The Mind Of A Child

Here are just some of the latests musings that have come out over the last few months from the matter-of-fact mind of my 10-year-old child:

What Do You See?

What Do You See?

What Do You See?

Kiddo was told at school he could make whatever he wanted, bar any weapons….he and his friend made these.

When the teacher admonished them for making ‘swords’ and told them they had to go in the trash, kiddo apparently looked at him in horror and with all the innocence only a 10- year-old telling a bald faced lie can muster said;

“What? Is isn’t a SWORD, this is Jesus’s CROSS, I can’t throw Jesus’s cross in the trash!”

He got to keep his ‘cross’.

Watching the Brady Bunch

Him: “Mummy, what’s that weird machine?”

Me: (feeling about 112) “It’s a typewriter, people used to type on them before there were computers.”

Him: “What! There weren’t computers? Is that back when grandpa was a kid? “

Me:(feeling 212) “No, it’s when I was a kid.”

Him: (looking at me with renewed interest) “How old are you again?”

Learning

Hubby on the phone to Kiddo: “Did you learn anything new at school today?”

Kiddo: “No, we only learn something one day a week, and today wasn’t that day.”

Haircuts

Me: “We need to get you a haircut.”

Him: “I don’t want to, I hate hair cuts!”

Me: “I know you don’t want to, but your hair is a disaster it looks terrible, we really need to get it cut.”

Him: “But you told me it’s who people are, not what they look like that matters!”

Me: (Silence). I can’t think of one parent-y thing to say. It’s taken 10 years but he finally has me beaten down with this one.

Emergency Situation

“Today we had a drill for if someone comes in the school trying to kill us. We had run into the library and stay really quiet.

Some of the kids had a hard time being quiet, I think they’re the ones that are going to be killed first. I think that if someone might kill you, that’s a good reason to stay quiet.”

Riding a Bike

Me: isn’t riding a bike awesome? You have the wind in your hair and the road is your master…”

Him: “Well, the wind isn’t really in my hair, it can’t get through those tiny cracks in my helmet.”

Aboriginals and Oxygen

Him: ” I’m really glad God made oxygen here on earth, because it would have been crazy to arrive for the first time in Australia and see aboriginals with space suits on…”

Me: “Er, yes it would. You’re right, that was a good call on God’s part.

As you can see, every day is a mind boggling buffet of insane information!

The Lies We Tell

Butter Wouldn't Melt in his Mouth!

Butter Wouldn’t Melt in his Mouth!

The lies I told today when making a booking with the ‘pet friendly’ hotel today:

Them: “Is your dog a small dog?”

Me: “Well, you know he’s not teeny small, but he is a small-ish Labrador.”

(Lie #1. He weighs 40 kilos and he can easily put his paws on my shoulders when on his hind legs. He’s huge. In fact I’m not so sure he’s not part Great Dane or Mastiff.)

Them: “Oh, well we usually only accept small dogs. Is he very well behaved?”

Me: “Oh yes, he’s an angel, he is quiet as a mouse and doesn’t chew. He’s basically like a guide dog but we’re not blind.”

(Lie #2. He’s terribly behaved. He eats shoes like he’s on his last meal – prefers expensive designer brands –  He howls terribly if we leave him alone for more than a few hours because he’s used to me being with him all day (I work from home). If he were a guide dog the blind person wouldn’t last a day,he’s the most (happy) undisciplined dog I’ve ever met.)

Them: “And is he used to travelling with you and being left at the hotel if you go out?”

Me: “Oh yes, he’s a regular traveller, we travel with him all the time. He loves it and he’s just a part of the family, waits patiently for us to return when we’re out and gives the hotel and it’s patrons no trouble at all. All the places we’ve stayed love him.”

(Lie #3. He’s never been to a hotel with us before. It’s really hard to find pet friendly hotels in Australia (God Bless America – so much easier to find them there) and  because he’s such a pain in the ass to take places we leave him with my sister who he adores nearly as much as he loves shoes. Or as a last resort, in a kennel where he pines and has been known to attempt suicide. Really.)

The thing about him, he’s adorable. We’ve actually just signed him up to start stem cell therapy for his elbow displasiya and osteo-arthritis – ground breaking stuff in the animal world. He’s sweet and loving and funny….and not very well behaved.

All this for a last minute quick trip away, oh the lies! Blogging is my confessional.

