Archive | September, 2012

A life-stage missed

30 Sep

I am mourning the loss of a life stage missed.

I never lived out of home by myself or with roommates. I really wanted to but was too scared of disappointing my parents (again) so I stayed home during my first two years of university and even after I scored my first full-time job.

I blame my Italian upbringing. I blame the fact that my first full-time job required me to wake up at 3.30am…I was in a weakened state.

It’s not that I particularly enjoyed living at home. I didn’t. It had its moments. I was just too scared and too tired to make the move. I had fought with my parents enough since my high school days about my choice of extra-curricular activities (debating and Toastmasters), my choice of university degree (Communications) and my choice of career (radio).

I always thought I’d move for my next job. Radio announcers usually job-hop around the country and I thought if I moved out of home for work they might just let me do it without the usual guilt-trip. I mean, honestly, moving out of home was tantamount to committing some heinous crime. Birds PUSH their babies out of the nest because they instinctually know that if their babies don’t learn to fend for themselves, they’ll die.

So as I patiently waited for an amazing inter-state job offer I met the man who would become my husband. My plan was thwarted and future job offers were rejected from within my love-bubble.

I went from wanting to move out of home to wanting to live with him. Everything was fun…grocery shopping, paying bills…

My move from my family home to living with the man who would be my husband (yes I lived with him before we were married – gasp!) wasn’t without pain. It started with the occasional sleepover and soon I was there more than I was at home. My parents chose to ignore what was going on and my assorted excuses for not sleeping at home were met with pursed lips and silences.

Eventually I sat them both down and explained that their sensible and gainfully employed daughter was choosing to move in with the man she wanted to be with for the rest of her life. It was hard, there were tears but I did it.

And now I have woken up fourteen years later and I am so sad that I never lived out of home. I’ve never had a roomie!

This is probably why I am unnaturally attached to Big Brother and always have been. I love any movie where people move house and set things up whenever they want them to be. I love visiting friends who live out of home and I am fascinated by their struggles with roommates like splitting bills and recorded shows being accidentally (or deliberately) erased. Being at work is sort of like living with roomies because we have a communal fridge and I love shaking my head in mock frustration when someone has helped themselves to my Cruskits.

In my fantasy home-that-never-was there would be pretty toilet paper, vibrant rugs, no junk food to tempt me, and no need to hide my special shower gel and expensive shampoo. I could walk through the place naked. I wouldn’t have to watch any TV show I didn’t like. I would be friends with my hunky neighbour. I could shop with a basket – not a trolley.

I missed a life-stage, I really did. I wish I’d lived out of home before getting married.

My baby birds will be affectionately pushed out of their feathered nest (in ten years time when they are of age). They’ll thank me later.


I’m a working girl this long weekend. Yay for me!

28 Sep

I am so happy it’s the long weekend. I usually work on weekends and when I saw that the public holiday was coming up I sent my boss an email saying “I am happy to work all day. Bring it on!” He fulfilled my request. I am working from 5am until 7pm.

So for the next three days I am a working girl. I get to leave the house every morning and bring home some bacon. I’ll kiss my children goodbye, wave as I drive down the street and wait until I’ve turned the corner before I turn up the radio, roll down the windows and whoop in delight at my clever escape.

Equally, my husband delights in his role as house husband. For three days he’s in charge. He gets to decide what’s for breakfast (probably Coco Pops). He gets to take them to the park. He gets to clean up after them. He gets to decide on dinner (probably McDonalds or KFC). We were watching House Husbands recently and he said, “That’ll be me.” Rolling my eyes I reminded him that being house husband for three days was a bit different from those who do it most days and that by Monday night he’ll be itching to get back to work. I guarantee it.

I love working. I love having a reason to get dressed and leave the house. I love making coffee in my travel coffee mug and packing my food for the day. I love stopping off at the service station and picking up the paper and afternoon tea (lately it’s been mint Aero Bars but I have been known to pick up at block of Cadbury Hazelnut Chocolate – don’t call me predictable).

