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Category Archives: on da road – with the micro…

We stop and glance into the restaurant.
Gone are the days of glancing the menu to make the decision…
Yep, there are other kids… We are good.
We go in.
But wait.
Those kids are SITTING.
WTF? Are they like plastic decoys or something.
It’s too late though, we have shuffled in…
I continue scanning.
Nope, definitely all sitting.
What kind of trick is this??!!
How is it possible that these children are sitting, are they glued to their seats? Is this witchcraft?
For I have Learnt, if sitting even successfully happens in the first place…
That somewhere between “can I take your order” and “Bon appetite” restaurant chairs clearly evolve to grow red hot spikes, like electrified cactuses, the force my band of ferals to raise, possessed, from their seats and start running around, screaming, wailing, lashing manically like a cat in heat…
Never have I had one of these mythical glue chairs I can clearly see scattered throughout this restaurant that enables a child to remain stuck, seated, in one position for the duration of the meal… Foolishly, I look around at the delightfully seated children, and wonder if maybe, just maybe, this time we will get a glue chair.

And thus it was, as my little family shuffled into the cute little alfresco dining, with the perfectly postcard street umbrellas shading the well laid out little tables, and the hanging baskets dripping, raining, with a rainbow of healthy blossoms, on the sunny streets of Brussels after a day of ” enjoying each other’s company on a pleasant family holiday” ( read, trying not to kill each other whilst sending “death eyes” across the room whilst muttering evil curses towards the other under our breath and eventually cracking the utter sh*ts and simply taking off walking a foreign city alone with two wayward ferals and an expanding baby bump whilst his “lordshit” had a nap…)

Now…
Gone are the days of pouring over a menu tantalisingly…
Laughing, joking… Smiling…
Heck… Long gone are the days where conversation is so freely flowing and warm that the menu isn’t even opened before the first eager waiter appears at your table… Causing you to let out that obnoxious laugh of young people in love… With no kids.

No, menu reading today is now an exercise in speed reading. It is a contest to scan the entire volumes of food quicker than humanly possible to admit defeat that no, Vegemite sandwiches are not in offer darling, is there ANYTHING, F’ing anything, that you might eat…
It is now a talented skill to be able to scan the kids section, plus the adults section, plus the drinks, all whilst watching to make sure a little hand has not shot out at the speed of light to grab the flower vase, or salt, or knives, or anything not utterly nailed down and used it in an assault launch on their sibling… Or other diners.
It is trickier than a game of twister, the skill of juggling turning pages of a menu at lightning speed, intercepting any table missiles launched through slow detection of before mentioned hand all whilst hurling your whole body in a “go go gadget” manoeuvre to capture any escaping child via their collars before they disappear entirely.
And then somehow, when the waiter appears, not smiling as he glares at the dishevelled terrors before him and the inevitable “salt art” being created on the nice clean table, you order something that you may or may not have seen on the menu, cosy in the knowledge that neither of the kids will eat any bloody thing you choose for them, your meal will be cold before you get to touch it, if you get to touch it, and despite looking pleadingly, the waiter will still insist on bringing the kids fancy glassware for their juices and steak knives for their meal. Knives god dammit!!?? Does this guy have a death wish! No, for the love of good, don’t give my child the knife! Too late… Which will then become a further assault launch option available to them on the table.

By now… The cactus spikes in the kids seats must be searing hot and radioactive, for both of them are jumping out as if their little arses are on fire from the bites of a million bull ants. Screaming, whinging, carrying on. Extending the table items warfare past each other and now inflicting mass destruction on the tables of surrounding diners.

