Mum of adult kids

Running through life after school lunches, mum's taxi and kid's sport

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Winging it, in 2012

Well here we are, the last day of 2011, and all of a sudden we've got to start remembering to write (type) 2012.  As usual, it will take at least an entire month for me to do that correctly every time!

Here's a few things I know about 2011, retrospective of course:
  • I started the new year with a new job, after 12 years in the same work place.  It was a huge adjustment, especially the commuting.
  • I turned 40. No biggie.
  • I was supposed to finish my Masters Degree. I didn't. *sigh*
  • I had planned to celebrate my milestone birthday and the completion of my studies with a trip to Europe, specifically Paris.  I didn't. *sigh*
  • I had every intention of completing the next stage in my home renovations - The Family Room. The floorboards are currently bare and the walls are waiting for a coat, or two, of paint. Enough said.
I'm not one for making resolutions. I never stick to those.  I do try to set goals for myself though. Obviously, I'm not so great at carrying out my plans, especially the big ones!  This is what I KNOW is in store for 2012:
  • I WILL complete my Masters Degree, by mid-June. Unless the world ends before then.
  • Instead of being 'just 40', I'll be in my 40s. Can I say 40 +1?
  • I WILL finish the work I've started in my family room. I think I can only live with the furniture piled into the middle of the room and covered with an old sheet for as long as it will take me to remember to write 2012!

And the rest of 2012?... I think I'll do what I do best, just 'wing it'!

Linking up with Kellie at The Good, The Bad & The Unnecessary for Things I know, as the curtain closes on 2011.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Shhh! Don't tell 'em I'm here.

I'm supposed to be wrapping pieces of masking tape around the covers of the downlights in my family room, ready to start painting the ceiling. So far today I have sanded, undercoated, moved furniture, cleaned window sills, filled holes and vacuumed (in vein). Painting always seems like a good idea, until the preparation gets underway. Now. I. Need. A. Rest.

This week I am trying to get a few previously started home renovation jobs finished. Earlier today I found myself wondering why on earth I chose the week between Christmas and New Year to do this. Why why why?

It's holiday time and should be out catching up with friends, enjoying a good book, hitting the beach (hooray, the sun is shining!) Or I could have escaped to the bush with the {other} man in my life. But here I am, with plaster dust in my hair, up my nose and embedded in the pores of my skin. I've broken a nail (of the fingernail kind, not the hammer and nail kind), got splinters in the fingers of my left hand and completely blocked my sinuses. Fun.

Truth be told, I specifically chose this week for a few good reasons. Well, they seemed good at the time.
  1. My (free) hired help was available this week. If you're interested to know who that is go here.
  2. I'd rather use my 'forced' holidays (being my office is closed this week so I had no choice but to take leave) to do this work than my chosen holiday time (in April 2012 - Bring it on!)
  3. I'm on a break from Uni, but my classes start again in under two weeks!
  4. My floorboards have been bare for seven months already and I want to get them sanded and polished, BEFORE someone spills something!
and reason number 5...  it will look bloody good when it is finished!  I'd better get back to work...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Renovation Rescue Starts TODAY!

A must-have accessory for every single mum with a mortgage on a house built circa 1960 is a builder-father. Lucky for me my dad is Bob the Builder, the original, and the best.

Dad visits my house for days at a time, once or twice a year, with his hammer, plaster, putty and/or power tools in tow.  He's a good dad.  The BEST. He'll be arriving this morning to help finish a couple of jobs that were started on previous visits. I'll be the builder's labourer for the next two to three days.  Hence the real reason for my lazy day yesterday. I needed to conserve my energy.

Firstly, 18 months ago I pulled out a hideous built-in wall unit. Remnants from the 1970's. Dad expertly patched the walls as good as new... and they have remained unpainted ever since. It's my job to paint the room, but I wanted to wait for some ceiling work to be finished. Dad is an expert sander, I just cannot seem to eradicate all visible signs of plaster patch-ups like he can.

Virgin wall

We spent Mother's Day weekend this year pulling tiles up through half my house.  It was a weekend of hard labour, made much more difficult than necessary by the gallons of glue and millions of staples (this is NOT an exaggeration!) that had been used to adhere sheets of masonite to the floor, before laying the tiles. We cursed the person who did this. Over and over and over. After two days we were all completely knackered.

These guys love me
 My plan was to paint the room, buy new window coverings and have the floor sanded and polished, all before Christmas. It didn't quite go to plan. But after seven months of recovery (from the tile-removing episode) dad is coming back to finish fixing the holes in the floor, like this one...

