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

Tag Archives: realtionships

Success in 2013

This year the 21st century becomes a teenager.

The teens are typically troubling times in most of our lives, with a lot of change and that’s how I’m feeling at this point. I’ve turned 40, and I’m looking at a year ahead with some uncertainty about how I will be able to measure my success.

I have some aspirations, but if I look closely at them they are routes to success not success in themselves. I need to look more closely at why I want these things, and identify what it is about them that marks them as signs of success. Many of the things I am striving for are intangible, which exacerbates my issue.

The whole SMART concept seems to be heading out of vogue

Maybe. Maybe my success will be achieved when I can drop the whole SMART attitude to my personal life? It seems to result in more concrete results, results that I know when I have achieved, results which I can help my family to celebrate.

I am very outcome focussed in my career. I really enjoy jobs where I have targets identified and where I can look to some kind of scorecard and confirm that “yes, I’m doing my job.” Yet, it seems I may be on a path to deviate away from that kind of work at the moment.

So what might be the outcomes rather than the indicators of success for the Westies for 2013?

  • Continued increase in the range of situations where Bob the Builder Fan can resolve the issue through verbal communication
  • Complete the assessment process for Magpie, to either confirm there is a need for a treatment program… or not?
  • Ensure that Princess P completes primary school ready for high school – both intellecutally AND emotionally. Given that she will be amongst the youngest students in Year 7 at the start of 2013.
  • Support Bec through training, work experience, volunteer work, so that at the end of 2013 she has a clearer understanding of what her future direction should be
  • Have a house that is market ready. But given what’s across the road, whatever I do to my own house might not mean I have a great circumstance to sell it in (honestly, clik that link and see on A Current Affair what I have across the road from my house).
  • For myself… be in a job which is covering my cost of living – with a better idea of what that means if it is another contract role – with a suitable buffer to allow relocating my family out of this suburb if that’s what makes sense in 10 months time.
  • And again for myself, have committed to commencing (if not completed) additional study which will help my future career. At this stage, Business Analyst or Project Manager certification, or possibly an MBA.

I think those things are still specific enough, without being so carved in stone that there is no room for an alternative solution I haven’t considered yet.

Food for future thought.


Last man standing

Work is leaving me feeling a bit like this cat at the moment. The good news is, it will be over tomorrow.

A busy month!

My start to December is only a preview of what is to come. The rest of this week remains busy for me, both at work, and with Magpie due to be presented with an academic award tomorrow before celebrating his birthday on Friday. I will then have one more week of work before rapping up for the year, and heading home in time for my wife’s birthday on Christmas Eve.

We all know what happens on the 25th, of course!

Given our start to 2013, it may well be that we are hitting the road between Christmas and New Year – but that so far is still a long way away, so I’m not aiming to forecast that far ahead. And somewhere in all of this, I need to line up work for 2013 – either more of what I am already doing, or “opportunities with an alternative employer” as some might say.

But before that, I have a really busy day tomorrow – work in the morning, part of a training course in the mid afternoon, then back to work from 5pm “until it’s finished” hopefully again before midnight (but quite possibly, not). So for tonight, it’s a short post about how busy I think I’m going to be from now until we start 2013.

In the moment

Our lives are made up of moments.

Most of them are joined by some fairly trivial ways to fill in time. But it is the moments that define our lives.

In a class you’ve been taking for two years, and not the teacher, but some random student says something when they ask a question or interject – and it all goes “click.”

Meeting the person you are destined to be with.

Marrying that person.

Having kids with that person.

Landing THE job.

There are many more. And some of us manage to have very special moments more often than others. Why is that?

I have a theory, that some of us have moments because we are better equipped to identify what a moment is, and that they are important so we should strive for them and capture them when they occur. Our moments give us a sense of our lives, they are what we are able to tell people about where we went to school, the reasons it was special, what was great about any one of our jobs.

I have one very fantastic moment from a course on my first job. The rest of those two years are somewhat of a blur, and as time goes by I remember less and less about 1993 to 1995. But the moment is strong in my mind.

Last night, I worked. I was helping people all over Australia change the way the computers in a dozen or so offices are configured to work. There was certainly a moment in there, but I was so wrapped up in that moment that I did not step back and look at everything at once (which in fact is no small part of what I was there to do). So what could have been stopped as a stumbling point became the focus of a snowball, and that moment has become a much larger event.

