Month Ninety-Two

Dear Husband,

Well this is simply getting ridiculous. I just want to shout oh for f***’s sake, seriously!?! The saga of the water damage to the rumpus room just goes on and on and on and then there is the amount of things that just seem to go pear shaped besides that. Is it because we don’t have 9 to 5 jobs where things can go wrong someplace else? Things just have to go wrong somewhere so that’s gonna be here? I constantly tell myself that they are totally first world problems and that we are not dealing with chronic sickness within the family etc but it really does feel like we keep taking one step forwards and two steps back. We receive what we think of as a glimpse of clarity but this in turn just opens up a whole new swag of things which we do not know. Like getting the water bill.

That sucker was over $800 and we sure as, well you know what, do not use that much water. So now we are dealing with a leaky pipe. Another water problem. Whoopee. Apparently our insurance covers finding this leak (but not fixing it – of course) so we call to get some help. Yet more stress on your part because you are also asking them to reopen the claim they denied because we think they are connected. But they can’t send out a plumber for our water problem. Oh no, they have to send out a builder first. So the builder comes only to say I’m not really sure why I’m here, you need a plumber. Duh. And then the plumber comes out and says, yep, you’ve got a leaky pipe. Great. We knew that. Plumber doesn’t know where it is though and lets us know we need a diagnostics guy to come out. Then the diagnostics guy comes out and determines yeah, so, I looked and I listened but I can’t find your leak. And by the way, all that water gushing out of your internal wall like a fountain? That is totally nothing to do with subsidence or a leaky pipe, that a busted storm water pipe. What the? I know you have had more choice words to say about all of this that I have.


This new state of affairs would explain some things though. Like us getting the fountain during more extreme weather conditions such as when it absolutely pisses down with rain as opposed to just showering. However, it doesn’t make me feel any better that we probably will end up going through weeks of finding and fixing a leaky pipe and then have to turn around and do the whole thing again when we say um, we still have a problem here, can you figure out why I have a fountain coming out of my internal wall which is what was asked of you in the first damn place! Sigh. Meanwhile, we are haemorrhaging money day by day – apparently into the soil or under the house somewhere – as well as to specialist skin clinics.

I’m not begrudging the need to spend this money. You have been dealing with the skin condition for years, applying stop-gap measures just to function. You bit the bullet this month to seek more professional help and I’m not sure if it was a blessing or a curse for you to be told you needed a pharmacy of pills every day and a crazy-arse diet to try and alleviate your symptoms. They pretty much struck at everything you hold dear. No caffeine, no alcohol, no sugar, no red meat, no eggs, no dairy, no tomato, no citrus and a few other things besides. They pretty much left you chicken, fish and selected fruits and vegetables but not much to put with them. With everything they took, they actually left you gluten but not many ways you could consume it.

Finding what a foodie who likes variety can eat given all those limitations has been challenging. The list of allowed foods doesn’t fit any particular fad diet (gluten free, fod map, dairy free, sugar free etc). It’s a weird mix of all of them put together and you have been dealing with that as much as the physical repercussions of the switch. You went into withdrawal the first week. You were moody, irritable, itching all over and were an all-round cranky bastard. We have previously discussed those extreme diets that people go on in order to get washboard abs and have commented that it’s not really worth it to piss off everyone else in your life and enjoy nothing while you’re at it. Apart from the fact that you have not taken on a ridiculous training schedule though (I think that would just about kill you at the moment) that is pretty much the situation that you have put yourself in. Having said that, I definitely have to say that I am so impressed by how diligently you have kept to the strictures of the diet. I know it’s been really hard but you have managed to stay strong. Maybe it’s been a mantra of it’s only for six weeks, it’s only for six weeks, but as I said, I am impressed. And because you have been faithful, your body has also adjusted and your moods are a lot less up and down now at the end of the month. I never thought that our previous diet would have made such an impact there but it really did.


That doesn’t mean that we both don’t still struggle day to day in balancing our lives against our wants and needs. We had a couple of “discussions” about the household this month which has helped resolve some things and highlighted a few others. We seem to have different interpretations of cleanliness. Or rather, we more or less agree on what cleanliness is but we have different thresholds and bugbears surrounding uncleanliness. Which is not to be confused with untidiness but that is another argument. They often get all thrown into the same basket though. You stressed his month that you feel responsible for about 95% of the outside of the house. You also feel responsible for a growing percentage of the work that needs to be done inside the house and it has gotten to the point that it feels unfair.

You asked for more help from me, specifically in regards to cleaning up at night. I often do the washing up and the dishwasher but didn’t always wipe down the benchtop or spray and wipe the splat mat, high chair and floor. Not that I would leave massive chunks of food lying around but invariably, some crumbs. Basically, I performed more of a surface level of cleaning than you are comfortable with and you wanted that to change. Fair enough. I could understand your point that you felt the balance was shifting in my favour and I could make a more consistent effort to do things the way you wanted them done. The thing is though, as I felt I was making more of an effort for you, I felt like you stopped making one at all. After I feed Elliot to sleep, I have started coming out to wind up doing everything on the night time checklist whilst you play on your phone in either Genevieve’s room while she is asleep or in the living room. All of these little tasks stopped feeling like something “we” were responsible for and something that just “I” was responsible for. Which doesn’t sit well with “us” either. We each have our nights of needing a little more slack and that’s fine but we are both also stubborn and don’t like to feel as though the other is taking liberties.