Our most stern hisses and reprimands falling on deaf ears, drowned out by the raucous giggles as one causes the other to run full tilt into an umbrella stand…
Our yelling gets louder. More insistent… More desperate begging, pleading.
We have past the stage where bribery works…
We are past the point of return.
The food arrives.
It looks delicious.
We salivate in anticipation, like pavlov’s dogs, only to accept that this will be another meal untouched… As one has taken off their shoes and is performing a “punch and Judy style puppet foot play” on the table ( causing some almighty looks of disproval from surrounding diners who clearly did not wish to be entertained by the sight of ten filthy toes whilst eating their dinner) while the other has started crying. That long, low, I am not planning to stop anytime soon, nothing you can do to placate me cry…

I attempt to eat dinner with the screaming banshee thrashing on my lap. A further skill is the ability to pick menu items that can be eaten one handed. Cutlery is an opulent luxury these days, one I have not enjoyed in some time…
While hubby’s dinner turns cold as he has drags the puppeteer up the street for a stern talking to, and likely a deserved butt slapping, out of ear and eye sight of our fellow diners.
They return.
We try to bribe them again. It is to no avail.
We make the theatrical song and dance of how amazing their food looks, and truly it does… We have even managed to select a variety of foods which both have eaten within the last week…
But are met with the defiant cries of “no it’s disgusting” ( where the F did they learn that word?!)
We attempt the oldest parenting tricks in the book – quick eat it before I do or I give it to your brother / sister.
Nope, their resolve is dead fast. Damn it. Stubborn little bastards truly are my children.

And thus, another 60 euros well spent, as we admit defeat, pay for our cold, untouched meals and drag the little terrors out of there, under the disproving eyes of our fellow diners and their picture perfect, glued on children ( seriously, how the F are they doing that?!)

Two steps up the street and cue the tantrum…
Waaaaaaaaaah, ( it sounds like a bomb alarm, diners nearly drop to the floor) passers by jump out of the way higher and farther than Olympic champions…
Waaaaaaaah.
I want to go back.
I want my dinner…
Oh, and my favourite,..
I want ice cream.

No way are you having ice cream.
Ice cream is a special treat, only if you’re good.
Were you good at dinner? “Yes”
WHAT THE ACTUAL F+*^
What do you mean yes? Did you stay sitting “yes” were you quiet? “Yes” did you listen to mummy and daddy? “Yes” did you eat your dinner “yes”
Whaaaaaat? What crazy parallel universe did this kid just spend the last thirty mins in??

The tantrum grows.
We are now full scale meltdown on the grubby dirt, possessed by the devil, arms and legs flailing, demanding ice cream.
Each no is met with a volume increase I wouldn’t have deemed possible.
Walking away results in a rugby tackle at my feet and further display of just how epic a tantrum can be.
I scoop the writhing beast up and fling him over my shoulder like a sack of spuds in a display of my super human strength, inherited as a mother.
Good god this kid weighs a ton. I don’t know how. He doesn’t eat.
He lashes out like a many limbed mythological beast.
I feel my face getting scratched. I wince as a filthy, grubby hand, covered in street dirt and litter is thrust into my mouth, my hair is pulled.
I am now as equally dishevelled as him… But slowly, calmly, I continue walking back to the hotel.
Repeating the same clear directions.
Ice cream is a special treat.
We only get ice cream when we are good.
We were not good at dinner.
I no longer even notice the stares of onlookers as I carry my heavy sack of disobedience home and enjoy a further 15 minutes of the ice cream tantrum.
I admire my core body strength that I am still able to lug him up the four flights of stairs… Although I do ponder what happens as he gets bigger as he is nearing three quarters of my height already… And I do give a moments thought to the growing human inside who just received ( not their first) sibling pummelling…

We fill the bath and toss them in.
Wash off the street dirt,
Drown out their continued moaning.
Discuss calmly the expectations of what being good at dinner looks like.
We ask if they want ice cream tomorrow.
Of course they do.
We tell them we can try again tomorrow and all they need to do is be good.
I swear they laughed.

It is bed time.
I don’t know who is more exhausted. Them or us?
Another fun family day finished with a delightful meal in a most adorable little street side restaurant.. Overlooking the grand beguiling buildings of Brussels.
Roll on tomorrow…

May your food be warm and tasty, wherever this finds you!
Love and hugs world.

