Friday, August 31, 2007

Life lessons: moving house with children

Bike Boy's bright idea: dismantle the bunk beds today to save some time tomorrow, and allow the little boys to sleep on mattresses on the floor tonight. Great, thinks I. That will work. It'll be like camping!

Yeah. I just had to go settle a fairly major stoush, involving full-on punching, wrestling and loud wailing. Seems that the thought of moving from the only home they've ever known is more than a little unsettling. Then just add the excitement factor of having your brother lying within hitting distance, and you have all the ingredients for a major drama.

Sheesh. I seem to recall that I once thought kids would be no trouble at all..... Stoopid!!

What to do, what to do?

Miraculously, I find myself mid-move with a few moments to spare. What to write?

Let's see......well, I tragically lost the ball off my favourite belly bar on Wednesday. I spent ages scouring the 6-storey building where I work, looking for a tiny glittering object, but no luck. I suspect the cleaners vacuumed it up. Or maybe it fell into the toilet and got flushed. Whatever, I'm really, REALLY pissed off about it.

I even resorted to (embarrassingly) crawling about the conference room, looking for it. That gave rise to some curious looks. Stuffy government types don't seem to understand the term "belly bar". Or they don't quite see the relationship to me, dressed in my conservative corporate best.

I rang Bike Boy and had a whinge about it at some point, and when I got home, he handed me a small bag. He'd gone and bought me a new, shiny piece of belly bling!

Who's got the bestest husband in the entire world? - I do! :)


Moving officially sucks. We've barely started, and I'm already over it. Tomorrow we actually move furniture - up to now, it's been boxes, bags, pot plants and bits and pieces.

Great. Can't wait.


OK, what sort of moron builds a brand new house, and only puts ONE POWER POINT IN THE SPANKING NEW KITCHEN? What the HELL is that about?

Where is one supposed to plug in the phone, the microwave, the kettle, the toaster, the blender, the food processor, the coffee machine?


When moving, coffee, red wine and 70% cocoa chocolate are absolute essentials. Really. It simply cannot be managed without them.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


I'm sitting here, open-mouthed after reading all about Adaptive Path's Charmr project. I found it via Mighty Girl, and it's an amazing advance for type I diabetics that you just have to go see. This thing will change lives!

Make sure you view the video!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

On the move

I pick up the keys to our temporary home tomorrow, and I'll start moving some boxes, bags and other stuff over the next couple of days. The main move will be over the weekend and we expect to be living at the new place by Sunday night. We've recruited some of Number One Son's mates to help with the heavy stuff, offering bribes in the form of pizza and beer, so hopefully it'll all be pretty easy.

We'll have gas, electricity and water from tomorrow, but the phone won't be connected till Tuesday. Which is better than Telstra's effort when we moved in here and had to wait 4 months to get a phone. Unbelievable, but entirely true!

So, although the line will still be connected here, I'll be trekking back and forth between the houses, moving and unpacking, so I doubt I'll have any time for blogging.

And for Liz: photos will undoubtedly be forthcoming, but not for a few days.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A little sunshine, anyone?

The weather has been fabulous lately - and I've noticed a distinct improvement in my mood. I know there's a connection.

To top off the past few days of mild balminess, today is going to be 24 degrees - unbelievably warm for August. Looks like Spring has arrived early.

*blows a raspberry to Winter* :)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

My week in brief

The snuffling and sniffing and general misery has improved to the point where I'm actually sleeping all night. More or less. This is a very good thing, because another night of only 3 or 4 interrupted hours of sleep and I may well have become suicidal. Or perhaps homicidal.

Thank goodness for mothers! Mine came over and spent an afternoon helping me wrap and pack stuff for the move, and we got through an amazing amount of stuff. I have lots more to do, but at least we've made a start.

We signed the lease this morning and we'll pick up the keys on Thursday. We've given ourselves a full week to move everything and do a thorough clean-up here before settlement. That should be plenty.

The middle child was struck down with the lurgy for 3 days (he had us pretty worried for a while there) but made a remarkable recovery last night - just in time to go to the footy today with his uncle and cousin.

In spite of the sickness, the snottiness, all the cleaning, packing, organising and work still ahead, I feel remarkably calm and un-stressed. Not like me at all. I even went shopping today and managed not to disembowel any inept/rude/slow shop assistants. Go, me!

We're off out for dinner tonight - it's my best friend's birthday and Bike Boy and I are kidnapping her and taking her out to feed her up and get her drunk. As all best friends are honour-bound to do. I love birthdays - other people's are almost as much fun as mine.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Quick update

Yes, we DO have somewhere to live. And it's nice. We passed on all the ratholes and decided to a) part with an obscene amount of money and b) move north and endure the endless roadworks, all so that we could get a nice, clean, BRAND NEW house to rent. Complete with cooling to get us through the summer. :)


I'm finally on the mend, and have even managed to breathe through my nose for a few minutes at a time on a couple of occasions.


