Monday, October 24, 2011

I've been busy doing stuff

It has been such a long time since I have 'recorded memories', to be honest I do not know where time has gone.  How many times have you driven to work, arrived and then thought, "I don't remember getting here, gee I hope I didn't run a red light?!?"  This is how I feel. I have been living life on auto pilot if you will, (and hopefully not running too many red lights). Now would be a good time to recap the Hollywood glamour that is my life.

We found an apartment, fantastic location, we are all very happy and the carpets were stained before we came. Every wall is marked or scuffed like it has been attacked by a gang of Parkour specialists, and the vertical blinds in my sons room smell and flake like rotten hay. You would think that these conditions would bother me, but I welcome with open arms an opportunity to blend my children's 'lasting impression' on a rental property, with its original poor state.  I was granted permission to remove the rotting hay bale from my sons room, only if it was done by a paid professional.  So I paid somebody from Kresta blinds to come and unclip 10 single Venetian blinds, wink, wink, I wrapped them in plastic, air tight, duct tape, then forced behind blankets in the top of the cupboard.  I think I can still smell the hay; but I plan for them to return to their rotten noose at the end of our lease, so unfortunately they can not be disposed of permanently.  "Wow", I hear you say, "rotting blinds, you know where to find the excitement in Perth!"

Anyhow...our storage arrived from Newcastle NSW.  We have not seen these things in 2 years and it was like an early Christmas.  Every box opened  was greeted with either  "Why did we keep this?" or "Is this ours?"  It is funny how tastes change over the years, I'm not talking about a tolerance for brussel sprouts or acceptance of spam, I am talking about a love for nick knacks turning into a love for minimal.  Now I have stuff to hide.

One month later... more stuff to hide. Even though we were in a fully furnished apartment in Milan, it was very basic, so we picked up a few necessities on the way.  83 boxes worth actually.  Oh dear.  Minimalistic, in my dreams, almost inconceivably. 83 does sound like alot, but to my defence, 1/3 were toys just returning to their home land, the next 1/3 was clothing but winter jackets take up a lot of room and I am well prepared next time we move to Antarctica.  Last 1/3, my husband will tell you consists of Ikea white pot plants, and Ikea white shelving units.

I am sure you are all aware that our experience in Italy was one of an eye opener as far as bureaucracy and paper work is concerned.  So it was no surprise to us that it took 3 months for our belongings to reach us from the Italian shores.  Slow boat?  Big queue at the gas station for tankers? Quick go back I forgot my pasta and espresso machines?  Once again, opening the boxes felt like it was Christmas.  My princess slept with 5 barbie dolls like she had been reacquainted with a lost love.  My prince had trains set up next to his bed ready for attack choo choo first thing in the morning.  And that evening, my husband was not concerned that I was hugging my returned pillow; after all he was spooning his espresso machine.  Is that wrong?

We have had a Toyota Klugar, (to be read with a manly grunt, similar to Tim Allen in Home Improvement), which has now been returned to the hire car stealer's, boo hoo, but one month later than anticipated, yee hah! I've gone from driving a Fiat in Milan wearing high heels everyday, to a big 4WD and a concerning urge to tattoo "out of my way" on my forehead.  (Perhaps a little to permanent in hindsight.)  Now the rental is gone and we have taken on a lease. It took awhile for persuasion on this matter, but now I tell myself I am chartering a vehicle, (just sound fancy), and considering I have agreed to live the life of a gypsy until the children reach high school, this was perhaps the best option. So now I have a Mitsubishi Outlander, (which I love), and I think it is a satisfying compromise between mini and giant vehicle.  Picture if you will, a tattooed forehead in a lovely pair of red pumps.  Oh yeh, soooo Perth, welcome to the west side!  My soul mate has been given his work car, Toyota Camry, very reliable.  It is nice. My description of this car is similar to a real estate agent promoting a rotten fibro house as a cute and cozy cottage. It is a car, it works when you turn the key, good enough for me. Up to date now?  I am living it up.  I really need to start doing things; but I am too busy doing stuff, so not right now, maybe later????

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Look at the friendly Black Swan

I had spotted a pond at the end of our street, so with stale bread in hand, we headed off on a duck hunt.  True to form, my princess had consumed two pieces of the stale bread before we even reached the pond, and when we did arrive, the only thing bopping up and down on the water was an empty iced coffee bottle. 