 

“Butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths” …

now, don’t get me wrong…

i am NOT a good packer. I am victim of the tardis effect… where all bags are in fact bigger on the inside and therefore are capable of carrying any manner of junk… in fact, the bigger the bag you give me, the more junk i will suddenly find that i absolutely, positively just have to take (i will need it all, of course) so a road trip with a rather sizeable boot was tempting fate to begin with…. then you add the trailer and we are bound to have some hilarity! and thus… as plans were hatched to undertake the grand trek across Australia’s deserts into the great outback the sense of packing forboding began to tingle and what few remaining senses i have left…

add to this, husband the buyer of random junk… and as the umbrella hats and bulk baby foods started to appear in the mail i knew we were in for some packing dramas… but contention reached fever pitch on the spare tyres… 8 of them to be precise… EIGHT! and my how they were discussed (read divorce worthy argued about) and discussed and discussed…

but amidst the trauma of moving, these 8 “little” circles of rubber found their way wedged into the back of the trailer… with a mountain of other crap… and driven up the coast to my parents for a quick christmas stopover…

what we didnt know however, was that this was the start of the great unravelling…

as it turns out however, when you add the extra weight of 8 spare tyres plus bundles of useless crap (that in hindsight, maybe didnt need packing…) onto an untested wee trailer… mechanical faults can and will happen…

so, in the usual flurry of frustration as our junk was unceremoniously tossed into the already overloaded, car and tralier, amidst the inevitable tears goodbye and well wishes, we waved bravely, turned the key and rolled down the driveway… pulled out onto the street and made it at least 100 metres before the phone rang…

“wind down your windows”

“why?”

“can you hear that grinding noise?”

“what grinding noise?”

“oh crap… THAT grinding noise”…

sure enough, like the gutteral growl of some prehistoric beast sent to earth from the very bowels of hell there it was, a grinding, grumbling growl that could not be ignored…

so, a quick lap round the block and then the investigations begin… all the men of the family at first, looking at it, listening to it, kicking it for good measure… then come the neighbours, even the randoms driving by…

yup… general consensus. your trailer is stuffed.

now, i am not a mechanically minded person… but stuffed is stuffed…

and in short (due to the weight of said tyres or not remains open to debate) the trailer body had shifted so perilously low under the strain of the tow that the wheels were in fact rubbing on the mud flaps… not like an innocent little rub behind a puppy’s ears… oh no… that grating, gouge holes the size of the grand canyon, perilous tyre exploding kind of rub.

so two hours in the sun… child unloaded and put back indoors, worldly goods tipped out on the street for surveying and the decision was made… lose the tyres…

so pregnant or not, as if instructed by “the commando” himself, i rolled those tyres (near to bare foot and frumpy as i possibly could muster) up the street and across the road to their new home… my parents garage…

and thus, only 4ish hours later than intended… the caravan of crazy set sail once more up the golden highway due west…

if only it was as simple as that…

with head out the window, lie a dog in a ute, listening to the inevitable growls of chewed tyres we pressed on…

through smells unmentionable as it quickly emerged our darling micro man has a chronic case of tummy trouble, we pressed on… (thank god for the over the top packing and the numerous wardobe changes available to the microman as he averaged 2 changes an hour! not to mention the ingenious inclusion of a sealable vaccuum (biohazard) bag to store his clothes once extracted from his person…)

through searing heat and past several closed service stations (oh crap, is that the fuel light!?) we pressed on…

through the quick rest break that uncovered the ever growing tyre divet that required a complete road side trailer / car re-pack we pushed on further still

despite the “twenty minute” dinner stop from hell, where it took the local club over an hour and half to serve up some pre-cooked lasagne and a cold hamburger we pressed on..

and into the sunset we drove… allowing the every growing rumble of chewed out rubber serve as a detterent for the many wayward kangaroos whom were determined to hurl themselves forthright in front of our moving vehicle…

hour after hour we watched the sun go and relied on our uber bright lights and keen night vision to slow for each kamakaze over grown rodent that tempted fate in our path until at last, nearing 11pm we pulled into the welcome sight of our first night’s accommodation…

dust covered, nose hairs burned due to chemical violations and hands shaking from the alternating fears of hitting a kangaroo or blowing up the now severely chewed up tyre we tumbled out of the car into the stillness and quietness of the midnight sky,

prised open the back door to remove the microman to discover he had been travelling for an undisclosed period of time with an eight legged monster!! EEEEK! (hang on, it is late at night in a quiet town hotel carpark… silent eeeeeeeeeeeeeek!

some incredible flicking with a shoe later and the child was safely extracted and (i choose to believe – despite it being too dark to get substantial evidence) that the unwanted passenger was very much removed from the vehicle NEVER to return again…

bags unloaded, trailer unhitched for daylight inspection and most gratefully we turned in for the eve… the quality of that nyngan hotel or the comfort i could not even tell you now… for us, it was heaven… we had made it… no roo sized dents, no divorce and the trailer, albeit very much in an undesireable condition, still attached and unexploded…

yup, day one of our adventure west (and north) was everything a road trip should be… god knows what daylight would bring!!!!

