Tag Archives: The Living Room

Win-Win With Teenage Nephews

 

In exactly three days I will be driving south to drop off Man at one of his BFs houses.

He’s going away for a week and he will be taking all his crap with him.  Camping crap that is.

 

Sleeping bags, tents, cooking equipment, tarps…  Everything that is needed for his Brokeback Mountain experience. Win No 1 – Free Time and de-cluttered shed

 

The best part about his little journey is underlined fully here.

But here’s some additional information…

 

Robo is in fact fourth in line, of all her siblings.  The youngest of four much older siblings…

 

What this means is that I have lots of nephews.  A couple of older strapping but slightly lazy nephews and a bunch of younger, able, eager-to-earn-pocket-money, teenage nephews.

 

 

So this is what is happening…

 

 

After I drop Man off for his well-deserved R&R trip, I will be returning home with said Teenage Nephews for a sleep-over.  Win No 2 – My older siblings think I’m the best for taking their kids

 

 

Aside from the boys unknowingly entertaining my own two kids, day one will be all about popcorn, videos, pizza, swimming and the Play Station.

Day two will be a whole other story…

 

 

On day two, Teenage Nephews will be put to work.  Tedious, laborious chores that Man and I simply don’t have time to do.  All three of them will be weeding, cleaning, carrying and moving things around the yard. They will rake, sweep and climb up a tree to chop a certain branch that’s been giving me the shits.  After that, they will vacuum my car.  Win No 3 – I get stuff done.

 

yard

This is not my house but it feels like this

All these chores will be happily completed for the princely sum of takeaway, free choice at Civic Video and an endless supply of junk food.  They will also go home with an extra twenty bucks each, for being good kids. Win No 4 – Still maintain ‘Best Aunty’ status.

 

 

My plan may sound cunning but as you can see, it’s a win-win situation.  The boys are happy, I’m happier and Man will be cheering to return from Brokeback Mountain with a little bit less to do.

 

 

So if you have lots of niggly jobs to get done and you have access to Teenage Nephews or any other willing kid, take my advice, these school holidays.  Four ways to win.  Tried and tested.

 

Let me know how you get on.

 

You’re welcome.

 

Robo X


Alexander dreaming

* Not a sponsored post, I promise.  Just thoroughly impressed.

 

I don’t get out much in Sydney City, not as much as I used to.

My outings these days are limited to work, the local IGA, swimming lessons, footy training and friend’s places.  Friends with kids usually…

When Man suggested the Alexander he Great exhibition in town, I was a little hesitant, but we did it anyway.

 

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I’m ashamed to admit it but I’m uncultured in this respect.  Besides organising school excursions, my last intentional visit to a museum was Rembrandt in Canberra, circa 1995…   Being of Greek origin however, I’d been wanting to see our all important Alexander for a long time.

 

I thought a visit to a museum in with kids would be like a trip through hell.

How wrong was I!  Partly.

 

 

Alexander the Great may have conquered the world, but he couldn’t conquer my kids. They complained the entire way, forcing me to take in 2000 years of my Hellenic history in 15 minutes.

 

My kids ruined the museum experience for about 60 other paying members of the public, so we hotfooted out of there before being asked to leave.

Of course, My Man continued his journey through Hellenism…

 

 

Wandering around the rest of the museum, the kids and I found so much stuff!

 

Dinosaurs, skeletons, wildlife, scary stuff, things you could touch and feel, fossils and an entire section dedicated to good old fashioned get your hands dirty kind of fun.  And without a screen in sight.

 

This was non-stop-touch-whatever you-like kind of fun.  A space where they could do whatever they wanted.

 

 

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Mr 4 is still talking about the scary stuff he saw.

Me?  I’m still Alexander dreaming…

 

Do you know of any cultural experiences you can take your kids on, without either breaking the budget or tearing the place down?

 

Share.  Please.

 

And visit the other #IBOTposts at Essentially Jess

 

Robo X


The Hot Cross Buns Fiasco

 

The other day, my colleagues and I put on a morning tea for all the Teachers at school.

 

Morning tea at school is a big deal.  It’s taken in turn, by faculty.  One week Science, next week Maths and so on.  Put on a good morning tea and people will smile at you for the rest of the day, put on a bad one and it’ll be talked about for the next week.

