Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Don't be so Morbid

When I fly stupid thoughts pop into my head. These are generally of the "what if?" variety. When you're sitting on the plane, bored, and you've thumbed through the In Flight magazine 6 times, and you can't get to your carry on bags because they're in the overhead locker, this is what generally happens. As I sat staring out the window coming into Brisbane, we hit a bit of turbulence and went straight into a cloud bank. Of course, this means instant death.

Well, actually it doesn't. I've flown enough, and watched enough scary aircraft crash shows to know that the chances of being killed on a plane are pretty slim. Its just when it happens, it really does happen in a big way. So as I sat there, contemplating my existence, I began thinking of what I would do if the plane really was going down, and I had to ring Anth and say good-bye. Of course, she wouldn't answer the phone, so I'd have to leave a message.

When I got home, and told Anth this and asked her if it was Morbid she said "Hell Yeah, you dickhead!" This was followed up with, "Don't put it in the blog, 'cause its supposed to be lighthearted." She's right. Her advice was that if I had to say anything, it would be "Avenge Me." to use a true Homerism. Here are two of my favorites from the Simpsons...

In Homer vs. The Eighteenth Amendment when Homer is going out to make illegal booze, as he and Bart walk out he turns to Marge and says: "We're going out, Marge! If we don't come back, avenge our deaths!", to which she replies, "All right".

In Tales from the Public Domain when they do a take off of Hamlet, the following exchange represents one you could guarantee I would have with the kids if I were to die, and then come back as a ghost!

Homer: Hamlet! Avenge me!
Bart/Hamlet: Dad?
Homer: Yes! I've returned from the dead!
Bart/Hamlet: Looks like you returned from the buffet. (chuckles)
Homer: Why you little! (tries to strangle Bart, but his ghost hands go through his neck) D'oh!

So I'm not going to write what I would have really said. Its suffice to say, "Avenge Me!" works just fine!

Ciao for Now, Comicly Morbid Angry Dad.

Monday, February 27, 2006


I was away from home today. I've had to travel to Sydney to talk at a conference. Things often happen when you're away that you aren't enough to make you rush home, but still are enough to make your blood boil. As you would know, I am not a fan of being explicitly told how I should raise my children. I am open to advice, but not when its rammed down my throat. Today I think Anth had to deal with this as well, and she probably handled herself far better.

She rang me up this afternoon to let me know that Ethan had been chastised for having Yoghurt in his morning tea. The issue, apparently, is that because it is "branded" yoghurt that this isn't healthy. The local primary school, quite rightly, is having a push to get the kids to eat healthily. I don't have a problem with this at all. What I do have a problem with is when my wife rings me up and tells me that one of the teachers, not realising that Anth was there, yells at Ethan about eating unhealthy yoghurt, snatches it out of his hand, and then demands that he get something else.

Of course, Ethan, being quite sensitive, then burst into tears whilst going back to his bag to see what else he could get. Anth said that she rushed back into the room to comfort him. I can just imagine the devil eyes she would have given the teacher as well. Fortunately, this wasn't Ethan's direct teacher, just one of the other pre-school teachers which thankfully Ethan doesn't have.

Later that afternoon, after checking with some of her other friends, she went in and told Ethan's teacher that the way they handled it was inappropriate. She was still told Ethan couldn't have that particular yoghurt, which is quite ironic given other kids eat Muesli bars which are far more sugar laden. He can have "plain" yoghurt. The teacher, did however, apologise for the behaviour of her colleague, which I think is what Anth was really after.

I realise that we have a responsibility to our children to keep them healthy. I know I'm not the greatest role model. However, I agree with Anth that the last thing we want to do is to force food issues on our children from a young age. Moderation is the key.

Ciao for Now, Angry Angry Dad.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

At the Beach

Today we took the trip up to Noosa to visit the grandparents. The kids love this. Ostensibly, this also served as a means by which Anth and I could go out and have a late Anniversary lunch. We went out to a Mexican restaurant, Montezumas, whilst my Mum looked after the kids. It was great.

After that, Grandma and I took the two eldest boys down to Noosa Beach. It was late afternoon, but the beach was still pretty busy. As I took the camera I made sure I got a few shots. We generally take down a bag full of sand manipulation utensils (read buckets and spades) and today's speciality, led by Grandma, was to make volcanoes. This meant that we had to make trips down to the water's edge to get our volcano lava.

Aidan also did his trick of making sure that he visited as many people on the beach he could. He does have this unique habit of finding the hottest babe on the beach, and approaching her. As much as I admire this quality, it can be quite embarrassing when I have to go up and drag him away. Today's babe was a woman who pretty much only had a belt on for a bikini. Fortunately for me this time I just got to watch on whilst Grandma went and did the child retrieval. Sorry, but as much as I'm a pervert, I'm not going to take pictures of my boy doing this!

Ethan is going through a phase of "posing" for each of his shots, so he tends to be pointing at something or pulling faces when you take the shot. Of course, this means you have to pull a face when he takes your photo. So here's me. Enjoy.

Ciao for Now, Face Pulling Angry Dad.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Does Mum Know how much the kids Love her?