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BYO (Anti-Venom That Is)

English: Sydney funnel web spider

English: Sydney funnel web spider (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another ‘American living in Australia‘ experience has prompted me to post…

My poor husband. Truly there are times where he marvels that our country is so heavily populated. How so many more of us haven’t perished from a spider/box jellyfish/crocodile/shark or snake bite defies logic for him. The fact that we have so many deadly creatures is one thing, but this recent development to him was going way too far.

It was announced on the news recently that there was an anti-venom shortage for the funnel web spider bite. For those of you that don’t know, the funnel web spider is the deadliest in the world and is found well, pretty much everywhere people are also found en mass. As you can imagine this creates quite a problem.

My (apparently incorrect) assumption was that ‘they’ (being those anti-venom experts) had some kind of breeding center where they bred these nasty beings and milked them for their venom. I’m not suggesting that I’ve come up with some kind of ground breaking solution or anything, but to all those funnel web experts out there, you might want to consider this option in preference to the ‘solution’ (and I use that term loosely), you offered below.

Surprisingly this is not the case. Given that there is no such facility, along with the announcement about the anti-venom shortage was also a rather detailed segment on the prime time news explaining what we as good citizens can do to help alleviate this problem. In short, they were asking regular Australian citizens to catch funnel web spiders, and all they were suggesting we do it with was a cup, a piece of cardboard, and a well-written will in hand. (I lie the will was never mentioned,  an oversight no doubt.)

It was this segment that I found my husband watching in horrific disbelief.

You must watch the clip, it’s really quite laughable and only 2 minutes long. (Note how he moves the cup so calmly when the spider looks to be headed in a different direction – 2 inches from his hand!!)

How to catch the worlds deadliest spider – with a cup and a piece of cardboard.

Being a good Aussie girl I myself watched this segment with relative disinterest thinking back to all the times my father had searched the yard for these notorious killers when we were kids, pouring mineral turpentine into their holes, lighting a match and throwing it into the hole before walking away in search for his next victim. I never thought much about this, his obvious duty was to protect his family and this was the safest and most efficient way to get the job done. Funnel webs were an unpleasant part of life, but not one that I gave much thought to – until now.

Hubby looked at me when the segment ended in absolute disbelief. “That would never air on the prime time news anywhere in America” he exclaimed; “In fact I doubt it would air for any reason, ever, anywhere in America! That’s the kind of advise that would end up in lawsuits by the thousands!”

I pondered this for a moment and came to the conclusion he was right. That said, I also don’t think too many Americans would choose to play with such a dangerous creature even if the segment were to go to air – unfortunately there is a large population of (mostly) young men here in Australia who seem to be er.. mentally challenged in such areas. That segment essentially endorsed stupid and dangerous behaviour, they would be most happy to comply.

No doubt this is why you saw the very clear direction from the expert on not allowing dad (read: men) to perform this task. As you can see, the one positive my hubby took out of this whole clip was that he wasn’t expected to catch the spider – in fact it was deemed that both children and dads should stay away from these deadly creatures. It seems that us ‘mums’ are either strangely resistant to the bite of such a spider, or perhaps perceived as just a little more dispensable. (I’m fairly sure which, and I don’t appreciate the insinuation!)

This whole ‘population rescue’  that us mothers are supposed to make, is all contingent of course on the fact that we aren’t bitten by this worlds most deadly and notoriously agressive spider in the process! Which, ironically, would require the need of an anti-venom that is already in direly short supply.

Is it not enough that we are almost solely responsible for populating the world, and now we’ve been lumped with the responsibility of keeping you all alive as well? Something seems very wrong with this picture if you ask me.

I did find a special kind of pleasure in hearing him say in the post script portion of the segment “The one you catch may save your child, mother, friend or relative.” Notably, he neglected to mention that the one you catch could also end up being the one that causes demise of your own being.

Gotta love the Australians it’s such a small detail, no need to mention it and get people all all worked up over nothing.

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Darwin Award Contender?

Following on from those ‘mentally challenged’ males who seek out danger and make stupid decisions that seem to exist en mass in Australia that I mentioned in my last post on the Anti-Venom shortage, here is a classic example of one such creature that was arrested a few weeks ago in the same state we live in.

This is an actual  police report that was released to the media about the incident:

ASSAULT POLICE/HRPCA

About 3am 4 April 2013 Police were about to leave the Station when they noticed a 2011 Holden Commodore sedan driving in a westerly direction at about 10klm/h.

