Category Archives: Rants & Stuff

iMax-ed out…

Everyone always asks me about my car. What do I drive that can carry all these kids, it must be a bus? Until two years ago it was, we had a Toyota HiAce minibus, a huge beast that could fit nowhere but could carry a dozen people. Upgrade time came along and we decided we needed a safer vehicle, given the travel we do. Now remember I am writing about my particular model of iMax which is a 2012, they may have changed a few things by now with the newer ones.

The good stuff about it…

It is safer, air bags in all the usual places, and an engine and bonnet between me and the world. Because previously the engine was under my seat. The size of the boot (or trunk) is massive. It looks nice, everyone comments on it. It seats eight, and I’ve seen some models with a ninth seat in the front. It can fit in most car parks, mini bus drivers will appreciate that. You don’t have to get out of the car for mcdonalds, yay drive through lanes I can fit in! Reversing sensors are great and probably compulsory when driving a rectangle vehicle.

Technology, it talks to my iPhone, love that. I can make/answer calls from the dash without touching the phone. I can listen to my playlists, and get siri to do my bidding. Separate climate control for the rear if you want, or you can flick it over and the kids can’t change it. The front row of seats are comfy and lots of leg room, there is two glove boxes and cup holders. Huge pockets in all doors which hold a lot of crap, I mean books/drink bottles/toys. Cup holders for the back row too. It’s price isn’t bad for the size of vehicle you get either, especially compared to similar vehicles at the time. Servicing only has to be done every 15,000kms instead of ten.

And the bad stuff…

Big big HUGE blind spots, you can lose a whole intersection behind the windscreen pillars. You will need to lean forward and look around them at roundabouts. And don’t get me started on what you can’t see behind you.

Baby seat anchorage points are limited to the middle row, a pain in the arse given the new laws mean more kiddy carseats for longer. And its very hard to do the seat belts up once you have the carseats in place, I am still swapping my kids seats around trying to work out a good configuration a year later. Oh and you enter the rear seat by moving the whole middle row, so if you have a few seats that the seat belt goes through as well as the anchor, be prepared to have to redo the belt through the back of the kiddy seat every time.

While not a big deal, colours are limited. We had a choice of silver, silvery blueish, black and white. I am still yet to own a red car. If you are thinking of getting the fitted floor mats, don’t bother because they catch up under the chair runners which are constantly in use, even though they velcro to the floor. You will get the shits with them and take them out in a week trust me, so glad the car yard threw those in because at two hundred bucks a set I’d have been annoyed. The petrol version is a bit gutless with a full load, and can’t tow anything bigger than a trailer. The rear window openers, a pop and prop open deal, which cracks them open well just a crack. Which is what I expected on a van as we’ve had them before, I didn’t expect them to rattle so much I’m scared to drive with them open, the dealer says he fixed it. Uh huh. I know I know a rattle isn’t a big deal, but it does sound like the window is going to fall off. And another reason we went for a van instead of another mini bus was noise, you simply cannot have a conversation in a diesel mini bus, this means children get louder too.

There are so many tiny things that irritate me about this car, I could write pages, little things like there is no handle for the front passenger to pull themselves up into the car as there is for the driver. The aircon seemingly has only two settings, hot and cold. But even though I’ve said all this, I still love the car, simply because it is decidedly better than any other car we’ve ever owned, but remember we owned a Kia that the engine died in before getting to 100,000kms. So you know, for comparisons sake I’ve got some low starting standards.

UPDATE: Come November 2013, I smashed it. My beautiful black mummy van with the dark windows was no more. I now have a silver one, the same colour everyone else in town bought too, last week I stood in the supermarket car park trying to open someone else’s van. Children have accidentally jumped into the backseat at school pick up, thinking it’s their mums van, I think I need some kind of big sticker down the side of it.

You will be pleased to know it took the head on hit very well, I wasn’t injured nor where the small men in the back. Written off, our insurer gave us a new one. So, we now have a new model and it has only a few differences (a few buttons inside are different), but the squeaks remain and here I was happy about finally sorting that rattle issue. And this particular van has more glitches (more than the old one, my reversing sensors don’t work in the cold weather) that again nobody can find on service days, can you believe it ;)

So in a couple of years we will part with this van, hey Toyota have you got a 4WD people mover on the cards anytime soon?

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Filed under Complaints Dept, Kid Safety, Rants & Stuff, Reviews

I’d like my walking frame in green thanks.

While I don’t like to conform, I think that a 2013 round up post is in order. It’s been a very crappy year, and feel you all need to hear why I’ve been a bit hard to find or get to do anything, or just be anything really.  I’m not quite sure how to lay it all out, an outright tally of the ugly would be an absolute bummer to read, but hey that what most blogging is about? Drama ;)  Although it could be cathartic to unload, out there to the cyberworld. Certainly cheaper than therapy. From what I hear 2013 has been a pretty crappy year for most people I know, and just when one shit event is done with another one comes along.  Karma it seems, has taken the year off.

