Archive | June, 2012

How the Health Rebate Changes Could Affect You

29 Jun

Since June 30th is the last day of the financial year, I thought it might be interesting to get a little more educated about health insurance. Don’t forget, you have to pay lifetime loading if you don’t have hospital cover by the 1st of July after your 31st birthday.

There has been a lot of talk recently about the changes being made in the rebate system for private

health insurance. The government claims it is being rolled out to help those in more impoverished
situations and hindering the amount of help given to those earning over higher thresholds. But are
the changes really representative the needs and situations of all involved?

Photo courtesy of Tax Credits http://www.flickr.com/photos/76657755@N04/

A lot of people, married people and families in particular, will not see any effect on their rebate
which will remain at 30% of their total household income is under $168,000 per year, adding $1.500
for each dependent child.

If you a single earner, your threshold is up to $84,000 per year before you see a decrease to 20%
rebate and up to $97,000 before you see a decrease down to just 10% and those earning over
$130,000 will not see any health insurance rebate at all.

With this, it seems that a lot of people are seeing health insurance as a luxury they can no longer
afford, especially if they are just on the wrong side of a threshold. It doesn’t help that the health
insurance industry makes it hard for people to understand exactly what they are signing up for and
how to understand the difference between different policies.

Online companies such as Choosi can make the process a lot simpler and you may find you don’t
have to give up your insurance entirely. It has been shown that up to $1500 could be saved if you
compare health insurance online. By simply having more information on your options, down grading
your policy couldn’t be easier. Cutting down on the premium insurance policies and getting right
down to the bones of health insurance along with choosing a much cheaper company can see your
health insurance bills plummet.

Don’t make the mistake that many people do by renewing with your current company; there
could be so many better deals out there. You should shop around every year to make sure you are
not losing out on money, this is even more important if you are losing out on government rebate
funds. Up to 80% of people would rather renew with their company than shop around, this goes
for everything, from life insurance to car insurance, but can you really afford to be as idle with the
added costs this year?

Review what the extras are that you think you might not need, look at your age and your status in
life, consider your life style and your family history and skim down your policy wherever possible. If
you don’t have private insurance the surcharge for Medicare has now gone up by 0.5% so holding on
to an insurance policy, no matter how skimmed down looks like the best thing to do.

*This post was written and sponsored by Choosi

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The cheekiness of Hannah

29 Jun

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…..” Aaron said in one long, long, long, long breath whilst playing with the kids the other night. Hannah tried too.

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa.”

She couldn’t go as long as Daddy.

“I can do it longer because I have bigger lungs than you do.” Aaron told her.

She looked at him without hesitation, a cheeky glint in her eye.

“Well my brains are bigger than yours Daddy!”

Emergency Inflatable Brain

How cheeky is she?!

She looks all sweet, but she’s quite cheeky!

Then yesterday, I was singing to her and Daniel. She loved it when I sang to her when she was little. Not so much anymore. Maybe now she realises that I actually suck at singing.

“Stop Mommy! Stop Singing!”

I ignored her. I don’t take demands from a 2 year old. If she’d said please, then I would have stopped.

She went to the couch and grabbed something.

She walked back over to me and pointed a TV remote at my head. Pushing a button repeatedly, she said “STOP STOP STOP!”

There was still no please, but I did stop. I was laughing too much to keep singing.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Click ‘n Learn Remote

“Are we there yet?” Hannah asked me on our drive to kindy gym.

“Not yet sweetie.”

“Are we there now?”

“Not yet.”

“Now?”

“No.”

“Now?”

“No. Please stop asking if we are there yet.”

She stopped for about 2 seconds.

“Are we almost there yet?”

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Getting Personal

28 Jun

My cheeky little girl is going to be 3 in 1 week. ONE WEEK! Oh my gosh, where did that time go? Looking back on photos of her from this time last year, the difference is amazing. Last year she looked so little, so baby-ish.

Hannah gardening at 22 months

This year, she looks like a proper little girl. The chubbiness is gone. Her hair is really long. She can colour between the lines.

Putting on make up at 2 years and 10 months

I’m still crossing my fingers that she’ll poop on the toilet when she’s three.

Sigh.

It’s hard shopping for birthday presents for her when 1) she is there with me and sees what I’m buying 2) The shops are filled with everyone and their mother trying to get deals from the toy sales, and 3) Daniel is sitting in the trolley throwing himself backwards in the baby seat and then trying to climb out because he’s bored of all the shopping.

Maybe Hannah would like this?

Of course she would. She loves Peppa Pig. We actually bought her a plush Peppa Pig doll for her birthday, but then showed it to her as a bribe for pooping in the toilet. It didn’t work. Sigh.

If you’re in the U.K., you can shop easily, at any hour, from the comfort of your own home. Getting Personal has personalised gifts for adults, kids, weddings, birthdays, etc. There are heaps of gifts!

