Tranquillity For One

Life is quite busy with three children. That’s the biggest understatement I’ve made in some time. Life is absolutely, frantically frought with mayhem and chaos with three children.

For instance, the other day, the children had only been home from school for perhaps 20 minutes, but managed in that time to rip their room to complete shreds. It was outstanding. An Olympic effort of mayhem and chaos.

new mess

Mr B: – what on Earth… should we just burn it to the ground?

Me: Don’t even – just – i can’t… I’ll fix. But I can’t… Don’t come near me. Don’t look at me. Don’t talk to me, and DEFINITELY don’t touch me.

more mess

Just… shut the door.

Around 90 minutes later I emerged, exhausted and dusty. I may have been shivering from shock. But the room was clean again. In fact it was *spotless*. The kids were given a talk about tidiness and respect. Which they happily ignored. Mr Bodysoluble took them through their bedtime routine, and said to me, “Tomorrow I’ll take them out of the house so you can properly unwind. Or study. Or sleep. Whatever you like.” I laughed it off like a joke, because that’s like offering to walk to the moon so your partner can become the Empress Du Cheesecake or something. Stop talking nonsense, Mr B.

But he was good as his word, and the next day, I found myself again in a silent house. This time alone, with the long afternoon stretching out before me, like a beige nylon stocking about to rip back and slap my face with the smell of feet.

That analogy was brought to you by The Laundry that I started on.

Next I tried to pull out the text books and study, but it felt almost immediately like I would have a better time with a nail gun and my own toes as target pratice.

I wracked my brain for things that people do when they have time to themselves. Specifically what do mums do when they have some time to themselves. The internet made the usual laughably unhelpful suggestions.

bol wine

With one or two reasonable suggestions.

Until I found the suggestion of having a warm bath.

Brilliant, I thought. I nearly NEVER take long baths. I take showers, but never baths. Just in case you thought I was funky. The bad kind of funky.

So I went into the big bathroom, sized up the huge corner spa bath that I never use, and began to fill it. I thought, you know, I’ll ransack my cupboard of bath bombs and milks and things, that I also never use, and see if I can’t find something I could enjoy. I found some bubble bath, “with lavender for relaxation” it said on the label. Perfect! Poured a large quantity in. It’s a large bath. Wanted to make sure I got enough saturation to ensure relaxation.

Read some of my book while the water ran.

Bath filled, bubbles formed, and I sank in.

bath 2


It was lovely. At first. Then I got bored. My book was on the ledge, nearby, and I reached over for it. Read it a while. Still kind of bored, and not particularly relaxed.

bath 3

I was both bored and anxious at the same time.

I think this is a skill that almost every parent has mastered. I’d venture to say that there are long stretches of time when I am in fact comprised entirely and exclusively of these two emotions.

I put the book back on the ledge and noticed the button to start the spa bath. Sweet! I thought. This will be doubly relaxing!

I pressed the button, and let the water jets calmly and serenely …

bath 5

… scare the living daylights out of me.

Once I got used to the noise and rushing turmoil of the spa bath, I started to kind of not hate it. It reminded me of roller-coaster rides as a kid. Where you scream and everything is terrifying and then at the end you want to do it again. Possibly just to see if you really did leave your soul on the top of the fourth mountain, cos it sure felt like SOMETHING left your body up there.

Anyway, I lay back and shut my eyes and tried to just vague-out for a while. Think about nothing. Relax… Reeeelaaaaax. Reeeeeeeeeeelllaaaaaaa- there are bubbles in my mouth.

bath 6

And in my nose. What.

I opened my eyes, and the entire corner of the room with the spa bath in it was a pulsing hive of bubbles. With my head poking out of one end. There were bubbles all over the ledge so I couldn’t see my book or the kill switch. Bubbles frothing over the sides and on to the floor. Bubbles were climbing up all the walls, higher and higher, covering the lower windows and blocking the light. The bubbles were also increasing every second, and were crawling up my face and trying to devour me.

bath 7

Well what the… for serious. No.

At this point two things happened.

1. I realised I had a problem.

2. Mr Bodysoluble and the kids came home.

Mr Bodysoluble walked into the house, so he tells me, calling my name, to find me and say they were home. I didn’t hear this, because of the noise of the spa bath, the distance from the bathroom to the door he came in, and the fact the bathroom door was closed. It was also covered in bubbles at this point.

