Raising little Westies, and life as parent of a special needs son

Monthly Archives: September 2012

Road Tripped

Headin’ home. Picture thanks to my darling wife!

We’ve had the new car delivered. We’ve gone “Wow!” at the shiny newnessness of it all. It’s had its’ maiden voyage complete with children, and today, it had a peaceful, quiet, wonderful, blissful trip back home again, with the kids left behind at Nan and Pops house.
I love my kids. I can tell, by how wonderful it makes me feel to leave them with family!
Seriously, in small doses – all three for short amounts of time, or any one of them for quite long times – they are great. But all together, they gang up on us really quickly.

Which is why it’s so fantatstic that Bec’s mum is taking all three of the kids for a week. The emotional respite is as important as the phyiscal respite. Added to that, the respite from having to be phyiscally responsible for the safety of a child who is quite unreliable at respnding in any way to his own name, in any situation whatsoever.

Our trip home was fantastic. We could stop, with or without any discussion beforehand. We stopped for lunch, when we felt like it. We wandered around, and when we had enough of the shops, we left!

We didn’t head straight home. We stopped and at dinner, by wandering around Blacktown, and finding somewhere we felt like eating! It has to be at least ten times as hard to find a place for five people to eat, as it is to find a place for two people to eat.

By Tuesday, when I arrive in Canberra, my new car will have ticked over 1,000 km, and be ready for its’ first service – it will have been well and truly run-in. So far, it’s been fantastic. I hope it gives us a lot more happy family motoring, as well as reliable and economical “professional” motoring getting me between Sydney and Canberra, over the coming years.


From the football field, to life

Sydney Swans, AFL Premiers for 2012

Sport is a great metaphor for life, just as war is. My wife already discussed life through the lense of war, so I’ll think about sports on the day of the Grand Final for the Australian Football League.

What did the Swans and their opposition the Hawks teach us this year during the Grand Final?

  • There are many players. You can’t hate them you just have to work with them and the role they are playing.
  • Sometimes the playing field is not level. That might mean that sometimes you have an advantage, you need to look for that and play to it when it comes your way.
  • Everyone has a job to do. If you don’t do yours, you’re letting down yourself, your mates, and your supporters.
  • It’s not over – till you stop trying.
  • If you’ve stopped trying before it’s all over – if you start trying again, it’s still not over.
  • Keep your eyes on the prize and it might just come your way.
  • If your coach isn’t giving you the success you need, even after you give them several chances, it might be time for a new coach. Sorry, Roosey, that seems to be how life worked out for the Swans.

Well done to the Swans. Keep chipping away, you might share some success like they just did.

Just Tripping

Our trip from Westy Central to the North Coast, along with all the other Cashed Up Bogans, was chaotic. But we did arrive!


Just Tripping

Yesterday it was our turn to go on a road trip, so after much excitement and activity (i finished packing at midnight and still forgot my bloody jeans!) we loaded the medium sized red car, with our excessively loaded bags, gasped at how small the boot the car is in comparison to my trusty old ute, and headed off to take the kids to visit my parents in Wauchope. Just in case you are ever filled with a burning desire to visit a small, country town, twenty minutes from the beaches, i have p0rovided  the above link.

As Chook Whisperer is still seven, and according to our laws, he is still required to sit on a booster seat. In other cars, no problem, yet our Space cadet, aged ten found issue with this seating arrangement, particularly with Chook Whisperer sitting in the middle seat next to her.Let us…

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Some days are diamonds…

Some days are stones.
Today was more of a stone than a diamond, and if I could drop it and I’ve on as though it had never happened I think I would.
Here in New South Wales, we celebrate the success of the labour movement each year with a public holiday on the first Monday in October. That makes today the Friday of a long weekend, a great reason for a road trip in a brand new car. Which it just so happens I have – a cool looking red family wagon.

So Bec and I load up the wagon with the kids and luggage and hit the road North to her parents place. At about the se time that 40% of Sydneysiders are all also hitting the same road heading North out of Sydney, for the one long weekend of the school holidays, smack bang in the middle of the holiday.

A long road trip isn’t too bad.
A kid having a meltdown isn’t too bad.
Both at the same time though really pushes my buttons. I’m really glad Bec’s mum is the type of person we can leave these kids with for a week, and that on Sunday I won’t have the kids with me for the trip home to Sydney.

I am looking forward to being at the beach with my kids tomorrow though!

The new car!

The new car!

Wheels that Were

For a bit over the last year now, I’ve been driving a Holden Rodeo ute.

I bought it in a terrible hurry, without a great deal of planning. It was bought to do whatever I might need of a car in the twelve months after leaving one job and indeed it has managed that – although, it has given me a few issues.

