Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy to be a Sunday Driver this Easter

This little family of mine is quite used to the long weekend road trip. A few times a year we load up the car and trek the 400km or so from Perth to Albany to visit Map Guy’s family and childhood friends.

Every time we make the journey, without fail, we see some dickhead overtake a truck or a caravan and make it back in to their own lane with only a second to spare. Or a hoon overtake us at 150km/h as we sit on the speed limit. The amount of near-misses I’ve seen is staggering. What’s the hurry?

This weekend was no different. One particular incident, right on dusk when then Roos are out in force involved a sedan overtaking a 4x4 towing a caravan and required the 4x4, the overtaking car and the oncoming car to slam on their brakes to avoid a head on collision. A head on collision where all parties were going over 110km/h.

And I just don’t get it.

I abhor the long drive to Albany just as much as the next person and this weekend it took us just over six hours thanks to the three million caravans and trucks. Sitting in one position for an extended period of time means all my muscles seize up and cramp so it quite literally is a pain in the ass for me. Add a toddler, a million requests for snacks, three thousand repetitions of the alphabet song and wheels on the bus (which lose their cute factor after the first dozen or so) and a farting dog and I’m well and truly over it and working out how to budget the exorbitant airfare in to our next trip down after the first hour or two. I’d love to get there quicker too, but at what cost? And I’m not talking about budgets any more.

There are a number of memorials that line the highway; bright white crosses rising from the red dirt as stark reminders of those who didn’t make it home. Throughout the year some are adorned with flowers, others with birthday balloons, celebrating the life of someone who will not be blowing out any more candles. At one spot, four crosses are clustered together with a fifth off to the side. I get shivers up my spine every time I pass it and wonder who those four people were. Friends on a road trip? A family? Were the children grown up or were they Tricky's age? Whoever they were, they were gone in an instant.

I’m reminded of the wise words of Ellen in ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ when she says “Clarke! I don’t want to spend the holidays dead!”. Do you know how hard it is to enjoy the Easter holidays when you’re dead? Unless you plan on rising three days later, then there really isn’t much to celebrate.

I’m not a saint of a driver. I’ve had three speeding fines in my 12 years of driving, have mounted my fair share of kerbs in car parks and once I even managed to reverse in to my neighbour’s stationary car and nudge it in to her $4000 road bike (don’t ask). Plus last year I found out the hard way that if you’re in the turning lane then change your mind and go straight, even when you’re the only car in sight, that it will cost you $150 and two demerit points.

We can’t always know what is around that bend, but it’s a pretty safe bet that taking it 40km/h too fast is not doing anyone any favours. I know, not all accidents are caused by speed. Fatigue, particularly on long highway drives, is a huge factor. Then there are the freak accidents, like the major crash in November 2011 where a horse wandered on to Albany Highway seriously injuring up and coming WAFL player Warwick Proudlove.

I can’t control other drivers, and that is the bit that annoys me the most. So I do the few things that I can, like change drivers and stick to the speed limit, to make sure we have the best chance of getting our precious cargo to its destination.

The pain of being in a car for hours on end is annoying but it hurts a hell of a lot less than burying loved ones.

Are you a Speed Racer? Or a Sunday Driver?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I'm a rageaholic. I'm addicted to rageahol.

I have become The Incredible Glow-Hulk. Or Glulk, if you will. I know, it sounds pretty shit, but Ima run with it. Run with it as far as a crappy photoshop job complete with sea-sick green wash and popping veins will take me.

Last pregnancy I was earth mother. Well, as earth mother as I can get. I'd never felt calmer or more secure in myself. I even managed to come completely off medications that had gotten me through what I like to deem the "straight jacket years". It was all rose coloured glasses& chirping birds on window sills, not unlike a scene from a Disney movie.

This pregnancy could not be further from that. Earth mother? Hell no. Rage mother is more like it. My default emotion right now is anger. Pure, bubbling, oh-the-injustice, how-dare-you anger!

Everything, EVERYTHING, is making me angry.

Take for example the age old phenomenon of males leaving the toilet seat up. This has never annoyed me before - I'm of the opinion that if we both use the facilities why must it be left how I like it? What makes me so special that I can't put it down? But a few nights ago, when I unceremoniously fell in to the toilet in the middle of the night, I was ready to declare war and the words I muttered under my breath to describe MG's actions were, well, colorful to say the least.