We all have our crap threshold. However big or small, we all have limits. There is only so much a person can take before they crack  it. I have lost count of how many times this year I wanted to chuck an Eric Cartman, “screw you guys I’m going home”.

Flash back to February when I got the up the notion of obtaining some part time employment, I decided I wanted to be a firefighter. I lost a pot load of weight and got fit, and I got the job.  Dropped a ladder on my head during an assessment, and found out that I have neck bones that will no longer take a beating.  Bugger.  Back on went the weight while I tried to rest it, yeah even the doctor laughed at that idea of me ‘resting’.

Meanwhile I was working on the assessment stuff for our latest autistic addition, the paperwork just gets bigger and bigger as the years go by. I think I spent at six months sorting his stuff out alone. For our very first diagnosis we got one report and that was it, I miss the days when a paediatricians word was good enough.  Also had to get the Future Dark Overlord reassessed so he could keep his place at school.  I really need a PA just to keep a handle on all these assessments and reports for me.  It’s been a busy damn year for kid corro that’s for sure.

And then my doggies died.   Followed by a rather spectacular car smash, in which my mum and eldest son sustained head injuries and end up airlifted in different directions. Thankfully they pulled up ok, the car didn’t and mum learnt a valuable lesson about the insurance (that she really should have had some!).

The much narrower Ford

We carried on. We kept seeking out the good stuff. Taking the kids camping and looking for the fun stuff. As far as the kids are concerned this has been a rocking year, thank god the parental smoke screen is holding.  We even adopted another dog, a Greyhuahua (which is totally a real duel breed name).

And then I got sick.  Really sick with an antibiotic resistant infection, after being treated with the biggest anti’b tablets you’ll ever see I slowly got better.  But, and you saw that big ol’ but coming didn’t you, the treatment damaged my hearing permanently.   So before I turn 40 I’m wearing hearing aides, yes that deaf.  I knew I was having trouble hearing the kids, but I thought that was only because they all have to talk at once.  Interesting side note here is my audiologist can download the levels of noise I am exposed to while wearing them, she said she has never seen any patient with so much everyday noise. She no longer scolds me for not wearing them as much as I should.

In the background leg work for my autie kids continued.  Never ending and always keeping me busy, how did I think I was going to have time to do a job?!  I don’t think I can adequately convey just how much ‘stuff’ my kids generated this year, it was almost overwhelming.

We decided we needed to relax, the worst was over right?  And we went over to the coast and one day we had fish and chips at our favourite take away.  When I had an allergic reaction to fish. Having never reacted to it before, I was unprepared but lived to tell the tale.  Remember the big ass antibiotics?  Turns out they’ve messed with my bodies ability to process histamines and a whole bag of other really awesome foods.  Suddenly I can’t eat a lot of things. So I now have an audiologist and an immunologist. Uh huh.  But it was this or kidney failure, so you know…

Just today I bought myself some glucosamine for the arthritic joints, and made a mental note of what colour walking frame I’d like. A green one in case you’re wondering, it would’ve been red but that colour just gives way to the expectation that I can go faster and you and I both know with my luck I’ll have a hip replacement next year.

As a sense of normal finally seemed to settle on the house our eldest autie boy decided to spice things up with a seizure. A big one. So big his heart stopped. We are racking up the frequent flyer miles in the careflight helicopters.

Getting ready for his airlift. Poor Tom.

The pilot remembered us from the last trip, he didn’t even have to tell me how to work my headset. This time I kept my phone handy to take some aerial shots, as you do.

 

It had been a year exactly since he’d had one, so I’m not booking anything for this coming september just in case its a seasonal thing ;)   It took about a month to get him back on track and we are continuing to treat it as a seizure disorder.

We got home from the hospital just in time for the Husband to fly out to Vietnam, as it is his turn for a holiday this year.  Probably a good thing it was his turn, because I’m pretty sure had I had some plane tickets, you may not have seen me on these shores again for some time.  But things did settle, aside from the usual chaos, and we set off on holiday to celebrate fifteen years married. Rented ourselves a flash beach house at Narooma, and quite probably had the best time we’ve had all year, even if we did take all the children ;)

We saw a seal colony for the first time at Narooma. Loved it!

The very next day after we get home, I had a head on car smash with a lady who had decided to drive off her face on drugs, past a school.  Probably a good thing she ran into to me really, but still I really didn’t need my new car written off or my shoulder all hurty.

MY BABY!!!!