And it’s true. I do hold onto things without always saying something right up until the time that you feel it is biting you on the backside. My thought process is different to yours though. I hear the we need to get this stuff out of the way so I’m putting it in your office but I will clear it out in less than a week and the yes, I’ll clear some space for that in the shed but just not this afternoon, ok and the I can’t stand that that this place has crap everywhere so it all needs to be tidied. I hear that and I think great but my office has looked like a bomb site for months, we still have an adult car seat sitting beside our front door and the reason you occasionally run out of clean underwear is that I can’t see the dirty ones for the floordrobe you have going. So I think you said one thing but you are clearly ok living with another and I draw parallels where you don’t seem to see any at all…So it’s a work in progress.

But that’s not all folks. No, we still had car troubles. Ever since we got the car back from the assessors, you have felt that it now pulls to the left when it didn’t and it also now shudders somewhat when it shouldn’t. So back we went for you to insist on the service we pay our premiums for. I am pretty sure this took hours of your time, what was remaining of your patience and some serious negotiation to get the situation sorted. We were not even sure if there was any serious damage to our car the first time around but everything is a process and between us, the insurer, the smash repairer and the hire car company…it all takes its toll. We got Sonia Kluger II though. Which facilitated our long distance trip to the mountains because there was a death in the family…

Your Pop, who has been quite sick for some time, passed away towards the end of the month and we all went up to the mountains for the funeral. It was great to see some family we hadn’t seen for a while despite the unpleasant circumstances. I actually spent most of the service outside the door whilst Elliot transferred dirt from inside the planter pots to the tile floor repeatedly which was fine with me. I will easily pick up on other people’s emotions and I would probably have been in tears if I had stayed inside. As it was, I barely held it together when Genevieve came out to find me and said I just want to see Pop and I’m never going to see him again. My four-year-old did me in!


All in all, it was not a month we expected this month. You especially got slapped a little upside the head but nonetheless, we keep on plodding forwards. Onwards and upwards, eh?

Forwardly Yours,
Your Loving Wife


Day 407

Dear Elliot,

You are officially a toddler. You have been walking for a couple of weeks now and you are getting better and stronger every day. You have been very near for so long, surfing the furniture as you move your little body from A to B but now you can do it on your own. You are a careful walker though. You are not pelting from one side of the room to the other, helter skelter and tripping over your own feet at every opportunity. You are stepping one foot at a time, placing each down before you take the next step. Occasionally falling back on your bottom but moving further and further each time you venture forwards. You have the core strength that stops you looking like an orangutan with its chest puffed out and its arms seemingly flailing at the sides but really there to keep balance. You march more than you waddle and I am aware that this stage of your life will pass so quickly turning you into my little cheetah that is so fast…and hides everywhere.


So it becomes ever apparent that you not only like to climb places still but you like to hide as well. Or perhaps not hide exactly as you are not yet fussed whether we know you are there or not but you like to secret yourself in small spaces. Frequently. I am used to you playing with the plastic bowls and cups that sit at the bottom of one of our cupboards in the kitchen. I came into the room the other day though to find you actually inside the cupboard with most of the plasticware on the outside. That is not the way it’s supposed to be, buddy. And every Sunday in crèche, there is usually some point at which you will be found inside the toy kitchen. I have been told it is where you seem happiest in the midst of the cacophony of sound and movement that double digits of children generate. The toy kitchen is unfortunately missing most of its shelves but this makes it perfect for your little body. As are the shoe lockers by our front door your father tells me. I would have thought you’d be a little too big for these but he assures me no. You can disappear inside one of these completely. So there is a new place that we can lose you until you get too big. At least we can keep you indoors at the moment. We will be in for some real trouble when you can open the front door by yourself.


You have taken a real liking to being outside. If one of us deigns to go outside without you, you will stand at the screen door and bang and shout as loudly as possible. You want out. And you’ll throw a tantrum if you don’t get your way. Like you always do now. If we put you down and you want to be held, you scream. If Genevieve tries to take something off you that you are still playing with, you scream. If we pick you up but you want to be on the floor, you throw your body away from whatever it is you don’t like and if we ignore your demands and tell you no, you headbang whatever suitable surface is available. I am hoping that last one is a phase that is going to dissipate more than it is going to develop. Screaming as a response to displeasure is not preferable either but it’s also not something we’re going to get rid of anytime soon as that is precisely how your sister deals with it and we haven’t cracked that one yet either. Although at least you sometimes scream because you’re happy.


For some reason, when you see me after being apart for a while, you have taken to screaming in excitement. It’s not really a conventional way to greet people, just so as you know, but it is always nice to know that you’re happy to see me. It’s nice to get your cuddles and giggles and it still brightens my day to see you smile. I still not sure if we’re actually getting purposeful words yet but you seem on the verge of speech as well. If prompted, you have Mama, ta and car and we think you try and say bottle and chicken but unbidden, what comes out of your mouth is more like babble so I’m not sure. But neither am I paranoid. You are a boy, you are a second child and you are exposed to far too much tv so you get more leeway before we start to question your development.


One thing we certainly do not have to question developmentwise is your teeth. You have cut all four of your molars! No wonder you have reverted to waking 3 or 4 times a night. Your teeth are probably giving you grief. Those molars that most kids see between 15 and 16 months? Yep, you decided you needed them at 13 months. Got to be able to rip into those steaks, huh? On the down side though, they probably don’t feel so great when you’re trying to go to sleep. I get it. I’d be unsettled too if I had that many new teeth. Actually, I’d probably be worried because I’m not supposed to get any more teeth at all but you know what I mean. You are handling it brilliantly. But it’s still be nice if you slept in longer stretches at night.

Much love,