Saturday, May 21, 2011

Meat and Three Veg

I'm writing this post on Sunday night with the smell of a beef casserole simmering on the stove in the background and remembering that as I was growing up the food we ate was very much a part of the daily and weekly ritual.

I wrote in the post Of Chow Food and Other Things about our regular Friday night feeds of Fish and Chips but there was a fairly standard menu served in hour house when I was growing up.  One night would be chops, sausages, mashed potatoes and peas, another sausages eggs and chips, yet another spaghetti bolognese,  and of course the Sunday lunch time roast when we weren't out visiting relatives or having barbecues.

Karen and I had to either set and clear the table each night or dry the dishes. For some reason we used to fight over the former, mainly because it meant we could sit down earlier in front of the TV and watch the Flintstones or Gilligans Island.

Most nights, Dad wasn't home.   Most nights he wouldn't get home before we went to bed but would come in some time later, under the weather and smelling of the front bar and any of several pubs he frequented over those years.   But this is a post about the food we ate, not the bad times, I'll leave that for another time.

Sunday nights we usually had something light, usually toasted sandwiches in front of the telly.    A night without having to set the table was bliss.   I know there are families who share meals around the table and Raels and I try to do that now.   Maybe it was the fact that eating at the table reminded me too much that Dad was absent that it wasn't a tradition I had with my own kids as they were growing up, but is something I enjoy now when they do come around for meals with us.   But I digress again.

Mum was a good cook, but not an adventurous one and that may have been because we had fairly spartan tastes and any time she did stray from the meat and three veg, like the time she tried to serve us sheep brains and I came very close to vomiting, or when she regularly tried to serve up Brussels sprouts.  To this day I don't like them.

But the roast potatoes, ahhhhhh, I still haven't tasted better, even after all these years.   And Dad's barbecues were as good as anyone could ever cook, charcoaled chops and snags, and best of all, flat round chips fried in dripping over a wood BBQ in the back yard.

Another memory from the kitchen table is of my sister Deb, sitting in her high chair breaking up bread crusts and stirring them into a bowl of ice cream.    She still makes her cakes the same way even today.  Just kidding.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Problem Management

I'm a little over three months into a nine month contract at my new place of work and I do feel like I'm starting to achieve a few things.  I've spent a lot of time in the past couple of weeks documenting and developing incident and problem management procedures, a task I could have avoided if I'd just googled "Problem Management" a little earlier and plagiarised the following process.   Much simpler and better than what I wrote.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dad Humour

I wonder sometimes whether my kids will ever "get" my sense of humour.  A couple of weeks ago daughter number one told me she had sort of broken up with her new boy friend, at his request.  She then proceeded to tell me that for the next couple of nights after he'd done that he turned up to see her.

"I'm just going with the flow Dad," she told me.   And so I told her to give me his phone number so I could call him and ask what his intentions were.   She declined of course, but I think she actually believed I would have done it.

The night after I told my youngest daughter in my most earnest voice that it was time that she and I had a discussion about the Birds and the Bees, whereupon she got up and said that she'd be reading a book in her bedroom.   Again I was kidding but sometimes they don't seem to get it.

A couple of weeks ago I told them that if William Shatner married Fifi Box, she'd be Fifi Shatner-Box.  That one they got, both of them posting it on Facebook.   Last night daughter number two asked me if I'd seen the movie Thirteen and I said "No, but I've seen the sequel Fourteen."    I thought it was hilarious, she just raised her eyebrows.

Will they ever get me?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

No Longer for Sale

Our house went to Auction last Thursday night and we were number 18 of 21 properties up for auction on the night.   Four of the five people who said they were interested in buying turned up and registered but as the properties went on the market and prices were below what was expected it became obvious to me that we may not get what we wanted.

We had the house valued pre-Christmas by the bank and had dropped the reserve price by $20k below that valuation in the hope that once we got to that stage in the auction and went on the market that the competition would drive it up towards the valuation.

The opening bid was $40k below the reserve and that was a bid by the auctioneer on our behalf.  He then raised it by $10k and we got one bid only at $1k above that.   Eventually we settled for a figure $2k below the reserve but well under what we were hoping for.   It became very much a decision around whether the bird in the hand was worth more than any potential offer we might have gotten outside the auction.  No contest really given the cooling in the market, the fact that we are facing an interest rate rise in the next three weeks and the absolute confusion over what this Federal Government is going to do with that monster lurking in the background, the Carbon Tax.

At least now we can move on and enjoy the new place.

Speaking of which the front is now rendered and the kitchen and bath room cabinets almost finished.  Our site supervisor, despite earlier telling us it would be ready by the end of June, is now saying 75 to 90 days.  I suspect he is just being ultra conservative because it seems to be moving pretty well at the moment with the painters due to start tomorrow.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Myra Phylis Joyce - 26 July 1930 to 11 September 2010

I miss you Mum - Happy Mothers Day
"M" is for the million things she gave me,
"O" means that she's only growing old,
"T" is for the tears she shed to save me,
"H" is for her heart of purest gold;
"E" is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
"R" means right or wrong she'll always be,
Put them all together, they spell "MOTHER,"
A word that means the world to me.