Friday, January 29, 2010

Ich Bien Heiß

Yes, I know it's -27 C in Calgary, and many of my friends would give their last Coach bag to be in Brisbane's warm, sunny climate - but that's not going to stop me from whinging (that's "whine" in Aussie-speak). I'm hot!!!!!!

When I say I'm hot, I'm not saying "ich bien heiß" - like I did in Germany. (Apparently when I told my cabbie that in downtown Berlin, I was telling him that I was "hot to trot" - an entirely different meaning!)

No, these past few days I have been "hot" as in my makeup is melting - beads of sweat are rolling down my back - I feel like a dog stuck in an overheated car on the verge of brain damage - and it's the 25th hour of my 24 hour deodorant - hot!

Our air conditioning has been broken for the past week. That wouldn't be horrible, except that January and February are the hottest months of the year here. Yesterday it was 32C outside and 34C inside our house! Forced to wait for the air-conditioning repairman to finally make an appearance, we have been subsisting on a diet of Popsicles and ice water. My lips are cracking from dehydration and my delicate pale skin is erupting in an attractive heat rash. (Definitely not looking sexy/hot!) Even my Mom, who is like the energizer bunny of cleaning, has abandoned her post - she's actually sat down!

If we'd have been in Canada, we would have slept outside, but the thought of creeping lizards or biting ants sneaking up on us while we slumbered was more than I could handle! I know I could never make it on Survivor!

So, until they get our a/c fixed I think we may be forced to eat out, spend quality time at the mall or movie theatre, and maybe go to an air conditioned hotel for the weekend - hmmmmm - why am I whinging again????

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Aussie Aussie Aussie Oye Oye Oye

Today, January 26th, we experienced our first Australia Day.

Given that we've adopted this country as our home, at least for the next couple of years, I thought we should get into the celebrations. My Mom and I hit the Bargain Store and picked up some necessities. Flag tattoos - check. Flag bandannas - check. Mini flags to wave - check. Flag hat - check. Flag rally sticks - check. Flag bikini - uhhh no! Instead we opted for the giant flag blowup hand - we didn't want to look tacky you know.

One of the parks in Brisbane was having an Australia Day festival, with music, movies, and some other family friendly events. I tried to persuade the kids and Paul that we should head there for a few hours of fun. But, for Paul, wandering around in a big crowd is his idea of hell, and the kids just wanted to hang out by our pool. I guess I couldn't blame them - it was 35C. It probably would be considered child abuse to stick them in some bouncy house sauna. So, in the end, we just hung out together at our house and Jack got to use his giant inflatable hand as a floaty. And we ate some Anzac cookies (sorry no Vegemite for this family!)
I guess that's what Australia Day is all about anyways - relaxing, while spending time with your family and friends. And, fireworks - which we did go see. We stood on the Goodwill Bridge downtown tonight and watched as the fireworks lit up the river. And watched the bats fly through the brightened sky. It was beautiful.

In many ways it reminded me of our own Canada Day celebrations - we were just wearing a different flag on our heads, faces and hands. So while we will be showing our red and white pride next month for the Olympics, we were happy to go Aussie today to celebrate a really great country. Aussie Aussie Aussie Oye Oye Oye!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Brisbane Bound

Well, we made it back to Brisbane! Twenty-seven hours of travel time, eight suitcases, three planes, three rugs (of the living room, not hair variety), two adults, two children, a "murse," and one missed flight!

Coming to Calgary, the kids had brought their Princess and Toy Story roll-on bags onto the plane filled with crayons, paper, books, and their Nintendo DS games. But - thanks to the moronic underwear bomber - Belle and Buzz were now viewed as potential instruments of terror and no longer welcome on board. That meant we either had to hope the kids could stuff everything into their pockets for the ride home, suffer 27 hours of boredom, or find Jack a "murse" (a man purse). Luckily he consented to carrying his new "murse" (with a Canadian flag on the front) onto the plane - quite proudly in fact. Maybe "man bags" will come back into fashion?

We arrived 4 hours early for the Calgary to San Francisco leg of our flight since there were so many warnings about the length of time it would take to clear security. Hey, why not add a few more hours to our journey! I think my mom was hoping to get her pat down from the cute male Mountie at Security. Unfortunately, he was only in charge of male passengers. While Mountie Mike was cheerfully joking and chatting with the men he had to frisk, we were subjected to Sour Sue. I'm sure it's not a thrilling job - feeling up strangers - but she could have put a little effort into easing the awkwardness of the moment. Instead, it was like a mini- mammogram - but without any of the calming pleasantries! Actually, Sour Sue did crack half a smile - when I couldn't stop giggling as she frisked me under my arms. (You don't want to be the one giving me a pedicure - I'm surprised someone hasn't lost a tooth!)
The plane ride from San Fran to Sydney went pretty well. The kids were really great and slept most of the time. I won't candy coat it though, for those who may come to visit, not a lot of leg room. Once you've been in a first class sleeping pod (one that folds down to a bed) it's very hard to go back!! This girl is not made to travel economy - why can't they see that!

