Saturday, February 13, 2010

The coolest Week!

My first day of work on Monday was pretty exciting- more so because 90 minutes before I was due to start Telecom finally gave us a solution to our wavering internet problem- the jack is busted, and will require me to pay $190 to have a technician come out.

Right. No internet, and the first day of my job baring down on me- I moved the entire set-up in to my bedroom, so we could use the non-faulty jack. With about a minute to spare, I finished the macaroni cheese for the kids (no time to dish it up), and sat down for my first night.

It was boring work, oh so very boring work...but this is a job that lets me work from home and doesn't require me to have a babysitter- I'm not going to complain too hard.

I set the older two up with a payment scheme for caring for their little brother, including a bonus for not allowing me to be interrupted. They earned it.

I was tired after that, and couldn't stay up to watch a movie.

The next day we went to play with another unschooling family. Had a blast. Right when we were getting ready to leave with more unschoolers who had arrived and chatted for a bit, it was suggested we all go swimming. I really wanted to go, because it was hot- and I wanted the kids to have more fun...but i was a bit nervous about the time constraint of needing to be home, with quiet children by 6pm.

We went anyway- the water was lovely. The warmest beach I have ever swum in- it was insane really- I braced myself for freezing water, and it was like a tepid bath...I thought it would get cooler as we got deeper, but it really didn't. That was my first swim in about a year I think!

We got home, with 18 minutes until I was supposed to make my first call. Dumped the gear, fumbled with the (stupid) lock, ran to the shower, got half-dressed, sorted food fr the kiddos, and began work on time. This time, all the children at one time or another sat in with me- as quietly as they could, which for Tombliboo is just not quiet at all. I thought I was doing the job badly, but it turned out that that night I tied for Best Results.

Wednesday we stayed home all day, and no work in the evening. It was very nice.

Thursday we did our usual shopping ,and in the afternoon the kids went with their Dad. I got my eyelashes/brows tinted. It's a luxury I probably shouldn't have bothered with- but I have wanted to get them done for a long time (about 5 years)...I used my first pay (from the training last week) to do it, so I didn't feel too bad...except I will probably regret it soon- not now though :0)

Friday we went to a group for older homeschooled boys- it was marvelous. J-Man was excited about it, but pretty nervous since the two boys who's home it was at were kids he hadn't played with since he was 5. He had the time of his life. He didn't want to come home when we were ready to go.

I thought we were in a hurry to get back for work (I do have this need to be prepared, in case you haven't noticed!)...herealyl didn;t want to come, and said he coudl bus home on his own. I didn't doubt he could, but in a bizarre unmother of the year moment I agreed. I made no plans for someone to care for him- just took the little ones home. My cellphone had run out of battery, and I figured I could talk to someone when I got home- but goodness knows why I made no arrangements before hand (beside that I had Tombliboo on my back and a big bag to carry and didn't relish walking any more than I needed to to get to the bus stop).

I fretted all the way home, then put the phone on the charger, and texted my friend to ask her to care for J-Man. She already was. I felt terrible. She relieved me by insisting it was nothing, and that I am lucky to live in a community where i don't have to "do it all". I am lucky :0)

She brought him home close to when I finished my shift. They stayed and played/chatted for a while, and it was a really nice way to spend Friday night.

Saturday, the kids went with their Dad, and I did my shift on my own. He also wanted to take them for a BBQ dinner, so I had some time off at the end of work. I read my book in the hammock- since the bike ride I had decided to go on (because I was sooo bored and so sick of sitting inside!), was thwarted by melded-to-the-wheel-brakes.

I had no friends available to go out, and couldn't really go anywhere when I needed to be home by 8pm...but decided that I am not going to spend every scarp of time off at home waiting for it all to start again. I went in to town and saw a movie. It was lovely. A bit odd to be at the movies on my own, but I soon forgot about that and just enjoyed myself.

It's been a really full-on week. I lost 16 hours to my job, and it really feels like it. I'm sure it will get easier, meanwhile we can look forward to a bigger pay packet this week, and a lot more fun for the future.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Some random photos

Update- Me

I am having a wonderful time...I feel very alive, I feel younger. People say I look happier.

I met someone last week who I haven't seen for over 2 years, who thought I looked unstressed, not at all how I used to look.

There is stress in my life, to be sure- plenty of it really...but it is not the same as before...I feel lighter, I really do.

This weekend, the kids have gone up north to see their grandparents. I miss them like crazy. I used to wish for a weekend to do as I's crap really.

Well, it's a mixture really. I can do as I please, but I realise I don;t necessarily want to just please myself. I am enjoying listening to music, and I enjoy the silence (to a degree). I can eat when I feel like it, and it is more relaxing. My children don't always want to eat at the same time as me, or each other- so it can feel like I am preparing food all day long.