While the car was insured and replaceable, we encountered untold drama getting the paperwork sorted.  If something could be sent in the wrong direction, it would be. But the biggest drama was our autie kids dealing with the car being gone, I didn’t expect them to cry for days about it.  In the middle of all this drama, the Husband received an award for Life Saving from the Governor General, and we’re all just a little bit proud of that. And my eldest made it through his first lot of army training and is now an official soldier, I’m very happy he is such a together kid who reminds me everyday just how old I am getting.

My big boy :)

A month on we finally have cars in the driveway and money back in the bank, a very trying christmas looked to be on the cards.  However the one intelligent thing I did this year was lay-by the kids christmas gifts in March, Ms Santa came to one and all.  Even if she did get the parcels in the post a little late ;)

Our crowd, sans my eldest.

Now here we are it’s new years eve, the end of this yucky ass year, but we’re still all here!  I have expectations of 2014, and while they say expectation is the root of all disappointment, we all need to have something to hope for right? Even if it’s just for the year to be a none event.  So if the apocalypse could just hold out until 2015 that’d be great, I’ll be too tired to deal with it next year.

I’ll leave you all with this quote from Doctor Who to end the year on.  I think it fits us nicely.  Thank you all for reading this far, and to those of you who have supported us this year we thank you xxx

I'm sorry I don't know who to credit for this, please let me know if it's you're fabulous drawing.

It hasn’t been all bad, just bad enough to keep us too busy ;)

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Filed under Autism, Complaints Dept, Health, Holidays, Husbands, Rants & Stuff, Too Much Information

Buttons

I was having one of those mornings, when pushing my buttons is pretty easy.  It’s as if my button is a gigantic bright red one with do not push written all over it, and so what is the first thing you want to do?  PUSH IT!  I decided to use today as a writing day, because I just don’t get to anymore.  Things didn’t quite go to plan, I didn’t get to write what I was supposed to write, but I do have a tale to tell.

By the end of this post I will probably end up curling up in a ball rocking back and forth, but I’ll give it a shot. I have to write something today! I decided to start the day off with a bit of fun for the kids, the idea was to get them tired so that they’d leave me alone.  I took them, on my own (yes all six of them), to the local spring festival.  Usually I’ve got this shit, or so I thought.

I should’ve seen the warning signs when the first tantrum started from the four year old (Mr ‘cry because it gets me things at school‘), because I dared to stop and look at a market stall, we’d only just arrived and already it was on.  We skip the stalls and go and spend the necessary half hour on the play equipment, while they play I spend the time perfecting my apology statements to the parents of other children that may have experienced the wrath of my minions.  Eventually I run out of ideas and we move on to the gates of hell; sideshow alley.  Barely getting past the show bag stand with my wallet intact, and only doing so by distracting the smaller children as we passed.   With faces all painted like cats, we are almost out the other side and on the home straight, when they see it.  The inflatable alter at which all children come to weep, worship and bounce.  The jumping castle.

This ought to round things off nicely I thought. Idiot.

Only little ones were allowed on the castle, however my big thirteen year old autie boy still thinks he is little, and was already taking off his shoes to go on.  The lovely bloke running the ride said to me that he could go on, saying he looks like a gentle giant and shouted him a free go.  Regrets….. I have a few….. Can you hear that song? I can.

On they go, Miss 12 and Mr ’cry because it gets me things at school‘ decided to sit this one out.    As soon as his bottom touched the ground the tears began to fall for the bazillionth time that day, he wanted a lollypop.  Bawling as if I’d branded him and wanting something that I didn’t have either, so I did my best to settle him down.  While I was doing this Autie boy decided to let everyone know just how much he was enjoying the jumping castle, by stripping naked.  Yes you read that right, in front of around 20 people he gets his kit off, and puberty is not being kind to him at the moment.  ALL KINDS OF AWKWARD.

I launch myself into the castle and grab him his clothes and his siblings and drag them out and behind it, throwing my apologies in every direction as I went.  Miss 12 goes into damage control mode, which she has sadly gotten very good at and rounds up all our remaining gear and waits.  Close enough if I need her, but not close enough for people to be sure she is with us.  I wouldn’t come near us either if I was her, geez we’re embarrassing.

Autie boy clothed and shod, I attempt to leave.  That’s when I find Mr 3 standing in the tulips pulling them out, and Mr 4 sitting on a picnic blanket of a strange family eating their food.

And that my friends is the moment I pushed my own big red button.

Tantrum time!

Tantrum time!

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Filed under Complaints Dept, Moments, Rants & Stuff, The Kids, Too Much Information

Disenchanted.

