April 29, 2013

29/4: Music for Monday...

Another Monday and the start of another week. Can you believe it'll be May in two days??

The countdown has begun for school to start (this Wednesday, woohoo!) although I may be more excited about it than the boys are. The house will finally be mine! *cue manic laughing* Rooms will miraculously stay clean all day. Serenity and calm will permeate the air. Work will be accomplished and study will be completed. That's the plan, at least. I'll let you know how it works out.

Plus there'll be a helluva lot less food preparation going on. That right there will save me SO much time. Seriously. The amount of food chowed down in this house over the past two and a half weeks is nothing short of ridiculous. You'd think we were a house of 10 adult men, not a family of 5. I honestly don't know where they put it.

All I know is that I'm tired of hearing male voices whining: "Muuuum! There's nothing to eat." 

Because the thing is, there's PLENTY. Fruit, bread, cheese, eggs, milk, bacon, ham, two minute noodles... literally oodles of food. DO I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING?

Apparently, yes. Yes, I do. Roll on Wednesday, ploise.

One voice I am enjoying hearing is the TV show 'The Voice'. We finally have new outfits for the judges (thank goodness) and the competition has ramped up to a 'sink or swim' atmosphere. Some singers have thrived, while others have been absolute shockers. Song choice is so important, is it not? 

The Voice has been a constant source of inspiration for MFM song choices lately and the last couple of episodes have been no exception. Today's selection is a KILLER song. I absolutely loved it in 1990 when it first came out, and the contestants did a pretty good job in the Battle Round, especially Shawne. 

Turn this up loud!

I always thought that our relationship was good
You played the role of having sense
While I always played the fool
Now something's different
I don't know the reason why
Whenever we separate
I always want to cry

Oh no, please not that again
Love rears up its ugly head

Living Colour - Love rears up its ugly head

Happy Monday, people.

April 25, 2013

How do you like your steak? With the fire brigade or without?

If it wasn't for the fact the BBQ gas bottle turned out to be empty, this episode would never have happened.  

In the past we have teased the Provider about his historically bad cooking skills (in all truth, this has been a little unfair) but after last night, let me tell you, he will have a hard time EVER stopping us now. It is destined to follow him for the rest of his days, poor bugger.

It was our usual Wednesday night. The boys and I had just returned from a solid rugby training session. They were tired and starving so I'd settled them down to a meal of store-bought BBQ chicken (the Ninja Boy) and a huge slab of bacon and egg pie I'd made earlier (Son#2). The Provider had spied a few thick steaks in the back fridge and thought, "You little beauty!" and figured he'd BBQ those suckers for himself and give what he didn't want to the dog. Good plan. Or so I thought.

It all started to go pear-shaped when he discovered we'd run out of gas for the BBQ. "I'll just cook them in the frypan inside then," he says. No worries, I thought distractedly. I was halfway through my own piece of bacon and egg pie while sitting at the counter reading a magazine, so I wasn't really paying much attention to what he was doing. When will I learn?

A few minutes later, I was aware of hearing the sizzle of steak meeting hot pan. Things escalated when he made a call on his mobile while the meat was cooking, a rookie mistake if ever there was one. I've always said men (in my house, at least) are hopeless multi-taskers.  Shit ALWAYS happens when you're not paying attention.

Our extractor fan over the oven is about as much use as tits on a bull and those steaks were smoking like lapsed nicotine addicts... said smoke billowing up over our heads, hugging the length of the kitchen ceiling and being sucked up the stairs. Cue the smoke alarm up there to lose its shit and start wailing. A few minutes later as the smoke increased, the main, hardwired, back-to-base house alarm went off. 

That's when pandemonium ensued. Picture this, if you will: 

Smoke everywhere

Unbearably LOUD mofo siren SCREAMING

Both the Provider and I frantically fanning the smoke alarm sensors to shut them up

Blue light of house alarm flashing, siren WAILING

Phones ringing (the call from the alarm monitoring company)

Dog howling and barking, not happy with the WAILING

Kids telling us to turn the alarms off

My brain finally engaged when I punched in the right code on the keypad to silence the screeching mother of a banshee house alarm. I then rang the security company to tell them that no, it was NOT a fire, just my husband failing spectacularly at multi-tasking. 

Was both embarrassed and dismayed to hear that despite this, the fire brigade had already been despatched and "once we call them, they have to attend." OH CRAP.

And all because of some charred pieces of meat. 

It's all happening here...

A very short time later, the fire brigade showed up. With not one but THREE firemen. I immediately told the Provider that HE was in charge of explaining why they were here.

The Provider was most apologetic, sharing the story of his little faux pas in the kitchen. The Firemen Three were very understanding and revealed this wasn't the first time they'd been called out for a burnt steak. It happens a lot more than you think, apparently.

