Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A New One

Last night Anth and I had a brief discussion, which Aidan overheard, about getting a second hand computer for the kids to play with. My work occasionally does an auction sale of their old equipment, which means that you usually can pick up a computer cheaply. I'd noticed them doing a cleanout the other day, which I mentioned to Anth. She jumped on the idea, saying I had to make sure I got one.

Aidan, little treasure that he is, also jumped on the idea. At the time he was still in his school uniform. He bolted off to his room, and the next thing I know he's standing in our room with a clean set of clothes all ready to go out and buy himself a new computer. He thought that since we'd mentioned "Computer" and "Aidan" within the same sentence, that immediately meant he was getting one.

It hasn't stopped since. When he woke up this morning, his first words were "New One?" When I picked him up from after school care, he greeted me with "New One?" "New One What?" I responded, having briefly forgotten the morning kerfuffle. "New Computer!" "Oh That, Not Yet Aidy..." Wrong response, as it was followed by tears. I sure hope they have that auction soon!

Ciao for Now, I want a new one too Angry Dad.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Dawdler and the Dawdlebug

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to take your middle child to school, on time. You have one hour.

In my case, this truly is a Mission Impossible. I have embedded in my middle child one of my own more generous traits. It is the trait of the dawdle. Given a certain amount of time to undertake a task, I will, or nay Must, utilise all of the given time to explore all the alternatives and cross-paths which are designed to ensure that I utilise all of the given time, and then some.

So it was this morning, when my sole task was to get Ethan to school on time. Anth had a dentist appointment. She left at 7:50AM, after Aidan was sent off to school. Callum, the baby, was already up and fed. All I had to do was feed myself, do a triple S (shit, shower and shave), and get Ethan ready and delivered to school at 8:50AM. Should have been easy peasy.

It wasn't. Ethan dawdled getting into the shower. Then he dawdled putting his shoes on. I dawdled having a shave. I had to wait for Ethan to have his shower before I could have mine. We both got distracted in where the lunchbox with lunch in it was. Callum needed a nappy change. I couldn't get the pram upright. There was an earthquake. There was a terrible flood. I got a flat tire. You believe me baby, don't ya. Ya Gotta Believe Me...

Anyways, we rocked up to school, as the bell rang. Ethan thought that was fine, because he could still see girl's skipping in the courtyard, and he thought it was the first bell. It wasn't. The girls skipping were part of a class. We were definitely late. I could just imagine the label the teacher would put on us. "Dawdler." "Dawdlebug".

Ciao for Now, Late as always Angry Dad.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

In The Round

If you want a way to truly freak your children out, do singing in the Round with them. Do it in the car. Of course, the classic in the round song is Row, Row, Row your boat. For us Aussies, Kookaburra Sits In the Old Gum Tree works just as well. I guess if you were French you could sing Frère Jacques.

The whole point is to have one of the adults (who act like children) start singing, and then after the first line has been sung, the other adult starts singing from the start. This forms a nice vocal counterpoint. It also has the effect of the children in the back of the car screaming "No, No, No! That's not right. Stop It. STOP IT MUM and DAD! Waaaaah". Maybe its just my sensitive children who freak out in this manner.

The way to do it is like Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo did it as Clark and Ellen Griswold in National Lampoon's Vacation. They sang the variant of Hush Little Baby known as Mockingbird, and although not strictly in the round, it was enough to make both of their kids put their walkman headphones on. Oh that's right, we're in the Noughties now, so I should say IPod instead of Walkman shouldn't I.

Ciao for Now, Everybody - have you heard - Angry Dad's Gonna Buy You a Mockingbird.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

If I had 5 kids...

Today I had a glimpse into what it would be like to have 5 kids. Anth's best friend Paula from High School came to visit with her family. She has 2 boys. We have 3. We spent the day up at one of the Bay Beaches, and then returned to our house in the late afternoon. That's when Anth said she wanted to go and have some "time alone" with Paula to catch up in quiet.

What does that mean? Well, that means that David and I had to look after all the boys. I'm not saying that we're bad father's, but lets face it, both Paula and Anth are the main care-givers in our respective families. We had a 1 year old, a 20 month old, a 4 year old, a 7 year old, and a 10 year old. I don't know how people with more than 3 kids do it.

In the main, all the kids as a whole were pretty good. Its those individual whiney moments that get you. I mean, when I started whining, David just got this look on his face of "Will you just shut the hell up." But I couldn't help it. I had Callum screaming for a bottle, Ethan crying because he'd stubbed his toe or got a paper cut, and Aidan running around saying "Where's Mummy. Where's Mummy?" His kids were angels. I think it was the shock of the new that kept them well behaved. Phew, how relieved was I when Anth got back from getting her coffee.