We have started checking out the adoption listings for a new pooch. However this time we are finding that the rescue groups are making it VERY difficult to find a dog, and I’m starting to appreciate why people just go to a breeder.  So far we’ve been told we can’t have a dog because we have kids, we live too far from Sydney (two enormous hours), they can’t come and check out our yard and house, or we don’t have another dog it can play with. All this without knowing anything more about us, other than the contents of an email enquiry form.

Getting disenchanted people.

Last month we lost our pooches, both of whom were adopted doggies and they were the best dogs we’ve ever owned. I thought we could go without a dog in the house for a while, but I’ve discovered I really miss that little presence. We’ve always had a dog around.  I work from home, and as the kids get older and don’t listen to me, I think well at least the dog does but alas.

So I’ve been trawling through the adoption ads, and I can’t find the dog that fits or the one that looks and sounds like they might, or they have conditions on their placement we can’t meet.

That is the whole point of this post really. With so many dogs wanting homes I find the amount of conditions placed on whether or not you give the dog a home, sometimes just too much.

I’ve read too many ads that say the same thing: “Fluffy is a gorgeous little dog that will steal your heart, loves the company of others so you must have another dog (I’ve seen ads that say the dog will not be rehoused as a single dog), is very playful better suited to older children (reads: eats toddlers, needs high fences), working very hard on training so if you could be around the dog 24 hours a day that’d be great” (reads: he still craps on the floor and we can’t keep him in a yard).

I know there are very valid reasons for all this, however I spotted ads for a few dogs that I know have been in foster care for a very long time (two years nearly), could it be all these conditions that are putting people off? Do they want to help these doggies or what?

I’ve given up looking. The continual disappointment is just making me sad. Sorry stray dogs, I just don’t have the ambition to wade through the mountains of ads like the above to find the one we can try to adopt, that is after they come to my house and check it out and decide if I am worthy.  I’m starting to realise why people just buy puppies off gumtree or Facebook.

So here’s the deal.  We have a warm house, fenced yard and good kids. What more do you want? I’ll even let you sleep on my bed.  Here is what I want in an adopted dog. A small adult dog, no preference on the sex.  Indoor loving and outdoor pooping.  Not too evil and yes the dog will have to be a lone wolf, but that’s cool because I’ll be here and I’m a be a lone wolf too.

A bit gutted, because I am always shaking the adopted before buying from a breeder tambourine, and I don’t want people to stop adopting because it is too hard.

UPDATE: Because there are awesome people in the world, things changed… meet Dobby.

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Filed under Complaints Dept, Pets, Rants & Stuff

Mayhem May

Ever had one of those days when everything just doesn’t go quite to plan, have you ever encountered a week of crappy luck?  It can be pretty shit right?  For the month of May I seem to be copping crap after crap.  Especially happening to those around me that I love, what’s the deal?  Must’ve run over a chinaman or six, to quote my more senior (and slightly racist at times) relatives.

So everything has been on hold this month.  I don’t write this post to garner sympathy.  I’m just journalling, as I do, our stuff.   There has been a tonne of little things going on this month, but there were two majors highlights to the month, herein known as Mayhem May.

Kicking off with our two little pooches passing away.  I miss them more than I ever thought I could miss a pet, these two were my little shadows even more so than the kids. Both of them were adopted pooches, and I couldn’t rate adopted dogs higher.  They were already house trained and good mannered dogs, they gave us so much adoration.  Meggsie was blind but you wouldn’t have known it, she could find me anywhere. So unfair.

The kids took it very badly at the time.  Henry (Future Dark Overlord) handled it with surprising maturity though.  He instructed us on what to do, telling us we had to have a funeral and get a stone to place on top of the grave.  Georgie wanted to carry a dead Meggsie to her little grave and Henry even wrote Chester a letter that he put in the grave with the dog.  In his pre writing scribble, it apparently said: Dear Chester, you are gone forever, The End.  :o :)

Meggsie & Chester

So I’d been moping about that for a little while, and then mothers day came along, and I enjoyed creations from the kids :)  Creations from the kids :)The very next day we get a call from the cops.  This had happened…

The much narrower FordMy mother and eldest son were in that car. Did your heart just skip a few beats? Mine sure did, actually it kept skipping for about a week, every time I looked at my injured patients.  The good news is despite rolling three times (man ford falcons are tough), being trapped in the car, one of them being airlifted to another town and both with suspected head injuries, they are getting better very quickly.  Amazingly they didn’t break any bones, very bruised and cut up however.  And very very lucky to be alive.  Neither of them can recall what or how it happened, and may never remember.  I don’t care what happened, I am just grateful they are still here.

So there you have it.  This is why your email is unanswered, but I will get there ;)  I have lots of catch up posts to come for you all.  Things can only get better now right?

 

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Filed under Complaints Dept, Rants & Stuff