The driver of the vehicle has allegedly leant out of the window and given Police “the bird”. He travelled for another 50 metres and then ran out of petrol coming to a stop. 

As Police approached the 38 old male he has become abusive towards Police. The male has advanced towards Police allegedly threatening assault. He was subdued with the use of OC Spray and due to his continued struggling he was handcuffed and conveyed to the Police Station. 

The male appeared to be affected by alcohol and was subjected to a breath analysis which returned a reading in the high range. A check of his licence revealed that it had expired on the 20 March 2013.

He was bail refused to appear at the  Local Court today.

Did I laugh my ass off when I read this? You bet I did!

Giving some cops the finger is dumb. Doing it when you’re running out of gas is dumber (running that low on gas is a whole new kind of dumb), running out of gas after giving cops the finger is bad. Being agressive and abusive towards them when they approach you is epically bad.

Doing all this while drunk and driving a vehicle with no valid licence is just plain stupid.

I suspect this guy will hear about this from his friends and family for a very long time. (Plus I hope they throw the book at him).

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Faux Pas

5652724063_de2b6d2ee5_zI wasn’t sure I wanted to have a child when I was younger.

I spent my 20’s traveling, working, eating at great restaurants and generally enjoying life. I had a good job that paid well with a company car, laptop and phone. My personal expenses were almost zero. I lived in an apartment just steps from the beach, and I used my 4 weeks vacation a year to travel overseas as much as possible.

I ended up giving up the well-paying job and moving to Ireland and then England to travel, before finally settling in the USA with my (now) husband. It was so much fun! Living in and experiencing new countries and cultures should be a rite of passage for all 20-somethings. I met so many interesting people, visited so many fascinating places and wanted more and more of it. I wasn’t sure that kids and the kind of travel I envisioned for my life would mix very well…

Then my son came along. After a few years of misery (the kid was born 3 months early, spent 4 months in intensive care and never slept through the night until he was three years old due to a feeding disorder – so yes, I can honestly say it was often miserable), he became one of my primary reasons for a good laugh.

Kids are funny, they just are. Even better, most often they aren’t trying to elicit a response so their hilarity is even more endearing. Like when we were driving by a large cemetery in a city far from our town and the headstones could be viewed as far as the eye could see. The 8-year-old said:

“WOW, it looks like a whole lot of people have died…”

Yes it does son, yes it does.

images

However, the biggest laugh my husband has had of late can be attributed to me when talking about my son to his teacher during a school interview a few months back. About halfway through the interview all was going well with the teacher until I came out with the following;

“Sorry he hasn’t completed all of his homework over the past few weeks, we’ve just moved house and getting internet hooked up in this town is harder than scoring cocaine…he’ll get it finished as soon as we are back online.”

Yeah, I really said that. It sounded a lot better in my head than it did after it came out of my mouth and I saw the teachers response (she did not smile). I couldn’t see my husbands response, his head was already in his hands by the time I looked over at him.

The conversation in the car afterwards went something like this:

Hubby: ” I can’t believe you said that! It’s possibly the number one thing you should never say to your child’s teacher!”

Me: “Oh come on, she had to know I was kidding, I volunteer in class every week for Gods sake! Surely that buys me a little credibility? Surely I can get a pass based on my history of good works? It just explained the situation so well. We moved weeks ago, and the damn telco company still hasn’t been able to get our internet hooked up, it’s ridiculous!”

Hubby: “I’m sure she’s reporting us to DOCS.” (Dept. of Community Services)

Me: “Oh well then, judging by the copious quantity of cigarette-smoking parents towing bare-footed children behind them with snot running down their faces and coughs that sound like the death rattle in the middle of winter – along with the large display of grammatically incorrect cuss words spray painted on the bridge heading out of town, they seem largely useless at their jobs – so I suspect it will all turn out just fine.”

Kiddo (little voice from the back seat): “Why is cocaine so hard to get?”

Hubby and I (in unison): “Because its dangerous, don’t ever try it!”

Hubby has since announced I am banned from future interviews until he has time to redeem our family name.

With him on the job it could take decades.

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Lynx, cleans your…(yeah, I can’t say it)

One of the things my husband particularly enjoys about Australia is that he finds it a fairly liberal society. No one is talking at election time about gay marriage, abortion or things of that nature. Issues on the table are jobs, taxes, environment, ‘boat people‘ (illegal immigrants) and so on. Personal ethics are not publicly debated as profusely on the political platform here as they are in the USA.

