Rocky Mountains holiday

January 23, 2014

wow!  a post about some actual travel!  he he he.

on saturday 21 december 2013 we finished packing our bags, which included a frustrating trip to a variety of shops trying to secure some ski pants and jackets for paul and i.  one would think these sorts of clothes would be sold at road side stalls, not to mention nearly every real store, in canada.  but not so.  perhaps because they are expensive items.  never mind we met with success in the end.

mid afternoon we drove to the crowne plaza airport hotel.  i’d found what i figured was a super deal that included a nite’s accommodation, free transfer to and from the airport and up to 22 days car parking for $79.  since a cab ride between our house and the airport is upward of $80 staying at the hotel looked very attractive, as it also saved us getting into a taxi at 4am, our flight being at 6:30am.  and on the way home we landed at midnite and getting into our own car was much more appealing than trying to cram into a taxi.

we were very lucky to get out of toronto as over nite was the beginning of the minus 40 ice storm that hit the city for the next week.  we were delayed so landed in calgary a few hours later than expected.  having a four hour flight was so much nicer than a ten or more hour one.  what a breeze!  following my strongly-worded exchange with enterprise car hire after a previous very disappointing and stupid hire, we picked up our head office booked hire car, at appeasingly reduced cost, with ease.

we spent the rest of the day looking about calgary.  on monday 23rd we enjoyed lunch in the revolving restaurant at the top of the calgary tower.  the sun was shining strongly and the view of the rocky mountains was incredible.  in the afternoon i was banished, with no explanation, from our hotel room, alone.  was very happy to sit in the sun in the lobby and read my new donna tart book.  (another top effort from a very talented author i will add.)

perhaps half an hour later percy arrived to summon me back.  clearly i knew something was about to happen for my birthday.  being the luddite i am it never occurred to me that that something would be a multiple skype call with some of my dearest friends from around the world!  big, big kudos to paul for arranging the correct cabling with the hotel prior to our arrival and working out the time differences to hook up with people in calgary (us), sydney, melbourne, brisbane, cardiff and den hague.  i cried.  best birthday present ever.

the following day we drove further west into the embrace of the towering rocky mountains.  rather than sticking to the main highway thru banff and on to lake louise we took the old, far more relaxed and scenic route.  absolutely amazing to drive thru dark, snow covered forests, ever on the look out for wolves and elk, sadly bears would be hibernating.  We stopped a couple of times to take photos and admire the frozen river.  Tally even got to make yellow hollows in the snow!  (not up to writing his name yet.)

Arriving at the fairmount chateau lake louise was a lot like arriving into a fairy tale.  it’s such an iconic canadian and mountain place; what person doesn’t know the image of the hotel standing on the moraine at the end of the glacial lake, and doesn’t also connect it to canada and the rockies?   i loved it.  if i had a bucket list, this would have been a very large tick off it.

into the two days we stayed at the chateau (had we been richer we probably would have stayed the full seven nites there, as it was the two nites cost as much as the five other nites, staying elsewhere, did combined) we crammed skating on the frozen lake louise, a horse sleigh (with jingle bells!) ride, our first gingerbread house making and decorating, tobogganing down the steep hill side towards the icy lake, delicious dinners, swimming in the indoor heated pool, extensive breakfasts, mug after mug of hot chocolates, mulled wine for paul, a quick chat with santa, opening presents, snowy walks in the forest and listening to and admiring the carollers in the lobby.  tho i think the electric train set in the lobby, running thru it’s little alpine village setting captured tally’s heart more than the singing.

after giving the credit card a heart attack we said farewell to lake louise and headed for banff.  but first a detour along the trans-canada highway and the icefield parkway.  perhaps percy and tally were starting to get a bit; “oh, another mountain?” bored but paul and i loved the crags and peaks and snow and forests.  the icefields parkway is rated as one of the most scenic drives in the world.  and in summer, if we had been going to jasper anyways we would have ooh-ed and ah-ed our way along it’s entire length.  but we were headed to banff, in the other direction, and in winter all the side roads to lakes, camp sites, walking trails and lookouts were closed.  unfortunately we couldn’t even get down to lake minnewanka.  apparently it is not pronounced that way.  we turned about and headed back…