When I get to work I sing greetings out to everyone. Sometimes they grunt in response. Many ignore me. Yes, it’s irritating how happy I am to be at work when they’d do anything to not be at work. But don’t they know how lucky they are? We are employed, we get along, our work is fun and the time flies and the insanely annoying casual will bring in enough chocolate for everyone. Can it get any better than this? I even leave the good coffee out for everyone to use. I rock.

I’m sure the novelty would wear off for me if I had to do this every day but for now I’m SUPER EXCITED. I especially love ringing home and checking in on the kids. Their phone manner alone makes it all worth it.

They usually go something like this…

Me:  Hi baby.

Three-year-old:  Hi Mum.

Me:  What are you doing?

Three-year-old:  Eating cheese.

Me:  Yum. What’s Daddy doing?

Three-year-old:  Computer. And Mum, Philip spilled.

Me:  Oh no, did Daddy clean it up?

Three-year-old:  Not yet. Bye bye Mum.

Me:  Bye bye baby.

And I’m just a teeny tiny bit happy that by the time I get home on Monday night the kids will be in bed. And I’ll put down my bag, kick off my shoes, flick on the TV and eat leftovers.




School holidays!

23 Sep

It’s school holidays!

I love love love school holidays. I get to sleep in most days, I don’t have to iron school uniforms and I don’t have to drag the kids out of bed and bribe/cajole/bully them into brushing their teeth/getting dressed/eating breakfast.

I know, I don’t work full time which is why I find school holidays relaxing and fun. In my defense, I do help my working friends out and I’m happy to do so. To me there’s nothing more fun than being at home with a house full of kids running around and playing.

I’m Italian so I’m good at coming up with bulk meals for the crowd of hungry kiddies. Pasta, hot chips and vegetable sticks, toasted sandwiches, sausage rolls. Even their fights are easily diffused with Paddle Pops. Oh, to be a child again.

Kids have never had it so good have they? They are in such a rush to grow up. Don’t they know that these are the best days of their lives? Don’t they realise how much time they have to be grown ups later?

We have one of those huge trampolines in our backyard. Watching them jump and play on it for hours while I sit back and warm myself in the sun is heaven.

It is hard to stick to our budget during school holidays but I have it all planned. We are enjoying good weather so playing outside is the aim most days at various locations. The money will be spent on Madagascar 3, bowling and one (JUST ONE) visit to Toys R Us for some small toys. Oh, and a quick visit to the Reject Shop for some bits and bobs that will last a day, but what a day it will be.

These school holidays are all about sun, fun, bubbles, jumping and ice-cream. There’s none of the stress of Easter or Christmas and amazing weather most days.

Fun fun fun.

La Dolce Vita,

Jo Abi


Spring is here and we have nothing to wear

8 Sep

Is it Spring already?

For about six months I’ve had a pile of ironing I’ve been diligently ignoring. As the weather became cooler my need to iron became less. That pile of dresses, short-sleeved shirts and floaty tops wasn’t needed and I have an aversion to ironing. It is the household chore I loathe. So I didn’t iron them for six months.

Then Spring arrived.

Last night I ironed for one hundred and forty-two minutes, which is the duration of the movie The Hunger Games. If there hadn’t been a good movie to watch on Foxtel I doubt I would have gotten it done. I ironed for over two hours and I am now ready for Spring. There were clothes in there I had forgotten about. I am wearing my black crop pants and floaty blue and white top today. My daughter is in a cute little dress and the boys are in wrinkle-free shirts. But I ran out of time to do my husband’s ironing. Had the movie gone for longer (and it was such a brilliant movie I wouldn’t have even minded) then his would have been done too.

I’ll do it tonight if I can find a good movie. I figure if I put on a good movie once a week and get the ironing done I can remove it as an issue in my life.

That pile of ironing has been TORTURING me. No matter how much I’ve cleaned and achieved, I’ve been able to see it in the corner of my eye saying, “Bad mother, bad wife, fail, fail, fail.”