It doesn't matter how tiny the issue is, I'll be cranky.

Shops due to open at 9am and according to my no doubt fast watch they didn't open til 9:01.... UNACCEPTABLE! RAGE!!! WHERE IS THE COMPLAINT FORM?!

Leftovers eaten by someone else even though I hadn't declared I wanted them? OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!! THAT WAS MY FUCKING PIZZA!!

Stub my toe on a shoe that I have left in the way? THE WORLD IS AT FAULT! ALL SHOES IN THE BIN!!

The rose coloured glasses have been smashed under foot for their mocking rosiness. The birds on the windowsill, clever little bastards that they are, are long gone, no doubt fearful I would fashion a ging out of some bobby pins and hair elastics MacGyver style, and take them out one by one.

As much as I can see it happening and am trying my hardest to control it (by swearing on the inside and developing facial tics), Poor MapGuy is suffering. From his proximity, he is the one who has witnessed this more than anyone. And by witness I obviously mean felt the brunt of. 

It truly is one of the most unattractive of things to see your preggo wife stroke her swelling bump then look up, shoot daggers and say "stop doing that or I will cut you".

At times like this I find it helpful to remember the positives... that I am not an elephant and this state will not last for two years, merely another four and a half months.

Were you a rageaholic when up the duff? How did you stop from killing people?

Monday, March 25, 2013

The extremely long DPCON13 wrap post

This is a S1 post
For full details please see my disclosure policy

You know what's wrong with Blogging Conferences? They go way too fast and no sooner have you arrived, hugged those you know and managed to figure out who half the other people are that it's time to say goodbye.

I was only able to go this year thanks to my awesome sponsor McCormick Marinade In A Bag. I'm told I should put here that I have my own marinade bag currently in my tummy, but that just makes me think this baby will come out smelling like Honey & Soy chicken. Though I suppose if it has to come out smelling like food, that's a good one.

Day: 1
Mood: Cranky & tired
Hours sleep: 2.5 in previous 48 hours

I arrived in Sydney early Tuesday morning after having had about half an hour of sleep in 15 second head dropping whip-lash bursts on the plane. Each time accompanied by the most attractive snorty snores as I awoke wondering where the hell I was and panicking that I'd drooled on the man sitting next to me. For the record, I didn't, but it came close a few times. Am awesome travel companion. 

Sydney: your traffic is atrocious. Sydney drivers: you see those lines? Stay within them. It leads to much less honking. Tourist drivers/chauffeur/Jo from Chickens and Bees: kudos for not getting me killed, tis much appreciated. Mwah.

After lunching with Zoey from Goodgoogs and Jo the three of us ventured out for a PR meeting that was "within walking distance". At this point I'd like to point out that "walking distance" varies greatly depending on if you're a chick who runs for kilometres every day or a chick with a flaring chronic pain condition (who also happens to be a bit whingey and hasn't slept). PR meetings make me feel important. I'm not, but hey, it's all about how you feeeeeeeeel, right?

Despite the magnificent company, falling asleep during the car ride home and the subsequent two hour nap were a definite highlight of day one, as was my post-dinner bubble bath that I enjoyed while everyone else who'd already arrived at the hotel was in the bar partying. I really know how to rock a child free holiday, don't I?

I fell asleep around 2:30am after Emma from Emma's Brain crocheted me a penis. As you do.

Day 2:
Mood: Emo & tired
Hours sleep: 4

My head was still firmly in WA time so when the clock read 6am, I was really getting up at 3am. My luggage had somehow made its way out of the cupboard over night and plastered itself to my face, directly beneath my eyes.

We headed on over to Curzon Hall/Cinderella's castle and the hugging began. Soon after, the lack of sleep, the hormones and the whole emo thing caught up. I managed to just hold it together when I saw Tiff from My Three Ring Circus, though I do think I heard her neck crack when we hugged so tight. If I'd had time to compose myself from seeing that gorgeous lady, perhaps I wouldn't have burst in to tears to see Fe from Lumsdaine Photography (who I've spoken about previously here). I'm constantly surprised at how close you can become to people you have only met in person a handful of times. It wasn't even 8:30am and I was crying. I wanted to slap myself.

By mid-morning it all caught up and I found myself completely sobbing in the bathroom on the verge of a full blown panic attack. It's hard to describe exactly what was going on but all I can say is that I'm a girl who really likes her sleep and having had less than seven hours in three days makes for one super emo Glow who is prone to tears. I pulled it together as best as I could for the remainder of the day and soaked in as much information as I could (loved the legal panel!) before making a quick exit.