 

Being Easter, my ten staff room members and I threw in ten bucks each.  One of the ladies put in an order up at Baker’s Delight.  We had Hot Cross Buns, butter, coffee and tea and of course, Easter Eggs.  The buffet looked like an Easter dream.  Lots of everything.

 

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I was on playground duty during recess but from what I was told when I arrived, the staff had loved it.  It may have been the approaching long weekend but everyone seemed excited by such a generous and timely Easter morning tea.  Success.

 

 

Just before the end-of-recess bell rang, a colleague of mine who helped to organise the catering, suggested to the milling crowd that as there was lots left over, people should take some for lunch and for anyone who missed out.

It was a bad call.

 

 

People started swiping napkins full of buns, handfuls of eggs…

It was chaos.

 

 

My eyes darted around the room and I quickly located and marked a certain staff member who I shall call, “Eats Like a Horse but is Stick Thin”.  Known for eating much more than their fair share at every opportunity.

Every possible and free opportunity.

 

ELAHBIST made a break for the extra supplies, where I was standing.  In quite a loud teachery voice, I said that the full bags weren’t for the taking.

Take that!

 

ELAHBIST RAN back to the serving table to load up on buns…  They were quicker than me, older but more nimble. And more cunning! Somehow, they had pilfered one of the spare Baker’s Delight bags.  I’d been blindsided.

 

 

What ELAHBIST did next will go down in staff room folklore:

 

ELAHBIST FILLED UP THE EMPTY BAKER’S DELIGHT BAG WITH HOT CROSS BUNS AND THEN, IN ONE QUICK MANEUVER, SWIPED ONE OF THE FULL BAGS ON THEIR WAY OUT!

WTF?

 

Who steals Hot Cross Buns?!

ELAHBIST does!!

 

 

My staff room was in disbelief, then we were angry; there would be no Hot Cross Buns for us to take home and we’d paid for the bloody whole thing!

 

 

We were in shock for the rest of the day, so much so that we were compelled to declutter our tiny kitchenette for the first time in the five years I’ve been there.

 

Knee-deep in mismatched crockery we laughed to ease the Hot Cross Bun pain.

 

“Do you think ELAHBIST would want this?” a colleague announced, holding up a dirty, chipped coffee mug, circa 1980. “Or this?” A mug with someone else’s name on it.

 

 

Oh well. I hope ELAHBIST enjoyed their Hot Cross Buns today.

I hope they didn’t swallow any moldy bits.

 

 

I love hearing stories about office goings on.  One of my favourite shows is The Office.

Do you have any experiences with an office weirdo?

 

 

Happy Easter!

 

Robo X


Kyuss Lives. Mean anything to you?

The other week I went to a rock concert.

 

It was my first time at The Metro on George Street and I will say that it’s probably the best ever intimate venue I’ve experienced.

Being a Wednesday I knew I would struggle; around 7.30pm I’m usually putting kids to bed and dealing with a mountain of plates in the kitchen.

 

Not last Wednesday!

 

I was kid free, working on outfit choices and indulging in wine, before being picked up by My Man and driven to the city.

 

 

Walking through town at dusk brought back a series of memories I’d misplaced; hanging back after work for drinks, evening shopping trips, city bars and clubs until late – memories from another lifetime.

 

Heading out for fresh air was another forgotten experience.

 

The air was thick and heavy with the scent of herbage as I dodged the black shirt brotherhood to find a little brick wall to lean on.

It was a sight to behold.

 

Heavy metal dudes, stoner dudes, oldies, youngsters, women dressed up as glamorous goths, men in old t-shirts, clearly relics from concerts gone-by.

I stood there in my jeans and white t-shirt, feeling not one bit out of place; actually, feeling rather a part of a small, eclectic family.

 

Heading back inside for Kyuss, the main event, the crowd was happier somewhat, comfortable by now and ready to enjoy the show.

 

And it was a good show!

 

At this standing room only venue, I found a fine little seat to rest my weary legs.

My seat

 

And I had an uninterrupted vista of the crowd and the stage.  This band is Orange Goblin from the UK.

