Monday, 30 April 2012

The Centrelink Saga

I have to ring Centrelink today.

It is no longer avoidable.

I would rather stick pins in my eyes or go swimming in a cannibal's cauldron.

So I thought I would give you a real time run down, just for fun

10:50am - go to the toilet, make a coffee, open Twitter.

10:52am - ring Centrelink, put phone on speaker, Tweet about having to call Centrelink.

10:54am - automated voice stops talking and lets me say my CRN.

10:55am - Repeat CRN as requested by automated voice.

10:56am - Repeat CRN in clear, English sounding accent.

10:57am - Repeat CRN in a variety of different accents with no results.

10:58am - Automated system picks up CRN but gets it wrong. Say "NO"

10:59am - Repeat "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" until it gets it.

11:00am - Say CRN as requested by automated voice.

11:01am - Repeat YES YES YES YES YES! and finally enter PIN.

11:02am - Tell the voice why you are calling.

11:03am - Tell the voice you do not need Age Pension and repeat earlier instruction.

11:04am - Shout "Operator!" into the phone until the voice gives up and provides a push button menu. 

11:05am - Blissfully press 4 for an operator.

11:06am - Listen to advice that wait time is currently in excess of 30mins. Consider call back service but elect to wait after using once before and never being called back.

11:07am - Listen to hold music while chopping fruit for morning tea.

11:10am - Turn speakerphone volume down because hold music is giving you a headache.

11:11am - Dash back to phone when hold music pauses, in time to hear automated message about not bothering call centre staff and doing everything online.

11:12am - Make another coffee.

11:13am - Go to the toilet. Freak out when hold music pauses for yet another automated message.

11:15am -  Grumble about having an online system they insist you use if you can never complete the things you want to do ONLINE. 

11:16am - go and watch ABC Kids with the pre-schooler.

11:20am - Tweet about your Centrelink induced headache.

11:21am - go to use your phone and realise it's still playing hold music and you forgot you were waiting for Centrelink.

11:26am - consider ringing back tomorrow because your headache is unbearable and you've wasted half an hour.

11:31am - Think you've been cut off because hold music stops. Discover you have actually been forced to out wait brain melting music.

11:32am - enjoy blissful silence.

11:33am - Read a book to pre-schooler, hang out some washing, unload the dishwasher.

11:40am - Wonder why you can hear next door neighbours talking so loudly, discover it's the long awaited Centrelink advisor.

11:41am - Apologise for making them wait (irony?) and explain your query in detail.

11:42am - Answer all your privacy questions and be stuck dumb when they say "Now, what can I do for you today?"

11:48am -  Repeat query in detail through clenched teeth.

11:49am - Ask some clarifying questions. Worry about inflation of dentists bill due to teeth clenching.

11:50am - Explain some more. Start to come apart at the seams as you are told you never returned the (non-existant) form/you can do it online/ I'll just find out for you.

11:51am - Resist the urge to scream "But it's your fecking JOB to KNOW"

11:52am - Wonder if you can put a claim in at tax time for a rebate of "Hours spent on hold to government departments" or "Call centre induced dental trauma"

11:53am - Finally get an answer. Hang up and go online to discover you can't fill it in properly.

11:54am - Begin again.

11:59am - Remember you have to call Child Support as well.

12:01pm - Burst into tears with frustration and hang up because you have already wasted your morning.

12:05pm - Elect to bake chocolate slice and get your accountant to sort it all out at tax time.

12:15pm - Hope you still get some tax back.

12:25pm -Worry you will have an overpayment and they will send you a bill.

1:30pm - Give in and ring Centrelink.


Thursday, 26 April 2012

Can you hear my wallet sobbing?

At this price it would want to be a Gucci labcoat...

I lost a piece of the inside of one of my front teeth on Tuesday.

While I was brushing them, which is just a kick in the pants because here I was trying to look after them and they go falling apart.

This made me quite huffy but also meant I could no longer put off a dentists visit no matter how much it will cost.

I'm pretty freaked out by going to the dentist.

The last time I had any major work done I opted to pay the 400 extra dollars and go under... but the reality is I cannot do this regularly, and I cannot justify that kind of expense just to be a sook.

I have to suck it up and get these teeth healthy, and hopefully straight.

Because if Tiger can sit through dental work with not a whimper in sight I can too.

Instead I'll let my wallet do the crying for me....

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Standing In The Rain

My alarm beeped at 5am this morning... followed by a muffled "turn it ooooffffffff" from WonderMan beside me. 

