Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I just thought I'd start this blog with a bang. Short and sweet, like today's blog.

A couple of days ago I was making DW her regular Sunday morning breakfast in bed consisting of bacon and eggs when Princess asked where we get bacon.

Princess: Dad, where do we get bacon?
Me: Well, from pigs actually.
Princess: From pigs?!?
Me: Yeah, like we get chops from cows.
Princess: How do they make the pigs so flat?

I toyed with the idea of describing a great big slicing machine but decided that it is possible to be too honest. So I responded with...

Me: Well, its complicated and don't worry about it now, your bacon's ready.

Whatever she might have thought of that answer was moot because as soon as she smells sizzling bacon in front of her, she pretty much forgets whatever she was about to ask. DW told me that yesterday in the bath she mentioned that she thought it was sad that we eat pigs. This is a good reason not to have something edible as your favourite animal.

Little Man on the other hand, likes trucks. He can't get enough of them. Every time he sees a truck he has to yell out to it. Even if he can't see a truck, he still likes to yell out to any trucks that might be hiding nearby. He especially likes his Grandad's truck. He calls Grandad "Dumda" but when he sees Grandad he gets really excited and just calls him "Dum". Not flattering perhaps but not as embarrassing as when he sees Grandad's truck. While Little Man can say "Truck", he usually just says "fuck". When he sees Grandad's truck, he gets really excited and points and yells "Dum fuck, Dum fuck!" DW had to explain this little idiosyncrasy to an unsuspecting passerby, who happened to have a very similar truck to Grandad's.

DW told me how Little Man was sitting in the back seat telling her how much he likes "fucks". We visited a friend recently and her little boy, a bit older than Little Man, has a similar issue with trucks, only he calls them "cocks". Apparently he really loves them, especially the big ones. Kids are embarrassing, but I think it would be very funny to her these two little boys chatting in the back of the car at a Monster Truck Rally.


Thought for the Day: Should auld acquaintance be forgot? Yes, dammit! Them and their aulds.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

10 clearscreen
20 printscreen "Hello, World!"
30 printscreen
40 goto 20

The time has come to talk of many things. Of birthday parties, Father's Day, cabbages and strings.

I'm not sure where I left off from Little Man's birthday celebrations and checking would involve a small amount of effort that I am really not willing to commit to, so I'll just type for a bit and we'll see what happens.

Little Man turned two, blah, blah, blah, we had a party, blah, blah, blah, visited the grandparents house while they were away, blah, blah, blah, stuff happened last week, blah, blah, blah AND THEN...

...it was Father's Day. "Was there a sleep in?" I hear you ask. Yes, there was. "Was there breakfast in bed?" Yes, there was. "Did you have to change all the dirty nappies?" Yes, I did. Now that I think about it, DW must LOVE Father's Day. To be fair, DW was not well on Sunday and she did offer to let me sleep in, and I actually don't like breakfast in bed, and the nappy thing, well that was all just bad luck.

But there were presents! Yes, for several days, Princess would say cryptic things like, "Daddy, make sure you don't go in the study" or "Daddy, don't look under Mum's side of the bed because I don't want you to find out what your present is" or "Daddy, I don't want you to know that we had to put the painted mug in a special oven so that it will be ready for Father's Day, and I made a card". I think they start teaching subtlety next year.

So, you can imagine my surprise to received a mug-shaped present. I did the surprised-Dad look and opened the card and the present, the first of which was made by Princess and the second had been painted by Princess or possibly Monet on Speed. It has a kind of Angry Impressionist look to it. Still, I love it. She made one a couple of years ago which she doesn't remember but I still keep on my desk at work. Oddly enough, when you see these things on other people's desks, you can't help feel sorry for them. No longer will Mum be buying the Father's Day present on the child's behalf, because they can MAKE stuff for you now. But, for myself, the trashy handmade stuff Princess comes up with is better than anything she could have bought me anyway. In fact, I have just enjoyed a lovely cup of tea from my new mug and now I feel the need to go off and angrily impress someone.

And there were more presents. I've already mentioned the present Little Man made for me, which I had to wrap myself while holding my breath, but DW also got me a couple of things. She had asked me a few weeks ago what I would like and I mentioned that I was going to try to get fit. Now, those of you who know me will probably laugh and laugh and laugh. Ok, now stop it. I also mentioned a couple of items that I thought might help me get fit. Yes, yes, very funny now get over it. I have also been trying to eat healthily - don't choke now. So I haven't been eating a lot of junk food. I'll just give you a moment to get back up off the floor and wipe your eyes.

Anyway, DW's present was well thought out if a little paradoxical. She gave me a big bag of my favourite chips and some push up bars. Then she gave me two 5kg weights and a block of expensive chocolate. I guess she felt the net result was pretty even, so she tipped the balance in favour of healthy by giving me an inflatable punching bag. Now before you start thinking I'm a big sissy and that an inflatable punching bag would be like hitting a balloon, let me just clarify a few things. Firstly, it doesn't have the weight of a normal punching bag but it isn't supposed to as it is designed for a more aerobic workout. Also, because it is weighted at the bottom and stands upright by itself, it can be used anywhere and is actually a lot of fun. I didn't get to use it much because the kids were all over it but still, its pretty cool.

I have also been playing guitar a bit lately so DW has organized some guitar lessons for me. I said she had already done enough for me but she insisted that they weren't a present for Father's Day. They weren't even a present for me. She said I should think of them as more of a gift for the rest of the family.

So another Father's Day has come and gone. Bring on Christmas!


Thought for the Day: The "home" key on my keyboard doesn't work! I'm still here! I've been too scared to hit the "end" key.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Top o' the mornin' to ya!

Well, it looks like Winter is scurrying away with its icy tail between its legs. Spring is upon us! Well, technically it will be here on Saturday but no doubt many of you will have caught the preview. Yesterday was such a happy Spring day that I just had to go outside to the nearby park to enjoy the sun, the warm breeze and the smell of flowers. I promptly had a fit of hayfever and spent the rest of the afternoon hiding under my desk. And I don't even have red hair! So I broke out the drugs (the hayfever drugs) and braved another pre-Spring day. I even managed to shed the coat today, so mild a morning it was. Yep. It looks like Spring is here.

This is a good thing. It means the kids can play outside more. That is mostly what Spring means to DW and I. And the kids love playing outside. Occassionally they will even play nicely together but that usually ends in tears. Mostly Little Man's but he is increasingly holding his own against Princess and isn't afraid to play dirty. He's not above throwing a handful of sand in her face if she annoys him. Still, he's only two so we do what we can but for the most part, he will just have to learn.

Because DW's folks are away on their annual winter pilgrimage to anywhere warmer, they asked us to drop into their place for a couple of nights. Apparently its required by their insurance, but it also gives us an opportunity to have a little holiday. At least, that was the plan. Having worked some overtime I had a day's worth of FLEX up my sleeve and so last Friday, I took the day off and DW and I decided on the spur of the moment to do something impulsive. Not very impulsive, just a little impulsive. We had already discussed the possibility several times but we hadn't ACTUALLY decided until Friday morning. So as soon as Princess was back from Kinder, we packed up the car with all manner of clothing, food (because there wouldn't be much there) and miscellany and headed off (we did pack the kids too).

Princess did her best to keep herself awake by talking constantly, but she and Little Man were pretty tired so they fell asleep uncharacteristically early. It was a beautiful day for a drive in the country, lush and green from the recent rain. The trip passed without event and we arrived in the middle of the afternoon. The kids, fresh from a nice sleep, descended on their grandparents house like a swarm of locusts. Ok, so two kids might not seem like a swarm but if you had been there... Toys went everywhere. As it happens, Grandma is a former Kinder teacher and has a large number of toys still from those days and having had several kids of her own. I don't think she or Grandad play with the toys much now so they sit quietly until Princess and Little Man or the other grandchildren arrive. BOOOM!! Toy salad!

Eventually we dug the kids out and fed them. Unfortunately they had to forego their bath due to the fact that the water hadn't heated sufficiently but DW had the wood fire blazing merrily so the house was nice and cozy at least. I may have mentioned before DW's disconcerting ability with fire. Seriously, I believe she could get a fire going with nothing more than a box of matches, a newspaper, several firelighters, a handful of kindling and some bone dry wood. (Truth be told, she is very good at lighting a fire.)

Anyway, we decided to try Little Man in the porta-cot, which is harder to climb out of than a normal cot, though apparently not much harder. Little Man was out of there like a shot. So we decided to set him up in another room, which had not had the benefit of being heated so was considerably colder. That didn't bother Little Man. He worked up a sweat running around and bouncing off the walls in that room. At least there he was less likely to wake his sister. Unfortnately, Princess doesn't go back to sleep easily, so considerable effort went to convincing her that this holiday was supposed to be relaxing for ALL of us, not just an opportunity for Princess and Little Man to go nuts.

Anyway, after a pretty much horrible night, we decided to take the kids to a special adventure playground not too far from the grandparents place. Just far enough to play the "Are-we-there-yet?-shut-the-hell-up-or-so-help-me-I'll-turn-this-car-around" game a few times. When we got there, we had some lunch and proceeded to chase the two kids around the park, trying to keep them from leaping off high forts, eating sand and jumping in the numerous ponds and lakes. Yeah, lots of fun.

So then we took them over to the beach, popped on their shorts and thongs and wandered along the shore. Then we chased them trying to keep them from leaping off the high dunes, eating more sand and other things, and jumping in the one very large pond. After a while we gave up and decided to let them get their feet wet, which unfortunately meant we had to go in as well. So we rolled up our jeans as best we could and held on to the kids and faced the biggest waves they had ever seen. The first few didn't actually reach us, so big were they. Soon, however, the water rushed up and engulfed our ankles. I don't mind saying that it was cold. So cold that squealing like a girl seemed like the thing to do. So the four of us squealed like girls, but the kids at least were enjoying themselves.

