Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The Tomato Sauce Bottle That's Destroying My Life

I remember being told that adding tomato sauce to a meal is the ultimate insult.

Lucky I'm not precious about my culinary skills because my kids (and often my husband) absolutely coat my cooking in the stuff. Granted "my cooking" is often 2 Minute Noodles or chicken nuggets, but still.

Even when I do surprise us all with an actual meal - and it does happen occasionally - that tomato sauce gets slapped all over it as if it were a mere hot dog.

Delicious Chicken and Vegie Pie. Apparently, it's only edible with sauce.

Mr 9 and Miss 6, like most kids, love to be independent. I do my best to encourage it, even if it's sometimes through gritted teeth as I know it will result in me having to do MORE stuff. You know what I mean.

One of those simple things is letting them put the tomato sauce on their own plates.

Sounds reasonable?

Well it bloody well should be. But do you think these poor sauce-addicted offspring can open the pouring spout on the bottle?

Hell no. Of course not. They can remove the entire spout / lid thingy, but not open the spout itself.

See, the sauce makes the lid sticky on the inside. So when you turn the top cone shaped section, it turns the entire lid. Little hands combined with still-developing skills in logic results in frustration and further dependence on parents. I'm busy shoving food into my own gob. I don't want to stop to open the bloody sauce bottle.

Sounds a little dramatic? Maybe. But hells-bells it shits me.

You need to hold the base of the lid and twist the cone-shaped part in order to make it work. I feel we could do better in 2015, but maybe it's just me.

I get that the lid works better if it's clean and yes, I do, from time to time, wash it. Which frankly fuels my hatred because, I don't know about you, but I have enough things to clean without having to wash this bloody thing.

I'm no engineer and perhaps this suggestion would bring a whole new problem that I haven't thought of but couldn't those two parts turn in opposite directions? Or couldn't the cone part lift up? Just an idea.

Guys, you rallied in support last week at my shampoo / conditioner font size issue and for that I am forever grateful. Now please, PLEASE tell me I'm not alone with this one?

Does this bottle shit you up the wall? 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

The Single Most Annoying Thing About Washing Hair

There's nothing  more punishing on a Monday morning than having to wash your hair.

On top of dealing with Monday blues, grumpy kids, making lunches, packing bags and God forbid, a trip to the shops, the regret of not washing my hair on Sunday is nearly crippling. Why, oh why do I continue to make bad choices?

I could have washed it last night, let it dry naturally and then spent a mere ten minutes straightening the shit out of it before going to work. But no, I didn't bother.

So now I  have to wash it, knowing I'll spend the entire time hearing (or at least thinking I'm hearing) the kids fighting and someone knocking at the door and trying desperately to wash all the conditioner out quickly with the shitty water pressure that is my shower. Then I'll have to blow dry it AND straighten it because my fluffy hair can't be seen in public without this process or a ponytail. I'll be damned if I'm going to go through the hassle of washing it to put it in another bloody ponytail. You with me?

Despite the regret and annoyance of my own actions, there's one thing that ticks me off more.


One of these is shampoo. The  other one is conditioner.

If you've ever washed your hair before, you may be aware that it's important to use both. In the right order.

Which one is which? It should be pretty easy to tell, right? I mean, it's important, yeah? I'm a girl, I should know intuitively, shouldn't I?

NO! I don't know which is which. I have to read them. I have to read the ENTIRE label every time because how freaking hard is it to find the one word on each bottle that you need?

When the clock's ticking, the hot water's running out and the dog is scratching at the door to come in (because she just loves me..naw..) the last thing I want to do is read the entire bloody label just to find out if I'm holding the right bottle. I don't care if it's hydrating or colour friendly or contains more passion fruit than a pavlova. I just want to know if it's bloody shampoo or conditioner.

Big bloody letters. That's all I'm asking for.

Now this is not a dig at Herbal Essences. When it comes to hair products, I have zero brand loyalty. This means I have real experience with this aggravating issue and I am very comfortable pointing the finger at nearly every supermarket brand of hair care.