The Middle Child is as sick as a dog with a nasty virus and a temperature of 39.5. Just what I need when I have packing to do, work to catch up on and a billion errands to run.


Shauna was waxing sentimental on her blog about having given up her old Aussie driver's licence for a shiny new British one, which reminded me of something marginally related....

MY old licence, from 1991 had the BEST photo on it. I was 30 years old (so a lot fresher and shinier and yes, YOUNGER than now), and had taken the time to apply makeup and do my hair, especially for the piccie. And despite the fact that I had a 3 year old welded to my leg, I smiled - not too much, but just enough - and ended up with a great licence photo. The big hair is pretty funny now, but the face.....that's noice.

Then in 2001 my licence was up for renewal. I had a day off work for some reason that I can't recall now, and was driving past the RTA, so thought I'd pop in and take care of it. Now here's the proof that I was obviously suffering from some sort of temporary dementia: I was wearing NO makeup, my hair needed cutting and my roots needed doing, and I'd just dragged a comb through it, without even an attempt at styling. Oh, and I was wearing this drab dark green jumper that added an unflattering hue to my skin tone.

The new licence arrived in the mail and I couldn't believe how bad it was. And OH MY GOD! I'm stuck with this for the next 10 years?? You'd think I'd have learned something from the passport photo debacle a couple of years earlier. What can I say? I'm a slow learner.

Every time I have to produce ID for something (which, lately, seems like 17 times a day), I cringe as I pull that thing out of my purse. I keep expecting someone to challenge me, because it looks like a completely different person - maybe my overweight, much older aunt or something?

3 and a half more years till I can get it replaced. Unless maybe I lose it in the meantime...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Good riddance!

I'm glad to see the end of this past week. It's been a remarkably crappy one. Although, come to think of it, there were a few good things that happened.... perhaps I should summarise the good and the bad.

The bad:

We still don't have anywhere to live. Yeah, that's bad. 18 days left till we have to move out, and nowhere to go.

We had a garage sale. Ugh. I hate having garage sales. People are complete arseholes - they don't just want a bargain, they want to screw you completely and get your stuff for free. Early callers piss me off big time - one bloke had three tries at getting an early look at our crap, even coming round and trying to get the kids to let him in while we weren't home. Good thing my kids are smarter than that. Plus, all the back-breaking work that goes into setting one up - sheesh!

Surgery sucks. I lost a day of my life lying around in a backless hospital gown, I can't breathe, I'm sure I'm creating a universal tissue shortage with all the drippiness, and I've had maybe 5 hours sleep over the past two nights.

My house is a pig sty and, in spite of feeling crappy I really have to spend today doing all the washing that I haven't had time to do. Otherwise nobody will have any school or work clothes for the week.

Due to all of the above, I'm a million miles behind in my work. So on top of the housework and washing, I'll have to spend today working to catch up. Damn! I always try to take Sundays off, but not this week.

The good:

We got all our colours and fittings and electrical stuff picked for the new house. It was a major effort, taking the better part of an entire day, and adding several thousand onto the cost - but hey, who wants basic, standard stuff, when you can have really fancy things?

We made $800 selling old crap that we didn't want at our garage sale. And we now have a lot less old crap to move or get rid of.

My surgery was way less distressing than the other 5 treatments I've had. And I was treated like a human. And I got to lie around reading my UltraFit magazine for hours without a single twinge of guilt. And I actually get a follow-up appointment with my specialist. And the hospital bill to me was zero. Ah, I love my private heath cover.

We went out for dinner last night and had a great time catching up with old friends we hadn't seen for ages. There was lots of reminiscing over 'the olden days', great food, and we laughed so much and so loud, we were disturbing everyone else in the room.

I did a leg workout on Tuesday that left me crippled for 3 days. That made me smile. When I wasn't groaning, anyway.

That pretty much sums up my week. Roll on Monday!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tagged (again)

This time, Kathryn is the guilty part-ay.

Jobs I’ve Held: Personal trainer, bank manager, veterinary assistant, electoral Returning Officer, worm farmhand.

Movies I Can Watch Over & Over: Fargo, Muriel's Wedding, The Jerk.....lots of others, can't think of them at the moment though

My Guilty Pleasures: I don't feel guilty about much. Um...maybe reading the odd trash magazine?

Places I have lived: Melbourne

Shows I enjoy: Malcolm in the Middle - it's compulsory to squeeze onto the couch to watch this every night with my boys, even though they're repeats and we've seen 'em all a gazillion times. Mostly I just watch DVDs. Current faves are: Angel, The Royle Family, Life on Mars.

Places I Have Been on Holiday: Fiji, Hamilton Island, Thailand, every state in Australia except for the NT. Been to Tassie several times - I love Tassie.

