Tuesday, 30 May 2017

So the girls moved out for a bit

The snowflake above has nothing to do with this post.  Only that it's forecast to be wintry and cold this week down here in Melbourne, and I like this photo!

Meanwhile, one of my dearest friends and her two adult children are winging their way to England right now, to visit with family and enjoy an English summer.  Well..that's a bit of a misnomer, isn't it?  Day time temperatures of 23C isn't really summer, to my mind.  Pleasant, but not the heat we get.  So my girls are off on their second house-sitting experience.  I joke, often, about anticipating their fully fledged flight into adulthood that will come with moving out of home.  One day.  They love the opportunity to have a go at moving out and being all adult-ish.  Of course, Miss Mischief will be back for a bit on Wednesday, so I can help her download Microsoft Office on her new Mac.  They're never totally gone for long!

As much as I love the girls being independent and all on their own, I've realised something just slightly distressing.  My in-house chef and dishwashing helpers have gone with them!  On Sunday I asked Mr Busy what he'd look to eat and cook, and guess what?  It's just you and me in the kitchen for the next few weeks.  His whole body slumped, and I slumped along with him.  It's one thing to housesit on the school holidays, but during the term?  Not so great.  I'm battling thoughts of "but no one is home...why bother cooking?"  How silly.  More of us are here than not, and yet just two being out feels positively vacant around here.

When I got home from work yesterday the house was utterly dark.  Warm....but blacked out.  Mr Busy was holed up in his room, as he typically is, but no one had turned on the lights!  At least he put the heater on!  At 6.00pm, just after I got home, we were rummaging about in the freezer searching for something quick and containing some version of helpful nutrition.

Not only is cooking and the dishes an issue, but also, who will take Mr Busy to church on Friday night?  I'm not even home before he needs to be there.  Girls to the rescue, I think.  Just as well they haven't gone too far away!

One perk:  a regular meal will do us two nights.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Thinking outside the box...

Have you ever had a problem, that called for some creative problem-solving?  I found myself in this exact position this week.

For the last eight, or so, years I've been wrangling two bags back and forth from school every day.  One for my laptop and folders and papers, and one for my lunch, charging cables, handbag, and all the things that didn't fit in my laptop bag.  This weekend I decided there must surely be a more efficient way to cart my stuff back and forth so Miss Mischief and I set off to find the perfect teacher bag.  Because it seems that teachers have some pretty specific needs when it comes to a bag.

I lifted this bag down from a shelf, thinking that it looked like a pretty good size and shape, and it had plenty of pockets around the outside.  Guess what little surprise I discovered?  This perfect bag is actually a nappy bag.  Yes, you read that right!  A nappy bag.  It has a ton of pockets inside as well and, as it turns out, fits absolutely everything except my lunch bag.

I love, love, love this bag with it's floral lining, waterproof exterior and the ton of pockets both inside and out.

It didn't phase me one little bit, buying a nappy bag, because I just needed a bag that suited my work needs.  The older shop assistant seemed to think it odd to consider a nappy bag as a work bag.  The younger shop assistant said "oh yes, I use that exact bag for work too".

When I told my class about my shopping adventure they thought it was hilarious that my bag is a nappy bag.  Except now it's not.  I'll give the change mat to a colleague and then it's just a bag, with a pretty lining.

Got an 'outside the box' problem-solving story?  I'd love to hear it!

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Surgery...Dinner...Shopping... Oh My!

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What a week.  Again!

Miss Mischief had her hand surgery yesterday.  We were there all day, getting home late afternoon.  She handled the whole thing so well, and seems totally fine with very little post-op pain.  Her biggest complaint was that I forbade her from going to life group (the one she leads).  We'll see the surgeon again in a couple of weeks to see what he has to say.  Today she was happy to come shopping with me, but did admit that walking around wasn't so comfortable, since having her hand swinging normally wasn't that great of an idea.  A sling would have been good!

The picture above is exactly how our dinner looked tonight.  My hubby adores Malaysian Char Kway Teow - a spicy rice noodle dish.  Truthfully, he has trained us all well, and we all adore it.  When I was shopping for Mr Busy's birthday present I found a teensy tiny hole-in-the-wall sized Asian supermarket at one of the shopping centres "near" us (they're all 1/2 hour away).  I picked up some fresh rice noodles and fish cakes, so they became Char Kway Teow tonight.  Oh my.  It was soooo good!  Better than the Chinese restaurant in Our Town.  We're pretty picky and Dh is quite the connoisseur, so it's a little sad that this recipe was better than theirs!  In any case, there are some leftovers, so lunch on Monday!!!  The recipe I used this time was from the SBS website, and it is an absolute keeper.  I used way less fish sauce, because we don't love it *that* much.  Also, I couldn't find dark soy sauce in my local Woolworths, so I used kecap manis and omitted the sugar.  Oh, and I used samal olek instead of the whole thing with the dried chilis, because same-same, but easier.  Obviously there is exactly zero times that I don't mess with the original recipe!!  In any case, if you love Malaysian food, try this recipe!

