Monday 16 January 2017

We started off the day with one goat breaking his collar and the other one breaking his chain and both of them destroying the plum tree that is laden with almost-ripe fruit. Really they have been a pain in the neck – it would practically have been less trouble to weed the entire mess behind the shed by hand.

Jericho and Soren were booked into the nerf wars holiday activity at the RACV this afternoon. We took lunch and ate outside by the jumping pillow, and then went over to the tennis courts when it was time for the activity. They had a great time. Basically there was a giant weapons chest of various nerf guns and bows, and the kids were divided into two teams and were shooting at each other from behind giant inflatable balls (that were the morning activity that they didn’t do, zorb soccer, which is where people wear the giant inflatable balls and play soccer. Or just ram into each other apparently, since Adam and Susie’s kids did it and that’s what they liked best.) Despite the heat Jericho and Soren really enjoyed themselves. They both had good weapons and once it was all over they also got to get into the inflatable bubbles and run around bouncing off each other, so they were very happy.

Nicholai and Emma didn’t want to do the activity, but they came along too. Nicholai read in the library, and Emma and Alex went off and sat around in the sports bar (which is not a real bar, obviously) talking secret thirteen year old girl stuff.

I also vacuumed today and made the children also clean and vacuum their rooms. As you can imagine they all thanked me for giving them the opportunity but I don’t care. I don’t know when my house was last this clean.

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Sunday 15th January 2017

I finally convinced Jericho to let me tie his hair up for the day. It felt like the first time in months that I’ve been able to see the child’s face.

The last proper haircut he had was in May, and since then he’s only had a tiny trim on the back ends to cut off the mullet. We’ve put up with it hanging over his face as we endure the awkward stage of the growing out process, but we’ve told him that once school starts he has to have it tied back. This has caused a great deal of angst on his part – he really wants long hair, but he really doesn’t want the attention of turning up at school with a new (and somewhat adventurous, for a boy) hairstyle. So after much anxiety and discussion we came up with the plan of tying it up every day for the next week or so, so he can get used to the feel of it and decide if he really wants to keep it long. We’ve talked about the fact that everyone at school will probably comment on his hair over the first day or so, but then everyone will just get used to it and it will just be the way he looks and no one will think twice about it. It really has been quite a drama for him, but it’s Jericho – everything is a drama really.

We bought a hula hoop at the $2 shop and Jericho has started teaching Luna to jump through it. She seems to be getting the idea, and she’s utterly adorable jumping and then looking up for her treat reward.

We’ve borrowed Steve and Jean’s goats, and have them tethered in the backyard so that they can eat all the crap that grows along the back and side of the shed. They broke THREE dog collars before we could get them tied up securely, which was a total pain in the ass, but they seem to be settled now. It cracks me up though, that to get them to our house Jean just loads them into the back of the Ford Focus – I mean it’s a hatchback! They look hilarious just driving along in the back of the car. This time Troy said that he saw the people in the car behind him pointing and laughing hysterically, and then someone held up their phone and (he assumes) filmed the sight. It probably made their day, I know if I saw something so ridiculous I would get a real kick out of it.

I’ve really enjoyed the slightly cooler weather over this weekend. Last night was even cool enough that I could wear the socks I finished knitting at mum and dad’s house – I was still wearing shorts so it was a true fashion statement, but I love my hand knitted socks!

I’ve been doing a lot of crocheting on my blue blanket, and have finished sixty squares. The book I’m working out of now (The Big Book of Granny Squares by Tracey Lord) has a lot more dimensional squares, with flowers and popcorns and bobbles, so these squares are using up more yarn than the squares from the Jan Eaton 200 Crochet Squares book. It’s funny though, the book uses the worst colours and combinations of yarn in their sample photos! Nearly every single square is hideous, and so basically every square that I make looks better than the ones in the book, just because of the horrible colours they use.

Friday 13th January 2017

I think the word that bests describes me these school holidays is ‘curmudgeonly’. The kids are driving me batty.

Well, not all the time. I took Soren to the park this morning and he and I had a lovely time. But right now they are all watching Troy play on the Wii and being very silly…can’t I send them to bed yet?

I’m not sure about having these guinea pigs inside constantly. I can smell them. It’s not a horrible smell exactly, just a guinea pig and woodshavings smell, but I’m not sure that I want to live with it in my living room. They’re really cute to watch though – the way they curl up in the shavings to have a nap is adorable.

And thinking about pets, Winky the chicken is making a grand recovery. Even the eye that we thought would never open again is half open now. I also got five eggs this morning, so her near death experience hasn’t even put her off laying. I am truly surprised by this chicken’s resilience.

We are definitely going through a stage here where I am grinding my teeth in frustration with the way Nicholai’s attitude is stopping him from fulfilling his potential. I mean, there was that whole nearly failing science thing, and although his report had some good marks, there was also a lot of questionable efforts in there too. His motivation just isn’t really there at the moment – I think we are going to be a little harder on him next year and see if we can prompt a greater effort from him.

Because he really has an amazing mind! I mean today (and this is what prompted me writing about this) he was in the kitchen doing something in his sketchbook and when I asked how he was going he told me he was fine, and he was just making a fractal map of the Australian Open results. Like…this is what your brain comes up with to amuse itself with on the holidays, and yet you still only got SIXTY-SIX PERCENT ON YOUR MATHS HOMEWORK?!?!?!?!?! You are smarter than everyone else I know, why are you wasting this phenomenal gift you have?!?!?

