List: Four things I wish I’d known about boys before I had them

*WARNING: This post contains sweeping generalizations.
If that sort of thing is not your bag then you might want read something else. And probably stay away from the entire internet for that matter…

As most of you know I live in the testosterone zone with my partner Brook and our three boys. Then every other week these levels are raised further when my lovely stepson comes to stay for a night or two.**

While in hospital for each of the boys births I was given a little red book to record their measurements and immunisations, and a bounty bag full of brochures, breast pads and tubes of complimentary nappy rash cream.

Now I’m sure the hospital administrators meant well, but this post natal swag left me woefully unprepared for even ONE boy let alone three.

So in the spirit of parental solidarity, I’ve put together a list of the top 4 things I wish I’d known that could have helped prepare me for the onslaught of raising boys.

It would have been five except I was forced to concede that “You will need wine” is invaluable parenting advice regardless of the gender of your children.

1. You will talk about Dig-Digs and Dinosaurs for 8 years

When you leave hospital you’ll have fistfuls of literature on every subject from the standard breast-feeding advice to my personal favourite – how to poo properly post-caesarion.

All this is fine and good, but what you really need to be swatting up on is earth-moving equipment, affectionately referred to in our house as “dig-digs”. Some of the credit for this obsession must go to Bob the Builder, but I think the added excitement of seeing their toys come to life every time we drove past road works definitely contributed as well.

Max, aged 2,  at the height of dig-dig fever.

Max, aged 2, at the height of dig-dig fever.

Either way, for years no journey was complete without a robust discussion about any “dig-digs” we happened to see, including speculation about they were used for and what type of noise they made

Then when my eldest was around 3 years old dinosaurs entered the equation.

Since I also had an 18 month old and a full time job by this point I cant honestly say how it happened, but now I was now forced to memorise countless dinosaur names and have robust discussions about whether they were meat-eaters or plant-eaters.

When son number 3 came along he picked up both the dig-dig and dinosaur obsessions, so according to my calculations I spent approximately 8 years talking about these two subjects. ENDLESSLY!

As you would expect one does not escape from this mental anguish unscathed. I have pointed out a particularly interesting looking dig-dig to a rather bemused colleague once while we were driving to an appointment.

And I have been known, after a few drinks, to challenge my companions to dinosaur naming competitions by asking (in a slightly belligerent manner)…

ME: “Ask me what an Archeopteryx is…”

*baffled silence*

ME: “Nah, seriously man, go ahead. Ask me what an f*%king Archeopteryx is … ”

*awkward pause*

ME: “Whaddaya mean you don’t care what an Archeopteryx is? That’s just fucking ignorant, that is… ”

Brook usually ushers me away at this point muttering…

“Didn’t we agree not to start up with the Archeopteryx shit this time? Hmmmm?”

For those of you who DO Care this is an Archeopteryx.  Half bird, half dinosaur and 100% BAD-ASS!

For those of you who DO Care this is an Archeopteryx.
Half bird, half dinosaur and 100% BAD-ASS!

image source

2. The bathroom will become your nemesis

Another standard item in the baby swag bags were those little bottles of Johnson & Johnson lavender scented bath lotion. Once again a very nice gesture but one that in no way prepared me for the horror which is sharing one bathroom with three boys.

By the end of the week it looks like monkeys have taken up residence in the bathroom, and it smells like it too.

There is wee IN the toilet – despite nagging, begging and pleading with them to flush, 9 times out of 10 they just saunter off once they’ve given their dangly bits a final shake. And thanks to a bit of dodgy aim and absentmindedness there is also plenty of wee OUTSIDE the toilet too.

After 11 years of fighting the good fight in our bathroom, I have developed the following recommendations regarding the equipment that should be issued to mothers of boys upon leaving the hospital…

First Son = Large vat of disinfectant

Second Son = High pressure hose, Gerni or similar.

Third Son = Full HAZMAT suit

For fourth and subsequent sons all I can suggest is something cheerful like this to hang above the bathroom door…

Abandon hope, y'all...

Abandon hope, y’all…

image source

3. Your lounge room will become “The Octagon”

To say that boys like wrestling is like saying that Brazilians “like” soccer – and understatement of epic proportions. What is surprising is that what looks (and sounds) like conflict is actually fun – apparently there is no better way to express your affection for your brother than getting him in a headlock!

