She does her best to encourage me with little sayings like "the kids will really appreciate the effort... in time" and "At least now you have a coping saw. That's gotta be a relief." and my favourite "Why don't I make you a nice, heavy meal and put on a movie? We can talk about your latest project after you've fallen asleep." Anyway, Little Man is getting a truck or a dolphin for his birthday or soon after or maybe for Christmas if it kills me and everyone I love.


Thought for the Day: My brother just found out his wife is having triplets and they are all his.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I'm not sure if any research has been done to determine if laughter can actually kill a person. I believe it probably could. The old saying "You won't die laughing!" may only be true if you consider that you laugh right up to the point that you have a massive heart attack or burst a blood vessel in your brain and in that moment of agony, you probably do stop laughing and think, "What the...??"

Anyway, I've nearly died laughing. Several times. The most recent was last night. A friend was over and I was trying to tell a funny anecdote. Actually, I tried to tell two. Neither worked out very well, my head almost exploding both times. Also, despite the fact that I couldn't actually speak, breathe or move in a coordinated manner for several minutes, did not stop DW and our guest from laughing heartily at my fit. The worst thing was, I knew when I finally got to the point of actually telling them what was so funny, I would have to make it sound as bland as possible or I would be gone for all money again.

What started it was a very simple yet positive event. My dad has had his second book published. To protect her identity, I shall call our guest "Shnarelle". Shnarelle is an aspiring author and was not aware that my father had even written one book, let alone a second. Now, I have this problem where I get something in my head and despite my best efforts, it pops out my mouth. My parents had kept the fact Dad was writing a book a secret. It may not have technically been a secret, but apparently none of us knew to ask that particular question. "Hi Dad, how are you? Good answer. Have you thought about writing a book?" If only we'd thought to ask. At least we now know he isn't planning to overthrow the government or start his own underwear line. And let me tell you, he didn't see those questions coming.

Back to the point. Dad hadn't mentioned his book writing and I hadn't asked. I think it is absolutely fantastic that he is doing it and I enjoyed the first book and look forward to reading the second. However, in my head, I was still stuck with the thinking how strange it was that he hadn't mentioned it. So when Shnarelle commented by saying "Wow, that's exciting!", I opened my mouth and agreed by saying, "It IS odd, isn't it." Only after I had spoken that I realised that Shnarelle was looking a little surprised and quickly jumped in saying that wasn't quite what she meant by "exciting". It quickly put me in my scattered mind of another, equally funny and debilitating event.

It would seem this little affliction of speaking without thinking carefully or at all is not a problem unique to me. At least one of my brothers also has it. My mother was informing him that an elderly relative had recently passed away, to which my brother, eager to share his news, replied, "You know what else is funny?" I was with this particular brother recently in a cafe when I was explaining to him about my problems with remembering names and the two of us had one of those temporal shifting moments. In an almost reverse situation to the movie "Awakenings", we both shuddered with laughter faster and faster until we were both frozen in time and space, mouths wide open, no sound coming out and the only change in our physical appearance was the increasing red glow engulfing our heads.

I say that it was temporal shifting because while we remained frozen, possibly listing slightly in our rigoured state, the rest of the cafe went on as normal, though several eyes fickered toward us occassionally. I'm not sure how long we were like that but I remember thinking, I'm going to have to crawl out of here and I haven't paid yet. Maybe if I just dropped my wallet, the waiter would just take the right amount of money.

This situation is not uncommon in my family. When we are together, it can be even worse. If one of us tips over the edge, the others are quick to dive off as well. The joke might be a very witty remark, a shared memory from life growing up on the farm, or an ill-timed fart, but whatever it is, the whole lot of us get caught up in it. I suspect that anyone else walking in at that moment would think they'd stepped into an episode of Star Trek, or maybe Dr Who. DW thinks I'm mad and it is not entirely unrelated. I just know that as my siblings and I get older, one day were are all going to be sitting around together and someone will make a joke and one of us will end up dead. Possibly all of us. At least we'll have had a laugh.