Ciao for Now, Prophylactics from now on Angry Dad.

Friday, October 27, 2006

1+1+1 is 3

I swear that as a child I never had to do the level of homework that our kids seem to get. Every morning, at the kitchen table, Ethan does his homework. Often, I've already headed off to work, but today I was running a bit late, so I got to see Ethan doing math. He is quite good with all of his work, although I think the he has a bit more of a preference for counting.

This morning there was a whole section on balloons. There were balloons in boxes, and individual balloons and balloons that were blown up. The questions were along the lines of "Mary wants to take away 8 balloons, show how to count these from the boxes and write how many are left." At least I know that if he doesn't get a job as an accountant, he can always get a job at a restaurant making balloon animals.

A common car conversation always is: "Dad. What is 1999 + 1999?" If you don't know already, its 3998. It seems that this is one of the highest numbers he can get a grasp of. Its always met with a gasp of awe when I give the answer straight away. He must be imagining how many fingers and toes I've counted up to get to the answer. I don't know why he never asks me to count the kids, but if he does I have the answer. 1+1+1 is 3.

Ciao for Now, Counting Angry Dad.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Just Not Fit.

Whilst I was away in the U.S. I tried to exercise. Honest. I worked out in the hotel gyms. I even went out for a run one time. Just because I only went at a snail's pace, and blew up a calf before I got back, I still went for a run. It was cold, I tells ya! So all up, in two weeks I did around 6 sessions, so it wasn't too far off what I do at home.

But today I paid for being out of fitness. One of my colleagues and I went for a lunchtime run. I made it just over 20 minutes in before my body just started to give out. I had to stop and walk, feeling quite lightheaded. It took another 10 minutes to recover enough where I could do a slow jog back to work. It took another hour after that before I felt somewhat normal again. My whole body felt like a dead weight for most of the run.

Then tonight, I had Taekwondo. Most of the session involved sparring. This is when you fight one on one with other participants. Its all non contact, well, its supposed to be. I still managed to get kicked in the arm, which was protecting my face, which meant I smacked myself in the head. This was all due to being so unfit I couldn't protect myself properly after about 3 minutes! I only felt better when I got home and opened a box of chocolate chip cookies.

Ciao for Now, These Cookies Taste Good Angry Dad.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Look at that Walking Boy go!

Callum has really started to take off now that he's walking. He has this funny little robot like walk, which looks like a cross between Gigantor and a Sumo Wrestler. He has a tendency to walk up close to you then do a wide berth turn and walk away. Which of course then followed by another wide berth turn, to do the return run!

He also is a little adventurer. He has a ride on car which can both be ridden on and pushed around. Callum has found that if he pushes it, rather than rides on it, he can use it as a battering ram to push his way through various obstacles. This includes his mother's legs, his father's legs, the back door, the dog, the dog's bowl, and various plants and flowers. He's quick! Damn quick!

This isn't to say that he's forgotten how to crawl. For convenience, he uses his power crawl to get up and down stairs. This is followed by the rapid escape crawl followed by the launch into the sumo walk. When he does this, he's out of the house and away very quickly. He also likes to have a flat out lay down every now and again, which for whatever reason he thinks is hilarious. He throws himself forward, puts his head on the floor, the laughs hysterically. I wish I was a kid again!

Ciao for Now, Watching him walk Angry Dad.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Excitable Aidan

Aidan continues to learn new words. His current favourite is the word "Sure".
"Aidan, can you make sure you close the back door behind you when you got outside?"
"Sure, Mummy. Sure!"

He might say it, but it doesn't mean that he'll do it.

He is also getting very excitable about activities which are going on around him. He has another Fun Run this week, and a lot of his talk centres around having money to go and do it. When I picked him up this evening from his after school care, he rushed at me with his hand out.
"I need money for Fun Run. Money. Fun Run."
"But you don't need the money now?"
"Yeah-ah-esss. Money. Fun Run. Sure!"

We also got pictures of Aidan using the new playground equipment that the Art Auction helped support. The teachers wrote up a whole spiel about using the playground, and how enthusiastic and excited the kids were. I knew our boy would be excited. We know he loves going to school!

Ciao for Now, Excitable Angry Dad.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Teeth and Pupil Free Days

Today Anthea had a morning dentist appointment. As it was also a Pupil Free Day at both the kid's schools, I decided to take the day off. Anth had had a sore tooth whilst I was away, but with no one to easily look after Callum, she decided to wait until I got back. She now needs a root canal. Ouch.