I’d quite like this, thanks:

*This post was sponsored by Getting Personal, an online personalised gift company in the U.K.

Seriously though, I would like my own star 🙂

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Go hungry

25 Jun

Poor Aaron. For the last 3 weekends, I’ve left him with the kids, and gone out by myself. First I took photos of a wedding. The next weekend, I did some volunteering stuff, and this weekend, I went to the Good Food and Wine Show in Sydney. I’ll be honest, I’d never actually heard of the Good Food and Wine show before this year. Yes, I live under a rock. Whatever.

Now I watch Masterchef Australia all the time (It’s slightly addictive. I’m actually watching it right now, as I write this. If a sentence suddenly stops making sense, it’s probably because my eyes are watching the tv and my mind is busy hoping that Amina won’t get eliminated) and happened to see an ad for the Good Food and Wine Show.

Shortly after, I was offered a free ticket from the good folks at Chobani (the top selling yogurt in the U.S., which has now come to Australia). I was sent some of their yogurt to review a few weeks ago, along with the Good Food and Wine show ticket. Score! The yogurt is DELICIOUS! And it has no added crap, lots of protein, and is thick and yummy. You can read my review of it here .

I wrangled my foodie exchange sister Lauren (whom you may remember from our Amazing Race Australia audition video) to go with me so I didn’t have to look like a loser walking around all by myself.

I didn’t really know what to expect.

As soon as we walked in the door, we spotted the Chobani Yogurt booth. They were giving away full servings of yogurt. None of this tiny-little-sample-cup stuff like all the other booths. Yuuuummmmmm…..

The Chobani stand. I only brought my crappy little point and shoot and there were people everywhere, so it was hard to get a photo. Hence why this one sucks.

Basically, the Good Food and Wine show is full of booths selling all things food and wine, giving out brochures of their stuff, and giving away delicious free samples. And some not so delicious. Like coconut water. I’d never tried it before, but my goodness, it tasted pretty much like sweaty socks. Not that I’ve ever eaten sweaty socks (in case you were wondering).

I ate a burrito before riding the train (and bus, there was track work that day) to Sydney for the show. Had I known there would be so many samples, I probably would have had a lighter lunch. Or not. I can always eat (not that you’d know that by looking at me).

Me drinking a smoothie sample. YUM!

It was great to hang out with Lauren, eat lots of free food, have some time away from the kids, and actually have time to do some reading (on the bus and train).

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A story about stretch marks

22 Jun

I was really lucky, I didn’t really get stretch marks when I was pregnant. Well, I got some on my butt, but I’m pretty sure they are gone now. Maybe. I can’t see them, so they don’t really bother me. I have one little tiny stretch mark on my stomach, just under my belly button from the rambunctious, posterior Daniel.

People generally don’t like stretch marks. They don’t want them. They hate them when they have them. At least that’s what I though. Until I read this story (by Amy Neff, writer of The Neff Family Blog):

Age: 28
~Number of pregnancies and births: 2
~The age of your children, or how far postpartum you are: Baby #1: 2 years. Baby #2: 6 months

Here I am. Almost six months after the birth of my second daughter. Complete with stretch marks, sagging skin, extra weight, and everything just…misplaced, for lack of a better word.

I had two babies in less than two years, my second being rather large. To say I got stretch marks is an understatement. I have been drenched in stretch marks! I remember when I was pregnant with my first daughter and the stretch marks starting popping up and the weight piled on. As ashamed as I almost am to admit this, I was sad and upset. I remember crying as I was trying on maternity clothes, thinking about how my body would never be the same. By the end of the pregnancy my entire abdomen, hips and thighs were covered in stretch marks despite every effort by me, covering myself in every cream and body lotion I could find. Nothing worked. I was just predisposed to get these things. By the time my second daughter came along the stretch marks had faded. But she, being her strong-willed and determined self, added her own marks. While my first daughter decorated my stomach (now nicknamed her “old apartment” by my husband) with mostly vertical stripes, my second was much more creative. She added horizontal lines, squiggly lines, and extended the vertical ones even higher. She was much larger than my first daughter, so the saggy skin was greatly intensified. I would look in the mirror at my post baby body and cringe. I would think, how on Earth could my husband EVER find this attractive?!! But, oddly enough, he somehow does.

Something happened recently that has entirely changed my outlook on my body, my flaws, and my “ruined” abdomen. This story is very sad, but I wanted to share it because it was been so inspirational to me.