Er... sweetheart?

Er… sweetheart?

I started floundering around, trying to locate the kill switch for the spa bath.

Mr Bodysoluble, hearing the spa motor, deduced where I was, and opened the bathroom door. And was rewarded with 13 cubic metres of bubbles to the legs.

bubbles 1

Um. Is anyone in here?

Sudden deafening silence as I turned off the spa motor.

Erm.... Maybe?

I’ll …. I’ll just be a minute.

Oh. What are you doing?

Oh. What are you doing?



You're THAT out of practice?

You’re THAT out of practice?

Bubbles were quietly popping and sliding down the walls.

I may have made some poor choices.

I might have made some poor choices.

OK well, we're going to watch a movie on TV. Call out if you need help.

OK well, we’re going to watch a movie on TV. Call out if you need help.

He turned to leave.

Frothy bubbles popped and crackled all over the room. I gazed around at the mayhem and chaos.

Mr Bodysoluble poked his head back in the door.

“Did you have fun?” He asked.

bubbles happy

I sure did.


On the first day of Christmas the market gave to me a turkey that won’t fricking defrost.


Day 2. I am growing a suspicion that the fridge is broken and it’s this turkey that is keeping the food cold. WHY are you still frozen, turkey, WHY? Better yet, HOW?


On the second day of Christmas my distant relatives sent to me, two “assembly requireds”, assembly

… and a turkey that won’t freaking defrost.

On the third day of Christmas my toyshop sold to me, three toys with batteries,


Because we don’t have enough toys already.

…two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t bloody defrost.

On the fourth day of Christmas my family gave to me, four raging tantrums,


…three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t flipping defrost.

On the fifth day of Christmas the discount store sold to me, five crappy crackers,


Because pour me another drink, dammit.


… four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t fricking defrost.

On the sixth day of Christmas my cupboard revealed to me, six stained napkins, five crappy crackers, four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t fricking defrost.


Day 2.5, the turkey defies all known laws of thermodynamics.


On the seventh day of Christmas my post man left for me, seven unanswered xmas cards, six stained napkins, five crappy crackers, four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t fecking defrost.


Day 3 I believe the bird is attempting to make friends with me.


On the eighth day of Christmas some hipsters sang to me, eight boring carols,

hipster choir

…And a happy new beard.

… seven unanswered xmas cards, six stained napkins, five crappy crackers, four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t sodding defrost.

On the ninth day of Christmas my wallet gave to me, nine maxed-out store cards,


…eight boring carols, seven unanswered xmas cards, six stained napkins, five crappy crackers, four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t smegging defrost.

On the tenth day of Christmas my fridge had left for me, ten types of custard,


I’m at least 80% sure that those are all custard.

… nine maxed-out store cards, eight boring carols, seven unanswered xmas cards, six stained napkins, five crappy crackers, four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t bleeping defrost.

On the eleventh day of Christmas I basically engineered for myself, eleven panic attacks,


Either I have managed to finish everything on time, or I have forgotten something important.


… ten types of custard, nine maxed-out store cards, eight boring carols, seven unanswered xmas cards, six stained napkins, five crappy crackers, four raging tantrums, three toys with batteries, two “assembly requireds”, and a turkey that won’t damn well defrost.


Sod this, it’ll be pizza all round.


On the twelfth day of Christmas, Pope Gregory XIII arranged for me, twelve months of planning…




My kids don’t know this. But for their entire lives, they have never eaten a whole apple at once, because every time I cut them one, I cut it into twelve slices.


I do like a good, sharp cleaver.

But they only ever get eleven.

I like to think of it as us having lunch together, even when they are at school.

I also just really like apple.  But in really, tiny doses.

Mr Bodysoluble

It’s our wedding anniversary this week.  My husband remembered.  (I forgot.  Again.)  I also forgot Valentine’s Day this year.  Valentine’s Day. My husband NEVER forgets. So for all the years I’ve forgotten, and the anniversaries I have also forgotten (I know, I suck), this one’s for my husband.

You may have already met my husband.  AKA Mr Bodysoluble. This guy.