It was good to have a day off after all the travel. We ended up having a very busy day. We went and looked at the new extension to the local large shopping centre, where another 100 odd shops have been added. We then went to the local coffee shop, where I managed to slam Ethan's hand into the car door. He recovered, but that wasn't to be his first injury of the day. We also fixed our insinkerator, cleaned up the pool, and took Ethan to AFL AusKick.

It was also to be my first session back for Taekwondo, which means I'm going to be stiff tomorrow. Ethan's second injury came here, where he slipped over as he went to kick a floor, and fell on his backside. I heard his howl, and had to rush over and make sure he was alright. He again recovered, but tomorrow I know he's going to have a bruised hand, and a bruised behind.

Ciao for Now, Full Day and Tuckered Angry Dad.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

First Class

Hey, it's good, to be back home again. John Denver got it right sometimes. It was so nice to land in Brisbane, get off the plane, get a taxi home, and be greeted at the front door by Aidan and Ethan, with Callum walking (yes, walking) up to me! Anth even got up and gave me a kiss! Although it was a reasonably early flight in, apparently Aidan had gotten most of the family up at 5:30am in expectation that I'd be home with his Blue's Clues video.

Gifts were dispersed. Anth got her nice two bottles of Baileys. Ethan got a plane set, Aidan got his Blue's Clues and all the boys got some more Novelty T-Shirts. You can't beat "My Dad went to L.A. and all he got me was this crappy T-Shirt..." can you! We spent most of the day just relaxing and catching up, with a nice side trip out to the shops and to one of the Forest Parks just outside the city. I spent most of the day also trying to stay awake, but I did get in some Nana Naps.

One good thing on the flight home, was that I managed to get an upgrade to First Class. It reminded me of The Airport episode of Seinfeld where Jerry got his upgrade, and Elaine got stuck down in cattle class. It was great. The seats lie flat into beds. You get waited on for whatever you want. I was in seat 2, at the real pointy end of the plane. Sometimes it pays to be nice rather than Angry. Maybe I should change my moniker.

Ciao for Now, Then Again Maybe I won't change my moniker Angry Dad.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Going Home Tonight!

We leave this evening. We fly out of St Louis via Los Angeles for the the long haul back down to Brisbane, Australia. I've enjoyed my time here, but I can't wait to get home. Its funny, as we've had a few discussions amongst the fellow travelers who have referred to the Hotel we've been staying at as home. There are comments going around like "After we go to the pub, we'll go back home." Home to me isn't the hotel.

Home is where my family is. As cliched as it sounds, home is where the heart is. Yeah, I know I sound like a sentimental wanker, but when I travel I know its what I believe. I can't wait to see them all, although we get in around 6:00am in the morning, so I'll be sneaking into the house after getting a taxi from the airport. I bet Anth's gonna get a shock when I throw all my crap into the bedroom and wake her up. I have to remember not to wake the kids up before their normal wake up time!

Work is work. A hotel is a hotel. Home is family. Period.

Ciao for Now, Travellin' Home Angry Dad.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Philly in a Day

We had meetings in Philadelphia today, which meant a 4:00am start to get to the airport by 5:00am for a flight at 6:00am. With the time zone change, and the 2 hour flight, we got there by 9:00am. I don't really know that much more about Philly than I knew yesterday. I think the Liberty Bell is there because I saw a picture of it in the airport. It was a mad rush for most of the day, until ending up back at the airport for a half hour wait through security before getting back on a plane for St Louis.

The only problem, we didn't get on a direct flight. We had to go via Cleveland. Cleveland, Ohio. That led to many renditions of The Drew Carey Show theme where they sang Cleveland Rocks. I again don't really know how much it rocks, because we flew in around 8:30pm and flew out at 9:00pm. I saw some big paper planes there, but that was pretty much it.

And then it was back to St Louis, where we arrived back at 10:00pm. As it was the last game of the National League baseball championships which St Louis were playing in, the pilots kept giving us updates. We got back in to see the cliff hanger 9th innings, and hear the cheers when the Cardinals won. Everyone here is happy. I'm just tired and want to go to bed!

Ciao for Now, One Day Too Many Angry Dad.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

No Scars

Ever since I got here in the U.S. I have constant terrible reminders of Ethan and how I attempted to terrify him at a theme park. I can be sitting in a meeting, and in my head I can hear his shrill cry for "Mummy" and it sends shivers up my spine. I think I might be having more nightmares about it than he did.

