The Fab Four - er, Five!

Posted November 16th, 2008 by Penny Wise

Wow, what a hectic week it's been! If there's one thing our family know how to do it's have fun and we've had heaps of it over the past few days. I know we're more than a little biased but our kids are brilliant! We just adore their company and the four of us have such a hilarious time together. Well, these days it's more the five of us - we've kind of dragged a poor unsuspecting Alex into our merry clan in recent months too. It all started when he kindly offered to be my running buddy a while back, when I was looking for someone to keep me on track in my weightloss mission. In the process of losing 12kg, I also ended up gaining a third son! I'm not sure he knows what's hit him yet but his peaceful existence has been shattered by a group of people who somehow manage to get him to agree to do all sorts of things - anything from 'Alex, do you want to come clay target shooting?' to 'Alex, do you want to swim two kilometres in a Half Iron Man with us?' or most recently 'Hey Alex, how do you fancy an 18km trek across a mountain?'

Take yesterday for example. I'm proud to admit that I completed my first competitive running event successfully! At least this one only charges a $20 fee to try and kill yourself, compared to $210 for the Half Iron Man! Yesterday morning Alex and I lined up nervously along with several thousand other mad people for the 12km Hamilton Round the Bridges event, accompanied by Noel and the boys, our trusty support crew! Alex, being 20 years my junior could do the run with his eyes shut and his hands tied behind his back but I was particularly worried because not only was I still recovering from a nasty virus which had put the cobblers on my training for over a week, but all the fragrant flowers and pollen in the air lately had been playing havoc with my asthma. Only the day before it had become so bad that I was forced to stop after only 2km as I simply couldn't breathe. Yesterday morning I woke up early and straight away I knew I was in for trouble - how was I going to get through this? My inhalers weren't proving effective and I really didn't want to let everyone down, especially myself. My only hope was that I would find something in my homeopathic first aid kit. I looked in my books, then got online and typed my symptoms into the ABC Homeopathy website. The remedy they reckoned I needed was Arsenicum Album, which was the same as I had suspected from my books. It had to be an omen, I hoped! I popped a tiny pilule into my mouth and I swear to goodness not even five minutes later all traces of my wheezing and sore throat had gone. I had no more problems for the rest of the day and completed my run in a very respectable time. I can't wait to see the results online - while I wasn't first I definitely wasn't last. There's life in the old girl yet!

Alex belted his way along the course and arrived at the finish line a full 15 minutes before me. I was really proud of him for challenging himself and trying something new but what really made the day for me was my lovely hubby and boys, who monitored my progress throughout the course and would turn up unexpectedly to wave madly at me or run alongside for a bit. It always made me smile and encouraged me to try that little bit harder but best of all, I never knew when they might pop up so I didn't dare stop! The atmosphere was great and we made the most of the opportunity to take advantage of some half-price race day bargains. Noel as you know has also caught the running bug lately and has been gleefully ribbing me no end about how much it has cost for me to be able to run injury-free, with my podiatrist and physio visits and my $200 running shoes. 'Pah, I don't need any of that flash stuff, all I need is my $29 running shoes from The Warehouse!' he would gloat before heading off to pound the pavements once again. Yeah - they didn't last long though did they mate? By my calculations it was less than six weeks before the entire sole was cracked and you could see the road beneath through them - and that was AFTER I had spent another $20 on insoles for them weeks before, as he felt they were wearing a bit thin! In comparison, my 'posh, girly brand name shoes' have not only more months and countless more kilometres on the clock, they show no signs of wearing out whatsoever! Sometimes you get what you pay for but Noel still ended up with the last laugh as he managed to get his own pair of posh shoes at half price. I'll know where to buy mine from this time next year, should they need replacing!

Because I had done so well at my run, Noel said I could have a treat from Rebel Sports, who were also having some great specials. Yippee! This could have been fun - had I not had Senior Scrooge Noel and Junior Scrooge Alex in tow. Junior Scrooge flatly refused to let me buy anything without trying it on first. 'Yeah', grumbled Senior Scrooge. 'You want to see the stuff she's chucked out of her wardrobe over the years, just because she can't be bothered to try it on first'. Terrific - now they were ganging up on me! In hindsight it was just as well however, as they both informed me that the purple Nike shirt I had convinced myself was going to be my lucky running shirt (and was NOT on special) looked completely hideous and made all my lumpy bits look even lumpier. Sigh - at least they're honest I suppose and if it hadn't been for them I would have been $50 worse off and stuck with a shirt I would never wear. When will you learn from your past mistakes, Penny?

Prizegiving over and we were on to our next mission of the day - water sports! It's one of our very favourite pastimes - awesome scenery, great company, heaps of fun and best of all, no cost! I must apologise to anyone within a 50km radius of Lake Karapiro yesterday whose peaceful Sunday was ruined by a screaming banshee - that was me being dragged along at terrifying speed on a sea biscuit. Our mate Dave brought his boat, we brought the sea biscuit and lifejackets and hours of fun was had taking it in turns to whiz along the river, whilst trying very hard not to fall off (and failing). The weather was glorious and we found a lovely lakeside spot to relax and sunbathe in between rides. While we were all excited about having a go, we were particularly keen to show Alex, as he had never been on a boat before, let alone towed on his belly behind one! He even had his first go at waterskiing and did remarkably well for a first-timer. We all really enjoyed watching him have a go at something new and it brought home to us, as it often does, how much we take for granted as a Simple Savings family. We do pretty much what we like and don't miss out on anything - in fact we probably do more than any other family we know! The secret is, we know the smartest ways to get what we want. It's not rocket science. Where other families might spend $50 on a couple of hours' entertainment at the cinema, we get a whole afternoon's action-packed entertainment for nothing! It's all about mindset in the end, isn't it?

Oops, almost forgot! Our first attempt at a family movie is now live on YouTube! We had a blast making it and because I always talk too much we ended up with three segments! You can watch the first clip here, the second one (featuring Mr Patel) here and the third (which is basically bloopers!) right here. Thanks for watching, feel free to laugh at our expense as much as you like!

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