In the end, we had to drag them away from the water, both of them far wetter than we had intended, but still squealing happily. We changed them back into their dry clothes, after some difficulty getting them to wash the sand off, and had an ice-cream. Then we hopped back into the car hoping they would be so worn out that they would sleep, and sleep they did. It even took them a few minutes to wake up after we got home, and wake up they did. With the renewed vigour that comes from a half-hour powernap, they threw themselves into running, fighting, throwing, kicking, crying and generally being annoying. Fortunately we were able to give them a bath which did settle them down somewhat.

I wasn't going to be fooled by Little Man twice and decided to put him in his own room from the start. He wasn't happy but eventually settled. Princess on the other hand did her best to stay up later but eventually she went to sleep as well. When the clock hit 4:50am, Little Man woke up and threatened to wake up everyone else. So I got up and settled him. And settled him. And settled him. And so on until 6:30am, when the sun had risen enough that there was no way he was going back to sleep. So I got him up and gave him breakfast, hoping at least Princess would sleep in for a bit. But she didn't. Just before 7am she came into the kitchen demanding food. So I obliged them both and tried to keep them calm until 8am, when I served DW's breakfast. After that, DW watched the kids while I had a bit more sleep.

Then we faced the cleanup. After being thwarted by the kids at every turn, I focussed on distracting them while DW packed, swept, washed, tidied, folded, tucked, picked up, mopped, vacuumed, hunted and cleaned. Amazingly she had the place looking great quite quickly. I still think keeping the kids occupied was harder. Anyway, we piled into the car and headed home. It was a long trip because although both kids were extremely tired, they didn't want to sleep. To keep themselves awake, the fought. Princess yelled and Little Man squealed. This didn't stop when we got home. It didn't stop at bath time. It didn't stop at dinner time, or story time or bed time. It stopped when Little Man got a mouthful of Phenergan. Peace at last. Peace ended at 4:50am. D'Oh!


Thought for the Day: Sorry. Too tired. I got nothin'

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Halt! Who goes there?!?

Its ok. You can pass. Up for a bit of bloggery, eh?

Well, let's see what we can do. Since I finally finished the first draft of my novel, I have been a little slack when it comes to writing. I guess I've been on a little break. However, my life has not been on a little break and has been as busy as ever, only more so. I have made another short film for the Diet Coke Short Film Competition (http://www.dietcokefilms.com.au/) and it has been selected as a finalist. It will be shown on the 14th of September. I also entered a short story competition with the ABC but I won't hear back from them until 1st of November.

Anyway, now those little endeavours are out of the way (though still hanging over my head) I can get stuck into editing my 140,000 word novel. Oh, the joy! I was also working on another short film when we put it on hold to do the Diet Coke one so that will be back on in the next week or two. Work has been very busy lately and promises to be so until the end of the year. But I would like to get back into the blogging so I'll make a bigger effort to be more regular. On with the show.

To start with, Little Man has just turned two, not that he waited for his birthday to start throwing his two-year-old tantrums. Not when he is already so good at kicking and throwing and stamping. This delightful little boy can go from heart-meltingly adorable to axe-wielding psychopath in the blink of an eye, though I wouldn't recommend blinking when he's around. We now keep the axe in the garage. If he can't find something to hurl, he will resort to hurling himself. He has been known to throw himself so hard at the floor that his screams of anger become screams of pain.

Its the two-year-old curse. Basically, he can now communicate enough of what he wants to get the idea across. "bisit" means "biscuit", for example. "bodoo" means "bottle". "Fruck" means "truck", at least we are pretty sure it does, because he occasionally uses it when there are no trucks around. It is possible that he is actually swearing and he just happens to find actual trucks...surprising. Anyway, when he starts yelling or kicking things he shouldn't, we try to ascertain what he wants. If he says "bisit", we then have to go through the variety of biscuit options, though this has become a little easier now that he can say "chokabisit".

Actually, in the last couple of weeks, his speech has improved dramatically. It still has that babyish cuteness to the pronunciation, but he is starting to express more complex thoughts. Telling us that he wants a "bisit" isn't enough anymore. He likes to say things like "Yummy bisit. I like bisit. No No. Chokabisit." We have even got him saying "ice-cream Yay!" and raising his arms like a tiny little one-toddler mexican wave. This has become part of his routine declaration of ice-cream, even if he's terribly upset and crying. Through the tears and snot and the trembling lip, he will continue to say "i-i-ice--cr-cr-cream (sniff) yay (sniff)" but he doesn't lift his arms as high.

Up until a month or so ago, if Princess went anywhere near Little Man, and he started bawling, it would almost always mean she had hurt him in some manner. More recently however, she might simply pick up one of her own toys, not even one he was playing with, and he will scream like a banshee. Big tears, pointing and sobbing between howls. More often than not, he will then belt the person trying to help him, such is his frustration. He's also got a very good throwing arm.

And still he doesn't sleep through the night. He will scream his little head off at 2:30am until someone comes in to see him. Sometimes it can seem a little fake. When you leap out of bed and dash into his room and hear "WWWAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH hello daddy" it can be a little hard to believe him.

It is still Little Man's birthday so I will try to write some more about him tomorrow. Now, on to Princess. Actually, there is probably less to tell about Princess. Having completely mastered the art of annoying DW, she hasn't really set herself new goals yet. The truth is she is suffering the effects of broken sleep because her little brother has his own agenda and the rest of us be damned. She is going through an attention seeking phase which started shortly before she was born and shows no sign of abating. However, she does try to help more around the house and has even learned how to make her own bed.

Little man managed to learn how to click his fingers before Princess so she was absolutely determined to do it. After several months of failed attempts, watching Little Man get it right pretty much on his first attempt, she steeled herself and was clicking like a champ two days later. When Little Man started showing some interest in whistling, Princess was determine not to be outdone again and can now whistle, barely. Little Man doesn't seem to care either way. Ah, sibling rivalry.

Well, that will have to do for today. Hopefully another update will follow shortly. Until then...


Thought for the Day: Rhyming is not for the workplace

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Back in 1992, not long after I moved into my first "share" house after college, my then girlfriend bought me a Siberian Husky x German Shepherd puppy. She was only six weeks old. We named her Kyah. Kyah stayed with me for more than 15 years. But dogs don't live as long as people and Kyah had reached the ripe old age of somewhere in her mid 90s. The last year has been hard on her, as she lost her hearing and arthritis set in. After what appears to have been a stroke, DW and I made the difficult decision to let her go yesterday.

Fortunately I was able to leave work and go home and be with her at the end. She was clearly frightened but obviously took great comfort in my presence, placing her head in my hand. It saddens me that I can no longer do any more for my old friend, but at least I could do that. I was with her to the last and I am grateful it was so peaceful, and that she no longer suffers. Though I grew up on a farm and saw many animals come and go, I never felt that any of them belonged to me and so none has had such a profound effect. It has been a privilege to have had such a wonderful and devoted friend, to see her grow from a tiny puppy and participate in her entire life cycle. While it pains me now, I know such experiences are not to be shied away from, because they enrich your life immeasurably. This has been Kyah's gift to me.

When she first came home, such a tiny little ball of fluff, she looked like a wolf cub. In fact, this is precisely why she was chosen. Wolves are my favourite wild animal. I remember her weeing every time she got even the smallest fright, and yipping for hours into the night if she was lonely. We managed to settle her with a ticking clock in her bed and after a few weeks she was completely at home. When she was that small, we let her run around the house, but as she got bigger, and more energetic, we decided that she had best be an outside dog.

I trained her myself. Kind of. She could sit, stay and come, provided there was nothing more interesting to do. She never really got into "fetch". She seemed to think the object of the game was to go and get the ball I had thrown and take it further away. I can only guess that she thought we were taking it in turns to "fetch".

Like many dogs, she loved to dig. It probably frustrated her no end that the place we have lived for nearly six years was on rock hard clay. So for a while she started burying her bones in DW's larger pot plants. Many times she would be sitting at the back door, looking as innocent as can be, except her nose that was covered in potting mix.

One of Kyah's more distinctive traits was her bark. I refer to it as a bark so that you know what I'm talking about, because to hear it, you certainly wouldn't call it a bark. Actually , it was something of a cross between Donald Duck and Scooby Doo. In fact, I'm sure I heard her say "Rowkay" on several occasions. I don't think burglars were scared to come into our backyard because we had a dog. I think they were scared because they didn't know what the hell we had in there.

In her youth, taking Kyah for a walk was amusing to say the least. She never, ever understood the command "heel". We even got a choker chain but that did nothing to abate her enthusiam. She would strain so hard that she could barely breathe, and then try a little harder. Man's best friend maybe, but not Man's smartest friend. Fortunately, persistence on our part and a measure of maturity on her part saw her overcome her natural instinct as a sled dog.

While she may have been a mix of two large breeds, she herself was never a really big dog. She was much closer in size to a medium, however, her wolfish looks and heavy coat made many people very wary of her. She never attacked anyone, though once she did bare her teeth and growl at a man who was being aggressive toward me. She may not have been the bravest dog in the world but I like to think she would have protected me had the need arisen. She did have a tendency to jump up on people, to see them eye to eye, which some may have felt a little intimidated by.

One of the most memorable aspects of Kyan was her amazing coat. It was a beautiful sable colour and always thick and luxurious. Unfortunately, she tended to malt a lot. Not often, only twice a year, but for six months at a time. She could be lying outside in Spring, enjoying the warm sun, when she would suddenly sneeze and you would swear she had actually exploded. No matter where you go in the backyard, there would be dog hair caught in clumps somewhere. We tried to manage it but to little avail. She seemed to be able to regrow anything we brushed off in less than 24 hours. Its a legacy that will remain with us for some time.