Worried about quarantine in Australia, I had limited the amount of wood and food products I brought in, and put the few things that I did have into one bag. I thought I could minimize my time in customs if I could just open up the one suitcase. Of course they ignored that bag and had me open up Jack's suitcase in which I had stuffed my bra and P.J.'s from the night before. As my bra tumbled onto the table, Jack (who is very possessive of his belongings) shouted - "Hey - who's bra is that in MY suitcase!!"

By the time we reached Sydney we were closing in 24 hours of travel time, only to miss our connection to Brisbane because there weren't any buses available to transfer us to another terminal. Eventually they brought in some new buses and we were herded like cattle onto them and dropped off unceremoniously at the Terminal 3 ticketing counters. We struggled as we wrestled our 8 suitcases off the bus and into the next line-up.

I will admit that at this point I started feeling a bit ornery about the whole flight thing. Usually this mood is referred to in our family as "Airport Paully". Now, I love my husband, but he is not the best traveller with others. A frequent business flyer, he sometimes forgets that it isn't the same travelling with kids and a spouse. As he dashes through security and speeds to the gate, he's oblivious to the kids and I running behind trying to catch up. So, I admit, I was a little snappish and my "Airport Jenny" was rearing its ugly head. (Sorry Mom.) I certainly wasn't feeling like the perfect mother telling my Jumpin' Jack that he could not go poop until we got tickets to the next flight.

We did make it to Brisbane finally, and I was feeling much happier. I knew my husband, who was picking us up, would probably not appreciate our 8 suitcases, but I was willing to cab it, if necessary, with whatever luggage wouldn't fit in our car. You see, being the good Scot I am, I found some great deals on rugs at Homesense. The rugs I had seen in Brisbane were double or triple the cost. I knew Paul would roll his eyes, but I was determined to bring back my Homesense rugs. Hey - they were thin!

We managed to stuff 6 of the bags into the back of the SUV, one in the front on my lap, and with the flexibility of a Cirque de Soleil performer my Mom wedged herself into the back seat with the kids and and the last bag. We were home free!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Eat More Chips!

I guess I could work at setting some realistic New Year's resolutions now that 2010 is actually here. There are plenty of articles out there to aid me on my way - but why bother? If I was good at setting New Year's goals for myself I would already be a size 0, Mother of the Year, and would have published eight blog posts by now!

When I asked my husband what his resolutions were for 2010 he told me the same things he says every year; "to play more golf, drink more beer, and play more poker with the boys". Not to worry - he is not a big drinker and he's left most of his poker and golf buddies back in Canada - he just likes to see my reaction. And - he knows that I prefer to offer "suggested" resolutions for him, as opposed to him coming up with his own.

Funny, he didn't like my version of his resolutions: putting his plates IN the dishwasher instead of leaving them directly ON TOP OF the dishwasher, dislodging his Blackberry from his hands when he comes home from work, and buying his wife flowers as a surprise.

Luckily I have taught my daughter well. I didn't even have to "suggest" what one of her resolutions should be. She opted for the "get along better with Jack" resolution before it even came out of my mouth. And though I may have had some ideas for Jack's list, he stopped me short by telling me his resolution was "more hugs". Giving them or getting them, I'm not sure, but it was good enough to make me keep my mouth shut. Because, what Mom doesn't want more hugs?

I guess coming up with resolutions for my family probably isn't the way to go. When you start thinking about things you'd like to change in others it can feel like you're suggesting that you don't like who they are already. And if you think about it, some of our flaws or quirks are often what make us real and like-able. Sure there are things we should change, bad habits or bad behaviours, but those kinds of things take more that writing a new date on our cheques to influence us to push forward.

So I will work on being the best mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and person that I can be during the whole year - and there may be times that I don't meet my own quality standards - but I'll do my best.

Personally I like the resolutions on the table napkins that a friend brought to our New Year's Eve party last year. "Eat more chips, nap more, work less, and gain ten pounds - resolutions you can keep!"

So Paul, I'll leave you to make your own resolutions, just be sure to put your beer glass in the dishwasher when you're done!