Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A very Boy day

Boys birthday is coming up..


We are starting to plan out his special day. I am thinking of what he might like.


We absolutely love the windmill educational website. There are always great, sturdy toys. When we have a chance to go into the store in Launceston we always take it. It is like a kids paradise.

I recently found this website. Kiwi Crate is a really fantastic idea for parents ( like me) who need a little inspiration in the arts and craft area.
I think Boy could do with some more educational based crafts rather than painting, drawing, cutting and pasting just for the sake of it.
I am also really loving the fruit birthday cakes on pinterest. Perfect for a train loving, fruit gobbling 3 year old.
Its slowly coming together...in my head anyway.
I just found this awesome creative play product called bilibo here..
You've got to give the Swiss credit for the amazing things they come up with.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Not at all well..

My mental balance can be likened to the state of my house.

picture from  here 
I refuse to clean if I am unhappy. The chaos of clothes piled knee deep in the laundry adds to the chaos I feel inside. It is a tangible and noticeable reflection of the misery inside of my brain.

The monumental, mount everest looking, pile of clean clothes moves from chair to chair, room to room as I dump them out of view. Dishes stack up on the kitchen sink until there's no cutlery left ( which is an everyday occurrence ) and at night I clean a days worth of spoons and bowls up so we can have something to eat our breakfast from... Which is lucky because I fear if we had more bowls, glasses and cutlery the dishes would sit for longer than a day...

The carpet is picked over instead of vacuumed and the bare minimum is achieved so that I can look back and say I at least did something productive.

At the moment my house is organised chaos, in the week after we lost again it fell to absolute pieces and we just stayed away so I didn't have to look at it.

Slowly. Painstakingly. I am recovering the equilibrium that is happy, productive, cleaning state of mind.

This morning I sewed missing buttons back onto 5 different items of clothing and even hemmed a pair of pants.

This is a good sign, not only am I doing bare minimum.. I'm marking the 'extras' off the list of to dos.

Tonight I even did some folding and put half of Mount Everest away. Happily.

The desire to fight is coming back to me.

This is how my brain usually works:

Catastrophic, mind crippling event. Everything falls to pieces.

Phone call to Simone " why does she never pick up ? " and then we talk through plan of action.

A week after catastrophe. Indignation.

Phone call to Lisa " why the hell is this happening to us " and then we talk about tender mercies or blessings.

Three weeks after ( what now feels like less of a catastrophe ) and more like a massive pain. Acceptance.

Phone call to Collette " we are going to die" and then she tells me I'm overreacting, slap back to reality.

4 weeks after ( what now feels like a bad dream ) faded into distant memory. Forgiveness.

Phone call to Mum " Yeah, that happened, but we will be o.k" and she asks to talk to Boy.

{ I am currently sitting at week three. Acceptance .. I am still finding it a hard pill to swallow. But we will make it }

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The full and unabridged story of how we lost, more than once. Part #2

Read part one here..

It took less than two days for Hunna to find interim carpentry work once he was given notice.

It took just over two weeks for Hunna to find another ( we hoped better ) job.

This time the new Boss wanted to trial him for three months, saying " we will back date your apprenticeship " - because we had experienced this mentality over mature aged apprentices we obliged.

All going well we would only be two weeks behind our initial completion date.

Even better than that, the government had bought in competency based progression.

Meaning: if you were marked competent by Skilled Training Victoria ( the people who assess the schooling side of an apprenticeship) and then signed off by your employer - you could complete faster.

Three months passed and he was taken on as a third year apprentice. We were ecstatic. We signed the training contract and started off with high hopes.

In September we got a letter saying the apprenticeship had been processed but I noticed it stated Hunna's completion date as December 2013.

We were both rope-able. Our new completion date had been moved from September to December because they had not back dated the three months.

So 3.5 years just turned into three months shy of four.

He was barely better off for doing a pre- apprenticeship.

However, competency based completion gave us hope we could finish even before 3.5 years.

At Hunnas new job he was told he would be paid overtime. We could finally afford to move out, things were looking up.

Hunna worked hard and at the end of November he had completed all his schooling.

He spoke to his Skilled Training Victoria assessor. The man said "it would make him look bad" if Kyle completed so soon.

He was told the relevant information would be compiled and sent off for assessment and processing in January.

On January 23rd the assessor sent off the information to be processed.

8 weeks later, Hunna called the STV guy when nothing had arrived in the mail.