Thought for the Day: I don't want to die doing what I love. That would ruin it. I would rather die doing what I hate, so then I'll feel vindicated.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Ok, so I'm aplogizing for yesterday's blog. DW tells me that I took my readers to "the scary place" and noone deserves that. Also, she thought I was past the whole "monkey" phase and now I have to see Dr. Jenny again and I'm only allowed to use plastic utensils. And there's a button on my desk I have to push every ten minutes or I get a shock.

So, I thought I'd discuss TV. Last night I watched the inaugural David Tench Tonight. It wasn't bad but I found that a talk show host that makes the talk show about themselves gets a bit annoying, even if they are rather funny. I think Andrew Denton is a clever and funny man and would probably have kicked Peter Hellyer's butt in Australia's Funniest Comedian, or any other time for that matter, but his alter ego, David Tench will need to improve or he'll end up like Russell Coight.

Moving right along, I'm getting sick of just how shocked I'm going to be, more shocked than I have ever been and I will have never seen anything like this, and just wait to see who dies 'cause I'm going to be so shocked, twisted and stunned by this week's unbelievable episode of Law and Order: SVU. It would seem that the most twisted and sick minds on the planet are currently in gainful employ writing for either Dick Wolf or Jerry Bruckheimer.

NCIS, which stands for "Not CSI" is one show I do watch occasionally and I quite enjoy the dynamic between the characters. The inherent problem with these shows is that there is probably enough unique crime in the world to fill one show. The original Law and Order didn't suffer this problem quite so much, but most of the other shows do. The problem is the shows are constantly trying to find the weird and crazy, sick and twisted, when the simple fact is that most serious crimes are pretty much the same. Horrible, yes, but not particularly original. In fact, forensic science is based on the premise that such nefarious activities are typically predictable if you know how to look.

Ok, now on to annoying adds that invent words because they think we are stupid enough to believe the crap they are pushing will somehow perform a miracle and transform us to look like either Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, take your pick. There is no such word as regenify or rehydrolate. Yet apparently these products can do these things, whatever the hell that is. I suppose if a product does nothing then it is appropriate to use a meaningless word to describe it. Oh well, some fools and their money are parting as we speak.

And why aren't there more tv shows with monkeys? Mr. Smith was some quality programming. And Leave It To Beaver? I never watched the show but I believe it was about a monkey who could swim. And who could forget that show with the whatsit and thingy? And the immortal and unintelligible Monkey! I'd like to see him loose in the Big Brother house.

Unfortunately I have to go but maybe I'll explain my issues with the current epidemic of celebrity worship.


Thought for the Day: Microwave your ice-cream. One standard bowl for 30 seconds on high. Just try it once and see if you like it. You can even use this experiment to justify having a bowl of ice-cream. I know I will.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Hello again. I was a little grumpy yesterday and had a bad case of hayfever and lack of sleep - an ugly combination. Probably shouldn't write at times like those. Anyway, I had a better sleep last night and the rain has settled my hayfever so I started thinking about monkeys.

Monkeys are like hairy, short, old people and they don't mind, which is lucky. I suppose nature makes most creatures generally pretty happy with the way they are. Obviously humans being the notable exception. Anyway, monkeys, and I'm including chimps and apes and bears and koalas here, are very happy. They don't have much to worry about and by and large sleep pretty well, especially koalas. Koalas are probably the least like humans of all monkeys, but they do eat gum leaves and so I guess that's also a plus. Can you imagine how many gum leaves we would have if all the koalas ate something else, like minties? Sure, they'd have fresh breath and be calm in a crisis, but we would have slightly more gum leaves than we already do, and that is a recipe for disaster. Actually, there are lots of ways to make a disaster, and most of them involve monkeys in one way or another.

Monkeys cannot write to save themselves. Seriously, if you point a gun at a monkey and say, "take this down", it will just stare at you stupidly. Left alone and without the whole gun-in-your-face pressure, monkeys will write sonets that only they can read. Clearly, like most humans, monkeys don't write well under pressure. Fortunately monkeys don't suffer from writer's block, but more of a writer's gate, where the gate is locked and acts very much like a block.

I think it would be interesting to see court for humans, run by chimps. I think that it would be funny to have a chimp judge with his chimp judge wig and a chimp judge bailiff and a jury full of chimps in dresses and suits. The District Attorney chimp would bound onto his desk and screech, "yeehahhhghgheaahhhagghgeyyehgah!" and the chimp judge would say, "over ruled". The defense chimp would poke his head out from under his table, pull a booger from his nose and the chimp judge would say, "sustained". Then they would all jump up on the tables, the jury and gallery included, and sing "She Bangs!". If that were on TV, I'd watch it and I bet everybody else would too.