Kyuss

 

My Man was completely in his element.  Kyuss is his favourite band of all time so Kyuss Lives is an ‘important concert’.

 

I appreciated the music and looked on while inhibitions flew.

There’s nothing quite like live music.

 

Edited to include one of their best songs for Sunday Sessions.

 

 

Do you rock on?  Or are your tastes a little more subdued?

 

Robo X


Food, Bath, Milk and Sleep. A Hot TIp!

 

Since reading Have a Laugh on Me and her account of Witching Hour, I have been reflecting our own Witching Hour….  That manic time of the day where we have four main objectives and each one of them is met with resistance and a filthy attitude.

 

Today, instead of complaining about the problems, I’m going to deliver solutions.

 

 

I’m sharing a parenting tip that I have been using with success for quite a while.  I thought I was Mother of the Year actually, until I Googled my tip and realised that clearly, I am living in a parallel universe with the other mums and dads who do the same thing.

 

Regardless, it’s too good to not share, so here it is:

 

 

Food colouring in the bath water.

 

Food colouring

 

 

Food colouring in the bath water is legendary.

It’s The Most Awesome Thing EVER!

 

 

Food Colouring in the bath water is:

 

  • The Octonauts’ Deep Purple Water
  • Captain Barnacles Stormy Adventure.
  • Dora is scared of the Blue Water.
  • The Green Water Adventure
  • The Ocean is Red Like Blood (personally, this title creeps me out a little)

 

 

Food colouring in the bath water never gets old.  On an exceptionally crazy day, I just change the colour.

 

It buys me about 15 minutes, in the eye of the storm that is Witching Hour.  I sit on the loo watching my kids and suggest scenarios for figurines who need ‘saving’ from ‘The Island’, (the edge of the bath), or who need ‘help to escape the treacherous snow storm’, (white wash cloths).

 

 

So the next time you find yourself about to lose your shit during Witching Hour, think of my pioneering parenting skills and head for your pantry.

 

 

Food Colouring in the Baaaath Wateeeeerrrr!!!! (Best Oprah voice)

 

 

Robo X


Oh Mr Hart, What a Mess!

Do you have Someone in your life who is messy?

 

Someone who leaves things lying around?  Someone who cannot lie about their whereabouts because they leave their shit in the middle of every room?  Even though you have set up very specific areas for certain things, is Someone always asking, “where’s my wallet, keys, belt…?”

 

Do you have Someone in your life who can mess up a room, just by looking at it?

 

You do?  I’m glad I’m not the only one.

 

 

Just briefly, here are the top few things things that really piss me off about certain, ahem, Other People….

 

 

Making a coffee 

Result:  Coffee drips down the front of my white cupboard, Coffee granules around the grinder.  The drip attachment thingy in the sink, not emptied.

Impact:  I can’t put anything down on the area around the machine because ground coffee will inevitably stick to it.  Our old and tiny kitchen looks even worse than it usually does.  I have to clean the machine and surrounding area, every single time.

Solution:  Clean the fucking coffee machine.

 

 

Having a shower

Result:  Wet puddles on the floor.  Dirty clothing left in bathroom, (with my personal favourite, undies and pants removed in one clean sweep).  Wet towels left in the bedroom.

Impact:  I have nearly slipped which could cause me to break bones. Or fall and die.  I have to detangle used underwear from clothing when I do the laundry, which is particularly unpleasant.  Wet towels are often left on my side of the bed or chucked somewhere else – I have no idea what is clean or dirty and I have to rewash things, regardless.

Solution:  For fuck’s sake, use a bathmat, take off one item of clothing at a time and put dirty towels in the laundry basket, (it’s right next to the bathroom).

 

 

Changing clothes after work

Result:  Suit jackets left either in the car or on the back of a dining room chair.  Pile of suit pants left upstairs on the couch in front of the wardrobe.  Used shirts left in a crumpled heap.  Dress shoes left wherever they’re removed.

Impact:  I cannot bear to look at the pile of clothing, yet is doesn’t seem to worry Others. This means I have to put away my own clothing, the kids clothing and also Other People’s clothing.  This is simply unfair. Furthermore, money is wasted unnecessarily on dry cleaning because suits tend to lose their sharpness from lack of hanging. As well as this, I am always tripping over size 12 shoes, which is really annoying.

