Friday, December 23, 2011

Oh Come On!

Kids get stuck in buckets! 
The boy is unstoppable! 
"Don't sit in that bucket boy! .... Listen to me I know!"
His favorite line... "Oh COME ON!" So despite my advise, he sits in the bucket... and... Ha! He gets stuck!

We spent most of the day together today, just hanging out, doing our favorite stuff. Amongst a bunch of other stuff, me scrounging at the tip shop and the boy scamming lollies from the receptionist at my work. 

I finally finished putting the Cargo bike together, (mostly) and we did some miles together in her, me peddling, the boy jumping around like a crazy monkey on a stick! Singing, laughing teasing joking. The kid cracks me up! Later in the day I loaded the cart up with three kids and we went riding in the rain with the roof on, our outfit looked just like a wagon from an old John Wayne movie. The kids ran amok in the cart, laughing and goofing around, screaming when we hit a bump and sticking their heads out and waving at people as we bounced along the bicycle path. It's about a 6 km ride to Rapid Creek where we dropped our temporary charge back to her folks. We then rode the Nightcliff foreshore path all the way around to Nightcliff and then branched off to the Mulch pit for a bit of gardening and to take a couple more kids for a short joyride in the cart.
As the sky began to darken we headed back home. Mission accomplished. The Cargo bike handled the load, three kids, easily but most importantly, they enjoyed riding in it.

Oh yeh and the boy surprised me somewhat this afternoon. His sister likes fairly heavy rock music but he seems to have finer taste. Well we spent a little bit of time in the car today and when I put on my new Chili Pepers album I was expecting to hear the standard "Oh COME ON!", which in this context would mean get this crap off and play the music I like, but it never came! I looked over my shoulder and there he was nodding his head to the music! He likes the Chili Pepers! His Mum is gunna kill me! I started tapping and bopping away... then from the back of the car I hear. "Arrrgh.... OH COME ON!".
"What?" I ask, (maybe he's changed his mind and doesn't like the music)
"Stop dancing that's MY MUSIC!"
 How do you like that! Only a few hours previously I'd rescued him from a bucket and here he is telling me I can't even groove to my music in the car!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Managing the mischief

"Don’t throw sticks at butterflies in trees!"
That’s the conversation I had with child 1 recently… That's the sort of conversation we have on a regular basis... Sometimes it drives me crazy! "Don't stick those skinks in the bucket full of water, they'll drown!" Don't shake the bush with birds nest in it the babies will fall out and die!" "Clap your hands together to catch the moths, you'll crush their wings!" If you like a peaceful life and think settling down and having kids might be some kind of serene dignified way of growing older with grace… Good luck to you! You might find it an adventure into the limits of sanity, tolerance and acceptance. If you struggle with feelings of powerlessness and wish to seize control of your own life, if you want to develop a set of values to live by and never falter, you're in for a big surprise if you think this will be easy when raising a family! You might find that every day is a battle to maintain even a thread of who you aspire to be. You might find that as you trudge from one day to the next you are lucky if you can make the vaguest of symbolic gestures toward the life you intended to live. You might find that your daily routine, directly contradicts those virtues you were hoping to nurture. The design you had intended to live by might now only be nothing more than a wistful dream you had selfishly harbored in the space between changing the dirty nappies and washing a pile of dirty dishes. Or worse still clawing your way through a swathe of plastic toys to the front door, clambering out of the air-conditioned unit, with an arm full of Mac Donald's wrappers for the bin!   
Marrying someone doesn’t make that person your minion and spawning fry does not guarantee the children will be a physical representation of all you aspire to be.  Ha! If you wanted that you could have created an avatar in Second Life!

This is real! This is where the rubber meets the road! This is where the shit can sometimes ‘…hit the fan!’
Am I Bitching? Nahhhh! 'It's All Good!'
There are funny times as a parent too. Amongst all the madness and fighting there is a lot of humor!
Yesterday the kids were arguing over a toy. One of us told them if they didn’t sort it out we’d switch the toy off! By now the youngest is really annoying the eldest child, it went something like this:
 Eldest child :   “If you don’t stop that I’ll turn you off!”
Youngest child retorts promptly and quite seriously : “But you can’t…! I don’t have any button!”

We all burst into laughter, our little one fancies himself as a comedian. Although he was serious about the fact that he had no switch that could be pushed to turn him off, he immediately capitalized on the situation to try and keep us laughing.
Damn these kids are funny!

As I've posted previously, I feel like I am lacking in originality, however that is not true. I am surrounded by it! If I quoted half of the crazy stuff my kids have said I'm sure I'd have a best seller! 

