Tuesday 9th February 2016

Emma was happier today, which was nice. She’s signed up to Snapchat and shared her username with a couple of friends and I think she likes that.

Troy and I sat down with her and Nicholai last night and reiterated that they need to take care on the internet. We also made them give us their usernames and passwords for all their devices/social media – while we’ve promised them that we’re not going to spy on them, the deal is that we can check out what they’re doing at any time. It’s hard to know exactly how to manage their internet usage, to be honest. Really, they’re good kids and I trust them to use good sense. I’ve made some great friends on the internet, it’s honestly been an invaluable source of knowledge and support for me over the past few years, and I wouldn’t want to deny them the same experience. But I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, and Troy and I have agreed that it’s better to set up the expectations now, rather than wait until they’re older and there’s an issue. So although I doubt we’re ever going to really check their emails or tumblr or message boards or whatever else they do, I think it’s reasonable that they know and understand that the internet is not a secret place. Nothing is truly 100% private, and if it’s something that they wouldn’t want being linked to them then they should probably think twice about posting it.

Luna’s rash is looking better, although the giant sore she has scratched and bit on her backside still looks pretty awful. It’s clean and will be healing, but it’s big and surrounded by a big patch of shaved pink skin so it looks worse than it is. In other pet news our new chickens are settling in nicely – three eggs yesterday and two today. They’re very small and one of them is laying eggs that are very thin-shelled (I broke one just picking it up) but I expect that this will improve as the chickens themselves get a bit bigger.

Troy signed the contract for our new car today. The dealer said that he might be able to get us what we want (white, diesel si version) from another dealer, and if he can we will probably get it next week. If not, it will be a ten week wait period. Obviously I’m hoping for sooner rather than later, but there’s not much we can do about it either way.

Still no yarn or knitting needles!

Monday 8th February 2016

There were more tears from Emma this morning, along with a very deep reluctance to go to school. It’s so hard. Apart from her anxiety over her maths work she hasn’t been able to articulate anything in particular that’s causing her worries. And in the afternoons she talks quite positively about her classes and the other girls she’s been talking to, so I think she’s doing okay once she’s there. It just seems to be the mornings, and the prospect of a whole day ahead of her, that brings out the tears.

She told me that she went to the student welfare office today, at recess or lunchtime, and spoke to someone there. Apparently Troy had suggested it to her. She said that they were nice, and that she’s made a deal with the lady she talked to that she’ll go back on Friday and tell her how her week has been. I think it’s a really good idea, and I’m glad that Troy thought of it and that Emma was confident enough to go! I don’t really think that there are big problems, I think that’s she’s having a harder time adjusting than she (or we) thought she would. Hopefully talking to someone today and just knowing that they are there if she needs them again will help.

We paid a deposit for our new car today. I don’t know when we will actually get it, but I suppose the process has been started. I hope they can find one without too much delay, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

I cleaned the oven today, which was disgusting. It’s not exactly a job that gets done very often, and when I do it I’m kind of appalled at how gross it is.

I also had lunch with Sue from the office, which was much more fun. We had planned to go the new restaurant in town (the one Troy and I took the kids to on the holidays) but they were closed so we ended up just going to the bakery. Although that was pretty good too – honestly I think I just like eating out anywhere.

I had hoped that either my yarn or my knitting needles would be delivered today, but no luck! I got all excited when I saw the parcel delivery lady coming to my door, but it was just a replacement part for a charger. Such a let down! Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

It’s hard garbage this week, so there were lots of people driving around yesterday, scoping out what everyone has put out. We didn’t have too much this time, although it looked like a lot because it was the old sectional couch and the old barbecue. We also put out the rusty chrome shelf thing that used to be in the kids’ toilet, a broken hedge trimmer and some pieces of carpet that Pedro used to sleep on up on the deck. Someone came by early on in the week and took the corner section of the couch, and then a couple of days later someone else took another section of it so there’s just one corner piece left. Someone took the knobs and the gas hose off the barbecue, and someone took the broken hedge trimmer, so we really ended up with a lot less stuff out on the kerb than we started with. And I haven’t picked up anything from anyone else’s pile, so we’re definitely coming out ahead with clearing stuff out!

