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?