I'll probably be apologizing for this blog tomorrow.


Thought for the Day: If increasing something's worth increases its price, why are priceless and worthless opposites?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hello world? How have you been? Me? Still not getting much sleep, but thanks for asking. Well, its like this. Little Man still hasn't gotten his top tooth. Its just sitting there, causing him pain and annoying the hell out of DW and I. He has taken to moaning at night. He doesn't wake up exactly, he just moans. DW is convinced he has a camera in our room and watches for her eyes to finally flutter shut before he moans again. It wouldn't be so bad if we didn't have to have the baby monitor on all night. But he isn't old enough to not actively monitor and so we put up with it.

I don't have much trouble falling asleep. If I put my head against something soft, I can switch off in seconds. Its like turning off a light. Unfortunately, I'm like a sound and movement activated light. The instant I hear something or someone moves, I'm awake again. DW has the reverse problem. She takes much longer to fall asleep and needs to have had a period of quiet before she can drop off. Of course, once she does drop off, she is like a hibernating bear. The problem is, with Little Man moaning and my occasionally snoring (DW says its like sleeping next to roadworks) it can be hard for DW to get to sleep.

And so we have the situation where Little Man moans, then stops, I drop off to sleep and start jackhammering, DW hits me to stop my snoring, I roll over and start snoring again, DW hits me, Little Man moans, DW hits me, I offer to get up and look after Little Man until she falls asleep, DW says no, Little Man moans, I fall asleep and start snoring, DW hits me, I get up and turn off the baby monitor and go out to the lounge, DW falls alseep despite Little Man still moaning, because now only I can hear him, I walk around for a couple of hours, Little Man stops moaning and goes to sleep properly, I get back into bed, DW doesn't stir because she is like a hibernating bear, I roll over and start snoring, DW doesn't hit me because she can't hear me, Little Man starts moaning again, I wake up, I get up, Little Man stops moaning, I get back into bed and start snoring before I've actually gone to sleep, Little Man moans and I lie there deciding whether or not to wake DW. Did I mention she is like a hibernating bear? Would you want to wake up a hibernating bear?

So we have a little dilemna.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about this is that Princess sleeps through the whole thing. However, she has begun to disturb us in other, more disturbing ways. A couple of days ago, I heard her singing, "Ooooh baby, I need your lovin'." She also decided that wearing a peaked cap backwards is "roolly coooool!" She is only four. And for some reason, when she is playing, some of her toys have an American accent. One of DW's friends from Mum's Group braided Princess' hair and she loved it so much, she insisted on wearing it to bed. The next morning, when DW undid the braid, Princess announced she now had "curly wurly Princess hair." DW has now decided to learn how to braid hair.

We are just about to hit a new milestone. Little Man is almost one. And so, we must celebrate this event with enthusiasm and cheer as would parents who get a normal amount of sleep. We have to prepare everything and invite lots of people and he will have no idea what the hell is going on, but he knows how to keep us awake at night, so he'll just do that. And he can't be reasoned with. I think he knows what "No!" means. Most words, he will just stare at you with a puzzled look on his face. If you say "No!" his look changes to one of "I don't have to even care what that word means."

Princess can be negotiated with. She understands consequence and makes a decision about how important certain consequences are. She also understands the true scope of a threat. For instance, she knows that if she is naughty and has her dessert privilege revoked, she needs a certain amount of time to win it back. Hence the effectiveness of such a threat is determined by its temporal proximity to the enacting of the threat. Basically, its pointless threatening her dessert before 5pm, and she knows it. Even more frustrating is when she comes out first thing in the morning and announces that she is going to be good today. And she is. She is a perfect little angel the whole day. The next day no such proclaimation is made and she sets about making up for the previous day.

If only Little Man would cut this damn tooth already!