Little Man loved Kyah and was with us when we took her to the vet. The staff at the clinic were excellent and one of then took Little Man out for a while. At least he got the chance to give Kyah one last pat and even said "bye bye Kyah". I guess its a little sad that he will probably never remember her but I am also glad that he doesn't really understand this stuff yet. Princess on the other hand, knew Kyah well. She understood when we told her Kyah was sick. She was stunned when we told her Kyah had died. Her first thought was that we would have to get another puppy, possibly more than one. It took a little while for the news to sink in. After we told her, she seemed quite ok with it but as we went to get some lunch, DW noticed that she had quietly disappeared. We went into her room and found her crying and cuddling her favourite teddy bear. The loss hit her hard and as can be expected, she started worrying about death for a little while, about losing DW and I, her grandparents and so on. After a while, she declared a moratorium on any discussion about dying and Kyah, which we have respected. It amazes me sometimes how astute and mature Princess actually is.

DW and I have been aware for sometime that Kyah was nearing the end of her life and had already decided that we would probably get a new puppy at some stage. I must admit, I find the idea of replacing Kyah a little difficult at the moment, but I know that a new puppy would actually be for the kids. I personally will never replace Kyah, but I have no problem with the kids having a pet of their own. I think it would be wonderful for them and an invaluable part of their growing up into happy, responsible, well-adjusted adults.

DW and I have decided that we would like to commemorate Kyah by planting a tree for her. We have confirmed with the vet that we are allowed to bury her on our property, the home she knew for nearly six years and probably where she has been most happy. I'm not one for pet cemetaries and so on, but it is important to me to celebrate her life in some manner and I can think of nothing better than returning her to the Earth in her own backyard, with a shadey tree above her.

May she rest in peace.


Thought for the Day: She walked like a duck, and talked like a duck...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It's Sad but True: A Pepsi MAX lament

Here's my story, sad but true
It's about a drink that I once knew
It was the best that I ever found
I drank so much that I almost drowned

Ah, I should have known it from the very start
This drink will leave me with a broken heart
Now listen people while I give you the facts
A-keep away from-a Pepsi MAX

It could always put a smile on my face
And the sugar well there wasn't a trace
So if you don't wanna cry like I do
You will have to stop drinking it too

Ah, well the research is sound
It'll slowly put you into the ground
Now people let me put you wise
Its still safer than a burger and fries

Sodium benzoate kills mitochodria you know
Which may one day make your Parkinsons show
And with vitamin C on the scene
They can mix and make benzene

Ah, I should have known it from the very start
This drink will leave me with a broken heart
Now listen people while I give you the facts
A-keep away from-a Pepsi MAX

Here's the moral and the story from the guy who knows
I fell in love and its the cause of my woes
Now when the need for caffiene attacks
I keep away from-a Pepsi MAX


Thought for the Day: Must rename Pepsi MAX fridge

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I hate public transport. Well, that may be a bit harsh. I am certainly questioning our friendship though. I am starting to wonder if perhaps we should start seeing other modes of commuting.

The current bout of dissatisfaction started about two weeks ago. I know I can be a little offensive at times but I'm mostly pretty benign, at least while on public transport. On the particular day in question I managed to upset a complete stranger just by being me. I'm not sure what about me bothered him, because I was reading the paper at the time of the incident. Maybe I was moving my lips, I don't know. Anyway, the individual, a young man in his early twenties who was sitting on the ground, got quickly to his feet and punched me very hard in the chest. Being unsure what else to do, I fell backwards and landed at the edge of the train platform.

I wondered out loud what may have caused such an outburst and was informed by my assailant that he wasn't feeling well. He was clearly unbalanced, something I could easily sympathise with as I tettered at the edge of the platform. He stormed off leaving me to get up and try to seek answers from the other commuters around. No answers were forthcoming and most of them were looking at me wondering what I had done to deserve such a response. I'm pretty sure I don't move my lips when I read, but if I had then maybe it was my fault.

Station security seem to have some process issues. The station has a number of attendants but they are not security and the little walkie-talkies they carry apparently cannot be used to communicate with security personnel. However, they were very helpful in explaining their inability to help and in directing me to a window where I could go and speak to someone who was authorised to contact security. I went to said window and was confronted by disbelieving staff. That is not to say they didn't believe me, its just they were clearly expecting to be asked why such-and-such train was late or something similar. After repeating my story and informing them that the perpetrator was still on the platform, they agreed that the best thing would be for someone to contact security. I suggested that someone should probably be one of them and after a brief discussion amongst themselves, they agreed. Finally a couple of burly gentlemen with badges and big coats arrived on the scene. Unfortunately, not the platform where the assailant waited patiently for his getaway train.

And so it was that a mere ten minutes had passed as myself and the security guards made our way back to the platform. However, having just committed unlawful assault, the young criminal made a daring leap through the open doors of a stationary train, which slowly pulled away before we could recite the complete works of Shakespeare. It was a close thing, but he made it out of Dodge.

The head security guy patiently explained to me why they couldn't do more and what I should do, while his eyes said, "Its friggin' cold out here. Do you know that?"

So I reported it to the police the next day, as instructed and they said they would look into it but they couldn't promise much because of lack of interest. If only I'd been seriously hurt or famous.

Anyway, the week got marginally better after that as I began to appreciate more those times you catch a train without being thumped. However, almost every train I caught that week was over half an hour late. One night, the train headed off, then had to come back to Southern Cross Station, where we all waited for 90 mins before being told that a bus was now available. 400 hundred people queued up as the mini bus pulled in. Ok, it wasn't a mini bus but let's face it, unless it has wings, no bus is big enough for four hundred people. So we waited. And waited. And then they told us that they would run the train anyway, though it would have to go the long way via the freight lines. An extra twenty minutes maybe. That should have been an extra hour. We finally got home around 9:45pm. I left work at 4:30pm.

I also had to spend two trips standing as the train was so packed we couldn't even find floor space. This is uncommon on the country trains, but typical on the city trains. In fact it can sometimes be amusing on the city trains. During the public-transport-week-from-hell, I found myself squashed into a Met train and as it was school holidays, many young people were also crowded into the carriage, off to the big city to flock together. Most people in such circumstances are reserved and quiet, speaking softly if at all. But not these kids. One girl in particular felt that the friends immediately around her were leaving the other kids at the other side of the highly compressed carriage, out of the conversation, so she began to relay for both sides. This was annoying but also amusing. At one point, a particular cafe was mentioned and the vocally unchallenged girl gave the whole carriage her opinion of the shop which ended with the following gem:

"The coffee was like, horrid. It was like, you know, liquid."

Anyway, for the most part I like public transport as it means I don't have to pay attention as I travel from home to work and back. Its cheaper than driving and I don't get as many parking tickets. And besides, if I'm going to be hit, I'd rather my attacker not be in a car at the time.


Thought for the Day: Public Transport. Its not just a way to get to work. Its an adventure.
Ta Daaa!!! One Hundred Posts. Its official.

Well, here it is, the one hundredth post to Total Bern Out! Its been a long time coming. I actually do have a good reason for the lengthy delay this time. I was home sick. I had a terrible head cold and given that I like to write about the most exciting events in my day, DW advised me that tissue contents are not good blog fodder, no matter how impressive. So I held off. And then DW got sick so I was looking after her. Again with the tissues and not much else. But other things did happen and I will focus on nose. I mean, those.

Firstly, the Adventures of Little Man. A few weeks back I blogged about Little Man's first escape from his baby jail. He was so upset he didn't even know he had done it. DW and I decided not to draw attention to it and all went back to normal. However, last week, as I was starting to get better, Little Man discovered he could climb out of the cot when he was happy. And it also made him happy to do it. So he did it. And he did it again. And again and again. We popped him back each time because, oddly enough, climbing back into his cot does not seem to interest him. All this happened during his afternoon sleep. The real fun began that night.

First of all, we waited until he was really tired. It seemed like a good idea, given that he actually seems to like going to bed sometimes. Well, he was ready for bed, not screaming tired but happy, content and floppy. Princess was already far away in sleepy land so she wasn't likely to be disturbed. It was a good plan. It was a sound plan. It didn't work. Little Man was out of the cot inside 30 seconds. The first time he just came out to the lounge room to see us. The second time, he brought his bedding with him. The third time he just threw his stuffed toys into the lounge and ran back to his room laughing. He would run and hide behind his cot (which was away from the wall to deter him kicking the wall) which made it harder to catch him and put him back. The fourth time, he decided to see what Princess was doing and tried to wake her, but Princess is a heavy sleeper when she first goes to bed. The fifth time, I caught Little Man jumping up and down one Princess, which, apparently she can't sleep through. So now they were both awake.

The sixth time, I had to send Princess back to her bed as well as pull Little Man out from under the cot. The seventh time, we decided to put Princess to bed in the study, and Little man back in his cot. It worked for nearly a whole minute. Little Man climbed out and went looking for Princess. We had left both doors open so the kids wouldn't be frightened, but eventually Princess started coming to get me to report that Little Man was coming into the study and yelling at her to come play. So we closed the door to Little Man's room and waited. He kicked and punched and punched and kicked and wailed and laughed and was generally manic. Eventually he went to sleep. He would probably have stayed asleep is I had not decided to check on him and opened the door, hitting him in the face as he lay sleeping on the floor behind it. I didn't hit him hard, as we have had a similar experience with Princess. Before he could start crying, I scooped him up, only to realise his fingers were stuck under the door. That made him cry.

Its an odd thing. A laughing child cannot be reasoned with or coaxed or pretty much any other form of negotiation. A crying child, on the other hand, can be comforted and settled. I truly didn't mean to hurt Little Man but it did work in my favour because he was desperately tired, getting cold from lying on the ground and had just been hit in the face with a door. And now his fingers hurt. I popped him back in his cot and he was asleep a minute later. No more problems that night.