He finds the culture here very free, unpretentious, a live-and-let-live kind of mentality that he enjoys. That said, they may be such a thing as being a little too liberal.

The latest example was presented to him recently on prime time TV during a major rugby match (free to air) by LYNX shower gel.

(Please if you are easily affected by sexual innuendo, do not watch this ad – I’m certainly not trying to offend anyone here, but if you think you can take it, this is an ad well worth seeing – if only for the discussion it will probably inspire within your household!)

Here’s the ad in its entirety:

So now you’ve watched the ad, what did you think? Would you be surprised if I told you that after a few weeks (yes, weeks) of airing, the ad was pulled due to complaints?

You probably wouldn’t be.

What would probably shock the hell out of you (as it did me) was the reason it was pulled.

First, let me tell you the advertising commission had a total of 150 complaints about this ad from a population of about 25 million people (another nod to our liberal society) and they were ‘taken very seriously’ by all accounts.

The advertisement was finally pulled on the grounds that it was ‘ageist’. That’s right, this ad’s biggest faux pas was that it discriminated against the elderly!

Other than this glaring act of discrimination, it was a perfectly acceptable ‘prime-time’ advertisement according to the advertising watchdog. (I’ve been laughing about this for weeks.) Here’s the best part – the statement they made about why the ad was being pulled:

The advertising watchdog has banned an ad for Unilever deodorant Lynx for demeaning older men – but was cleared of degrading both sexes, racism and bad language.

The part of the ad deemed unacceptable came at end, when an old man produced two deflated medicine balls and asks, ‘Can you help me with these saggy old balls? Nobody’s played with them for years.’

God bless Australia.

We may not be the smartest country, the largest country, the richest country, the most progressive country.

But if you ask me, we sure are the most entertaining country – the country that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever – and yet to us, we think we’re perfectly lucid and capable of making such mammoth judgement calls for the betterment of the self esteem of our aging population.

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A Day in the Life

The right side of my ankle does not normally look this fat. This was about an hour after what I have termed as ‘the incident.’

Anyone who knows me, knows I am prone to accidents stupidity that often results in physical pain.

I am not by any stretch of the imagination a ‘sporty’ or coordinated person. Put simply, the ongoing joke is that when God was handing out coordination and talent I was hiding behind the door.

That said, a few months back a friend whose husband plays pro football here in Australia, gave us a match game ball… we decided to throw it around the yard as family (something we haven’t done before) and my husband was apparently impressed enough to comment, ‘you have a pretty good arm on you!’  I can assure you, no one was more surprised than me. It just may have been my finest moment. Ever.

I digress.

I often sometimes occasionally during red moons, walk to pick up my son from school. I had walked so often over the past weeks along with my daily jalk that I felt I might possibly have graduated to being able to jog the whole way, without causing myself serious bodily harm.

On this particular afternoon I had dressed in my cute Lorna Jane outfit, tightened my sneakers, attached my ipod in its handy little silicone pouch, and found my sporty Oakley sunglasses…I was ready to go become a jogging machine!

I closed the door behind me as I took of at the speed of an Olympic athlete. On stride two I slightly misjudged where the garden bed actually met the driveway, and in a swift motion went down like a sack of (well-coordinated and fashionably attired) potatoes. Stride two, people, stride two!!

The pain was excruciating and I was sure I had broken my ankle. Unfortunately my elderly neighbor was outside at the time and saw me go down. He yelled out asking if I was OK. In my desperate need not to be humiliated further, I forced myself to my feet and plastered a smile on my face and yelled out “FINE!”as I gave what I hoped looked like a cheery wave. I suspect my ‘wave’ looked more like a drowning victim giving his last desperate signal for help before never being seen from again, but I did what I could.

I waited for him to walk indoors before I collapsed to the porch and bum-crawled my way into my home. I continued the bum-crawl until I got to the couch and called hubby in a fit of crying.

“You have to drop whatever you are doing RIGHT NOW and go pick up our son from school. School lets out in 10 minutes and there’s no way I can get off the couch, to the car and use my foot to drive.”

In typical fashion, he did what he usually does when there is work to be done in life he’s not too fond of doing – he delegated. Deciding he couldn’t possibly make it on time, he called a friends husband who was picking up their kids that day, and asked him to collect ours too.

Turned out this poor guy was already carpooling a zillion other kids and our kid would put him over the car-safety threshold. If only he had asked, my husband would have told him it would be no problem to strap our kid to the hood (he’s liberal like that).