Day 3:
Mood: Nervous & tired
Hours sleep: 6

It's amazing what six hours of solid sleep will do for a gal. I was still exhausted but the melancholy mood that hung over me the day before had gone and was replaced by oh-fuck-I'm going-to-be-on-stage-does-my-hair-look-OK nerves. On a scale of one to brown trousers, I was right at the top.

When it was time, I made my way to the stage and did what any nervous person wearing a Madonna microphone would do: took selfies with Mrs Woog while we Vogued. Our panel was meant to be a light-hearted look at how to deal with negative comments and trolls and I was super chuffed to be amongst some uber bloggers Corrie from Retro Mummy, the afore mentioned Mrs Woog from Woogsworld and Clint from Reservoir Dad... even if he did take a toilet break half way through.

I'm firmly of the opinion that the word troll is overused. People disagreeing with you aren't trolls, its when they bring in personal attacks, particularly under the veil of anonymity, that it becomes a troll comment. We don't all have to like each other, hold hands and sing kumbayah; hell I have very close friends that I disagree with vehemently on certain subjects and some that shit me to tears every now and then (and I've absolutely no doubt that I do the same to them, probably more frequently).

No sooner had it all begun than it was time to make myself purdy for the gala dinner and an impromptu Harlem Shake (which only gets a little bit of me and none of the people who were beside me).

Day 4:
Mood: Content & tired (sensing a theme yet?)
Sleep: 7 hours

If there is one way to start the day that will ensure a lasting good mood, it's snuggly newborn cuddles. Kristie from Hespera's Garden joined us for breakfast and it was all I could do not to run off with little Caelen. Then the whole "holy shit I'm gonna have one of these soon" hit me and I handed him over to Jess from Tattoo Mummy who immediately burst both her ovaries.

The concierge at The Stamford Grand was so lovely when we were checking out and offered to not only get us a private taxi (hello, Mercedes Benz and fabulous driver) but to have us taken to the Sir Stamford in Circular Quay where they'd look after our bags for the remainder of the day while we shopped. Service above and beyond made Zoey, Jess from Essentially Jess and I very happy chickens as we headed off for the best laksa I've ever had and then quiet chats by the Harbour Bridge over chips.

It was a HUGE week and, surprise, I'm still tired. As awesome as it was, I'm so glad to be home.

Once again a massive thank you to my sponsor McCormick Marinade In A Bag - don't forget the BBQ giveaway complete with the full range of Marinade In A Bag and a Weber BBQ is still running. Enter here or head to Coles to buy your own for $2.99 a packet.

What was your favourite DPCON13 memory?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I'm not packing my mother guilt... or am I?

When I go away alone I zoom around going one million miles an hour, cramming as much awesomeness in to a short space of time as is humanly possible, and as awful as it may sound, I don't really miss my boys. I'm just too busy to.

I love my boy more than I can possibly describe and I (generally) enjoy being a stay at home mum to the Trickster...

But I'd be lying to you if the thought of hanging out with adults, uninterrupted sleep and not having to help someone to the toilet didn't excite me to the point of frothing at the mouth. Although depending on how much my friends have to drink, that last one may came up anyway.

I've been to four conferences and two blogging shindigs since the Trickster was born and he's only come to one of them because he was very little (and constantly on the boob) and Map Guy came along too for a bit of a holiday - the other times they've stayed home for some male bonding time. I've left for between one and three nights and it's only at the airport on the way home (or in a bath tub drunk as a skunk - don't ask) that the excitement of the time away fades and the realization that I haven't seen my boys in a while kicks in.

I don't feel guilty for leaving. For taking just a smidge of time to do something for myself. For lumping all the responsibilities on to Map Guy for a few days and having a bit of a holiday with some friends who I only see once every year or two.

As with any conference, I'm a ball of raw nerves and anxiety. But this time you can throw in some freaky strong hormones that have me swinging wildly from a blubbering mess to the Incredible Hulk. This previously reluctant-hugger is more than likely going to be hugging and crying then wanting to punch a cab driver in the throat (I have a thing with cab drivers, it's a long story). I may not have met you before, but I will be all gropey, guaranteed.