I’m off to do much the same thing today. I hope I have learned from yesterday: when the moment arrives, don’t be put off from taking a step back to take it all in.


The good news, and the not-yet-news

After seeking some information from work for several weeks, I finally got an update today.

Not directly. Not formally. Informally, by accident, by asking a tangential question following on from another question.

I have finally found out how many more days of work they would like me to do this year, and “if they are to have me back next year,” when they want me from, next year.

The good news is, the project team I am on deem me critical and want me to take the shortest possible time off.

The not-yet-news is, they don’t actually get much say in who comes back after Christmas, that decision is still to be released. So I either get the rediculously short time of two weeks holidays in the middle of the Australian summer, or… my current employment finishes the Friday before Christmas. It will be incredibly annoying if this same situation occurs two years running.

Need a multitalented Information Technololgy Professional? Let me know!

My month, in detail?

I am going to make a point of not skipping this blog prompt on my list of blogging topics for the month. I am also going to gloss over this topic quite briefly in an effort to catch up on the day I missed, because I am a day behind where I need to be.

Yesterday, I spelled out in pretty solid detail my routine week. My routine month, does not particularly vary week to week. I can bore anyone quite solidly by pointing out the repetitiveness of my life… I could also say that apples don’t fall far from the tree, and I have a son whose diagnosis is characterised by an over fondness for routine.

My months, then, consist of a collection of quite similar weeks.

As the months pass, my routines vary steadily as the weather turns. What my children are getting up to outside of school has a massive impact on my weekend arrangements.

I’m also going to plead that I can’t particularly detail my year in great detail. So tonight I’m deviating from the listed topics, and don’t actually know right now what I will be producing in a short time.

Tomorrow night, is intended to be about aspirations for the year to come. That is a post I am looking forward to writing and I hope it turns out positively!

You want a WHOLE WEEK?

Oops. I have missed a day, it seems, so I am playing catch-up.

My week… for my own sanity, I will start on a Sunday afternoon. Which seems to me about the time my new week commences!

Sunday PM

Gather all my clean laundry, pack my bag, pack the car, have dinner, say goodnight to the kids, have a bath and a shave, say goodnight to my wife and go to bed. That generally fills in about four hours quite thoroughly!


Wake at 4 am. Eat without waking anyone if I can manage it. Tuck all the kids back into bed, and give them a last cuddle and kiss before I hit the road for the week. Go back upstairs, brush teeth, get dressed, kiss my wife and jump in the car.

Drive half way or so to Canberra, stop for a coffee, then drive the rest of the way to be at work before 8:30.

Have lunch with Alan, then return to work till 5 or 6pm.

Go to my “home away from home” and unload the car for the week, before having dinner and spending some time online. Generally, be in bed… just before midnight, for usually a 20-hour Monday. Life’s grand!


Be up, showered, eat, and on my way to work… sometime before 8:00 am, but often before 6:40am.

Get to the office, have a coffee, and start work. Work consists of hassling people about what software does, or does not, work with Windows 7, and why they should be using software that is easier to make work. It’s quite repetitive, and my colleagues and I seem to keep having groundhog day moments every week or so.

Knock off work sometime before 6:30 pm, before heading “home” for dinner. Hopefully, catch up with Bec online and be in bed before 11 pm.

Wednesday and Thursday: Often, much like Tuesday. It’s normal for me to eat out at least one of these nights, often with Alan, sometimes with the Aunty I live with while I’m in Canberra.


Get up before 6:30 am, have breakfast, pack my bags and car, head to work hoping to be there by 7:00 am.

Work on Friday inevitably ends up being “chase up some absolutely critical things that won’t actually change the world if they aren’t done before Monday, but it’s essential you get it done TODAY.”

Hopefully, I’ve already worked 40 hours by the time I arrive at work on Friday. So by lunch-time, I can jump in the car, grab some lunch and hit the road for Sydney. I often have to work till 3 or 4 pm, though.

On the way home, I almost always check in at a roadhouse for a coffee and to break the trip. Hopefully I am home by 8pm, in time for dinner with the kids, and in bed by 10pm.


The least structured day of my week. Hopefully I get to sleep in, while Bec goes to a regular meeting – assuming the kids stay quiet. I will catch up with some of the things I can’t do around the home while I’m away, and hopefully get the kids involved. Ideally we will get out of the house on bikes, for a walk, to some organised sport, or for a swim.  Bec will usually cook something pretty wonderful on Saturday night, and Magpie will often cook sausages for lunch. It’s just “his thing“!