 

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Moving.

its a stressful time.

this is documented fact.

so moving halfway across the country, away from family and friends, into the great unknown, with crazy weather, limited facilities and treacherous wee beasties is bound to cause some inner turmoil…

now… Throw into the mix trying to pack while entertaining the microman… No matter how wonderful he is, suddenly having all his toys locked away in boxes, no floor space available for playtime and general chaos and things really start getting a little tricky…

and just to take it all up yet another notch, mix this bubbling stress with a good dose of pregnancy hormones and then we have the backdrop for how our last week went…

so of course, being a **slight** control freak I approached this impending mountain of stress with a healthy dose of over the top organisation (read OCD) and had effectively “white boarded” our entire last two months… Nothing left to chance…

Step one, avoid any last minute social engagements, where my emotional cracks may be opened into emotional abysses from which the tears may flow…

step two, avoid social situations with large groups of people, except of course one dedicated event to be located and timed so as to avoid a public breakdown…

step three, have all social engagements done, finished, complete before the actual moving week so as to allow me to fret in private and do all those last minute crazy lady things I am wont to do…

now, this foolproof plan would have worked too… if you didn’t have to add one very easy going and well intentioned husband into the mix…

i mean seriously… in the build up to the move, OCD girl here commenced the grand process of sorting and sifting through every drawer and downsizing the amount of crap i own, while said husband went on a rip roaring spending spree to replace all disposed of crap with even more junk… and for every drawer or box i sorted, a new one was created simply to relocate his ever accumulating piles of paraphanalia… and thus… the age old battle begins…

but things really took a turn for rocky harbour when darling husband decided to plan to see his family on the very night our furniture was due to be shifted… i mean, eeeeeeeekkkk!!!! after a day lugging furniture and desperately trying to mop up a few years worth of dust so as to make the house presentable enough to hand back, is a dinner exactly what you would have in mind!!???? yet, then again, it is FAMILY! and we won’t be seeing them for quite some time… so other then some very subtle comments (read two weeks of outright nasty nagging and griping) the date was set for dinner…

i can work around this?

right?

sure enough… the week drew in… stress, panic, fret, grumble (all as anticipated) healthy bouts of miscommunication, as one would expect, the odd backhanded barking snipe at each other, also, only natural under the circumstances… but the boxes were packed and littered from one end of the house to the other and it was happening… regardless if we were ready or not. emotions running high, an this ostrich ready only to do some last minute prepping, packing and planning followed by sticking my head in the sand…and thus it was i found myself on wednesday afternoon, knee deep in bleach from cleaning the toilet, dust in my hair, windex in my eyes, trying to comfort one very distressed and cranky baby all while holding up a cupboard that needed drilling when the phone rings…

“shall i pick you up at your place or the hotel?” asks one of my nearest and dearest… “neither” i curse under my sweaty breath… “what the?”

and what a “what the” it turned out to be…

me head firmly ready to be in sand, in no fit state to see anyone, with no clothing accesssible and in my head a list a mile long of things that still needed to be done before tomorrow and our big furniture shifting day (not to mention i still have to contend with the dinner already planned for then)…when it transpires… darling husband has arranged for two of my girlfriends to take me out for a quick dessert to calm me down…

i of course shoot him some filthy stares and some equally vile retorts about “how could he?” when he knows i have said my good byes, made my peace and i have so much i want to do tonight… but of course, i begrudgingly figured a quiet hour out could still be worked around… besides, they have seen me stressed before, and in my dusty work clothes… i can do this…

