Month Sixty-One

Camera Toss 047-2

Dear Husband,

So that whole nothing much at all happened during the month thing that we had going last month…we were apparently saving up for this month. I know that you know exactly what did happen and what didn’t but I want to write this down for posterity. Or so we can look back during a non-eventful month and go well things are not that bad…Although I guess, to be fair, it wasn’t all bad this month either.

We have known for a while that we wanted gas. You wanted a gas stove and oven and we had previously discussed getting gas fitted to the house. So we finally got it done and it was relatively painless. At least for us. The workers fitting the gas seemed not to have been advised that we were sitting on clay and there is apparently a random concrete pad buried in our front yard but that’s not our fault. Anyway, we got gas. Yay! You tried to call our regular plumber though and he lost your number. Inconvenient. This wasn’t a big deal though until our stupid solar system decided to leak again at which point we found out the plumber was about to go on holidays for three weeks. Very inconvenient.

But we can work around that you thought. You could climb on the roof yourself (despite your loathing of heights) and flush the solar tank and hopefully it would hold for a while. Like it did last time. Except that when you got up there, you found that it actually had a hole. The valve wasn’t just stuck. Bummer. So we got to experience the joys of turning the hot water on each time we showered and then off again while you madly arranged for a new plumber to come and fit the gas to the house, put in a new gas stove and a gas point in the living room.

This required a delicate balance of equipment, staff and time. You coordinated it all to the nth degree. You researched the stoves in advance to find the best option which turned out to seemingly be the only option. We have an old house and were still sporting a side by side instead of an upright or separate oven and stove. Only one company in Australia still sells these so we ordered one. Too easy. The store told you it would be there the following day but they couldn’t tell you when. They did say last deliveries were between 5pm and 7pm though so you advised that you would be there just before 7pm. They advised you they shut at 6pm. You were not amused…

We eventually got it delivered to the house though so it was on site. All good. Except that it was 2cm too big for the space. Not so good. We have asbestos walls. Bad. We can’t just make space by cutting into them. So you arranged to return the appliance. For a 20% restocking fee. On a $1700+ stove. To say that you were not amused would be an understatement. When they were not interested in the slightest if you decided to exchange the product as opposed to just returning it, that didn’t go down so well either. So we needed a new stove pronto. One that wasn’t going to maim Genevieve if she touched it (I stupidly mentioned cool touch ovens which sent you into a tailspin for a day or so). We also needed the plumber and the electrician and your day off to happen on the one day. Which they could have, if it wasn’t for the fact that it decided to piss down with rain…So there were a few more days of turning the hot water off an on again. Joy.

Then the night before it was all supposed to happen there was a mini panic. You feared that the plan to rip out the cupboard that held the side by side so that we could install an upright was seriously flawed. You worried that the cupboard was actually nailed into the asbestos walls thus necessitating a whole new kitchen not just an oven. This turned out to be a non-issue though as the cupboard was separate. Thankfully.

Finally it was gas day. A happy day. But not for the dog. He hated having people in his house. He spent part of the day shut in the hall (where he proceeded to put scratch marks in the door) or chained to the clothesline on a very short chain. I can only assume he went nuts barking on more than one occasion. You did tell me that the plumber was scared of Reuben so when you went to return the stove that didn’t fit and get the one that did, Reuben came with you in the car. Anyway, apart from being a long day, it all seemed to go well. Then we used the oven…

The first night, we had a look at all the buttons. You turned the light on to have a look at the shiny new oven and then it blew. That was frustrating but not the end of the world. The stove was great. However, the next night we decided to cook in the oven. With the fan. Which overheated and blew up. There was a loud popping sound and there was smoke! You did not use polite language. You weren’t very pleased when you spoke to Hardly Normal either. It wasn’t their fault, sure, but if they had sold you something faulty, by God, they were going to give you another one! When you get in full pissed mode, you are quite intimidating and when you got passed from Hardly Normal to Electrolack (the repair company who were incidentally the 20% restocking fee people) you got mad all over again and got promised all would be as you wish.