After a while I heard the sounds of children’s voices from outside the house. It turned out this poor man (Thanks Ray, we still owe you for that one!) had to walk all 7 or 8 or whatever number it was, children to our house to drop our kid off, and then walk them all back to school where his car was parked, before driving them all home. To say he was gracious is an understatement. I suspect we aren’t his favorite people of the year.

My kiddo walked in the door and saw me and my ankle and realized things were not good. He (sweetly) asked me if he could get me anything. “Ice, towel and nail polish,” was my reply.

He didn’t question me, but my husband was incredulous when he arrived home and saw me stretching over in serious pain, in a valiant effort to paint my toenails.

“What are you doing?” he asked, “I know, I know, don’t answer that. You’re painting your toenails even though you are in obvious pain, because you don’t want to go to the hospital and have people looking at your foot un-manicured. I’m right aren’t I?”

My face was the only answer he needed. “You’re insane,” he responded, “completely insane. I can’t believe I married someone as crazy as you, frankly it speaks volumes about my mental health….” he sighed... “Let’s get you to the hospital.”

Having yet to visit an Australian hospital to test the system out, he was quite excited to see what ‘free’ healthcare looked like (especially given he wasn’t the guinea pig).

I think he quietly suspected there would be sick and dying people lying in the hallways, bright yellow warning tape across various rooms and a severe shortage of painkillers along with people screaming in agony and a mild infestation of roaches.  With that expectation, he was destined to be pleasantly surprised.

This is the same ankle, about 4 hours ‘post-incident’.

Here’s how it went:

5:15pm. Hubby goes into emergency and is followed out by a nurse with a wheelchair. I am taken straight into a private room where they took all my details, level of pain, how it happened, given pain meds etc.

5:25pm. Sent to X-ray. Told they were waiting for me there and given directions for how to navigate our way around the hospital to find it.

5:30pm: Arrive at X-ray. Hubby left me to get a snack for our son since we figured I’d be waiting a while.

5:40pm: I call hubby to rush back, they are ready to take me in

5:45pm: X-ray completed. We are told to wait right where we are. The X-rays would be developed and digitals emailed through to the orthopedic surgeon.

5:52pm: Radiologist comes out with our X-rays, tells us to go back to the original check in area, and the orthopedic surgeon would call my name. We head back but are intercepted in the hallway by the surgeon who is waiting for us, and taken to a private room to talk.

5:55pm: Surgeon shows me the X-rays and talks about what happened. I have torn ligaments in my ankle, it would have been better if I had broken it he tells me. Ligaments take as long to heal – often longer…blah, blah, blah. (It’s all sucky news.)

6:05pm He goes to get crutches for me and fits me for them and wraps my foot. Gives me extra wraps and bandages and pain killers and tells me to rest, ice, elevate etc and come back if I have anymore trouble.

6:12pm: As we are leaving the doctor tells me if the pain is really bad, to ‘swig a couple of pain pills down with a scotch or something.’ (I think he was joking, but later in the evening, I briefly consider taking his advice.)

6:18pm: we walk out of the hospital with my husband actually asking the lady at the front desk where the billing department is. She looks at him like he’s a little slow in the head. “There is no billing department” she answers “There is no payment for these services.

He’s giddy with joy, like a kid in a candy store. It was almost amusing.

6:25pm: We are in the car and on our way home with me having narrowly missed losing my life in front of an ambulance pulling in, due to my lack of co-ordination with the crutches. I suspect another accident in the near future if my crutch ability is anything to go by. (No one warns you just how much coordination is required to use those things!)

6:26pm: My husband excitedly announces that its “awesome” we got crutches for free and when I am done with them he’s selling them on eBay -declaring that this ‘accident’ of mine will end up being a profitable venture for our family.

6:27pm: I witheringly explain to him that no one in Australia will actually buy the crutches, because we can all get the for free from the medical community anytime we need them.

6:28pm: He seems visibly disappointed and wonders out loud about  the shipping costs of sending crutches to the USA to sell to the poor sods there – where nothing in medicine is free.

Later that evening: “Do me a favor honey,” (he looked at me lovingly) “leave that jogging stuff to the professionals from now on…eh? Sometimes we just need to know our limitations in life, and this is clearly one of yours.”

I didn’t cook him dinner for a week.