I must stress it's supermarket brand as that's all I buy. Maybe if I paid $30 a bottle I wouldn't have this additional stress in my life? Rest assured when my lotto numbers come up I'll be at the nearest spa measuring the size of the font on their bottles.

Until then, I beg you, hair care peeps. Stop with the 6 point font for the most important word on the bottle. Please.

Does this shit you up the wall? Does spending more on hair care buy you a bigger label?

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Back to School Fail. Again.

The kids went back to school on Monday. Just.

There were no winter uniforms prepared. Why would there be? My kids are notorious for not wanting to wear shirts, let alone jumpers and on Saturday, we got sunburnt watching Mr 9 play footy for an hour.

Winter uniforms were not even considered.

Until Monday morning when we woke up to torrential rain, near-cyclonic winds and temperatures forgotten since last year.

Miss 6 wanted to wear her long pants. A fair request.

Except that Miss 6 appears to have grown 6cm since she last wore these pants. Request denied. I waved it off, promising to fix the pants as soon as possible (a lie, I don't sew) and reassuring her with "You'll be right, sweetie,  it's always too warm in the classroom." *fake smile, convincing nod.

Somehow over the 2 week school holiday I'd completely forgotten my commitment to being more organised. If it was only about the uniforms, I wouldn't be so hard on myself (or on my husband - he's the parent too). But it was about so much more than the uniforms.

We woke Monday morning to a shit-storm in the kitchen. The previous night's cleanup didn't really exist. We had not prepared kid's lunches and we were lacking key ingredients. The kids were grumpy about returning to school and were uncooperative as a result. Even the bloody dog was high maintenance.

When it came time to pack their bags, I realised they hadn't been responsibly dealt with at the end of last term. I found food containers, notes and items belonging to someone else's children because, quite clearly, 2 weeks isn't long enough to empty a freakin' bag.

I want so desperately to tell you that we  learnt a lot on Monday morning, but unfortunately, we didn't. On Tuesday morning, we woke to worse weather, pants that still don't fit and insufficient ingredients to prepare lunch boxes. Their raincoats spent the day at home on the back of chairs. Dry chairs, I should add.

Husband got to enjoy a 7am trip to the shops (in the pouring rain) just so we could feed our freezing children at school. They might be cold, but I'll be damned if I'll let them starve too.

To be fair, it wasn't possible to do anything on Monday night because Game of Thrones was on. You understand.

Perhaps I did learn something however because last night, I took measures to ensure this morning didn't go quite as pear-shaped. I made lunches, I prepared breakfast (sandwiches that simply got toasted this morning - you know how I feel about toasties!) and organised today's uniforms.


Despite wretched weather yet again (and still grumpy children), this morning was seamless in comparison. Breakfast went smoothly, bags were packed with all appropriate gear and we had time to cuddle on the lounge together for five minutes. Feel free to place your Mother of the Year vote for me whenever you're ready.

It may not have been the best start to a term, but at least we got our kids back to school on the right day. That's something.

How's your week been?

Monday, 13 April 2015

3 Reasons You Do NOT Want to Lose Your Sense of Smell

Mid-way through a 12 hour flight you're woken from your light sleep. It's not the flight attendant offering you another meal. It's not a the guy next to you trying to climb past. And it certainly isn't the turbulence.

It's the flatulence. The stench of another passenger who thought they could drop one mid-air and get away with it has infiltrated your nostrils, bringing you back to reality which has now become a sensory nightmare.

Whoever smelt it, dealt it.
Humans stink, particularly when confined to a small space with 300 other stinkers. As the smeller, we could argue that each gas-bomb should be detonated in the aircraft lavatory, at least attempting to keep it all civil.

As the smellee, however, we eventually resign ourselves to the fact that it's natural, reasoning it has to happen and if planned well, no one will ever know it was you.

Imagine a flight where you couldn't smell a thing. Imagine being completely unaware of the rotten-egg or wet-dog odour your fellow passengers were trying desperately not to inhale, subtly burying their faces in their scarves or sleeves, counting the seconds till it passes.

Well I'm living that dream, people!

