SAVING THE WHALES

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I saved a whale. Actual. In fact I think it is fair to say that I saved a few. 64 even.
My friend Mac came to stay for a few days. You may remember her from such stories as ‘Macs New Shoes’. Whilst doing a cruise on the Facebook on Friday, I saw some locals posting about a rather large stranding in our area. Whale strandings are very common where I live. There have been 8 in the last 10 years. Every time there has been a stranding, I have had the children in my care and automatically write off helping out due to childcare. When I mentioned in passing to Mac that there was a rather large stranding in our hood, she was all over it. Like a rash. So with a little gentle persuasion from her to make it happen ( persuasion  more resembling  a steamroller)..I damn well made it happen.
On Friday the 13 th of February, 198 Pilot Whales stranded on Farewell Spit in Golden Bay.By Saturday morning 103 whales had died and 70 of the surviving whales that had been refloated on the Friday evening, had restranded further to the base of the spit by the Saturday morning (Valentines Day). Mac and I arrived at about 4pm to the stranding site. DOC( Dept of Conservation) and Project Jonah ( charity organisation that specialises in strandings) were there to meet us and give us a briefing on what to expect, what to do and what to avoid doing…. eg. getting hit by their tails. They said a lot more but all I could hear was the loop track in my head “I wanna save a whale. I wanna save a whale. I wanna save a whale”.  Briefing done, Mac and I went to prepare for our heroic adventure. I had my wetsuit on in a flash. Much to my frothing frustration though, Mac struggled to put on her wetsuit due to the leg of the suit suddenly being a lot smaller than normal. She soon learnt that arm holes are meant for arms. Not legs. Job done.
The whales were about 300 mtrs from the shore line, so we jogged out to them quick smart being sure to hold in our tummies and try to put an air of total comfort in our skin-tight 2nd skins. My hope was that if we were moving fast enough there would be less chance of a DOC worker throwing a sheet over me , drizzling a bucket of water over me to keep me comfortable until the high tide came in and then refloating me with the rest of the pod.
A Project Jonah Volunteer greeted us as we approached the stranded pod.We were told about 4 people to every whale. They  directed us to some whales looking in need. I had expected  that being so close to one of these beasts would be akin to a spiritual experiencefor me. A moment where I would look into the whale’s eyes and I would see his soul and he would see my mine and he would  feel my love and I would sing to him and keep him wet and he would whale talk his gratitude to me and we would be two souls in this limitless universe, together, connected on a transcendental level, and when the high tide came in, I would gently guide him to the ocean where he would meet his pod, then he would turn back to me and say “squeak, wail, high pitch noise” which would mean “Thank you for your loving kindness. All beings are one and love is the  way.Your love has saved my life and your people have saved my people. I will never forget you ,Toots the Whale Whisperer”, and I would say ” And I shall never forget you ,oh great Whale being” but I would say it in Whale speak because I am indeed the Whale whisperer.And I would fly home on my cloud of supreme compassion as the lights of heaven shine down upon me and I would have thigh gap and perky breasts.
It was not like that.
70 whales had restranded. 6 were dead that I could see on arrival. A big pink tag around their large lifeless corpse. A baby whale was thrashing and calling out for what I can only assume was its dead Mother. 100’s of people in wetsuits sat next to whales mindlessly splashing water on the large stressed beasts.Some people had been there since dawn and had done the same thing the previous day. Whales were horrifically sunburnt from the day before. Their blistered skin peeling away showing raw bleeding flesh. Blowholes shooting into the air as the whales gasped for breath. I was surrounded by large dying animals.I found a whale that had 2 people with it. He ( I am only assuming it was a he) was large and had a white saddle on his back just behind his dorsal fin. I introduced myself and starting splashing the beast with water. I made light chit-chat with the  2 other volunteers helping him while I looked around and took it all in. I had always imagined how a whale might feel. Kind of like a wet gumboot. And it did. So smooth. But to look at it up close you can see all the scratches and scars of the mischiefs of its life. Yet still soo smooth. The thing that struck me the most about the whale was that is was warm. I had never thought about whether it would feel warm or not. But it was.Of course it was. He was a mammal. At some point as the tide came in,I found myself moving my half covered arms into ‘Elvis the Whale’ to keep the chill away. Here I was trying to keep him alive and I was using his body warmth to keep the chill off my privileged arms.