But it wasn't long before he shuffled out of bed, turned on the heating, and boiled the kettle.

The children ate breakfast while it was still dark outside, dressed without fuss.

We tucked hair into beanies, checked everyone was rugged up tight.

Then stepped out to stand in the rain to watch the dawn.

My mother once asked me why I got the kids out of bed and made them go. Why I would stand in the rain, and the cold, before the sun had even risen.

My answer is simple.

Because we have that choice.

We choose to leave our warm beds for the rain soaked streets. We choose to watch the sunrise on that special morning.

We choose to stand in the rain and get wet. We are not wet because the roof of our house has been bombed.

We are cold because we choose to be, not because we have no clothes, no food, no shelter.

We are awake at 5am through choice, not fear.

We are free to choose to stay in bed if we want to.

And we have those choices because of the sacrifice of others.

So we choose to say "Thankyou" in this way, at this time, on this day.

I want my children to know why they have the freedom to choose.

Lest We Forget.

Monday, 23 April 2012


photo from here

There's no mistaking the pile of dog's business that was today.

It could only have been a Monday.

And I'm still furious at the universe, so I thought I'd lighten up a bit and join in with Java at Never Growing Old

So you can Meet Me On Monday!

This weeks questions and answers.....

I keep putting off_______________?

..... the filing....
....the ironing....
...the research into the study I want to pursue but can't get up enough courage to initiate...

What is your current weather?
The drama queen in me is shrieking "Cold! COLD! It's fecking COLD I tell you!!"
It's Autumn (Fall)
The season of rainbows as the sun plays games with the grey skies and showers.
The air has a freshness that renews the soul.
 And enough bite to tell me that I need to get some wood into our woodshed before I become the Michelin Man in layer after layer of shivering cold bloodedness.

What is the nicest room in your house?
I love this house a lot. In fact the only bad thing I have to say about it is that it doesn't have a hall because it is set sideways on the block, so the (rarely used) front door opens into one of the living areas.

I adore the main living area at the back of the house. We use this as our lounge room, and it has large beautiful windows to let in the sunshine and of course the delightful view.

And it wins my favourite room because it has a bar.

What jewellery do you never take off?
 My engagement ring. Except when I bake sometimes because it has claws and spikes and gets crap stuck in it. But after losing it at my mums at Easter I can assure you it will never come off again!

Do you eat a snack before bed?
Confession time - I am an in-bed snacker. Which is probably 100% why I seem to be slowly morphing up sizes, a bit like a melting glacier on rewind.

A cross between my avid reading in bed, and boredom caused by insomnia means I turn to all the things I can easily say no to during daylight hours. There's just something about a warm snuggly bed at midnight with a hot mint chocolate and some Malteasers.....

I'd love to learn more about you!
Join the link up at  

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Mess Fairy Lives Here

This is my house after being away last weekend and at work all week.
It seems the Cleaning Fairy sub let her tenancy to the Mess Fairy.

Supposed to be my office/sewing room - you can see the filing is mixed with the sewing and junk.

It started raining today, set to continue for a week *sigh*

The floor is only clean because my favourite wine glass fell off the bench and shattered this morning.

The Bar. Full of crap (as most bars are!)

Tidied this afternoon before I took photos, before I had to map paths through the mess.

The bed WM made. It was not much better before I jumped on it believe me. Note the lack of bedside tables meaning mess just piles up.

Because on is in apparently.

Ah. My wardrobe. Let's close our eyes now shall we?

I would like to tell you this organised chaos, and that it's a home, and we live here, and that's how a home should be....

But the mess is an indicator of the dark cloud, and the troubles in my head and my heart.

I need order to balance the chaos of my life.

This is the worst my house has looked for weeks and I'm so disappointed in myself, and I know that I will be the only one fixing it.

I'm very tired of doing it all myself.

It's very hard to live with a "mummy's boy" when you rely on cleanliness and order to keep your head straight.

 The more anxious I get the neater it needs to be.

The harder it is to deal with what has piled up around me now.

And I have no doubt that I will be spending Sunday doing it all while WonderChild tells me how tired he is from the couch*

*So I can add shampooing the carpets to remove the blood to my to do list. 

It may not be as clean as it should be, it may make me anxious and cross, but it's REAL. 
This is our home, right now, because we live here. 

 I'm sharing my house, as it is, with Marita at Stuff With Thing.

You can see more real households on Twitter using the #Myhomerightnow, and #thisisourhome tags.