Oh yeh, Child 1 received a prize for colouring-in a picture for a local supermarket. She has also completed the poster that Sam copied for her (minus the corporate branding). The final product was pretty good.

Child 1 painting a Christmas Poster

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The books on your shelf

Recently we were given the opportunity to accept a pretty hefty increase to our rent or consider finding cheaper accommodation. Since we for about the past 13 years we've been paying about the cheapest rent in Darwin, we realized that finding anything suitably cheep would be far too difficult. We'd been holding our breath and crossing our fingers, hoping that our rent wouldn't go up for a couple of years as we watched house prices sky-rocketed in our area. But we knew crunch time was bound to come!

About 6 weeks ago the landlord contacted me and hit me with some news, which we'd been expecting but it still sent us into a brief state of shock, for a short time we were afraid we'd have no choice but to move out. We went through a little fear for our future security but when the various stages of grief had passed we were ready for the worst case scenario. After all this place does not belong to us, (nowhere really can) but we've been here for many years and call it home. We thought about the prospects of having to move all our stuff out and realized that in 13 years we had accumulated a whole lot of stuff. It's time we considered, what we would do if we had to leave? Where would we go, what would we bring?

As it happened we came to an agreement with our very generous landlord that we could just afford. Thankfully we can stay. Now we don't have to move out but there are renovations planned and we have to clear all our stuff out of the living area. It dawned on us that we have a lot of stuff to move! Amongst all our gear are two book cases full of most of what we have read over the past 13 years and a bunch of stuff I may never read! I'm a slow reader but in 13 years even I can accumulate a lot of books. Why do I think I need to keep them?

One big problem for me is the so-called acquisition of knowledge! I want to know stuff, I want to learn about the world, people and things, there is information in books. Most of the books can be dispensed with once I have read them... but for some reason I have kept them.

Lately I've managed to take some time to re-assess my priorities and consider how I have been approaching the business of life. What is my purpose etc... What am I clinging to? What do I really need? I know that I don't need many possessions but constantly find myself hording stuff. Building up a stock pile that could come in handy... but when? Bike parts, computer bits and pieces, and books mostly. I admit my life is cluttered with stuff. I remember a line from a Redgum song 'Where Ya Gonna Run To "...And the books on your shelf are a measure of all that you've earned..." Well I always thought the last word of that lyric was 'learned' but in the end both words add up to the same thing. Are my books only a manifestation of my own attachment to stuff, status, achievement? If I have learned something surely I can move on to the next lesson, why do I need to cling to the vessel? Am I ever going to read a novel a second time? It takes me so long to read them once! Do I keep these books as resources or trophies?

I dumped a bag full of books on Saturday... It's a start but I'm not ready to part with most of them. Maybe one day.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Smiling Cyclists

Today as I peddled home beneath Thor's Mighty Mountains of vaporous silver light and dense black thunderheads, I felt an odd euphoria. With all that weather up above there must have been a lot of negative ions in the air. I slowed my pace and sat back on my saddle with arms outstretched just feeling the air flowing across my arms, as the breeze blew through my fingers my hands caught enough to pull my arms slightly back behind me, up above clouds expanding shining and full of power. 
It's funny the joys of cycling. 
I remember how as a motorcyclist I had joined a fraternity of Riders. We were set apart from the drones who sit dumb behind the wheels of their automobiles! Trapped in steel cages! We lived closer to the road, closer to the trees and rocky verge. We were with the sky, in the rain and the sun and closer to danger and life. On a motorbike you get to contemplate the fragility of life, instant by instant and you get to really appreciate the beauty of movement and those times when it's all flowing in perfect time! I can remember that once out of the town riders would usually acknowledge each other on the open road.

Cycling is sometimes like that! Just like AB Patterson's Drover, 'The cyclists life has pleasures that the car-slaves never know.'

Rolling up to that set of lights that usually catches 3 or 4 of us like a fishing net, holding us for a while while the cars roar past and we catch our breath before the next push headed for home. Sometimes I see familiar faces and sometimes there's people I haven't seen caught there before. We wait for the lights to change. Some riders won't make eye contact, they're on a mission and possibly take no pleasure in their ride home. Maybe they're concerned about their fitness level, or something. But mostly the riders waiting will glance at each other and give a smile or a nod. Today was kind of magic like that. For some reason everyone I came across gave a great grin! As if we could all feel the awesome energy that surrounded us! Or maybe some of us were just glad that the ominous thunderhead wasn't quite ready to dump on us. It the path home was abuzz though. As I crossed that road a bloke on an old postie bike came shuffling up to the lights... he was dragging his feet up to the white line and beaming at me happily! I chuckled and then I laughed! Sometimes it's like that On The Road!