I would like to say there was some kind of interspecies connection between me and Elvis. A meeting of the souls. There was not. Elvis was a large mammal trying desperately to stay alive. In an environment he had no understanding of. Listening to his fellow pod members struggling and dying. Elvis was very still. Lying next to Ralph who kept squirting me with his blowhole as he gasped for breath. No matter where I moved I was in Ralph’s firing line. Noted by a few other volunteers. I eventually just let it go and put it down to another story to tell. Whilst the smaller Ralph seemed to take a breath every 5 minutes, Elvis would take a breath more like every 10-15 mins. He was still. Not thrashing so much like many of the others. He just seemed so focussed on breathing. Just breathing. Whilst 3 of us chit chatted and laughed about Ralph and the other farting whale next to him …he just. Kept.On.Breathing. At one stage I really  thought he was going to die. That he was just going give up.
At 5.25pm a Project Jonah official came over and told us that in 35 minutes it was going to be high tide and time to refloat the whales. I don’t know technical terms for tides and how they work. But I do know and did know that this high tide was not going to be a particularly high tide by high tide standards. I also knew that if we were not able to refloat these whales that night, DOC would be forced to “euthanize” them. With guns. Needless to say, at 6 o’clock…when it was high tide… SHIT. GOT. REAL!!
I vaguely recall during our briefing that Mac and I were told NOT to drag the whales during the refloating process. “GUIDE them out” they had said. Dragging can rip their bellies and other such yolk. I can assure you…that on valentines day of 2015 in a little place called Golden Bay…64 whales were DRAGGED the fuck out to sea. It was that or be shot. Now, I do the odd Les Mills weight class.And I can lift a bit of weight, I am a strong lass. In fact..Fatty Ding Dong( the gentleman caller) has \offered to challenge me to an arm wrestle as he is sure I am stronger than him. I always turn him down. I fear I might actually beat him and then be the ‘manly’ one in the relationship sadly rendering him to be the ‘Camp’one.  I know he would kick my arse..and I like that he thinks otherwise. Have you ever tried to lift 3 tonne of wet mammal?!?! No matter how strong you think you are…you can never be THAT strong. To be in a space where 150-200 people + 64 giant mammals are all trying to achieve the same thing in 30 desperate life threatening minutes is an experience I can not even begin to describe. A collective of minds and will. A force of compassion that drives and unites perfect strangers do work together without even speaking at times. TO just know. It is astounding. People were dragging, pushing, heaving and shoving these whales with everything they had. There was mainly 3 of us with Elvis in these moments. The guy and girl I worked with had a sling under the front part of him. I never asked there names. peoples names were irrelevant in this moment. I had one hand behind Elvis’ dorsal fin and one hand behind a flipper. I would dig my feet deep into the ground and squat as low as I could go then on the count of 3 I would push with my legs and groan and grunt in a primal determination as they lifted the front of him. We would make progress. Little by little. All around us people were as focussed and determined and as desperate aswe were. Making progress with ‘Their” whales, little by little as we were.People would get their whale to a level of water where the whale could float and they would go and look for another whale to help push out to sea. As the whales got deeper they started talking to each other. Apparently trying to establish who the matriarch was now that so many were dead. Sharing their excitement about the water that finally enveloped them. Tails started thrashing. Blowholes started blowing. And a few volunteers got knocked over by eager whale tails. My Elvis was super chilled. Eventually we got him out to a depth where his body started taking over. Elvis was talking and moving with the rest of his pod. To hear him communicating finally was very moving for me. He was going to be fine. We were able to let him go. I reluctantly moved away to join the human chain that was forming. He began to swim away. He didn’t look back like I had dreamed.
The volunteers formed a human chain in order to  deter the whales from immediatley restranding and drive the whales out to sea. A maori couple did a beautiful Karakia.It moved me to tears to hear her voice wailing in the wind, blessing these  great guardians of the ocean. We watched the whales swim out to sea. Volunteers high-fived each other. They hugged. We all cheered.
Since this experience I have thought a lot about whether this is just another example of bleeding heart humans interfering with nature. There are many opinions on this matter. It did occur to me that perhaps instead of whale hunting, whale eating countries could set up a mobile canning factory, send people with the factory out to strandings and just take their meat from the freshly dead stranded whales. Seems legit.
I still don’t know if saving stranded whales is the right thing to do. What I do know is it is obviously in human nature to want to help those that are suffering. That we do put a value on the lives on all beings in one way or another.That hundreds of people from all over the world, of different ages and different expereinces all wanted the same result for these lives. That when we band together we really are able to achieve incredible things. Moving a 3 tonne mammal is doable if you want it to live enough. And there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that those whales WANTED to live too. Everything in them wanted to survive. They fought just as hard as we did. They breathed. They kept on breathing. We kept on pushing. We all won.
We watched the whales swim out to sea.
I was cold.
My feet were bleeding.
I would never know if Elvis lived or died.
I was hungry.
Elvis had left the building.
I still didn’t have thigh gap.