During the day we had to drop off Anth to get her hair done. This was around lunchtime, so we all took her to her beauty salon, and then as a special treat, I took the kids to McDonalds.* Although McDonalds is much maligned as a source of nutritious food, it suited me as a means of getting quick, almost edible food. The kids enjoy it, and along with a physical workout in the play park they have next to the restaurant, this suited me fine.

We spent about an hour there, and as Anth hadn't rang us yet to say she was ready to be picked up, I took the kids for a quick drive. As soon as we got in the car Aidan started saying "Going to get Mummy now."
"No." I responded "We're going to go for a quick drive."
"Want Mummy."

We went for a drive anyway. I convinced them that we could go up to Clear Mountain, but halfway there Ethan started saying "Mum should be finished her haircut now. We better go get her."
"She hasn't rung yet." I replied. "She'll call us when she's ready".
"But she needs us!" That's when the tears started. I got accused of going too far away, that Mummy would get lost. That she needed all of us there. This didn't stop me from driving through Samford and back into Brisbane.

Anth rang when we were on our way back to the hairdresser, so she only had to wait about 5 minutes for us. Once she got in the car, Callum, who had been happy as Larry and quiet as a mouse for most of the trip, started screaming - for the whole 10 minute ride home. You see Anthea had gotten into the car in the back seat, but sat too far away from Callum, who obviously also was waiting for his Mum!

Ciao for Now, Hoping his kids love him as much as they love their mum, Angry Dad.

*NB: McDonalds Flash Website is quite impressive as a marketing device!

Friday, February 24, 2006


Tonight on the way home, I got accosted by two young guys who asked me for money. The thing was, they didn't look destitute. In fact, as I walked to the car I was about 10 metres behind them as they perved on a young Asian woman walking along in front of them. She went in to her apartment block, so they decided that I might be the next easy stooge.

"Hey mate, got any coins that we can use for some food."
"No mate. Sorry."

Not that I would have given them anything anyway, but I really only had about $1.35 on me at that point. The thing was, that after this they tried to intimidate me by walking close behind me, and as I turned down one street to the car, and they obviously had to go the other way, one of them said "I wonder what that c*nt would do if I threw a .... at the back of his head." Charming. I couldn't quite hear what it was that they were going to throw, but I got the gist.

Of course nothing happened. They were two weedy little guys, and I'm not exactly small. I would of course have sat on them if anything had happened. Or eaten them myself. Begging is not the most noble of arts. I realise that there are destitute people out there, and that even though we have great services such as the Salvation Army or the service provided by the Big Issue, some people cannot overcome their circumstance. There didn't appear any real need for these two dimwits to be doing it.

I hope my kids can have an appreciation for the homeless and their plight, but you can be guaranteed that I won't be encouraging them to support beggars of this nature.

Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Tonight we joined up Tae Kwon Do for Ethan and myself. Up to this point, I had actually been feeling quite confident with joining up, and I was happy that Ethan was enjoying it, and so was I. Tonight, when we handed over our joining fees, we were also going to get our uniforms so that we would "look" like the others in the class. Ethan was looking forward to this, but unfortunately I didn't arrive early enough to pay before he did his class. Both of us ended up still doing it in shorts and T-shirts.

It's still early days, but both Ethan and I are still quite Unko. You know Unko? Uncoordinated! Ethan also has a habit of playing with his face whilst waiting for the next thing to happen. He claims it is because he's sweating and he wants to wipe off the perspiration, but often he just does it to do something, or because he's unsure of himself. I do the same thing.

For the previous nights, I actually felt I had a handle on the basics. My fitness is ok, even if I am a fat bastard. Years of gym have actually paid off a little, so the warm ups aren't too much problem. But tonight, when they took me and three other white belts into the beginners area, it was like I knew totally nothing. We ran through everything needed for the basic grading and half way through I was completely lost. I couldn't step properly, I couldn't block, I couldn't punch, and stuff me if my kicking looked like I was failing to step on an ant. The instructor tried, but after about 10 minutes I think he had even given up on me!

Maybe being tired had an impact. I just have to try not to remember Homer's adage of "Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try. "

Ciao for Now, Unko Angry Dad.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Cleaning up the rain

In some respects I'm lucky it doesn't rain too much in Brisbane. It's not that I don't want it to rain, as we really could use it. What I'm worried about is Aidan's tendency to clean up the rain.

What happens is that each time it rains, Aidan rushes outside and grabs either a towel, a facewash, or tissues, and then attempts to mop up the rain, particularly from the back deck. The first time he did it I thought he was going outside to try to dry up his tricycle, which is now an "outside" toy. This wasn't the case. He seems to think that if it has rained, he needs to dry up any potential area where the rain has been. I can't begin to imagine how frustrating this could be for him, however, he is very methodical and attempts to dry certain areas first. If asked, he also is quite happy to stop, but if left to his own devices he will spend hours outside doing it.

He did go through a stage of using towels to dry up. We did have to put a stop to this quickly when all our swimming towels ended up soaked, muddy, and then used as face wipes for some strange reason. Now he's down to tissues, and can quickly go through a box if left alone.

I wonder if this is part of the reason for him asking on very sunny days, "Rain's Coming?"

Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Sage Advice of Billy Connolly

Last night on Enough Rope, Andrew Denton had Billy Connolly on as a guest interviewee. The full transcript can be viewed here. I'd like to quote part of it concerning the Buddhist philosophy of "Learn what you sould be doing, then do it".