24 hours ‘post incident’. I no longer have an ankle, its swallowed by the awesome swelling, along with most of my leg. The nice grey color reaches about 3/4 way up to my knee. Sexy, no?

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Mothers Day

1 Day old. Not much bigger than the BIC brand ballpoint pen shown on his back. 1 pound 7 ounces.

8 years ago, I had my first Mothers Day. My son was 3 months old at the time, but in reality, was not even due to have been born!

Born at 28 weeks he was not only 3 months premature, but small for gestational age (SGA). At 1 pound 11 ounces (765 grams) and dropping to 1 pound 7 ounces (652 grams) he was what is considered ‘micro-premmie’.

Micro premmies are babies born less than 2 pounds and/or less than 26 weeks gestation. The list that the doctors give you as a parent of a micro premmie of things that may be wrong with your child, is both large and fear-inducing.

70-75% survival rate with 50-60% of children having lasting disabilities, with a much larger proportion of boys than girls. Disabilities range from cerebral palsy, mental retardation, blindness, deafness, developmental delays, behavioral issues, and more.

Our son is 8 years old now, he is in 2nd grade and is on par for all his subjects, except Math and Art. He excels at Math and has won awards for his Artwork. His sports skills leave a little to be desired (but that is much more likely a result of being my son – a less co-ordinated person you probably could not find than me!)

He is smart, funny, kind and compassionate. He reads and writes well and is also learning both French and Japanese at school. He has no behavioral issues. He is our miracle boy!

He was placed on a ventilator the day he was born. A ventilator is a machine you often see that breathes for the person – it puffs air into the lungs via a tube. It it often means your child will be diagnosed with Chronic Lung Disease. (Something my son has been diagnosed with – though I suspect since our move to Aus, if he were to be re-evaluated he may have the diagnosis reversed – he’s so healthy here!)

Moments after birth, the doctors hand seemed so much larger than his head!

He spent a little over 3 months in the NICU and the fun times included (in addition to the day-to-day dramas) Pneumothorax (Collapsed lungs), Full Blood transfusion, various infections, feeding difficulties, almost daily bradycardia incidents (heart beating too slow), breathing stopping on various all-too-frequent occasions.

Fun stuff!

Holding Hands – holding my pinky finger the day after he was born

Holding babies these small is not usually an option right at the beginning, their skin is so fragile that movement and touch can be physically painful for them. ‘holding hands’ is the closest we got other than a few family photos for the first few days.

Nearly 3 weeks old and his fist still fits in daddys wedding ring

I wish I had taken this ring photo earlier, he was nearly 3 weeks old here. Had we taken it the first few days after birth he would have been wearing it as a bracelet. FYI my husband has small fingers, this ring is a size 7.5 women’s (I know this because I am a size 7 and this is only slightly large on me.)

Pacifier is getting smaller!

In the photo above he is nearly 4 weeks old! As you can see the pacifier is getting smaller….or maybe… he is getting bigger!

9 Weeks old! Pacifier is IN the mouth and shrinking!

And… a few weeks after he came home (4 months old) at just over 5 pounds:

Lastly, a photo take today.

8 years (almost to the day) that he was released from the hospital, and here is the very same brand and style of pen that was in the original photo. How 8 years changes things!

8 years old. The same brand of pen. How things change.

So Happy Mothers Day to me and all the mothers out there ! I have a happy, healthy, growing and thriving boy – what more could a mother ask for?

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It’s The Post About Nothing That Makes It Really Something

Unknown Cystic just wrote me a rather chastising comment bringing my attention to the fact that I had only written 3 posts this year.

Of course I made an un-spellable sound, something like pffftttttsshhh, and tossed my head as though the mere thought was absurd.

Then I logged onto my blog and began scrolling. Which, if you’re a regular reader here, you’ll know means that I didn’t even get one full swish on the Macbook mousepad in before I came to the end of my posts for 2012.

Because there were only 3 posts!!

I knew I had been neglectful of course, in fact I previously dedicated a whole post to my neglect, but I didn’t realize that I was four days from the 5th month of the year and only had three posts to show for it – meaning that I couldn’t even claim a post a month!

(A dismal failure in anyone’s world, but one that I was prepared to tell myself was acceptable.)

He told me to ‘just write about what’s happening in life’. So here I am, with nothing of value to say, but posting nonetheless.