As I got closer to home I felt that amazing coolness of the dark thunderclouds that were now all around me. Not the rush of cold air that comes flooding in with a thunder storm, just the coolness on the skin, a reprieve from the heat. The cloud didn't open up on us, it just slowed on it's path across a bitumen patchwork shimmering heat and combustion engines. Enough to remind all riders, we are blessed!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Creativity and Compost

I've had a bit of a breakthrough regarding my lack of creativity!
It's a long and interesting story, which I had hoped to write about here in an attempt to break through the veil of stifled incompetence but... once again, I'm out of time! And it turns out I spend it doing exactly the wrong thing. Always doing something when I should be doing nothing! It's no mystery why I and so many others lack creativity and it's merely a symptom. Nothing to worry about really, unless you're in a state of half awakened confusion and dismay... Like me.. ha ha ha... So much attachment but nothing worth holding onto!
It turns out (according to some fella, doesn't matter who he is or how he figures) that we tend to loose our creativity as we get older simply as a mechanism for dealing with a world of rules. We are expected to perform a whole bunch of mundane tasks, which would take forever if we were to approach them with all our consciousness every time we had to do them. Thus as a pragmatic mechanism of energy conservation most of us tend to perform many tasks in a state of semi conscious autopilot. It seems that what generally happens is that as we age, many most of us give up our creativity bit by bit in the name of "Getting shit done"! That was something I heard by chance on the radio the other day. Sounds about right to me. I'm guilty!
Then today as I was plodding my way through invoices at work and listening to Echart Tolle, (Bit of a trip really but nowhere near as crazy as Jed Mckenna!) Mr Tolle reminds me that in the mad rush to cram as much of what I desire into my crowded life as I can fit, I leave no spaces in my life (for God, Emptiness... whatever.. to enter). All I'm left with at the end of the day is whatever obsessive crap my ego was up to when last I let it run my life.... Ergo The same old repetitive crap! (My words not his). I don't stand a chance of channeling creativity if I'm running the same old tapes! Blagh! Take this post for example... It has no chance can not possibly entertain or create a shred of interest simply because here 'I' am again! Worn out, full of my own thoughts, having spent no time outside of my own thoughts head in months! No wonder I used to seek oblivion! But that's no solution, so what is? LOL Give it up! Don't watch TV, let go of obsessions. Wake UP! Breathe, Laugh! Better still, laugh at 'Me!' See those words I've struck through? They're exactly what I'm talking about. My mind is stuck in a rat trap! Whilst I continue to grasp I am doomed to repeat myself over and over until I am a blabbering vegetable!
**POST SCRIPT** It is possible that I am The Man With No IMAGINATION!

A borrowed Santa for the kiddies

I came home from work today to find the kids had been building Lego houses and Sam had copied a picture of Santa onto a large piece of art paper for the kids to colour in! Creations everywhere, lucky for me I took part in some pretty special little creations when I had the inspiration to make something good!  
Tumbling the rotting grub

What about the COMPOST?
Oh yeh and the other item for this post. Compost! I'm not talking about me now... Not yet!
The garden has been an ongoing drama for us. We'd really like to grow our own food in the yard but have been frustrated by various issues like, gardeners poisoning our plants, palm trees growing a mass of roots anywhere we lay soil, a body corporate that prefers us to grow grass and palm trees, a dog that digs up our compost and kids who like to trample over or pluck out anything we stick in the ground!
Anyway a little while back Sam decided to divide out some of the garden and dumped some potting mix then broad cast most of the seeds I'd been collecting. We were ready for the next step. Compost!
Some time about a week back we decided, no more food waste in the rubbish bin! We ordered a compost tumbler bin and decided to stop burying scraps in the yard where the dog can dig them up or chucking them in the rubbish. We didn't figure it would take so long to get a compost bin and ended up stowing all our food scraps in the lovely new chest freezer, which by then was nearly empty of ice-cream. Finally the compost arrived and I collected it on Monday. Tonight we loaded her up with all the food scraps we'd been saving for the past several days and included a bit of paper and cardboard for roughage. Apparently the dry stuff is called 'brown compost', food stuff is called 'green compost', you've gotta get the right mix but I'm sure we'll figure it out.

Ice-cream with banana topping and crushed nuts!

Coincidentally the night before we set up our compost we also consumed the last of our ice-cream stash! The freezer has now been decommissioned until mango season... or the next time Ben or I have to do an emergency run to the airport to bring home dead Magpie Geese have to be jettison from someone's excess baggage headed to Elcho!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Ice-cream Bike

I don't know where to begin with this story...
Once upon a time there was a kid... '...who had a big hallucination...'!
A stupid idea took root in the mind of an obsessive and compulsively deluded dilettante...!
Dive in jack and never mind the flack!