CRINGEY PARENTING MOMENT #176

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 Today I had my “Domestic Goddess” dress on. It was 8.30 am. Rua and Toru were dressed and frolicking outside in the late spring sun. I had the washing out, the kitchen cleaned and was getting stuck into the bathrooms. Now, as with everything in my life I had the music pumping to provide a soundtrack. I had plugged my MP3 player into the kitchen speakers and cranked it up. I had last loaded up a running playlist. I like running to rock mostly.So, I had the very motivating sounds of Iggy Pop, The Rolling Stones. Gorrillaz. Led Zeppelin ,The Black Keys and many more, filling my house with rock fuelled joy. Whilst scrubbing away at our delightfully filthy toilet, a song by a band called ‘Nine Inch Nails,’ named ‘Closer ‘ came on. For those of you that have not heard it….,it is a great little number with some very explicit lyrics.Contraversial. About addiction and power of a sexual nature. Words like “penetrate” ,”violate” and “desecrate” may or may not be in the waxing lyricals of this song.The chorus states that the singer might like to engage in coitus, much like an animal, with the object of his desire. Obviously , he says it in a much more “street like” fashion. Initially I just scrubbed the toilet bowl and pretended I knew the lyrics to the first verse, as I do. ( Really , for someone who loves music as much as I do, I must hang my head in shame.  I never know lyrics outside of a chorus. I just sing the vowel sounds and then go nuts when the chorus hits, much to endless amusement of some of my more lyric savvy friends). So, as it was, I made appropriate vowel noises and then went nuts with Trent as we sung about what we wanted to do to eachother like  animals. At this point it occurred to me that this song was not appropriate for the boys to hear and I should probably go out and turn it down whilst they frolicked outside on their tractors and freewheel bikes. I trotted off to the kitchen and found my 3 yr old ‘Toru’ dancing like a crazy man on a chair with one arm up thrashing out the beat. He saw me and with the biggest grin, he  yelled “Mama, I LOVE this song!!!!”

Needless to say I danced the rest of the song with him.(You must NEVER turn off a song when someone is dancing to it ) Whenever the chorus came onI hid the shame of exposing my poor children to inappropraite song choices by singing as loudly as I could ” I WANNA LOVE YOU LIKE AN ANIMAL!!!”  I think, actually, he was none the wiser and now he has a new favourite song.

D-Hoh!!!!

