19 Feb 2014

Butter Ball

My Grandad passed away on Valentine's Day.  He had been unwell for quite some time, but it doesn't make it hurt any less.  I also think that I'm more upset about his passing because now both my NZ grandparents have passed and visiting home will never be the same again.

I wanted to be there so much today, more so because my whole family was gathered together in one place and that seldom happens these days, especially as my family lives here in Australia.  But I couldn't make it to the funeral, as I have explained here but in my absence I wrote something to read out.  To make it sound more like me, my wonderful sister read it out.

I probably wouldn't have been able to get through it anyway...

When my Mum asked me to help put something together about my Grandad, and shared some of her stories, I didn’t really know where to start.  I have never written for a funeral before, and I don’t know my Grandad like she knows him, but I will try to do him justice. 

Allan, Dad, Grandad, Butterball… these are all names that I knew my grandfather by, though obviously he was Grandad to me.  He called me Jess.  And when I was younger, Miss Piggy. He would tease us kids mercilessly.  Cheeky bugger. 

Grandad and I in the garden 
When I think of my Grandad I think of his strawberry patch (he was right about Miss Piggy!), cricket on the TV, butter beans, his wonderful garden, doing crosswords in his chair then ‘resting’ his eyes and eventually snoring up a storm, his morning cockatoo hair, roman sandals, polo shirts, porridge in the microwave set up for the next day, fishing, the bach, endless cups of tea in that giant white tea cup, Grannie and him side by side in their recliners, cream buns from Whangamata, the Cozzie Club, pulling his car out of the garage, spinning a yarn, the word ‘joker’ to describe someone…

He was the epitome of Grandparentness.  He was tough, but fair, and always willing to show us how to do something the right way.  He also got a kick out of poking you in the ribs, both sides, well into adulthood, despite your insistence to stop. 

He always had a story to tell, a factoid to share, and my Mum commented that he was always running into someone he knew whenever they went out.  I guess when you live in the same house for 60 years you get to know your community, which he was so proud to be a part of. 

Mum asked me to share a few things about her Dad with you.  We all know that he loved his garden, but he especially loved his flowers for his Mum, the sweet pea.  They grew down the back at 4 Sturges, near the chook pen, on a trellis.  He was especially good at growing beans and new potatoes and these were always a welcome addition to the family meal. 

He loved his role in the St Joseph’s scout troop and went on many camping and jamboree expeditions as their Scout Master. 

He loved to tell a story, share his exploits, and show you the places he’d visited.  He reveled in historical facts and loved to know the historical significance of many places near and far.  Talking about the old days in Thames and Otahuhu were some of his favourite pastimes and he had a wealth of knowledge about St Joseph’s and the place where he raised his family.  We were stoked to see him in the newspaper last year talking about his days at St Joseph.  Media superstar! 

First and foremost, he was a family man, and he loved having his children and grandchildren around him.  He enjoyed family get togethers and loved the opportunity to have a chin wag and enjoy a cold one or a sneaky Bundy rum (ask Mum about their big night on the Bundy not so many years ago!).  He was such a proud Father, Grand Father and Great Grand Father and he would always greet us with a hug, a kiss and poke in the ribs, for good measure. 

Mushroom and Grandad
Most of all, he loved Yvonne and was not the same without her by his side.  We all noticed that some of twinkle disappeared from his baby blues when she passed on 3 years ago.  They were like peas in a pod. 

I wish that I’d been a better granddaughter, I wish I had sent more cards, letters, photographs...  I wish for a lot of things.  I’m so grateful that I got to see him one last time in November and my son got to meet his Great Grandfather and I got to say goodbye.  Whilst I have shed many tears writing this, I’m happy that his suffering has come to an end and he has at last found peace.  I hope that he and Grannie are together, drinking cups of tea and sitting side by side once again.  Rest In Peace old man.   We love you xoxo

16 Feb 2014


Is it selfish of us to have kids even though we have no money?

To elaborate, we don't own our own home, we have debt and probably won't be getting rid of it any time soon, and we have no savings to speak of.  I have no idea how people survive on one wage as we are just scraping by on two.  

Ever since we got pregnant, I can't stop focussing on the things that we don't have.  A house, savings, no money for holidays or nights out...