Thought for the Day: I hate management meetings. I hate hayfever. Having them at the same time...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Hello everyone. I was chatting to DW last night and we were discussing the fact that Princess likes to invent songs which can last for up to twenty minutes and are little more than streams of consciousness set at various pitches in the upper register. Its not music as we might traditionally know it, but it is obviously intended to be and occasionally does take several bars from more well known tunes, such as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. DW also mentioned that Princess often talks to herself. I laughed for a moment and then it occurred to me that I also talk to myself. So I asked DW if she thought it was strange that I talk to myself and she said, "Not at all." I then asked her if she ever talks to herself and she quickly replied, "God, no!"

I should point out that I don't hear strange voices. The voices are all mine, only usually with different points of view. That is to say, that I often have an internal dialogue going when I am on my own. I am not saying that I argue with myself. That rarely happens. I suspect that most people have a similar way of processing their thoughts. Kids talk to themselves and no one thinks its odd. It is just part of the play/learning mental development. I guess I'm just still developing.

I suspect that the essence of blogging, at least the way I do it, is pretty much another way for the voices to express themselves. Stream-of-consciousness is a well-known method of writing and is especially good for getting past writers block. Perhaps the concern other people might have is when the voices in my head don't seem to agree and the debate spills out my mouth. Also, I think it must be human nature to want to know if you are the intended audience for any words that are being thrown about within earshot. If the words are intended for you, then you choose how to respond. If the words are intended for someone else, then you will often be curious as to whom they are intended. It may be disconcerting to see someone chatting away happily without anybody else around. Fortunately for me, modern technology has begun to reduce curiousity of this nature because of mobile phones with wireless and tiny headsets. We now assume that if we can't see who someone is talking to, they must be on the phone. So I've taken to popping on my bluetooth headset when on the train so that people assume I am talking to someone other than myself.

Only, I've discovered another problem. Human nature dictates that we eavesdrop whenever the opportunity presents, even if we try not to. If we are polite, we try to think about something else or at least try not to rememeber any of the content of the discussion. However, we are also very skilled at being able to work out what is being said, even if we can only hear half of the discussion. I recently heard the following on the train:

Girl: "Hi"
"On the train."
"About twenty minutes."
"Uh huh"
"Yeah, the..."
"If you like."
(smiling) "If you like."
(grinning) "Maybe."
(giggles) "Not at the moment."
(smiles) "Ok. That sounds good."
(flushes) "Uh huh."
(blushing) "I'll see you soon."
(smiles) "Love you honey. Bye."
Hangs up and continues to blush.

Now, this conversation would be a little odd if the girl had not been speaking on the phone. However, given that she was, it doesn't take much to work out what was being said. So our brains fill in the gaps and it makes sense. So now I have to train myself to only say every second thing that comes into my head.

A friend recently mentioned that she blogs on the loo. I'm pretty sure that's what she said. In fact she dedicated a whole blog to how she mostly blogs everywhere but where she should blog, which is online. In fact a lot of people do this. Who am I to tell people they should blog online, you may ask? Well, my very simple argument is the fact that "blogging" is a shortened term for "web logging", which is, by definition, the logging of events online, specifically in the form of HTML, the language of the web. So, by that definition, if you blog anywhere but online, you are just talking to yourself. I'm not trying to say that that is a bad thing. I'm just pointing out to all those people who "blog" offline, to themselves, you are just as crazy as I am.


Thought for the Day: I was sure I didn't suffer from multiple personalities until I took an internal vote and lost 5:3. On the bright side, I'm not the only one who thinks there's just one of us.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Its that time of year. If a kid gets sick, everyone else comes down with it as well. Princess was the first to get hit. She has had this kind of thing before so it wasn't too distressing for her. In fact, this time she remembered what it was like last time. Unfortunately, she also remembered hating the medicine we gave her. Fortunately, she started having a sleep in the afternoons. Unfortunately, she couldn't share a room with Little Man in the afternoon because neither of them would go to sleep. Fortunately, she was able to sleep in our bed for a couple of hours. Unfortunately she sweats a bit when sick and slept on my side of the bed. Fortunately, DW promised to change the sheets. Unfortunately, DW decided to wait until Princess wasn't sick. Fortunately, I didn't know this until after the fact. Unfortunately, I know it now.