To simulate the effect of living with boys…

  • Create an Octagon in your lounge room using cushions, coffee tables and and other pieces of occasional furniture
  • Go to your local Mixed Martial Arts gym – invite all members to your house for an impromptu training session. Bribe them with protein shakes if necessary
  • When you get back to The Octagon (AKA your lounge) encourage the MMA guys to really get stuck into their training – take note of damage to fittings and fixtures because that’s how your house in going to look permanently once your boys arrive

You may notice afterwards your neighbours give you strange looks or comment on how noisy things are at your house. You may as well get used to that too, while you’re at it…

Consider yourself warned!

Consider yourself warned!

4. You will become the underpants police

For reasons unknown to man or science, many little boys consider wearing undies to be a hindrance they’d rather do without.

How underwear feels to to little boys...

How underwear feels to to little boys…

image source

Now I’m no prude and when we are at home I’m totally in favour of being comfortable and letting it all hang out – figuratively and literally.

But society, and in particular school, does require that dangly bits be stowed safely so they can’t peak out the sides of their shorts. Which means that you need to prepare for a life of constant vigilance to ensure that all your sons make it out the door wearing underpants. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

A background in the federal police or perhaps customs might be beneficial but even still they are crafty creatures and in the hustle of the morning routine it’s easy to forget to check.

Often you don’t even know you’ve let one through to the keeper unless you happen to see them getting undressed for the bath. If the shorts come off and reveal a bare butt you know they’ve foiled you again.

So that’s my very inappropriate guide to preparing for raising boys.

Is your house full of waggling willies? Are you a all girl house or a cheerful mix? Are your kids serial underwear-evaders?

How do YOU manage it?

**My only relief from this relentlessly male atmosphere comes in the form of my step-daughter who is more than a match for even the most rambunctious of the boys.

The Quest for the Golden Ticket

OK before I actually start this post I need you to do a little visualization exercise with me.

Yeah I know. I don’t show up here for weeks, and then when I do I ask you to do some wanky new-age astral travelling bullshit, but please bear with me because I DO have a point.

So 2013 was my first year as a blogger, and I was learning heaps of things and making friends and having a generally awesome time.

I`d been going about five months when suddenly in early March the Twitterverse was ALIVE with the news that Problogger tickets were on sale.

It didn’t occur to me that I should get one. But jump forward to August that year and I’m kicking myself that I had let this opportunity slip past.

And this is where the visualisation kicks in….

Cast your mind back to highschool – or maybe even primary school.

There`s a party – it doesn’t matter whose, all that matters is that it is THE party.

The party that all the cool people are going to…

The party that all your friends are going to…

The party that everyone is going to EXCEPT YOU!

And while I was lucky enough to meet up with some people I`d been dying to meet IRL – most notably Tegan – it wasn’t quite the same.

I swore that in 2014 it would be different. What I didn’t realise was that it would prove to be a herculean quest full of obstacles so vast that even Achilles would have wept. But instead of glory or over-rated Trojan totty, I was in search of a golden ticket that would get me to Problogger.

I always thought Achilles was a bit of a sook, actually. He would NEVER have gotten a  Problogger ticket.

I always thought Achillies was a bit of a sook, actually. He would NEVER have gotten a Problogger ticket.

My quest gets off to a pretty good start. I am smart and make sure I clear the expenditure with Brook early. I don’t know how things work in your houses, but in mine neither of us is making a $400 outlay without at least discussing it with the other person.

The discussion went something like…

ME: “Babe there’s this really, awesome blogging conference one this year and I really, really, really want to go…”

BROOK: “OK… *pause* … When is it? And how much does it cost?”

ME: “It’s in August. And its $399”

BROOK: *mildly* “That`s quite a lot”

ME: “Yes. Yes it is”

Brook looks at me…

Brook, trying to decide if $400 is really a small price to pay for peace and harmony in the land...

Brook, trying to decide if $400 is really a small price to pay for peace and harmony in the land…

And I look at him…

I learnt this look from a colleague at work and have found it surprisingly useful ;)

I learnt this look from a colleague at work and have found it surprisingly useful😉

Then I say, “How about, if I can go to Problogger you can get those fancy new wheels for your car that you’ve been eyeing off for the last few months”

And we have a deal.

Little did I know things were about to go pear shaped.

After stalking the Problogger website daily and trawling twitter for any action on #PBEVENT feed, the on-sale date for tickets is finally announced. Tuesday 2nd March.

This was nothing short of a disaster.

The date falls smack in the middle of the most expensive week of the year for our family apart from Christmas. My oldest son`s birthday is on the 27th February and my youngest son`s is on the 4th March.

Two lots of presents, parties and family dinners had made a dent in our finances, but it was the two payments for school camps that wiped us out.

The upshot is that come the morning of 2nd of March there is no way I can afford the ticket. I am devastated but stoic, and comfort myself with the fact that the boys both had an amazing birthday.