Solution:  Put fucking suits and shoes away.  It takes about one minute.

 

 

Shaving head and face

Result:  All shaving implements left out – brush, razor, shaving cream and clippers. Little hairs left in and around the sink.

Impact:  All  shaving stuff lying around makes our tiny vanity unusable, so when the kids or I get home and have to go potty, we need to clean up said shaving stuff, before we can wash our hands.  Also, removing tiny hairs from the basin is tedious and time consuming, especially where hair clipper oil is involved.

Solution:  When shaving is complete, put the shit away and clean up the fucking mess.

 

 

I cannot live in a dirty home.  I have to clean it.

 

I hate clutter.  I’m forever packing things away, or getting rid of unused items.  My two kids do a great job of mucking things up with their toys and biscuit crumbs, so I can usually be found cleaning, something…

 

My house is old and daggy, so when it does get messy, it looks extra messy.

 

The truth is, it drives me Fucking BONKERS.

Even worse, I am the only person who does these thankless chores.

 

It’s my birthday today.

This year I don’t want anything special.

 

I just want to clean my house and have it stay that way.

 

Is that too much to ask?

 

Robo X

Linking up with The Mother Hen for Open Slather


Stephanie Forrester is about to die and this makes me sad

I fell in love with Bold and the Beautiful in 1989.  I was on a Greek island, population a mere 1000 and I kid you not, for that half hour every afternoon, eerie silence fell in the streets.

I remember it like it was yesterday, my dad’s elderly sisters, widows who dressed in black, hot footing it up the hill from the marketplace to their village home, intent on watching “Ridge and Carolina”, back when things were good between Ridge and Carolina.

Unbeknownst to me then, this soap opera, Bold, which is what true fans call it, would be one to bring the guiltiest of pleasures for so many years to come.

In the afternoons during high school, while my parents worked, Bold was my electronic babysitter.

During university, I missed it at times but it was nothing a little light reading at the newsagency couldn’t correct. Throughout the long uni break, I would stop whatever I was doing for that half an hour a day and get my fix of all things Forrester.

Any fan would concur, there is no other plot quite like the Bold plot.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 26 years, I’ll tell you about a few of my favourite characters.

Brooke Logan

Why I love her

The torrid love affair between Brooke and Ridge, Brooke and Ridge’s brother, Thorne and Brooke and Ridge’s father, (who, as it turns out, is not his true father), Eric, has always been the central focus of the plot. Huge.

Since Brooke swanned into the Forrester’s life all those years ago, she’s brought nothing but drama.  After developing the Belief Formula as a young Chemist, she’s held them over a barrel, taking not only the Forrester men but also their money, pride and the Forrester name.

My favourite story lines

My favourite scenes incorporate Brooke’s countless weddings, both bikini-clad and traditional and also the numerous vow affirmations.  Without doubt, the best wedding scene of all time would have to be Brooke on horseback at the beach, galloping through the scrub to stop Ridge’s wedding to Taylor.  Un-bloody-real.

The plot to end all plots involved Brooke’s sexual encounter on the dance floor, as you do, whilst chaperoning at her daughter’s party.  She was wearing the same dress as her daughter, pendant included and after a horrible identity mix-up, she had stand-up sex on the terrace with her daughter’s boyfriend, Oliver, who she thought was Ridge!  Ridge’s response to this tragic mistake: “Oh Logan!”

Above all, what I admire most about Brooke is not her determined character, her love for her man or her strong drive and passion. No. I most admire her ability to cry, on demand, with a single, elegant tear coming out of one eye, each and every time.  Epic.

Brooke

Taylor Hayes 

Why I love her

What I love most about Doc, Ridge’s pet name for her, is that she is actually a Doctor – a Psychiatrist.  And she is the dumbest, most short-sighted and naïve Psychologist in LA.  Taylor Hayes, with her Botoxed face now void of all expression, is a complete idiot, making mistake after mistake, destroying her life with her ridiculous choices.