If the Mushroom gets sick, we don't have money to fall back on.  If one of our cars dies, that's it.  No special toys, And I wonder if we are doing our Mushroom a disservice by not owning a home, or having money in the bank.

The reason why I'm banging on about this, again, is that my Grandad passed away on Valentine's Day.  Like most of my extended family, he resides in New Zealand, so getting there can prove costly.  Meaning I miss my Grandfather's funeral on Wednesday.

I'm used to missing out on things due to our financial circumstances and I have gotten used to it, but today, knowing that I won't be attending his funeral, today it has really upset me.  It's like rubbing salt in an already irritated wound.

This morning I spent a good hour or two sobbing quietly whilst looking at photo's and reminiscing to myself whilst the boys had a sleep.  I even wrote a few things down and tried to fathom how for 25 years of my 33, my Grandparents managed to look exactly the same to me.  Not old, not young, just grandparent-like.

Lost in my own world, I didn't do any washing, didn't get any cleaning done; I didn't do any of the things that I normally do on a Sunday.  I just cried in the morning and then felt bad for the rest of the afternoon.  Not even visiting my friend and her new baby could help shift this feeling.

Of course I understand that we are well off compared to the majority of the world's population, but today, when we have maxed out credit cards and not much in the bank, all I can think about is how I will miss my Grandfather's funeral and it's all because of money.  I hope that he understands how much I loved him and how much I'll miss him.

Hopefully one day, we won't be struggling to keep our heads above water every damn day.  I don't know how we'll get there, but it will happen and when that day comes, I'll re-read this post and shake my head.  But today, I'm just going to wallow.

(image via LiveLuvCreate.com)

8 Feb 2014


Everyday I tell the Juffin to put his things away up out of reach of our son.

Everyday, he doesn't do it.

Most of the time it's just little things like his reading glasses (we have about a million pairs each), his playstation controllers, headphones, wallet... stuff like that.  Not dangerous stuff.  Just everyday stuff.

You all know where this is going right?

This morning Juffin put his Mechanic hat on and decided to take Sabrina, my dilapidated car, in for some much needed TLC.  Before he could do that though, he needed to move his car which was parked behind mine, and guess what?  He couldn't find his keys.  Last seen in the little hands of one mischievous Mushroom.

We searched for nearly half an hour.  Kitchen, lounge room, bedroom, toy boxes, his bedroom, laundry, ensuite... I checked the toilet because just yesterday I'd seen him putting his toy car into the toilet and splashing it around.  No keys there either.

Yes, I watched my son play in the toilet.  But in my defence, I was in the shower at the time.  At least I was watching him!

We were no closer to finding the ONLY key to Juffin's car when I then remembered that I'd taken the rubbish out half an hour earlier, and guess who had pulled half it out on the floor and started munching on scraps earlier in the morning? You guessed it, the Mushroom! (that is a whole other story!)

I mention this to Juffin who looks at me imploringly.  No.  I will not be checking the rubbish bag that has been sitting out in the wheely bin for nigh on an hour.  Your son was playing with your key.  He was playing with the bin and the food in it.  Key is now gone and bin has been emptied into larger outdoor bin. You don't have to be a genius to work it out.  I point towards the door and march him out there.  If he wants his bloody key, he'll have to look for it himself.

2 seconds later I hear a huzzah.  Eureka.  Key found.

Juffin re-enters the house looking relieved that he found the stupid thing but unimpressed with the unidentifiable food stuffs stuck to his key.

Mushroom followed him into the kitchen laughing. Probably because I was laughing.

Ahh, karma is a bitch.

I then made things even worse when I couldn't stop myself from saying, 'Have you learnt your lesson now?' If looks could kill....

I would like to advise that someone did learn a lesson from today's experience and has put their key in a safe, out of reach place this afternoon when they got home! Hooray!  

The Bin.  Teaching life lessons since 2014

6 Feb 2014

Rearward Facing

On Wednesday afternoon I nearly ripped the Mushroom's arm off trying to get him into the car and secured into his car seat.  It was traumatic for both of us.  He was in tears, I was in tears.  No fun for anyone.

On Wednesday evening, after telling Juffin of my torment, we decided to turn the car seat around. 

Yes. We still had our son rearward facing at 15 months.  