The following night, he only got out of the cot once and he was put stright back in. He hasn't bothered getting out since. I guess he figured out that it really wasn't worth it. He could do it if he had to but if he didn't, well... what's the point?

Princess came down with gastro on the weekend and was hurling just as much as her little body would allow. She couldn't understand why we wouldn't let her have a drink if she was thirsty, nor why as soon as something, even water, hit her stomach it would come straight back up again. She couldn't understand why Little Man could have normal food and drink but she couldn't. She even kept apologising for throwing up. DW asked her where her happy voice had gone and she replied, "I think Little Man has it somewhere."

Apart from the not throwing up, we could tell she was starting to feel better when she would open negotiations for requests by saying, "You know how I'm sick...?" It was weird to see her so flat and without energy. In a way, it was like watching a fight sequence in The Matrix, where the flurry of activity slows down and stops for a few seconds and then speeds up again back into a whirlwind of action. The forecast if for strong winds and possible lightning strikes. Back to normal then.

Of less blogworthy note, but important nonetheless, is the fact that I have finally finished my novel. It weighed in at 141,000 words, which is good for a novel of this size and genre and has taken me four years to write. Admittedly I wrote only 35,000 words in the first three and a half years, and the remaining words since January, so I'm hoping the next book won't take quite so long. And by the way, when I say finished, what I obviously mean is I am about half way. I have written the whole story and now I have to go back over it and try to make sense of it. MS Word gave up checking my spelling automatically and offered to just do it once I had finished, so there are a few spelling mistakes as well. Also, my grammar is more indicative of my mental processes than of my command of the English language. Suffice it to say that my blog is FAR more grammatically correct, and you have read at least some of that.

But the story is finally complete and now I just have to pretty it up and let DW read it. The rule of thumb is that you should never let friends or family read your book before it is published, unless they are an editor or publisher not only of books, but of the particular genre and style of book you have written. If you do let them read it, you should completely ignore any advice or criticisms offered, both good and bad. They will almost certainly given you incorrect advice that will either leave you thinking you have to change stuff you don't, or leave stuff that needs to be changed.

However, I don't think I can bring myself to present the novel to the world, let alone a publisher, without DW giving her stamp of approval. I value her opinion above all others and I think she has a very good sense of the potential of a work, seeing beyond the rough edges that are necessarily part of a first draft. She is widely read and enjoys the genre, but is not obsessed with it. She knows how to encourage me without over inflating my ego. Well, she knows how to deflate my ego should it become over inflated, whcih it has been known to do. Anyway, the upshot is no one gets to see it until DW gives the all clear.

So that's it from me for the 100th blog. Now that I have finally written the novel, I hope to be posting with greater frequency, but I assume that will only last until I start the next book. I've no shortage of ideas, its just a matter of choosing one.


Thought for the Day: "No bars can hold me, for I am Little Man!!!"

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Time to update everyone on the world of me. That sounds a little arrogant, which is fair enough.

Let's start with Princess and the word of the day is "independence". Recently Princess has become even more challenging and DW and I decided that rather than meet this challenge with increased discipline, we would meet it with increased responsibility. Princess', not ours. Presumably we are already doing all that responsible parents do. Anyway, we have started letting Princess stretch her wings a little and do more for herself. For instance, she is now allowed to go out to the garage by herself to get me a Pepsi MAX from the Pepsi MAX fridge. This approach has met with great success and combined with increased discipline is clearly having a positive effect.

Princess likes helping. After she and Little Man finish their main course (especially their vegies) they are allowed to have a little ice-cream and some tinned fruit. Princess, in her best manners, asks for permission to be excused from the table in order to get the bowls and spoons ready, and to carry the fruit and ice-cream to the bench for serving. A couple of nights ago, Princess was distracted and had forgotten to do this which is not a problem at all. However, it did cause me to ask her, with faux consternation, "Where is my 'fruit and ice-cream' helper?" Apparently my stare came across to Princess as an accusation and she replied with very real consternation, "Well I didn't take it!" DW and I laughed out loud, which is another thing Princess takes great exception to, if she is not in on the joke. She was about to get really angry and had just put on her really angry face before we managed a timely intercept and explained that I was actually referring to her. She did see the joke then and said she thought I meant the can-opener. An easy mistake to make.

We all headed to the big smoke on the Queen's Birthday holiday for a birthday party for Hulie. Unfortunately, Doolie wasn't able to make it so we all resolved to have only half as much fun. They are a whacky duo and they fight crime, albeit in very subtle ways. Princess was beside herself because the invitation required her to dress up as a fairy Princess and as far as she is concerned, nothing beats royalty that can fly. Hulie did her bit to entertain by dressing up as the fairy equivalent of an alien. She amused herself by catching little kids and making them be her extra arms while she giggled at her shadow. It was funny for everyone, but deep down we all missed Doolie because she would have been the best extra arms. And the alien would have had a pony tail!

Time for the Little Man weather update. Thunderstorms, followed by heavy drizzle and snot down his cold front. At the moment everything seems to make Little Man cry. Not crying makes Little Man cry. DW and I think that maybe his last four front teeth, the pointy ones, are making a dash for it. Also, he has decided that it is fun to play for hours at any time between 12am and 5am. Its more fun if her can wake up his big sister. What is most odd is that he rarely cries during this time, only when the sun is up. I think the sun makes him sad. Maybe at night, when he can't see where we keep him, his natural happy streak comes out but during the day, well it is the way it is buddy. So we are racking our brains to come up with a way to alter his sleep patterns. Besides, the house looks the way it does mostly because of him**.

**NOTE: DW does a fine job of keeping our house in order, which is a testament to her ability to combat the combined forces of Princess AND Little Man. At least Princess will try to help clean if she is paid 5 cents per room. And she is nearly worth every cent.

Well, that's all I have time for. Tune in for the next installment of Total Bern Out! because the big 100th post follows this one. I can't guarantee you won't wet yourself laughing, or even that you will laugh at all. Let's face it, unless I do it in Haiku, I can't guarantee it won't be crap. Until next time...


Thought for the Day: A Royal Flush serves the same purpose as an ordinary flush.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Bonjour à tous.

Well, DW and I had our very first exposure to the world of primary schooling as seen through the eyes of a parent. As Princess ploughs headlong through her last year at Kinder, we have to decide upon which school to unleash her next year. So off we went to hear the sales pitch of the local Catholic Primary School, St. Brutus' (not its real name).

The first things that annoyed me was the fact that it was held at night, so we had to get a baby sitter. Ok, it did mean we both were able to go, and all the teachers were able to be present and not distracted by heaps of kids, so it was actually a good time to have it, but it still annoyed me. Apparently I don't actually have a good reason for that. So I guess they don't lose points for the chosen time but I will take a point off because it rained a little when we left.

The session was scheduled to go for around 90 minutes and they drifted over a little, so we finished up around 9:15pm. That in itself was not a problem, except for the fact that time apparently goes much slower when you are in a classroom. It certainly seemed to go for about three hours. I seem to remember thinking the same thing when I was sitting in such a classroom as a student. I managed not to fall asleep, mostly because DW was just as bored as I was so she amused herself by prodding me every time I looked like I was drifting. And occasionally when I wasn't. Not wanting to disappoint, I drifted every other minute or so.

As far as I can tell, public speaking is not part of the curriculum because I'm pretty sure none of the teachers that presented had the necessary qualifications to teach it. A couple of the teachers spoke reasonably confidently, and quite well, but my overall impression was that they were a very mild bunch. I expect Princess will turn them into some sort of paste.

I was amused to note that they had not really prepared fully for their presentations. Obviously they had planned the rough order and had prepared some visual aids in advance, but I think they wanted it to feel very, very informal. What was most noticeable was they tended to stumble over each other, repeat each other and cut each other off. I felt like saying, "shouldn't you be raising your hands."

It would seem that while public speaking will not be taught, political speaking will. Several questions were put to the teachers and some of them were nearly answered. Probably the worst offender was the principal who seemed unable to say "different religions", despite the fact she was desperate to. She also made it clear that if any child misbehaved, they would have to face the severe wrath of St Brutus' disciplinary system. Ok, so I'm not promoting corporal punishment, but the St. Brutus' modus operandi when dealing with miscreants is to give them a severely mild talking to. If the little monsters don't get the message and burn the school down again, they can be assured of facing a slightly longer and possibly milder talking to. So if some big bully starts taking the lunch money of the smaller kids, those smaller kids can rest assured that any issues they have with that big bully will be discussed with the bully and the bully will then have some time to think about what they have done. If the bully dares repeat the offence, the previous speech will be repeated, but without contractions. "can't" will become "cannot" and "isn't" will become "is not". Let's just see how the bullies deal with that bit of verbal ass-whooping.

Actually, I shouldn't criticise the place too much. In fact, despite some little issues which I have exaggerated for humerous effect, the place left me with a sense of what I felt when I attended primary school. I loved my time at primary school and I felt that Princess could have the same from St Brutus'. Obviously much has changed in that time but I guess if you walk away from a place feeling good about it, its pretty hard to ignore.

On the other hand, DW wasn't quite as fond of the place. She did say that she felt Princess would probably do alright there but she is very keen to see the alternatives. I think she is more worried about the paste thing than I am. Choosing a school for your child is actually quite a big decision, and we are lucky enough to have only three schools in proximity to consider. Admittedly, once we have committed to a school for Princess, we shouldn't have to repeat the process for Little Man, and besides, he likes paste.

And so we wait now until next Thursday when we visit the local State School. It has the added benefit of being so close that if Princess forgot her lunch, I could probably throw it to her, as long as it was weighted properly. Sometimes, on a quiet day, if I'm home and outside, I can hear the school bell and the loud speaker calling out messages to the kids in the playground. I'm wondering how surreal it would feel to be swinging quietly in my hammock one holiday and hear the happy sounds of children laughing and playing and hearing the sound of the loud speaker drifiting over the fence. "Mr Meade, could you please come and collect your daughter?"

c'est la vie.

au revoir

Thought for the Day: I've waited and waited but no cows!