L-R: Jack, Ethan (my nephew), Max and Oscar celebrating Max`s birthday

L-R: Jack, Ethan (my nephew), Max and Oscar celebrating Max`s birthday

But THEN on 11 March comes the announcement that 100 more tickets will be released on 12 March. You would think this would fill me with renewed hope and determination to achieve my quest.

And you would be right… if I had known about it!

Yes that`s right. I’ve been busy at work so have missed the news on twitter but worse still Junkii* the God of Spam has chosen to send the announcement email TO MY JUNK MAIL FOLDER FFS!!!

So about 10.00 pm on Tuesday night I am idly sorting through a my inbox and decide to clear out my junk folder. I have no idea what cosmic force directed me to do this but thank god it did.

I head straight to the Problogger website, hoping against hope that tickets weren’t sold out. At 10.45 pm there were six tickets left.

The thing is… since our bank account is still recovering from the double Birthday blitz I need to wait until payday, which luckily is the next morning, to actually purchase the tickets. I go to bed and hope that the last six tickets don’t sell overnight.

Which brings us up to yesterday morning, 6.00am. I wake up and grab my phone, not even bothering to get out of bed. I go to the Problogger site, half hopeful, half dreading what I might find.


There are zero tickets left. “Well, that’s that”, I think, and try to put it out of my mind as I head off to a work training course feeling more than a little sorry for myself (I know, first world problems etc.)

However, by lunchtime I`m still stewing about it. And suddenly I think, “What if someone already wants to sell their ticket. What if someone has buyers remorse? That could happen, right?”.

There`s only one way to find out. I bring up twitter on my phone and tweet…

A cry in the wilderness! Will anyone heed my call?

A cry in the wilderness! Will anyone heed my call?

I check back a few times but no one answers. And then sometime mid afternoon my phone dies.

I get out of my training course on the dot of five and hightail it to school to pick up the boys from after-school care. I hook the phone up to the car charger but it always takes forever so I don’t bother to check on it.

The boys and I burn through the weekly grocery shop and by the time we are finished at 6.30 pm we are exhausted and hungry. Hungry Jacks is conveniently located in the shopping centre carpark and we all agree that it will do for dinner tonight.

Standing in the cue to order I decide to check twitter. I feel my eye physically bulge out of my head when I read…

It seems that fairy god mothers do exist!

It seems that fairy god mothers do exist!

Praise the lord its a motherfucking MIRACLE!

The wonderful Ms Laney Galligan of Crash Test Mummy and Problogger had obviously been monitoring the #PBEVENT hashtag and seen my tweet of desperation!

Apparently there had been a minor glitch with Eventbrite and there were actually still 4 tickets left!

There was not a second to waste. With shaky fingers I type the Problogger URL into my phone to see if any tickets remain.

ONE. There is ONE ticket left.

I hit the BUY NOW button so hard I nearly crack the screen. And this is how I found myself in the middle of Hungry Jacks on busy Thursday night madly trying to type my details in with one finger, with a tray full of burgers in one hand and my credit card clenched between my teeth.

I get the burgers back to the table and let the boys attack the food with their usual ruthless efficiency. I finally get my credit details in and hit REGISTER. After an agonizing wait of whole seconds I get the confirmation message.

SUCCESS! And I have literally a whole 2 seconds to bask in it before… my phone dies AGAIN. I shudder briefly when I consider how lucky I was that the phone didn’t die mid-transaction which would surely have been fatal.

My quest is nearly complete except for one last problem…

How can I tell everyone I got the last ticket for Problogger 2014 when my phone is dead?

I tell you good old Achilles would have been crying in his gin like a baby by now! And so since I was denied the immediate access to social media that such a momentous achievement demands, I wrote this long-winded post instead.

And God it feels GOOD!

Are you going to Problogger or have you been to one in the past?
Has a fairy godmother ever saved you from dispair?
Let me know🙂

* Junkii is the little known Norse God of divine irritation. He really deserves wider recognition than he gets.

What the F%#k Friday – Happy New Year Edition!

What the F#%? Friday - Header

Hello and welcome to the first What the F%#k Friday of 2014! I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the first Friday of theNew Year than with a a bumper edition of the random and ridiculous from my WTF files.

I was going through said files during the holidays and discovered some photos I’d completely forgotten about!

And since a couple of my mates have recently contributed a some beauties that I’ve been dying to share I felt I had no choice to share them with the world. You know, just in case the internet ever runs short of weird and crazy shit.

So without further ado…

Number Plates #2 – AKA “The Wanker Olympics”

There are so many number plate WTFs. JUST. SO. MANY!