Sunday morning I will again attempt to sleep in. Something will need to be caught up on that wasn’t finished the day before. Before I know it, it will be lunch time, and I’m back on the whirlwind for another week.

The Angry Birds Are Angry!

Things have taken a bit of a turnaround at Westie Central (it was what I’d called our house for years before Bec stole the name).

The Angry Birds have leaped from the computer and tablet screen into the Real World. They have bought with them a whole bunch of events, behaviors and activities:

  • seeking to engage other members of the family into the game
  • being less upset to be told that the computer needs to be turned off
  • demonstration of solving problems and actually building things with real world objects – that are ad-hoc and not part of a Thomas the Tank Engine set
  • speech as a part of play. This includes both echolalic phrases like “the angry birds are angry” and spouting out bits and bobs in an unprompted manner like “get the green pig

The most exciting part of all this, is that it has involved interactive play with both his brother and sister, and even mum or dad if we are able to get involved. It is quite an exciting development, and that we are excited about this development in a seven year old boy is a story in itself. His Autism has been persuasive throughout his entire social, communication and emotional development, although thankfully it has (so far) had only limited impact on his physicality and even his intellectual growth – although his ability to demonstrate his intellectual capability seems to be very poorly identified or harnessed.

Forget about all that though. Let’s just celebrate his interaction with his brother and sister!

Parallel play when it’s BTBFan and Magpie gives way to interactive play with Princess P, Westie or Bec

Westie: The earliest years

I have written quite a bit of my opinion and the life of my kids here at WordPress. I have been thinking for a little while that I should take some time to document my memories, as fragmented as they are, and some stories from my own parents, uncles, aunties and cousins, because so many things from my own life are so totally different to the current experience.

Westie (striped shirt) and Cathode Ray, with an un-named horse, probably at Bidgee Pony Club, about 1976. Photo thanks to Cathode Ray.

My own lifetime has spanned from the very early 1970’s through so far to the twenny-teens. Five decades and beyond. Life has changed, just a little bit.

I came along after the “formal” metrification and decimalisation of Australia – in measurements and currency. In my preschool and early school years, “two bob” was an inherited time from pre-decimal Australian currency (when what it  meant I don’t even really know for sure) to mean “20 cents.” Strangely, I don’t recall anyone ever talking about anything other than “two bob.” I think I really need to ask Old Man Westy about that one. In that time, photographs have gone from a black-and-white extravagance to the capability of a portable device we all take for granted – our mobile telephone.

As a young Aussie bush kid in the 70’s – while all the speed limits were in kilometers per hour, and the teacher only ever talked in centimeters, my parents had moved twice before they started talking in meters, sometime in 1978 or so. The bus-stop was a mile or so up the dirt driveway, and the watermark in the dining room was about seven foot higher than the floor (I really need to dig up the photo that goes with that description).

The telephone and the television seemed to still be novelty items in my youth, things that people were still coming to grips with being in every home. In my lifetime though there has always been some type of television, it has gone from a massive black-and-white set, through thirty or so years of analogue colour television, to todays digital broadcasts presented on massive flat-screen sets. It would not surprise me if the computer monitor my youngest son has on his desk, is larger than the black and white family tv was, when I was watching Play School so many years ago.

While television and telephones sum up the continuous change in technology, there are many other aspects of technology which are totally new or revolutionary in my lifetime. These, I will come to in later posts. The most disappointing though is that in my lifetime, horseback transport in this country has gone from “less than unusual” to “quite uncommon” to “oh? People still do that?” I think the horses are the biggest difference between my own childhood, and that of my children.

Taxing Times

The end of October marks the last day which Australians may submit their own income tax returns. For most of us, an income tax return is an opportunity to claim back overpayments made on our behalf by our employer, so most Australians see income tax returns as a chance to get some of their own money back.

Being the last possible minute, of course, I have been busy doing my own tax.

I have spent far too much of my day tracking down all the various pieces of information I needed, and even then I was unable to get absolutely everything. Bec tried her best to keep the house peaceful for me, taking Princess P and Magpie out tfor quite a while. It wasn’t quite enoug time, but it was greatly appreciated.


Hmm. If the return I submitted has any accuracy to it. I will be able to come up with something great. If it’s not, I’m probably getting audited!

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