Saturday 6th February 2016

I’ve been reading my old journals lately. I certainly seem to have been fairly prolific. It’s interesting to read it though and remember how it was – I think my life is definitely a lot easier than it used to be when I had smaller kids. Reading over it now I am regretful that I judged myself so harshly at certain times, because it honestly WAS difficult, sometimes horribly so. I’m so glad we are past some things, and I am so proud of who my kids are now when I look back to some of our earlier struggles.

It’s not all serious though. My god, the kids have been hilarious at times! I am so glad that I wrote it all down, I’m going to have such good material for making speeches at their birthdays and weddings and Christmas parties!

We bought some more chickens today. We haven’t had any for several months, since the others grew old and stopped laying and we sent them off to be killed. While Nicholai was at cricket this morning Troy and I took the other three kids and we went to the chicken farm that we got our previous chickens from. Jericho picked out four that he thinks look different – they’re all brown but they have some light feathers here and there or some speckling – and we put them in the dog’s travel crate and bought them home. They seemed to settle in quite quickly, walking and pecking around and having dust baths in the dirt. Jericho, Emma and Soren have named them Chocolate Sundae, Penny, Lightning and Iris. I went out to see how they were going this afternoon and they’d already laid two eggs, which was a pleasant surprise. The eggs are little, but they’re only young birds.

Friday 5th February 2016

I nearly had a car accident this morning. I got to the roundabout and went to brake but accidently hooked my foot on the pedal and pressed the accelerator instead! So I shot out into the roundabout and nearly got t-boned. I also screamed very loudly, which had Jericho and Soren sitting in their seats staring at me with bug-eyes after this near death experience.

I can’t crash the car now. We’re going to trade it in when we get our new one. Finance has been arranged and so now we’re just waiting for the dealer to get back to us. We’re hoping that they’ll be able to source what we want from somewhere in Australia so that we might get it sooner; if not it will have to be ordered from the factory overseas and we might not get it for twelve weeks or something. Unfortunately we were not able to get any financing that would allow us to buy it in my name (and thus get a teacher discount) but considering that I only work a couple of hours a week it’s hardly surprising that no one will lend me any money!

I took Luna to the vet and got some antihistamines for her rash and some antibiotics so that all the scratches and scabs she’s got don’t become infected. Poor baby. Although she’s also being very naughty lately about jumping up on beds and snoozing away on them until she is discovered! She has also twice tried to climb into my lap while I’m driving instead of just sitting on the passenger seat like she’s supposed to.

I didn’t get my knitting needles or my yarn delivered today, so I’m craft-project-less for the weekend now which kind of sucks. Maybe I’ll get some writing done instead?

We had a horrible morning with Emma today, as she was crying and didn’t want to go to school. I think, just as much as anything, she was just completely exhausted after her first week at high school, but she was also very anxious about her maths. For some reason she has it in her head that she is terrible at maths, which is crazy because she’s not! I mean, she always got good results in her classwork in maths, and in the Naplan test she was either average or above average for all the maths areas! But she has so little confidence that the moment something is presented to her that she doesn’t immediately understand she panics that she can’t do it. And with a new teacher and a new workbook she’s feeling very overwhelmed. In the end I asked her if she wanted me to talk to her teacher and she said yes, so I sent a quick email once I’d seen her trudge off to the bus stop and taken the little boys to school. I just said that Emma was feeling overwhelmed and with everything being so new and her own lack of confidence she was too anxious to ask for help or say that she doesn’t understand. I’m sure she’ll settle down soon and realise that it’s not all that scary and difficult, but at least now the teacher is aware.

Thursday 4th February 2016

Emma wants to get Snapchat and Instagram. She’s been at high school a week and she’s turned into a teenager! I don’t have a huge issue with her having some kind of messaging app that she can use to talk to her friends after school. I remember how much it sucked not being able to talk on the phone after school like my friends did (long distance call charges…there’s something that I haven’t thought about in a long time) so I’m happy for Emma to have a bit more social time.