our hotel/apartment in banff had a kitchen and a separate bedroom!  what money-saving luxuries.  we didn’t have to eat every meal out.  importantly i could read at bedtime with a door between the supposed-to-be-sleeping kids and us!  banff is a very attractive little town.  the main street and it’s feeders are filled with cafes and restaurants, galleries and gift shops.  all for the tourist market i’m sure but the locals would get the benefit in the low seasons.  paul said he would be quite content to move in permanently.  what with all the skiing, skating, paddling, hiking, exploring, horse riding, dining, mountain biking, rafting, fossicking, rock climbing… phew… to do, it would be a very outdoor and energetic place to live.  unfortunately i had to explain that it would be very unlikely that he would be allowed to buy a house there.  banff, being within a world heritage listed national park, has very strict rules about development and ownership.  for one you cannot buy a property there, you buy the house and lease the land it stands on; two, you cannot inherit a property in banff (i assume ownership of the house reverts to parks canada if someone dies) and three, kind of the clincher, you have to have a very good reason to live in banff- like you provide a service/business that no-one else does.  i’m not sure commercial property software development is so required in banff, given the lack of property owning companies headquartered there.

we went skiing at mount norquay on our first day in banff.  tally had a one hour lesson first up, after which paul, who declined a lesson, looked after him, while percy and i finished our two hour lessons.  i did ok, remembering sort of how it’s done and not falling over once.  i also lucked out (in?) that in my group lesson, only i turned up, essentially turning it into a cheap private lesson; with andre from norway whose been skiing since he was five, competitively since his teens.  i’m pretty much over my aversion to everyone younger than me being able to do everything better than me.  (bet he’d make a lousy town planner!)

after lunch tally just wasn’t keen on skiing.  never mind, it was his first time.  mount norquay lived up to its blurb of being family friendly accepting tally into the day care centre for the remainder of our skiing afternoon.  he had such a good time he kicked up a big fuss when it was time to leave.  meanwhile… paul scooted up and down the big runs while percy and i stuck to the beginner hill.  we would have had to buy an upgraded lift pass for percy and i and it didn’t seem worth it as we weren’t confident percy would ride the chair lifts happily (getting off always being harder than getting on) and i was happy to stay with her because she was actually being delightful, smiling and cheering and starting to get a bit zoomier with every run.  i’m so happy percy had a go and stuck to practicing at skiing.  not because i particularly want her to become an expert skier but because she often doesn’t want to stick to something.

the following day we paid a visit to the whyte museum of the canadian rockies in the morning and went dog sledding in the afternoon.  the whyte museum, while small i thought was quite good and informative.  shame percy and tally are still able to whip thru a museum at lightening speed and then get monumentally bored if the grown-ups are done with it too.  little shits!

our dog sledding company picked us up from the hotel at 1pm and drove us back and thru the town of canmore to lake… lake… (bugger, i’ve forgotten the name of the lake, something with a “sp”)  anyways, waiting there were over 50 dogs all yelping and barking at the top of their lungs!  yikes!  tally seemed a little shy.  fair enough too he wasn’t much taller than the dogs.  and while he likes dogs perhaps that many, making that much noise was a bit overwhelming for him.  not so percy!  as soon as we’d been assigned a musher and a team she was in patting and saying hi and getting in the way.  she helped put a couple of the dogs in their harnesses, all four of us bundled into one sled with, in my opinion, an inadequate comforter over the top of us.  paul sat at the back, me between his legs, percy between mine and tally at the front.  we were off!  it was awesome.  those dogs look a little scrawny to start with but they can pull.  a little eerily once the dogs start pulling they shut up.  swishing thru the forest, only the sleds runners making a susurration against the snow the magic of dog sledding becomes apparent.  how independent, how quiet, how quick… almost surreal.

to bring you back to reality, seven dogs, working hard, trussed to a sled, fart and shit a lot, right in your face!  pewwweeee!  ha ha ha.

not long after we started out we pulled up, percy climbed out and stood at the back with our musher.  he told her what to say to the dogs; we were off again.  on the uphills she jumped off and ran to help push.  awesome kid.  it became a bit of joke that whoever was mushing, paul and percy took turns (tal was too little, and i opted to stay with him) wasn’t pushing hard enough on the uphills.  “use your muscles, percy!”, “push harder, papa!”

our final day we took the banff gondola to the top of sansons peak to look out and get ripped off at lunch.  ridiculously expensive, crappiest buffet i’ve ever had.  lesson to always ask the price beforehand.  we figured our last holiday meal, let’s not squibble, let’s have a nice hot lunch.  what crap.  should have bought sandwiches at the café instead.