On Christmas Eve, 2010 my twin sister found out that she was pregnant. I remember her calling me just minutes after the two lines appeared on the pregnancy test. She was excited, and scared, and a little in shock, as most newly pregnant women are. Her pregnancy progressed well. Everything was fine and uneventful. I remember the day that she got her first stretch mark. She called to tell me about it, and she was EXCITED! She was actually HAPPY about it! She said that that stretch mark showed that her baby was growing. That was the most important thing to her. She was not upset in the least. She was thrilled that her pregnancy was progressing, and that her baby was getting bigger. She had been having premonitions that something wasn’t quite right, and that her baby wasn’t big enough. Everyone, her doctors included, assured her that everything was fine. To her, that stretch mark was just more reassurance that her baby was, in fact, growing.

Tragically and suddenly, at almost 37 weeks pregnant, my sister lost her baby. The details are incredibly sad, so I won’t share them all. She had to deliver her baby and say goodbye. It was, without a doubt, one of hardest things I can ever imagine someone having to go through. After she had been released from the hospital and was sent home, she was telling me how her abdomen had shrunk down so much. How strange that felt…that her pregnant belly was gone, and she was left feeling completely empty. She said that she still had just that one stretch mark. I asked her if it was hard for her to have to see it. She said no. She said that her one stretch mark would always be proof that her baby existed. Those words stuck with me, and will stay with me forever.

Now I look at my stretch marks and saggy, floppy skin quite a bit differently. I was BLESSED with the opportunity to carry my babies full term. I had healthy, full term pregnancies, and I was rewarded with two big babies. Sadly, so many women aren’t this fortunate, which I’ve now seen firsthand. I’ve realized that the sacrifice of my more youthful and skinnier body has been more than worth it.

My sister’s pregnancy was the only time she was given with her baby. I know that she will remember and truly cherish the memories of every kick, every hiccup, every elbow jab. Now I feel that because I was lucky enough to bring my babies home, feed my babies, cuddle with my babies, and raise my babies, the last thing I should do is complain about my less than perfect mid-section.

When I look in the mirror now, do I think my body is pretty, or attractive? No, definitely not. But this body has been through a lot in the past two and half years. Two births in 23 months, a combined weight gain of over 70 lbs, 18+ months of breastfeeding. It takes its toll, and I am grateful for all of it. I’m PROUD of what my body has done and, most importantly, what it has given me. My pregnancies were, by far, the most exciting times of my life. I often miss the moments of pure excitement and anticipation. I miss rubbing my pregnant belly, and bonding with my baby before she was even born. Both pregnancies were such specials times that I will always look back on with so much fondness.

My little niece, who I was never lucky enough to meet, and my incredibly amazing sister have taught me so much and inspired so many, and I wanted to share this story with you. These stretch marks are here to stay, and that’s fine with me.

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Fuzz in the bathroom

21 Jun

Our bathroom is disgusting. There is mold everywhere. We have to keep the window open to let all the steam out when we shower. Everything is always damp in there. Why? because the exhaust fan is broken. Sigh. It’s been broken for..wait for it… SEVEN MONTHS!.

Yeah, I’m serious. 7 months. I let the real estate agent know straight away.

Nothing happened. But it was summer, so it didn’t really matter.

Now it’s winter. It’s cold. Really cold. You may have delusions of Australia being hot all the time (I know I did before I came here!), but it’s not. At the moment, (and it’s not even the hight of winter yet), it gets down to 5 degrees (41 F) at night where I live. Sometimes it’s cold enough to leave frost on the ground.

Last month, I sent an email to the real estate agent in attempt to prompt the fixing of the fan:

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Ok, thanks for that.  Here’s the email:

Hi Taryn,

I would really appreciate it if someone could come and fix the fan in the bathroom. We have to shower and bathe the kids with the window open to avoid excess moisture and it’s getting way too cold for that now. Also, the tap that turns the toilet on and off is leaking a lot and keeps getting worse, and the cupboard in the kitchen needs to be put back on so Daniel doesn’t break our dishes and hurt himself.
Thanks,
Sheri
The owner came and fixed the toilet. He completely ignored the cupboard issue (we’ve had to use the side of a play pen to block the kitchen from a curious Daniel), and said he’d send someone around about the fan. I’m still waiting.
So last week I sent another email:

Hi Taryn,

Can you please get someone to come and fix the fan in the bathroom? It’s starting to get quite mouldy, we have to shower with the window wide open, which is freezing cold, and nothing ever gets dry in there.
Please call me before someone comes to make sure I am home. We do go out every single day (can’t keep 2 kids cooped up in a little apartment all day!), so arrangements need to be made in advance.
Thanks,
Sheri
I put in the bit about calling first as the owner has a tendency to just show up when stuff needs fixing. Last time he came to fix the toilet, Hannah was in the bathtub at the time. I was sick and lying on the couch in my bathrobe, unshowered and miserable. Daniel was asleep, and Aaron was watching Hannah. So annoying! Seriously, is a phone call so hard? I didn’t receive a reply at all. Or a phone call. Or snail mail.
So I sent another one. I thought maybe if they could walk a mile in my shoes, it might help a little bit. I put spaces in between all these paragraphs, but for some reason, they are not showing up in the post. So sorry, but this is going to look a little weird:

Hi Taryn,

Just wondering if anyone has been booked to fix the broken exhaust fan in my bathroom.
I know the owners are aware of the issue, since they’ve been here to fix the leaky toilet and told me they’d send someone to look at it. Maybe they just need a bit more reminding….
A little fan in the bathroom may not seem like such a big deal, but it really is:
Walking in the bathroom, I’m hit by the smell first. It’s got that weird it’s-too-damp-in-here-and-stuff-is-probably-growing funk. Ick. No, I lie. First I’m hit with the cold. It’s so cold in there. Since the exhaust fan doesn’t work, we have to keep the window open. All. The. Time. Sigh.
When I have a shower, any part of me that is not being hit with water at any given moment is freezing. It would help, of course, if I could close the shower curtain all the way around the tub, but I can’t.
Daniel is in the bathroom with me. I can’t let him crawl around the bathroom whilst I shower because he has a tendency to shove his chubby baby fingers in Hannah’s potty. Sometimes he even tries to eat it. If I take her potty away, he’s not fussed. He just moves on to the toilet. He pulls the lid up as far as he can and shoves his entire arm in. Sigh.
I strap him in his highchair and give him some toast and toys. I have to leave the shower curtain open far enough so I can play peek-a-boo with him at regular intervals, but shut far enough so that no water sprays out.
“Peek-a-boo!” I peek beyond the curtain. But where is Daniel? I can’t see him. I know he’s there, but I can’t see him through all the darn steam that the broken fan is not sucking up!
I’m sure anyone who walks by thinks I’m a nutbag showering with the window open and saying boo all the time. Whatever.
As I get out of the shower, I immediately get goosebumps. Did I mention it’s ridiculously cold in there?
Everything is wet. The floor is wet from all the steam. The ceiling. The walls. All the stuff in the medicine cabinet. The ceiling has proper droplets on it. I’m kind of afraid they will fall on my head or in my eye or something. There are some little yellowy bits on the ceiling. I think all the moisture is starting to form stalactites. Or maybe stalagmites. Which ever ones are on the ceiling and not the floor.
I open the mirrored cabinet to get my moisturiser and deodorant as I stand there wrapped in a towel, Daniel whinging at me to pick him up, and freezing my butt off.
There is mold growing on the bottles of stuff in the cabinet. Ick. Yes, Ick.
The walls are a grotesque shade of greenish-black. They are supposed to be white. We can scrub them, but the mold just comes back. It’s always damp in there (because the fan doesn’t work!)
In the evening, I give the kids a bath. They whinge as I undress them because it’s so cold in there. I’ve shut the window, but it was open all day, so it’s still freezing. Everything is still wet.
As I fill the bath, Daniel grabs the shower curtain. Like everything, he shoves it in his mouth. I quickly take it away and throw it up over the curtain rod because IT’S COVERED IN MOLD! Despite the fact that I washed it just last week.
While they are bathing, grabs her brush and scratches the once white grout in between the tiles with it. “Mommy, I’m cleaning!” She tells me. Ick. I scrub those tiles every single week, but the mold never comes off.
Despite leaving the window open to get some air in the bathroom, and let the steam out, the damp never goes away. It is always damp in there. 24/7. The steam from the shower adds to the dampness every day.
I’m sure the ceiling and walls are going to get stained.
We lived here last winter when the fan was working. We didn’t have this problem. The fan sucked up all the steam. There wasn’t any mold on the walls. The shower curtain didn’t get any mold. There were no droplets on the ceiling, threatening to freak me out by landing on my head. We didn’t have to freeze every time we had a shower.
We first raised the issue of the the ceiling fan making train-like noises until it kicked the bucket in November. 7 months ago.
As you can see, a little exhaust fan is a big deal, and we would love to have it fixed.
Thanks,
Sheri
I wanted to include some photos of the bathroom in the email, but Aaron actually cleaned up all the mold over the weekend. Now it looks spick and span. Not that I was going to tell them that. And I didn’t think to take a picture before he cleaned it all up. Sigh.
And wouldn’t you know it, I got a phone call from an electrician the very next day, wanting to work out a time he can come to fix it. The real estate agent doesn’t know I’m a blogger (as far as I know, unless she’s stalked me on google), so I’m pretty sure she just thinks I’m a little crazy after that email. Meh. I don’t care, because the fan is finally getting fixed!!!!
She still didn’t reply to my email at all. Is that rude? I think it’s rude. I mean a quick little “I’m sorry it’s taken so long, I’ve spoken to an electrician and we’re going to get this taken care of asap” would have been nice. Sigh.
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I don’t need you

18 Jun

“Mommy, can I make my own lunch today?” Hannah asked me.