I’ve been working on an article on Organic Chicken Farming for days. Days! It should have taken me about 2 hours at most. I cannot seem to make it come together. I have never farmed a chicken (organic or otherwise) so I know nothing about it. Of course this requires me to research it in-depth, and then write about it as if I know what I’m talking about. What fun! I hear you say.

My husband calls it the BS factor and says I have it. It’s one of the nicest compliments he’s given me this year. I’ll leave it to your imagination to decipher what the “BS” stands for.

So I’ve been toiling over this article – so much so that once its done my hourly rate will end up being less than I’d make working the drive-thru at McDonalds – I’m sure of it. But at least I’ll know all about how to farm chickens. One must always remember, the rewards are so much greater than what shows up in the bank account.

My sister interrupted my afternoon of floundering through figurative chickens and their coops, by sending me a copy of her resume and asking me to check for errors like spelling, grammar and these things: ; ‘ ” , . :. (that would be punctuation).

I started reading and her resume went something like this:

Degrees:

Administration

Business

Agriculture

Environmental Planning

Marketing

Law

Running the Country

Experience:

Administration

Corralling Bosses

Sorting Out Industrial Disputes

Solving Environmental Issues

Calming Down Psychotic Staff

Working with Big-Time Lawyers

Pacifying Angry Executives

Pretty Much Running The Country

The thing went on for about 15 pages and used intricate phrases I couldn’t even comprehend like, “….external stakeholders to ensure the organization meets its natural resource management outcomes…”

What the hell does that mean? What’s natural resource management and how does one measure the outcome?

All in all I ended up quite dizzy from the vast majority of complex information on the pages, and had to lie down for a spell. I rallied though and got myself through it, offering key support on the refinement of such an important document.

I contributed things like ‘this would look better with a comma’ and ‘there was a period missing there’ and my favorite, ‘if you switch these two words around, it will look much better.’

Vital stuff.

We all know when she applies for a job and gets it, who she’ll have to thank, don’t we? In typical family member fashion, I’m sure she wont be greasing my palms with my percentage of the salary increase though.

Just for kicks after I sent off my corrections, I pulled out my resume to review the past 20 years of my life. It went something like this:

Degrees:

None that count

Experience:

Rep for an (evil) Multi-National Pharmaceutical Company

Repped for an even more evil Big-Pharma Company

(got a company car and a business card and thought I’d hit the big time)

Moved to Ireland to drink beers with Will and Pamela at the Crown Bar

Moved to England (Cambridge) to drink beers with Wingnut at The Eagle Pub

Moved elsewhere in England (Near Oxford) to drink Tequila shots with Lucy and look after her children (a brilliant merge)

Moved to Denver, Colorado to elope with my (now) Husband

(seemed like a good idea at the time)

Started a business

Got pregnant and deathly ill and closed the business

Had a kid

Started another business

Sold it 2 years later for a very nice profit

(this was the pinnacle of my career, it’s all downhill from here)

Moved to Texas

Started to become green, Texas version of a hippie

Spent 2 years learning that Y’all means You all, and not some guy called “Yoll.”  (Y’all coming to dinner… Y’all welcome to use the pool, Y’all going on vacation. For a long time I thought I had just never met “Yoll.” but knew he was sitting pretty when it came to the invitation department. Seemed everyone, everywhere wanted him around!)

Started Writing with some Focus

Moved to Australia

Decided it was a great idea to study 4 degrees at once

Current Day:

Realized my sister is 8 years younger than me and has achieved more than I will in the next 40 years!

As you can see, if its good times and fascinating stories you’re after, I’m your girl. But if it’s an educated woman with a brain, my sister might be a little more up your alley.

Still, we can’t all be smart, who would all the men marry?  Who would fulfill the black sheep roles?

Every role is important, lets face it, we all really value that our trash collector comes every Wednesday. He is a vital part of our world, he is not unimportant!

I’ll leave you with that deep thought.

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Beauty or Brains?

If someone can show me the full-amenity indoor bathroom and tell me the number to dial for turn-down service, this is the kind of camping I could get excited about.

My sister and I are about 8 years apart in age and we are vastly different beings.

I am older and wiser. (ie. I have more grey hair and love handles). She is blonde (with the help of a little Loreal) and I am brunette. She is short (5 foot even – though she claims 5′ 2″- and we all nod and smile encouragingly while rolling our eyes at each other behind her back), and I am tall(er) at 5′ 5″. I’m know I was 5′ 6″ at one point but I seem to have somehow shrunk over the years, and I have no idea where the inch went.

