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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Babies & Bonnets


Within months of the arrival of Baby Number Six, Tracey gleefully packed up any maternity clothes which weren’t threadbare and gave them to a pregnant friend. We were done. The car was full, the house was full and the bank account was empty.

As young Miss1 filled out and grew we bundled up bags of clothes and gave them to friends, and after six kids there were lots of bags of clothes. Sometimes the trailer was needed to move the stuff out and it would look like we were going to the tip.

And every time we gave stuff away we’d have a repeat of the same sort of conversation:

“Are you sure we’re done, Tracey?”

“Yes. My body can’t take another birth. Besides, I haven’t read a book in seven years. Did you know she finished the Harry Potter series?”

“So you’re happy with six?”

“Happy? About having six kids? Seriously, do you even hear them when they wake up during the night?”

“There’s no chance you’re going to change your mind, Tracey?”

“Not a hope. I feel like I got my brain out of hock this year and it’s nice to be able to make sense and finish a sentence again. That’s the baby crying. It’s your turn. I got her all last year.”

Not only had we been giving away all our baby stuff as Miss1 has grew out of them, but we’d also been making plans - Tracey had started her photography business and I’d been planning a sleep-in when the last of them moved out.

But unfortunately, despite two attempts at being neutered, it turns out plans are very brittle, easily broken and the stuff of dreams. Baby Number Seven is in the torpedo tube and ready for launch. Sometimes I think I’m the target.

But baby clothes, baby toys and a walker were the least of our problems, as I’m sure the stuff will trickle back to us, so when Tracey finally stopped crying we had to put our thinking caps on.

I remember when Master19 was announced. The big issues then were cloth vs disposable, and what colour should we paint the nursery?  I seem to recall ‘should we get married?’ was another biggun. The big issues this time were: can we even fit another bed into the bedrooms, and there’s no more room in the car.

The bedrooms we solved. When you can’t build out, you build up. Not floors, bunks. Sensibly, we’ve decided to put the two who don’t sleep walk on the top bunks.

The car was of greater concern. Thankfully Master19 has moved out and has his own car, but short of strapping someone on the bonnet like a hood ornament we simply wouldn’t be able to move us all around town in our 7 seater Pajero.

To seat eight we’d really need to consider a van, especially when you add in school bags and groceries.

A thorough search (of the net, including that great caryard eBay) revealed we’d really need to spend between $15,000 and $30,000 for something suitable and safe. If we took safe off the table, even a dump of a car (on par with the one parked in our driveway for example) would still cost us nearly $10,000.

With one kid at university, one in high school, two in primary school, one in pre-prep and one in day-care, this wasn’t going to happen. And then they all insist on being fed. All of them! Often daily. It wasn’t going to happen. I swear we repel money.

Last week we had a light bulb moment and decided to think outside the box: With Miss16 requiring a car sometime in the next year or so we could buy her car now and use it until she gets her licence. As luck would have it, within days of deciding this, a customer of mine mentioned he had a neat little car he was happy to part ways with – a cheap to run red Daihatsu Charade – for $1000. I’m a little worried about the colour though because I don’t want her speeding.

We actually bought Master19’s car off this bloke so we know how well he keeps his vehicles. He had his Fairmont for 15 years and there was barely a scratch on it, whereas Master19 had it for barely 3 months before a parked car jumped out and rammed him.

I think this plan has three distinct advantages.

1.       Miss16 was going to need a car soon anyway, and as we’d stupidly bought her brother one we were obliged to buy her one too.

2.       The cost of running this second car (rego, insurance, etc) would amount to about $1000 a year because we’d only be using it for family outings, essentially on weekends, or for when it’s too wet for me to walk or ride a bike to work. Even taking out the fact we would have to buy Miss16 a car anyway, the total cost is substantially less than upgrading our car.

3.       All the kids’ car seats will be in the Pajero with Mummy, so on trips to Rainbow Beach or Brisbane I can travel in peace in the little red rocket and listen to my Alice Cooper cd’s.