Favorite Foods: Chocolate. Duh!

Websites I Visit Daily: Lots.

Body Parts I Have Injured: Nothing significant. No spectacular broken bones, nothing requiring surgery or plaster or anything dramatic at all. Oh except, I've had stitches in my head twice and in a foot as well.

Awards I’ve Won: Body-for-LIFE category 2004. And Bike Boy; he tells me he's a prize.

Nicknames You’ve Been Called: Kekkie. So named by my toddler cousin when I was about 3 or 4 years old and she couldn't pronounce my name. Picked up by the rest of the family and shortened to Kek over the years.

And I tag - anyone who wants to play!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007



Take your pick. Any or all will do as a reason I haven't been blogging. *shrugs*

Friday, August 10, 2007

Fat facts and perception

The 2007 Australian Social Trends Report was released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week, containing all sorts of fascinating facts and figures about our population. Stuff like fertility stats, marriage and divorce figures, income and lifestyle facts, who lives where and so on. Some of it makes interesting reading. Some of it would be useful as a cure for insomnia.

The bit that interested me was covered in an article in The Age on Tuesday, which reported that more than 50% of Australians are now overweight or obese.

That's a scary statistic, but even more scary was the piece of news that almost half (47 per cent) of men and a fifth (21 per cent) of women who were overweight or obese thought they were a healthy weight. I can relate to that - I can remember back when I was carting around 85kg on my 160cm frame, saying that sure, I needed to lose 'a few' kilos. But I never considered myself obese. In fact, my BMI was over 30 and my bodyfat would have been somewhere around 40%. But obese? Noooo, not me. I was just a little overweight. And I was going on a diet on Monday anyway, so hand me that family block of chocolate!

How on earth do we manage to delude ourselves like that? How is it possible to look in the mirror and see something different to what's actually reflected there?

The human mind is really weird.

Just what we need

Me: You know what we need for our new house?

Bike Boy: Um... nope.

Me: A butler!

Bike Boy: (slapping forehead) Of course!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

It's noice, it's different, it's unusual...

Not being much of a TV watcher these days, I'd lost touch with what's on, what's hot and what's coming up on the tube. But while killing time on a crowded peak hour train today, I couldn't manouvre The Age into a readable position. Train seats really need to be wider, to allow for proper reading of broadsheets.

Anyway, to pass the time, I read the tabloid-sized Green Guide instead - and discovered that there's a new series of Kath and Kim starting on Sunday night.

Which everyone else in the entire world probably knew already.

Nobody nose the trouble I've seen

Something that’s been causing me angst over recent months has been my increasing nosebleeds. Up until two years ago, I was involved in a program specifically to treat nosebleeds in Osler’s sufferers. There’s no cure, and they’ll never stop completely, but the frequency and severity can be reduced by various methods of sealing the lesions, most of which involve burning – electrical, chemical, whatever. The latest whiz-bang medical technology involved laser treatment, and Monash Medical Centre had a big research program thingie happening, which seemed like a good idea at the time. It was actually working quite well, but there were a number of drawbacks to the whole thing.

In the end, I got really fed up and I weighed up the cost of the 5 treatments over 13 months. There was no $ cost to me at all, except for petrol, some coins for parking, and a few prescriptions. The real cost was in the innumerable days off work, the after-effects of the surgery (you SO don’t want to know…), a perforated septum, never being able to talk to the surgeon and have my questions answered…. hell, never even having the same surgeon twice! No follow-up by a doctor, a nurse, or anyone at all, no control over when my next treatment would be, having to leave home at 5:30am to make the 7:00am admission time way across town, the inconvenience to the whole family, and the whole nobody-gives-a-crap atmosphere at Monash Medical Centre. Plus there was the emergency trip to the local casualty ward following a spectacularly unsuccessful procedure. Oh, and the fact that some health bureaucrat decided to move the whole program to Berwick in late 2005 was just the icing on the cake. Is that even in the Melbourne Metro area? Whatever, it would add another 20 minutes or so to our trip. So I made the decision to pull out of the program and just wait and see what happened. I was good for a year, not bad for another 6 months or so, but lately things have been pretty awful, with several bleeds most days, and some pretty severe ones amongst them.

The whole thing was really troubling me. It seemed there were no other options, and I just couldn’t face getting back on the public system conveyor belt. So last month, while I was seeing my doctor for some blood test results, we had a long discussion about the whole thing, and she referred me to a different ENT surgeon, so that we could have a chat and see if there was another solution. I saw my new ENT guy yesterday, and it seems we have a plan B. He believes that old-fashioned electrical cautery gives as good results as laser, if it’s done expertly and specifically targets very small areas. He does it in hospital, under general anaesthetic, to make sure he can hit the spot exactly…. and also in case of a bad bleed, which can be pretty hard to deal with outside an operating theatre. And he assures me that the recovery should be a piece of cake.