In fact I could probably fill several posts entirely made up of with the bad, sad number plates I see around the place. I won’t though, because you could lose your faith in the human race entirely after reading a post like that.

So I’ve decided to focus on quality, and have re-named this section “The Wanker Olympics” in recognition of the fact that if you’ve made it here then you’ve managed to achieve truly world class levels of wankery indeed…


BMW have taken out the gold not just based on the following examples, but also on the fact that they were also featured in the last WTF post which you can read here

H8ers Gonna H8

Oh yeah, we be H8'n. SUCH a burden being in the highest tax bracket and having to support all the plebs...

Oh yeah, we be H8’n. SUCH a burden being in the highest tax bracket and having to support all the plebs…

Captain Obvious

In case you were wondering, this is his Beamer.

In case you were wondering, this is his Beamer.


Although they are a newcomers to the Olympics Audi have made a very strong start, proving that they are competitors to watch in upcoming events…

Like a Natural Disaster…

Oh yeah... can you feel it baby? I'm gonna rock your world  like an earthquake...

Oh yeah… can you feel it baby? I’m gonna rock your world like an earthquake…


A solid effort here from Mercedes, who might have scored higher if the standard of the other competitors hadn’t been so high…

I guarantee that this person is actually not very posh at all because truly posh people, like Duchess Michael of Kent for example, do not need to TELL people they are posh.  They just ARE.

I guarantee that this person is actually not very posh at all because truly posh people, like Duchess Michael of Kent for example, do not need to TELL people they are posh. They just ARE.


Still on the auto theme, car stickers give every day punters the chance to be a wanker without going to the expense of personalised number plates.

1. A Wagon on a Mission

I’m not sure what the owner of this vehicle is trying to achieve. It’s a bog standard tradie van – possibly owned by and electrician by the looks of all the cables inside. But there’s one thing that, as a woman, I can say with complete confidence…

This wagon is full of tools, the biggest one being the owner.

This wagon is full of tools, the biggest one being the owner.

There has never been, nor will there ever BE, any fanny in that wagon

2. Nanna’s Revenge
The problem with kids today is that they grow up, have kids and then expect their parents to be on-call babysitters. Grandparents today never get a moments piece what with all the picking up and dropping off they do!

But one Nanna got smart. She realised that if the grandkids were too embarrassed to get in the car then she might get her life back…

Nanna shows she's had 40 years experience embarrassing kids = and she's not afraid to use it.

Nanna shows she’s had 40 years experience embarrassing kids = and she’s not afraid to use it.

The score is now Nanna: 1 / Adult Children & Grandkids: 0


The world of signs provides rich pickings for a WTF hunter such as myself. Here are some of the best ones I’ve seen…

1. A New Kind of Quiche

Until now the French have traditionally dominated the Quiche market, bringing the world classics such as Quiche Loraine, Quiche Florentine and many more.

But the culinary world better get ready because Australia is finally ready to bring their own very special Quiche to the world..

I was with my partner Brook when I tok this picture. He was MORTIFIED and suddenly became very interested in the soft drink fridge at the other end of the cafe lol!

I was with my partner Brook when I tok this picture. He was MORTIFIED and suddenly became very interested in the soft drink fridge at the other end of the cafe lol!

2. Brisbane’s Biggest Bargain!

Look it’s a great price. Nobody, I think, would argue with that. It’s just that “value for money” would not necessarily be what I was looking for when contemplating this… procedure

The cheapest cut in town...

The cheapest cut in town…

3. The Royal Antediluvian Order of the Buffaloes

I have no idea what the Buffaloes do in their *snigger* Victory Temple, but I just BET it involved a secret handshake! I seriously had no idea places like this existed.

Also FYI antediluvian is my new favourite word.

Where do I sign up?

Where do I sign up?

4. Sleep is REALLY important.

You really do want to get a healthy sleep. Because otherwise you’ll end up next door…

Seriously, you don't want to end up next door

Seriously, you don’t want to end up next door

International WTF

There’s been a few pics and memes going around lately about westerners getting tattoos in Asian languages that pretty much translate to “foreigners are dickheads” and “how’d you like some Hep C with that tattoo?”.

So in the spirit of lighthearted international banter I thought I’d feature two AWESOME WTFs my friends captured in various parts of Asia…

The Magic Ingredient

It will be a very sad day indeed when I can pass up a poo joke. Because it will mean I am dead!

This awesome WTF was captured by my friend while on holiday in Thailand. And as she pointed out to me, cooking with Poo has been such a hit that this is the SECOND edition of the book!

Something to think about the next time your ordering something random in a Thai restaurant...