Friday, June 01, 2007

'Tis winter again, should ye be wondering what's with all the cold, cold, coldness. And hello.

Onward the slow march to the shortest day of the year. June has crept up and slapped me in the back of the head. Its no use denying it. Nearly half the year has gone. Its DW's birthday at the end of the month, so I'd best start the mental cogs turning about what she would like for her big Three-Five-"th". I asked her last night if there was anything in particular she wanted or had been planning to buy and she said, "Not really. I've pretty much been buying whatever I want." Good then. Obviously she is joking as I still don't earn enough to keep her in the life she plans to become accustomed to, a fact she points out after every tax return.

Its about this time of year that I reflect on the objectives I set myself at the beginning of the year. In many ways, I feel like I'm starting the year anew, mostly because I haven't done any of the things I planned to. Still, I have a little over half a year to get myself back on track. Well, I guess I could wait a little longer.

However, the buying of presents for DW, including suitable presents on behalf of the kids, must start soon. Princess is old enough to actually have some say in what she will give DW and so I have to schedule a shopping trip before the big day. As usually it will involve an hour long trek through countless shops looking for the pinkest thing Princess can find. Despite being old enough to want to choose a present, Princess isn't old enough not understand that DW doesn't have EXACTLY the same taste in gifts as she does, and the pinkest thing isn't necessarily the best thing. I have to help guide Princess toward something that DW might actually like rather than something she feels deserves payback when my birthday next comes around. The trick is allowing Princess to think she has discovered the present entirely on her own, and that her $0.25 contribution to the cost is what actually makes the $50 purchase possible.

Little Man would give DW a toy truck and a handfull of sand, because what else could she possibly want. Also he would want them back after she had broooomed the truck and tasted the sand.

So its up to me to find something to make her day. Something that makes her happy and feel important. Not something that will make her say, "Wow! This is great, really." Of course, I could always get her a voucher from a craft store but I'm not fond of that. Its not really a present from me, but she would definitely rather a voucher than me going into a craft store and buying stuff I think she might like.

This is why I like to start early. I don't like to wait until the last minute, but it is usually in the last minute that I actually finally settle on something. Still, I've got time...


Though for the Day: The Snoopy Dance is very similar to traditional Irish dancing.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


No, I don't have a cold. I was just saying "hello" in German. Strictly speaking, "achtung" means "attention" but that is how Germans greet each other. Ok, now that I have successfully alienated my German audience (like I have an "audience" LOL) its time for today's Blog of the Day.

I don't really have anything important to say but I felt like saying it anyway. Life has been a bit of a blur lately. Sleep isn't happening as much as it should be. Little Man is driving me mad with his waking up and playing three or four times a night. Princess is driving DW mad just about every time she opens her mouth (Princess' mouth, not DW's). Work is busy and until my boss gets back, I'm in the driver's seat - not that we are going anywhere fast.

Once again I fell into the trap of thinking Little Man was FINALLY sleeping through. He actually did it several nights in a row. The first couple of nights, my body didn't know what to do so it woke up anyway. That's annoying but at least I didn't have to get out of bed. But then I managed to actually sleep a whole night or two myself and my body thought, "WOW, this is great. We should do this EVERY night." There must have been some tangible change in my manner because Little Man sensed my growing internal peace and relaunched his attack on my sanity. Sadly, he is winning. My sanity and I have decided to have a trial separation, because it just doesn't seem to be working out. Oh, we will still be friends, and I'll get to have cogent thoughts every other weekend, but it looks like its time to just accept the inevitable.

On the upside, I now have a fridge in the garage, that current holds nothing but Pepsi MAX, so I really can't complain.

Next week comes a new milestone in Princess' life. DW and I start looking at schools for next year. There are really only two contenders, the local primary school and St. Brutus' School for the Criminally Insane. I can't really tell the difference between the two but we are planning to visit both for a tour, provided we can find a babysitter during visiting hours.

It seems only yesterday that it was Tuesday and DW and I were discussing how quickly Princess has grown. Five years can really drag. Next year she starts school and DW and I will likely shed many a tear between now and then. As it happens, due to the age cut-off for schools, Little Man will not be attending Kinder next year, as he doesn't turn three until late August. However, DW sees it as an opportunity, not a damned curse, and all things considered I think she may be nuts. She reasons that she spent three years with Princess before Little Man came along, and she has never been able to give him that same level of attention.

Admittedly Little Man is capable of entertaining himself more than Princess ever could. He loves trucks and cars and can play with them for minutes at a time. He loves playing outside and will eat mud and sand and dog poo and grass and flower petals and anything that doesn't move. I am concerned that my dog's arthritis is slowing her down because Little Man has started watching her like she's a handful of sand. It will be interesting next year when he leaves the Terrible Twos and enters the Pyschopathic Axe-wielding Threes. Its so great watching them grow up.


Thought for the Day: I like to Google, Google. I like to Google, Google. I like to... GOOGLE!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Morning all. Just a short blog today. Don't bother getting up.

The weekend has come and gone and its back to the daily grind. As far as weekends go, it was pretty darn good because we didn't have to go anywhere. We had arranged a visit from Hulie and Doolie, but only Doolie was able to make it Princess was driving us nuts while waiting for the imminent arrival and even Little Man was getting excited. We did the usual "people-don't-need-to-see-how-we-really-live" tidy up (honestly, the house wasn't that bad and we do have two little kids).

Anyway, when Doolie finally arrived, both kids went bananas. Its been a little while since we have seen Doolie so Princess had surmised that seeing as she had had a birthday in the interim, she was due a present. Doolie didn't disappoint. Princess received a large gift containing new drawing/painting/gluing/crayoning/etc kit, as well as her very own junior kitchen baking set. Plus other stuff. She even managed to convince DW and Doolie to help her make her very own batch of cookies that very afternoon.

So that made for a pleasant afternoon for me. Both kids just wanted to jump on the new person and DW wanted to show the new person all her wonderful craft magazines and wool and stuff. Nobody really needed or wanted my attention so off I went to the study. However, when I decided it would be a good idea to pop down to the video store, I had to take Little Man and Princess with me. Actually, given how Princess CAN be, she behaved pretty well.

We saw our hairdresser there and Princess decided to explain to her why the movies she had chosen were so much better than the adult movies that daddy was getting. It only occurred to me afterwards that I probably should have corrected her. As it happened, when I went to the counter to pay, I made use of two deals going; one for kids movies and one for "normal" movies. It would appear that the girl serving had a sense of humour and corrected my use of the word "normal" and said "adult movies, ok then." Karma had the last laugh when she was scanning my selection of "adult" movies and said, "Wow. Good choices. Except that one. I mean..." She should probably work on her sales technique.

While all this was happening, a queue had formed behind us, with our hairdresser next in line. She had last been engaged in folicle management for Princess the day before a birthday party for one of Princess' friends. She made the mistake of asking Princess how it went. Queue conversation etiquette is not something Princess has yet mastered, or even considered. She proceeded to explain very loudly, because clearly everyone in the queue was there to hear her, how it went. Ok, so that is not so bad, except that the party was for a little boy and Princess went on to explain how very large his nipples were. I made the mistake of suggesting that perhaps that wasn't what she meant and she launched into a tirade about these nipples. Its funny, probably more so for the others in the queue, when a little kid doesn't understand that the word "nipples" isn't typical queue conversation. I think karma owes me. In Princess' defence, I asked DW about it when we got home and she said, "Yep. They were huge." It turned out that the lad was wearing a SpiderMan outfit that had faux chest muscles with, you guessed it, large, hardened nipples. I don't know who modelled for the cast but they must have enjoyed it.

One other amusing thing that Doolie's visit. Little Man couldn't remember her name. Worse still, he continually referred to her as Hulie, the other half of this usually combined duo. It was funny hearing the two of them, him saying "Hulie", her saying "Doolie", like an initially amusing but increasingly boring repetitive song. Obviously these are not their real names but you get the idea.

I almost forgot. Princess sang "Edel Weiss" for Doolie. It was a highlight for the visit. Princess started an octave too high but that didn't stop her chasing those top notes. She decided squealing was the only way to get there and apparently timing wasn't all that important either. Doolie had tears in her ears. And that is not just some weird expression I just made up. Princess had knocked Doolie over and proceeded to jump on her while singing the Austrian national anthem (I didn't have the heart to tell her the Austrian nathonal anthem is actually "Land der Berge, Land am Strome"). Doolie lay there being jumped on while the Von Trapps turned in unison in their separate graves like pigs on spits. Ok, that's maybe a bit bizarre, but you get my point. Oh well. Hopefully we will catch up with Hulie soon, for more hijinx. Can't wait.


Thought for the Day: Nipples.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Some of you may be thinking, "What's that supposed to mean?" or "Where the hell is this going?" Those people need help. So anyway, I thought I should mention that I don't butcher cats.

That may require more explanation. Yesterday's Thought for the Day was intended as a new take on an old saying by adding an extra moral dimension about the significance of ill-considered consequences. However, it may have come across as as though I had empirical evidence as a result of personal experience. This is not the case. I have never killed a cat. Well, that's not entirely true but growing up on a farm means having to do some stuff that city kids do by choice. The hardest job on a farm is having to kill animals. I hated doing it but its part of that life. I live in the 'burbs now. Not much call for killin' in the 'burbs. At least, not until the revolution comes and then those body corporate bastards will be the first against the wall.