In a way though, their prompt attendance was very reassuring. Once our call came in to the station, within 60 seconds those boys were up, dressed in all their gear and on the truck heading out. You couldn't help but be impressed. I know *I* was. And from the comments on Facebook and Instagram I got after posting this picture, there were more than a few gals who were too!

I may burn steak MYSELF if this is what shows up...

In the heat of the moment (pardon the pun) I totally forgot to ask the boys their names but they delivered everything you could ask for in a fireman... a speedy arrival, extremely professional with excellent senses of humour to boot. Many thanks, fellas and my sincere apologies for the false alarm. I hope the rest of your night was uneventful. There will be no more steak here until I fill the BBQ gas bottle, I promise!

On a serious note, later we all sat down and talked about what our family would do in the event of an actual emergency. Having that plan in place before something happens is important, a fact only too clearly demonstrated to us earlier. When all you can hear is the wail of a siren, staying calm and thinking straight can be incredibly hard to do.

Have you ever had to call the fire brigade? Does YOUR family have an emergency plan in the event of a fire? Who cooks the steak at your place?

April 22, 2013

22/4: Music for Monday...

Image: Channel 9

As regular readers of WSDN will already know, I am a self-professed watcher of the 'The Voice' on Channel 9. Last year I tuned in - mostly out of curiosity - and before I knew it, I (and the rest of the country) was hooked, ensuring my attendance in front of the telly every night. It was all about the singing. The emotional theatrics. Seal's unusual outfits. Keith's incredible song lyric knowledge. Joel's toothpick. Delta's facial expressions. In other words, RATINGS GOLD.

And this year, they're back. As am I. And there have been a few changes:

  • Ricky Martin has replaced Keith Urban.
  • Host Darren McMullen is under the impression that hair combed forward makes him look 'hip' or something.
  • The clothing allowance for judges has apparently been brutally slashed as they have worn the SAME OUTFITS for the entire series of blind auditions. I don't know how much more of 'peekaboo side-boob' I can take from Delta's jumpsuit. 
  • Contestants need to have the saddest, most tragic backstory possible before applying. This has  created much hilarity on the Twitter feed of late. 

Last night, a woman called Abby Dobson auditioned. She sang an Aretha Franklin song and gave it her absolute all but unfortunately, none of the judges were swayed to hit their buttons. Perhaps she chose the wrong song but she was STREETS ahead of the gal who butchered Radiohead's 'Creep' and still got through. If I never hear that version again it will be too soon. Your thoughts?

For anyone who doesn't know Abby, there's a very likely chance you'll know her beautiful voice. Abby was the lead singer of an Australian band, Leonardo's Bride. They had a massive hit in 1998 with "Even When I'm Sleeping". I have always loved this song and thought I'd remind everyone how beautiful it truly is by featuring it as today's song choice for MFM. 

Don't be confused by my apparent lack of ceremony
My mind is clear
I may be low or miles high off in the distance
I want you near
I love you... even when I'm sleeping
When I close my eyes
You're everywhere

Leonardo's Bride - Even When I'm Sleeping

Happy Monday, people. 

April 18, 2013

There's a light...

"Good evening. I'm Dougal Stevenson and this is TV1 news."

As a kid growing up in 1980's New Zealand, there were only two channels available on the box, TV1 and TV2 (highly original names, I know). There was no argument between my brother and I over which channel was the best, it was TV2 all the way. Mum and Dad, naturally, were keen TV1 viewers  - it had the nightly news and current affairs along with other programmes we felt were 'boring' and too serious. TV2 on the other hand was home to the imports - all the American shows (our favourites were Dukes of Hazzard, The Six Million Dollar Man and CHiPs) as well as local must-watch Kiwi music show, Ready to Roll. Compared to all that glitz and glam, the news didn't really rate as important with us as teens.

We felt very hard done by when the grown ups had control of the telly. There was only one television set in our house (I told my kids this and they thought we were SO deprived) and every night come 6 o'clock, Mum and Dad would switch it to TV1 for the news. We were gutted. Bo & Luke Duke were up to their necks in an awesome adventure with the General Lee on TV2 and we were missing it! Life was so UNFAIR! Wah!

Such good ol' boys...

Fast forward three decades and how things have changed. Now it's me who's the grown up watching the news. And my boys? Are very bloody lucky, is what they are. They're in the other room either playing on a variety of Apple devices at their disposal or watching one of over a dozen cloned-TV2-style channels on another TV set. What a blessed life they lead.

But news has been fairly intense viewing this week. The horrors of the Boston Marathon bombing, the fertiliser plant explosion in Waco, Texas, earthquakes in Iran. I'm conscious of trying to shelter the boys from the more graphic aspects of news as best I can but my attempts are flawed at best. One thing my parents didn't have to worry about was uncensored social media!

Thankfully though, you cannot have 'darkness' without a determined little light. YES! It's the light that COULD, people. And a certain light in particular is shining brightly through all the crap and just so happens to come from the land of my birth. I could not be more proud of my New Zealand heritage than I am right now.