We spent Winter with bare floorboards, with holes in them!

... and then I can finish the painting!

My house has been a work in progress for the past five years, and there are a few other half-done jobs that will have to wait until next time. We'll get there. Eventually.  But by then my boys will have moved out and I'll be ready to down-size. With a bit of luck!

Do you home-renovate, one job at a time? How long has it taken you to get your renovations finished? Got any stories of unpleasant surprises, like a million staples in the floor?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Post-Christmas Tunes

I am always extra-grateful (and surprised) when I receive a gift that I would not have purchased for myself, and I discover that I love it!

One such gift this Christmas is the Bruno Mars CD, doo-wops & hooligans.  I love it!

And being at the end of the Christmas madness, the day after Boxing Day, here's my song for today!

Joining in with the Sunday Session... because this week, every day feels like Sunday.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ghosts of Christmas Past

A parent's experience of Christmas changes as children get older, at least in my world it did. Truth be told, I've never really been one to go 'over the top festive', even when my boys were small. I guess that is reflective of my own childhood, my parents rarely made much of a fuss at Christmas. Sure we usually had a tree, exchanged presents, left milk and a biscuit for Santa and a carrot or two for the reindeer, while we ate turkey and ham for a week. All with a rather laid-back attitude.
When my boys were little their dad and I enjoyed conspiring with Santa, we always had a tree (albeit the same plastic one year after year, with the same decorations) and we usually ferried kids from one family gathering to the next. It was always rather exhausting!

These days, with no end of the school year, no Christmas concerts, Christmas craft, letters to Santa, Christmas lists, toy shopping or presents for teachers, it barely feels like Christmas. At least not as we once knew it. (The cold weather in Sydney so far this month doesn't help either!)

Both of my boys will be working up until Christmas, and throughout the 'holiday' period... it will almost be like just another week, except I will be enjoying some quite days off (while they are at work... Hehehe!) I can't say that I will be reflecting on the past year, or making thoughtful plans for the coming one.  I'll just be enjoying the present (no pun intended).

For a mum of adult kids, Christmas is a whole lot simpler!

From my family to yours

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'tis better to give, than to receive

My boys have a baby sister (on their dad's side, not mine!) and a couple of baby cousins. 20 year old Ben enjoys giving gifts, especially to the little ones.  He buys great presents, obviously putting some thought into what is suitable for the young recipient, appropriate for their age and something they will enjoy.

He buys great gifts for the adults in his life too. Last year he took me by complete surprise when he gave me a bottle of Calvin Klein perfume. Just lovely.

On Saturday Ben took himself Christmas shopping, and the pic above is some of his purchases. An adorable doll, a plush Scooby Do and Transformers for his cousins, and Hi5 DVDs for his 18 month old sister who LOVES Hi5.

I've no doubt that in the years to come, Ben will continue to buy his little sister presents that she'll love. She's a very lucky girl to have a big brother like Ben, and he's a lucky boy to have a little sister to dote on.

I'm proud to be his mum.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dot com BOOM...

Life 'online' is complicated. I don't know about you, but I often find keeping track of user names, passwords, URLs, contacts, email addresses and the like, is overwhelmingly and increasingly complicated. I'm beginning to think that I have made life 'online' more difficult than it really needs to be.

I have six email addresses, including one at work, each with a different password. All but one of these is used for newsletter subscriptions and RSS feeds, usernames, log-ins and general correspondence.

There's my original email address that I've had with my home internet provider since Adam was boy. My username incorporates my alter-ego, coffeequeen. Because I am. And life was simple. Then.

18 months ago I created a more 'professional' email account, using something as boring as my name, while updating my CV and preparing to look for a new job. Perhaps that's still simple. Then there's my student email, issued to me when I commenced postgrad studies four years ago (and yes, I'm still plodding away at my Masters); the 'live' address I use for my blog; a dormant gmail account and the email account issued to me by my employer. Once upon a time I also held a Hotmail account and one from Yahoo!

As for log-ins, I've got one for nearly every social media platform on the planet (feels like that anyway), online stores, classifieds, banking and other services, memberships and online communities... does it ever end? Just about everything we do online requires an account or log-in of some description, and you can be sure that they all require different combinations of upper case, lower case and other characters in the password. Some enforce a password change within a specific timeframe, and re-using a prior password is not permitted. Just to make things even more difficult!

As a result, I have several variations of four different passwords, along with various user names, and of course all that email.  Excuse me while my head explodes!