Spotting some galahs close by, we tried throwing some bread at it.  This just scared it away.  I had spotted a few little ant hills, but pretty sure it would be a slow process feeding them the stale bread.  We continued onto the Swan River where there is a little makeshift beach.  It seems that the seagulls will have to be our prey for attention.  The children start to catapult the bread with all of their might at the squawking birds, (distancing an average of one meter in front of them), and they seem to multiply and appear out of thin air.  These are hungry birds.

“Look.  Oh how beautiful.  Three black swans.”  I announced to  the children.  So graceful, they glided along the water’s edge and then slowly waddled out of the water.  I found it uncanny to see Black Swans on Swan River.  After all, you do not see tall, agressive, powerful women floating down the  Amazon river do you?  They looked so friendly, (swans, not female warriors).  They waddled through the crowd of seagulls.  They waddled straight towards us.  Picking up speed now.  Um, still waddling.  Good lord Mr Black Swan, you are taller than my son!  I grabbed the bag of bread out of my child’s hand and threw it at the swans.  This stopped their waddling and eased my accelerated heart rate, (a little).   Calm down I tell myself, it is just a bird, I immediately remember teasing my husband in Italy about his fear of geese, lovely bird, so friendly.

I encouraged my crew down the beach a little bit, so we can put our feet in the water and play in the sand.  Unfortunately one of the swans was convinced that I had bread stuffed in my pockets.  It made eye contact with me 25 meters away, and it started its waddle, we were having a stare down and this thing did not blink once.  Can swans smell fear, because I was oozing it! Waddle, waddle. Its neck straightened, and wings extended, (obviously to assist in its aerodynamic land speed). It eye balled me and flitted across the sand faster than an English tourist thong less on Bondi beach in the middle of summer.  This is it, this swan is going to consume one of my children. “Run!” I yelled as I collected the camera and shoes and sprinted for the grass area.  “Run, I said run!” I screamed again.  Didn’t they know their lives were in danger?  My daughter turned to run towards me, my son, defending his family turned and threw a fistful of sand at the attacker.  They say ‘fear is learnt’, come on son, surely you can sense my fear here?!?

I backtracked quickly like a lioness protecting her cubs and swept my son to safety.  (Actually, that is what I should of done.  Pretty sure, in reality, I just stood behind a tree screaming, ‘run for your life’!)
Once the attacking swan retreated, we bravely entered the beach again, as far away from the bird life as possible.  This is where we discovered jelly fish.  Jelly fish! Really?  Perth really is pulling out all the stops to make this feel like a real beach.  I have a feeling that it has something to do with the queen visiting for CHOGM? Perhaps the seagulls, imported sand and jelly fish are just Perth’s way to promote the image of Australia being one big beach; even on the river?  If the queen really needs convincing, I am more than willing to host a BBQ on the beach.  Snags on bread?  Or black swan on bread perhaps?  Is that wrong?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Langley Park Flyin

We are finally ‘box free’ in our new apartment.  Everything seems to be unpacked and have a place, (if not a cupboard to hide in until later).  Out of sight out of mind works well for me.  Children are sleeping in their own rooms and seem settled at nights again, do not think we have had uninterrupted sleeps since Italy, which was 2 and a half months ago now.  Think my husband is mentally doing the touchdown dance as he was the one to always get up to them during the night, (or shall I say, I trained them to wake daddy and mummy plays a good fake dead).

Our first full weekend in our new abode had us excited about our new view of Perth city and the Swan River.  We managed to fluke fireworks at the Gold Coast on my son’s birthday, and made a point to tell the children that it was a little something that mummy and daddy organised.  So now anytime there is activity in the air my daughter presumes it is something my husband and I have organised.  Therefor the Langley Flyin that was running this weekend was organised as a house warming for the children.  (I love that their naivety results in us looking like superheros!)
The Langley Park  Flyin had us watching Aerobatic flying all weekend from our window.  There was no need for a gold coin donation to enter and watch, nor did we get a saw neck from looking up, we just looked out. (We actually had friends over on the Sunday to watch, gold coin donation for entry could have been a good money spinner….is that wrong?)

The aircrafts showcased were from the 1920s to 2011 including experimental, vintage, commercial and military aircraft.  The children particularly enjoyed watching the planes go ‘loop the loop’, I enjoyed watching them hang in the air before bomb diving towards the Swan River.  They often disappeared towards the building in front of us, to be honest I had to hold my breath a couple of times and did have a few 9/11 flashbacks.