Friday, 13 April 2012

FFS Friday

Oh what a week it's been.

I'm letting it all out with the delightful Dear Baby G today, and moving on to the weekend.

Dear Baby G

 What's been giving me the shits this week?

I made a flying trip down to Hicksville on Easter hoping for at least a little relaxation and recuperation... instead I got baby wrangling duty on top of the toddler and tween wars. FFS.

 Mum has never willingly looked after or helped out with my children, despite telling me she will give me any help and support needed, and if she does relent it's with the full force of her passive aggressive "This is SO inconvenient" attitude. But from the minute I walked in the door I became babysitter.

Dad disappeared for the majority of Saturday while mum was at work so I cleaned the house, fed and watched the three kids and did all everyone's errands. And got the stink eye because I was buggered and didn't feel like helping with the dishes after dinner.

Not ONCE did anyone say thank you after I put the baby to sleep, made a bottle in the middle of the night, took her for walks.

 I lost my engagement ring.

I don't think mum has taken it seriously because I spoke to her yesterday and asked if she had found it.... she murmured vaguely that it might turn up if I was patient.

It's not going to fucking "turn up" if she doesn't pull her finger out and actually bother to look for my most precious fucking possession. 

I had to endure hours with The Bitch while she pushed my child out of the way and snatched toys off her to give to the baby, and I'm not allowed to protest or I'm being "petty". 

When I got home I gratefully handed over Frog to WonderMan to deal with for a little while and after having to intervene because he was being an impatient prick, he hit me with "You just don't get it do you?" 

That was so close to a deal breaker I was ready to get in the car and drive back to hell.

Frog chose Thursday as catch up on sleep day. Too bad I had to be at work at 8:30am and had to drop her off at daycare in her pyjamas.

When I picked her up we got half way to the car and she started a full scale meltdown because.... I have no idea why. It went on until 6:10pm when in absolute desperation I started her bath, story, bed routine while she was still screaming.

She calmed down and went to sleep peacefully but got up at 9:50pm and played in the lounge room until 1am.

There's more, so much more, but it's time to let it go.


Today I will at a funeral to celebrate the life of a woman I loved dearly.

My heart feels broken and I need time to heal it.

I will be spending the weekend at the beach, shouting at the universe and letting the salt and sand do their work on my frail spirit.

Thank you for all your kind and lovely messages yesterday, you have kept me going when all I wanted to do was curl up and hide.

I will see you again next week, hopefully renewed and happier xx

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Goodbye my dear...

Tomorrow I will be saying goodbye to a woman who has touched my life with happiness.

After a "good innings" as most would say, and years of battling illness and cancer, the fight is over.

I knew this was coming but was unprepared for the sickening punch to the stomach that this news brought with it.

A bright shining star has disappeared from my life but remains in my heart.

Mrs K has been a part of my life since I was six.

Every week at dance lessons, there she sat to welcome us in the door, cross our names off the roll and listen to all the things a child feels the need to talk about.

Smiling and serene, laughing and joking, she brightened each hour that I spent in the hall.

If Mrs D needed anything she would happily oblige, dancing across the floor and adding a little twirl to make us all giggle, as light on her feet as a young woman in love.

Every year she sewed together thousands of costumes, her little caravan taken over by piles of sparkly skirts and leotards, her labour of love for her dancing girls.

As I grew older and started teaching dance I spent more and more time with Mrs K. I fell more and more in love with her calm and enthusiastic approach to life. 

She attended every day of lessons at two schools for almost thirty years. And only missed a couple at the end of last year when they found the new cancer, and she was ordered into hospital. 

More worried for "her girls" then herself, she refused to let Mrs D cancel classes, would have been horrified if anyone stopped just for her.

At home after the decision that no more treatment was available, she traveled to the city to look after her sister who was unwell, again showing the selfless, caring side we all knew and loved.

Mrs K was everyone's grandmother. The fun one with an iPad and a Facebook account, as well as a sharp sense of humour. Who listened, laughed, commiserated and cheered us. And kicked our arses at Words With Friends.

She refused to be ill. She was all right, she insisted. Don't fuss, live life.

She certainly did that.

Mrs K was dearly loved by all who knew her, and it breaks my heart to have to say goodbye.

I will forever see her gliding across the dance floor, with a joke on her lips and a song in her heart, just he way she loved to be.

Goodbye my dear... I am so very thankful that you were part of my life.

Joining Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday today 

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Dear Universe

You are an arse.

A complete an utter arse.