So forward to the oven repair guy. He has no authority to give you a replacement oven. Apparently neither did the person you would have spoken with at good old Electrolack on the phone. All he could do was fix your oven. Which he did. He put in a new light and a new fan. Then he turned on the oven and the fan. Then the fan began to smoke…at which point he did a little checking and advised that we were getting more current through the newly installed power point when it was turned off than when it was on and that the power point was why the fan would have blown up in the first place. At which point you called the plumber and had a “restrained” conversation where you told him to get in touch with his sub-contracted electrician immediately because you wanted him here now.

So now I am at home waiting for the sparky to show up who arrives to tell us that everything is ok. He did his thing and then we turned on the oven, we turned on the light and we turned on the fan and they did just what they were supposed to do. Which was as it should be so we chalked it all up to a bad experience and didn’t think on it any more until you got an SMS asking for your address so the electrician could send us a bill. This was another point at which you didn’t really have anything polite to say. You were once again very restrained in your actual response but he was one dumb comment away from you ripping his head off and eviscerating him.

We knew for instance that the apprentice sparky fitted the original power point. He may be a very good apprentice but it easier to think something could have been missed. We also have a work order to say that during the subsequent visit, the power point in question was terminated and then reset. It wasn’t like he just looked at the connection and said I think its fine. We also know that the oven repair guy had tools which said there was an issue in the first place. Tools. He wasn’t just pulling a plausible reason out of his butt. Not to mention the fact that the 2nd fan that was installed in the oven smoked as soon as it was left on as well! Then after the sparky’s visit, the oven fan didn’t smoke. Given all the above, I think we could be forgiven for assuming that the issue wasn’t ours. Which is why we had no intention of paying him another damned cent. I am assuming he understood this because we didn’t hear from him again.

After that, it was a case of you going back to Hardly Normal to demand a replacement oven since they told you Electrolack would replace it and they didn’t. Which they did and now we have a gas hot water system and a fully functioning oven which makes you happy. And to think, all it cost was a couple of hundred dollars more than it was supposed to, hours of your time and a bit of blood, sweat and tears…

The rest of the month was also a joy. I mentioned previously that it rained. It rained a lot! It bucketed down. Sometimes many days in a row. Which probably had nothing to do with your toothache that sent you to the dentist a couple of times and may or may not have contributed to you getting sick, which you also did. You felt very sorry for yourself and got a horrible cough that was so bad, it woke me up! I can only imagine how bad it must have been for you. It certainly didn’t make either of us very happy. It also possibly made other things worse.

I have been making a conscious effort to put in some extra yards at work recently. I want to turn my job into a career and a lot of things have been ramping up at my company. As a consequence, I had quite a few late afternoons or in some cases early evenings. Every time I would talk to you to say I would be late though, you were so curt and cranky. And then when I’d get home you weren’t much friendlier either. That made it really hard for me. You were taking my absence personally which I never intended and it caused more tension because I enjoyed what I was doing. I am really hoping that it eases up next month because this is not a cycle I wish to continue.

But all is not doom and gloom. We have a shiny new oven and stove that cooks beautifully.

Enduringly yours,

Your Loving Wife

* Photo taken from a random idea my sister and I had to set the self timer on a point and shoot and throw it in the air before the shutter went off. The colours are a reflection from a CD.


Week 91


Dear Genevieve,

Where did my little girl go who hated cleaning her teeth? She has disappeared and in her place is a child who won’t let us forget that it is a task that should be completed every evening. I’m not complaining by the way. I am merely surprised at the complete turn around. We used to hold you down kicking and screaming and now as soon as you have your pj’s on it seems, we hear “Teeth. Paste.”. I suppose you are still not thrilled when we clean your teeth, you prefer to try and do it yourself, but you are all for the process if not the delivery.

When we fail to take notice of something that you want for yourself or to do yourself, you are happy to remind us. You pound your chest with an open palm and repeat “you, you”. Which makes perfect sense in your brain. When we speak to you, we refer to “you” all the time. Eventually you are going to have to learn the concept of “me” but until then, it’s very cute to watch you contradict us. We might suggest that we eat the rest of your snack and in return we get “No. You.”. Well, it’s cute sometimes. The rest of the time that you contradict us, it’s bloody frustrating!


On the whole though, it’s fascinating to watch you learn things. Like me, you get that face when you are concentrating fiercely on something. The one where the eyebrows come together slightly and the tongue pokes out the side of your mouth. Apparently this is the way I used to practice the piano all the time. I tell you, the tongue makes all the difference! You even do it occasionally when you drive your car. Backwards. Because that the only direction you can go at the moment.