Be warned. This vid is not for the faint hearted.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTFwQP86BRs

BIRTHDAZE,BULLIES AND BUMBLE BEE.

Aside

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Tahi turned 8. And I , the ever optimistic mother of an ADHD riddled young man thought it would be a fabulous idea to let him have 2 friends over for a sleep over. I reiterate the word ‘Optimistic’,  being that  I decided some time ago that playdates were a no-no. Tahi would go bananas and often his friends would ask to  go home after 2 hours of being completely overwhelmed by my delightfully excitable and controlling little Labrador Pup. I have even on occasion asked friends over to help by watching my younger boys so I had the space to try to help Tahi and his friend through the ordeal that common folk call  a ‘Playdate’. Nevertheless, today is a new day , so why not let the lad have a sleepover to celebrate his eighth year of general carnage .EGAD!!!!!

I began my day by partaking in a somewhat irrelevant frenzy of insisting that my house was clean from top to bottom. Why, is beyond me. How many 8-year-old boys do you know , notice  if you’ve dusted or cleaned your pantry?  Every time I told Tahi that I was FAR too busy doing things like cleaning the skirting boards to help him put on his zombie make up  ( Seriously.what’s the point of being a gut ripping brain lusting zombie if you have dusty skirting boards??!!) he would assure me that his friends didn’t care what the house was like and could I just tell him how many more minutes until his party. Eventually the cake was made., dinner was prepared and the sleeping arrangements were organised. I braced.Tahi invited 2 friends. One is also called Tahi. So they call mine Tahi M and the other is Tahi P. These guys are like peas and carrots.  They could both talk the leg off a table and together, are harmless mischief. Tahi P is an articulate wee chap and is very good with my Tahi. He sets boundaries well and shows a lot of patience with him. I am very grateful for his friendship with my beautiful boy.  Chopper from the miniball team was also invited. A nice little kid. Little is the operative word. A little fella with a rat’s tail and thick little glasses that cover half of his gorgeous little face. A quieter kid who I suspect, much like my boy, is on the social outskirts. Is tolerated by many and liked by few.

The boys settled in together well. They would try to establish who was the alpha male by seeing who could make the funniest joke about bum cracks or do the loudest fart noise. Whenever my Tahi  thought he was loosing his grip on complete domination he would play the “It’s MY birthday party and you’ll do what I say” card. Usually resulting in one of the other lads coming out to tell on him. Mostly I would tell them to use their words and sort it out themselves. However, when he started getting tooo domineering,I would go into the room and say something thought-provoking and inspiring like ” Tahi it sounds like you’re being a bit of an egg.Nobody wants to be the pork chop at a jewish wedding,mate.” This would  just bite me on the ass by resulting in 3 boys asking me why the pork chop went to the jewish wedding and what did it wear and why didn’t it want to be the pork chop  and why didn’t Jews eat pork and what was a Jew and who was God and why didn’t I believe in him cos their parents did so who was right and who was wrong and what was the meaning of life and why does Kryptonite make Superman weak and can we have birthday cake now???

The inevitable exclusion of the younger brothers also occurred frequently. Rua and Toru camped outside their older brothers bedroom  screaming and banging on the door whilst the older boys giggled and taunted them from the other side. Upon each attempt at removing the younger boys from their protest camp I would be beaten by a flurry of angry fists, feet and squeals. Clearly the  temptation of  sweet sweet  rejection by the older boys proved to be too  irresistible to turn their  desperate little backs on. In time I gave in and provided them with snacks,protest banners, a megaphone and a potty so they could settle in at the 2% protest camp for the night.