 

But what a life she’s had!  She’s been married and divorced more times than I can remember, she’s had her heart broken, repeatedly – a result of her incorrect partner selection, she’s been killed and brought back to life, she’s been a ghost, she’s been kidnapped, she developed amnesia and was subsequently found by a Moroccan Prince, (who changed her name from Taylor to Layla).

Taylor too, has had it off with all of the Forrester men at different points but she has steadfastly remained an important third of the longest running love triangle in television history.

My favourite story lines

Aside from the murder attempts, kidnappings and broken hearts, the hardest thing, Taylor has had to endure was giving birth to Brooke’s baby. Yes, Brooke’s baby.  After a mix-up at the IVF clinic, where Brooke’s daughter, (who grew up so very rapidly), worked as a Specialist, Taylor was impregnated with the incorrect egg.  Brooke’s egg.  What happened to baby Jack I am not sure but I can guarantee that he will return as a 20 year old some time soon.

Poor Taylor.  Taylor Hayes is the biggest moron on Bold but I do love her.

Taylor

Lastly, my reason for writing this post…

Stephanie Forrester.

My favourite lady on daytime television. 

Just like Brooke, it brings a tear to my eye to announce that the matriarch of the Forrester family is finally dying.  She has been there for every integral part of the story.  She has schemed and lied and cheated her way through life, always with the greatest motivation in mind – her family.

She’s had her husband, Eric,  ripped from her under dramatic circumstances, more than once.  Both Brooke and Taylor have copped a feel of the Big E, with other names such as cray cray Sheila Carter and Lauren Fenmore, springing to mind as well.  Stephanie has had a lifetime of her nemesis, Sally Spectra to contend with, with Sally always finding a creative way to steal Forrester designs.

Until recently, her life’s mission was to keep Brooke Logan away from her sons, namely Ridge. She has plotted and conspired against Brooke in so many situations, it’s actually difficult to remember them all.  One stand-out memory is the Big Bear incident, where Stephanie got into serious fisticuffs with Brooke and terrorised her with a fire poker.  Unexpectedly violent.

Stephanie.  She’s been shot, been sick, had amnesia, been homeless, she’s had affairs, children out of wedlock and she’s had cancer, more than once.  Towards the end of her life, after becoming a philanthropist for the homeless down at Skid Row, she finally reconciled with Brooke and realised while riding the Ferris Wheel, that despite all of the affairs, lies and turmoil between them, they really are kindred spirits. BFF.

Cancer will bring Stephanie’s life to an end.  My last couple of Bold episodes involved an outstanding family bash at the mansion, complete with Celtic performers, then Eric driving Stephanie to the Big Bear cabin and making her comfortable.  Just today, Brooke arrived to stay with her for a while.

Stephanie Forrester is about to die and this makes me sad. I’m predicting one more episode before it finally happens.

There will always be Forrester Creations and the Forresters, and there will always be delicious scandal but there will never be another Stephanie.

RIP Stephanie. Godspeed.  I’m sure we’ll meet again via some tasteful montages and flashback scenes.

Robo X

Stephanie


Yesterday, at Westfield

Yesterday, at Westfield, I saw something that I hope to never see again.

 

A woman up ahead caught my attention because I noticed what she was wearing.  It was the kind of thing I wanted to buy for work; a long dress, bright, comfy and most importantly, easy to wear.

 

Her hair was tied back casually and her two gorgeous boys, around 7 and 10, were beside her, both wearing caps, with the cutest of cute rats tails, poking out beneath them.

 

All seemingly fine, all seemingly normal.

 

There were small groups of people however, gathered, whispering quietly and pointing rather discreetly and I could tell all was not right in Westfieldland that day.  I can speak Greek and by sheer coincidence, I overheard the word, έκλεψε, meaning, ‘she stole’.

 

I followed the gaze of the crowd to the Mum in the nice dress.  To her left there was a police officer, escorting her along gently and walking slightly ahead there was another, rubber gloves on, carrying a well-worn handbag and two new colourful backpacks, the tags still dangling off the zippers.

 

My first thought:  What the fuck?

What kind of a country do we live in if a Mum has to shoplift and quite possibly, enlist her kids to do the same?

 

My intuition however, told me I was not looking at a career criminal.  My gut and those tags on the backpacks, spelled that this poor woman has two kids about to return to school and doesn’t have the cash to get them the shit they need.