On March 24th he called STV Ballarat and was told by a very rude lady " she had better things to do"

Even later he called another man who informed him everything had been sent to his employer "to save on postage" one envelope for Hunna and one for his Boss - containing his certificate three in construction and a letter.

Once this letter was signed and sent off Hunna would be a fully qualified carpenter. The Boss would hand over the certificate and we'd be free!

Hunna called his Boss. He avoided him. Things started to smell a little fishy. When he finally pinned his Boss down he was told " he should finish his time".

This is most definitely not what we wanted to hear. This is most definitely more about greed and saving money because he only has to pay him apprenticeship wages. Most definitely more about an industry mentality when it comes to apprenticeships.

Especially because he has been signed off in all aspects of his schooling.

Especially because an actual certificate, the one that means you are qualified and that STV is happy for you to be qualified, is just sitting on the Boss' desk somewhere. Collecting dust..

But since we have a contract until December, we can't do much about it.

So much for competency based completion....

So much for moving on from the horrible world of apprenticeships.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

& the absolute truth about seatbelts

Boy has this thing.

It's a very cute, very wise thing.

Whenever we get in the car he always, always reminds us to put our seat belts on.

In fact, wherever seat belts are provided. He MUST wear them. Think, stroller, aeroplane, car, high chair, roller coaster, $2.00 electric car outside supermarket, supermarket trolley ...

He insists, quite passionately. Like his little two, almost three, year old heart is big enough to take on big world problems insists - that we should belt up.

One day (AA - after accident) I sat him in his car seat and didn't put his seat belt on straight away because I was still packing things into the car and knew I'd be a while.

Every time I arrived back at the car he would yell out "Bastian seatbelt on" to which I would reply ok, I'll do it when I've finished packing the car. When I finally got to belt him up he looked at me and sighed. Like it was the worst 5 minutes of his life and he could've been severely injured from not wearing a seat belt in a stationary car that wasn't even running. Like, so glad you finally listened - worst mother ever.

Then when I got in the car and turned the engine on he sighed again "Mumma seatbelt on.....Gosh" before I'd even had a chance to put it on.

I think it is admirable he's taken up the cause for belting up. The only problem being. That the reason for his deep and unwavering belief has resulted from a rather unfortunate event.

( PA - Pre-Accident) One fine day we took a trip to the markets with Julia, afterwards we decided to grab a snack at our friendly neighbourhood 'lentil as anything' and took a trip over to Abbotsford Convent.

We were having a lovely time walking and talking. Boy got out of the stroller so we could explore up wide carpeted staircases and it was grand.

Until we decided to head back to the car. I hadn't put the safety rail on the stroller to begin with and I thought it was such a short trip back to the car I would just plonk Boy in the seat and save the hassle.

I forgot I was trying to be careful because Boy didn't have a belt on about 50 seconds after I plonked him in the stroller.

We crossed the road and went to get back onto the footpath on the other side, instead of slowing down and tipping the stroller backwards so the front wheels lift effortlessly up a step - like normal everyday parents do.. Sometimes I walk a little faster, just to see how good the suspension is on our amazingly overly expensive stroller, and Boy loves a good stroller coaster ride too....

Unless.. he doesn't have a belt on ...and the stroller doesn't make it up onto the footpath but stops and then his tiny little Boy body shoots off into the air with such force he doesn't have a chance to put his hands out and lands with a huge thwack on the bitumen .. Then he most definitely doesn't like a stroller coaster ride.

It's very hard being 2 and wanting comfort from a Mumma who you know has just caused your pain.

There was a little hesitation in forgiving me just enough to let me give him a cuddle...

And now you know why he looks at me like I'm about to cause a fatal accident by not putting his seat belt on while he's sitting in the supermarket trolley.

Funnily enough, he's also started telling me "Oh! careful"

.... and he insists that Hunna drives whenever he is with us...

I think I see a pattern....

{Above. Absolutely not driving because Boy insisted Hunna drive, and wearing seat belts of course}



Wednesday, April 17, 2013

& fridgey water.

The night before last I was getting frustrated again with the lid on the glass water bottle we use to store water in the fridge.

The wire keeps popping off and it takes four times as long to get myself a glass of water. I know what you're thinking. Worst .. bottle ...ever.. Right?

I dislike drinking tap water straight from the tap and insist on having a full bottle of cold water ready at all times.

( ok having a full bottle of cold water all the time is an ideal....think me screeching " if you use the last of the water fill it up and put it back in the fridge" twice a day.)

Anyway, this time I am frustrated with the cap of the bottle.