It seems you have caught on to my UDS (Universe-Diversion-Scheme) and now see fit to punish me.

You taunted me with your twists and turns... making me think I had you distracted long enough for someone I love to gain a little bit of fleeting happiness.

You fickle bastard.

A weekend away in which I lost my engagement ring, wrenched my back and had to endure hours with The Bitch had me thinking I had succeeded magnificently.

Coming home and copping "You just don't get it" from a husband who had to deal with his child for FIVE MINUTES cemented my belief.

You hit me with the news a most treasured woman in my life had passed and I was certain I'd outsmarted you.

But no... you were just toying with me... and you saw fit to drown one of the people I love most in the world with even more hurt and I will never never forgive you.

I hope karma gets your arse.

Love Natalie.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Yakkity Yak

Frog is going to be three in May, so you can imagine she talks a fair bit.

A lot.

This kid never stops!

And she's hit that delightful age where she is using more "grown up" vocabulary but doesn't always get it quite right. This, combined with her earnest expression as she tells you something obviously of dire importance, means much hilarity for us all.

Words I take great delight in hearing her say this week are:



"The Snuf-es" Yes, that's right, she can get two syllables into "Smurfs". 

"Gardaneeeeeeel" Do you sense a theme here?

At the dinner table at mums this weekend she was telling us about a gecko we found at home.

"It was a wittle lizard and it had goo-ga-ley eyes, and it's tail stayed dere but it wriggled away with just it's bottom"

It took ages for mum and I ages to get over the googaley eyes.

It's worse when you giggle and she stares at you like you've lost your mind because she was being serious and that crazy woman is laughing at her.

I love this part of the journey.

Despite the odd tantrum, at almost three she is like a little entertainment box on legs.

I wish I could bottle some of it to keep for later. 

What giggle worthy things do your children say?

Monday, 9 April 2012

And She Came Home Empty Handed...

I've come home from Hicksville without my engagement ring.

On Friday afternoon I took it off to do some baking because stuff gets stuck in all the fiddly claws and grooves. 

I put it on the breakfast bar above where I was working and got distracted.

Sure enough when I was looking for it that night, and the next morning.... it was gone.

We hunted and searched... I pulled apart every corner of that damn kitchen... even asking Pa to take apart the bin bag.

It appears I've been tempting the universe too much lately and it's seen fit to take the one possession I would ever insist on saving if my house burned down.

I was so reluctant to leave, even having one last check while Frog was waiting patiently in the car.

I admit I cried a little on the way home.

It's the most special thing I've ever owned. Until the day I was given it I never wore a ring.

It's been the subject of many "oohs" and "aaahs" and "how beautifuls!".

It didn't cost much. Not anywhere near worth insuring, but priceless to me.

WonderMan says he will get me a new one.

But I don't want a new one.

I want my old one.

The one he gave me four years ago. The one that had to lose half it's weight in gold before it would fit on my tiny finger. 

I feel naked and lost without it.

Please dear universe... give it back to me.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Where Did She Go?

I'm one of these people that seems to drop off the radar with no warning lately.

Going along fine and then *poof* you don't see me for two days, and I assume at least some of you are wondering where I am? Maybe....

This time it's because I'm in Hicksville for the Easter weekend, and I would have scheduled some posts but I have yet to work out the Blogger time difference, and this week has been mental at best with me generally collapsing into bed at the first possible opportunity each night.

We only came to Hicksville because Tiger is staying with SuperGranny for a week of her school holidays... so I was forced to drive on the craziest weekend of the year. Very glad I chose to go Thursday afternoon, despite getting in at midnight... because Good Friday passed here in a dust storm of epic proportions leaving a film of fine dirt over anything and everything, and meaning I spent the day curled up on the couch while mum made me hot cross buns and coffee.

Today I somehow ended up baby wrangling... mainly because my kids were asleep until 8:30am, so the baby niece and I had chats over coffee and breakfast and I paid for my own ingenious gift giving by being forced to read "Where Is The Green Sheep?" a hundred times.

I also had a lot of fun teaching her to say "NAT!" while we were having our elevenses.

I will probably pay for that too but for now I'm getting my kicks out of mum's reaction to this phenomenon, as baby is yet to say anything vaguely related to "Granny" and mum is quite put out about it.

I've tested my good friend C's brownies. Both batches... with and without cream.... cold and warmed... just to be sure they were safe for others consumption. They were.

I've just been Easter Bunny *hophophop* and left our traditional chocolate and pyjamas.

I can't get the fluffy tail off so WonderMan will get a shock next time I see him.