the gondola ride was exciting.  it’s pretty high off the ground and watching the support poles approach always brings butterflies to your stomach with the thoughts; “we’re not got to make that…” or “one strong puff of wind and we’ll fall right off this little bit of string.” (metal cable the thickness of my arm.)  at the top of sanson’s peak is a board walk to the 1903 built weather observatory and cosmic ray station.  peering thru the windows into the little hut, thru over a hundred years of time made me very thankful that i wasn’t a meteorologist back then, and that the gondola has since been built to ferry people and stuff to the top; no hiking for days to measure the wind speed and the temperature!

back down, back to the car, back to calgary.  paul had previously downloaded the ‘gypsy guide’ self guided tours for the routes we were taking.  we listened to the interesting tours thru the car sound system on the way up and back.  very clever idea those guides.

dumb gps took us the long way to the airport, via the most out of the way petrol station. (i’m sure you do already know, but never take a hire car back without a full tank of petrol.)  returned the now filthy car and headed into the airport, early.  early!  who arrives early for a flight?  it’s already bad and boring enough to wait around such long periods of time when you’re on time, never mind early.  but, as regularly happens, perc and tal found some other little kids waiting for their flight too.  toys were swapped and time was passed.  we flew home having missed the week long ice storm that hit toronto and left hundreds of thousands of people without heat or power for days.  the hotel transfer bus dropped us back at the crowne plaza and while i waited in the nice warm indoors with the luggage and the kids paul went out in freezing midnite temperatures to collect the car.  i’m a very poor ‘waiter’, paul of course had it worse being outside but i’m not much call for doing nothing.  i had envisioned the car would be covered in immovable ice, with a dead battery.  so with great relief, and quite quickly i’m sure too, i saw paul pull up outside.  yippee!  luggage, kids in, quick stop for milk and bread, home by 1:45am.

now for a nice long sleep in.  sssnnnooorrrrrrrre.   what’s that percy?  it’s morning?  santa was here while we were away?!  go back to bed…  yeah, right!

living in a motorhome

August 30, 2013

for five fantastic, furious nites we flew from london to andover, stongehenge, bath, cardiff, stirling, burghead, edinburgh, buxton and back to london in a hired motorhome.  i loved the trip, i loved my new family that i either met for the first time or got to know more, i loved the places we got to see (albeit very quickly), i loved taking percy and tally (despite some meltdowns) and i loved doing it all with paul.

i categorily did not love doing it in a motorhome!  perhaps if it was your own motorhome and you had tricked it out the way that suits you it might be ok.  but that broken piece of crap that we hired?  no, i don’t think so.

i admit it was convenient to have a tincy wincy kitchen and something approximating a bathroom along for the ride.  however the bathroom was just too small and it stank no matter how we cleaned it and emptied the toilet cartridge.  and driving those suckers is scary!  we specifically got the smallest one we reasonably could that could still sleep the four of us, and it was still enormous feeling.  i can’t really complain on the driving front tho because paul did all the driving.  i’ve neglected to learn to drive a manual transmission. (not that i care; i don’t drive a car for the experience of moving my arms and legs, i drive to see what’s along the way and to get somewhere).  nearly every rental vehicle of whatever sort, in the uk, is a manual.

on two mornings, when we wanted to vamoose quickly to get to the next destination it was nice to leave the kids asleep in the back and drive off.  (illegal i’m sure and potentially very dangerous.)  one morning i climbed in with them and actually fell back asleep until paul pulled up at a roadside stop adjacent to a river, in the lakes district, for breakfast.  it was perfect.  he drove for an extra three hours, out of our way, just because i said i wanted to visit the lakes district.  after breakfast we went wading in the river.  it was quite fast flowing tho, and pretty cool, so no all-in swimming.  this is something you can’t do staying in hotels.  pulling up where you please, when you please…  i suppose there are advantages to motorhome holidays.

motorhomes in the uk are freaky when you get off the highways.  the little byways and lanes are the pretty places… oh my, did we see some pretty places!  postcard perfect views and vistas, old pubs and homes covered in vines and flowers, tumbling streams, fluffy black-faced sheep, steep tree-less hills, mirror lakes, castles, manor homes, follies, stone walls as far as the eye could see…  i’m in love.  but those little lanes are often lined with those dang stone walls, or tall, thick hedges, only a few centimetres from where the bitumen ends.  hence no room for error, or moving over when an even bigger motorhome or truck comes the other way!  i think paul did admirably well not requiring a change of underpants on more than one occasion.