The number of people I've met who are doing things they don't like and it's making them really, you know... The number of guys I knew when I worked on the Clyde who hated their job, didn't like their wife that much and didn't like the place where they lived. And I thought, how can you do this every day? But you would be astonished at the number of people who do that, every day of their lives. And, the whole trick is, I would say to my children when you're going along the road and you're at the library or wherever you are, watch what you're drawn to. Watch the type of shops, the windows you always hang out at. Just listen to yourself and see what you're being drawn to and don't choose a career. You know let it happen to you. It'll choose you.

Now I know I've bitched and moaned about jobs over the years. God knows my colleagues, my family, and my friends have heard me. I should follow Billy's advice myself, so I'm hypocritical if I don't. I play the guitar, am full of useless trivia about movies, which I love to go to, and know a truckload about crap TV. I've always loved performing, although I'm naturally quite reserved. Although I'm not the fittest person going around, I love the gym, and was always inspired by Arnold. I also love the beach. I am, however, drawn to technology, knowledge and information classification, and that in part is an area I work in so I can't complain too much.

What more sage advice is there than to follow your heart. To follow the things that your drawn to. To not choose a career, but let it choose you. Hopefully I will always remember Billy's advice and guide my kids in this manner.

Ciao for Now, Big Yin Lovin' Angry Dad.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Happy Anniversary, now here's the screaming child...

Today was our 12th Wedding Anniversary. I stopped in to get flowers and chocolates on the way home, and these two guys said to me,

"Flowers and Chocolates? You must be in trouble mate!"
"It's all good mate. It's my anniversary!"

Now I know getting flowers from Woolworth's isn't the most romantic place from which to get flowers, but I've found Brisbane has a real dearth of florists, especially one's which are open after 5:00pm. You're probably also thinking that I should have thought of that earlier. I had, but just hadn't done anything about it!

Anth had made dinner for my arrival home, and it was topped off with her custom made, fancy, dancy chocolate mousse. She does this sooooo well. Lashings of smooth chocolate, surrounded in a bath of raspberry sauce, and garnished with white chocolate hearts. What more can a man ask for, especially a man who's heart is clearly accessed by his stomach!

Unfortunately, Callum is going through a phase where once it hits about 7:00pm, if he's not asleep he has to scream his lungs out. This can last anything from 1 to 3 hours, depending on his mood. Anth is the only one who can settle him, and it isn't always working. I got to have him sit on my lap, crying, whilst I ate dessert. Lucky thing chocolate does make it better!

Ciao for Now, Chocolate Mousse Filled Angry Dad.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Timing and Context

Do you ever have those times where your kids come up to you at inopportune times? Here is what happened this morning:

Ethan: "Dad, can we watch number one Star Wars now?"
Angry Dad (angrily): "Geez Ethan. NO! No we CAN'T."
Ethan (running off in tears down the hallway): "I want a new dad. This dad is no good... Waaaahhhhhh"

This was pretty much my first interaction with Ethan for the day. I can't recall if he'd actually said anything else to me before this, so I hadn't said anything to set him off. However, things had happened to me to make me shirty.

About ten minutes prior to Ethan's outburst, I had been sitting at the kitchen table browsing the Who Weekly and reading about Britney's latest exploits with Callum sitting on my lap. Callum made a squelchy noise, and I didn't think anything of it at first. Then I decided to check. As I lifted him up I felt the cold rush of liquid on my chest. Anth glanced across and said "Looks like he's left a present on you." More than a present, a whole dumping. I must have squeezed it out of him. The nappy was full and leaking everywhere. My T-shirt had a lovely yellow stain from just under the arm down to my shorts, and on top of that, he'd still managed to leave a nice yellow puddle on the floor.

We took him to the bathroom, stripped him off and gave him a quick bath. I left Anth to that, and walked slowly down to the laundry, and stripped down to my jocks. I then spent 5 minutes washing the poo off my shirt and shorts with Napisan. I walked through the house to our bathroom, washed the remnants of poo of my body, got re-dressed, and went back to the kitchen.

Anth had cleaned out the fridge, but had left the week old chicken which had been in the fridge sitting, covered in glad wrap, on the bench. I made the mistake of unwrapping the glad wrap. Week old chicken sitting on a hot bench smells remarkably like shit. Of course, as I threw it out, the glad wrap managed to wrap around my hand. I again smelt like shit, and spent a minute running my hand under the sink tap to wash off the smell.

Around that time, Ethan came in to ask me about Star Wars. His timing was crap, poor kid. He'd asked me the previous day to watch the Phantom Menace, but I'd told him it would have to wait. I personally think it is the weakest of all the Star Wars movies as well. He had managed to wait a day. He had no idea his timing was so bad, and in the context of my day, asking at that exact point was bound to illicit a savage response. The savage response, of course sent him off to his room as detailed above.

I made it up to him by taking him to Movie World in the afternoon.

Ciao for Now, Poo Stained Angry Dad.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Subtle Art of Public Speaking

Today I went to a Toastmaster's Conference. Toastmasters International is a worldwide nonprofit educational organization for the purpose of helping its members improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills. I'm a member of a club in the City, and happened to win my local area speaking conference. This meant that I got to go and speak at division level. I was competing in the humorous speaking contest.