It’s generally agreed that she got the looks in the family and I got the brains. (By ‘generally agreed,’ I mean by me.)

My father and my mother seem to think she got both the looks and brains and I’ve just pretty much wasted my prime years perusing J Crew cataloges and visiting Anthropologie stores while mastering the complexities of social media and decorating houses. But what are parents for if not to blow their opinions off as senile and absurd? So that’s what I do.

Our grandmother won’t commit on subjects like these, she’s considered our family’s version of Switzerland and will probably take her true opinions with her to the grave, and I love her all the more for it.

Regardless, for the purpose of this post my sister is the pretty-but-sometimes-dense member of the family. With that in mind, I’d like to recount to you a conversation we had recently.

My sister rented a cabin in our town with some girlfriends and spent the week doing what young women do best; eating out, sleeping in, drinking cocktails and lying on the beach sun bathing. At the end of the week her friends left town she came to stay with us for the weekend, before heading back to her life in her own town a few hours away.

We went out to lunch together and were chatting about her week, when I asked her about the accommodations at the cabin. I am not a fan of any kind of camping – especially when it’s made to sound like it’s a more exclusive experience than camping – like when people call it a cabin but what they really mean is a tent with firmer walls.

To me, unless your cabin has a/c, cable TV, fancy soaps in the bathroom and daily maid service – it’s camping – and no fancy siding or stylish roof line will convince me otherwise.

We had started this discussion about how cabins were still roughing it (in my world) before she went on the trip, and she had tried to convince me of the luxurious level of these particular cabins, adding that they even had air conditioning! I have to be honest it had impressed me, so now I wanted to know what other luxuries were on offer that I didn’t know about.

I mentioned the a/c and asked how the stay was overall, her response went something like this:

The first day we got there there was a horrible smell in the cabin (just as I suspected – glammed up camping is still camping!) and there was no air conditioning or seaside views as had been promised in the photos when we booked, so we went up to the reception area and complained. They responded instantly, assuring us they would move us to a suitable replacement.

We went out that day and when we got back they had moved all our stuff for us into a nicer, more modern cabin, and it did have the a/c wall unit and the ocean views from the deck, so we were pleased.

We got changed and showered and decided to go out for the night and in preparation of our homecoming later, we turned on the a/c to full power to make sure the cabin was nice and cool when we got home and we were trying to sleep.

We got home many hours later (it was a big night!) about 3am, and the place was stinking hot and smelled of something burning!  We had to open the windows to let the hot summer night air in, just to be able to breathe comfortably.

We had seen a sign on the a/c unit asking us to never leave it on when we were out of the cabin, but we had ignored it, assuming it was a cost-saving measure. Now we were panicking, had we done something to the unit leaving it on for so long in our absence?

Had running it for so long unattended somehow overheated the unit? We didn’t want to get into trouble or have to pay for it, so we turned it off and sweltered our way through the rest of the week without mentioning it to the staff.”

The day we left when returning the keys, the guy at the front desk asked if our stay lived up to our expectations?

I made the comment that the a/c hadn’t worked for the entire stay and the guy looked at me with confusion. “we don’t have a/c in our cabins” he said.

I argued with him, “I saw it in the photos when booking online, and we definitely have one, it just wasn’t working.”

“I can assure you, none of our cabins come with a/c.” he responded. I started to get irritated, thinking that instead of offering an apology or some kind of refund, he was being difficult and rude. “Well, what do you call the big unit with the on/off switch on the wall that blows out air?” I retorted.

He looked at me with a huge grin. “I call it a heater. All our premier cabins come with those.” “Oh,” I said, “Well, that explains the burning smell…”

I know the guy at the desk was going to enjoy the memory for the rest of the afternoon, so humiliating!

This story sent me into gales and gales of laughter, because of course it proved my point. There is no such thing as luxury camping, or camping with amenities, and that’s why no one will ever get me out there.

Ever.

Even better, it proved my point that despite my parents obvious disappointment at my lack of achievements in life, I’m still the smarter one.

As an added benefit, I get to repeat this story to all her friends and future children over the coming decades – not to mention the blogosphere – and we can all have a chuckle at her expense. As a sibling, it just doesn’t get much better than that.

Disclaimer: My sister has a very important job earning lots of money and by all accounts her boss thinks she is brilliant. Still, she’s my little sister, so to me she will never be allowed to be smarter than me – it’s simply not possible – right Beck? ;)

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