So this evening, when I rang Anth up, I had to make sure he was alright. Anth assures me that he is, and that he hasn't had any nightmares. As a matter of fact, other than for a few days after it happened, it would seem he's barely thought about it again. And here I am thinking I'd scarred him for life, and knowing that I did a terrible thing by taking him on the ride, but he's fine.

The funny thing is, Anth knows how scary the ride he went on was. She was in the school yard when Ethan was explaining it to some of the other kids, telling them how scary it was. Their comebacks were along the lines of "Oh, I went on the flume ride, and that was really scary." or "I went on the dodgems, and got so scared when someone bumped me." She felt like going up to them and saying, "Listen Buddies, you DON'T know scared. Ethan KNOWS scared!"

Ciao for Now, Still Guilty Angry Dad.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It's a bit like Melbourne

St Louis is a bit like Melbourne, Australia. The days here are still long enough to get the sun coming up before we go off to work, and then have a bit of daylight when we get back. It's Autumn, so all the greenery is starting to change, and there is a lot of it about. Its relatively flat. There's a river (actually in St Louis there's two). They love their sport. And it rains.

God how it rains. We seem to have hit the week when the rain really managed to come down. By some reports, St Louis got more rain yesterday than they have had in one day for years. Something like 3 inches worth. So it was wet yesterday, and it was grey and overcast today. We've had days where it has been so windy you get windchill. And days where the sun has shone for most of the day, but its still cold. It reminds me of Melbourne.

The Sport analogy is also a good one. St Louis people love Baseball. Melbourne People love AFL. I guess the main difference is that in St Louis they are supporting just the one team. Melbourne supports many. The fact that its wet, its autumn, and its green, with a multitude of coloured hues as the trees change their foliage means that the sports season is well upon us. Its the same in Melbourne. Autumn always meant that the hard sports were well underway, and the cricket would have been finishing up. Here the Baseball is finishing up, and the NFL is underway. It reminds me of Melbourne.

Ciao for Now, Melbourne Town Reminiscing Angry Dad.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Nana Nap

I decided today that I was going to attempt have a junk free day. This meant no chocolate, no chocolate cake, no chocolate mousse, no coke, and an attempt to drink far more water than I have. I didn't sleep too well last night, and woke up feeling a bit seedy, hence the decision on the health route. I actually did it as well, having a healthy oat breakfast with fruit, a turkey and salad sandwich for lunch, and steak and vegies for dinner. Not a french fry in sight!

That was probably part of the reason that towards the middle of the day, I got a headache, and by late afternoon before we were about to leave work my stomach was churning. It was calling out for all of the delicious treats that seem to be part of the American way of life. Well, the part of life for those who live out of a suitcase in a hotel! In the hotel, we saw two people carrying 40 ounce (almost 2 litre) travel "cups" of Sprite. What is up with that? Do you really need to drink 2 litres of Coke or Sprite or Soda over the course of the day? Do you really need to carry it with you?! That didn't make me feel any better.

So back to the hotel room, and I undertook the traveller's support activity, the Nana Nap. This reflects the activity that Grandma's, or Nana's do, at the drop of a hat when they get old. It basically means nodding off for a refreshing kip in a quick time. I laid down in the hotel bed, and tried to watch television, but went out like a light. I got a reminder call half an hour later to get up, but I promptly fell back to sleep for an hour. I feel much better for it!

Ciao for Now, God Bless You Nana Angry Dad.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Touring St Louis

What do you do when you haven't been to St Louis (much) before? You go up the Arch. We travelled down into the city today, at the same time that there was an football game on. It would have been good to see an NFL game, but we didn't have tickets. So instead we went to the Arch!

This was quite cool. We were waiting for another colleague to meet up with us, so we walked around the base of the park, as well as seeing squirrels. The novelty of the squirrel never wears off for me. So what if they're rabid little gerbils, they're still cool! The thing about the Arch is that you can get a different perspective of it from so many places. It is also visible from a fair way out of the city, and I would imagine it changes its look depending on the weather as well.

Once inside, we walked around the Lewis and Clark Museum, the explorers most notably associated with St Louis. I love that there is a Simpson's moment for everything - in that my memory was sparked by Sacagawea, which was referenced in Margical History Tour. Lisa played Sacagawea, the Indian woman who travelled on the exploratory journey. We also took the tram tour up to the top of the arch. Although it wasn't a Six Flag's Rollercoaster, it was claustrophobic, and the view from the top was amazing!