The level of the speakers was a notch above my relatively novice level. I have only been doing it properly for about 6 months, and the most experienced in my group had been doing it for 33 years, and he was the guy who won! However, it was a great experience, and I was happy to take part for the opportunity to get up and speak to around 100 people I didn't know, feel the nerves, and actually overcome them.

My speech title was "Birth - One Man's Perspective". I talked about the birth of our first child, Aidan, outlining some of the humorous things that happened. These included: not realising how quick the process can be (in our case, all the kids have been delivered rapidly); the strange noises women in labour make; how I feinted at the birth; and how Anth has had to put up with me as a husband!

I hope that someday my kids can benefit from some of the confidence building that Toastmasters provides. The ability to be able to actively communicate your ideas to a group either in a prepared manner or off the cuff are skills I feel are very useful. Who knows, they may be the great orators of the future.

Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Friday nights are usually take away nights. This evening, instead of the usual fish and chips, I decided to get Chinese. I rang it in on the way home from work, and picked it up around 6:20pm. This allowed me to have it ready for the table as I walked in at 6:30pm. I know this doesn't sound that important, but it was the first time this week when we've actually had dinner at a normal time of the evening. Most of this week has been influenced by other activities, causing slippage to the normal meal time.

As we sat down to dinner, Anth said "Callum has been talking a lot today".

"Uh Hum" I responded, shovelling rice and crispy skin chicken into my gob.

"Yeah. I carry him around for 20 hours of the day, and guess what he says when he starts talking?"

"MyDunno?" (translation "I don't know?")

"He says 'Daddy'!"

"Yemriteshooreduz!" (translation "Yeah, right. Sure he does.")

With that, Callum started babbling. I looked over at him. He looked straight at me and said "Daddy". What a brilliant child.

Ciao for Now, Proud (un)Angry Dad.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Pictures in the Paper

Our kids are making a habit of getting their pictures in the paper. I guess at this stage it isn't the large daily papers, just the local papers. This still gave us a thrill the first time it happened with Aidan, however, it happened again with Ethan this week and Anthea has been quite blase about letting me know about it. She only remembered to tell me this evening.

I can't give you a link to the paper, as I can't find it online. Often, you have to pay for newspaper pictures anyway, with the weird dichotomy which seems that the textual elements of a story can usually be put up on a newspaper site for free, but the pictures are all copyright and you need to pay for them.

This weeks picture was a promotion for the local markets at the local primary school. Ethan looks quite photogenic holding up a sign with "Markets" printed on it. This also raises that the kids will now want to go to the actual market day. This of itself is fine. The markets are always good for some kind of cheap and nasty bargain. They do, however, have kiddy rides.

Kiddy rides are the bastion of the school market day, and of sideshow carnivals. Kiddy rides are run by Carnies. Anyone who's been to a carnival, or seen the Simpson's episode Bart Carny will know of characters like Cooder and Spud, grifters who just wanna take you for a buck. I can never beat there crooked games, and the rides always look like they're a few minutes away from breakage. God Bless Them!

Ciao for Now, Carny Angry Dad.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

When you've had a bad day

There are some days when you come home from work feeling drained. You have had a long day, and things haven't gone quite as well as you would have hoped. Maybe you hadn't interacted well with people, or you had had some bad news, or the activities you had to do weren't enjoyable - or you thought they were fruitless. Sometimes you think that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

It is nice to get home and be greeted at the door by your kids. They come out happy to see you, and dance around and want to tell you about their day. Unfortunately, if you've had a shit time, sometimes you get selfish and introverted, and can be less attentive than you should be. That sucks, and it isn't a reflection on your kids, but rather a reflection on your own attitudes.

I had a bit of a day like that today. The kids were really good when I got home, and considering that they had to wait up for a later than normal dinner, they were quite exceptional. Anth had to do most of the negotiations with them to get them to the dinner table after I cooked a BBQ up. Of course, the BBQ also decided that its burners wouldn't light properly, so that was another source of angst for the day, and it took longer than expected to cook the meal.

I then was on the phone for a while, so today's total interactions with the children were a quick goodbye in the morning, followed by a grumped up evening. I better improve for tomorrow.

Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Star Jumps

Today I had the pleasure of working out with one of my colleagues. By working out, I mean going to gym, and ensuring that we got some of our anger out by training hard. It was great. I made him do Chest and Biceps with me, the cornerstone of any good workout. If you've got a big chest, it helps hide your big gut. If you've got big arms, what else do you need?! I had last week off as I was sick for most of it, and the good thing about recovery is that when you go to gym you actually feel stronger, and the other guy pays for it. I hope his biceps are sore from some nice descending sets we did.

Exercise is good. We are trialling a Tae Kwon Do club for Ethan. I think he really likes it, and he's been going along quite willingly so far. Yes, I know its only been twice, but it is a good start. I especially like watching him doing his exercise and seeing how uncoordinated like me he is. Star Jumps is a personal favorite. He believes that you have to do them "super fast". This means you jump up and clap, and then jump and then sort of clap, then another clap, then get your feet right. You get the picture.