This is how the conversation went.

Me: " Hunna, why can't we just take the lid off this, it will make life so much easier"

Hunna: " The water will taste fridgey, water is like bananas.. It tastes like whatever its been next to if it doesn't have a lid on it"

( so, personally I've never tasted a banana that doesn't taste like a banana because technically bananas do have lids, its called a skin..

but chocolate that has been sitting next to onions in the cupboard is a different matter-

{ I hear you ask why a block of chocolate was in with the onions..I might've hidden it there because I didn't want to share..}

anyway, it tasted like onion so I've learnt my lesson... ... I hide it in with my food storage now.)

Me: Um..OK

( feeling doubtlful this is true but knowing if I just take the lids off he will complain forever that it tastes 'fridgey')

Me: Let's have a test, we have two bottles, I'll leave the lid off this one, and keep the lid on this one. When we get back from your parents we will have a blind taste test.

( 5 hours later, we get home and I pour the water into two separate glasses while he isn't looking )

Me: Ok. Which one tastes fridgey?

Hunna actually smells the water.. Yes, he actually smells it... ( I'm pointing this out because in my mind water does not smell) and then takes a sip from each glass.

Me: so does one taste funny?

Hunna: The left one.

Then Hunna does the same for me.

Admittedly I smell each one too. I don't know why. Water does not smell..

I take a sip from each glass and declare the right one to be the one that had the lid left off.

Turns out we were both wrong.

Needless to say, the lids came off both the bottles, although Hunna did insist "the water might not have been in long enough to go fridgey"

But I still don't believe him.


** add on:

Hunna said he said it was lemons not bananas. But who has ever eaten a lemon to know it doesn't taste lemony. This is even more unbelievable to me than bananas .. And lemons have skin lids too.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

The full and unabridged story of how we lost, more than once. Part #1°

It's not always about winning.

Disappointments are a part of life.

Be patient. It will happen eventually.

You are already blessed with so much.

These are the things that keep rolling around in my head. As I try to convince myself that the slighted feeling I have in the pit of my stomach has no place.

It's just that I .. we all, needed a WIN so badly.

Haven't we been patient enough? I'm going in circles. Here's how it goes.


A few months after we got married in 2009 Hunna decided he wanted to be a carpenter. We knew that while he was studying it would be financially difficult but we took the leap with faith that, in the end, we would be better off.

At the time a carpentry apprenticeship took 4 years to complete.

I was pregnant by the time he took a pre-apprenticeship at our local Tafe in Launceston.

The Pre- Apprenticeship would cut 6 months off his first year. Meaning he would now finish in 3.5 years.

After looking unsuccessfully for an apprenticeship in Launceston we decided we would have a better chance if we moved to Geelong where we could have the support of his family and where the housing market was booming in contrast to the Tasmanian market, which at the time, had begun to slow down.

I handed in my resignation at the disability support centre I had been working in at the end of November and two weeks later at 4 months pregnant we moved to Victoria.

Hunna took up a job as a labourer for his Dad, who owns a business, while we continued to look for employment for both him and I. We also moved in with his parents because we weren't financially able to support ourselves.

We promised ourselves that we would both have jobs soon enough and our accommodation was a short term fix.

What we found after applying for almost a hundred jobs meant we were up against it from
the beginning.

A stigma is attached to mature aged apprentices. One that means, due to the poor pay, they are more likely flake soon after starting an apprenticeship.

They also cost more to employ than apprentices under 25.

What I myself found, after the Christmas period, and now 5 months pregnant -was that nobody was willing to take on a pregnant employee. I received more than one rejection letter which stated it wouldn't be beneficial to hire me since I would be leaving/taking leave when the baby was born.

After nearly four months in Geelong, we were starting to loose hope when Hunna got a phone call from a guy who said " his résumé was the best by far " and that he was willing to give him a two week trial on apprenticeship wages so they could both be "sure" - before signing him up.

He said if Hunna stayed, he would back date the start date of his apprenticeship.

We were both ecstatic and he started his trial the following Monday, March the 28th.

That first week was a tough week. With a new physical vocation, Hunna came home with blisters on his fingers and fell exhausted into bed each night. But we had hope.

On the Friday, the guy shook his hand, said come back next week, and gave him just under $300 cash for his troubles.

I was shocked, Hunna had worked a 38 hour week. I knew the wages of apprentices weren't great, but I thought they were a little better than what he had been given.

On investigation -we had been underpaid.