Yep, that's right, can't smell a thing. NOT A SINGLE THING.

Sounds heavenly, right? There's no mad nagging to take the rubbish out in my house. Haven't washed the dog? Who cares?! Have to use the toilet but someone's just been in there? No problem, if I can accept the slightly warm seat it's business as usual.

It's not all roses, however. There are several rather important drawbacks to nostril failure and quite frankly, they stink:

1) Is this food off?

There have been four, maybe five occasions in the last couple of years where I've opened a packet of chicken mince bought at the supermarket to discover it had turned. It looked OK, but it smelt horrendous. Is it OK to eat off chicken?


Not even a little bit OK. It's severely NOT OK to feed your family rotten chicken. But without the trusty schnozz, it's a real risk in my life and it was only a month or two ago that Miss 6 saved us all with her supersonic snout, noticing the odour just seconds before I slapped the foul foul into the frying pan. Miss 6, a tops chick.

2) Do I need a shower?

Is it possible that I've been the stinky person at work, forgetting to deodorise and completely oblivious to a bad onion smell that's driving my colleagues away? No, I'm going to go with no....but.... am I?

3) There's no chocolate in my chocolate

With reduced smell comes reduced taste. Logically, one would therefore live on spinach chips and a matchbox-sized piece of boiled chicken, snacking on lettuce when the kids have gone to bed.

Sadly, my inability to taste food has in no way stopped me from eating it. I have consumed just as much chocolate and crap of late with comparatively no enjoyment as I did last year when I could taste the difference between a pink Skittle and a red Skittle with 100% accuracy.

Now I'm just adding fat for purely mental reasons. Comforting.

So next time your dog drops a silent but deadly while you're watching Game of Thrones, resist the temptation to kick your wannabe dire wolf in the blurter and be thankful that you know you are clean, you did not poison your children and the Toblerone you're about to consume will bring you actual joy, not just imagined joy.

If you're wondering why I can't smell anything, well, honestly, so am I. I'm off to the specialist in June to see if I can't get this snorkel back in action.

Until then, smell ya later.

If you could pick any nose, who's would it be?

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

The Getting Organised Plan. It's.....Working!

Last week, husband and I decided to focus on getting organised. The path to that decision is here.

Good news: it's happening.

One of the first chores was dealing with Miss 6's bedroom. It was a disastrous mess of clothes, toys and craft. (Oh, the craft. I didn't deal with that. Baby steps, right?)

It took hours, I won't lie, and it sucked. Big time. We chose to do most of the work without Miss 6's input to speed up the process and also enable us to make some tough decisions about chucking stuff out. McHappy toys went. Every one of them. It was McTherapeuatic.

I can hear the cries as I type: "No, you have to involve your children in tidying their rooms". Yeah, yeah, I know and with the general day to day or once a week clean-ups, I say yes, this is important.

But the one where you're going through their toy boxes? Nope. Sorry, that's just a nightmare. They decide to play with EVERY SINGLE piece of plastic you pull out of the box, messing with your sorting piles and getting frustrated with you for not playing with them. This clean up was no place for a child.

Also on the "getting organised" list was cooking - which meant shopping. We sucked it up and did it. Just like that. I made a list of what we would eat this week. Then I made a list of what we needed. Then (get this, this is medal-worthy), I consulted TWO supermarket catalogues and checked prices on those items before creating shopping lists for TWO DIFFERENT STORES.


Imagine getting a 99% discount on your groceries. WTF?

OK, so maybe I'm not quite ready to go on Extreme Couponing but this is a big deal for me!

This approach was incredibly good for our budget (which is pretty much negative) and enabled us to also divide and conquer. Given how annoyingly busy the shops were on Easter Saturday morning, this proved to be a great strategy, almost halving our time at the shops and, because we each took a child with us, we didn't have to deal with them fighting the entire time. WIN-WIN.

After the shopping (and the putting away, because we do that immediately now of course) came the cooking. There was a bolognese, a goulash (I know, right?!) and a chicken and vegie pie. The pie is now in the freezer for later in the week when my parents come to stay. Because I'm impressive, Mum, that's why.