Ciao for Now, Archie Angry Dad.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Hotel Rooms

The Hotel we are staying at is a business oriented hotel during the week, but on weekends it turns into a haven for families and wedding services. As I've wandered around today I've seen a wealth of families and people all dressed up. I've never seen so many shiny shoes and garish pink dresses! I guess the fall in St Louis must be a good time to squeeze in a wedding before it gets too cold.

It's funny seeing kids running around. I've yet to come across a kid who does lift bingo, but I'm sure they're doing it. The lifts are open glass, which face out into the large atrium of the hotel. You can stand on the balcony facing into the atrium and watch groups of kids moving up and down the lifts from one floor to another. I managed to sleep in a little this morning, so I avoided the mad rush for breakfast. They have a big traffic light chart which warns against going down to the breakfast area between 9:00 - 10:30am due to the 1 hour wait time.

I'm sure my kids would like it here. They could run around everywhere. There are lots of other kids to interact with. There's a swimming pool, and enough open spaces around that they wouldn't get too much in our hair. On top of that, I'd have a good reason to go down to Six Flags and ride around in the theme park with them. I can't seem to convince the grown ups I'm with to go there. They prefer adult theme parks of smoky bars!

Ciao for Now, Hotel Boy Angry Dad.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Party Bus

Tonight, being Friday night, meant that the boys wanted to go out and have a big night. As we have to work over the weekend, this was considered "the big night" on the party bus. The party bus was effectively me driving around in the crappy Jeep that we hired, but that's a whole nother story!

The night started at a chain hot wings bar and restaurant out in the suburbs. It was pretty cool, as we got to sit, eat, drink and watch the Cardinals win against the Mets in game two of the series. The baseball returns to St Louis this weekend, and I must admit, that although I'm not a big fan of baseball the game tonight was pretty good. We didn't finish up until close to midnight, but somehow the party bus continued.

We ended up going into Downtown St Louis to a piano bar called The Big Bang Bar. This was great, as the concept is that there are two pianos on stage, and obviously two pianists! The pianists play off against each other, playing songs requested from the audience. They seem to have a huge repetoire, and the audience really gets into it, even at 2:00am in the morning! I managed to drag the others out of there at 2:30pm, and we even sang a rendition of "I Still Call Australia Home" to a bunch of Americans on the footpath.

Ciao for Now, I'm With The Drunks Angry Dad.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Whilst in St Louis, the Baseball National League Championship playoffs are on. This is between the St Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets. Of course, because the St Louis team is in, there is a fair amount of activity going on around supporting the team. The guys I am with are keen to go out each evening, and tonight was another night at a bar, where the benefit is we did get to watch the game.

To me, Baseball is like Cricket. If you watch it whilst you drink beer, then it's considered the best game in the world. If there's no beer, it's boring as all get up. Its slow. The scores are low. There's this whole tactical element you need to understand, and it involves blokes running up and down or around a pitch. I know there's a lot of people out there who love it, but it doesn't really do it for me unless it's close.

I don't think our kids are likely to play baseball regularly in Australia. Although it does get played, I'm probably happier that they are playing soccer and doing Taekwondo. That doesn't mean they won't play Baseball, or Cricket, during their school years. When I was at school we got to play everything! I'm sure, however, that they'll get to watch it. Hopefully not in stinky, smoke filled bars, but possibly when they're much older, with golden amber!

Ciao for Now, Stinky Smoky Angry Dad.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Late Nights

Part of the interesting fun about being in the U.S. for work is that you can work all day at a site, and then find yourself having to do work for your regular job back in Australia at night. On top of that, you have to find time to socialise with the people that you're working with. I don't drink. But that doesn't mean I don't get dragged along to smokey bars where I have to sit in and listen up to lots of tall stories. This can be fun, but isn't so much fun when you have e-mails and telecons back at the hotel to attend to.

Tonight was one of those nights where we sat in a bar for a number of hours, took phone calls from home and had to go and stand out in the cold, ate crap bar food, and then had to rush back to the hotel for another few hours of work. It's now 1:00am and I'm shagged and want to go to bed, but in true blogging style, I thought I had to get a post in.

Of course, being tired and not knowing what I was going to post about brought me to the aforementioned topic. I know it sounds like I'm having a bit of a moan, and god damn right, I'm having a bit of a bitch and a moan! Sometimes I'd like to just pass out in the hotel bed and get a decent nights sleep. Many would argue I bring it upon myself. Many would be right!

Ciao for Now, Ranting Angry Dad.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Kid's sense of justice

I was reflecting on the flight from L.A. to St Louis, that kids have an inbuilt sense of justice. Last week, I was cooking in the kitchen and had both Callum and Aidan running around my feet. I couldn't keep my eye on both of them, so I was trusting that Aidan wasn't annoying Callum too much, and that Callum was not overtly attacking Aidan.