“It depends on what you make.”

“Can you open the fridge for me Mommy?”

I opened the fridge. She did her little nanny goat/whole face smile/shuddering thing she does when excited.

“Hmmm….I’ll have…a little cucumber…some yogurt…some jam…a banana…” She rifled through the fridge, gathering her supplies.

She shoved one of her plastic play knives in the jam and spread it on a piece of bread.

She put the banana and cucumber on her plate and spooned some yogurt into a little take and toss bowl.

I carried it to the table for her.

“Wow, you’re such a big girl! You made your lunch all by yourself!”

“I don’t need you anymore Mommy.”

Sigh.

And then she dumped all the yogurt on the bread, squished the banana on top, took a bite of the cucumber and told me she was all finished. Double sigh.

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One of those mornings…

14 Jun

The front doors on all of the apartments in our block are a bit ridiculous. You have to either turn the handle all the way and shut them unlocked, or slam them as hard as you can. Most people choose the latter option. Which is fine.

Except at 5:45 AM!!!!!! Sigh. Seriously people, turn the handle, shut door, then use keys to lock. It’s not that hard. Slamming it shut is so loud. It woke me up. It woke Daniel up. Daniel then woke Hannah up.

I went in their room and Hannah looked like she’d just run a marathon, stuck her finger in a light socket, fell asleep, and then was startled to only half awake.

She was so sleepy. And whingey. Sigh.

I cuddle Hannah, but Daniel wants some attention too and attempts to climb up my leg.

“Ouch Daniel! No biting!”

He bit my leg. Sigh. He’s a biter. Yesterday he bit the back of my leg. My upper leg. Have you ever been bit there? It HURTS. Cheeky boy.

We all ate breakfast, put away the kids clothes that I folded last night (in addition to the other 9 loads I also folded. Sigh.), got Hannah’s lunch ready, clothes on, etc.

Today is Thursday. Hannah’s daycare day. My one and only day to work. And by work, I mean write.

I buckled them in their car seats. Daniel is facing forward now. He’s such a big boy!

I put the key in the ignition. Turn it.

I hear clunky noises and all the lights on the dashboard are going mental.

The car won’t start. Sigh.

The smash repairers had the car for FOUR WEEKS and it doesn’t even last 2 weeks? I’m not gonna lie, I was cranky.

This took 4 weeks to repair

Related post: The Wrecked Wrexy

“I’ll have to call someone Hannah, the car won’t start. We might have to walk to daycare.” But I didn’t think we’d have time. It was almost 9 and they go to play session on Thursday’s. They leave at 9:30. And daycare is 2.5kms away. I can walk it in 30 minutes, I have before, but I would need to get the pram out of the boot, put warmer clothes on Daniel, and change my shoes. Not enough time.

Luckily Mel (Hannah’s Family Daycare provider. I would love to provide a link to her website, but I don’t want random internet people who may or may not be dodgy to know where my child goes to daycare) said she’d pick Hannah up on the way to Playsession. Awesome.

I left a message with the NRMA repair centre, who told me when I picked up the car to let them know if there were any problems. Did I mention they never bother to call back, and never bother to pick up the phone? Great, this had to happen today. Sigh. Better than tomorrow I suppose.

Tomorrow I’m supposed to go to a film studio so I can be recorded talking about some stuff for some things. I don’t know I’m allowed to talk about it yet, so I won’t give you any details.

Freaking out a little, I messaged the studio with a long-winded explanation about the stupid smash repairer not fixing the car properly, and the likely hood that I won’t have a car tomorrow to drive to the studio.  Just wanted to give them the heads up. I’m not one of those last minute people if I can help it.

There was no hope of the NRMA calling back. So I called Subaru Assist. Which just so happened to come free until 2013 with purchase of the car. Sweet.

When we first got the car. Yes, I was molesting the car for the photo. No, it wasn’t pre-owned, contrary to the wall behind me.

I explained that the car was recently in an accident only just got back from being repaired, and I don’t know what they did, but now the car won’t start.

“What does it do when you try to start it?” They asked me.

“It makes a lot of noise and the lights on the dashboard go crazy.”

“Sounds like a flat battery. It’s still under warranty, so it won’t cost you anything to replace.” Nice. Just what I like to hear. Especially since our every day bank account is looking very sad after paying the car insurance excess, going to Costco, and ordering too many board games on the internet.

Hmmm…but what caused the flat battery? The stupid smash repairer must have buggered up some wiring or something. It’s all too coincidental.

Subaru assist arrived within the hour. They replaced the battery with a heavy duty one that wouldn’t need any maintenance or water added to it.

Wait. What? I was supposed to be maintaining and adding water to my battery? You have to actually do stuff to your car battery? Hmm… Oops….

“So what caused the battery to die?” I asked them.