What kind of crazy hippies are we you may ask... but before you go hating, there are a few legitimate reasons for keeping your kids rearward facing for as long as possible and they can all be found here.

Or you could just watch this video.  (You don't have to watch the whole thing, you'll get the gist of it pretty quickly!) 

Juffin and I watched this video when the Mushroom was very small.  It wasn't a big deal, it just made sense to us.  If it doesn't make sense to you that's ok.  I don't care.  It just made sense to us so we decided to keep our little ray of fungi rearward facing for as long as possible.  We didn't quite make the 2 years, but we're pretty happy with 16 months.

Someone else seems pretty happy with himself also.

Grinning it up
Unfortunately I can no longer have sneaky eats in the front without a little person wanting some of that foodie action.  Silver lining, good for my arse right?  Boo!    

2 Feb 2014


How hard is it to put dirty clothes INSIDE dirty clothes basket?!

Perfectly good laundry basket

I guess I should be thankful that they're on the basket and not on the floor....


Earlier this week, I spent eighteen hours in the emergency ward of our lovely public hospital.

Coming off the back of a long weekend, (Australia Day, Oi, oi, oi!!), I woke at some ungodly hour on Tuesday in agonising pain.  Like thought I was in labour again pain.  I was doubled over, clutching at my stomach, thinking that an alien was going to come out of my abdomen, because there's no way that I've been walking around growing a baby for the last nine months and I just didn't know about it!

After writhing around for a few hours, (crying, screeching, clutching at the sheets), Juffin convinced me that it was time to seek medical assistance.  I grudgingly agreed.  There was no way that this could be normal gastro pain.  I was just hoping that it would go away after a few hours.  It didn't.

Thinking that it wasn't quite emergency ward hospital status, I tried unsuccessfully to contact my GP a few times.  At this point I was grunting every time we hit a bump on the road.  Juffin was gripping the steering wheel and glancing over at me every two seconds, whilst the Mushroom was babbling away in the back.  The whole drive, I kept thinking about going to the hospital when I was in labour.  It wasn't a pleasant experience.

I finally get through to my GP.  Except he's on holidays.  Of course he is. I ask if I could get in with another Doctor asap as I'm not doing so well.  She is suitably concerned and puts me through to the nurse who advises me to go the hospital.

We do.  After dropping the Mushroom off at daycare.  Where he is very unhappy to be dropped off by his Daddy.

At Emergency I catch a break and a girl I know is working triage.  She takes me straight through.  Huzzah!  Except no-one knows what's wrong with me.  Poked, prodded, scanned, tested; ruling out miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, gastroenteritis, appendicitis, gall bladder issues..... the list goes on.  At one point, I start thinking there really is nothing wrong with me.  It's psychosomatic.  I have literally stressed myself out so much that I've manifested abdominal pain.

Twelve hours after arriving, we have a diagnosis.  Finally.  I am admitted, but spend another five hours in emergency where they pump me full of drugs and don't let me drink anything in case I need to go into theatre soon.  Juffin has organised for his Mum to take the shroom and he's staying the night at her place.  Juffin is being stoic and lovely but I send him home as he's clearly tired and hungry and there's no point in him sitting around being uncomfortable in a hard ass plastic chair.  At least I have a semi-comfortable bed to lie in.  

The verdict is, I will need surgery, but thankfully, I'm not dying.  Ironically, though we do have health insurance, we don't have the money to pay the Doctor's out of pockets to go through the private system so I'm now on a waiting list. Even more ridiculous is that when I wake on Wednesday in the ward, I have no pain.  Gone.  Like the day before never happened.

It's still another eight hours until I get to go home and the worst part of all of this is being separated from the Mushroom.  It's like an ache all day.  I can't wait to see him and squeeze him tight.

As a result of this little setback, we also have to put off our plans to get pregnant with baby number two.

This year sucks man.  I woke up on New Years Day with a head cold and it hasn't stopped.  A super infection, gastro, headaches, tiredness, money woes and now this.  I'm over it and February has only just begun.

It's hard to be positive when everything sucks the nut.  So here's the good news.  I finally got some info about study, and looks like I'll be starting that fairly shortly.  And I also took my first order for cupcakes on Valentine's Day.  It's not all doom and gloom!