once we’re back on oz i’d really like to take a few months and go round and thru and over our home country.  quite possibly a 4wd motorhome would be a great option to do this in.  even the smaller lanes in australia aren’t hemmed in like the british ones.  plus we could get an auto transmission one more easily i suspect, and hence share the driving.  this is a long term plan tho.  we’ll be well broke once home, and have a house to build…  hmmmm.  plus i’d like percy and tally to be a couple of years older, so they can appreciate our wide brown land and all its myriad inhabitants.  and that getting a few months off school is a big deal!

ok, i certainly couldn’t live happily in a motorhome but perhaps i could holiday in one, in the right circumstances, again.

uk trip 2013 – home now

August 13, 2013

we had a really good fortnite in the uk.  there were a couple of down moments with the kids behaviour but all-in-all i think everyone got some good things from the trip.

we’ve been home and week and half now and i clearly haven’t gotten back to a post a day.  oops.  this week percy and tally are at summer camp during the day.  i have lots of time to write.  and do the other things that are far easier done without kids about.  for instance, i got my hair cut this morning.  first time in about a year i think, maybe longer.  and i’m going to the dentist in a half hour.  yesterday i cleaned the kids bathroom!  they were in essence using it as a wet play room.  dinosaurs and paints everywhere.  they mostly shower and brush their teeth in our ensuite.  who needs three full bathrooms?  we do because lots of our lovely friends are going to visit and take up the spare space, aren’t they lovely friends??!!

i’ll write more about the trip soon but i’m busy plotting our next one, and still tidying up from the last and am kinda not motivated yet.  besides, in two weeks, the most one can say of a flying trip around england and scotland is, “i need more time!”

saturation

July 12, 2013

once again, i’m ‘fessing up to failures in my being a fantastic parent.

i’d like to pose this question… name one person in your life that you would happily spend every single waking moment with?  no, i can’t either.  if being fantastic includes happily spending every waking second of your day in the company of your child/ren, and every sleeping second poised to leap into action at their need, i am decidedly not fantastic.

(i’d happily spend around half of every day with paul.  for example; he knows when i’m removing things from my body, whether it be shit, snot, hair, toe nail gunk or anything else- THE BATHROOM IS OFF LIMITS!  percy and tally haven’t grasped this yet.)

time for the usual disclaimer… i love them, i adore them, i would do anything for them,  yadda yadda yadda.  right, now that is off my/our chest/s.  back to reality.

being a stay at home mum, particularly when you’ve no natural penchant for it, is demanding.  add in not even bothering to look for work, not studying, no house to renovate and my favourite (nearly only) hobby being reading, something that can’t enjoyably be done with two kids a maximum of ten metres and/or the next meal away, and i’ve reached saturation point.

no, i’m not bothering to look for work because there is zippo chance of anyone giving me meaningful employment when i’m only available between school hours on tuesdays, thursdays and every other friday.  i did start looking at courses in town planning today.  not being familiar with planning in canada, and not working in the field at all for the past two years a diploma or something like that seems a good idea.  i should probably bone up on the aussie system, i think it’s changed considerably since i did anything meaningful in it.

i’d write more.  actual stories, even a novel, or short pieces to submit to magazines but i can’t write with the constant interruptions.  others can maybe, i can’t.  writing could be done during school hours, only two days a week.  we’ll see come sept.  i’m also intending to hunt down the toronto chapter or guild of bookbinders.

paul is due home in 20 minutes, the babysitter about 40 minutes after that, and then for three hours i can tip some goo out of the saturation bucket.  funnily enough, or stupidly enough, that goo is made of love, care, concern, hope and a fair amount of guilt.  i’m not a fantastic parent but i still think no-one can be a better mother to percy and tally than me.

book recommendation

June 20, 2013

am most of the way thru reading “It’s OK to NOT Share… and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids”, by heather shumaker.  remarkably i’m going to enthusiastically recommend this book to everyone.  i’m not a person to recommend things.  i figure most people are smart enough to figure out what they want and need and how to get it, they don’t need an amateur like me making off-the-mark recommendations.

clearly i’m breaking a mold now.  i do really think it’s worth it.  the ideas in this book are great and annoyingly self-evident once you’ve had them pointed out to you.  i’m thinking of handing one over to tally’s kindergarten teacher along with him in september.  won’t that make me popular!?