“Could be a light was left on. Could be age. Batteries just run out after a while, it’s normal. Nothing is wrong with the connections or anything.”

They were in and out of there in less than 10 minutes.

I drove the car back in the garage (they rolled it out) and had a lightbulb moment.

I’m constantly telling Hannah not to turn on the dome light over the back seat when she climbs in the car and into her car seat. She must have slipped one past me.

I looked up, and there it was. The source of the flat battery. That darn light was in the on position. And stupid me didn’t even notice. Probably because the lights always come on when you open the door. They dim and then turn off in a little while, so I just didn’t notice that this particular light was going full blare. Sigh.

I guess it’s a good thing the NRMA doesn’t ever call back. I’d have to explain to them that I’m the stupid one. Not the smash repairer.

Yes, I am awesome. Sigh.

Oh, and then I had to message the film studio. “so…it was just the car battery…car is fine, I’ll see you tomorrow.” I’m sure they think very highly of me now. Oh well, we all know that I’m awkward.

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Copyright 2012 Sheri Thomson

Socially awkward

12 Jun

On the weekend, I did something I haven’t done in about 5 years. I was a wedding photographer. Don’t get all scared, I used to have my own photography business, so it’s not like I was some random person with a point and shoot charging some poor unsuspecting couple an arm and a leg to ruin their wedding photos. I do kinda know what I’m doing. Kinda. It’s been a while….And I didn’t charge an arm and a leg either.

The groom of this particular couple is actually the brother of the groom from the very first wedding I ever shot. They contacted me to see if I was still taking photos, and I said no. But that I would be happy to do it anyway. It just felt nice to still be remembered and recommended after all these years.

I got there at 9am. The groom filled me in a bit on how the day was going to go, what would be when, etc.

“So how much flash is too much?” I asked him. “I’m a little bit scared of using it now.” Yes, perfect. Great thing to tell a groom when he is about to get married.

“It’s really not that bad, just don’t flash it in her face a lot.”

The bride has epilepsy. I didn’t really want to be responsible for putting the bride into a fit while she was supposed to be saying I do.

Proceedings were supposed to start at 9:30, with candle lighting and so forth, and then the ceremony was scheduled for 10. In true wedding fashion, nothing happened on time, and after taking some pew decoration shots and the like, I stood around waiting. With all the other people who were doing various jobs. Like the sound guys. And father of the groom, who was also one of the ministers. The other minister was father of the bride.

I heard one of the other standers-around saying he was a photographer. He was talking about how much the company  he worked for charged clients for weddings, but that he got a good rate as the groom was family. I thought he too was a photographer at this wedding.

After taking some photos of father of the groom getting his ear piece microphone adjusted and put on (yeah, this church was high tech. Seriously, it was nuts. It  also had an indoor basketball court. I’m not even joking.), I awkwardly stood there for a bit, not knowing what to say. Then I mumbled something about talking to the other photographer about who will stand where when so we could get everything covered and not miss any good moments.

Father of the groom looked at me very strangely, didn’t really say anything, and then I awkwardly turned and went to speak to dude with camera.

“So you’re taking photos too?” I asked him.

“Kind of. I’ll be a little distracted. I have a newborn baby.”

“So you’re not taking photos of the wedding?”

“Just a little bit.”

“You’re not a photographer too?”

He looked at me weird. “No, no, you’re the only photographer, I won’t get in your way.”

“Oh, I just thought we could figure out who would be where when so they get the best photos.” He clearly thought I was annoyed at his having a camera. And confused by my questions. Sigh.

During the ceremony, my face went all funny from shutting just one eye to look through the viewfinder of my camera. It’s a job hazard you know. After a while, it started getting hard to shut my eye for any length of time. I.e. long enough to compose a photo properly.  Have you ever tried shutting just one eye for any length of time? It’s actually quite hard. My facial muscles are not down with such things.

Half way through the ceremony, I had to start using my other eye. But I’m not used to using that eye for looking through the view finder, so it took a bit of finagling to actually get the viewfinder in the right spot. I’m sure a least one person was watching me and wondering what the heck I was doing holding the camera up to my face and moving it around for a while like I was scratching an itch or something. Or maybe everyone was watching the wedding that happened to be taking place right then. Yes, that’s right, it’s not all about me….

Right after the ceremony, there was a morning tea reception. I took a bunch of posed extended family shots in the church while the guests enjoyed the morning tea, and then the bridal party was introduced and speeches commenced.

By that time, not only was my face twitching, but my wrist was getting quite sore too. Sure, it’s been like 5 months since I broke my wrist, but holding my digital SLR and pushing the shutter release button with that hand was not doing it any favours. I’d have to take some photos, then move my hand around. Take some photos, shake my hand. During speeches. Sigh.