I'm going to take some photos and post about the results of my shopping trip today.  I finally got a new teacher bag!!!  I love, love, love this bag.  It is exactly and totally perfect.  I have been carting about a laptop bag, and then a second bag with my handbag and lunch and charging cables etc etc, plus all the papers and folders that sometimes just don't fit in my laptop bag.  No more!  One bag and it's done.  The solution was a surprise, in the end, and a lesson to promote thinking outside the box.  I will post all about it early next week.  I just want it to be Monday so I can use it already!

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

And the haemorrhage continues...

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Last week began with a new heater and a new TV.  This week will end with a surgery.  The superstitious amongst us say bad things come in three's.  I dunno...the year thus far seems to be a running tally of things (more than 3!) on which to spend lots of money I didn't want to spend!

I can't remember whether I've said anything about Miss Mischief's hand/wrist.  Suffice to say that a tussle over chocolate with her big sister was totally not worth it!  Two years later, after much pain and  exhausting all other possible treatment options Miss Mischief is headed for surgery on Friday.  We both have mixed feelings about this.  Relieved that the end is in sight, and surgery will reset the healing process and resolve the problem.  Grateful that our health insurance enables her to have the surgery immediately....no waiting list required!  Hopeful that everything goes exactly as the surgeon explained.  And then a bit sad.  Disappointed that prayer hasn't healed her.  Concerned, because every surgery comes with risks.  Sad that this amazing, knowledgeable, experienced, skilled surgeon will be cutting into my precious girl.

And yet.

There have been delightful moments.  Like when we went to book in, Miss Mischief thought it was like making any other appointment - we tell them, not them tell us, when to be there.  She was gently schooled in the ways of booking surgery.  I still giggle at her beautiful innocent naiveté.  I gain a day out of the classroom, in which I can concentrate on my next assignment, because there will be nothing else for me to do while I wait.  I have had to "forbid" Miss Mischief from her usual Friday night responsibilities...she doesn't know that you don't bounce from a GA like you do when you're 4yo.  She might sleep for 24 hours.  She might feel nauseous.  She certainly won't be able to drive for up to two days.

We're having some fragile, tender moments this week, the two of us.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

A Very Expensive Day

Yesterday was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for the poor ol' bank account.  The photo above is the temperature in my house, as I type.  It's gone up 2C since I got up to put the little fan heater on.

Because yesterday was the exciting day we installed a new ducted heating unit.  The previous one spent the whole of winter just stopping.  Every couple of weeks it would just decide it needed a break and just stop working.  Dh is the only one who knows how to deal with the pouty attitude displayed by this appliance, that refused to fulfil its purpose in life.  So we had a new one installed yesterday.  By 6pm, when I got home, it decided it didn't want to work either.  Maybe it thinks it is too good for this 20yo old house?  The guy who installed it is onto the problem, so maybe by the end of the day we'll have heat.  It is a whole 6C outside right now, so something bigger than a mini-sized fan heater would be wonderful.

On top of that, the TV decided to cark it yesterday too.  It's like all the appliances have banded together to stage a mass protest.  I expect the fridge and the water heater to join in the plan any day now.  But the TV?  It has been doing this weird thing where it just loses the plot and has a very loud, very fuzzy hissy fit, right after it gets turn on.  It's a bit like a toddler doing the "dead fly" impression in a temper tantrum.  After a few minutes, though, it usually settles down (unlike toddlers).  Following yesterday's hissy fit, and taking its sweet time to decide to be turned off, it just wouldn't turn back on.

Today's jobs?  Buy a new TV....because apparently there will be zero days on which there is no television in this house.  This has happened before, the day Mr Busy scared a TV into refusing to turn on (he was 4yo and was playing with the on/off button; he (we) lost).  Out we went and got a TV that day.  Being here for Mr Heater man to come back and sort that beast out.

So here's the maths for this year:
new car for Miss Sunshine + new heater + new TV = no new kitchen any time this year 😭

The year began with such high hopes.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

My Kingdom for Some Tights...That Stay Up!

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Once upon a time I used to buy these wonderful opaque tights.  They were perfect.  The right weight. The right size.  The right staying-up ability.  Because once upon a time they made opaque tights with control tops.  You just put them on and they stayed exactly where you left them:  on your hips.

Last winter I needed to buy new tights, because the old ones finally carked it.  And so began my quest for a basic winter essential, that didn't up around my knees by the time I got to work.  Are you hearing frustrated?  I bet you're feeling the same!  The tights I used to buy were from Woolworths (see, I'm training myself not to say Safeway....I'm getting better-ish).  When I went back last winter I discovered they had changed their "recipe".  No more control top.

In fact, there are no control-top tights to be had anywhere.  So began my quest for keeping my tights UP.  A very smart colleague (who is young, so obviously this is something the younger crowd have sorted), shared that she goes "superman style" because tights just don't stay up.  Ugh.  The only thing strong enough for the downward pressure of gravity on tights is shape wear type garments.  Regular undies don't seem to be quite up to the job.  That's a day of pretty high pressure!!!!  But she was right.

Since it's nearing winter and the days are headed back into the teens for top temperatures, I'm finding myself googling "control top opaque tights" again.  Let me tell you, the results thus far are not so great.

So here's my question to you, dear reader:  have you found opaque tights that actually stay up, that are currently available somewhere in a store.  Or online.  Or via pigeon post (see how desperate I am?)?  Please share!  What do you buy?  Where do you buy them?