At the time, I thought that Aidan was trying to pull at Callum's hair. This is one of his tactics to get attention. Callum had gotten into the kids drink bottle cupboard, and had pulled out the Simpsons drinking bottle. Aidan, who thinks that anything which is branded is his, promptly tried to take it off him. Callum cried, and then Aidan gave it back. I watched this as I stood cutting vegetables at the bench. When I turned away, Callum started crying. I turned back to see him standing there, Aidan next to him, and the bottle on the floor. I scolded Aidan, who looked deeply hurt, and picked up the bottle and gave it back to Aidan.

I went back to cutting vegetables, and then Callum started crying again. Again, Aidan was next to him, and the bottle was on the floor. I then told Aidan off, and told him to "Get out of the kitchen!" He protested, but as he can't communicate that well, all he did was his chicken arms, flapping them around as though he wasn't responsible. I picked up the bottle, and gave it again to Callum. This time, he flung it onto the floor, and started crying again. Aidan hadn't done anything. I was wrong, and he was right. When I apologised, he looked at me as if to say "I told you so."

Ciao for Now, I Should Be More Tolerant Angry Dad.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Happy Birthday Ethan!

It is Ethan's 7th Birthday today. Unfortunately, I'm not there to sing Happy Birthday to him, although I recorded my voice and sent him an e-mail with me singing it to him! Hopefully that's a little bit of a substitute for not being around. I was going through some of my photo's of the family I keep on my computer, and this one tickled my fancy, so I thought I'd add it here as well.

I rang Ethan earlier to see how his day had been going. He'd been at school for the day, but he was full of excitement. As one of his presents, he had gotten a "watch it grow Alien". The basic premise is that you throw it in water, and over a 12 hour period an Alien gets hatched and grows into, well, an Alien! He had opened it up with Anth just before I rang, so he really didn't want to talk to me!!

He got a number of other toys, and was even excited that Grandma had sent both he and Aidan presents. He did manage to also tell me that he got some Lego, and some Star Wars transformers, and that he had soooo many awesome presents. Then he hung up on me in his haste to get back to the Alien! I rang back, and spoke to Anth for a while, but there was a lot of activity going on there so I only got a quick phone call in the end. I'm glad I still got to talk to and hear all of them!

Ciao for Now, Wishing He Was There Angry Dad.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I'm in L.A!

We flew into Los Angeles this morning at 6:50am, and have spent most of the day trying to keep ourselves awake. There are 3 of us on this current trip, with a 4th set to join us next week. As it is the weekend today's activities have centered largely around the tourist areas of LA. We are staying down in Long Beach, so we drove down to our hotel early. Unfortunately, not all the rooms were ready to check in at 8:00am, but we did get one to store all our stuff.

So we got in the car and drove down to Long Beach. Then we drove up to Hollywood. We walked Hollywood Boulevard, and then again jumped in the car to Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive. If only a had a few million to spend on diamonds! After that, we continued to Santa Monica Boulevard to 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. It was then that I got the chance to ring Anth and tell her we made it ok, and check up how she was going. We had a nice lunch, and kicked each other to stay awake.

That meant that some physical activity was on the cards. We drove down to Venice Beach and spent a good 3 hours wandering around looking at all the interesting sites. Muscle Beach definitely isn't what it used to be. It was a nice day, despite the smog, and a lot of people were out and about. From there, it was back to the hotel for dinner. Our target was to make it to 8:00pm, and I've just reached that now. So off to bed I go.

Ciao for Now, Jetlagged Angry Dad.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Traveling Day

Today I get on a plane and do the long haul across the pond from Brisbane to Los Angeles. To say that the lead up to this day has been stressful for me would be an understatement. As I ate breakfast this morning, I read an article about To Do lists. I don't know about you, humble reader, but when I have to go off and do something not in my normal scheme of things, then I make up a number of to do lists to help me remember what not to forget!

At the moment, I have both a travel and a clothes list sitting in front of me. The travel has the obvious things like passport and tickets, whilst the clothes one reminds me I have to take jocks and socks. No doubt I'll still forget things. I'll run around like a blue-arse fly trying to get it right when I'm supposed to be walking out the door.

The interesting thing about the article was that it suggested that most things people put on multiple to do lists are actually never going to happen. You really only have one, which is the reactive one that you respond to in due course. You can talk all you want about planning and pre-conception of ideas, but even then you'll do your to do's as reactive to those plannings, and they still need to fit in with the what is most important framework. That framework is highly personal! I'll struggle on regardless. Obviously my need to get in my daily blog hasn't been stopped. God help me if it's number one on my to do's each day!

