Stuff and that.

Stuff. And yeah. That

Month: April, 2015

What Maudy did next…

I don’t really understand why some people think that ones school days are the best days of one’s life. You’re an angst ridden, emotional ball of hormones and zits trying to make decisions about what on earth you’re going to do for the next four thousand years or so you’re going to be on the planet, coping with the petty politics of the playground, hormones, alcohol, freedoms and lacks of them, sex, all that all of the above entail. Not the best days at all.

I know people that peaked in high school.  They’re the ones who’ve been friends with exactly the same group of people since school, they marry each other, their kids all go to the same schools they went to and they live in the same suburbs that they’ve always lived in. And they still all call each other by their high school nicknames. I look back on my time in high school, shudder and continue to look forward to – well, everything really.

I suspect I haven’t reached my peak yet – I look back over my life, and high school was the aforementioned ball of hormones and zits. Couldn’t/wouldn’t and in the end didn’t work out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, drifted through high school crossing off potential careers (didn’t want to be a secretary, or a hair dresser or a nurse (human *or* animal), didn’t want to be a teacher either…) Didn’t want to work in retail or be a waitress for ever, although I had a red hot crack at both of those careers through my twenties. Way back in the dark ages, I went to my ten year high school reunion. There were maybe three people whom I would have liked to have caught up with – but of course, they didn’t show; and I realised there were a lot of reasons I didn’t keep in touch with anyone from high school. I wasn’t married, I had no children, I wasn’t gay. I just wasn’t married; and I was between unsuitable boyfriends at the time. This apparently was quite difficult for people to understand. But crappy jobs and unsuitable boyfriends pretty much summed up my twenties. Certainly wouldn’t consider that decade the pinnacle of my existence.

My thirties were an experience I could possibly have done without. I had to be a grown up after I lost my father, even more when my relationship changed with the other members of my family as a result.  And while I still had a crappy job and a string of unsuitable boyfriends; my job was mostly crappy because I didn’t like it as much. The unsuitable boyfriends were just that – unsuitable. But my thirties weren’t all crap – I met the right bloke in the middle of them, finally went back to university in my thirties (went to more 21st in my thirties than I ever did in my twenties) had my first kid in my thirties… But I still didn’t feel like I’d reached my peak.

I’m swiftly reaching the end of my forties (oh how unseemly fast that demographic change is coming up on me) and crikey, this has been a cracking decade. I think I’ve achieved more in the last ten years than I have in any other decade I’ve wandered aimlessly through. I’ve had a second kid, finished and graduated from university, leapt off a cliff into the unknown and left a secure job after 18 years and fell into the job I actually do want to do for the rest of my life. I’ve become a person I’d happily have a drink with if I met me. And while I have my ups and downs, I am content with my lot. But have I reached my peak?

Man, I hope not. I come from a relatively long lived bunch, and seriously, peaking in my fifties? What on earth will I do for the next forty years? Go into a genteel decline?

Not long ago, I found my angst-ridden teenage journals, including the ones from around the time of my Epic Birthday Crisis when I turned 25. Man, that was epic. I did not deal well with turning 25. But being the inveterate list-writer that I am, I wrote a list. Weirdly, I appear to have crossed everything off. I’ve got an awesome job, I finished uni, finally did meet a decent bloke, had a couple of kids (I planned one – a girl. We all know how that panned out…) Technically I am published (couple of conference papers, couple of attempts at blogging with a few readers who don’t actually know me). I’ve bought and sold a house, and bought another one. I think that’s a reasonable set of goals for a 25 year old to have. I achieved most of them by the time I turned 40 and

Now, though – I’m almost double that. And I’m *still* not dealing with it as badly as I did turning 25. I suspect it’s because 50 is such a ridiculous number that belongs to totally mature people who wear crimplene slacks and have easy-care perms and shop un-ironically at Burdines and I am certainly not that on the inside or the outside. I’m not about to take on statement hair or statement glasses, and I’m pretty sure you can’t get crimplene slacks in a 34″ leg. I still have a month or so up my sleeve, so it’s not out of the question that I do go off the rails. However, in the mean time, I reckon I need a list for the next 25 years. Not a bucket list. Just a list for the next 25 years. Whadderyou reckon?

First World Problems.

Over the several years I’ve been responsible for myself, I’ve had the odd white goods malfunction. Each one at the time has been the Biggest Disaster Evah until I get said appliance fixed or replaced. I’ve gone without a washing machine a number of times (tip(s) for young players, if a washing machine takes up smoking, that’s a bad thing. Also, while they like eating credit cards, they’re not the best for their insides. Nor are chuppa chup sticks. And, the weight capacity of your washing machine isn’t just a  guide, it is a legitimate indication of exactly how many towels you can shove in there without breaking a belt.)

I’ve even had a couple of stoves die on me – of old age, both times. One got condemned – I was only allowed to use the front two burners, and if I used the grill, there was a 90/10 chance I would in fact explode the entire house. The other one, well, again with the two burners – but this time, the back two. But I had a barbeque, a microwave and an electric frypan. You can also cook a decent medium steak in a sandwich maker. This stood me in good stead during the Gas Crisis – where nobody was allowed to use gas for a couple of weeks. Even having no hot water during that period wasn’t that much of an issue. The boyfriend at the time had an electric hot water service, and lived two streets away. Noice.

Microwave is something I most definitely can live without (although it’s a nice thing to have). Sparks flew, so it got sent to the skip quick smart. I didn’t have one for six months or so, and never really missed it. The dishwasher, well, when that died, we couldn’t actually afford to replace it at the time, so it was another six months of doing dishes. I don’t know that I really want to do without that one again, but nobody has ever died from washing the damn dishes.