On Sunday, Princess was feeling much better but was still coughing a little. She was doing some drawing while I was cleaning up and then she sneezed. I said "Bless You" because she gets upset if you forget to say that. Then she called out to me. I looked over to see what was the matter and a fully grown live alien monster had burst forth from her nose. It was green and angry and looking to hurt someone. It was horrible and wobby and absolutely huge. I know I exaggerate sometimes but I think this beasty from the snot dimension was about the size on a fist. As any good father would do in such a situation, I screamed, only it came out like a strangled squeal. I leapt for the tissues. One, two, three... better just take the whole box... and perhaps a tea towel. And a bowl. Thank God I didn't have a camera handy or I would have been compelled to take a photo.

As I arrived in front of Princess in a clatter less than two seconds after the... let's call it a birth, Princess laughed. Not a giggle and not a raucous guffaw. More of a single, "HA!" The result was terrifying. The snot monster became like a great toad looking to mate, with a huge bubble swelling suddenly and threateningly. There wasn't much time. I threw the tea towel over the thing before it burst and quickly wrapped it up. It still amazes me that I could feel its structure and mass through the tea towel. I was just in time as I felt the bubble burst and heard the pop followed by a squelch. It was too much. I dropped the whole lot into the bowl at Princess' feet. It turns out snot monsters have roots, or maybe very long legs, but it didn't want to leave its cosy home in Princess' nose. I actually had to get a handful of tissues and drag the beast out. Later, Princess was laughing and I assumed she, like all kids, just thought snot was funny. Then she said to me, "You should have seen you face! It was like..." and she pulled a face that was probably very accurate and I guess I probably did look quite funny with my mix of horror, disgust and more horror.

Now Princess is pretty good about putting her hand over her mouth when she coughs. However, she doesn't seem to understand that after having coughed and prevented the spread of germs by covering her mouth with her hand, she now has a handful of germs. If her hand was wet, she would wipe it on anything handy, such as her clothes or Little Man. Perhaps she has noticed how well things stick to his hair. I suppose its better than last year when she would cough up phlegm and then find DW or myself and spit it into our hands. Obviously we could have refused to cooperate, but when its hanging from her mouth and descending toward the carpet, you do what you have to. The first time it happened, I picked up Princess and moved her quickly to the tiled area, but didn't take into account the sheer mass of the phlegm meant it had its own momentum and made a bad situation worse. So now I just catch it. Only this year, as I mentioned, she wipes it on stuff.

So it was pretty much inevitable that Little Man would get it, his very first cold. The use of a tissue is greatly enhanced by one's ability to blow through one's nose. Little Man, like all babies, has no idea how useful this skill is. Its not that he can't do it. In fact, he is extremely good at it. Only he won't do it if there is a tissue or hanky anywhere near his face. I said this once about Princess when she was the same age and it is true again. The little Poo Factory has expanded to Mucus Production. Its like following a snail. And now that he can walk, he is so very much faster and wide ranging than a snail. Also, he does this weird thing like when kids take a mouthful of water and push it backwards and forwards through their teeth with their mouth closed. Only, he does it without having taking a drink of anything. DW explained that what doesn't come out his nose goes into the back of his throat and often into his mouth. I'm starting to suspect that he has actually cut several teeth and has simply eroded them to nothing with his snot.

Fortunately Little Man quite likes his cold medicine. Unfortunately, he doesn't like panadol. Fortunately, he can't tell one syringe from another and so doesn't know which one he is getting until its too late. Unfortunately, he has learned how to spit out what he doesn't like. Fortunately, a dummy also acts like a plug.

Well, we are still not getting full nights sleep but I getting around five hours pretty consistently now. I've been covering the night shift because DW has also been sick and I can't do much during the day. Last night when I was putting Princess to bed, I was putting her wheat bag under the covers to keep her feet warm when I found a bowl. I figured Princess had been eating in her room, which is not allowed. I was about to remind her of that rule when I noticed that she hadn't been eating in her room. The bowl was still full of sultanas. Princess looked up at me as she realised I had found the bowl and said in an angry whisper, "I didn't want you to find those!" I guess that means we are into the next phase. Oh well. You have to admire her candour.