My daughter was very proud of herself in the afternoon to spot a new plane all by herself.  “Look mummy, I see the biggest plane” she pointed in amazement.  “Yes dear, I too am amazed, that plane is Qantas, I thought they were all grounded with the strikes.”

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Green tea, dirty magazines and a Wiggle

It has been 3 and ½ weeks stay in the ‘helltell’ and finally the time has arrived to move into our rented apartment.  I love hotels.  I love that someone else comes to make my bed. I love that I get a fresh towel every day and I love the lemongrass scent of the free shampoo and conditioner, (it is free isn’t it)?
Our ‘helltell’ is  … “designed to ensure your stay is comfortable in an atmosphere that makes you feel at home by providing a level of professional and genuine service to their guest”…
1.       A homely atmosphere refers to the pornographic magazines that were provided, (I think by accident)?
2.       Genuine service refers to the full boxes of green tea left on my kitchen bench every day, (I think room service was concerned with the empty bottles of wine awaiting rubbish collection every day in the first week, I am sure my ‘Spanish Lynda’ thinks she is providing a leading role in some sort of unspoken AA program)?
3.       By professional service, they must be referring to their skill of mind reading.  My husband and I were discussing guilt for not taking son to Wiggles production down the road; within an hour of our conversation, we receive a personal meet and greet with a blue Wiggle.  Now that is service.

Perhaps I should explain a few of the above points?
1.       I am not an overly religious person myself, but I am sentimental in the fact that nowadays, in a world  of robot discs that clean floors and cars that reverse parallel park themselves, that you can still find a bible in the top draw next to your bed.  To be honest I am surprised that it is still on offer in paperback, not offered via the cable television station or electronic notebook.  You know what else my ‘helltell’ offers in paperback? Porn.  Yup. Dirty magazines.  Three in fact.  I found them at the top of my cupboard when I decided to store the bible up there to make room for my underwear in the draw.  So for the last three weeks, the bible has been sleeping on top of the pornography.  Is that wrong?  I have been so busy with the move I have not even had any time to read the articles.

2.       My husband and I decided, (or shall I say I made an executive decision), to do a 15 day detox during our time in the ‘helltell’.  Our stay in Milan had us relishing in a diet of white bread and wine, so to kick start our life in Perth I thought a detox was called for.  No alcohol, caffeine, or delicious food, if our love can withstand this then we can conquer the world, (insert evil laugh here) “bwa ha ha ha ha”.  Long story short, (it is not really how I do things but I will give it a go).  At the moment green tea is our saviour.  Staying in a hotel long term has us all accustomed to the luxury of room service.   All you do is put a sign on your door every morning and you get your bed made, fresh towels, the fluff cleared out of the clothes dryer and a box of green tea.  I have enough green tea to fund a coffee shop in China.

3.       We have had such a busy weekend ahead with signing the lease, removalist trucks, packing, unpacking, haircuts, trying to wash and dry linen that has been in storage and all battling with ill health.  In the midst of it all, there is a Wiggles concert happening a block away from the helltell.  I had decided against going since we had so much to do, and besides, it would have been cheaper to take a helicopter ride down the Swan River.  No wonder the Wiggles are still performing, they must be making an absolute mint! Over dinner on the night before we moved, my husband and I discussed feeling guilty that the weekend was going to be revolving around moving, and no doubt quite disruptive for the kids.  Maybe we should take them to the Wiggles show? Crossing the road back to the hellltell, my son declares “Wiggle”.  Good spotting son!  I became immediately star struck.  “Excuse me, Mr Wiggle!”  I called. (Yeh, pretty sure that is not his name.) Now that I have his attention, where do I go from here?  Should I ask him why he is not wearing his blue skivvy? We managed a photo and a nice little chat, he even asked us about where we were from and our travels. You will be happy to know that Wiggles are people too.  Mr Anthony Wiggle even has a tattoo and a gold tooth!  He has 3 children, none of which request Wiggles songs to be sung, he doesn’t like the red eye flight out of Perth, and he enjoys relaxing walks along the beach at sunset.  (It is amazing what you can find out in a short ride in a lift.)  Oh, and not totally stalking, but he is staying two floors above us in the hotel.  My son was in awe, so I think we just managed one better than taking him to the show.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Does insect repellent work on Fairies?