My pants were a mile too long and too wide for me as well. But they were all I had. I haven’t needed business-y pants in over 3 years.

A few days ago, I clipped the nails on my left foot. They were getting way too long and annoying. But Daniel noticed me clipping my nails and he came over to see what was happening. He tried to steal the clippers, and then found my little pile of toenails (are you pulling a disgusted face right now? Yeah, I would be too, but you gotta put them somewhere while you’re clipping. Whatever.). I was only just fast enough to grab that little pile and dispose of it before he could get his chubby little fingers on them and then certainly try to eat them. He’s cheeky like that.

Point is, I only got one foot done. And then I never found the time to do the other one. The only shoes I had that were remotely reasonable to wear to a wedding were my black boots. The ones that are a bit too narrow for my duck feet (Thanks mom for those duck feet…). My feet were all squished up in there.

By the time speeches were taking place, my overgrown toe nails on one foot had started digging into the adjacent toes and making sores and blisters. The nail on my big toe was pressed up against the side of the boot and was getting quite painful.

So picture this: twitching face, camera moving all around my left eye as I tried to locate the viewfinder, flapping hand to relieve wrist pain, pant legs unfolding and going over my boots making me look ridiculous, pants falling down revealing my butt crack, half limping due to ridiculous toe nails and duck feet shoved into boots, AND tense body due to holding in a fart because I ate way too much of the junk food that was on offer for morning tea and I got a bit bloated. Sigh.

Ad: One Roll of Wedding Print Toilet Paper

After the formalities, I took photos of the food, people talking, etc. But the morning tea lasted ages, and I ran out of things and people to shoot. I sat there on a bench all by myself, staring into space with my ridiculous foot, twitching face, too long pants, held in fart, and exposed butt-crack.

I had nothing to do, nowhere to go, no one to talk to. Awkward.

A woman came up to me and asked me if I had everything I needed. I think she felt sorry for me. Or maybe she noticed my tense holding-in-a-fart face. She chatted for a bit and then made some excuses to skedaddle.

Then it was off to take the formal shots. I didn’t want to get lost, so I told the bride and groom I’d follow them. All was going well until about 100 meters after we got out of the parking lot. I had to wait for some cars to go by before I could get out. My GPS told me to turn. I couldn’t see the car I was supposed to be following until I got in the turn lane. There it was, not in the turn lane. Sigh. I couldn’t get back over, it was a really busy road and I was already past the line of cars waiting in the non-turn lane. Stupid GPS.

I got there eventually. After getting lost twice more. Luckily I decided (fine, my GPS did) to take an expensive toll road, which shaved some time off and I ended up pulling in just after the bridal party got out of their cars.

By that time we only had about 45 minutes of daylight left. Yes, I had 45 minutes to take all the formal shots which included 3 groomsmen, a junior groomsman, a 17-month old pageboy, 3 brides maids, a junior bridesmaid, and a flower girl. And the light was fading and I couldn’t use very much flash. Not to mention my foot and wrist issues.

“Say MONKEYS!!” I said all enthusiastically to the kids in vain attempt to induce smiling.

It didn’t work. I tried a few times. I didn’t have any toys to wave, or anything else to do. I didn’t have time to set up my tripod for every shot, attach a shutter release cable, and then do my crazy kid antics to get smiles.

So I said “Say monkeys!” many times.

“I don’t think they like saying monkeys.” Someone told me. Sigh.

The bride was fretting a bit. The train of her dress was starting to get a bit dirty. There were a few brownish-black marks on it.

“It’s ok, it happens to all brides. It’s just part of the day.” I told her. Seriously, it does.

I don’t think it helped.

I arranged the train of her dress for a photo.

“I think it’s poop on your dress. Yeah, it’s definitely bird poop.  Now it’s on my hand.” The bride gave me a horrified look.

Why did I say that? Yes, just what every bride wants to hear. Sigh. I’m so awkward.

If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… And if you are an email subscriber, clicks from your email don’t count.  If you would like to vote, please go to my blog and vote from there. THANKS!
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Copyright 2012 Sheri Thomson

An afternoon at home

10 Jun

“Mommy, I want to do craft!” Hannah told me.

“Hmmmm…Ok, if you sit up at the dining table, you can do some drawing.” I told her.

“I want to paste.” Sigh. There certainly won’t be any pasting at the table. I’d end up with a bunch of random, torn pieces of paper all stuck to the table.

“No sweetie, not at the table.”

“How about at my desk?” Cheeky little monkey, she always has a solution. But I can’t let her paste at her desk because Daniel is awake and he likes to eat everything he is not supposed to. Paper. Paste. Pens. Crayons. Stickers. Pencils. The list goes on. And Hannah’s desk is within his chubby little reach. Plus he stands at her desk, swiping all of her things while she’s trying to make stuff, and if I don’t let him swipe her things, he holds on to the desk, rocks himself back and forth like a madman, and makes obnoxious tantrum/whingey noises. Sometimes to the point of whacking his face on the desk. Or bathtub. Or whatever it is he may be tantruming on. Sigh.