I’m hoping that tomorrow will be my last long distance drive in it, as I return it one last time to my home in Sydney, where my new car is due to be delivered tomorrow.

There has been something great about driving what is probably the “gruntiest” car I have owned, ever. But I am looking forward to stepping back to a nimble, comparatively small car.

Transport Tuesday

Chafing at the bit…

Today I’m eagerly anticipating two days from now.

I have two firsts coming up this week: My first “brand new” car, and my first “financed” car. It will be a Hyundai i30 CW SX station wagon, for those who care about the specifics of these matters.

Up until now, all the cars I have owned in my life, I have pretty much paid cash-on-the-spot – although in this electronic financial age that has taken the form of “whack it on the credit card mate” more than a couple of times. However, up until now, that credit card was only a means of paying for the car, not funding the purchase – it has always been paid in full the month after.

I have to say. What a massive pain this whole finance deal has been! Ordering a car couldn’t have been easier. But the finance people, and their paperwork, which I was very careful to give them incredible lead times to sort out – well they left it till well after my first phone call, until they had less than one week to go, to start sending me the forms they must have before the car can be delivered.

Anyway. I am aiming to remain calm, and I am aiming to be home Thursday night, and I am aiming to drive my brand new car for the first time the day after it is delivered, to go and see my parents-in-law.

The cost of the Easy Way

When I left my life as a public servant, I had settled into a pretty comfortable work existence. I knew my way around my workplace, and how to make things happen the way I wanted them to happen.

I then moved onto a low stress job, all care no responsibility, where I quickly settled into a comfortable groove accepting the creature comforts, forming some casual friendships and establishing boundaries around what I was happy to do for the money that was in offer.

I am now working in Canberra, far from my own family for the working week, and initially I was happy to be a bit lazy and put my hand into my pocket to cover a great deal of creature comforts. This has recently triggered a bit of consideration. And that has lead me to cutting back significantly at a saving of something approaching $100 week.

The thing is, so far this has not particularly reduced my enjoyment of life. My coffee intake going from ten, to two coffees a working week, means I now enjoy those I have – rather than being a screaming mess absolutely needing that caffeine each day. I am still drinking two Cokes a day, but they have gone from large bottles to cans. I have also greatly reduced the never of takeaway meals I am buying, again leading me to actually enjoy the food rather than it just being “lunch”.

My sacrifices are adding up. All together, I would rather more holidays with my kids, over a coffee a day. $3.50 a day, $17.50 a week, $350 every six months. That’s just one coffee. Feel free to add $50 (generally more like $65) a week saved on lunches.

Not-quite-silent Sunday

Ready to head off to the pool

After the day we had yesterday, I thought it worthwhile trying to hit the pool again. As it turned out, Bec took Princess P off to the  shops. So I found myself with the two boys and most domestic duties complete “for the moment” (in a family of five that’s only ever a temporary situation).

Today we found there were no birthday parties booked. There was a minor incident when a lifeguard quite suddenly jumped into the pool with a “bomb” style dive to pull a spluttering toddler out of the pool. Which led to announcement after announcement of “if your child is under five years old and out of arms reach, you need to move closer.

What I had, was a great afternoon with my two boys, who had a blast on the water slide and in the kids pool. Magpie even swum a few laps of the big pool, and his strokes are improving every visit.


One way or another, on a day I thought I would be spending in the car I ended up spending my time between domesticity and relaxing at the swimming pool. It was at the local swimming pool that most BTB Fan had his biggest meltdown (in my presence) in quite some time. This meltdown sems to have carried over to some poor concentration on my behalf – shown by poor attention leading to me leaving my phone behind when dropping off a guest we took to the pool.

So what triggered the meltdown?

Our local pool is quite a good facility. There is an indoor sports centre where they play things such as indoor soccer, as well as several outdoor pools, and a collection of indoor pools.

One of the indoor pools also has a small water slide, which is open for intermittant periods. Which are not advertised in any way, nor announced. It is also used as a major part of selling “swimming pool birthday party” packages.

Today while we were at the pool, as happens regularly, there was a group having a birthday party. And at some stage, they used the water slide. Our son, of course, wanted to go on the slide. But as he was not a part of the birthday party, he was not able to use the slide.

He focussed on the water slide, and refused to be distracted by any alternative. Ultimatey, he had a meltdown, with Bec taking him off to the ladys changeroom to ride his meltdown out.

On the flipside. He is increasingly confident in the water, and is teaching himself to swim. So far, underwater swimming, but in a style that will see him swimming breast stroke quite intuitively.

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