Eventually it was time for PJ’s and DVD time. The boys chose ‘Transformers 3’. We settled onto our couches with blankets and lollies and proceeded to watch the film. Now I have never really watched a movie with a whole lot of 8 yr old boys. Apparently I still haven’t. Cos they just TALKED the WHOLE.WAY.THROUGH. My Tahi is the guy that asks what is happening every 3 minutes. Chopper is the kid that talks about how  his older brother has seen that movie 17 times and Tahi P is the kid that has seen it 18 times. They all argued over who was who. “I’m Bumble Bee!”  “I’m Optimus Prime” “I’m Mega Stomper!!” ” No I am !!” I would contribute by yelling things like ” I’m Buzz Light Year!!” They would look at me like I was  stupidest human on earth and  patiently inform me that I had the wrong movie and I was not allowed to be him. So, much to Tahi’s embarrassment, I chose to be some guys eyebrow instead. They were happy to settle for that. After what seemed like a lifetime of Giant machines with completely inappropriate voices( seriously…what were they thinking? Why didn’t they go the whole hog and cast Woody Allen, Michael Jackson and Melanie Griffith as the  voices of the main Transformers) the movie finally finished. So at 10pm my group of little boys crawled into bed. My first ever sleepover done and dusted. Pffft. Whatever. It was just getting started.

The boys predictably  giggled and banged and argued and giggled until stupid’o’clock. After going in several times to tell them to settle down or I was gonna bring out a can of Whoopass which would be followed by a barrage of questions as to what exactly was a can of whoopass and does it hurt and  can they see it and where can they get one from and why can’t Batman fly cos he is a superhero who is like a Bat and Bats can fly, I eventually moved my Tahi into the spare room. He went to sleep instantly. The other 2 however did not. Chopper was terrified of the dark and needed to rearrange the sleeping the quarters so he could be closer to  Tahi P. Tahi P was happy to oblige and decided then would be a good time to reorganise his things into a neat and orderly fashion next to his bed. Once I got the boys settled into their sleeping bags and lights out , I took myself off to bed. 10 minutes later Tahi P was at my bedside telling me his bottom teeth were a bit sore and slightly wobbly and he was worried because they were his adult teeth and should he ring his Dad to make sure his teeth were OK? I assured him that his teeth were fine and they were probably sore cos they were tired , had eaten too much sugar and had just endured 17 hours of inappropriate voice casting by mainstream Hollywood. Once he was satisfied I might be on to something he stood by my bed relentlessly telling me what I can only assume were band camp stories or some such yolk. I was too tired to even comprehend what this delightful child was babbling at me whilst the rest of the house slept.At one point I was seeing double , hearing Charlie Browns teacher and having LSD flashbacks due to his endless talking. I’m not sure how I found the strength, but I managed to get my wits about me and get him off to bed. He too was soon faaast asleep.

Peace at last.

Now reading back over what I have written , it sounds like the sleepover went smoothly. Well let me assure you it did not. There were tears, tantrums, punch ups, threats, Diva behaviour,exclusions, break downs, squealing, yelling, banging ,crashing,bullying, throwing, kicking, stealing,teasing, and much much more. And let it be known…it wasn’t just ME behaving this way. Tahi M was TWICE as bad!!!

After the boys left this morning Tahi and I sat down quietly and reflected on the events of the past few hours. I asked him if  he thought his behaviour had been Ok. He agreed that he had misbehaved terribly and had  been  mean to his friends. I asked him if he could understand how I might be hesitant to let him   have another sleepover in the near future. He said he could understand . To which we sat quietly and ate our pieces of leftover birthday cake together in the morning sun. After some time he piped up and said optimistically ” Mama….maybe ….if we start the medication for my ADHD ….we could try again then?!”

“Yeah buddy, That’s a good idea…maybe we could try again then. Maybe indeed”

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR 4 YR OLD IS A CHAUVINIST

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Yesterday I was playing the insult game with Rua.

RUA: “You’re an Eye Elbow!”

ME:” You’re a Nose Ear”

RUA:” Well, you’re an Earwax”

ME:” SO!. You’re a Toe Jam”

RUA:” You’re a Bum Crack!”

ME:” Well…you’re a Snot Face”

RUA:” No I’m not! You’re a Farty Bottom”

ME:” EWWW. Nah. You’re a Butthead”

RUA:” Hahaha. Well Mama, You’re a Poo Bum”

ME:” You  Poo HEAD!!!”