Yep, that’s him.


He is extremely good with kids. There was this one time when we were new parents with just one baby, and one night at about 2am when she had been crying in my arms for what felt like ten years, and I was losing my mind; he came over and took her and rocked her to sleep.  Even though it took him half an hour and she fought him on it.  By then I was about as useful as a wet rag, in the corner mumbling homicidal poetry to a stuffed toy giraffe and rocking back and forth.

He just calmly put on the baby sleep CD of whale songs and water whooshing noises, and rocked and rocked that baby, and when he finally got her to sleep, he put her down and we all stopped breathing in case she woke up, and she DIDN’T and I slumped on the floor and almost cried from relief.  He walked across the room to turn off the CD, and stepped on this rubber duck toy and it went


Like a pteranodon in mortal agony. I think that’s the actual name of the squeaker insert.  We both totally froze, and looked at the baby, and she murmered and shifted a little, and then stayed asleep, and we both started breathing again, except then we realised at the same time that he had his foot still on the toy, and sooner or later he was going to have to raise his foot off the toy or stay there forever.  I was going a kind of purple colour and spluttering out of my nose from trying not to laugh, but he just had this look like he would definitely pick up the baby again if he woke her up. I really appreciated him in that moment.

On the downside, he’s ridiculously messy.  There have been other times when I wonder just how messy he really is, and whether
he makes any attempt at all to be more tidy. If he is, it doesn’t show.


Plot twist: I found sticky tape instead.

It’s annoying, because I dislike extreme mess. Meanwhile the other four people in the house seem to prefer it. They all generate quite a lot of it. Sometimes I walk into a room and say “oh my gosh, it looks like something exploded in here!” and then I tidy up. This morning my eldest daughter walked into the playroom and said “oh my gosh, it looks like something exploded in here, something like a TOY-VOLCANO.”


I suspect she was just wishing out loud.

So I lose my nut over mess pretty regularly. He never does, because he honestly doesn’t care. In a way it’s liberating. He doesn’t care if it’s kind of messy, therefore doesn’t care if I don’t clean and polish like a maniac. I do anyway, time permitting, but when I do it’s for me, not him.

Mostly he stays solid as a rock, while i lose my mind at something.


It’s just that, at this altitude, I have certain expectations…

Or when I am struggling with absurd, obtuse instructions.


Government forms are my nemesis.

Seriously?  So what on Earth do I do below it??


He almost never does housework, so he kind of fails that, but on the up side, he does a heck of a lot of last-minute and/or late night running errands.  Except he can be pretty literal at times.  Like, really literal.  For instance, I asked him last week, “Can you go to the grocer and buy a bag of apples. Oh, and if they have eggs, get a dozen.”

So off he went, and half an hour later he’s back again, unloads his car, and fills the kitchen with apples.

I looked around and said, carefully, “um, honey, can you please tell me what is happening?”


Well, they had eggs!

But he deserves some focus for a change. Because this guy has my back.

He deals with the blood, when there is blood.  And honestly, with small kids, trampolines, bikes, scooters, bunk beds, and general tomfoolery, blood will happen sooner or later.


This one was jumping on the sofa. Correction: Jumping OFF the sofa.

He has saved each child from choking on something at least once. One of them tried to eat a box of tissues when she was very tiny and her mouth was so full and her airways so blocked that she couldn’t make a sound to let us know that she was choking. I glanced over at her and screamed and my husband threw furniture out of the way to get to her fast, and scooped them all out. Maybe she would have been ok anyway, but I’m seriously glad we never had to find out.


Plus, I always hated that table.

This other time, one of our children was potty training, she was about 2 years old, and doing pretty well at it for the most part. we had also learned to recognise her signals, of when she needed to go. This one time, she obviously needed to go, like, REALLY needed to go, and for some reason the potty wasn’t where it should be, and she had already gotten herself ready to go, so she was panicking and sort of half-sitting and past the point of no return.

In other words, she was about to defecate on our brand new carpets.

My husband, bless him, realised there were no options left.  He closed his eyes and turned his face away and stuck out his hands and caught the poop on the way down. My daughter ran off happily. My husband stood up and ran VERY CAREFULLY to the bathroom.


Yep, we know how to party.