So it looks like we’ve sorted the big issues.

All we have to do now is get through the birth. Piece of cake.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ten things I never seem to get to around the house

  1. Folding. I am physically incapable of folding. My hands just don't work like that. I have suggested to my wife that we simply purchase each of us an assortment of baskets - eg one each for undies, t-shirts, shorts, uniforms, shoes, etc - and tilt them so I can open the closets and toss them in from a sitting position on the bed, but she told me 'no'. Well, she was sorting clothes at the time so she told me 'no' and 'bugger off' and 'please leave me in peace.'
  2. Painting the fence. Although it is one of my least favourite jobs I was keen to paint the fence a dozen months ago but it was too cold. Then we went through a too wet period followed by a too hot period which came right on the heal of a too humid couple of days. I seem to recall a too Christmas in there as well. Right now the weather is too nice for fence painting. Maybe next week.
  3. Cleaning out the shed. Now in my defense I have cleaned out the shed on numerous occasions in the past but my wife kept filling it up with more stuff so I've just given up.
  4. Connecting the water tank. We purchased a water tank a few years ago when the government had some nice incentives going and I held images of us drinking rainwater and wearing hemp. As the bloke delivered the tank he said before I hook it up I needed to put a load of cracker dust under the tank so the plastic doesn't deteriorate and I thanked him and said I'd get right onto it. And one day I will.
  5. Emptying the dishwasher. If I can't see it, it doesn't exist. Not only do I not think about emptying the dishwasher (ever) I also never think to look inside it if I can't find a certain spoon or dish. In my naive, sheltered little Bruceworld the item has simply vanished without a trace and will need to be replaced when next I'm at the shops.
  6. Sorting toys. One of my pet hates is toys in the kitchen, whether underfoot or on the benches. If I spot a Little People or Barbie accessory my solution is simple - I throw it in the bin. Much to my childrens' and wife's chargrin this is also my solution to cleaning a bedroom cluttered with discarded toys, so we leave the sorting of toys to Tracey. 
  7. Weeding. Tracey thinks I need to weed but I heard someone say once the definition of a weed is any plant growing where you don't want it. By extension this means any plants growing where I do want them aren't weeds. Far as I'm concerned everything green in our yard is exactly where I want it. Problem solved.
  8. Painting the ceiling. Our ceiling really does need a coat of something. We painted the one in the kitchen when we renovated that part of the house and it looks fabulous. Trouble is I only remember how much the ceiling in our bedroom needs painting when I lie back on our mattress and see the paint threatening to flutter down into bed with me. But by then it's too late to do anything about it. Of course, if I were allowed more nanna-naps in the afternoons.....
  9. Cleaning the toilet. Seriously, it's always fine and rain forest fresh the last time I was in there. Honest.
  10. That first dirty nappy in the morning. Try and try and try as I might I just can't seem to beat Tracey to it. Either I'm making a cup of Joe, or I'm still pretending to be asleep, or I just need to duck into the shower, or I thought she wanted you Tracey or I can't even smell it even though you're holding her right in front of my face. Eats me up.




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About Me

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Bruce Devereaux is one of the nicest people he knows. When not at work he enjoys reading, writing, hiding from his children and not changing nappies.

 

His career, and if we used the term any more loosely an e might fall out, has included a gardener, a personal lender, a console operator, a stop/go man (not as big a bludge as you might think but great if you’re into sunburn, abuse and varicose veins), a cleaner of banks and pubs and, for a very brief period, a door to door salesman (until the last door he knocked on was answered by a very scary woman with tremendously hairy legs).

 

Bruce Devereaux currently works as a forty-five-year-old award winning customer service officer (glass statuette available upon request) for the Bank of Queensland and as a very casual employee for Corrective Services. He likes to believe he excels at both but then he has always been prone to exaggeration.

 

His favourite colour is green, with a picture of Dame Nellie Melba on one side and General Sir John Monash on the other. His favourite flower is self-raising.

 If you see him around town, call his wife immediately - he's probably snuck out and left her alone with all the kids.


 

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