Your dad found someone who was giving away one of those little plastic cars. The ones like the Flintstones used to drive where you have to use your feet to get anywhere. They seat one toddler comfortably and have a little side door so that you can climb in and out easily. It is your new favourite toy hands down. The coordination to go forwards however is a little beyond you at the moment and it’s easier to push with your feet which results in backward motion. You’re pretty good at directing yourself though. If you keep this up, reverse parallel parking will be a breeze later in life.


That is assuming you are not grounded when it comes time to get your license. You do have a mischievous streak to you. Although I don’t actually think you are consciously trying to be mischievous some of the time. Like the other night. You had been drawing on some paper in the living room quite happily. You really like drawing and you had a whole bunch of crayons and such on the floor. Then you moved towards the kitchen and out of my line of sight. I could still hear drawing sounds so I didn’t think much of it for a minute or two. Then I got concerned because whilst I could hear drawing sounds, I couldn’t hear your father (whom I had assumed was in the kitchen) chatter with you which I would have expected. So I went to investigate.

You were quite happily sitting on the floor making great big squiggles and zig zags all over the lower wall between the kitchen and the living room. You managed to fill up about a meter square of wall with drawing. I suppose I should be grateful though because you limited your medium of choice to a lead pencil. Something that is fortunately easily removed. And when I say easily, I mean through the assiduous application of a rubber eraser (and some elbow grease) to the affected area for an extended period of time. It took a lot more effort to get it off than it did to put it there in the first place Genevieve!


And when you are not drawing or driving and your parents are having relaxed parenting moments where we employ the services of the sparkly babysitter (we let you watch tv), you have been getting into your ABC kids shows. The favorites are clearly O-nau (“O” as in orange and “nau” as in naughty also knows as Octonauts), Thomu (Thomas the Tank Engine), Hoot (Giggle and Hoot) and Ple Ple (as in peo”Ple” repeated, or Iggle Piggle from In the Night Garden). It still gets your dad every time that you can’t or don’t want to say “ThomAS” and it took him a little while to recognise the Night Garden reference but you like to watch all of these. Sometimes immediately after one another. Sometimes wanting to switch before an episode has even finished. And depending on what we are trying to do when you are otherwise occupied, we oblige. Because if we don’t, the next request is probably going to be “cuddles!”.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love your cuddles. You give awesome hugs. Especially your squeezy ones. And sometimes kisses go with the hugs which makes them pretty special as well but I gotta tell you, it’s very hard to fold laundry when you are in the middle of a cuddle. And cooking dinner is somewhat challenging when you have a toddler attached to you. You don’t really care though. You now want cuddles all the time. Even (or perhaps sometimes especially) when you are belted into your car seat. I wouldn’t say you are like a limpet exactly, or even that it is a separation anxiety thing. You just love cuddles. Kind of like the way your dad just loves when you are over tired.


I think your dad should have been born a European because he seems to have their inclination towards food and mealtimes. He has no problem eating dinner at 9pm and still would if it weren’t for the fact that I refuse to eat this late and you should not. There are plenty of your friends at kindy who are safely tucked into their beds by 7pm. I have long accepted the fact though that sometimes were are not even home before 7pm but I do like you to be ready for bed by 8pm. The major snag in my plan is that this is heavily reliant on cooperation from your father.

He cooks dinner and he does bath time so when he then takes his time, things get later and later. You get more and more tired but conversely, you also get more and more animated. Your cheeky side comes out and your dad just loves laughing with you over dinner, chasing you around the house and wrestling with you on the bed. So much so that he prolongs the process of the pre-bath warm up as long as possible. Usually letting me get 90% to cranky. And then of course he plays along with you in the bath or the shower as well. I love that you guys are best buddies but sometimes I do just want you to go to bed! But it’s not your fault, I know. I am occasionally concerned that you are not getting enough sleep for proper development and all those boring things so hopefully we are not screwing you up too much. Sleep is a good thing my child. Remember that.


Alles Liebe,


Week 87

July-2Dear Genevieve,

Or perhaps I should say Miss Independence? You are certainly doing a lot more on your own now. Like trying to put clothes on by yourself. I hesitate to say dress yourself because often the times that you try to put on clothing are when you are already wearing something. We therefore get socks on shoes and shirts over pants and stockings slung around your neck like a scarf. Most of the time you still help us to dress you when you prepare for the day or for bed. Sometimes though, you refuse to let us touch the clothes and insist on putting them on yourself. You want to be a big girl.