percy has already taken one practice from the book to heart- “i don’t have to play with you if i don’t want to!”  gets her away from tally when she’s had enough of three year old boy for the day.

anyways, if you feel like reading it, it may make sense to you and may make your kids make a bit more sense to you and it may help you sort thru or accept some kid things that were troubling you or were difficult to manage.  i particularly like putting power and emphasis back in the hands and minds of the kids.  they more they can do themselves the lazier i can be!  that’s not true actually as parents need to be aware and involved, calm and ready to prompt, help and lead all the time.

there’s a few things in the book i’m not entirely comfortable with.  for instance i’m not going to be loading our house with toy guns.  not happening, not necessary.  overall, very pleased i stumbled across this.

AWOL

June 18, 2013

being a parent doesn’t really allow for going awol.  i know that sentence doesn’t make sense; going awol isn’t an allowed thing in the first place, that’s why it’s awol.

sometimes it would be so nice to be absent.  absent from being constantly on call, needed, whined at, required, in attendance, on watch, alert (even alarmed), aware, present…  no-one can manage sanity and 24 hour vigilance.

particularly when you’re sick.

i got a bit of a head cold a week ago.  it largely cleared up by the weekend, but came back with a vengeance last nite.  i snorted and snuffled and snored and thrashed about so much i drove paul to the spare bed!  (suppose it’s lucky no-one is visiting right now.)  what sleep i did manage was not very restorative.  putting a brave face on, and a few pills in, this morning i told paul we’d be fine.  percy also managed to wrangle a day home from school.  she apparently had a sore throat and was generally poorly.  yeah, right!  taking advantage of me being too spent to drag her arse to school is what she was.

being rat-shit with two kids is demanding.  the pills only give me a one hour window of functionality, after which rat-shittedness returns.  and the packet says not to take them more than four hourly.  even my basic maths skills shows that’s three hours in every four where even making a vegemite sandwich is an ordeal.  probably needless to say the kids have eaten mostly packaged food today and the teev has been on nearly constantly- god bless you electronic nanny!

now, however is a.w.l time.  absent with leave.  paul has unexpectedly and fabulous arrived home from work at 3:30pm.  i’m outta here…  bedtime.

sat 8th june

June 9, 2013

had a very busy day today.  arrived at wonderland at opening time and spent two hours throwing ourselves from ride to ride.  even found the nice kids section hiding up the back that had a bunch of rides for tally, with short queues.  percy screamed her lungs up on “the bat” rollercoaster.  paul tells me she had her eyes closed for most of it, but opened them in a fit of laughter at the end.

then home for lunch and rest.  percy happily went for a proper lie down rest in bed, not something we can get tally to do!  then it was up and off to drama class at 2:30pm.  the end of year concert began at 4:30pm  i thought percy did a really good job of remembering her place, her words and actions and her dance steps despite joining the class so late in the term, never mind for the whole year.

tally was a bit hard to contain but once we perched him on a shoulder high window sill, where he had a better view, he sat a bit stiller.

afterwards paul asked percy if she could have anything for dinner what would it be?  i was expecting “macdonalds”, but she surprised me with “spaghetti.”  hence our celebratory/congratulatory dinner at a fine dining, white linen table cloth italian restaurant near home.  another opportunity for the kids to practice their best/concert/restaurant manners.  which percy did very well.  tally needs more practice.  he’ll get there eventually, needs less diving under the table, a lower voice and more keeping his cutlery at least in proximity to his plate or mouth, not waving about above his head.  delicious food, i even had a glass of wine, that i drank 3/4’s of!  big deal for me.

we’re all well tuckered out.  my cold is lingering and making me lazy, and now paul is coming down with it too.  off to bed.  we did agree to go to the zoo tomorrow, we’ll see…

canada’s wonderland

May 27, 2013

we made our second foray to canada’s wonderland yesterday.  our first was an aborted attempt on mother’s day a couple of weekends ago.  when it was very cold, raining and then sleeting and snowing!  that day we went thru the protracted process of purchasing season passes.  at least it was done.  yesterday we walked thru security in seconds.  percy and tally were then measured and given coloured wrist bands denoting which rides they could go on.