RUA:” You’re a Farty Bottom Bum Crack Poo”

ME:” Am not! Ya Fart Snot!”

RUA:” Mama……YOU”RE A WOMAN!!!!!!”

BRUSSEL SPROUT REBEL

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When I was a kid… I HATED Brussel sprouts. That’s what made me a kid. To me , they tasted like the smell of a dental surgery. Like any other kid, many an hour was spent by my Mum MAKING me gag them down. No amount of salt or gravy could take away the fact that I was being forced to eat something I HATED. When I was a kid  I promised my future children a good few things. I swore I would NEVER lick a hanky and wipe my child’s face with it. FAIL. I swore that I would always give them a good reason for saying “no” and never say ” Because I’m your Mum and I said so!!”. FAIL.  I swore I would never say ” I hope your children grow up to be just like you” . FAIL.  I swore I would ALWAYS give them McDonalds when they asked for it. FAIL!  I swore I would NEVER EVER EVER make them eat Brussel Sprouts. WINNING!!!

These days I don’t actually mind them. If they are served to me at someones house I will happily eat them. I don’t find them at all offensive. However I still refuse to buy them. They don’t even get a second glance as I wheel my trolley through the Fresh produce section of the local Supermarket. Like avoiding all knowledge of that embarrassing one night stand you had the other weekend. “Brussel Sprouts? What Brussel Sprouts? oh…uhhh.. I dunno what you’re on about, eh.  Yeah ….Nah… I just slept on the couch ,eh.”  This has been the ONE promise to my future children I have managed to keep.
Recently Tahi started asking about Brussel Sprouts. ” Ma, why don’t you buy Brussel Sprouts?” .
” Hmmmm, cos I hated them as kid. So I won’t buy them. No kids like Brussel Sprouts ,Tahi. “.
“Well, what if me and Rua and Toru wanna try theeemmm? Will you buy them theeeennn?”
” Hmmmm. HELL NO!! There is no way I will make you kids eat them. They really do taste like bottoms. I’m not gonna waste my money on them. Suck it up kid. I’m doing you a favour.”
Being that he is potentially on the Autism spectrum(  we are currently in the process of going through the motions of a diagnosis), Tahi can obsess a bit. He has been frequently asking me to relive my childhood nightmare of being forced to eat the little green balls of nastiness. Making me tell him again and again what I think they taste like. Explain time and time again why I wont buy them.  You’d think being that I am a grown up , I would perhaps be the bigger person and just buy the kid a bloody sprout, cook it for him and then say “Haha, told you so! In your face kid!!” as he spits the half chewed morsel out. But NO. I just won’t do it. This way I can say I kept at least one promise to my future children.
As it turns out, he had dinner at Oma’s and Granpa’s last night. And by his request…they had Brussel sprouts. MY SON…….. requesting  Brussel fecking sprouts! TRAITOR!! The ultimate rebellion by my 7-year-old.
Guess what.
He didn’t like them.
Suct in!

That’ll learn him.

“OUI, CHEF!”

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In a past life , I was a Chef. I was a dirty old, coffee guzzling, cigarette smoking, beer drinking, Berrocca shoveling Chef.

These days we are inundated with reality cooking shows. MasterChef. Top chef. My Kitchen Rules and a whole other array of cooking claptrap.  The chef has been romanticized, glamorized  and even objectified. It seems every man and his dog wants to be a Chef these days. So if you have this notion in your head..that one day you will be owning a lovely little cafe off the coast of Italy somewhere, sipping a lovely latte whilst chirping out orders to your sweet passionate kitchen brigade and churning out culinary delights, I suggest you try my 3 month Chefs Training programme. 12 steps to do daily over 12 weeks  designed to help you on your way to living the culinary dream.