Something to think about the next time your ordering something random in a Thai restaurant…

Random Adult Breast-Feeding

Now before we start I want to make it clear that I have NO views whatsoever on the subject of extended breast-feeding. Basically their your boobs and you can do what you like with them.

But even so this has got to be one of the most bizzarre things I have ever seen – a true WTF in every sense.

Possibly the best WTF ever!

Possibly the best WTF ever!

This photo was taken by my friend Bree on a recent trip to Singapore, at a place called Har Paw Villa. Apparently it’s a trippy semi-religious theme park created by the brothers who invented Tiger Balm!

Well we’re nearly at the end of the first What the Fu%#K Friday (I TOLD you it was a bumper edition!), but there are just two more random WTFs that I’d like to leave you with.


This came up in the “People You May Know” section of LinkdIn. I had no idea there were marketing practitioners whose powers were so great they have gone over to the dark side…

Harry Potter is the least of your worries...

Harry Potter is the least of your worries…


He is the Billy Ray Cyrus of the poultry world.

He is the Billy Ray Cyrus of the poultry world.

Wishing you all a magnificent 2014 full of the random and ridiculous🙂

I am 2014

Anno Domini

*Subdued knocking*

HR: Come in!

* Shuffling noises from behind the door, which remains closed *

HR: Helloooo? I said come in!

2014: Oh hey, sorry I just… I wasn’t sure if you were the right person to…

*swallows audibly*

… I have some concerns about my role and I uhhh … wondered if I could discuss them with you?

HR: (kindly) Of course you can! That’s exactly what I’m here for. What’s on your mind?

I have some concerns  about my role...

I have some concerns about my role…

2014: Well as you know I’ve been in the Anno Domini internship program since I graduated two years ago, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I mean I’ve always wanted to be a Year ever since I was a kid so getting into the AD program was like a dream come true for me.

HR: OK before we go any further let me just pull your file… *roots around in filing cabinet*

Here it is!

(reads) Intern for the Year 2014. Graduated with honours in your Bachelor of Time Studies degree, excellent performance reviews from all your managers during your time at AD…

Sounds like your on your way to a very promising career!

2014: Yeah see that’s just it. I’m due to go “live”, as we say, tomorrow and I’m not sure I’m ready.

I mean the expectations people are putting on me are huge. HUGE! People I’ve never even freakin’ met are placing the entire responsibility for their future happiness on me. That’s a heavy burden man…

HR: Yes but you KNEW that this was going to happen. The “Managing New Years Expectations” unit in the intern program covers this extensively. Every year we’ve ever produced has had to go through this baptism of fire in their first month but the research has shown conclusively that by the end of January expectations have once again returned to manageable levels.

Essential reading for all AD interns

Essential reading for all AD interns

I understand it’s daunting but you’ll be fine, really you will! And we’re all here to support you so…

2014: With all due respect I’m not sure you’re right about that.

See it’s not just about resolutions anymore. Oh no these days it’s all about “challenges” that are specifically designed to last the full 12 months!

HR: (smiling indulgently) We’ve seen those come and go before. It’s usually fitness related am I right?

Or there was that one a few years ago about being grateful every day? That was a bit worrying for a while. But it was just so IRRITATING we figured it would never really take off.

I mean if you’re going around spouting off about everything you’re grateful for, you’re going to come off like some kind of demented Mary Poppins. Only more smug. You’d be lucky to have a friend left by the end of the year and even your family would probably be screening your calls…

2014: Oh no it’s still alive and well, as well as a million others. I’m not afraid to say quite frankly that it’s got me terrified.

People might actually start seeing these things through. And let’s face it – if they stick to their “challenge” the implied deal is that they will, in some way or another, hit the metaphorical “life jackpot”. That their lives will be better, more satisfying and ultimately closer to perfection.

Goddammit how am I supposed to perform under those conditions!

I want to concentrate on the big stuff. You know there’s a good chance that I could the year that gay marriage is legalised? Both 2012 AND 2013 had a crack at it but neither of them quite made the grade.

I could totally BE that year! That’s the kind of year people remember – that’s the kind of year that puts you in the history books for fuck sake.

Or I could be the year Spotify finally achieves world domination over iTunes – I mean it’s not in the same league but I’d still be happy with that as a legacy …

HR: Well yes, they’re both admirable goals for Year to aspire to…

2014: … but I can’t afford to take my eye off the ball.

I’ve been talking to 2013. I thought he did a pretty good job this year. But all you have to do is take a look at Twitter and man, the punters are CRUCIFYING him out there.

I tell you, everything from their failed diets to their fucked up interpersonal relationships is his fault. It’s harsh – really harsh.