Some pantry sorting took place, the spare fridge got a much-needed clean out and something possessed me to clean the mirrors in the kids' rooms. That was weird. I organised to piggy-back onto a neighbour's council clean-up, did 4000 loads of washing and worked robo-vac like never before.

I am pleased to advise we are on track for our not exercising because we have other stuff to do goal.

What about you? Have you raised the organisation bar? 

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Stop Acting Like Turds. Please.

Sometimes people do something decent or reasonable but totally stuff it up by acting like an arsehole.

It's like they can't choose between nice and nasty, so they do both, but the aftertaste is never pleasant - nasty is unfortunately more powerful.

Here's a simple example.

Husband tows a large trailer for work. Apparently today his brake lights weren't working on the trailer. Bummer, right? Let's face it, that's the sort of thing that can happen to anyone. Unless somebody tells you, it's feasible that you can drive for ages without knowing. We could argue that you should start your car and then walk to the back and check your lights before driving EVERY TIME. You don't do that, don't even pretend you do!

(If you do, you probably shouldn't be reading my blog. You probably should be re-checking your lights.)

So a woman drives up along side him today, winds down her window and leans in to talk to him. Husband winds down his window, anticipating some sort of gardening question (bless!).

"You're break lights don't fucking work," is what she said, complete with facial snarl.

He's a little surprised and responds with a simple "OK". She must have been concerned that he wouldn't know what to do with that information because she felt the need to follow up with:

"You might want to fucking get that fixed."

Say whaaaat?

What could have been really useful and appreciated feedback from a fellow driver was a bitter attack at a guy just out trying to make a living. Couldn't she have just said "Excuse me, your lights aren't working" and drove happily on her way? Is that really so hard?

You won't be surprised to hear that she had a child in the back seat, listening to all her anger and bullshit. Just sayin'.

I have countless other personal stories like this. Countless. It's depressing. We need to, as a nation - wait, as a bloody species - stop being arseholes to each other and just try getting along. It's not that freaking hard.

Are you sick of turds? 

Why Getting Organised Trumps Exercise

Husband and I discussed at length the benefits of committing to an exercise routine promoted by Carly Jacobs on her blog Smaggle. It's a simple plan to exercise for 20 minutes a day, every day, for the month of April. You can read her take on it here.

I love the concept and despite getting off to a fabulous start this morning with a 35 minute walk by the beach, I'm not sure if I can commit completely.

Here's why.

Our household is busy of the crazy variety. With work, school, after school activities, weekend activities and all the hobbies that we try our hardest to indulge in (because without the stuff we enjoy, there's really very little point to the rest, right?), we are basically just existing day to day on a "quick, do that now" basis.

In no way am I suggesting that we're busier than anyone else. I'm not interested in winning "busy"!

I do know, however, that we're not as organised as we could be and definitely know that we're not as organised as some of you are.

Husband put it to me that instead of committing to 20 minutes of exercise, let's put that effort into getting organised.

Hello? Have we met? I'm a Virgo for God's sake. It was like he was trying to win my heart all over again. (Remember the scene in Friends where Monica and Chandler had a window of time when nobody else was home and they agreed to do their favourite thing? Chandler started undressing while Monica went to get the cleaning products. That's what our conversation reminded me of.)
These two are the spitting image of husband and me. I swear.

Although he had me at organised, he embellished, pointing out that by getting our shit together, we will save money, eat better meals, stress less and in turn, it will become easier to find those 20 minutes for exercise anyway.

If we commit to the plan of getting organised, we will make way for a better exercise plan by default. Are you with me?

First step for us is to devise a comprehensive daily chore list with the aim of becoming visitor-ready more often than once a fortnight.

Second step is to plan some meals, shop accordingly and then stick to it. This might help us avoid buying lunches and eating cheese toasties for dinner three times a week.

Third step is to take some tips from the pros: you guys who are already winning at staying on top of shit.

So I'm putting it out there - How do you stay organised? Please share your top 3 tips on getting and staying organised.