LILLYTOOTIN’S 12 STEP CHEF PROGRAMME 

 1: Drink 17 short blacks by 1pm and then cook a 5 course meal for your entire extended family in less than 2 hours whilst holding normal functional conversations with at least 3 people at a time.

2:Cease sleeping in your bed. Start exploring your neighbour hood for alternative slumber options. The bus. The local community garden. . A mall. A fridge. A tree. A strip club.

3:Smoke at least 17 cigarettes a day  in less than 3 minutes.

4 :Every time you come up behind someone , yell ‘BEHIND YOU!!’ The cat, the dog, the baby, your children’s school teacher. Everyone must at all times  know if you are behind them.

5:Drink for 2 days straight. Break your arm. Get stitches in your head . Kiss everyone you know who has the lurgie. Eat raw chicken and then go to work. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES CALL IN SICK. Unless you are dead. Even then………you should probably still go to work.

6: Eat all your evening meals at 10 pm in less than 4 minutes whilst standing up.

7:Work a 12 hour day and then go on an 8 hour drinking binge. Sleep on the floor next to your toilet for 3 hours. Go to your current place of employment and work for a further 12 hours. Do not cry. Or puke. Or shart in your pants.

8:Turn your heat pump up to 40  degrees celsius. Wear pants and a jacket. Stand next to your stove with all the elements turned up to full and stand  for a solid 10 hours. In 45 minute intervals go to your pantry and tip one cup of cornflour down your pants. Proceed back to your stove station.

 9:Turn on your kitchen overhead fan, your vacuum cleaner, your washing machine, your dryer,your stereo, your TV, your blender,your bread maker, your de-humidifier  and any other noisy household appliances for 8 hours every day. During this time any communications must be yelled at the top of your lungs and every sentence must end with the word ‘Chef!’.

10:Peel some Prawns and make sure some of the spikes splinter under your fingernails. Then burn said hand with  caramalised sugar. approximately  1 hour later hold the same hand over a pot of boiling water for 3 hours. Do not show any signs of pain.

11: Wrap everything in your kitchen in glad wrap before you go to bed/fridge every night in less than 10 minutes. All the food in the fridge. All your pots and pans and perhaps even the cat. At least once in the 3 months…wrap your neighbours car too. Always good for a laugh.

12:Record everything Gordon Ramsey says in the kitchen scenes in a full season of Hells Kitchen. Loop it onto your MP3 player and play it to yourself 24/7 for 6 days a week.Shower with it. Sleep with it. Make love with it. Get a water spray bottle  filled with luke warm water that smells of cigarettes, coffee and last nights alcohol and spray it your face every time Gordon starts screaming obscenities. Every time Gordon says “Fuck” , you must say “Oui Chef” or “3 minutes on the pass Chef” Still love your job.

If you can follow these 12 simple steps for 3 months…….. You are well on your way to loving the life of being a Chef. CONGRATULATIONS!

I ARE DOMESTIC GODDESS

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At this moment, after a solid morning of cleaning, I would say my house is immaculate. I LIKE it that way. Very much. I feel a great sense of calm and togetherness knowing that everything is AS it should be, WHERE it should be. Things are clean and smell good. The offspring bedrooms are tidy and resemble something closer to a sleeping quarters rather than a Toy World junkyard.  Yep…my house is feeling pretty darn awesome right at this moment.