I ‘cracked the back of it’ last night and tonight I should be able to ‘bring it home’ so to speak. I find I need motivating sayings and mantras to get all the housework done these days, especially ironing. Always the ironing.

Two years ago I tried to become the woman I’ve always wanted to be (efficient and not in denial about how many clothes needed ironing) and I bought myself a red and white ironing board and a red iron. Trendy and practical. It was fun the first couple of times but then the novelty wore off and the pile began to grow again.

Pretty much the only items of clothing that are regularly ironed are my son’s school shirts (I try to get away with not ironing his pants). My husband’s work shirts should probably be ironed but he could do it himself (he chooses not to and I empathise with that choice) and he is eventually covered in grease anyway so there’s not much point.

So tonight I need another really good flick. It was hard to iron while sobbing during a particularly sad part in the movie but the rest was quite invigorating and I got a lot of the ironing done.

Whatever works for you when it comes to doing boring/horrible/tedious tasks then do it. For example, I only get uni work done while eating mint chocolate, cooking dinner is done while catching up on social media and I mop but I need to listen to something besides Nick Jr and The Gummy Bear song! Beyonce works, or Nicki Minaj! Although be careful mopping to her song Starships. I almost dislocated my shoulder!

My electricity bill is what?!?

1 Sep

Excuse me but may I ask when electricity became a bloody luxury item?

My electricity bill for winter is $1025! What the hell?

This is just ridiculous. Not too long ago a big bill would have been in the four-hundreds. And now that electricity is privatised it has become a luxury item.

So my clever strategy of getting up and down constantly night after night turning heaters on and off to save money obviously didn’t work. And we live in a small house. We don’t even have a dishwasher. It doesn’t make sense. How can we afford a bill like this? And electricity is meant to become even more expensive? How? Why? It doesn’t make sense.

I have three children and we have had the worst winter when it comes to illness. We started off well. I turned the heaters on for a hour to warm up their bedrooms and then I turned them off and gave them all extra blankets. They all got sick. Giovanni was first. He has the family weak chest. He got a terrible cold and I turned his heater on every night until he was better. My healthy kids stuck to one hour at bedtime to warm up the room and on particularly chilly nights I set my alarm for 2am and 3am, turning them on and off for another hour.

My husband and I did without. We froze. We shivered dressed like we were going skiing.

Then my husband became really ill. He developed a terrible flu and spent a few days dragging himself to work. As soon as he’d arrive home he’d fall into bed and I turned his heater on until he was better.

It’s was just a nightmare.

Then we all got gastric flu a couple of times each. The charming strain of gastric flu this year was so severe it involved twelve hours of vomiting, twelve hours of the runs, fever and lethargy. Our rooms had to be heated!

You’d think that privatising electricity would inspire competition. Perhaps not yet. My hope is that just like the price of flying, electricity prices are forced down by increased competition. I mean, it’s not like it’s become more expensive to provide electricity. If anything we should be better at it.

I know we should all be using less electricity to help the environment but as with everything that is ideal, my primary concern is my health and the health of my children and there is no way we can cope with another bill like this.

My friends have started texting me their bills and it seems I got off lightly.

Let’s get real. Electricity shouldn’t be a luxury.

If I can’t pay this bill, will they turn my electricity off? Should I delay paying the school fees that are already late and pay the electricity bill instead? Is it worth fighting it? Does the electricity ombudsman do any good?

Average families can’t afford bills like this. We are all working as much as we can, juggling bills, trying to keep our children happy and healthy and we’re just getting slammed at every turn.

Healthy food – expensive. Electricty – expensive. Petrol – expensive. No wonder many Australian families are living in poverty, forced to get food from charitable organisations.

I’ll be able to pay the bill but it’ll hurt and I will have to delay paying my son’s school fees. I’ll have to do a very small grocery shop that week (if at all) and now that Spring is here I can always pray for warmer weather (although on the first day of Spring we woke up to cars covered in ice).

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