Thought for the Day: If Peter Piper peddled pickled peppers, the peddled peppers picked and pickled by Peter Piper would be Peter Piper's Pick of Peddled Pickled Peppers. And if Peter Piper picked a pickled pecker, who's pickled pecker would Peter Piper pick?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Monday really is the bottom of the hill. Wednesday is hump day, which isn't as fun as it sounds. At least, not always. Thursday is just a big old tease and Friday is the long walk home. Basically, its Tuesday I don't really get. Dent Arthur Dent didn't get Thursdays. Some band, possibly the Monkeys, didn't like Mondays. Actually, no one likes Mondays. Mondays are manic. Saturdays are apparently ok if you want a fight and Sundays I believe are supposed to be fundays. So why even have a Tuesday? Tomorrow is Tuesday and I can tell you, I'm not looking forward to it. Its a non-day. Nothing great happens on Tuesdays.

Only, both my kids were born on Tuesdays. And if you say Tuesday the way Princess says Tuesday ("Chooseday") it sounds like its full of opportunity and options. So why do my Tuesdays seem to be little more than a way to get from Monday to Hump day? Again, I stress, Hump day is just a way of extending the metaphor of a working week being represented as a hill, with Wednesday being at the crest. We could call it Crest day but then we wouldn't have a hump day at all, and I find that a little depressing.

Also, more people die on a Tuesday from long-term illnesses than any other day of the week. Despite the previous statement being completely unfounded, it just makes you think, doesn't it? I should mention that I am not particularly afraid of Tuesdays, not only because I am not suffering from a long-term illness, but because it is so transitory that it really cannot be seen as threatening.

I think it would be better to not have Tuesdays and save them up until the end of the year and have a REALLY long New Years Eve, lasting approximately 52 days. Then Tuesdays would be seen a fun and hip. Or maybe we should actually save all decisions until Tuesdays, or only eat Ice Cream on Tuesdays or maybe only watch cartoons. Just something to make the day stand out and not be so boring.

I was trying to find a "Tuesdays Anonymous" club online, but either it just doesn't exist or they are taking the anonymous part far too seriously. There are over 33 million websites returned for a search on Google for Tuesdays, but none of them are about Tuesdays. Maybe we should be able to choose to "double-up" either Monday or Wednesday. "Two times Monday" would be for the masochists but I would be more than happy with a "double hump" Wednesday, oh yeah.

Maybe I should try and do something interesting on a Tuesday. That way I could say, "Its Tuesday. Cool!" Even typing it looks weird. Dwarf tossing seems like a Tuesday sort of sport, though I'm guessing they do it all week, like everyone else. Or maybe Extreme Knitting where you have to knit your own bungy cord as you fall. How about everyone who has to work at a desk be nude from the waist down?

I'm open for suggestions.


Thought for the Day: Know thy movements. Plan your bran

Friday, August 04, 2006

What's in a name? I don't really know because I struggle to remember them. I recently saw someone whom I knew quite well a couple of years ago but I couldn't remember their name. After my usual "Hi... there...", I stumbled through the conversation never once actually uttering the person's name. Several days later, during a mouthful of cereal, my brain decided to push the word out with milk-splattering force. After cleaning up and having DW complaining about "how the hell is this teaching the kids to eat nicely?", I promptly forgot the name again.

It did remind me of another little name calling incident at work. I met a guy named Christian who worked for another department. While I corresponded several times via email with Christian, I only spoke to him in person five or six times. Now it happens that his department is quite close to mine. So close in fact that we share kitchen and toilet facilities. Unfortunately for me, another guy started working in Christian's department who looks quite similar to Christian. At least I thought so. Now, I don't know anybody else from Christian's department so when I see them in the kitchen or toilet, I just nod and smile and so do they. Except for Christian, whom I always greet by name.

One day, I noticed he not only stopped responding, but started to look at me as if I was strange. I thought this was a little rude, so I went out of my way to speak up when greeting him. I also noticed his peers, who would usually just nod and smile at me, would now look between Christian and I with puzzled faces. Initially I figured Christian had just forgotten my name but by this time he was behaving as if he didn't know me at all. I thought it a little amusing to see him uncomfortable because if I had gone to the trouble to remember his name, which is quite difficult for me, he should be a little embarrassed at forgetting mine. I'm petty like that. Anyway, I kept this up for several months until Christian came back from a six month secondment overseas and I ran into him in the kitchen chatting with the other Christian. Putting one and one together I realised the chances of this equation equalling two Christians was pretty slim. Also, seeing them standing together, the real Christian was quite obvious. In my defence they do share some facial similarities, but on closer inspection, I realised the real Christian is actually quite a bit shorter than me, while the imposter is much taller. Actually, he is kind of freakishly tall, which should have been a give away. Anyway, I've gone back to just nodding and smiling at everyone and hoping the fake Christian thinks I just call everyone Christian, kind of like people used to use the word Pilgrim.