percy is a bit of a daredevil!  she’s too short for the really big and thrilling roller coasters however wonderland has many, many rollercoasters.  as paul succinctly put it; “this places shits all over the old australia wonderland.”  so we were able to find enough rides to keep her screaming.  the exclamations of the day included: “awesome”, “that was incredible”, “i was upside-down!”, “oh, oh, oh, oh..!” repeated quite a bit.  watching her face we saw her expression switching between fear and far-out!, back and forth every second.  it seems getting the adrenalin running and being scared just the right amount, to the point where you nearly don’t want the fear, is the sweet spot for rollercoaster rides.

tally is too short for nearly all the rides.  thankfully he’s pretty happy with the slow, littlies rides.  there is a playground with slides that he was keen on too.  i think he would enjoy a rollercoaster or something more thrilling but while he doesn’t know what he’s missing out on i’m happy to keep him ignorant!

soon it will be warm enough (fingers crossed) to enjoy the water based parts of the park- slides, rides, pools, fountains.  never ending fun for my water babies.

remember always to take all your food and snacks to wonderland because, as i’m sure is the case at all tourist traps, the food is exhorbitantly expensive eg. $10 for a hot dog.  i do think the season pass is worth the money so i’m sympathetic that they need to make money from other sources, just not out of my pocket!

percy said to me as i was tucking her in last nite “when i lay my head on my pillow, it’s feels like my bed is moving, like i’m still on a rollercoaster.”  yawn, and out like a light!  a good day.

 

this day in history

January 20, 2012

sounds a little dramatic doesn’t it? 

it will be significant in my history i’m sure, but probably not for anyone outside my immediate family.

since telling you about my planned career change in october last year i’ve been quite busy and too knackered to write.  i have an unexpectedly spare afternoon right now.  i’m at home, tally is at day care and percy is seeing the picasso exhibit at the art gallery of nsw with her grandparents.  plus i seem to have buggered the chain saw so i’m not outside hacking the damn macadamia tree into burnable pieces like i thought i would. 

the telling piece in that paragraph is that “i’m at home”, on a friday.  here’s the story why…

while serving out my remaining four weeks at housing nsw after i resigned, i secured myself a job as a sales assistant at a local real estate office.  yippee!  the career change plans were so far working well.  i was going to be working very close to home doing something that i’m sure i would love (helping people realise their ambitions of selling or buying their houses) i would make great links to my local community and i would bring ethics and a caring soul into real estate.  these things i did.  and i did really enjoy it.  real estate is not a brain taxing job.  sure, there are things to remember and legislation to follow, procedures and processes, obligations and requirements; just like most jobs.  it is not difficult, however it is time consuming.  time and raising young children don’t really mix.  we had plans to smooth this out tho- a nanny, paul coming home early on certain days, me staying late on set days, long day care, two cars, activities involving kiddies scheduled outside work hours, grandparents… 

the time consumption was exacerbated by the stated work hours and the actual expected hours being quite different.  my boss and i clashed on this a number of times.  i think we were both at fault in not explaining our expectations to each other clearly.  one of the most important tasks a real estate agent must undertake is prospecting for new business- getting ‘listings’.  now if you’ve been in the game for a long time and you have a large referral list perhaps you can let business come to you (tho eventually all that business will move away, die or forget you) otherwise you need to find people who want to sell their house and commission you to do it for them.  finding these people means knocking on their doors or telephoning them.  it’s called cold-calling.  i actually don’t have a problem, as most people seem to expect one to, with this activity.  in fact i love nattering to people about property, and as property is a hobby for near everyone in sydney, most people i’ve come across are happy to natter back.  perhaps it’s different out here in the ‘burbs as i found nearly everyone either wanted to talk, not just tolerated me giving the sales pitch before they released the hounds, or actually wanted to show me around their house and discuss all the good and bad aspects of the place, the street, the neighbourhood, the local shops, the local schools, you name it.  however (here it comes) in the month or two leading up to christmas not many people are concerned with selling their homes.  unsurprisingly they’ve got other things on their mind.  which is not to say some people don’t, but i think it is fair to say their focus is elsewhere.  which for me, meant securing absolutely no listings and turning in dismal numbers.  as an example… i stayed late one evening and made 70 telephone calls, which trust me, is not a big amount, during what is understood to be the prime time to call 5:30 to 7pm.  of those 70 calls, only 7 people actually answered and none wanted to sell their home at that time.  can i force people to answer the phone?  my percieved poor performance and apparent “lack of enthusiasm” meant that after three weeks i was asked to resign.  i wonder if it’s better to resign or get fired?  so the week before christmas i found myself truly unemployed, and i’ve remained so since.  i have applied for two other sales assistant jobs but have been unsuccessful.