Still, with the hope of a long wanted apprenticeship, Hunna went back the following week.

The next Friday the pay was a little better. The Boss agreed to sign him up. He even offered to pay him above average wage because at the time the Government had an incentive for employees with mature aged apprentices.

They would pay the employee more to pay the mature aged apprentice more.

We thought we had made it.

Unfortunately while all the contracts were being signed the Boss decided it wasn't financially beneficial enough for him to pay Hunna more. So he reneged the contract stating Hunna would be paid $17.30 an hour.

Instead he would be paid minimum wage and the Government would send the extra support payments of $150 a week to us (this was a new incentive for mature aged apprentices) It wasn't as good a deal for us and the support payments only lasted two years. But, after making various phone calls, there was nothing we could do.

We knew it had taken us this long to find employment and we really wanted to move out. So we took solace in the fact we would at least get government assistance for his apprenticeship. We could apply for various centrelink allowances and once the dust had settled we could move out.

We later found out, because Kyle was getting the weekly mature aged bonus and still working Saturdays with his Dad to beef up our income, we weren't eligible for AUS study.

We were therefor ineligible for a healthcare card and rent assistance ( because we lived with his parents)

The lady sat across from me at the centrelink office and told me if we stopped the Saturday work we could be eligible for AUS Study, I asked her how much it would be. She said it would be a reduced payment because of our earnings and would only amount to $39 extra a week.

It wasn't worth the bother. As Hunna was paid a decent wage on Saturdays by his Dad, that was worth three times as much.

We looked at our finances and realised that we couldn't afford to move out.

On Friday May 14th I went into labour. Kyle called in and said he wouldn't be coming in to work. Boy was born later that day. We had the weekend in the hospital. Hunna took Monday off to bring us both home. He returned to work on the Tuesday.

We just couldn't afford any more time off.

Hunna would work overtime almost every day but because the Boss was classified as a particular business and under a certain number of employees he didn't need to pay us overtime.

Instead the over time was converted to time off. Which could be cashed in as a lump sum as he progressed through his schooling if he decided not to take the time off.

What we weren't told was that a first year apprentices holidays aren't worth as much as a second or third years.

By the time Kyle turned third year, he had been forced to work in inclement weather - come home cold and near hypothermic, he had been belittled -called horrendous names, told he cost too much as a mature aged apprentice and been left unsupervised on sites illegally.

By April last year his Boss had slowly been letting people go.

We knew it would be Hunna's turn soon, he had been letting people go under the premise he was running out of work, a stipulation which makes it much easier to sever the contract.

We knew, however, from his past comments. He 'made more money when I only had one apprentice'.

By the time it was our turn we believed we had quite a few hours of holiday pay to cash in. We thought we could live off it while Hunna found a new apprenticeship somewhere else.

When we cashed it in, all the overtime Hunna had worked in two years was worth little more than $100.

Because by then he was a third year and his holidays from first and second year had been compacted.

If we'd have known he would've just taken the time off each year before he completed and moved up.

His Boss had duped us again.


N.b: if I am wrong about anything it's because nobody has ever sat us down and explained anything legally about apprenticeships and contracts and clauses without their own agenda being in play.

So all the information I have is from what I have researched on my own about each situation.

Think typing " Why doesn't my boss have to pay me overtime" into google.

Pretty sad, I know.

Friday, April 05, 2013

& something for cheese.

{n.b: the heading -- the baby is called Baby Bell, Babybel is a cheese. So I suppose that makes Collette & Hayden wine ( non alcoholic of course ) or crackers.. they could definitely be crackers }

Collette is having a baby. Simone & I are organising the shower.

The baby shower. (Although if you look at this picture quickly it looks like it says " Shower with Collette" ... but I assure you. It's a baby shower, not a communal shower party.( because that would be weird )

So here is what we have come up with after a lengthy text conversation...


Me: Righto. I can make a text invite if you like, to make it easier.

Simone: what's that?

Me: Like this... But better..

Me: it's a text vite so you just text it to everyone invited or email it or FB message it etc..

Simone: oh sweet that is cool as!

Me: Pretty Much, it's how we Gen Ys invite these days. ( pretending I'm cool)

Simone: My era has been renamed Gen B apparently. Breeding, Broke and um can't remember the last B lol.

Me: Breeding, Broke and Bereft of Memory.