We’ll talk to her about using social media responsibly but, as I pointed out to Troy, she is part of the generation that has grown up with the internet and internet safety has been taught to her in school from the moment she first turned a machine on. She’s also of a generation where her parents are active online and so we know and understand what the sites she uses do. None of this means she won’t make mistakes or do something dumb here and there, but we’ve got a good basis for talking about it with her. She’s smart and sensible too, so that makes me worry less.

I achieved almost nothing today. I honestly have no idea where the time even went. The only useful thing I did was go and do all the blood tests that Dr deSilva ordered. I’ll have to make a doctor’s appointment to get those results.

I finished knitting my cardigan yesterday! It’s funny, because I was actually quite surprised to come to the end of it. I had it in my mind that I wanted to finish it before we came to the end of our Walking Dead dvds, but somehow that meant I wasn’t expecting it to finish until we had finished all our episodes. And we still have some left. Anyway, my cardigan looks really good and I think I will love it once it gets cold enough to wear it! It will be super cosy when we have to go to football or hockey this winter.

Although now I have sock yarn but no needles and crochet hooks but no blanket yarn, so I have to wait and see which arrives first, the needles or the yarn. I’ve ordered the yarn from Bendigo Woollen Mills – today I wished I was Ellen and could just go to the shop and buy it for instant gratification!

I have to make a vet appointment for Luna tomorrow. All the blackberry bushes that Troy and his parents cleared out on the weekend were growing entangled with a whole heap of wandering jew, which I discovered (when looking up whether it was poisonous to goats – it’s not) causes dermatitis in dogs. Luna romped all through it and now has a horrid rash all over her, so hopefully I can get a quick appointment tomorrow.

Nicholai wants to establish what is the world’s best flag. To do this he has created a draw, where people will vote for flags through several rounds, eventually eliminating all but the best. (Yes, I know, he is really turning in to Sheldon Cooper with his Fun With Flags webshow). Anyway, if you’ve got a couple of minutes, visit https://theworldsbestflag.wordpress.com/ and help Nicholai discover the world’s most popular flag!

This is from Nicholai’s first day at school.

Emma obligingly modelling my cardigan.

THere’s a cable pattern that runs down the centre of the sleeves.

Tuesday 2nd February 2016

I still haven’t had a letter from the VIT reinstating my registration, so I spoke to the principal today and said I can’t really teach on Thursday since it’s suspended. I was so embarrassed, it was such a ridiculous oversight on my part, but she was very understanding about it. So hopefully it gets sorted out by next week.

Poor Emma was upset with her first high school homework this afternoon. It was maths, which she’s always lacked confidence in, and when some of the problems were written in an unfamiliar way I think she just panicked a bit. Once we sat down and she stopped crying we were able to look at them and she knew a few more answers. I told her not to worry about the ones she couldn’t do, just hand it in and then the teacher will know what areas they need to teach. I think that’s best – I am an awful maths teacher so I’m almost useless to her, and I’d rather she get a good grounding from an experienced teacher rather than have me try to muddle her through.

I had a pretty uneventful day. I coloured my hair after briefly considering letting it go white and deciding no, that’s not going to happen at this age. I did some housework and watched an episode of The Tudors while doing my knitting. I think I’m going to enjoy it – I know it’s historically not very accurate, but it’s very dramatic and beautifully costumed. And you know, Henry Cavill…there’s a lot that’s nice to look at!

Apart from Emma’s homework, all the four kids seem to be settling back in to school. Nicholai is extremely uncommunicative, as always, but he seems a lot calmer now that he’s got the stimulation of school. Emma talks about her subjects a little bit and has told me that she’s hanging around with Trinity, the girl she met on the orientation day, but is also getting to know a couple of other girls as well which I think is good. She’s a little more clingy than usual, following me around the house in the afternoon, but we just talk a little and she seems happy enough. Jericho likes having his teacher again (she was his teacher in grade 2, then Soren’s teacher last year) and especially likes having her dog, Angus, in the classroom again. He was excited to tell me about a story he wrote today – the prompt was a picture of a single shoe lying abandoned on a city pavement. Soren is happy to be back with his friends- I’m really glad that he has developed some strong friendships because it’s not something that the other kids have been consistently successful with. We’re doing that wretched reading rainbow thing again where you have to count the nights the kid read…I hate it! Although Soren doesn’t have to read aloud every night now, so we might do better this year if we read aloud a couple of nights and then he reads alone the other nights. Fingers crossed anyway, I’m tired of being a disorganised school parent!