Ciao for Now, Traveling Angry Dad.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Dreamworld, or how to terrify your child.

For Ethan's birthday we took him to Dreamworld. Me, Anth, Aidan and Ethan all went together, whilst Callum was looked after by my Saint of a mother. If Mum hadn't come down and looked after him it would have made it very difficult, and sometimes I don't fully appreciate how much she does for us. She even cooked us dinner tonight. So even though Aidan can be somewhat difficult, he still allowed us all to go on most of the rides together. We went on the old time cars, the log flume ride and got soaked, and walked around the park before we went into the Nickelodeon area so Ethan could go on the Runaway Reptar Roller Coaster.

Whilst Ethan and Anth lined up for that, Aidan decided he wanted to go to Wiggles World. One thing which frustrates me about Dreamworld is that although they have a lot of good rides, their line management is atrocious. It took nearly 15 minutes to get through a queue of about 40 people. It should have taken 3 minutes! To top it off, when we finally got on the Big Red Car ride, about 2 minutes in the ride stopped and all the power went out. After being stuck in there for about 20 minutes, they finally let us out. It may have been a good ride if we got all the way through, and I still have "Beep Beep Chugga Chugga" going through my head.

It was mid afternoon when Ethan decided he wanted to go on some of the scarier rides. The queue for WipeOut looked short, so I asked him if he wanted to go on it. It is one of the park's Big 4 Thrill Rides. In short, it twists and turns you up, down, sideways and upside down whilst your held in via an overhead and chest bracing harness. Not for the faint hearted. But he assured me he'd be fine, and didn't want to not go on it once he committed.

Big mistake. From the moment the harness went down he was petrified. Once the ride started he started screaming "I want Mummy!" which continued until the ride stopped. I spent most of my ride trying to tell him it would be all right over his and everyone else's screaming. When we got off and stopped crying, he said "I'm not going on that again until I'm 16." We went and looked at the ride photo and Anth almost broke into tears at the picture of our terrified child. He doesn't seem to have suffered any ill effects though, and is now soundly fast asleep after a big day.

Ciao for Now, No More Thrill Rides for Ethan Angry Dad.

NB: Blogger is playing up with Photo's, so the pictures from today can't be loaded just yet.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Travel... yes, and Dreamworld

Ok, well I am traveling now. On Sunday I head of to the U.S. for just under 2 weeks. While I'm away I miss Ethan's 7th birthday, so tomorrow, to make up for it we are going to take him to Dreamworld. I'm so glad that he's taken on my sense of adventure and fun in that respect. I LOVE theme parks, and particularly the rollercoaster rides.

Although it's Ethan's birthday treat, and we are getting Grandma to come down and babysit Callum, I'm hoping that Ethan will consent to having Aidan come along with us. Once Aidan got wind that we were going to Dreamworld, he's been nagging me ever since that "Aidan go to Dreamworld too?" Aidan loves all the rides, particularly anything which has water, like the flume rides. I think Ethan's coming around to the idea that Aidan will be able to come along.

The reason Ethan (and Anth and I) are a little hesitant in taking Aidan is that he can be somewhat intense. If he decides that he is going to go up to everyone and ask them how their day is, or what they're doing "tomorrow", or freaks out because of a queue, it can make the whole day unbearable. We have both agreed that Ethan needs the opportunity to be his own kid, and there are some times when he doesn't need to be encumbered by having a brother who's special needs. Don't get me wrong, Ethan doesn't resent Aidan, but he does have a definite added responsibility for him through the way we as parents act and behave. He has to have his own spaces and time. Whatever he decides, its going to be fun!

Ciao for Now, Dreamin' of Dreamworld Angry Dad.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Travel... maybe

I may or may not be traveling to the U.S. in the near future. The near future is this Sunday. There is still some planning issues in relation to this which are unclear. Rather than dwell on that, I'd rather consider the impact that this has on the family. The nature of my work is such that travel is involved, so I try to plan it as best as possible.

As I've been more busy at work in the lead up to the travel, Anth has had to deal with all 3 kids being off school for the past 2 weeks with School Holidays. Travel, especially when you have young children, puts a burden on your family. It is doubled when you have a child with special needs. I feel like my saving grace with this trip is that the kids will be back at school, so Anth will only have Callum the majority of the day. This doesn't make it any easier. Thankfully, my Mum is also able to come down and help out.