And if I get a natural disaster? I’m going to have my hands full enough without people wanting to level up because they’ve made it through 6 months of “clean eating” whatever the fuck that is. Or, god spare me, achieved 12 months of “mindfulness”.

I mean if you’re a sentient being I think you’ve pretty much got that last one covered unless you’ve magically morphed into a fucking ROCK since the previous year…

HR: I’m sorry 2014 I’m going to have to stop you there.

2014: What! I thought you said this was the place to discuss my concerns? I haven’t even started on the wellness challenges out there…

HR: I did, but the fact is you’re out of time.

2014: What do you mean?

HR: What I mean is, you’re on. Right…..


2014: Oh Fuuuuuccckkkkkkkk…….

2014 final

Happy 2014 people.. ready or not it’s here to stay! Hope it’s your best year yet🙂

And thank you so much once again for continuing to hang out with me here. You will never know what it has meant to me xx

Outbreak: Christmania Virus 2013


Good evening and welcome to Channel 13 National News, I’m Jeff Carlson.

Well it’s here again – the annual outbreak of the Christmania Virus. As in previous years the first cases were reported in early December with numbers increasing over the last few weeks in the lead up to the penultimate viral event: Christmas Day.

Doctors warn that the 2013 strain of the virus is particularly virulent and that levels of infection could be running as high as 98% of the population.

President of the FDA (Festive Disease Authority), Dr. Esmerelda Higginbotham said that there had been a worrying increase in certain symptoms that made this likely.

“We’ve seen an increase carolling, which is very serious. Individuals are finding themselves inexplicably drawn into groups, united by the primal urge to inflict badly sung Christmas songs on their unsuspecting neighbours.”

Carolling Figures

Today is Christmas Eve and we are entering the critical final 24 hours prior to Christmas.

As virus levels are reach their peak Channel 13 National News has the news on serious outbreaks throughout the city…

Location: Poseidon’s Trident Seafood Wholesalers

One of the most baffling symptoms suffered by victims of the Christmania Virus is compulsive crustacean consumption or “Triple C” as it is commonly known.

Sufferers are driven mad by a lust for all manner of crustaceans, with prawns seeming to be particularly sought-after. In serious cases sufferers can actually become “prawn zombies” capable of committing acts of unspeakable violence to secure their seafood booty.

Prawn Fever 2

George Samonides, owner of Poseidon’s Trident Seafood, said he had been forced to hire armed guards to assist with this year’s pre-Christmas sales after several of his staff were menaced by prawn zombies in 2012.

“Look, at the end of the day if things get nasty we just give them what they want. What else can we do? They’re just prawns – it’s not worth risking someone’s life for a couple of kilos of seafood.”

Location: Westfield Lakeside Lakes – Car Park

If you’ve ever wanted to experience what Dante’s ninth circle of hell was really like then you need go no further than the car park at Westfield Lakeside Lakes.

Eye-witness accounts tell us that traffic in this car park has been gridlocked since 15th December and experts say there is no chance of relief until after the Boxing Day sales.

Adding to the chaos is the fact that many customers have abandoned their vehicles altogether. Starvation and and and fear of not being able to secure certain Play Station games have made people desperate, with one weary consumer saying…

“Yeah, we’ve decided to walk home. It’s about 15km so we should be home in a day and a half, which is MUCH quicker than trying to get the car out of the carpark. We’ll be back for the it in mid-January once the virus has died down.”

Lakeside Lakes Carpark in happier times before the outbreak.

Lakeside Lakes Carpark in happier times before the outbreak.

It’s not all doom and gloom though!

Families like the the Duke family have turned lemons into lemonade and planned their entire festive season around the car park gridlock.

“Yep, we’re camping here in the caprpark until 5th January. We got here on the 18th December and were lucky to get in,” said Mr. Duke.

“Mother and I went in the get the presents and groceries for Christmas dinner while the kids watched Despicable Me II on the in-car DVD system. We’ve attached a tarp to the back of the Pajero to give us some extra space and we brought our camp oven along so we’ve got everything we need really.”

Well that brings us to the end of our broadcast, but we’ll be crossing LIVE to various locations throughout the evening.

Make sure you don’t miss our in-depth story at 8.30pm on the Lakeside Drive conflict. For those who are not familiar, residents of Lakeside Drive north have declared war on the residents of Lakeside Drive south over their approach to outdoor Christmas lights.

Residents on the north end Lakeside Drive tried to enforce a tasteful low-key theme of red, green and gold lighting which has been summarily rejected by residents on the south end who stand by their right to multi-coloured lighting enhanced by giant inflatable Santas.