I know the kids will be having a blast- they may even get to go sailing. They won;t be missing me- they'll be too busy... though Princess told me the other time they went away that she kept thinking of me and wondering if I was ok. She said it didn't feel like real life without a Mama. She is so sweet.

I did my work training without having to worry about a babysitter, or rushing to get home. I did the grocery shopping on my own. I set up my little office- ready for work on Monday night. I won a 3 dvd prize pack that got delivered out-of-the-blue. Tonight I'm going to a play (outdoors!) with a friend. I choose girly movies to watch. I read my book on the hammock.

I felt insanely lonely last night, and considered going in to town for some music and dancing, and just to talk to somebody in person- but couldn't imagine being the only person there without a friend. Next time, I will go...because I'm not going to have fun and meet new people in my lounge.

I went on a chat forum, and was astonished to see the things people write- it looked fun, but I wouldn't do it...well, maybe a bit more anonymously. I realised I wasn't really lonely at all...I like to be alone sometimes. I want to be alone sometimes. yes, I would like to be with friends- but I have friends. I could have phoned someone, or texted, or e-mailed. But I don't need to be with someone 24:7...I turned the music up louder and danced in my lounge. It's better that way actually, because really I am not much of a dancer.

I talked to my oldest friend J on the phone, and then I watched am movie (it was strange), and then my friend R noticed I was online so she called at 10:30pm... and I can do that when I am on my own...and we had a great chat, and then my friend C started texting...she sent 11 texts or so- she can type 11 texts in the time it takes me to type 3. I had given up feeling lonely, and suddenly I felt really popular.

So, now I'll check my facebook games, and other e-mails, and hang the washing, and do the dishes, maybe dance a little in my lounge, probably eat some breakfast, call a friend, and get excited about the play tonight.

Yes, life is good, it really is.

Update- Hammock

I put our hammock up. It was a wedding present that sat in our various garages for 14 years. The kids love it...I love's magic just lying there reading a book, listening to cicadas and wood pigeons, and feeling as though someone is rocking you gently off to sleep.

For the children- sometimes it's relaxing, sometimes it's more lie the pirate ship at Rainbow's End.

Whatever the mood, the hammock has been fabulous for getting the kids outside, and helping them foster friendships- their friendships with each other mostly. We haven't managed to get all 4 of us on it- but we could. J-Man, Princess and I have had snuggles on there, and we could easily fit one more.

We have a grumpy neighbour. We also have lovely neighbours, but this one man is a grump. He's yelled and sworn at the kids before, but the other day he did so with words children shouldn't be hearing. I was very cross when they told me, and stewed over what I should do- he's quite pleasant to me. While I was still phoning friends, getting opinions, wondering what course of action would be best for us...two ladies from School Support Services arrived.

These are basically truancy officers. They had had a complaint. They wouldn't admit to that- but there is no other possibility. We live done a a very long driveway miles off the road. The kids have never been enrolled in a school- noone knows we are here. The grumpy neighbour in his rant had screamed 'Why aren't you F'in Bas*ards in school?", so we knew from which direction it had come. What was surprising was that a complaint was acted on in 2 hours!

I explained the children were homeschooled (they were still out on the hammock, with Tombliboo, naked, swinging on the clothesline no less)...they asked fro proof. It just so happened I had my exemptions in the kitchen- they didn't like J-Man's one was from 2005. I explained legally I was only required to get an exemption once, and then it was up the Education Review Office to determine if we were teaching as regularly and s well as a registered school- which they did 3 years ago.

We had a nice chat- they "Admired" me, I was "so brave", they were glad to send their children off to school the day before and get back to work. I must seem like an alien- I love my children, I love being with them...I am not looking forward to the day they are gone. I am not hoping it will come quicker, and I am not looking for somewhere for them to stay for the best part of the day.

Anyway, our neighbour knows the children are home-educated. We've discussed it more than once. It seems to me he must have been wallowing in his cave, listening to their awful laughter, and just waiting for the first day of school to arrive so he could complain about them not being stuck in one.

The silly thing is that these are not unreasonable people- if he had politely asked them to tone the noise down a little, they would have done so. If they forgot, as kids sometimes do, and the noise levels escalated again...I would have intervened. There was no need for any nastiness. It needn't have been a big deal.

Update- NZ Breakers

Princess and I went to see the NZ Breakers have a training session with a bunch of homeschoolers last week. We also got to hear a bit about all the players, and go on a tour of their training facility.

The kids did some ball skills and games with one of the coaches, and it was a lot of fun.