fast forward to yesterday.  i made the momentous decision, with paul’s support and encouragement, to take up my other full time job in a full-time way- parent.  for the next year and maybe more i’ll be a stay at home mum.  given that the salary for a real estate sales assistant is $32k a year we may actually save money!  here’s what we won’t be spending money on:  day care (poor tally is going to be staying home with me; hope he survives), driving to day care, me buying lunch, drinks and snacks while at work, make-up, hosiery, hair cuts and colours, car running costs, mobile telephone bill (the $1k a year phone allowance does not cover it!), nannies, before and after school care for percy and i’m sure some sundry other things i’m not remembering at the moment.  the things that we will gain include percy getting walked to and from school everyday, tally having my mostly undivided attention during the day, my time to do the house things we’d all rather not do at 9pm- i mean ironing and the like! and particularly important my time and soon to be much ramped up expertise in being project manager for the redevelopment of our little slice of suburbia. 

i wrote a list yesterday of my goals for 2012.  it is as follows:

1. toilet train tally, 2. help percy to have great year at kindergarten, 3. learn to cook more dishes, 4. practice yoga everyday, 5. complete renovation of front yard, 6. clear excess vegetation from rear yard, 7. relocate shed, 8. build rear deck, including access ramp, 9. complete plans for house renovation, 10. build new chicken run, 11. create vegetable garden and 12. defy mayan calendar!

it’s a good, achieveable list i think.  there’s more to it than first appears too.  for instance, the deck is no little bit of wood on a level, easy access bit of ground, it’s to be an enormous structure that spans ten metres across the site, steps over probably three levels with a fall of four to five metres and i estimate around 12 metres of depth.  plus, let’s not get into what it will take to defy those head-strong mayans!

had you said to me five years ago i would choose to be a stay-at-home parent, and be looking forward to it, i would have peed myself laughing.  how we change…

mind you, if anyone has or knows of a book shop for sale within reach of my home let me know.  that’s another career path i’d love to grow old into.

taboo topic (no.1)

August 23, 2011

here’s a news flash that won’t really surprise anyone that knows me.

i dislike the company of children.

there.  done.  said.

and in ten years when percy and tally might be reading this i’m really sorry to you my darlings.  disliking the company of children is not connected to and has no bearing on my love for you.  i love you totally and absolutely.

i dislike the constant crying, whinging, piss, shit, snot, struggles, arguments, attitude and anything else you care to name.  i’ve grown out of playing with lego, dolls, dress-ups, painting, trucks and make believe.  i’m wholly unsuited to the company of children.  i can force myself to do these things for perhaps 15 hours a week, i’m away at work for between 28 – 30 hours in a week and the kids sleep approximately 10 hours every nite; that leaves 53 hours every week that i am in the company of chlidren and probably disliking it.  if i can be absorbed with something else as well, for instance trips to museums or dance classes or whatever, then the wearying constancy of it, is diminished.  of course the screaming match it takes to get out the door in a reasonable manner counts as a negative.

i’m sure i’m not alone.  but that doesn’t make the situation that percy and tally find themselves in fair or in any way alleviated.  i’m sorry my sweets that it’s turned out this way.  had i been able to predict this nasty, depressed side of myself i would have seriously assessed having children at all/ a lot harder.  i don’t know how to end that sentence; which ending fits what i’m really thinking and feeling more?  i couldn’t say.

i think one of the more telling, sad parts in this, is that despite swearing to all the gods of all the heavens that i would not be the parent my parents are, i am becoming them after all.  is it genetic?  are we doomed?  surely recognising the fault is good enough to ensure it doesn’t repeat.  but clearly not.  my father hates children.  how we (my brother and i) came into being is unknowable.  i certainly don’t hate children but i find i’m unable to calmly work thru daily life with them.  my mother is a judgemental bastard and i think i don’t judge my children (or any others) but i plainly have other weak and horrid faults.  anyways, there’s many years of keeping a shrink employed in this, making me reluctant to go into it here and now.

so there’s taboo topic number one- never speak about your negative, painful, fault-ful, hurtful feelings around being a parent.  i have another topic that hopefully i’ll be able to address from a happier place before the end of the year.