While the conflict is not yet armed, informers tell us that tensions are running high and that violence could break out at any time. A resident of north Lakeside (who has chosen not to be named) spoke to our reporter earlier this evening…

“Look at those south Lake-siders! You see what happens when you give in to the lure of multi-coloured lights? Children dancing around just gazing at them and some of them even dancing with joy! It’s positively HEATHEN if you ask me”.

Lakeside south residents are for multi-coloured lights, which are violently opposed by Lakeside north residents.

Lakeside south residents are for multi-coloured lights, which are violently opposed by Lakeside north residents.

This Jeff Carlson signing off. Stay safe people and for the love of god don’t cross a prawn zombie…

These are a few of my favourite things

Welcome loungers! This week’s theme is “These are a few of my favourite things…” so link up your post here…

Your favourite things are the unwritten story of your life.

Pick any age, stage or phase and look at the things you valued and cherished at that time.

They will tell the story of you – the world you were living in, the people who influenced you, your dreams, hopes and passions. They can take you back to a moment in time more effectively than any time-machine.

For example when I was 12 my favourite things in the whole world were my Anne of Green Gables books, closely followed by netball and rollerskating.

Oh Anne - you made me so happy!  And is it wrong that I still kind of have a crush on Gilbert Blythe?

Oh Anne – you made me so happy!
And is it wrong that I still kind of have a crush on Gilbert Blythe?

By the time I was 15 these had been replaced by Nirvana, black eyeliner and rum & coke.

The point of this (rather worrying) comparison is your favourite things will change as often as you do.

So what does a 36 year old mother of three, worker bee and ruler of “man-land” consider to be her favourite things?

In the past my favourite things have included travel, shopping, eating out, foreign films and holding dinner parties where I make everything from scratch.

But since these days I’m often house-bound, frequently exhausted and only have a fraction of my pre-kids disposable income to work with, I’ve had to get creative.

I’ve learned to find happiness in the little things letting them nourish my soul.

I’ve learned to count my blessings and be grateful 365 days a year…

Oh fuck, who am I kidding?

Here’s a list of things that have/or do stop me losing my shit entirely and give me the occasional shot of pure happiness I need to get me through the day…

1. The exquisite guilt of found chocolate
Ok so you’re rooting around in the pantry cupboard looking for a rogue packet of cous-cous, or maybe trying to find the source of the colony of ants that has seized control of one of your shelves.

Suddenly you find IT. Now IT could be a lonely Freddo that got left over from a party bag. Or if you’re really lucky it’s a whole packet of smarties bought to decorate a birthday cake but long since forgotten.

Whatever. The point is at this moment that chocolate is YOURS, and yours alone. And the second you step outside the pantry that chocolate becomes community property to be shared with the entire household.

To get the full value out of this favourite thing you must now follow my instructions to the letter…

i) Very quietly take one step backwards into the pantry
ii) Pull the pantry door towards you – enough so that it will look completely shut form the outside.
iii) Open the chocolate packet/wrapper, keeping all rustling noises to an absolute minimum
iv) Scoff the bloody lot before the inevitable cry for “Muuuuuum” is heard once they realise thet haven’t seen you for 5 minutes

The guilty pleasure of finding chocolate and not sharing!

The guilty pleasure of finding chocolate and not sharing!

2.The unbridled elation of finding there is actually MORE money in your bank account than you anticipated

Now this is a rare pleasure indeed! Usually when I fire up internet bank to see how get an update on the state of our finances I am ever so slightly disappointed.

There always seems to be slightly less than I thought there would be. Not by much – maybe $100 at the most that is obviously made up of all the take-away coffees, stuff for the boys and other “treats”I don’t factor in to my calculations.

But every now and then thanks to some accidental frugality or random calcuation by Family Assistance, we’ll be a couple of hundred bucks ahead of where we should be.

Now you can bask in the glow of your financial responsibility for at least a few minutes before you get all “Momma needs a new dress” and head out to the nearest Westfield.

3. The delicious comfort of putting on your daggiest pair of shorts

Everyone has them. Daggy shorts are the “Old Faithfuls” of your weekend wardrobe. Destined never to be worn outside the house they have seen you through the hard yards of the house-work, gardening, painting and all manner of home improvements.

And when you sit down with a restorative beverage at the end of the day they give in all the right places, just liken an old friend. Aaah the sweet relief of their worn fabric and accommodating waistband!

The daggy shorts.  I couldn't live without them, could you?

The daggy shorts. I couldn’t live without them, could you?

4. The the brilliant flash of hope the first time your baby sleeps through the night

You’re trudging along through the exhausted fog of new motherhood. You love being a Mum/Dad and you’re besotted with your little one, but you haven’t had a full nights sleep in weeks/months/years and you are achingly, bone-grindingly TIRED.