The Kings Park Festival is run over the month of September and offers an  array of events, from stunning outdoor wildflower displays and photography exhibits, to live music, theatre and fairy festivals. There were interactive art and gardening workshops and a range of guided walks ensuring that there was something for everyone.  Being new to Perth, and always a little bit slow off the starting block, our family joined in on the festivities on the final day of the month long event.  The ‘Wild Fairyland Festival’ called upon all fairies, elves, wizards, pixies and crazy people not afraid of large crowds and a child sized version of Gallipoli to join the entire (under 10) population of Perth in an enchanted forest filled with fun.
Still waiting on the arrival of our belongings  from Milan, Italy, and from Newcastle, NSW, there was no fairy costume on hand so I twinkled up my princess as best I could with a ballet skirt and some plaits in her hair.  Truth be told, she looked more like a Rastafarian hip hop dancer than a fairy, but we are about to enter an imaginary world, so we will just have to imagine she looks like Tinker bell at a Rave Party.  We are going on a fairy hunt… had to throw the word hunt in their just to testosterone it up for my husband and son.

We have never really been that lucky with car parking.  I am the sort of person to drive in circles for 30 minutes until I can nab a park in the 5 minute parking bay to run in for some milk.  My husband on the other hand, admits defeat before he even starts to search, and happily parks away from the destination, leaving spare parks in between, (just so others feel lucky I think).  But today was our lucky day.  I was under the assumption that it would be extremely crowded, the fairy festival ran from 10am to 3pm, so being extra organised, we arrived half an hour early and managed a car park right at the entrance for the wildflower garden.  What luck!  We started our fairy hunt walking across the elevated bridge, then over the glass bridge, (not too many fairies at this point), then around the pond, and past the water fountain.  The grass in this area of Kings Park is pristine.  Similar to a golf course, smooth, with rolling hills, it was just screaming “come ride me on your beer carton grass sled”!  But as it was only 10am, I was yet to consume a carton of beer, and besides I was on a fairy hunt.  Who I am beginning to think are pretty good at hiding.  I’ve been talking this up to the kids all morning. Where are those damn fairies?

We followed some coloured flags, saw some pretty flowers, and found a coffee shop where we were alerted of the fact that we were on the wrong side of the park.  I should of known my parking curse was not lifted, we were such a way away, that we had to hop in the car, drive 5 minutes, then catch a shuttle bus.  Once again my sense of direction has led me astray.

I have a degree in patience and toleration, (in other words, I used to work in early education before I decided to make this my career 24/7 and unpaid), so I am used to hoards of little people high on lollies and atmosphere, it does not scare me.  But imagine if you will, a fairy mosh pit.  This is what greeted us at our first stage show.  Hundreds of fairies jumping up and down, taking out fellow fairy friends with wings instead of elbows and using their wands as weapons.  (Think about it, a wand is just a sharp stick with a ninja star on top!)  This is not the scary part for me; what frightens me most are the adults dressed in costumes.  Dragons, fairies, wizards and gum nuts.  Grown adults dressed as characters scares me just about as much as a hairy tarantula hanging out on my bedroom ceiling as I go to bed at night.  I have had a fear of a fat spider landing on my face ever since I saw the “Brady Bunch go to Hawaii” movie about 25 years ago. Strangely enough I had no problem watching “Nightmare on Elm Street” at the same age, weird.  Anyway… grownups with curled green glitter eyelashes that tap their owners forehead and chin every time they are blinked, should only be found in a drag show; not in a park wishing young children free photos and magic wishes of happiness.
Okay.  I am climbing off my self-centred horse now and realising that perhaps the Fairyland Festival is for the entertainment of young children, not me? 

As far as a festival goes, it was no ‘Woodstock’, but it was only a gold coin donation as entry, we had a free bus shuttle from our car to the entrance, and an extra-large sausage and bread roll only cost $3, (not $7.50 which is general cost at theme parks or fairs).  The children watched an interactive environmental show, danced with fairies and dragons in a mosh pit, got tangled in ribbons dancing around a maypole, and even had a free pony ride!

The Wild Fairyland Festival will definitely be revisited next year, only next time we will come more prepared.  For starters, we will know where to park the car, we will come with a picnic rug, BBQ lunch, or even a wizard tepee, and of course an extra-large can of insect repellent for any of those winged fairies that freak mummy out a little bit too much.