I'm now taking bets on just how long I last with the afore mentioned hormones coursing through my veins before I whip out my phone and come over with an attack of the mama guilts over photos of Tricky and MG, wailing to all and sundry that I MISS THEM! I MISS MY BOYS!! I WANNA GO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOME!!

Do you get the mama guilts and miss your babies? Or are you too busy having a break to realize?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bags of flavour {giveaway from my tasty #DPCON13 sponsor!}

This is a S1 post
For full details please see my disclosure policy

Um, how is it March already?

I'm going to have to give serious thought to this whole DPCON13 thing that is happening next week. OK I lie, I've already been thinking about it - what to wear, namely. I can see the post "how to go to a conference when pregnant and look like a whale" just writing itself.

The whole what to talk about when I get on stage is another story all together, but despite that, I'm so excited. It's practically squee-worthy!

I would not be going to the conference if it wasn't for my awesome sponsor McCormick Marinade In A Bag. Instead I would be sitting at the computer vigilantly following the twitter stream whilst simultaneously trying to avoid it.

McCormick have kindly showered me with Marinade In A Bag, though not literally or I'd be quite gloopy. The Sticky BBQ and Honey & Soy flavours made a much acclaimed appearance at Map Guy's 30th and everyone thought "day-am, girl, those chicken legs were amazeballs" so I batted my eyelashes and pretended it was nothing... because it was nothing. Shove meat in bag, re-seal, leave for 30 minutes, take out, cook. Done! No mess, no fuss, NO DISHES!

To help celebrate the launch of Marinade In A Bag, McCormick are giving you the chance to win the complete range of McCormick Marinade In A Bag, a Cooler Bag, a BBQ mitt, a set of Heat Beads BBQ tools and an awesome Weber® Smokey Joe® portable charcoal barbecue, a miniature version of the famous Weber kettle with fire and rust proof steel bowl and lid, weatherproof handle and rust-proof vents which regulate airflow through the barbecue, ensuring delicious results. They're even going to throw in some Heat Beads for that perfect smokey flavour. All up it's valued at just over $200.

To enter, go here. You can enter daily.

If you can't wait to get your hands on some Marinade In A Bag, it's available nationally through Coles for $2.99 (one 200g bag has enough marinade for up to 1kg of meat). If you don't use it all at once, put it in the freezer after you've taken the meat out and use it again the next time.

If you're attending DPCON13 come and say hi (I'll be the one with the super cute Marinade Man on my shirt). I'm terrible with names and get overwhelmed easily but shove your business card in to my hand or staple it to my forehead. Better yet, tweet me saying "I'm in front of you, moron".

Full terms and conditions are available here.

When did I become the least qualified person to treat my kid?

It's been a while since the Cranky Pants have been worn around here. Actually that's not true, I wear them around the house constantly, it's just I don't share it all that often.

But the other night something so infuriating happened that I've been walking around with the proverbial steam coming out of my ears since. Unable to let it go. What, me? Hold a grudge? Never!

If you've been playing along at home you'd know that The Trickster is asthmatic. He doesn't get it very often, but when he does, it's quite bad. Last year he had one ambulance ride and three hospitalizations in four weeks which was a lovely baptism of fire in to what it's like to be an asthma parent.

A fortnight ago we had another ambulance ride because he went downhill insanely fast. I'm talking making it to two hours between Ventolins and then all of a sudden needing another dose after only ten minutes. That's when they send out the quick response ambulance car because it can get there four minutes faster. It's also where you absolutely should be wearing brown underwear.

On Sunday morning Tricky started showing the first signs of a cold followed really quickly by asthma. Here we go again. We're getting quite used to it all so we followed our 'Action Plan' to the letter. By early afternoon he was already struggling and requiring six puffs of Ventolin every three hours so to try and prevent a late night trip to the emergency room we called the GP locum service.

The GP got there after 7pm and examined Tricks (who had just had more Ventolin 15 minutes prior). Despite being told his history of ambulance rides, despite the raging temperature, despite the face streaming with snot and despite the fact that he was now on two hourly Ventolins he was declared "not sick enough" for Prednisone.

(If you've never had anything to do with asthma, Prednisone is a steroid and Tricky responds really well to it. He'll go from needing to be on oxygen and in hospital to discharge within 24 hours of his first dose.)