Then one morning you wake up. Instantly you know something is different because there’s sunlight streaming through the windows, as opposed to the black of night or grey haze of dawn you usually awaken to.

There’s a moment of panic and confusion – like you’ve overslept when you’re meant to be somewhere important. And then you realise… the baby is still asleep.

Now immediately lay back down and feel the serenity seep into your bones, because you’ve EARNED this one!

Jack 4 months old. This photo was taken at about 5.30 am and we had already been up for an hour by that time!

Jack 4 months old. This photo was taken at about 5.30 am and we had already been up for an hour by that time!

5. The supreme satisfaction derived from making fun of hipsters

Now this one may be a little unattractive. I mean, it’s really not nice to be sneery and superior and look down you’re nose at people, and usually I would advocate for kindness to our fellow humans in all situations

But Hipsters? Guys come on – I’m only human! And here in Brisbane we seem to have had a veritable Hipster EXPLOSION over the last 6 months. Seriously you can’t go out for a drink in some areas without having to swat your way through hordes of their self-aware, beardy and trilby hatted selves.

Look as I said – I’m on a budget and this one is both cheap AND fun!

So these are some of MY favourite things. But what about yours? I’m always in need of some fresh ideas…🙂

Halloween Part 1: Getting our freak on!

It’s 8.30 pm on a school night. The boys and I are slumped exhausted at our dining room table. We are surrounded in all directions by an alarming amount of stringy, pulpy orange debris.

The kitchen has fared even worse – the orange crap is on the floor, the benches and is clumped wetly in the sink. It looks as if Fat Cat has exploded all over the kitchen.

For those who don't remember, Fat Cat was the mid-numbingly boring non-verbal cat that passed for children's entertainment in the late 70's and early 80's.  Definitive proof, if such was needed, that not everything old school is cool.

For those who don’t remember, Fat Cat was the mid-numbingly boring non-verbal cat that passed for children’s entertainment in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
Definitive proof, if such was needed, that not everything old school is cool.

But rather than wreaking havoc on hapless costumed creatures of my childhood, we have instead been carving pumpkins into Jack’o’lanterns.

We had a Jack’o’lantern for the first time last year. Brook had done an awesome job of it – one of the great things about having a chef for a partner is their handy knife skills!

As ours was the only one in the street it was a real draw card. It gave our place a kind of spooky prestige and greatly impressed the Halloween punters.

Max and I being zombies next to last year's Jack'o'lantern.

Max and I being zombies next to last year’s Jack’o’lantern.

This year we were determined to up the ante so I bought 2 large pumpkins PLUS 3 mini-pumpkins for the boys to have a go at carving.

In addition I also volunteered Brook and his knife-skills to carve 4 pumpkins for the Halloween Party at the Royal Children’s Hospital. If you ask Brook he will tell you that the great thing about having a partner like ME is that I volunteer him for things and then tell him about it afterwards!

Seriously though, he went all out with the designs and his pumpkins look AMAZEBALLS. But this set a high standard for the remaining two large and three small pumpkins that I was in charge of carving.

As we sat down to our task tonight the boys were beside themselves with anticipation. We soon made the following discoveries about pumpkin carving…

Things I did not know about pumpkin carving before now

1. Pumpkin carving is messy
Seriously next time I will put a tarp on the floor and dress the whole family in disposable raincoats. Prepare to get seeds and strings and pulpy crap EVERYWHERE. Including under my nails which was quite revolting

Pumpkin guts! This is but a small portion of the total mess.

Pumpkin guts! This is but a small portion of the total mess.

2. Pumpkin carving is tiring
Once you’ve got rid of the majority of the seeds etc. you then have to thoroughly scrape out the inside of the pumpkin to get rid of all the flesh and stringy fibres. This takes AGES and is bloody hard work. The boys were fine to get the seeds out but the scraping needs someone with a fair amount of dexterity.

Or, in this case, me.

3. Pumpkin carving is creatively satisfying
We all had so much fun googling designs, debating the merits of happy faces versus scary faces and whether to put give them teeth, eyebrows or scars. They all got to have a go at carving (under supervision and with a pretty blunt knife) and we only had one minor nick.

Anyway here are the results of out endeavours and we’re all pretty pleased with them. Now I just have to remember to buy candles to put in the bloody things!

I think the collective noun for a group of Jack’o’lanterns should be a “seance”. Or maybe a monster of Jack’o’lanterns? What do you think?

Jack'o'lanterns in all sizes!

Jack’o’lanterns in all sizes!