Ok, political ramblings aside, today's blog is not about killing or revolutions or cats. Though I probably should do a blog about cats, as I have much to say about our feline overlords. This is probably the only safe forum to criticise them as cats aren't fond of the Internet. I wonder what they would think if they knew the pointing device we all use is called a mouse. I guess it hasn't clicked for them yet. Yes, that was a joke and I am laughing at my own joke.

I'm back now. Where was I? Nowhere. That's right. So I was watching Little Man trying to catch a fly with a spoon the other day and it reminded me of when I was little, and had my own spoon. Little Man has lots of spoons but we didn't have much money so we shared our spoons. There were thirteen of us and only twelve spoons so meal times were like musical chairs, only with spoons and you weren't supposed to sit on them. But Little Man has so many spoons he could sit on them if he liked. Not that we encourage that. My point is that even if he did, he'd have more spoons. He'd have spoons coming out his... well, he has a lot of spoons. And he didn't catch the fly. Which is what this is about.

Little boys killing little animals like flies and ants and spiders and so on. They don't realise what it is they are doing. When I was little I didn't have a pet of my own, despite the large number of wild cats and several farm dogs around the place. It seemed to me that seeing as there were so many flies about, no one would mind if I kept one as a pet. We had millions of flies, but it still took me some time to catch one, as I had to wait for my turn with the spoon. Needless to say, it flew away at the first opportunity but I found him again. I'm pretty sure it was the same one, though they do look a lot alike.

Anyway, using my little boy reasoning, I deduced that pulling the wings off would prevent it from escaping. It didn't. In fact, the little buggers can move about quite quickly on six legs. Anyway, having accidentally squashed my pet fly as it tried to run away, I found a suitable replacement. I called him Little Fly the Second. Having made the necessary adjustments, including reducing the leg count to four, making my pet exactly like a miniature dog, I found a suitable jar to put him in. I tried to find something for Little Fly the second to eat but to no avail. Two days later he was dead in the jar, floating in the milk and soggy dog biscuits.

It was a long time before I had another pet. It is a real dog, so it didn't need adjusting, though I did have her spayed. She is getting on in years now, having reached the fine old age of 15 - in human years. Apparently dogs come from another planet, probably circling the Dog Star, which has an oscillitory period much shorter than Earth's around the Sun. In Dog years, my dog is around 85. I think I should write a blog about my dog soon. She would like that, not that she uses the Internet much these days.


Though for the Day: A day without thought is like a day without rain. Dry.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Its hump day. Now, don't get excited. I just mean its the middle of the week.

I forgot to mention something that happened last Friday. Both kids were absolutely exhausted after the big weekend and sometimes kids who are tired can be the hardest to get to go to bed. Well Princess headed off to Kinder in the afternoon and DW tried to settle Little Man. But he was too tired. He yelled and screamed and climbed out of the cot. Yes, he climbed out of the cot. On his own. This means the cot is no longer an effective "baby jail". Well, that's what we thought at first. It turns out he was so upset that he still hasn't realised that he can actually do it. Its been a few days now and he still hasn't tried it again. He still doesn't want to go to bed, but at least he stays there.

There are lots of hurdles in the raising of kids. Perhaps I should call them milestones. Cutting teeth, sleeping through the night, toilet training and eating solid foods are just a few. Another "milestone" is the rite of passage for each child as they grow out of the cot and find themselves in a "big" bed. Little Man is on the cusp of that transition. As soon as the baby jail stops working, its time for a bed. We had hoped he would last until he turned two, which is when Princess graduated, or was released, or whatever. The problem is that he is considerably bigger than she was at the same age. He is also every bit as adventurous, if not quite as loud. Or perhaps "constantly loud" is more accurate. Either way, because he was so much bigger, and Princess had damaged the springy stuff the mattress sits on in the cot, we replaced it with slats. This has worked extremely well, but it did mean the base was a little higher to start with.

Here is my dilemma. I can remove the base and reset it much lower, but we still have to get Little Man in and out, so that would make it harder on us. We could wait and see if he figures it out again, but let's face it, I'll be lucky if he waits until the weekend. We could lower the base a little, but if he knows how to get out, that will not be enough. Lastly, we could start the whole "big" bed transition. The big bed transition starts with just a mattress on the floor, so its not hard to set up. Its just bloody hard to convince a little kid who doesn't want to go to bed, to stay on a mattress. Or a bed for that matter. It took months of battling with Princess to get her to manage it. Still, it could be that we have an advantage this time that we didn't have last time. Little Man loves copying Princess. So much so that he loves getting into her bed, our bed or any bed and pretending to be going to sleep, just like Princess.

We would still like to wait until he turns two so we will probably only start the transition early if he starts climbing out of bed. The only trouble is, its like a switch. Once he flicks it, there's no turning it off, without undue effort. So I guess this weekend I'll be lowering the base and hoping for the best. Wish us luck.


Thought for the Day: There may be more than one way to skin a cat, but there is really no good way to put it back together after.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there!

I realise I am a couple of days late but I still hope you had a great day, and if you didn't, then I hope today is great for you.

We headed South to visit DW's parents after visiting with my parents in our typical "Whirlwind Mother's Day Tour". We have these whirlwind tours for all the major occasions of the year. Fortunately we don't live so far away that its too much trouble. Still, despite the fact that neither Princess nor Little Man had fully recovered from the events of Princess' birthday, neither slept a wink during the two hour trip.

After wreaking havoc at my parents place, it was time to let them loose and Grandma and Grandad's. And havoc was wrought. As it happened, Grandad's sister and her husband were also visiting and having grown children of their own, they were happy to lavish affection on our two wayward children. That might be overstating it a little. Lavish might be too strong a word, as might be wayward, but the idea is sound.

Princess is going through a phase where anything objectionable, even slightly, is met with the most pathetic fake cry I have ever heard. It is a little kid trying their best to emulate genuine sorrow to maximum effect. Only she hasn't quite got it. When Little Man does something wrong, we try to address it calmly. Only now, he has decided if he squeals as loud and as long as possible, not one can possibly ignore him, let alone be calm about it. Between the two of them, life can feel a lot like a table tennis ball.

Somehow or another, through circumstances beyond my control, I drank a wee bit too much on Saturday night. I had decided that I would not drink too much and despite never actually forgetting that goal through the evening, I still managed to step across that invisible line, stagger on for a bit, slip over a few times, get up and pitch forward onto my face, coming to rest some several hundred yards past the aforementioned line. I still don't know how it happened. I know I don't drink much any more, except when I visit the in-laws but this time I actually, consciously put the brakes on. Maybe I forgot the hand brake. Maybe I left it in first, when I though I was in park. Maybe a car driving metaphor for drinking too much is inappropriate.

The main way I can tell I have overindulged in liquid muddle is from the hangover I get the next day. This particular day was odd. I had the classic signs of a hangover, and a right proper one at that, but it didn't last long. I usually feel crook for most of the day, but this one was over in a hour or two. I was wise enough not to drink any more, though it was offered with the BBQ lunch. Pepsi MAX came to the rescue, again. Seriously, I think Pepsi MAX could have its own TV show.

Having a hangover is not pleasant, but to have one on Mother's Day morning entitles you to exactly NO extra consideration. You still have to get up and deal with the kids, make the love of your life her breakfast, and assuming that is also the mother of your children, give her presents by way of thanks for the two people who had you up for nearly two hours the night before, during the peak of your hangover, through which it is ideal to be asleep. She's so special.

Admittedly, the aforementioned hangover was surprisingly brief, given its intenstity, so perhaps it wasn't only hangover. Also, because it was Mother's Day, Princess was eager to give DW the present she had made at Kinder, so DW didn't get to sleep in ad infinitum, as requested. Also, and this was the cunning plan on my part, she wanted her present from me. When I say wanted, I don't believe you can fully appreciate just how serious that is. You see, she knew what she was getting. It was a couple of books to feed her latest obsession, knitting. A couple of books might not sound exciting, but to hear her tell it, these books have changed her life. She actually chose them, I only bought them. They arrived a couple of weeks before Mother's Day and I left them sitting beside the bed, still in their shipping packages for that whole time. She was beside herself by Friday night when I wrapped them. She was even further beside herself when we headed down to the in-laws place. And she was practically sleeping in the next room come Mother's Day morning. So she was happy to get up early.

Anyway, Grandma and DW both had a wonderful Mother's Day and we had a lovely morning and lunch together. When we finally got away, Little Man and Princess were so tired, Little Man fell asleep on the floor while having his nappy changed for the journey home. Princess fell asleep in the car after about five minutes. DW and I were both exhausted and had to swap driving a couple of times on the way but we got home safely. The kids were wrecked so we "processed" them quickly and had them in bed by 6:30pm. I cooked DW a nice dinner of chicken kiev - which she organized before we went away - and we had a relaxing evening. We were in bed early, the first time in about two weeks. Still, now its all over, I'll have to start getting ready for DW birthday. Can't wait.


Thought for the Day: If mentally challenged people find the mental requirements of ordinary life challenging, shouldn't that mean its easy for the rest of us?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Princess' birthday - Part II

It took some doing but DW and I managed to calm the excited soon-to-be-five-year-old Princess and got her to bed at a reasonable time. After Little Man, still revved up on sugar, finally went to bed, we settled in to finish the major present for Princess - a Doll's house, complete with balsa wood furniture. Actually, DW put the furniture together - I just got the tea. It was fairly late when we finally went to bed but the house was in place and the furniture arranged, some of it glued, though the rest still needs to be glued properly. Also, the furniture is unpainted but we had decided that Princess could help with that part. She received a couple of paint sets so she has plenty of paint and brushes, etc.

Unfortunately for me, Little Man didn't sleep through. I think the sugar kicked in again around 2:30am and lasted for a little over an hour. Then at 5am, Princess had a bad dream and took a little while to settle. Fortunately she didn't realise that it was technically her birthday so she was reasonably happy to go back to bed. An hour later it was time for me to get up for work. When I emerged from the shower at 6:15am, there was the birthday girl, shaking with excitement. DW was still in bed and though awake, was looking a like I felt. But it was Princess' birthday and so on the wagon we jumped.