Ok, here we go and please try not to judge.
Firstly let me say that I have literally no spare time or money to devote to foolish flights of fancy, fairytale business ventures or hobbies! I'm fully booked! Do you get it?

That's right! So don't bother asking am I free to catch a film, go for a ride or sip f---ing lattes down at that cool caffe where everyone hangs out hoping to be seen wearing their hippie sandals or sporting expensive custom tribal tatoos coz I don't have the time!
OK... back to the idiotic tale.

So I'm gathering supplies for a work event and planning to put the gear and myself on a carbon hungry airplane to travel into a remote part of the country where I'll meet a bunch of other people who got there the same way in order that they may sit and discuss 'What God Wants' (apologies Roger Waters!). And I'm wondering couldn't we all just do this ourselves at home and save a few thousand years of rotting vegetation from being converted into CO2? Not to mention the money!
Anyway I'm at the shops doing this crazy shopping with other peoples money while I contemplate if I can afford to buy myself a softdrink... when I see an add on the wall.


With photos and a blurb about all the stuff that comes with this great bargain and business opportunity!

Special project x
(First viewing of the machine)

I snatch the phone number off the wall and proceed to the supermarket to gather supplies... (Not enough coins in my purse for a can of drink for myself..!) I go home and sit on it for a few days. An Ice-cream vending 3 wheeled bicycle (tricycle). This could be the answer to my dreams! I have a great job but sometimes I struggle with the madness of the money and resources that get consumed to no apparent end! I feel like a dirty sellout every time I fly. I could leave all that and spend my days cruising the streets on my new Ice-cream vending bike! Not a care in the world. Hanging out with the kids on the street. Bringing pleasure to all with cool refreshments... and blah blah blah! Dream on dream on!
I discuss the idea with my wife and she (quite an amazing person) agrees! "Go for it" she says!
"If you really want to do this then just do it!"

OK! I busted into our savings! I got the cash out! Broke the contract! Stuff the interest! I'm following a dream. Actually it gave me great pleasure, less of my money being used to oppress the people! (Of course I'll pay it all back once I get into business!)

I purchased the Ice-cream bike.

So I've finally got it home, the bike and all the stuff that came with it! Including a gas powered fridge, chest freezer, deep cell battery, ac inverter, battery charger, original cart and gear for the ' MKIII' trike, ice-cream cones, a snow cone ice shaver, several litres of syrup, 5 kilos of crushed peanuts, and a bunch of other bits and pieces...

Ice-cream bike with petrol assist
(The last time ice-cream bike was seen in tact!)

So I get all this stuff home and have a few days to think about what I've done... The questions pop into my mind. What about hygiene? What about regulations? What about health? What about time? What about how far I'd have to ride the bloody thing to get to where I want to sell this stuff? What about how heavy the frigging thing is? What about the fact that I've got two young kids and I'm seriously considering keeping tons of ice-cream in the house? What the f--k did I think I was doing?

(The chest freezer... after a couple of weeks...nearly empty)

Yep... Yet another ill-conceived idea... but this time I followed through! I've got all this crap and I've got no idea now what to do with it!
Well first thing's first! I reckon so we set about getting rid of the ice-cream! Yep! one tub at a time! We're eating it! There were about 3 2lt tubs plus a bunch of these little single serve tubs designed to be squeezed into a cone... We're eating them all! With nuts and topping!

The kids love me! I'm the Ice-cream man! When I get home from work at night it's snow cones all round! Ice-cream is garbage if you ask me, when the stock is all gone we'll turn the freezer off and save electricity and sell it! I won't be selling ice-cream! Actually I don't even like ice-cream very much and I don't want to be selling the crap to kids, soft drink either! But while it's in the house I'm eating the bloody stuff! I know it's not like selling drugs or grog but seriously if I'm not into it myself why sell it to others? I'm thinking of converting the whole thing into a 'portable film projector' or maybe I'll do fruit juices or something... I don't know, it was a crazy idea! For now we're just going to have to finish the ice-cream and use the cart to take the kids to school and do the shopping... reducing the atmospheric CO2 the hard way... one calorie at a time!

I was telling an aunty about this latest adventure and she couldn't stop laughing! She thought it was a great laugh that I'd purchased a business and had spent the past few weeks eating my way through the stock! I reckon I got off lightly! I once met a couple of fellas who bought a pub and thought they'd do the same thing with their stock! Now you might think that would be pretty cool... I doubt most of us have sailed so close to the wind! Believe me it got pretty bloody ugly and quickly... They'd gone bust and nearly killed themselves not long after they started.