Got any tips for simplifying life 'online'?  How do you keep track of your log-ins and passwords? Do you have system? Or do your eyes roll back in your head like mine do, at the very thought of matching email to log-in to password to URL?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Things I know...

This is the first time I have linked up with 'Things I know', which is kind of weird given that it is Shae's last time in hosting.  Firsts and lasts, do they go together?

Anyway, in keeping with Shae's theme of the good, the bad and the unnecessary, here are a few things that I know...

The good
  • I have four work days and then 11 days off. Straight. First time that's happened since I started my new job 11 months and two weeks ago.
  • I have 18 bottles of wine in my 'cellar'. That should get me through the silly season. And then some.
  • My Christmas shopping is done. Online, and one quick trip to the store in my lunch break. No parking hassles, no queues, and best of all... no scary credit card bills.
The bad
  • I'm WAY behind with my house renovations. Got to spend my 11 days off (ok, maybe 10 if I don't count Christmas day) sanding, painting and fixing stuff. Just to catch up.
  • My camera that disappeared late October has not turned up. Consider it gone for good. I'll be taking photos with my phone this Christmas.
  • Sydney weather ATM. Need I say more?
The Unnecessary
  • 22 year old son tells me he is too old to be living at home and he's gonna move out.  He's moved out twice, come back twice, and talked about moving out ever since. Like it's gonna happen again any time soon. Save your breath, you might need it.
  • My backyard has too many weeds. I thought everything in creation was there for a reason. What's with the weeds?
Hey, this was good. I didn't realise I knew so much!  Will definately be back, next time with Kellie at The Good, The Bad and the Unnecessary.


Visit the Things I Know linky for this week here

Thursday, December 15, 2011


The words orthodontist, or orthodontics conjure up two main images, braces and money. That is money going out, not money coming in. Unless of course you are an orthodontist. But another (very monotonous)aspect of orthodontic treatment is appointments.  Generally, a check-up approximately every six weeks is required, just to make sure things are progressing as expected. That's about as often as one is supposed to visit their hairdresser for a hair cut. Does anyone actually do that?

Both my boys endured some orthodontic treatment in their early teens, and my youngest son Ben currently has a lovely set of braces. He's a late bloomer. A mature metal-mouth. The specific issue he has, necessitating that we wait until he finished growing, coupled with a broken jaw and the subsequent months of recovery, meant that he got his braces on about 6 weeks after his 19th birthday. Lucky.  The girls at uni found it such a turn on. Probably not.

After 18 months, his torture treatment is nearly finished. His teeth, that were hideously misaligned before, look beautifully straight. Sometimes I randomly say, "Show me your teeth, Ben" just so I can see how much better they now look, even through all that metal. I love to see the results of the large sums of money I have paid. (I reckon I must have single-handedly put our orthodontist's kids through private school, all 10 of them).

Yesterday I realised that I haven't been to an orthodontic appointment in almost two years. The last time I went along was post-broken jaw and pre-braces, to discuss the impact of the former on the latter.  That is all.  Being 19 and a 'grown-up'  Ben took himself to the orthodontist the day his braces were applied, and he has arranged, rearranged and attended appointments himself through the entire treatment. I rarely even know when these appointments are! How lucky am I? No having to organise time off work, no pick up, drop off, driving around... no waiting room!  I wouldn't even know he had an orthodontist, if it weren't for the quarterly bills my credit card pays!

With a bit of luck Ben will have the braces off before his 21st birthday, and with a bit more luck I won't have to sell my house to finish paying for his beautiful straight smile. But if I do, it will be worth it. He looks a million dollars.

How straight are your kid's teeth?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's date night!

Tuesday night is often 'date night'.
You can do that when you no longer have small children, you know.

We head up to 'the local', where we can get two meals for the price of one, with vouchers we received a few months ago on a visit to the adjoining bottle-o. Without kids in tow, eating out on a two for one deal is cheaper than eating at home, especially when atlantic salmon is on my plate.

Bon appetit!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The one time I was invited, but forgot to go

My youngest son Ben has been taking singing lessons since his second last year of high school. He had chosen music as a subject and was advised that he could achieve a better result in his practical exam if he not only played his guitar, but sang as well.  I suppose two talents are better than one.

So I paid for a year and a half of singing lessons, only to have him chicken out and have someone else sing, while he just played along on his guitar. Apparently when he realised that he'd have to sing in front of people, he decided it wasn't such a great idea after all.  Chicken.

Weirdly though, Ben enjoys his singing lessons so much that he has continued them for the past two years, at his own expense. And I have never heard him sing.  Ever.