It was straight down to business. Princess had been trying to guess what she might be getting and had suggested several times that a pony would be lovely and could live in the garage with the dog, but we might need a bigger dog door. I suggested that probably wasn't going to happen. She also lamented the fact that she wouldn't be getting a cat because I am allergic to cats. Whenever I get too close to them I come out in scratches. As it happens, Dick Smith were having a sale of some of their toys and while there was not much left, I did find a little Virtual Cat, somewhat similar to a Tamagotchi. I also found some "write on-wipe off" books for practising the alphabet and numbers.

So we brought over the bag of presents and gave them to Princess. Amazingly, she was very careful in taking off the wrapping paper, even though her little hands were shaking and she could barely speak. Little Man was to give her the writing books so they had to wait until he was awake. Apparently his little play time at 2:30am wore him out, the little bugger, so he was having a sleep in. So, first Princess opened the Virtual Cat and apparently the notion of "virtual" was lost on her, and it was clearly not a cat. So she put it to the side and said, "Ok." Not a highlight of the day then, for either of us.

Next came DW's present containing two doll sets. They were slightly different and each had accessories and clothes etc. You see, DW and I weren't sure who was going to buy the doll for the dolls house and unwittingly each bought one. We weren't sure which would fit better with the furniture for the Doll's house because of the packaging, so we just gave her both. At least this time she thought they were pretty cool, but was still a little underwhelmed until we said that there was one more special present, from all of us.

So we covered her eyes and marched her out to the family room where the doll's house was set up ready to be unvieled. When she saw what it was, Princess was almost speechless. I was starting to wonder if maybe the shakes were actually her being cold because they were getting worse but it turns out it was just the excitement. We looked at the rooms and tried the dolls on the furniture and there was even a space for a car down the bottom. She was rapt. She loved it, and couldn't take her eyes off it. We had to prise her away to say goodbye as I headed off to work.

I decided to come home early so we could have a bit more time to celebrate the birthday as a family. I was also struggling a bit at work having had so little sleep over the last several days, so my boss was happy for me to head home early. After dozing on the train and feeling even worse when I woke up, I knew I would have to rev myself up before I got home because it was likely to be a mad house with Toys and little people running riot. We didn't have anyone over - that's just Princess and Little Man on a normal night. So I tried to get excited and mentally prepared. It was something of a surprise when I opened the door.

Little Man heard me first and came barreling through the lounge to the front door. Unfortunately for Little Man, when he's really tired, he's not so very coordinated and did a face plant not two feet before he reached me. Oh, the tears did flow - and the howls did follow. Then came Princess. The poor kid looked like she had been tortured with sleep deprivation. She could barely keep her eyes open and couldn't even finish the sentence, "I'm not tired" without yawning, though she tried several times. Yep. What goes up, must come down, and down she had come. She had not long been home from Kinder and that tires her out at the best of times. It was starting to look like an early night for all.

For her extra special, no holds barred, anything you can possibly imagine, absolutely favourite dinner, Princess chose bangers and mash. Ok, the kid was tired. Actually, when it comes down to it, it probably is her favourite meal. Its not that she doesn't have other meals she likes but it was her choice and it made her happy so we all enjoyed it. Little Man LOVES sausages so he was happy. We followed the main course with an ice-cream cake which woke both kids up and they devoured it very quickly.

The last event for the evening was to take Princess out to have a look at the full moon and stars through my telescope but alas, it was overcast. So we made our own stars with sparklers. We decided Princess was old enough to hold one for herself which got her all excited until it actually came to grabbing hold of the piece of wire with sparks shooting our the end. And so ended the fifth birthday of Princess.

I think back on the impact Princess has had on our lives and it has been quite simply the most dramatic thing to happen since my own birth. She has changed both of us and has been instrumental in helping forge the personality of Little Man. Its been not only a challenge, but a privilege. We look forward to many more.

Just a quick update on Little Man. DW taught him to say "penis" because he kept pointing to his and saying "sausage". He says it very well and continues to point proudly. I'm trying to get him to say "Vote on this!"


Thought for the Day: Terms of Endearment are not drafted by lawyers

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

We did it! We made it through Princess' fifth birthday and we are practically still alive. Its been a LONG weekend. Its all a bit of a blur so bear with me.

Ok, so birthday preparations have been happening over the last few weeks and DW has certainly done the lion's share. She did an excellent job, by the way. So, on Friday last week, we both set to finish getting things ready for the party. Actually, DW wouldn't let me touch anything so I was only allowed to get the tea.

Princess came in to our bedroom at around 5:30am on Saturday morning, after having had a bad dream. I managed to get her to go back to bed for a little while but at 6am, DW's alarm went off and the day started. It was all a bit of a flurry to start with, getting breakfast for Princess, breakfast for Little Man, explaining to Princess that the party would be after lunch, explaining again to Princess what "after lunch" meant, pointing out to Princess that it wasn't lunch time yet, and yes, the party would be after lunch, explaining to Princess that the bloody party would be after friggin' lunch and she had better not ask again and finally sending Princess outside to have some quiet play on her own.

Princess and Little Man had made a formidable mess in the backyard, so my main job was to clean it all up - and get the tea. It took a while but without Princess' help, I got it done. We were lucky that Little Man had slept through the night before and even luckier that he went back to bed fairly soon after breakfast, because it allowed us to work without him underfoot. Anyway, in order to keep him quiet, Princess had to play outside as she tends to wake him up prematurely. I didn't expect her to bury herself in the sandpit while still in her pajamas. DW was less than impressed.

I forgot to mention that we had a friend stay over the evening before. "Shally" is Princess' Godmother and DW's best friend but she lives a long way away. We were lucky that her study brought her back to town, mostly because she took most of Princess' attention. She gave Princess a special present and braided her hair. DW can't braid hair. At least, she can't braid Princess' hair possibly because Princess won't stand still enough for long, unless of course its for a guest who thinks she's a perfect little angel.

The reason for that aside is to point out that Princess had already had her hair braided before she entered the sandpit. She came out looking a little ragged but she refused point blank to have her hair redone now that Shally had gone home. So DW had to do her best to restore order to the brid's nest that now sat on top of Princess' head.

Well, after lunch we had everything nearly ready and DW headed off to clean herself up. I was still doing bits and pieces and cleaning up after lunch and so on. Princess was flitting about like a bird on a hot plate, in her brand new dress made for her by DW - who is more than just a little bit handy with a needle and thread. I asked Princess if she was getting excited and she replied, "Yep! I'm so excited I can almost smell the presents." Sometimes she can be painfully honest.

As 2pm rolled around, I took Princess aside before any guests had arrived and gently suggested that rather than yelling, "What did you get me?!?" at the guests as they arrived like last year, perhaps she could simply say hello and invite them inside, allowing them to give a present if they brought one. Princess looked at me like I was talking crazy. Why would anyone come if they DIDN'T bring a present? When the time came, the first guests were greeted with a stunned silence. Apparently she remembered not to yell at the guests but forgot to invite them in. So she just stood in the doorway with her mouth opening and closing slowly, not saying a word.

Anyway, the party kicked off as little friends and their parents arrived. I'm pleased to report that Princess received a present from everyone except one kid who forgot and was turned away. I don't know his name but Princess assures me he's not important. I'm only kidding. Everyone had a wonderful time. That's probably not true but most of the kids seem to enjoy themselves. The parents mostly had that look that says, "One more party... one more frikken kids party and I'm gonna flip out, I swear. One more!"

The kids played madly in the backyard and as more arrived, Princess would come screaming in from the back through to the front door to demand her tithe, apparently having decided against my earlier advice. I must admit, the kids didn't care and it proved a far more efficient way of getting people inside, the formalities being non-existent and all. A pinata and a question game later, the cake finally came out. DW had spent hours preparing this cake. She had fashioned the cake into the face of a pig and I must say, I though she had done a great job. Princess loves pigs - I don't know why but I don't think its because she loves bacon. Before the cake came out, I asked Princess if she knew what it was going to be and she said, "I hope its a rabbit." I thought that was rather odd given her porcine fascination but the cake was on its way and I was on video camera duties. We sang the song and the cake was placed in front of Princess. I thought her look of excitement was because it was actually a pig, and she loves pigs. Someone asked her what it was and she said with absolute delight, "Its a rabbit!"

DW's face dropped a mile. I should say, that while I would not likely mistake this cake for an actual pig, should I meet one in the wild, I'd be even less likely to mistake it for a rabbit. Unfortunately, someone, possibly me, though I'm hoping it was someone else (its a bit of a blur - I suppose I could check the video) decided to correct Princess. Princess was not for this. She does not like being corrected. She does not like being corrected on her birthday and she does not like being corrected on her birthday in front of her guests about a cake that clearly looks more like a rabbit than a pig. I just managed to stop myself pointing out that it wasn't technically her birthday yet. She finally accepted that the cake was supposed to be a pig, but she wasn't really convinced.

So cake was had, balloon games ensued and the party drew to its conclusion. The two hour party was due to end at 4pm and I tell you something, if I had an airhorn, it would have. Some people began to wander off, mostly taking their children, some having to come back several times, but it didn't really end until after 5pm, when I went out and bought an airhorn. Yes, I'm only kidding. The house looked like a bomb had hit it. The backyard looked just as bad. Fortunately, Princess' grandparents and an aunt and uncle were staying and were invaluable in the clean up process. Also, because they stayed, it was a softer end to the day, as not everyone just upped and left, which can be a bit of a let down for little kids. Also, Little Man just adores his Grandad and spent most of the time showing Grandad his uncle's new "Fwuck". Unfortunately, he seems to be dropping the "w" in "Fwuck".