I am really proud of him. He obviously enjoys it, and he seems to have got into the rhythm of it very quickly. We do, however, need to keep a handle on his strength. Ethan, at only 6, is as big both in girth and in size, as some of the 10 year olds in the class. He also has the maturity of a six year old, which means for some of the instructions he takes things quite literally. Towards the end of the class they did some basic "hold and break" self defence techniques. The instructor helping Ethan told him to "break" the hold another child had on him, which he did, with a big smile on his face. Then she made the mistake of saying "So after you break the hold, then you can punch". Ethan of course took this literally, and laid a left hook into the opposing kids stomach. Said child obviously wasn't expecting this, and quickly doubled over whilst the instructor quietly berated Ethan with "No, we don't really punch!"

By the way, the rat is now dead.

Ciao for Now, Long Live King Rat Angry Dad.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Baby Don't Cry

Back in the early 90's INXS had a hit from their album Welcome to Wherever You Are called Baby Don't Cry. I've been singing that song for the last half an hour in my head, as The Appendage, who apparently hasn't slept much all day, is now over-tired and just won't go to sleep.

Anyone who has had a baby would know this situation. You walk around the house holding the baby in various positions. Sometimes it is on your shoulder. Sometimes in a cradling position in your arms. Sometimes you drag them around by their ankles like a Neanderthal. Ok, so you don't ever do that last one. No matter what you try it doesn't seem to work.

So then you do the hand off. When the crying is continual, you play pass the baby every ten minutes in an effort to regain some sanity, and to show your support in the ring for your partner. Its like tag team wrestling, except the opponent isn't Andre the Giant (though it may as well be - such is the immovable force of crying).

When this doesn't work, you go for the alternate mechanical options. The Rocking Chair. The Pram. We fortunately have never had it so bad that we have had to take the babies out of the house and into the car, but I know many people who have resorted to this. Over the course of writing this post, he hasn't stopped. At this point nothing has worked, so maybe I better go start the engine.

Ciao for Now, Ears are Ringing Angry Dad.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

What are you scared of?

I am basically a big wuss. I don't like creepy crawly things. I particularly don't like undomesticated creepy crawly things. I haven't yet passed this on to the kids, as Ethan has no problem whatsoever with picking up and pulling the tails off lizards, or delighting in grabbing spiders - both plastic and real - and putting them on us at inappropriate times. I don't know how he would go with a rat. Yes, we still haven't caught the stupid fat rat. However, today, being a rainy Sunday, and owing to all things rat, meant that I had a go at cleaning out a part of the study where the rat has been known to hang out.

Anth has been at me to do something about my "piles of shit" in the study for some time now. Lets say, oh, about three years. She had a pile of manila folders that I was meant to go through. Things like old bank statements and collections of pamphlets and ephemera which I am known to collect. Over the course of the day I got through about a 3ft pile of stuff, and the shredder really got a work out. She has even come in as I am writing and said "My God, My God" because the study actually is pseudo clean. You can even see the floor. She did, however, follow that up with "You've still got a pile over here..."

Part of the process of cleaning the study meant cleaning up rat droppings off the floor, along with various other dead and dusty things hidden away behind filing cabinets and stored outdated stereo equipment. I actually had an original Portable Sony CD player (the D-5) hidden away in there, from around 1985. In the process of moving a rolled up piece of cardboard, I came across our vermin.

Now, I'm not sure that it is a stupid fat rat now. I think it might be a stupid fat mouse. And maybe I'm just a stupid, but I know I shrieked like Flanders in the Simpson's episode Bart of Darkness as it ran over my leg. I chased it up the hallway, but to no avail, it had already gone.

Ciao for Now, not good at identifying species Angry Dad.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

"One Help" and the Hervey Bay Day Trip

With Aidan even the simplest of things can turn into nightmares. Take, for example, clothes dressing. We have a lovely little routine we have to go through each day with dress called "One Help." In this scenario, if Aidan doesn't like what he has put on, or even if he does, he asks for "One Help" to get the fitting right. This usually involves an adjustment of the tag on a T-shirt or Shirt, and the readjustment of the elastic on shorts.

This was alright for a while, but like with most things Aidan, routines soon become extreme. It is now at the point where he has to have adjustments made regardless of what clothing it is, so now it is time to say "No." Our issue with this is we usually introduce a new routine to help us, however, sometimes - like in this instance - it backfires.

Aidan normally comes grocery shopping for the main weekly shop on Saturdays. Today, when he got dressed he started up with the "One Help". Nothing would settle him at home, so I hoped that the car trip to the supermarket might. He shrieked most of the way there. He played up in the Supermarket. He cried at other people. He ran off at the checkout. If Ethan hadn't of come today I probably would have (deliberately) lost him!

So then I decided I'd take a long trip. To Hervey Bay. I like Hervey Bay. It isn't overly developed yet, although it will be. It's about 300km North of Brisbane, and the beach is expansive. It also is one of the main thoroughfares to Fraser Island. Although Captain Cook sailed past and named it in 1770, he didn't actually land there. Matthew Flinders, another European explorer was the first to alight there in 1799. Aidan was actually quite good for the trip, and also when we got out and walked around in the heat. They also have a great pier at Urangan, which stretches out a long way.