For the past two years he has performed in an afternoon end of year concert at the singing teacher's home. For the past two years I didn't hear about this concert until 1. the day after and 2. the day of. So, I have never heard him sing. Ever.

This year was different. He brought an invitation home five days before the event, and put it on the front of the fridge. You know, where all the important stuff goes. I casually commented, "Oh, another concert. Am I allowed to go?" Apparently he said, "If you want".  Aha!  I have the opportunity to go to hear my son sing. Finally!

Sunday afternoon rolled around and I was out and about... at least 45 mins away from the concert venue. I get a text... "If you were planning on coming it's just about to start"...  Planning? What? Where? Start?...

Yep, I completely lost track of time and forgot all about the concert. I felt terrible. Invite on the fridge, text message reminder...  he was expecting me to show up. And I forgot.  Epic fail... That was yesterday, and I still have never heard him sing.

What were you expected to remember, but didn't?

Joining in with Multiple Mum for the Weekend Rewind Blog Hop Linky thingy...  *crossing my fingers and hoping this works*

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A minimalist? Who? Me?

THIS is my Christmas tree!  Don't you just love it?!  It is compact, tidy, makes no mess and took 2 minutes to decorate.  Best of all, it will take 2 minutes to clean up, approximately three weeks from today.

Decorations... check!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The grinch who stole Summer

Image source: The Weather Channel 
In case you didn't notice, its December. Three weeks until the jolly fat guy slides down the chimney. I'm sure he knows to watch for smouldering logs in the fire place, in all those lovely warm homes in the northern hemisphere. It is Winter there. But if the weather here in Sydney keeps going the way it is, the poor guy is gonna get his arse charred when he comes careering down chimneys in my suburb!

Today is supposed to be day five of Summer 2011. One could be forgiven for thinking they went to bed last Thursday evening and woke up back in August! It's freezing. At least it is where I live.

It's December, people! We're supposed to be wearing short sleeves, sunblock and open-toed shoes. Instead, I headed off to work this morning wearing three layers plus my trench coat and scarf! The forecasted top temp for my suburb today is 17°, 19° for the city. What gives?

According to the Weather Channel, a large cold front over the Tasman is sending cool southerlies and showery conditions our way.  The good news is that this cold front is moving east, so I guess that means it's heading to New Zealand, and the temperature is expected to climb as the week progresses.

Are you suffering unseasonal weather at your place?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas. Shopping.

To say that I hate shopping is an understatement. I loathe it. There is nothing about shopping that appeals to me, especially the bit where I hand over my hard-earned cash for something I don't really need. I don't even like shopping for someone else. I shop as little as possible.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not stingy or a scrooge. I love giving gifts to people I care about, and I always try to give gifts that suit the receiver, give them something I believe they will like and appreciate. I just hate shopping.

Last Saturday I met two girlfriends for coffee at the local shopping centre. I only went there for the coffee, and the company!  After driving around the carpark for 15 mins, each minute after the first I was getting closer and closer to heading to the exit, I finally found a spot to park. People, everywhere. And it was still November.

Then and there I decided that I wasn't going back to the shops until the new year. I can't stand crowds, I am impatient and refuse to wait in a queue. I have been known to dump my groceries and run out of the supermarket because I refuse to stand in line. Hate it. So much.

One wee problem though...  I haven't started my Christmas shopping. For obvious reasons. I hate it. I always leave my Christmas shopping until almost the last minute.  Bless Kmart who historically open extended hours over Christmas, and now open 24 hours. I'd shop at 3 in the morning to avoid crowds. You guessed it! I'd rather loose sleep than wait in a queue.

But this year I decided to do all my Christmas shopping online. As I said, I am not going back to the shops. Not until my calendar says 2012. Seriously. Afterall, it is the 21st century and these days there is nothing you cannot order online for home delivery.  I get my fruit and veg delivered every fortnight, the rest of my groceries I get from the local stand-alone Aldi. I'm allowed to go there whenever I want. There's never a queue, so that doesn't count.

Christmas 2011. No shopping malls, no department stores. Just me and my computer, and my credit card! Fortunately I don't have many presents to buy. My siblings and I don't exchange presents. I don't have nieces or nephews to buys presents for. Just my kids and my parents really. I could just get four bottles of wine! Too easy. Hmmm...  Cellarmasters, or Liquorland online?  Easiest Christmas shopping I've ever done, and I might just get something for myself while I'm there. 

Happy Christmas shopping.

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