We had a quieter day on Sunday. The actually birthday was yesterday, but I'll save that for tomorrow.


Thought for the Day: Rain, rain go away. No wait! I didn't mean it! Awww, crap!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Howdy people! (or should I say person? - thanks DW).

I wasn't going to blog today, but as this is not only a record of my thoughts, but also a record of events, I decided to add this entry.

It all happened yesterday when a colleague I was to meet at 11am for a half hour meeting was 30 minutes late. Now I usually assume that if a person is that late, they are probably not coming to the meeting. An important aside is the fact that I drink around two litres of water a day when I'm at work. Obviously, I hadn't consumed that much water by 11am, but I had started on my second litre by 11:30am. As luck would have it, I hadn't needed a toilet break to that point, despite having had a cup of tea as well. Ok, I should have gone before he arrived, but I didn't need to, and as it got closer to 11am, it seemed better to wait until the meeting was due to end. And by 11:30am, I was still good.

That was when he arrived. Ok, I thought. I could make a break for it now, but that might seem a little rude, especially as we are already half an hour late, but I should be cool until 12pm. Well, midday rolled around and I was starting to feel the pressure, but I'm a professional and it seemed like we were nearing the end of the meeting, so I waited. 12:30 came on and now things were beginning to get interesting. Not the meeting, mind you. I was having difficulty focusing on the meeting and small beads of perspiration were forming on my forehead. My foot was tapping furiously, even more than normal, and I was finding it difficult to sit still in my chair. "He'll have to take a breath soon." was all I could think. So why didn't I simply excuse myself and go? I have no bloody idea. I sat there another 30 minutes until 1pm.

At 1pm, we finished the meeting or more accurately, I finished listening to the meeting. I thought I was free until he said, "Now, while I've got you here..." That was the final straw. I had to stop him before I suffered a physical injury, or a serious emotional one, or possibly both. I bolted, and I hope I excused myself as I left, I can't remember. I guess most people have heard of the joke about a man who kept hitting himself in the head with a hammer and said, "I don't enjoy doing it, but it feels so good when I stop." I felt very similar. Oh, the relief. I stood there and counted to 150. When I got back, the meeting continued for another hour. I think there's a lesson in there for all of us, though some of you may have already learned it. Maybe its just a lesson for me.

Well, it was now after 2pm and I was getting pretty damn hungry, let me tell you. I had bought a heat'n'eat meal from the supermarket, a creamy mushroom tortellini. Our microwave is a little old so I tend to cook food for a bit longer than the instructions indicate. Also, because I tend to let my food sit for longer than normal, I usually cook for a little longer than indicated on the package. All in all, I add about 50% to the times, and always cook on MAX. So when my tortellini was ready, so was I. The only problem was it had not been let sit to cool down at all. But it smelled so good.

I'm not a complete idiot and I knew the packaging would be hot, but it also had a protective film over the food. I had vented a little at the corner as required, but the condensed steam had effectively resealed it. I knew this could mean a burst of steam and I didn't want to drop my lunch. That had happened to me in the past, and I wasn't going to let it happen again. So I used the box the food came in so that I didn't have to touch the steaming hot packaging. Anyway, there's an annoying placed pillar right beside the microwave in our workshop and the box I was now balancing my piping hot lunch on clipped the pillar. Just a little, mind you. But it was enough. Of course, because I wasn't actually holding the food package, and because it was so hot, it had created a layer of water on the waxy surface of the box, it slipped.

I have pretty good reflexes and tried to grab the lunch, but I missed the edge and my hand hit the plastic covering. Because the covering was only held in place by the surface tension of the condensed water vapour, my hand slipped straight under the plastic and into the scorching hot tortellini. I yelled and dropped the whole lot, which landed as you would expect, with the food all over the carpet. But it didn't end there. My hand felt like it was on fire and still had chunks of mushroom and pasta and was smothered in boiling hot creamy sauce. I looked at my steaming hand and yelled again, trying to flick the food off. Needless to say, I was partially successful, in so far as I managed to effectively spread a handful of creamy mushroom tortellini around the workshop, over open computers, over my clothes and on my face. I was lucky I wear glasses. I raced out of the office and dashed once again to the bathroom, this time to run cold water over my hand.

When the redness had subsided, I came back to the office and it smelled fantastic. In some ways that was the cruelest blow, because not only was my deliciously aromatic lunch lying splattered beyond saving on the carpet, I now had to clean it all up. It took me 45 minutes to clean everything, including the bits inside the open computers. I know I may sound weak, but I decided to have KFC for lunch, at 3pm.


Thought for the Day: Sticks and stones amy break my bones, but names can have a lasting emotional impact, making it difficult for me to form meaningful, healthy relationships as an adult.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Boo! Sorry about that. Just a quick blog today.

Yesterday I was relaxing on the train watching a movie ("Intolerable Cruelty") on my fantastic little portable DVD player. I've become used to the jealous stares of the other commuters and mostly just ignore them. However, those jealous stares turned a little harder yesterday.

The train was full but that didn't stop me pulling out my DVD player and enjoying a flick on the way home. Now regular travellers know the "train-etiquette". Its like a library without the signs. Or books. OK, a couple of people have books, but they brought them from home. Most people have MP3 players. Many people fall asleep. A couple of old biddies chat about the attitudes of the young people and we all fail to have our tickets and relevant concession cards ready for inspection. Its what we do.

So anyway, in my particular group of seats, there were the four of us, but across the aisle was full as well, and they had six. That's ten for all you keeping score. Now you have to try to picture the scene. Ten people lined up, five facing five. I am in the right-hand corner watching my fantastic DVD player. All that can be heard is the dull roar or the train and some snoring (not me). Everyone that I can see out of the corner of my eye is asleep or daydreaming. I am focussed on the movie.

Suddenly, something very funny happens in the movie. It is a funny movie and other funny things have happened to this point, and I have successfully smothered any laughing out loud. However, like an unexpected sneeze, I yelled, "Pah!" Now, although I was watching the screen, it isn't very big and I saw out of the corner of my eye, all nine people jump as one, almost as though the train had hit a speed hump. In case any of them was unsure who had broken the train-etiquette, it was obviously the idiot with the big grin and the portable DVD player whispering "Sorry" much louder than he intended.

Anyway, that in itself amused me, once the embarrassment wore off. I told DW at dinner, and when I got to the "Pah!" part, I hadn't fore-warned anyone and once again, everyone I could see jumped. DW nearly choked, Princess nearly hit the roof and Little Man flicked all the potumpkin of his fork. Potumpkin is a potato and pumpkin mash - it'll be a thing. So I had to apologise again. DW was laughing so hard, she snorted. Not the potumpkin, just a regular snort. When she finally calmed down, she told me that even though she wasn't there, she was horribly embarrassed.

Anyway, I got a whole bank of seats to myself this morning, so its all good. And I haven't quite finished the movie yet so they'll be more laughs to be had on the way home tonight.


Thought for the Day: Laugh and the world laughs with you. Pah, if you wanna make 'em jump.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Happy May Day! Welcome to May. I have a friend who was born today. Obviously not literally today, but today is the anniversary of his birth. How creepy would it be announcing that my friend was actually born today, and I'm just off to the maternity ward to find him, wandering the halls asking "Are you my friend?" to the babies, saying, "Goochy goochy goo! Who's a little newborn? Who's a little newborn?". Yep, that's pretty creepy. I won't do that. Maybe I'll just send my friend an email.

Princess is getting very excited about her birthday. She has been singing "Happy Birthday to me." She even sings "Dear Amy", and does the "Hip, hip! HOORAY" part. She also made up a new song called "Princesses rule the world." The song mostly involves that line and variations thereof, and singing about the various items from toy catalogues she believes world-ruling Princesses should have.

Yesterday she woke up before I left for work and as I was putting my shoes on, she told me she would miss me when I was gone. I told her that I didn't go to work because I wanted to, but because I had to. Her response is worth quoting: "Yeah, but its good for me, so you can make lots of money and give some to me." Ummm, yeah, sure, that's what its all about. This morning she came straight out and asked if she could have my money. I thought I still had eight years before she became a teenager.

I am reminded of something that happened only a few weeks ago. DW had made several craft-related purchases and I think she might have been feeling the tiniest bit guilty, because she very, very rarely encourages me to just "go out and buy something" for the hell of it. I think she thinks of me as a tiny snowball on the top of a very large, snow covered mountain. She has told me that she doesn't like to push me, and I think I've figured out what she really means. Anyway, she needn't have felt guilty but that's beside the point.

Now I have been communting to work for the past five and a bit years. I find it difficult to read on the train. I find it easy to sleep. So, mostly I sleep. Occasionally I listen to music, but I usually fall asleep then also. It occurred to me that perhaps I could make better use of the time, so I used my brief financial freedom to purchase a portable DVD player. While it seems most people are opting for the bigger screens, I wanted a small screen - 7" suited me perfectly. DW however, thought it was a ridiculous idea. You see, I also have a laptop provided by work, which goes everywhere with me. It is rather a nice machine with a whopping 17" screen and a DVD burner as well. So as far as DW was concerned, why would I need a little 7" DVD player?

The follwoing are my reasons:
  1. The trains are frequently full, leaving little room to bring out a laptop.
  2. The laptop is rather large, larger than my lap and I have found people don't like sharing their laps, especially if they can't hear the movie (I use earbuds).
  3. The laptop takes longer to start up, even from hibernation.
  4. The laptop is harder to pack and unpack, because it is quite big.
  5. The laptop is not only heavy, it gets quite warm and reduces my sperm count
  6. Portable DVD players are cool, because everyone has an MP3 player.

So DW finally caved in. Actually, she still thinks I'm an idiot, but she maintains its not because of the DVD player. Yeah, right.


Thought for the Day: Why does everyone want to be normal but no one wants to be ordinary?