Aidan and I walked around the beaches, and did a spot of sight seeing. I found Vic Hislop's White Death Shark Show, but we didn't go in. Depending on who you believe Vic is either a saint or an environmentalists nightmare. His take appears to be that sharks are killers and should be culled. He also claims that many of the actual deaths reported as drownings in Queensland are actual shark attacks. He has conspiracy theories about the government covering it up for tourism purposes.

After getting home and settling down after dinner, as we prepared for bed, Aidan brought out his "One Help" antics for his pajamas. I lost it... almost. Angry Dad reared his head, but was dealt a blow by the "No" word. We're not going to do "One Help" anymore. We shall see how that progresses.

Ciao for Now, Just Say No Angry Dad.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Acts of Discovery

Anthea said last night's post on Tongue Twisters was crap. Not just bad, but crap, and that my standards have dropped. I admit I was tired, but I didn't think it was that bad! Blogging is a bit of a voyage of discovery for me. I am amazed at what people put out there, the quality of writing - both excellent and appalling, and the oddities which bring people 15 minutes of fame. The infamous 100x100 In and Out Burger or One Red Paperclip are examples of this.

Callum is having his own acts of discovery at the moment. I may have mentioned previously that he has begun rolling from his back to his stomach. This is a common occurrence now. He therefore is spending more time on his stomach, and exploring things which are placed before him. As the picture shows, he can get quite enthralled in what's around him. He's also discovered the water bottle, which seems to be both a source of relief and a source of amusement. We have only half heartedly tried him with formula bottles so far, and he's had a little taste of rusks. I think once he starts hoeing in, he will end up as big as Ethan.

Speaking of Ethan, last night he and one of his friends had their first "trial" lesson of Tae Kwon Do at one of the local community centres. Unfortunately, I think he has inherited my uncoordinated nature, however, this is offset by his current enthusiasm to try it out. Tonight Anth gave him another trial session where he kicked and punched at a pillow, whilst trying to avoid standing on Callum and having the odd swat at Aidan. We have to temper all of this with "No Hurting" Aidan. I think like all of us, Aidan can be very frustrating for Ethan at times.

Aidan's acts of discovery are new words. Once he latches on to it, it becomes word of the day, or week, or month. Both sets of grandparents well know the phrase "Going to the Beach?!" His latest word is "People", as in "The People go to school" or "The People go to the shops". Sometimes we wonder who all these people are, and sure enough Aidan will meet them all when we go to these locations!

Ciao for Now, Observational Angry Dad.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Tongue Twisters and Word Rhymes

Today I was thinking about rhymes and tongue twisters, and whether the kids would be interested in them or not. I didn't get the chance to try the following out with Ethan, but I told it to him and he smiled, so I guess that's a start.

Won One was a race horse.
Tu-tu was one too.
Won One won one race,
And Tu-tu won one too!

Now, my intent was to write this down as follows, so that he'd get it a bit more, as they have already learnt more numbers than words:

1 1 was a race horse.
2 2 was 1 2.
1 1 1 1 race,
And 2 2 1 1 2!

Simple isn't it. Allegedly, Wikipedia informs me "The hardest tongue-twister in the English language is supposedly The sixth sick sheikh's sixth sheep's sick." I don't think I can even say it myself let alone get the kids to phrase it for me!

Ciao for Now, Angry Dad (who's not a pheasant plucker, he's a pheasant plucker's son)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Possums at night

Its amazing how much "kid activities" start up again once the kids go back to school. Ethan is already signed on for soccer. Swimming will be starting again soon for both kids. Anthea is on various school councils and parents and citizens boards. Tonight we had the first "meet and greet" session at the local primary school.

I arrived home this evening to find the missus in a state of angst. Alledgedly the baby, who has started rolling now, has decided that once he rolls onto his stomach and then can't move, means that he has to open his now well developed lungs and let everyone know he's stuck. He also must have begun his teething stage, as Anth also complained that for most of the day she couldn't put him down. As I type, he's still shrieking in the bedroom. This is in sharp contrast to most of the evening I spent with him.

When I got home we cooked and ate dinner, and then it was time to part ways. Anth went up to the school whilst I took the boys out for a drive. We ended up going into the city to the City Botanic Gardens. We walked around at dusk, and as night fell several possums came out to begin their nightly activities. Ethan's eyes were almost as large as the possums! All three kids were excellent, and the hour and a half we spent out was a treat.

Last night we still had the stinky filth rat active in our house. Hopefully tonight its gone, although I can still here something skulking around in the study. C'est La Vie.

Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

You Dirty Rat

Ok, so I'm still sick. I ended up working from home today, as well as spending extra time in bed. A few nice doses of Panadol also helped keep the headaches away, until they came home from school. Boom Tish!

Being sick doesn't help when you get woken up in the middle of the night. In this instance it wasn't the kids, it wasn't the dog, and it wasn't even being woken by the sound of your own snoring or farting. It was by a dirty rat.

Close by where we live they have been doing a lot of new housing estate development. This usually means a movement of the vermin population. Now I'm not talking 100's or even 10's of rats. We've only got one. But one is enough. I hate rats. I hate anything that is spooky and gets me up in the night, because I am basically a big chicken, and we know what rats do to chicken's now don't we?