until, as it turned out… the plot thickened… darling husband had gone well and truly outside of the whiteboard parameters and as i tried to convince my friend to push it back an hour i was met with a wall of”no” we are already late. what does one mean late? penrith isnt going anywhere…

but no… dig out some clothing… seriously anything that you can reach and get ready NOW…

by this stage of course i am particularly feral… the cracks of stress indeed starting to become chasms of despair… sanity long since gone and outright confusion like the greyest of stormclouds rolling around my head… thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightening indeed… but if hubby was scared he chose not to show it… and not until i was safely tucked away in my friend’s car… cursing under my breath at the imposition of having to take even an hour out that the fateful task was left to my mate to tell me, we weren’t staying local and we would be more than an hour… in fact… it wasn’t just going to be “us”.

what is going on!!??? (insert excessive expletives into that sentence for the more accurate conversation)

alas, my darling husband… had tried so very hard to be thoroughly wonderful… by knowingly going OFF the whiteboard…

never never never leave the whiteboard of a stressed out, manic, OCD driven crazy lady during a time of intense emotional turmoil. never. seriously NEVER!

and thus it was, dust and bleached covered, scowly faced in the car park of the hotel it was revealed to me that i was expected (some time ago) at a dinner with a bundle of my nearest and dearest as planned and organised by my equally sweaty and stressed out husband…the girls in my life who have lifted me over every hurdle. seen me at my worst and picked me up again… those that i am going to miss so unbelievably  and i knew would make me cry just to see them, knowing i would be moving far away…

oh yes, how else would a girl react to a gorgeous surprise dinner with her besties??? other than to turn into a screaming, aggressive lunatic who may very well have surgically removed part of the anatomy of the planner of such an event if left unchecked with any sort of sharp (or blunt) implement…

and thus it was, poor husband, who (bless him) had tried so hard received the bollocking of a lifetime from his crazy wife who then took several hours to calm back down (and be kept safely away from all sharp – and blunt – instruments) all while desperately trying NOT to cry… and worse still??? the mood was so vile, so foul, i didnt even get to really enjoy dinner!!!!!

so to say that packing and moving was “uneventful” and “stressfree” would be a lie…

yet somehow, we survived.

somehow, husband forgave my craziness, friends accepted that i am as nuts as i always have been, baby finally went to sleep and all the boxes did get packed the truck got loaded, furniture shifted, family dinner survived, the house got cleaned and here we are.. on the road… adventure bound…

god knows how he will cope with me these next few weeks… but for today at least, we are enjoying some downtime with the family for christmas… letting go of the stresses and preparing for more…

the whiteboard is packed and tomorrow begins a new day and a new adventure…

here goes nothing!!!!!

merry christmas everyone!!!!!!

all my love and hugs,

as always,

the crazy lady!

😉

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so…

i had  baby.

cool.

life goes on, yes?

so when the hubby comes home and tells me that his job has demanded we hit the road again… i find myself pondering… how much has life REALLY changed with the addition of the micro man?

I mean, we have packed and moved for his job before…  and survived

i have given up my work in these moves before… and survived

i have gone gallivanting around the world, far from home… and my absolutely wonderful family and friends have always supported these misadventures and welcomed me home with open arms…

so why does this time seem to fill me with so much more fear???

where is my daredevil streak??? that rush of excited adrenalin??? that buzz at the wonder of what tomorrow holds? that longing to hit the road, explore the unknown, have a fresh start?? where is my wanderlust?? and where is my longing to live in the Territory, in the warmth and open space that has been brewing within for years??

at what point did becoming “mum” mean i suddenly lost “me”?

so of course… in this higgledy piggeldy state of confusion and all the natural stresses that come with moving… when i start to lament this sudden loss of “me” it seems only natural to shake things up and re-find that inner core by rising to a challenge..

yup.. despite all the nay-sayers, despite the fact that the route we are driving has constant closures due to extreme heat, despite the pitfalls… watch this space… as hubby and i of course think it is completely normal, sane, rational and entirely soul gratifying to attempt to traverse this great continent, some 7000 km of liberation, complete with a ten month old… and a 20 week bump!!!

adventure awaits!

and may it smile upon you, wherever in this great world you’re hiding!

always.

L

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