I feel bad because I used to do craft with Hannah all the time. Before Daniel. Now it’s a bit hard.

I set her up at the table with her art supplies. Out of Daniel’s reach. She gets out her paint pens and gets her art on. Daniel is happily pushing a car around the living room floor on his hands and knees.

Painting at the table

I take the opportunity to make dinner. It’s hard to get time for that, without one whinging and the other attempting to climb up my leg whist whinging. Did I mention whinging?

Stir. Check on the kids. Chop some stuff. Check on the kids. Add to the pot. Check on the kids. Repeat.

Where’s Daniel? He isn’t pushing his car around. He isn’t getting into the drawer.

I look over towards the table. Hannah’s paint tubes are everywhere. Her hands look like half a dozen paint tubes vomited all over them. Paint tubes are all over the floor. And there is Daniel, sitting under the table eating a tube of paint. Cheeky boy.

His mouth is an interesting shade of blue. And sparkley. Luckily it’s non-toxic.

I get up to get some wipes.

As I kneel back down, he puts something questionable in his mouth. As I shove my fingers in his mouth in a vain attempt to retrieve the questionalbe item, he swallows it.  An old pea maybe? Lucky I vacuumed the day before. Can’t have been too old. I try to pick up all the food that falls on the floor when they eat, but the carpet is brown. It’s like camouflage.

I clean Daniel up and take Hannah to the bathroom to wash her hands.

Daniel follows us in, lightning fast, and shoves his hands in Hannah’s potty. He has an obsession with it. He leans over and to give it a chew. Ick. I leave Hannah standing on her monkey stool washing her hands while I pick Daniel up to avoid a probable e-coli infection.

I clean him up again.

Dinner time.

“I don’t want it.” Hannah says without trying it. She won’t even get in her chair. Like merely going near her wholegrain macaroni pasta bake with spinach, chicken, peas, corn, and carrots would give her leprosy (Aaron and I had it for dinner too. It was delicious by the way).

Daniel likes the pasta. He eats quite a lot. And then decides that he needs to sweep his tray clean with his arms. He puts his forearms on his tray and flaps them back and forth like windshield wipers on red cordial, knocking the rest of his food to the floor in an instant. Sigh.

He takes a drink of water from his sippy cup and then spits half of it back out. Just like he always does. Sigh.

I get a wipe and attempt to remove the food from all over his face.

He cries, turns his head from side to side remarkably fast, and grabs at the cloth with both hands. Apparently he likes having a face full of food.

Time for a bath.

Sassy Bathtime Pals Squirt and Float Toys

I get some wash cloths and turn the water on in the tub. I get Daniel in the bath and have to call for Hannah a million times before she comes.

Daniel thinks it’s great fun to shove his face in the water and eat bubbles. And drink the water. He coughs. Apparently it didn’t go down so well. But he does it repeatedly anyway. He finds it hilarious. I don’t, I sit there hoping he doesn’t actually inhale any of the water and drown, dreading every second.

After a while he gets a little too rambunctious and tries to stand up on the side of the slippery bath. I have a non-slip bath mat in there, but it doesn’t go right up the sides of the bath. Once (probably more than once), he hit his head on the side of the bath. He’s a bit wild like that. I sit him down, but he just gets back up again, shoves his face in the water, giggles, and then tries to climb the bath again. Time to get out….

Hannah refuses to dress herself even though she can. Instead she stands next to the change table and cries/whinges as I attempt to dry, moisturise, and nappy Daniel. Daniel is crying too. He hates getting dressed. He’s screaming and flailing and doing butt lifts, making it nearly impossible for me to get his nappy on.

I take him off the change table and try to put his clothes on. He turns into a giant pretzel, making it super hard to get his sleepy suit on. Hannah still refuses to clothe herself and is whinging in my ear the whole time.

When I finally get his clothes on, it’s Hannah’s turn.

I put her on the change table to put a nappy on for night time. Daniel pulls himself up on my pant leg, nearly pulling my pants down, looks at me with those big brown pick-me-up-please-mommy, googley eyes and cries when I don’t.

I get Hannah down from the change table and sit her on my lap to put her feet in her pant legs. Daniel thinks we’re having some sort of awesome fun piggy pile. He crawls over and excitedly stands up next to me, pulling Hannah’s hair and giggling whilst trying to get in my lap.

“NO DANIEL!” Hannah yells. Sigh.

Just a typical afternoon in the Thomson house.

If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… And if you are an email subscriber, clicks from your email don’t count.  If you would like to vote, please go to my blog and vote from there. THANKS!
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Copyright 2012 Sheri Thomson

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