So my appointment finished like this:

ENT doc: OK, when would you like to have it done? I operate on Fridays.

Me: (checking my diary) Next week would be good.

ENT doc: Great, I’ll get my receptionist to book you in. It’ll be just across the road here in XXXXX (insert name of palatial private hospital only a 20 minute drive from home)

Receptionist: Fill this page in, sign here, and here’s a postage paid envelope so you can just drop the forms in the mail. The hospital will call you next week to confirm admission details.

Me: *sigh* I don’t mind surgery, but I hate missing breakfast. It makes me grumpy.

Receptionist: Oh, you can have breakfast. Admission time isn’t till 12:30pm.

Yippee!! I even have time for second breakfast! Fasting starts at 9:30am. :)


Just this morning, I was reading a review of Michael Moore’s new documentary, Sicko. I knew already that the US health system sucks, but boy, some of the stories he covers in the movie are horrifying. It got me thinking about how most of us really aren’t badly off, in spite of all the flaws of our Medicare system.

And I’m grateful that I have the option of going private. I get to choose my doctor and hospital, decide when to have the surgery, and know that I’ll be treated like a human, not just a number. I also won’t have to sell my home or a spare body part to pay for treatment. I’ll have some small out of pocket expenses, but I can live with that. My hysterectomy last year ended up costing me $400, and that was just the gap for the specialist obstetric anaesthetist. The hospital and the surgeon cost me nix. I’m not complaining about paying a few bucks to the guy who holds my life in his hands…..

Monday, August 06, 2007

Wanted: 3BR, 2 bth, dbl LUG

We have approximately 4 weeks to find somewhere to live. Who knew it would be so difficult? We're not terribly fussy - all we need is 3 bedrooms (although 4 would be nice), preferably 2 bathrooms and a garage or large shed to store our excess crap. And we'd really like the place to be within walking distance of the kids' schools. Apart from that, clean and not rat-infested would be good. And we really don't want to sign a 3 year lease, thanks very much. God, I hope it doesn't take that long to build our new place.

So far, no luck. Everything we've seen is either a dump with no storage space at all, or it's a two-storey townhouse with not enough room for cat-swinging (if you're that way inclined) and no air con. NO AIR CON? Upstairs in summer? I think not.

I shall press on intrepidly. I just found a listing for a 3 bedroom-plus-study fake Victorian terrace with 3 bathrooms and a double garage. The rent isn't too frightening and it's not out in the sticks. It doesn't LOOK like it's about to fall down. I'm still trying to figure out the catch. Bats nesting in the garage? Drummer living next door? Crystal-meth lab operating across the road? Perhaps the park opposite is the regular venue for nude Saturday night Satan worshipping? I guess I'll find out when I ring yet another agent tomorrow.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Back on the bike

The last thing I felt like doing this morning was going for a bike ride in the cold, grey, gloomy wintry weather. Staying snuggly and warm indoors in my velour pjs and fluffy bed socks, sipping mugs of coffee, seemed like a much more fun idea.

But the Middle Child and I got on our bikes and went anyway. And yes, it was cold and windy - riding into the wind on the way back knocked 10kmh off my speed. But that's today's training out of the way.

Gee, there are a lot of dog walkers out on Sunday mornings. And ducks. What's with all the ducks?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Great reasons to have kids - #37

Your 19-year-old uni student son gets a part time job at Dick Smith Powerhouse, which means that you get a big fat discount on a new laptop.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


You're looking for a personal trainer. You find one on the net who seems to offer what you're looking for. You have the choice of contacting her by email or phone to discuss your needs and ask about price and availability. So, what do you do? You TEXT her in the middle of the freaking night with your stupid questions!!!

First of all, people, I am a personal trainer. Hello? Doen't that suggest that I get up early? Which would mean that ...oh wait ....lightbulb moment here ....I must GO TO BED EARLY!!! What is with texting at midnight? Or 3:00am? Who does that? My family really don't appreciate being woken from their slumbers, and if you knew me: trust me - you would NEVER want to disturb my sleep. Snarling, fanged, slavering beasts in Harry Potter novels are more friendly. And attractive.

Also, texting? Uh.... how rude is that? You want to buy a new car/TV/llama/packet of popcorn - do you TEXT the supplier to ask how much and does it come in blue/peppermint/whatever? No, normal people act like humans and pick up the phone and speak. You know, with their voice. During business hours.

Text messages have their uses, but I think it's completely inappropriate as the first form of contact with someone you may want to do business with.

As to why my phone is even on overnight, that's because I have teenagers - THEY are allowed to text me at whatever hour they like, to let me know that they won't be home tonight after all (besides, they're used to my grumpiness). It saves me a lot of worry, and frightens me a hell of a lot less than the phone ringing in the wee small hours.