J-Man wouldn't go- he feels that basketball is a waste of time. "Mum", he says completely seriously, "It's about putting a ball through a circle...there is absolutely no point" I still thought it just might be fun, but he didn't agree, and I knew his mind was made up.

Princess has never held a basketball in her life. It didn't matter, she loves new experiences. She a a wonderful time, and even got the phone number of another little girl she spent the day with (there were no children there she knew).

I loved watching these men, and some of the technically difficult moves they were pulling off as though they were nothing at all. I'd like to get along to a game before the season ends. I haven't been to a basketball game since I became a mum.

When I work out how, I'll add a photo from my cellphone.

Update- School

J-Man is considering school...not in the "I really want to go" sort of way, just in the "Oh dear- I only have one friend I hardly ever see" sort of way.

This is a bizarre change in our lives, which seems to coincide with J-Man's age. Other home edders I know, who's boys have been happy suddenly aren't around this age.

For the record, J-Man is still very happy...I thought when he said his life was "sad", that he was sad. That wasn't it at all- he is merely changing, and what was a happy arrangement before (regarding friends) is no longer.

So this is cool...we will work at getting more friends. And I have noticed J-Man is working at being more tolerant and flexible. Half the reason he has only had one friend for so many years, was because he loved that one friend, and noone else really measured up to J13.

J-Man started to notice how many friends I seem to have, and wondered why he only had the one. He doesn't really- he only has one who he thinks the world of, one friend who he feels is like a brother. In fact- it's adorable. His friend just signed up for facebook, and has listed J-Man as his brother. It nearly made me cry.

J-Man has plenty of other kids he could call friends if he wanted to- he just hasn't wanted to until now. I feel like I've been given a "get out of jail free" card...we can make plans to go out now. We can go meet people. Some will click, some won't- but that doesn't matter. Princess will love it!

I really hope we can come up with the friends J-Man needs. It's still not the easiest thing in the world- this angst seems so common, and it does seem that around 9 a lot of boys here do go to school. I hope we can pull through this time...meanwhile, just saying he wants more friends seems to have helped J-Man see I already gave birth to 2 friends for him (to use Rose's saying)...he has been having a glorious time with Princess this week- playing guitar hero, and sitting on the hammock playing talking know where one will say ,"and then I find a bazooka", and the other will add, "Yeah, but it doesn't go", and they flick back and forth about who knows what but it is all-encompassing and sends them in to fits of giggles. Yes, life is good.

Update- work

A whole lot has been happening here. I haven't thought them all through ready to present in any sort of orderly way- so just off the top of my head...

I was looking for a job- preferably just one day a week so the kids could be with their Dad, and I didn't have to miss out on seeing them (or arrange prohibitive childcare).

I finally found something that sounded fairly perfect- for 16 hours, not the 8 I had hoped for- but from home, which seemed possible. I applied, got shortlisted, had an interview, got the job, did some training and start on Monday night.

It is telephone market research from home. I'll be working 4 nights a week 6-9pm, and Saturdays 10am-2pm. It doesn't sound like a big commitment- except for my darling 3 year old- who really has not learned "wait", and seems wholly unable to grasp the concept. I'm pretty nervous about how it will work. And, if I'm being honest- it's not just the wee 11 and 7, my "big" kids are chronic at interrupting me if I'm on the phone.

But, it will mean a big change for us- a whole lot more freedom financially... not in the free-as-a-bird sense, but maybe not having to say "no" to so many (pretty ordinary) things.

How it will work, being a mother receiving a benefit, is that I will earn half as much for the second 8 hours as for the first...but it's still extra, and I'm really excited.

The "big kids" are onboard, and know they will be needed to help out...this is good for all of us. I can trust them- they know I probably can't do this without them...they know it will mean their lives get a bit more exciting. They also know, I am almost fully-available from when they wake up until close to 6pm, and will be again after 9pm. All we can do is try.

The work itself will probably be rather boring, but I'm motivated enough by the idea of taking the kids swimming every now and again, or maybe buying takeaways, and saving for the camp we plan to go on later this year.

The best bit about this is wile I hope to rely on their Dad to be caring for them on Saturdays (and have asked for one evening a week as well)...if he doesn't show for whatever reason- I can still work.

I've been really happy not working, but I think I will be happy was fun going to my first interview in 14 years. I felt confident (mostly because I felt I was a shoo-in), and it feels great to be taking a bit more control over my life.

They pay an allowance for out internet- so I have bumped it up again...we will now get 40gb a month...this would not have been enough on this particular month- we are up to 47gb with 3 days to go until out new month begins...and 40gb of that was used on the first 2 days! Thanks to J-Man and xbox live.

This update is going to get gigantic- so I'll make a few updates isntead :0)