Monday 1st February 2016

Oh my god, I am so frustrated and mad! I can’t believe Troy and I are fighting about his stupid brother again. Like seriously…haven’t we got past this ??? Apparently not!

Anyway, Brett and April are going to go and work overseas in Saudi Arabia, in order to get paid tax-free (well, that’s their plan). They went to see Troy today and he explained to them that going overseas for a temporary job means that they will still be taxed under the Australian system. The rules for what makes it a temporary job or not don’t relate only to time, but to whether they maintain ties in Australia, own a house or cars here etc etc etc. Considering that they own a house that they are keeping (and not even renting out for full market rent), some cars and Brett has three kids here, it’s going to be pretty hard for them to claim that they shouldn’t be taxed here. So Troy was telling me about this and I said that if they were going to do the wrong thing I would dob them in, and Troy said that then I’d get him in trouble because he would be their accountant. So frankly I was pretty pissed off that he’d be in any way unethical because of his stupid brother, and Troy was kind of laughing at me which just enraged me even further…it’s all so stupid, to have this ridiculous argument about a hypothetical situation, but damn!

I am just so sick of his brother doing whatever dumb shit he does and everyone else in the family catering to him and enabling him (this stuff goes back years now) and nothing ever changing. And I know it’s not really any of my business (except the way that family operates it kind of does become everyone’s business) but I cannot stop judging him for leaving his kids behind. I get that sometimes parents have to do things that suck for the future benefit of the family, but his three kids with Rachel aren’t going to get anything out of this except a dad that won’t be in their lives beyond a phone call here and there. I would bet my last dollar that he’ll pay child support for them until they’re eighteen and not a day longer, so any bullshit excuse about money and financial security won’t mean anything for them.

Anyway, all of this is just such a waste of energy. His brother has basically always been a jerk as long as I’ve known him, and yet when it comes down to it Troy will say that he’s his brother, and just shrug his shoulders. There’s nothing I can do about anything, except quietly fume, and try not to let it get to me.

Except that I can’t believe Troy and I are fighting about this! I was a pretentious shit and told him I couldn’t believe he would be complicit in his brother’s shady (at best) or illegal (at worst) tax evasion plans, and he just gave me a look and walked away. Probably the wisest thing to do really. I’m just…we don’t fight! We never do! Occasionally we might irritate each other a little bit, but even that is hardly worth noticing! And now we’re arguing about his brother????

Why didn’t I learn my lesson about this years ago????

 

Hmm, I’ve calmed down a bit now. Still a bit shitty about the whole situation and might delete it all later, but…meh.

It was such a lovely day until all that though! Today was Nicholai’s first day back, so it was my first day with ALL of the kids back at school. I waved Nicholai and Emma off for their walk to the bus stop (not that Nicholai wanted to walk with Emma!) and then dropped Soren and Jericho off at school and went to the shopping centre. I picked up my glasses, although that was a mixed sort of thing because one pair I like and one pair I don’t think I really do, but they are both new and the lenses are completely non scratched which is nice.

I then went to Big W and bought shoes for Nicholai. I have to admit that I kind of wanted to hit him with the shoes – we asked the kids on the holidays to check their school shoes and make sure they fit/ had no holes/ still looked okay, and guess who told us his shoes were fine? The same boy who also came in this morning to point out a hole in the sole!

I went to the supermarket and borrowed a movie from the Oovie machine, so that I could come home and do some watching of adult tv and knitting. I borrowed The Visit, which was kind of creepy and fun, and then I watched one episode of The Tudors, which I got for Christmas and think I will like. I started the second front of my cardigan while I was watching and got a good few inches knitted, so I’m hoping the rest of it goes fast. Once this is done I’ll knit a sock (once my sock knitting needles turn up) and order cotton yarn to make a rainbow blanket. So that’s my craft projects planned for the next couple of months.

I suppose tomorrow I had better start doing things – I will have to plan for Thursday (although I don’t even know if the registration mess will be sorted out by then so I can teach) and probably do some cleaning of the house, since it is generally sadly neglected over the holidays.