That is one of the reasons that we introduced the potty this month. We are not pushing it or even actively toilet training you yet but you have started to tell us when you need to go so if you prompt us, we have begun sitting you down on the potty to do your business or at least to try. I didn’t expect you to be ready for this yet and am happy for you to take your own time. I guess we’ll see if this develops over the next month. Your dad has told the ladies at kindy to sit you down on a potty or toilet if you want and whenever you decide you are finished with nappies, that will be another part of your babyhood behind you.


I think you have largely decided that high chairs are for babies. We can still coerce you into one on occasion but you have recently started to pitch fits whenever we try to seat you in your chair for a meal. You also continue to climb onto the kitchen nook seat and tell us you are hungry. You look at us expectantly as if to say well I’m ready, this is what you do when you eat, where is dinner? There are only so many times that we are prepared to have you eat meals on our lap so you can reach your bowl properly though. So we bought you a booster seat that we can move around and also take to cafes with us. We are not allowed to click you into it of course. You have to do that yourself but at least it’s not a major battle to get you to sit in it.


You are quite happy to let us know when you are unhappy with something. Actually, you are quite happy to let anyone know when you are unhappy with something. We were told the other day by your kindy that you “are very assertive with your ‘no’s” which we are assuming is a polite way of saying that you are a real bossy boots! It doesn’t really surprise us though. I just hope you can learn to temper that with generosity and an ability to compromise. We are trying to be a good example for you. But it’s not always easy for us either and sometimes you are too cute and we let you get away with too much. Your dad particularly.

All you have to do is grin sweetly it seems and your father is incapable of holding his resolve. He ends up hiding behind his hands or your story book at bedtime because he can’t keep from laughing. Recently he got fed up with you not going to sleep in your cot and continuing to wriggle around. He frowned and told you sternly to “stop!” and “lie down!”. You recognised that you had maybe pushed him too far so you acquiesced. You then looked up at him with your baby blues and said “Daddy” very softly. Then whilst still looking at him, you touched your index finger to the middle of your face and simply said “nose”. Your dad cracked up laughing. Genibean 1, Dad 0.


You are adding more and more words to your vocabulary and repeating us constantly as you try to learn more. We understand a lot of your speech, at least when we have context. A few of your words are mostly there. Somewhat inappropriately “clock” has no “l” and “sit” frequently has an added “h” but we usually know what you are trying to say. However, sometimes we haven’t got a clue. I know that is hard on you because I can see you so earnestly try to tell us something. You make a big effort to pronounce something as precisely as you can only to have us stare at you in confusion because we can’t figure out what the word is. Then of course there are the times that you just chatter when you are “reading” us a book and in the opinion of your biased mother, that is just adorable.


The only other major thing this month is that you got quite sick and had to stay home from kindy for a week. You got a terrible cough that frequently woke you up, seemingly in pain. At the beginning of the virus, you would also cough so much that you made yourself throw up. I nearly ran out of mattress protectors! You came into bed with me one day because we were both so very tired and exhausted. You had thown up in your cot again and right at that time, snuggled up in my arms was the only way you would nap.


We wondered in the middle of it whether you were getting your next molars as there was a fever and you frequently had your hand in you mouth. There was also a lot of drool. It may have been just a virus though and then a secondary ear infection to boot. You were certainly totally out of sorts for a while. Both your father and I took time off to be with you and cart you off to medical professionals. The night you coughed up blood your dad even tried to take you to hospital. He brought you home after a couple of hours though because the wait was so long and the triage nurse said you were stable. The blood was probably a result of the bile scraping your throat on the way up and not something more sinister. Nobody had much fun that week.

We are now thankfully on the other side of the sickness though and you are back to your cheeky self. The self that apparently likes to stick her fingers into plumber’s cracks. I don’t know where you got that one but one day it’s probably going to get you into trouble. You do this all the time to your father and you seem to find his reaction absolutely hilarious. So naturally you keep doing it. I of course also find it terribly amusing when your father gets offended…but I’m trying not to let you see that.

Alles Liebe,