We set traps, but it didn't stop the rat at 12:30pm, 1:30am, 3:00am and 4:00am gnawing at the wooden door into the kid's bedrooms. We've now laid bait. I can even here the stupid thing in the study. Laying bait and traps with kids and pets around is incredibly dangerous, so we have to ensure that neither can get anywhere near them. I just hope it knocks the rat out. We shall see.

Ciao for Now, not a fancy rat or rat fancier Angry Dad

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Dreaded Lurgy


noun 1. a fictitious, very infectious disease. 2. any illness.
Also, lurgi, dreaded lurgy. [coined by the Radio Goons]

Source: Macquarie Dictionary Book of Slang.

Imagine, if you will, managing to go 3 months without any form of illness. This is roughly the period between the end of the school year in Australia, and the start of the next. Kids finish up around December, and they're not back in school until February. No one gets sick in December, as its Summer - and why would you want to get sick when the holidays are coming up? However, start back at school and it's free reign. Bugs Ahoy!

Yes, I've got a bug. Aidan came home at the end of his first week, with a niggling cough. He's somehow managed to just keep it a niggling cough. It must be all that dirt he eats, with the occaisional drink from the dog bowl that keeps his immune system up. I'm not so lucky. He appears to have passed it on, and most of the day today was spent trying to supress a cough and the onset of extreme headache. It too started as a niggle over the weekend, but now its moved into the realm of the annoying.

So I'll stupidly stumble on regardless, pumping myself full of Panadol, and still soldiering on by going to work. Its not at the debilitating stage yet, and hopefully it will pass. Unfortunately, its just the start of the season. First bug down, many to go.

Ciao for Now, Lurgy Ridden Angry Dad.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Its About Time (Take 2!)

This post was originally written on Saturday 4th February. Due to problems with the Blogger server, it appears to have been lost in its original form.

I will be the first to admit that I am atrocious with time. If someone schedules me to be somewhere at a particular time, I'm very rarely there at that time. I'm more than likely 5 minutes late, but that has been known to stretch to 10, to 15 even to 30 minutes overdue at times. I know it frustrates the hell out of people, and I even deliberately run my watch 6 minutes fast in an effort to overcome this. It doesn't work. I know my watch is 6 minutes fast, so I compensate for it!

Children and timing is important. Today, Aidan was scheduled for some respite activities. This was the first time we had put him into this service on a Saturday. Our thinking is that it will be easier for Ethan to do things like Soccer or Football without everyone having to worry about Aidan running around annoying people (well, annoying us really!). He has been there before, and was excited about going to play group. It was meant to start at 9:00am.

I got there about 9:05 am (not bad, in my books!). The gates were all padlocked up. There was another family with a special needs kid there, but once we pulled up and Aidan saw that the gates were shut, he was off. By off I mean, the screaming started. "Want to go to Play Group." "Now." "NOW." This was quickly followed by "I want to go home. HOME." when he realised that he wouldn't be getting out straight away.

So back home it was, followed by a phone call back to the centre to find out what was going on. It turned out that the main carer had unfortunately slept in due to a power failure, so this affected the start time. By 9:40am we were back, and this time I was able to drop him off, this time without problem.

Ciao for Now, conscious of the effects of time, Angry Dad.

Kid Friendly Restaurants and Parties

When you have children, if you want to go out for fine dining cuisine, you can almost forget about it if you have to take them with you. It especially applies if you have socially outgoing children, because you find yourself spending most of your time getting them to refrain from annoying others. How would you feel if you were sitting down to a nice piece of Fillet Mignon and an 8 year old sticks his finger in your food, and then says "Hello!"? Aidan has a habit of doing this, hence why he generally needs a minder. For today, it was Dad.

Last night, we had the good fortune to go to our friend Jo's birthday party. She organised an excellent event, and we had the benefit of only having to take the Appendage rather than the two older boys. We left them home alone. Ok, no we didn't. My parents came down and did the regularly fantastic job of babysitting they normally do, so we didn't have to worry about them. It wouldn't have mattered if we had taken them. Jo and her family threw a party that was both kid and adult friendly. There was plenty of social lubricant, but interspersed with this were kids/adult games like "Thong Chucking" and "Count the Banana's". A good and relaxing night.

Today, Mum and Dad shouted us to one of the local restaurants. We took them to the Belvedere Hotel, up on Woody Point. The hotel has a great view over Moreton Bay and into the Pine Rivers.

You can either sit inside or out, and the outside area - which is fully covered, has a fantastic play area set aside for kids. The meals are good, the staff friendly, and there are always a lot of families there as well. You never really have to worry about what your kids are getting up to, and the community atmosphere tends to mean that kids don't play up nearly as much as they would in a refined restaurant. They even have an Ice Cream carousel!

Its good that people with families still get the opportunity to go out and enjoy meals without having to worry about what other people think. I know that when we were young and single, if we went to somewhere swish, like say Sizzler, we were always horrified about children being there. Now we're on the opposite side of the salad bar!

Ciao for Now, Gastric Angry Dad.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Stating the Obvious

There are times in life where people state the obvious. When they do, no matter how right they may be, you may want to punch them in the head. The other thing that happens, is that after the event you always cant think of a witty and cynical response which you wish you had said. Take today for example.