I don’t know. He’s not exactly wasting his talents. He’s making fractal maps of the Australian Open results! He does a lot of writing for his blog and a lot of statistic collecting and analysis. He reads a lot of books full of facts of varying levels of interest and obscurity and makes everyone else listen to the ones he finds most fascinating. His mind is always working. I suppose I just worry that he doesn’t focus his ability on anything that doesn’t interest him, which is unfortunately a great deal of the rest of the world. Still, he is fourteen and about to go into year 9 so it will probably be at its worst this year – year 9s are always horrible. Hopefully it will improve after that!

Thursday 12 January 2017

I just spoke to Alyssa about our trip. So far her luggage weighs four and a half kilograms. Me on the other hand, went out and bought a toiletry bag today so I’ve just added to my luggage! Although in all fairness to me, the only toiletry bag I have is one of those hardsided, tapestry toiletry suitcases that everyone used in the 90s. While it’s great when I need to fit in my whole family’s toiletry requirements when we’re going to my mum and dad’s for a week, it’s kind of surplus to requirements this time. So I bought a new one.

I think my constant search for the ‘perfect’ packing list and ‘ideal’ bag configuration is really just my way of dealing with my anxiety over going. I’m just focussing on this one thing that I can control as a means of compensating for all the things that I can’t.

It might be weird, but I actually think it will all be fine once I get there. It was last time. The guy who picked us up locking his keys in the car, missing the plane, the hours it took to buy a train ticket, getting lost on our way to the Jakarta hotel…when it’s reality I just deal with it. I have a lot more trouble with my own anxious imagination than with the reality of a situation.

The kids and I went to the Sanctuary this morning. I haven’t been in so long I don’t even remember the last time, and there have been all these changes so it was a pretty new experience. It was really fun – my kids are becoming such fun people to just hang out with. We got there just after nine, so we would avoid most of the heat and the crowd, and we left at lunchtime. We bought some rolls and little milks to drink at the supermarket and the kids ate while we drove home.

The kids played on their electronics this afternoon. It can sometimes be quite funny hearing just snatches of their conversation as they play – for some reason I kept hearing Jericho’s words of wisdom today and they amused me so much I wrote them down. I have no idea what these statements actually related to, but it started when I heard him pronounce savagely, “I don’t bother learning the names of my victims.” A little while later it was, “I shall surpass even the legendary!” and later on I heard him say with grave sympathy, “We all suffer disappointments, Emma.”

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Troy and the children are currently all watching Battlebots, which is robots fighting to the death (well, the destruction). They are all so into it, it’s madness. I really do not get it.

Although, I just realised how utterly hypocritical of me it is to be eye rolling at robot battles when I am such MMA trash! At least with robot battles no one is breaking their nose or sustaining brain damage or being psychologically crushed!

Troy bought me a luggage scale, so I can be sure that my luggage will not be over the limit when I go on my trip. It’s a 20kg limit, so I’m sure we’ll be fine on the way out. The way back is only questionable if I buy too many books, and if that happens I can always post them to myself. Alyssa is probably laughing hysterically as she reads this – she can apparently shove all she needs for the two weeks into a carry on bag. It baffles me.

The kids and I are having a pretty low key holiday. They watch tv in the morning, then just do whatever until lunchtime, then spend their poker chips for time on their devices. Emma and Jericho are being pretty good friends, and Soren is not being too left out, which is good. Nicholai…talks a lot. A lot. He is also horribly teenagerish and definitely unimpressed with his good fortune in having me for his mother.

Tuesday 10th January 2017

I am such a sucker for our pets sometimes. After worrying constantly about the guinea pigs every hot day, I have now gone and bought them a new cage and moved them indoors. They’re living right next to my armchair and I’m using their cage as a little table to keep all my crocheting things on. I think we’re all happy with this arrangement.

I sat down with the flight details for our trip today and added them all to our calendar so Troy and I could work out logistics. I knew that we were leaving the day the kids went back to school and I was hoping I would be able to take the boys to school in the morning, but that’s not going to work. We will actually have to leave home by 6am, so the most I’ll get to do is give them a hug and wish them good luck. Troy’s mum is happy to come over early and take the boys to school, and I think I’ll ask her to stop by the office and remind their teachers that they have just been abandoned by their mother and might need a wee bit of extra care for the next two weeks. It’s bad timing for me to be away from them during the first two weeks of the year, but at least they’ll have Troy this time.

Anyway, we will leave home about 6am on January 31st, and should be back by 4pm on February 15th. It seems so long – I’m looking forward to it, but it’s a long time to be away from my boys. I’m taking my laptop though and will be able to Skype with them, and I’ll write my journal as normal and post it when I have internet access, so it’s not like I’ll be completely out of touch. As long as I come back with gifts I think it’ll be fine!

Jericho had a friend over today. It’s great for him and I don’t mind having kids over, but we have our technology rules and so all visiting kids basically think our house sucks. It always makes me feel like a tyrant. However it is what it is, and I gave them extra time today anyway. The kid can always invite Jericho to his house next time.

I finished crocheting the Squirtle last night. He was the fiddliest one to sew together by far, since he had a head, two arms, two legs, a tail, a front shell and a back shell to crochet Both the back and belly shells were embroidered too, and then I had to embroider a mouth, nostrils and eyebrows. I also had to crochet a string of white to glue around the edge of the shell once it was all stitched together, and then do the felt eyes. He looks really cute though, and Jericho and Soren seem impressed with my skills, at least in this respect.