I’m quite careless with irons (they don’t like being dropped), hair dryers (again with the smoking appliances) and I’ve killed more than one kettle in the last umpty years. But even all of those little dramas are completely surmountable, with ironing ladies, a towel and some sunshine, and a saucepan.

This week, though – I have discovered exactly *which* appliance is the single most useful one that I cannot do without.

Over the last couple of weeks, food had started going off a bit quicker than expected in the fridge, and the ice-cream was more cream than iced, but I can be a bit slack with putting stuff back in the fridge straight away, and there was this packet of potato gems that may or may not have stopped the freezer door from closing.  But the ice-cream didn’t get harder when the potato gems got moved, and despite being strict about putting stuff back… the milk would still turn. the fridge isn’t that old – still in warranty. So, we called out the technician. And yeah, she’s dead, Fred. Dead as a door nail. An attractive, glossy white cupboard with awkwardly arranged shelves and interesting baskets in the bottom.

And we are without a fridge.

Ok, we have a beer fridge, but – it’s in the shed, and the back yard is a building site and trekking across the mud pit formerly known as the back yard for a glass of milk isn’t really practical. Once the technician had been, I started moving stuff that we don’t use all the time out to the shed, but one of the reasons we bought a new fridge was to accommodate the appetites of a couple of growing boys – so, it was relatively yuge in comparison to the old fridge in the shed. I didn’t realise how much bigger until I filled a garbage bag with food to throw out (and the dead fridge was virtually empty). The waste, though. It burned. We’ve ended up borrowing a bar fridge – it holds milk, juice, eggs, butter and yoghurt. I’m discovering the joys of shopping on a daily basis.

IT IS SO DAMN ANNOYING!

But yeah, first world problems.

(Wanders off to write a note to the MiL to buy bread for me tomorrow because a) we have none, and b) there’s nowhere to put it anyway, and the Damn Kids need lunch)

Quarter time.

Yep, it’s a quarter of the way through the year, and for wont of anything else to write about, the house being in a state of ignored, the kids not appreciating Firefly thus having to watch the Damn Football because the Smallest Child’s team is playing badly, I thought I’d give you an update on the resolutions I sort of made…

Always something there to remind you…

  1. Force myself to write more.
  2. Reading.
  3. Use a paper diary and the calendar to good effect.
  4. Do something fucking creative with my spare time instead of bloody Candy Crush.
  5. Stop fucking swearing all the time. Fuck.
  6. Now I’ve got exercise happening, lets see what we can do about food.
  1. Writing more has been sucked up by work words (however, this is a post for no reason, so hey… I suppose it counts.)
  2. Reading – quick count and I have read ten and a half books in the first quarter this year. This is actually pretty good, as long as I keep the momentum up. I’m reading a good un at the moment – Paying Guests by Sarah Walters. It’s all very genteel at the moment, so it will be interesting to see what happens next. I call shenanigans. There often is.
  3. The paper diary and calendar are working ok. I’ve only (only???) missed three things so far – a dress up day at school for Mayhem, another excursion slip disappeared into the ether (yay for primary school office ladies), and Chaos ‘lost’ another thing in his school bag. Oh, and I forgot swimming. But in my defence, it’s been on a Tuesday since 2003 and only changed to Thursday three weeks before the end of term. I’ve got a weekly planner on the go now, in the probably vain hope I’ll remember every week next term.
  4. Castleville’s creative isn’t it? I have dragged the crochet out, though. It’s getting cool enough.
  5. Yeah, I reckon I have that one under control, more or less. Thank fuck. Oops. More or less, orright. I’ve certainly cut down on the swears though, and it’s been noticed by other people that I have been making an effort. However, this is subject to change without notice, and how much Word and Excel and PowerPoint I have to contend with. And stupid people.
  6. Food? Yeah, $3 bag of potato gems for lunch. Forgot to get something out for dinner? Takeaway. Sometimes twice in a week. Or crap from the freezer. I’ve been throwing out vegetables. Got to work on this one.

So, considering it’s a quarter of the way through the year, I am making satisfactory-ish progress. I took Chaos to an organising workshop the other day. He wasn’t sure what to expect, or what it was going to be about. However, he spent the entire hour writing stuff in his notebook so I suspect that he got quite a lot out of it (including “listen yo mama”). I got a bit out of it as well. I do really well with some stuff and REALLY badly with others. I did three months worth of filing on Sunday. It took seven (7) minutes and the whole lot was away. I culled warranties for things we don’t have. I had to find a receipt for the fridge. It was right where it was supposed to be. (And we’re probably getting a new fridge). I now have a three-phase system in place:

  • In-box – where everything goes when it arrives. This is to be checked and emptied twice a week. I think Sunday and Wednesday will work. Rubbish in the bin, stuff I need to deal with either goes in the action folder for later or is dealt with there and then, stuff I don’t need to deal with goes in the blue folder that’s yet to be named.
  • Action folder – Bills, stuff I need to sign and send back, stuff that’s pending/waiting
  • Blue folder – this is supposed to be archive and filing. Archive is stuff I might need later so I’d better keep (like the fridge receipt!) and Mayhem’s swimming certificate. I’m not sure what he wants me to do with it, but hey.

So, we shall also see how that rolls. I’m planning to write myself some weekly/monthly lists as well to keep on top of basics around the house – like sheet changing! But right now, I’m sitting in my warm, dry and clean-ish house and yeah, life’s good. even if I do need a new fridge!