There was a train strike in Brisbane today. The strike was over new collective bargaining agreements not being met. The details can be read at the Courier Mail web site, if you're so inclined. This affected me by causing road chaos, thus allowing me to make the easy decision to decide to work from home until after the morning peak. This was good, as I did my normal morning duties, then set up my computer at home, logged in and off I went. I left for work at around 10:00am, driving in as I normally do.

Today was also hot in Brisbane. With the strike, more people than normal had parked where I usually park. I therefore had further to walk. I have to walk up and over a slight hill near the Storey Bridge. Here, the path is split in two, there is a walkway for pedestrians, and a cycleway for cyclists, however next to the bike path is a grassed area close to a fenced off cliff area overlooking the river. Because it was hot, I was walking next to the cycleway under the shade of trees as I walked up the hill.

Of course, as I came up the hill, a cyclist rode down. Before he passed he yelled and pointed "The WALKWAY is over there."
In my head, my immediate reaction was "Go Feck Yourself."
This, of course, was callous and unfair. He was quite within his rights to say that, but he was stating the obvious. I know there is a walkway there. I also know I was on the cycleway. I know why I was on the cycleway. He can go feck himself.

This was also followed by those images like a movie which play in your mind. Me giving him a nice left hook as he rode passed. Me giving him a flying karate kick as he rode passed. Hell, when I discussed it at work someone suggested the good old tree branch through the spokes.

Ultimately I just looked at him. He rode passed. I walked on, still on the cycleway. This gives you some insight into why I am an Angry Dad (or maybe just an Angry person!)

Ciao for now, insightful Angry Dad.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Wednesday on Thursday

Wednesday is our German Shepherd. She is now 12 years old, and has been part of our family for many years, although in a decreased capacity as the years role on. Wednesday is what we would classify as our "first" child, the one you have when you don't have kids.

She was born, to our best recollection, on January 12th 1994, and we picked her up just after we got married at the end of February. She was a bit of the runt of the litter, but she was cute and affectionate, and quickly became the surrogate child. She was named not because of the day we got her (a Wednesday), nor for the day she was born (a Wednesday), but for Wednesday Addams, from The Addams Family. This was largely because she always was up to mischief.

Foolishly, we let her stay in the house, so as the kids came along, and she was meant to move from an inside dog to an outside dog, that's where things got difficult. After Aidan, we also believe she had a significant fright, possibly from a Garbage truck, because she went from being reasonably ok about being outside, to being obsessive about getting inside or escaping the house. Over the years this trait has continued, to the point where she is no longer welcome at Grandmas because of the destruction she's caused there. (Think 6 floor to ceiling outdoor window frames during a storm).

Both elder kids have grown up with her. Aidan is largely oblivious, but Ethan at times has treated her as his horse, and now is quite happy to drag her wherever he thinks that she should be. However, as she is getting older, she still tries to do some of the things she had done as a puppy, but her body just isn't in it anymore. She is having problems with her hips, and is practicing selective hearing. She also stinks a lot more, and weekly washes are only just covering up the smell. But we still love her.

I think its a great idea for kids to grow up with a dog. They get to see there father yell at the dog rather than yelling at them. They also get to see there father gripe about picking up dog turds when he has to mow the lawn, or out of the garage when she deposits in there. They also get to have a pet who doesn't question them, who will always be happy to see them, and who will always bound around them when its time for a feed.

Ciao for Now, Wednesday's Angry Dad.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Late Home Bad Habit

There is no denying that kids who work to a routine tend to behave better. They know when things are meant to happen, and you can work with them to keep them within that structure. Everyone stays happy, and the kids are all happy little automatons. Well, its not that bad, and it is one of the techniques SuperNanny espouses.

My daily work day routine is meant to look something like this:

5:30am Get Up
6:30am Drive to work
7:30am Work
4:30pm Leave Work
5:30pm Get home

If this gets followed, I arrive home during Witching Hour and can get dinner ready, try to amuse the kids, help with getting the kids settled and ready for bed and get all of this done by between 8:00-8:30pm.

Tied to this is getting enough sleep. I can function on 6 hours a night, but ultimately, I need to catch up. This happened last night, after again staying up until midnight playing on the stupid computer and Internet. I'm not doing anything really productive: just surfing, a bit of online play gambling, reading other's blogs. I then watched Cut on late night television - Molly Ringwald, what were you thinking?

Suffice to say, the 5:30am target wake up call didn't get met. I got up around 7:00am, pushing everything back by an hour and a half. This didn't mean I got home at 7:00pm though, as I decided that because I was late, I would get KFC. Big mistake, it took nearly half an hour to get served, and now I'm working with the after-effects. Don't get me wrong, I love KFC - but it is only feasible to eat once every 3 months or so because of the digestive effect it has on me!

So I got home around 7:45pm. The baby was crying when I walked in, and attached as The Appendage to Anth's hip. She had that look of "you bastard" as I walked in. The older kids were down the back with the last resort meal (baked beans) Anth had cooked them, but quite happy to hoe in to the KFC kids meals I had. As time was thrown out, settling them by 8:30pm was a chore. Anth only spoke to me again after I went and got her some Lindt chocolate.

So tonight I better go to bed early. Ciao for Now, Guilty Angry Dad.