( O.K .. so here is where we go off topic, but we did come back on point .. eventually, to organise who was delegated to decorations, food and games. )

So as you might've guessed. I got decorations. ( and invites ) which is good since I have to fly down for the shower. So I can post it all down ( can't exactly post food ) and because I always get that job ( because I like that job)

But I also thought, since Collette has a lot of hand me downs from Simone and I , that we should make a gift registry so people know what to get ( since she has a lot of some things and nothing of others )

So I chose a theme which is literally a baby shower ( see inspiration here ) and started on the invites and the registry.

Collette specified that she didn't want a lock in registry but more a list of ideas. Considering whenever you have a baby shower you usually get a bazillion people asking what you need I thought I'd do a website and put it on the invites ( problem solved) and to save on doubling up make it into a loose registry ( problem #2 solved )

Here is what I've come up with so far...

It has also sort of turned into my ultimate list of baby stuff.. (Not that we are having another baby anytime soon) but still.. a girl can dream....for her sister.

But if you were thinking of giving me a present to say thank you a Pink Cheek Studios mobile wouldn't go astray.. Just saying.
And here's the outline for the digital invite. Neat huh?

See you at the shower! 
( but not in the shower.. Unless you're Hunna, and then you are very welcome)

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

& an unplanned adventure.

I cannot believe it has been a whole week all ready. I can't believe Easter has come and gone..


We decided to go on a camping holiday for the long weekend. 4 days of relaxation.

Usually when we go on holidays ( being the list writer I am) I love planning every little skerrick of every moment but this time we set out without a destination and a tank full of petrol to just enjoy a road trip together.


It ended up being a fantastic Easter weekend - fantastic in that is was very relaxing. Unfantasic in that I am always a human hotdog for mosquitoes whenever we go camping.

Also, I got a mosquito bite on the bottom of my foot. Worst. Place. Ever.

So on Friday morning we packed the car up and started out on our adventure.

We just kept driving and driving and singing and eating and...well..

We made it to Mildura.

Lucky I had packed enough to feed an army for the whole weekend. Unluckily I had forgotten to pack socks. So thongs is was ( the shoe thong not the underwear thong, just in case you're American -- I always feel uncomfortable writing thongs now that I know it's not generally a word everyone relates to foot wear) and our little tootsie toes froze in the barely warm 24 degree celsius air all weekend.

(*side note: if you're Tasmanian 24 is a nice mild day and I can imagine you wouldn't mind wearing thongs or even t-shirts in that sorta weather.

Considering I am Tasmanian, and I was freezing in the 24 degree temp, I think I have now offically acclimatised and crossed to the dark side.

Now I will be known as a Victorian. It's been 4 years coming.. But.. When a girls teeth chatter at 24 she's turned mainlander.)

Talking about 24, I am very excited to be surprised later this year for my 25th with a big fat surprise party with all my wonderful friends and family which my loving Hunna ( I'm sure ) has all ready started to organise. *cough, hint* SURPRISE

Anyway .. Camping.

We were camping, I got bitten, we ate delicious camping food and delicious not camping take out.


I didn't shower for three whole days and when we got to Mildura we spent a whole $9 on going to the pool just so we could shower ourselves ( after a swim of course ) .. Best $9 I ever spent.

And then we trailed into S.A to come down their side of the border, we had a little car trouble around Pinaroo and I reminisced of the time we stayed in the local Pub on a trip home from Adelaide three years ago. ( Think curly hairs from strangers groins on pillows instead of neatly placed chocolates. ) and we arrived to catch the sunset in Mount Gambier on Sunday night.


All along the way we played the best game with Boy, where we stopped at every playground/park he pointed out. This turned into literally stopping at every park along the way. ( He can smell a park a mile off) But whose counting the 27 park slides and 52 park swings we encountered? Not me! That would be crazy.. ( I just made those numbers up because it would actually be crazy to count all the slides and swings along the way.)

So it was decidedly the best unplanned - mildly planned- adventure I've ever had.

Three tanks of petrol and 35 parks ( yeah I just made that up too.. it was just alot of parks, o.k ) later we arrived back for Monday Roast at the Shire.


some things

( inspired by this )

Something I did:

I read a book. From start to finish. In two days. It was bliss.

Something I thought:

Somewhere near Berri I was thinking ' this is the stuff that makes memories ' as I gazed over to Boy in his seat, and then the dog started drooling everywhere and I was jolted out of my epiphany.

Something I saw:

A carpet of cockatoos covering an entire field ( it was a small field... ... Or they were super large cockatoos..)

Something I learnt:

Sometimes you don't need to plan to create an adventure.