I've been digging through the bookshelves and found one or two volumes I haven't read yet... so I think it's time to make a hot chocolate and go to bed.

Nighty night bunnies.... see you soon x

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Daylight savings.

Killer of mothers everywhere, as children demand breakfast at 4:30am.

(Never mind that I made WonderMan get up.... he had to go to work anyway... later)

Apparently she can't cope with early starts either.

Barley noon, and she was snoring fit to burst.

I anticipate a slightly more reasonable breakfast hour tomorrow.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Another Brave Step

I am not good socially.

But at the same time I am a natural show off. 

Give me a chance and I screw up that courage really tight and go for it.

Hard and fast and devil may care.

It's how I end up being the one that does that thing that no one else wants to do.

Part of me tries to hide in the corner but a bigger part of me jumps up and down and waves her hand in the air shouting "Me me pick meeeeeeee!"

When I volunteered last week to be part of my daycare centre's management committee it was the bouncy one talking.

But when I headed out tonight for an informal "Meet and Greet" the painfully shy bit of me was kicking my arse for making it go out in public and play social butterfly with no one to hang on to.

There was a moment of utter panic when I walked out with my wine glass in hand and realised "You have just arrived at a gathering where there are  zero people you know in a town you have been in for ten weeks and you are RUBBISH at making conversation".

Thankfully she was kicked to the curb by my insanely optimistic side who attempted to struggle the shy one to the ground while also standing up without looking awkward.

And I found out something really interesting - It didn't matter that I was rubbish at small talk because other people were quite good at it. I just had to follow along.

I even branched out far enough to realise there was a girl looking even more awkward than me and I (haltingly) managed to have a conversation with her and make her laugh.

My second piece of head slapping realisation was that in a situation like this I hold all the cards.

Because no-one knows who the hell I am.

And they all want to know who the new girl is. Especially if she's crazy enough to sign up for a job in the first few months here.

Meet and Greet dusted.

Bring on the dinner meeting (including taxi so I can indulge in a trifle more of the fabulous wine of this delightful region).

 Linked up with a bright and shiny IBOT over at Diary of a SAHM

Monday, 2 April 2012

I Haven't Forgotten My Blogoversary...

I've been hiding from it.

I've been feeling alternately excited and passionate, and depressed and uncaring about it.

My journey started here.  

Closely followed by the Saga of the Spanx Panties.

And there have been quite a few ups and downs since then.

I'm struggling to work out if I'm getting anywhere a year on.

Deep down I know I am, but it's not reflected here much.

This blog was supposed to share and grow as I did. But we got knocked down so many times it became a place I ranted and moaned, shaking my fist at the unfairness of the world.

I'm still shouting at the world but mostly it's from the anonymity of my bedroom as I stuff my face in my pillow and try to keep my whining out of your faces. I'm sick of being "that whinging girl"

I should be embracing twelve months on..... but I ran from it, tried to forget about it..... hope everyone else would too.

And considering I was going to the Digital Parents Conference to mark that year with a bang and now I'm NOT..... well..... time for my pillow fort and a truckload of Smarties please.

 A year on we've finally moved. Got the hell out of hell and arrived in Wine Country. 

It's beautiful.

The people are beautiful.

I have friends. Well, at least two. And that's as many as I had in Hicksville at it's best.

So I'm winning. Definitely winning so far.

I'm struggling with my blog and where I want it to go and I have lots of ideas banging around in my skull but all they're doing is giving me a godawful headache.

DPCON was supposed to be my building block.

So I guess I have to do it on my own.

There are things I want to achieve, here, in my bit of space.

I want to share my journey, and yours. It's not all about the tough times, it's about what we do with them, and what we do with the good times, that make our life. The hows, the whys, the what nows?... I want you to see how we build our way up from the bottom.

I want this batch of ones and zeros to reflect me. Really me. Not the fact that I am dodgy at making things in Paint (see my header.... which I like... but looks like I was three when I put it together).

I want to find out what my voice is worth. 

I want to use that voice.

I want... something. I want to give you something that I've been missing in my random and ballistic word vomits over the last twelve months.

I want to be relevant, and inspiring, and show you that when life looks it's darkest all is not lost.

I'm not happy happy rainbows and lollipops, so if you're looking for sunshine you may be disappointed.  

But I do have a sense of humour, a dog that insists he lives next door and not here at all, and a family that drives me to cry with frustration and overwhelming love at the same time.

I have nowhere to go but up. Want to share my rope ladder?