While that was embarrassing, mostly to Christian, another problem cropped up when I had a meeting with some colleagues. Chairing the meeting was a guy who is considerably higher up the chain than I am. I know his name because I know I might need to know his name if my department folds. Besides, Jon is fairly easy to remember. He brought along another guy whom I also know because I competed with him for the job he is now in, working for Jon. The other two guys I didn't know, but they were introduced as Carlo and Mimo. Now these seem like simple enough names, don't they?

It turns out most of my discussion in the meeting was directed to these two newcomers. I began by referring to Carlo as Craig and then Greg and then Carlos. Mimo started out as Nino and then Meno. When my own boss walked into the meeting about half way, I introduced everybody, which was an unmitigated disaster. I successfully introduced Jon and then I introduced Shiel, which is actually his surname. Fortunately, I recovered by spotting the error and correctly remembering his first name, Ian. Then I introduced Nemo and Craig. After some laughter at my expense, I avoided names for the rest of the meeting until I called Mimo "Milo" and had to apologise again. At least I no longer call my own boss Dick.

I'm not good with names. For the first few weeks of Little Man's life, I called him "whats his face" and Princess was "the little bald one". I'm better now but I still get their names mixed up. At least I never make a mistake, you know, at critical moments in my marriage, most likely because at times like those, I can't even remember my own name or even words. And just for the record, while I have never actually used DW's name in my blog, I think she has a very pretty name.


Thought for the Day: Doors are like gateways to whole other places. You never know what you're going to find until you go through. Unless you just pop your head in, or maybe they are glass doors or you were just in there.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I think I can safely say "Hi". There you go. Now I've said it. And several other words besides. I'm not really sure why. Things have obviously gotten a little out of hand and I need to calm down and take a breath. Ok. So, that's probably not a very confident start to a blog if ever I've seen one, and I have. You may have guessed I'm covering for my lack of anything to say. Only, I'm not doing very well, aside from the fact that I've just pointed it out. So I'll just get started on today's blog and perhaps forget about the whole "intro" part. You do the same. Please.

I'm going to pick on politicians because that is politically correct. In fact, I'm going to make up a few jokes about politicians.

Q: How many politicians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Two. One to poke the fork into the socket and the other to hold the metal ladder while standing in a puddle. Actually, the more standing in the puddle the better.

Q: What's the difference between a pig and a politician?
A: Eating a pig is something to look forward to.

Q: How do you save a politician from drowning?
A: The experiment is not yet complete.

Knock, knock!
Who's there?
A politicion!
Baboom!! (That's both barrels)

Q: What's the difference between a blonde and a politician?
A: Blonde jokes are no longer politically correct.

And finally, a new take on an old classic...

Q: How can you tell when a politician is lying?
A: By listening.

So, I hear you type, what's with the bitterness towards politicians? Actually, I don't really have any but I thought a couple of jokes would be good but there are so few minorities you can make fun of these days and nobody minds if you take down a few politicians or lawyers. In fact, I hear they actually may be legally hunted in some states. I had an idea for a reality television show where politicians have a televised debate and instead of a worm monitoring the relative strength of the various arguments, viewers can dial a 1900 number and "shock" the participants. The winner is whoever is left standing. I'd part with 55c to zap a polly. In fact, the show could be called "Zap-A-Polly".

Anyway, that will have to do for today. My brain isn't really working properly and that is probably obvious from the above gibberish. Actually, one of these days I should write EXACTLY what is in my head and then you will see what sort of challenges I face in typical day-to-day communication. And you may feel a little more sorry for DW. Think of it as a threat and a promise.


Thought for the Day: Wendell isn't really Bianca's father, and Marcell has stumbled on to the truth.