 

My heart bled.

 

I wanted to run up and plead with the police, ‘Here’s fifty bucks for the bags, just let her off!”

 

Of course I didn’t.  Instead, I left the huddled whispers and turned down the corridor to my car, away from this undeserving Mum, her two deprived kids and their bleak immediate future.

 

I couldn’t stop thinking about her.  She was probably charged with shoplifting and now, would have to come up with money, that she didn’t even have in the first place, to pay for court costs and fines, not to mention the costly and inconceivable humiliation to be endured from her family.

 

And her kids.  All kids deserve to start the year free of anxiety, with fresh stationery, a clean uniform and a bag for all their gear.  A student’s job is to learn at school, not worry about whether Mum or Dad can afford their equipment.

 

As a Teacher, it would be unethical for me to write specifically about some of the situations I have seen.  But I will say this.  There are students who have nothing.  No pens, no lunch, no uniform.  They don’t have rulers, or calculators, so they can’t do Maths.  They don’t bring books, so their reading and comprehension is lacking.  They don’t have the right shoes on, so for their own safety they can’t do Science or TAS (Home Science/Industrial Arts).  They are a little unkempt, so they may be bullied and at times they may bully others.

 

You can spot this kid in a room of 30 students and it is always heart breaking.

 

With another school year on the horizon, I’m going to be more attentive to this plight than ever before.  I’ve already gathered up a big box of spare pens and stationery and I’ll be leaving it on my desk for the year.

 

I take it for granted that I can run over to Westfield and buy whatever my kids need.  Undies, socks, school supplies, a cheap toy as a special treat but I wonder, how many other Mums, like the one I saw, are forced to shoplift basic items, like a backpack for their kids.

 

I’ll be taking my box load of stationery to school on Tuesday.

It would be very cool if you can look around at the things you don’t need and do the same.

 

Robo X

 

Flogging my Blog, #FYBF, over at With Some Grace


Wordless Wednesday: Absofreakinglutely AMAZING

A Solar eclipse is something I’d love to experience. Alas, this is as close as I get this time.

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I know…. Crap pics.


Happy and Silly

‘Today we’re being happy and silly’.

I tweeted something like that earlier today and stuck by it all day.

I overlooked the biscuit crumbs on the rug, stepped over the toys and spent the day being happy and silly.

I hung out in the retro kitchen today, cooking, pottering and straightening the foodstuffs in my pantry.  Sounds like work but as sad as it is, I enjoy doing this type of thing. It makes me calm.

Every now and then I ran through the living room yelling at the top of my lungs, “You can’t catch me!” This of course started a sprint race around the house and a dust storm, clearly visible in the sunshine streaming through the windows.  I ignored the dust as my son and I stomped out Usain Bolt lightning bolt manoeuvres in the hall way.

My Man took the kids out one by one to buy a few things from the local shops.  Even when hubby appeared at the front door with a naked Little Missy, (she threw up in my Crapastra), I didn’t let it bother me, I just ran a bath and let My Man deal with the cleaning of the car seat.

Today I am being happy and silly.

We went outside.  Played with our dog and walked around the yard.  Lots of weeds and fallen over pots plants.  Leaves in the pool. Toys absolutely everywhere.  I also nearly stepped in dog shit, so I picked that up. But as for the rest, I ignored it.

I spent some time in our sun room, writing.  I just put a few thoughts down while watching my gorgeous kids laugh and play together.  I felt tranquil for the first time in a long time.  The pressures of the week at work slowly dissolved, the manic, ‘getting it all done’ craziness just didn’t figure in today.

Our beautiful friends we’re due to come around at 4pm for a BBQ.  Instead of cleaning up and packing away toys as I normally would, I played in the kitchen making family favourites we could all enjoy together.  After all, they came to spend time with us, not assess the tidiness of our home.

I was happy.

And now, the kids are in bed and the friends have gone but instead of cleaning up the BBQ mess and heading off to bed, I’m just going to write, tweet, watch James Bond on TV and drink the rest of this twenty one dollar red that The Man bought on special.  Housework can wait until tomorrow.  Or Monday after work.

Today I was happy and silly and I loved it.