Gee thanks Dr Fuckwit. All I was asking for was a script for a readily available drug. I wasn't asking for morphine, I wasn't even asking for you to supply the drugs, merely scribble on a piece of paper with your atrocious writing so that I could then go and get some, give it to my kid and avoid the stress of another night wondering if it was time to call the ambulance yet. You know, it's YOUR JOB as a locum to get us to avoid the hospital... so WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING?!

I might not have a fancy framed degree hanging on the wall, but I know my own kid and I know his asthma. Hell, I've had it for 30 years so I've got a bit of experience with it, too. I know how he responds and I know what makes him better. But what would I know? I'm only the mother *grumble grumble*.

I am so tired of being treated like a moron just because I don't have a medical degree. You?

Monday, March 11, 2013

So it turns out even a second pregnancy freaks me out

I may attempt to come across as all earth-mothery what with the hippy lah lah bullshit I spout from time to time, but I am anything but a serene and sacred vessel.

In short, I think pregnancy is the absolute weirdest thing ever. Some cells come together and then GROW A HUMAN? What the actual fuck?! No way?! It's insides somehow know to end up where they belong? Get outta town!

You would think that having done it before I'd be quite used to it, but no. When I was pregnant with Tricks I felt this way too. I feel it whenever I see a growing baby bump... after thinking "hehe someone got lucky" and waggling my eyebrows because on the inside I'm actually a 13 year old boy. Related: this is why I always feel weird telling someone I'm pregnant, it feels like I'm saying "heyyyy, guess who had sex?".

Over the past few weeks I've been able to feel this tiny human move and it is both exciting and disconcerting at the same time. There is a reason I refer to pregnancy as being in the John Hurt Way after all.

I barely felt Tricky move because I had an anterior placenta but I have felt this as yet still blog-nameless baby doing a highland jig on my bladder since around 14 weeks. This is only adding to my complete surety it is going burst out of my stomach at any moment and crawl along the bench to attack Sigourney Weaver or anyone else who happens to be near by.

Don't get me started on how bizarre the birth process is. I'm a full believer that our bodies know what to do and I'm planning on trusting those instincts again since it served me quite well last time around. It's a bit of a marvel and blah blah blah... but I can't help but think IT COMES OUT WHERE?! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!?!?! And it's quite obvious that Tricky feels the same:

Does anyone else get the same mental image as a snake dislocating it's jaw to eat a wallaby? No? Just me? Right. As you were.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sharp pointy things near my mouth scare me

I'm a bit scared of the dentist. Not a particular dentist, just dentists in general. Actually anyone who comes at my mouth with sharp pointy things. Not phobic though, I reserve that for feet. Though I imagine a dentist's feet to be particularly scary. 

The last time I went to the dentist I was 146 weeks pregnant and the hygienist looked distinctly worried I was going to give birth there and then. I was having a widsom tooth removed and was wondering what was going to be more painful, this or squeezing a child out of my vag. For the record, child birth hurt more but I got a cute baby afterwards - after my extraction all I got was a bloody tooth in a jar and a jaw ache.

My teeth have been feeling a little extra sensitive lately and I had a mild toothache the other night. I needed to bite the bullet (but not hard enough to break a tooth) and actually see a dentist. Knowing I would never have the guts to book in myself, Map Guy rang up and made an appointment then let me know when it was (thanks, MG!).

This morning I rocked up and I was instantly transported to back to my school days and a Catholic confessional. I wasn't sure if I was meant to bless myself or not, but I had to tell them my "sins". And my sin is a shocker: for 12 of the last 17 weeks I've barely brushed my teeth.

Yes, let's just sit with that feral thought for a moment, shall we? Rank.

ARGH! All the pointy things!

The thing is, putting anything in my mouth would make me spew. And you get no points for making blow job jokes here, because I've already made them all. Maturity, I haz it. So the toothbrush would come out twice a day and get a mere flick over the teeth until such point that I gagged. Usually around the 10 second mark. Not exactly what you'd call good oral hygiene.

You don't get absolution from a dentist for your oral hygiene sins. Instead, you get reminder that dental floss was invented for a reason and two tiny little fillings.

Or at least I will when I go back to get them in a few weeks time (already booked the appointment, now I just have to not cancel it).

I was also told I brush my teeth way too hard and am brushing off the enamel. I didn't even know that was possible! It's not bad, but if I want it fixed now before it gets worse it'll cost a cool grand... and THAT hurts way more than any dental work.

Are you afraid of the dentist? Do you feel like a dick wearing a bib or do you just pretend you're at a lobster restaurant?


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