Yippeee! The kids went back to school today! Don't get me wrong, I love my boys dearly but two weeks of them being at home has really taken its toll. Particularly Ali - or Hurricane Ali as he should be more appropriately named. That kid never keeps still! Last week he spent his pocket money on something he had wanted for a long time - a potato gun. For the uninitiated this is a little plastic gun with a hollow end that you simply stick into something like a potato (funnily enough) and it cleverly pulls out a tiny pellet, which you can then shoot at unsuspecting friends and family members. He was chuffed to bits with it and it kept him happy for ages but I on the other hand have not been impressed. Not only has he significantly depleted my supply of potatoes, parsnips, swede and even apples, everywhere I go I find tiny cylindrical pieces of rotting vegetables which have been shot into every nook and cranny. What I thought was a cheap and harmless water balloon game could have easily turned into an expensive disaster too. The boys were having a wonderful time filling up balloons with water and throwing them at each other. It kept them entertained for hours and I was more than happy to indulge them their low cost game - until I saw the after-effects. The boys promised me faithfully that they had picked up every scrap of popped balloon but one way or another, Minnie found them. For the last four days I have been finding technicolour 'number two's' on the lawn. I don't really need to explain further do I? I'm just thanking my lucky stars that at least they came out the other end and we didn't have an emergency trip to the vet on our hands.
My lounge carpet has also suffered a week from hell at the hands of my family. With Ali it was tomato sauce. Noel tried his best to use baking soda la Simple Savings on a Minnie puddle while I was out for the evening. I don't know what on earth he did but I came home to an enormous yellow crusty volcano. I still can't get rid of it and I'm not sure I ever will. Minnie topped the lot though. As well as the puddle, she also vomited no less than FIVE times on the carpet and couch and went and trod in an enormous sloppy cow pat and gleefully danced a pooey trail right across the room. Not on the same day thankfully, but it's a chain of events I hope nobody repeats in a hurry.
It's not been all bad though. I was chuffed to bits that I spent hardly anything on food last week (largely because I wasn't endlessly baking for lunch boxes) and I had a wonderful time experimenting with new recipes from the Forum to serve up to some friends for dinner. I made Carol H's Italian Pasta Salad which was just yummy, along with Ruth's Potato Salad and Linda J's sweet chilli dressing, both from the boring salads thread (I assure you it's wonderful and far from boring!) I also made Caz's Pumpkin and Basil Dip from a brilliant thread about home made dips. It turned out even better than I expected and I was so proud of myself. Unfortunately when I tried to transfer it from my food processor into a bowl, I accidentally flung the bowl with all the dip in across the kitchen, decorating my oven, walls and floor. Minnie also wore quite a bit of it on her head. The little amount I had left was very nice though and I felt quite proud to serve up an almost exclusively Simple Savings meal!
The boys have been doing brilliantly without all their electronic games; it's amazing but they're really not bothered at all! The house is a whole lot messier but I would much rather have a messy lived-in house than zombie kids. They are currently counting the days until Calf Club day - just four more to go! I don't know why it's called Calf Club as it's a bit of a daft name, it's not really a club at all and there's lots of other livestock involved, not just calves. Still it's a age-long tradition for Kiwi country kids. They choose a calf/goat/lamb or whatever shortly after it's born and then spend what seems like forever feeding, grooming and training them to compete with all the other school kids for ribbons on competition day. It's a big commitment, every afternoon for several months, rain or shine - and my kids absolutely hate it. They loathe it with a passion. Unfortunately for them, they have a father who was a champion Calf Club kid for years and takes it all very seriously. He absolutely refuses to be swayed on it, declaring it's absolutely vital for teaching them responsibility and discipline. As far as Liam is concerned, he's been doing it for six years now and if he hasn't learned how to be responsible and disciplined after all this time, it's never going to happen! Fortunately for Liam, it's his last one ever. Ali on the other hand still has two painful years left! For all their moaning though, they're always pretty proud of winning their ribbons. This year Liam has named his calf Richie, after the All Black captain. I hope our Richie has better luck on Friday than poor Richie McCaw did in the World Cup!
I can't believe I forgot to tell you, I met my first SS member in the flesh recently! You may remember I said I was going to see Deb Webber with my mum. There I was, just sat down in the front row when a voice said 'Excuse me, are you Penny?' It was a fellow SS member called Sandra - I was so excited! 'How did you know it was me?' I asked, gobsmacked. 'You said you had got tickets in the front row, remember?' came the reply. Ah yes, so I did! Not that it did either me or Sandra any good as most of the action took place further up the back! Never mind, it was a great show, very interesting and one of the things she said really stuck in my head. Someone in the audience asked her about climate change and how she viewed the future of the planet. I found her reply very reassuring and thought provoking. Deb said that yes, we have harmed the earth and we all need to help try to heal it, but what is happening with the climate was always going to happen. It's a time of great change - just like the Ice Age and all the eras before us, an evolution. Being scared does not help anyone - taking positive action and going with the flow will. This is the way the planet's going and we can all do a lot more to make the change ahead easier, by changing our current consumer-driven behaviour and wasteful habits. I don't know if that way of thinking helps anyone else but it helped me a lot. So I am refusing to be scared; I'm just going to do my bit and get on with it. Hopefully others will do the same. This email I received yesterday sums up today's scaremongering society perfectly!
My thanks to all those who have sent me emails this past year. I must send my thanks to whoever sent me the one about rat poo in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet towel with every envelope that needs sealing. Also,I now have to scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason. I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl (Lucy Brown); who is about to die in the hospital for the 1,387,258th time. I no longer have any money at all, but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program. Or from the senior bank clerk in Nigeria who wants me to split $7 million with me for pretending to be a long lost relative of a customer who died intestate.
I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me, and St. Theresa's novena has granted my every wish. I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day. Thanks to you, I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward an email to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes. Because of your concern I no longer drink Coca-Cola because it can remove toilet stains. I no longer can buy petrol without taking a man along to watch the car so a serial killer won't crawl in my back seat when I'm filling up. I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me. I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore and Uzbekistan.
Thanks to you, I can't use anyone's toilet but mine because a big brown African spider is lurking under the seat to cause me instant death when it bites my bum. And thanks to your great advice, I can't even pick up the $5.00 I found dropped in the car park because it probably was placed there by a sex molester waiting underneath my car to grab my leg. If you don't send this to at least 144,000 people in the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhoea will land on your head at 5:00pm this afternoon and the fleas from 12 camels will infest your back, causing you to grow a hairy hump. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbour's ex-mother-in-law's second husband's cousin's beautician.
OK, so I admit, I clean my toilet with Coke and refuse to use cancer-causing deodorant, but I refuse to add any more to the list!