 Now let’s get something straight here. I am a separated Mother of 3 boys under the age of 8. I work part-time. I have a little old lady that has no family left whom I have adopted and look after as best I can. I  try to exercise regularly. I have a solid group of friends whom I like to socialize with. I am always involved in some form of theater group. There is usually someone in my life resembling a ‘Gentleman Friend’ that requires some time and attention ( you must understand, I use the term “Gentleman” loosely). I am on the Board of Trustees for my children’s pre-school AND I have recently taken on this Blogging malarkey.  So let it be said…that I am indeed …a busy woman. It is very fair to say , that how I LIKE my house is by NO means how my house usually IS. It is normally something more of a food, shoe and clothing dumping ground. There is ALWAYS  dishes on the  bench and a mountain of washing in the laundry. An old bit of pumpkin frozen to the back of the fridge that has  developed its own microclimate. The bathroom has and endless trail  of toothpaste smears, odd socks, undies and sand lying around. Infinte shoes from the front door to the back door. Just taken off and left . I find shoes everywhere. I have even found shoes in the third draw down in my kitchen. My bedroom is by far the most neglected room in the house.A trail of dirty clothes leading from the door to the left hand side of my bed dumped in exhaustion. Forever a mountain of  clean washing sitting, ignored on my bedroom couch ,slowly growing in size. A size that requires me to hire Sherpas when I finally decide to tackle said mountain.  How Mothers can keep their house immaculate with out the help of a cleaner is beyond me.  I have one friend whom I can only describe as an actual Domestic Goddess ( we shall call her DG). She has a young son and another on the way. Her house is  ALWAYS immaculate. Everything in its place. Clean , tidy and homely. Her house always smells of fresh baking and there is usually some sort of crafty project on the go. If I didn’t love her so much I would hate her and make a point of un-organising her pantry, messing up her bed and trashing her linen cupboard every time I went over. However she would probably thank me for giving her some thing to do. It must be hard having a perfect house when one so loves to clean.

It is the washing that gets me the most. I have always hated washing. Ever since I was a little girl I have wished we were all just happy to be naked  just so I didn’t have to do washing. It is sooo bloody time consuming.Hanging it out. Folding it and putting it away. The winter Chinese laundry  of the clothes horse by the fireplace. And  it’s so bitsy. The odd socks. The rags. The fluff.  The pegs. GAWD. It’s sooo bloody annoying. I can not tell you how many times I have to re-wash a load because it has sat in my washing machine for days slowly starting to stink of  rejection. Leaving it on the clothesline for a week until I can be bothered facing it on the growing mountain in my room. Whilst every other chore gets done  so I can maintain my delusion of Domestic Goddessness, the washing is the bastard child that is  forever disregarded. A constant reminder of my domestic inadequacies hidden shamefully in my bedroom.

Something happened today however. A few months ago whilst visiting my SisterCousin ( a SisterCousin because we are close cousins. NOT because we are cousins that have the same Parent) I was harping on about my hate for my bastard child. Particularly the folding and putting away part.  She suggested that perhaps, like her, I could choose NOT to fold it and just put it away. Now if you knew my SisterCousin you would be shocked to have heard her utter these words. Much like my friend ‘DG’,  there is always baking in the tins and everything is always in place at her house. I suspect that her version of not folding washing is more along the lines of choosing not to iron the socks and undies before meticulously putting everything away. But I humoured her nonetheless.  I resolved that I might just try this not folding yolk. It has always felt pointless anyway.  Much to my distress,when ever the boys get dressed they just pull everything out of their draw  and dump it on the ground until they find what it is they are looking for  and then proceed to  nonchalantly shove it all back in. My tea towel draw is a constant source of entertainment for Toru the 2 yr-old and the linen cupboard is forever on the  floor due the boys always pulling out the bottom towel for their post-shower use.

So today folks I did it. I gave myself permission to have shitty looking inside draws. I threw the washing into its respective piles, re organised  aforementioned piles into their sub-piles then shoved them in the draws. Carelessly and with a great deal of satisfaction. To be honest…the draws don’t even look any different. What would have taken me no less than 45 minutes , took me 17 minutes today. Everything is where is should be . My couch is recognisable as a couch. The Sherpas are  having a beer whilst catching up on ‘Real House Wives of Beverley Hills’ and I am telling you of the liberation of my bastard child. I suspect there may be fallout. It might be little harder to find things. But I have a remedy for this. I will pull everything out of the draw until I find what I am looking for and then just shove it all back in. ‘Cos I can. Whose gonna tell me otherwise?