Sometimes I feel like a right bastard by having to go off and do this. I know Anth doesn't want to hear me talk about it. I know its hard, but I have the double edge sword of it being part of my work life. If I try to put myself in Anth's shoes, she has it really difficult, and I can sense how much she doesn't like it when I'm about to leave. Her saving grace seems to be that she gets the kids into really good routines whilst I'm away (only to have me break them when I get back!) It doesn't help when other people think you're off on a "jolly" because its O/S.

Ciao for Now, Tomorrow I'll Know Angry Dad.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Walking Boy!

It didn't really take him that long. Now Callum's taking his first tentative steps. This evening when I got home and went to get changed, Ethan rushed in to tell me Callum is walking. This was a bit of an overstatement. However, when he came crawling in, Anth followed him, and showed me how he is now taking those initial steps.

We laid pillows out on the floor. One of Callum's favourite things is to dive headfirst into them, and then turn his head back to us and laugh! So Anth got him to stand up near her, and then turned him around towards the pillows. First one step, then a second, then a third, and then a shallow swan dive into the pillows, followed by mass hilarity. I think he got excited that we were showing him so much attention. We were excited because these are quite literally his first steps. How exciting.

It has taken him just over a year to get to this point. Ethan achieved this by his first birthday, but given it took Aidan nearly 4 years before he was walking, it seems a rapid accomplishment now. I'm sure by the weekend he'll be almost sprinting, and that baby phase will be one more step closer to being gone.

Ciao for Now, He's Walking Angry Dad.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Standing Boy

Callum is now moving into the realm of standing by himself. It can only be a short time until he's walking and then running around. We've been catching him all of this week momentarily finding his feet. This evening, as I sat on the floor, he was standing and holding on to me and then something would take his interest and he would pivot to see what the next exciting adventure held. However, instead of squatting back down and crawling into a new position, he would remain standing and slowly move his feet around. Often, he'd let go of me and use his own balance.

Once I realised what he was doing, I went and grabbed the camera. Then it was a matter of waiting until the appropriate moment to get him as he tried to walk over to me. He did! Although it looks like someone might be holding his hand, I can assure you that I wasn't. Rather, he was trying to grab a hold of me and took a brief step to do it before he fell over.

There is some danger in this new found adventure. This evening the time spent not trying to stand up was spent picking up all manner of toys and trying to hit either me or Ethan with them... in the head. I don't know where this behaviour has come from. Tonight I got hit with two of his puzzle piece toys, a matchbox car, and the kitchen favourite - the frying pan. Fortunately for me (and Ethan) its a toy frying pan. It still hurts when you get smacked in the head with it.

Ciao for Now, Head Ringing Angry Dad.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Still wasted after all these years

I'm still trying to overcome the effects of a long drive, a long day at work, and two exercise training sessions where I was pushed pretty hard. When I was younger it wouldn't have been a big deal. As I'm getting older, it feels like I've been run over by a freight train. At least these days I don't get into the grog to have the "drinker's hangover" like I used to!

When it was half time during the Grand Final, we all went outside to the block next door and kicked around the footy for 15 minutes. You've never heard as many whinging adults, me included, about how much pain they were in or how they'd have to go and get physio for their crook back or sore legs! When we were younger we could have played a whole match and not really complained.

I think as adults in this day and age, you have to have a level of fitness to keep up. That doesn't mean that you have to be stick thin, as I have friends who are well over their "recommended" body weight who remain very active. The main reason for this is kids. If you've got babies or toddlers, you're forever chasing them around. Once the kids hit school, then there are a raft of school and after school activities they want to get involved in. I know even with my absenteeism parenting, that there is a lot going on. Anth's forearms are like Popeyes because of all the carrying and running around she does. Now, if only I didn't have donuts for dinner, I'd probably lose these extra pounds from the exercise!

Ciao for Now, Donut Loving Angry Dad.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Trip Pictures

I'm pretty shagged from 3 days of Boy's Weekend, and having driven a collective 20 hours and almost 2,000km (1,200 miles) in that time. This is a picture of the place we stayed in Millfield. It is a converted church hall. I'm not going to write much today, as I only got home an hour ago, and I still can't think straight!

This is the view of the hall from the back. It has been extensively renovated so that the inside is now a livable house space, with huge ceilings and polished floorboards, and all the necessary modern conveniences. The deck was added out the back to make use of the views. They even got a woodfired oven built into the design, so we had home made pizzas one evening!

And this is part of the view they have each morning. This is just one "pane" of the full vista. The hall is ringed by the hills surrounding the Hunter Valley. Magnificent!

Ciao for Now, Totally Shagged Angry Dad.