So, happy 7th anniversary, Mr Bodysoluble; watch out for the Toy-Volcano, and here’s to the next 7 years. We’ll be having apple pie for dinner. Probably for all seven of them.

Trumpet Vine

I hate trumpet vine.  I only found this out recently.  A year ago, I didn’t know what it was.  Today, it’s my nemesis.

It grows all over my back yard.  I’ve been systematically hacking away at it for months.  Digging it up, watching it sprawl and send out shoots that grow a new head, much like the Hydra in Greek mythology – cut off one head, another grows in its place.

(Actually there is a plant called the hydrangea named for that mythical beast – but it is WAY easier to dig out.  I know this, I have tested this, because I hate them too.)

Hydrangeas are long gone.  But the trumpet vine lives on.

I went out to face it again today.


It has mad tendrils and grows super fast.  And it seems that while I’m cutting down this part, another piece will pop up and grow somewhere nearby, but just where I can’t see it.


And that it’s laughing at me.

When you read about trumpet vine online you find it often paired with words like “Murder” and “obliterate” and “willing to try anything”.


You quickly reach a point where you realise the plant is winning.

It’s taken over the garden, and I am not even kidding when I saw if I had a time machine the first thing I would do is go back in time and find whoever planted it and STOP them from doing it.

I do understand that once upon a time it probably was little and pretty and it seemed like a good idea.  Grows easily, birds like it, pretty flowers, what’s not to like?


That does it. Where’s my flux capacitor.

After a while I needed a break.  My arms felt like they were put on backwards and my back felt like I had given an elephant a piggy-back ride through a swamp.

So I went inside to play computer games.  Admittedly this sounds like the early cop-out of a teenager who just can’t be bothered.  But I really had spent hours digging a medieval moat around the thing, and I was legitimately tired.


I’m famous for overdoing it. And being a drama queen.

For some reason I have been re-playing the Witcher 2 lately.  It’s one of those games where you have to be a guy and you have to have swords and kill monsters.  I like it.  I really don’t like the fan sites for it, because I’m a girl and they tend to think I’m either doing it wrong or I’m just trying to impress a nerd.

Or you know.  Both.


Disclaimer: This is a re-enactment only

But then I get to this monster, the Kayran.


These live all over Australia.

This thing is famous for being hard to kill.  Tendrils whip around and slam you dead in an instant.  This is one of those sequences everyone changes the game from hard to easy for, or loads and reloads about a thousand times, while screaming and kicking things and saying things like “just one more time, I’ll try just one more time.”

Me, I took forever to kill this thing.  Which is frustrating, because I play games to have fun, not to feel like I’m doing a harder job than the one I abandoned to play games in the first place.

And the whole time, this crazy woman is on a bridge nearby screaming “trap it with the Yrden!” (Yrden is a trap spell.  I like stating the obvious.)  She says it over and over.  “Yrden!  Trap it with the Yrden!”

Or maybe she says it once, and I re-loaded so often that I just *heard* it a million times.


She looks exactly like this. And is about as useful.

She said she was casting helpful magic, but I didn’t see her do anything at all.

Next time I see someone struggling with something incredible difficult, I’m going to just stand there and tell them that I am casting useful magic.  It’s not like they could prove I’m not.

So anyway, after a short time of that (ok several hours) I gave up. Felt like fighting the damn trumpet vine would be the easier task.

It’s not the first time I’ve been wrong.


That screaming is not me, it’s the plant. My struggling made it angry. And hungry.

I’ve had to stop again, because my elbows are screaming and I’ve just about dug my way to France and I STILL can’t get all the roots out.  Oh, and the sun went down.  Piker.

Tomorrow, though, I’ll be back out there.  Running around madly, hacking away at it.  Casting Yrden spells at it.

Unless of course it rains.  Oh PLEASE let it rain.

Then I can stay inside, and work on building my time machine.

Oh, and while I was busy with all of this, the kids had so much chocolate, mud and vegemite that they ended up looking like cheetahs.


Chocolate, mud, vegemite… your three basic food groups.

Yes, it’s chocolate.  Or mud.  Or vegemite.

If only I knew some kind of trap spell to keep them in one spot while I worked.

It’s probably good that I don’t, because I would never stop using it.