Yesterday the New Zealand government legalised gay marriage, making them the first nation in the Asia-Pacific to do so (and the thirteenth nation worldwide). Good on them. The Kiwis are leading the way again. While I am not holding my breath, I sincerely hope the Australian Labour Party take note. Come on, Julia! NOW IS THE TIME. You have the power. JUST DO IT.

What shows did you watch as a kid? Who else is a news junkie? How do you get it? Internet, newspaper, TV or radio? How do you feel about NZ's decision on marriage equality?

April 15, 2013

15/4: Music for Monday...

Image source

It's day one of school holidays round these parts and so far, we're travelling along pretty well. For the record, there have been no fights. No yelling or whining. Just calm waters and smooth sailing so far.

This state of affairs isn't due to any superior mothering skills on my part nor is it because I've taken drastic preventative measures of sewing my kids lips together in the quest for domestic peace. No, far easier than that and a lot less bloody. Think 'divide and conquer' and you'd be closer to the truth. I had the opportunity to off-load one child (Son#2) to a mate's house for the night yesterday and like any sane woman with two children at home 24/7 for the next almost-three-weeks, I grabbed that baby with BOTH HANDS. You never look a gift horse in the mouth during the holidays, I always say. Especially when your kids don't go back to school until MAY THE FIRST. Give me strength.

Consequently, the Ninja Boy and I have enjoyed a lovely day hanging out together, one-on-one. We took Spencer for a walk and shot the breeze, talking about the things he'd like to do during the holidays (movies, ten-pin bowling and having his friends over for a sleepover) plus we kept an eye out for any wild rabbits lurking in the underbrush. Our local heritage park has loads of them and I see them quite often when walking through. The Ninja Boy was very curious to know if perhaps they knew the Easter Bunny. "If we see one, we'll ask," I told him. Naturally, Spencer was extremely keen to say hello to any rabbit game enough to stick their nose out but alas, they were less than enthusiastic and remained stubbornly hidden from view. The Easter Bunny is safe for now.

I'm just not that in to you, Spence. Sorry.

So here we are - it's Monday - and that means it's music time at WSDN. We've just started watching a new season of The Voice at Chez WSDN and I totally love it (the repetitive editing not withstanding). The blind audition phase has seen some incredible vocal performances so far with great song choices from most contestants. Including this little pearler, yes, it's another oldie but man-oh-man, it's such a goodie. Some songs just stand the test of time, don't they?

The only boy who could ever reach me
Was the son of a preacher man
The only boy who could ever teach me
Was the son of a preacher man
Yes he was, he was, ooh he was

Dusty Springfield - Son of a preacher man

Happy Monday, everyone.

April 10, 2013

A fresh new look...

Image source

We've been doing a LOT of de-cluttering at Chez WSDN lately. One garbage bin has not been enough for the volume of crap we've been chucking out. I think we need a SKIP. And that's just for the boys rooms.

I think de-cluttering is one of those activities that should be featured on 'Dirty Jobs' because NO-ONE EVER WANTS TO DO IT. And I can understand why. It's dirty, sweaty, labour intensive and time-consuming. Even the mere thought of starting is exhausting. In another past clutter-free-life I might have subscribed to minimalist living but this current one with the Boys Wot Live Here just proves we've all missed the memo. 

Looking around my house NOTHING about it says 'minimalist'. It's more like 'maximumist', to be honest. We have 'stuff' everywhere, on bookcases, tables, couches, chairs. There are rugby boots discarded on the floor, school bags thrown any which way, framed pictures leaning against the wall waiting to be hung, books and papers stacked haphazardly on the kitchen bench. Where does all that paper come from? And junk mail catalogues, OMG. Out with you!

All of this seems a million miles away from when we first moved here. We really WERE minimalist back then. We had virtually nothing in the way of furniture and things you collect when you have a house. 

I'm not kidding. 

We'd moved from a tiny three bedroom townhouse into this 5 bedroom, two storey house that seemed so big, it kinda swallowed us up. I remember standing in our large front room one morning, listening to the echo of my voice as it bounced off the walls in the sparsely furnished space. I'd made a promise to myself I'd only buy good quality items for the house when we moved in, so there were a lot of empty spaces in those early days while we saved up enough money to get the next 'thing' on the list. 

13 years on, we have so much stuff it's ridiculous. School holidays start at the end of the week so I'm determined to continue the Cull. That skip may be needed sooner rather than later.

And in that same vein, things around here are changing too! I'm sure you've all noticed, right? After having the same old look at WSDN for what seems like ages, I decided it was in dire need of a freshen up too. A change is as good as a holiday, right?  

What do you think of WSDN's new look?? And have you tackled the de-cluttering merry-go-round lately? Share your survivor stories here.

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