Jam Don’t Shake Like That!


My dear, talented, inspirational friends…. Between Jen posting a marvellous picture of Lego jellies on Facebook, and Quokka posting entertaining tidbits about her jelly-making forays, I have been inundated with nagging from the kidlets to make them a batch of Lego jellies of their very own.  Despite some initial resistance (because lazy), I finally succumbed today, and I am glad.  Now maybe the little pests will get off my case.

Yeah, I know, like that’s going to happen.

Mum!  Mum!  Mum!  Mum!  Mummy!  Mummy!  Mummy!  Ma!  Ma!  Ma!  Ma!  Mum!  Mum!  Muuuuuuuuuuum!

Mum! Mum! Mum! Mum! Mummy! Mummy! Mummy! Ma! Ma! Ma! Ma! Mum! Mum! Muuuuuuuuuuum!

To be honest, though, I’m glad I have the kidlets to nag me into these things.  If they didn’t nag, I’d probably never get off my tushie to do anything fun at all.  And now that I’m all inspired, I’m pondering what Lego themed noms I can make next.



Should I try Lego head cake pops?


Or Lego bikkies?


Or should I get really adventurous and attempt a Lego birthday cake?


Yep, I know, I’m definitely over-reaching with that last one.  Not that it would matter; cake decorating failures taste just as good as the successes.  I should know.  I’ve had plenty of them.  (No, I am not going to post any photos of my numerous disasters.  I still have some dignity  —  Why is everybody laughing at that?)


One thing’s for sure.  I will definitely be making more Lego jellies.  Mainly because the kidlets ate the bloody lot before I got to try them.  *sigh*


By ConspiracyCat

Where There’s Smoke….


Our holidays have gotten off to a fun start.  We were all keen on a nice, long sleep-in, but my body clock had other ideas.  So I jumped online, hoping to catch up on a few hundred emails before the rest of the family awoke.  After a while, I noticed a faint burning smell.  Thinking the computer might be complaining, I logged out and went into the kitchen.  Oh.  Oh dear.  There was a faint haze of blue smoke filling the room.  Not quite as strong as a combie full of hippies, but close:


It was worsening rapidly as I hurried from room to room, looking for any sign of fire.  I realised the smoke had to be coming from the heating vents in the ceiling.  The Boss was duly awakened by my shrieks, and despached through the manhole with as much alacrity as my prodding could muster.  As he staggered up the ladder, I said a prayer of thanks that he wore underwear to bed last night.


Then I grabbed four of the five things on my ‘Must Grab In Case Of Fire’ checklist, and herded the children out the front door.  Poor Mother In Law was still in her PJ’s when we swarmed through her door, demanding breakfast and safe haven.  Father In Law’s curiosity was aroused, so he rushed out the front door, ready to run over and help the Boss.  But MIL dragged him back inside and made him get dressed.  Smart woman.  Two men up a manhole in their undies could so very easily have been misconstrued by the fire department.

Smoke alarm in a smoky room

Meanwhile, I was waiting impatiently in MIL’s kitchen for some sort of feedback.  My predominant thoughts were:

  • Considering the amount of smoke in the house, why did none of our smoke alarms go off?  I replaced all the batteries two weeks ago, so they should have all been howling.
  • I know for sure there are five things on my ‘Must Grab In Case Of Fire’ list.  Why did I only grab four?  Despite scratching my head for an hour, I could not for the life of me remember what the fifth thing was supposed to be.  Also, I may have nits.
  • If the house burns down, will our insurance company pay up?  I have suggested taking a torch to the hoarded crap on more than one occasion, and although we all know I was joking about that, I doubt our insurance assessor would find it particularly funny.


Finally, at around lunch time, the Boss and his dad came in.  The Boss had stopped to don pants, which is always a good sign.  No, the house hadn’t burned down.  They had discovered that the motor on the ducted heating was not working so the fan was not spinning, and there was a burnt capacitor.  The question is whether the burning capacitor had caused the motor to stop, or whether a fault in the motor had caused the capacitor to catch fire.  They took off to buy various spare parts, and for about the billionth time I thanked God my FIL is an electrician.


The boys got back in the roof, where FIL did some fixy-fixy, and now everything appears to be working again.  There’s a lingering smell in the heating unit that will take a couple of days to fully dissipate.  My carefully structured holiday schedule is in tatters.  But we and all our crap piles are unharmed.  Huzzah!


It got me thinking, though.  When it boils down to it, if there are only five items on my Must Grab list, why do I need so much other stuff?  And do I even need those five things?  Probably not, seeing as I still can’t remember what number five was supposed to be.  Anyway, after a morning of deep consideration on the subject, you will be pleased to know that while this wake-up call has not resulted in actual hoard reduction, it has added a frisson of urgency to my desire to clear out the crap.  Instead of ‘Maybe One Day’, I am now thinking of junk-clearing as a ‘Definitely One Day Soon’ occurrence.  Definitely.  Really.  Honest, this time I mean it!


By ConspiracyCat


Wrong sort.

Wrong sort.

No, I’m not being a copy cat… or is that Copy Catty?  This is a tribute to Quokka’s gorgeous Afghan pictures.  They looked so yummy, I had to make some of my own.

No, that's not the right sort either.

No, that’s not the right sort either.

But I was not going to make them until I had the right sort of cocoa.  You may remember my waffle (mmmm…. waffles….) about cocoa, and I am happy to say that the Woolworths Home Brand cocoa far exceeded my expectations.


It was rich and dark, just like good cocoa should be.  Those Germans sure know how to make cocoa.  The spilled bits (o.k, so I’m a pig) even stained the benchtop slightly, although that wore off after a day or two.  (Yes, I do occasionally wipe down benches.  I’m not a pig.  Oh, that’s right.  Yes I am.)

Anyway, armed with this marvellous cocoa and a hastily acquired bag of pecans, I set out to make Afghans.

Stop it, Catty.  Now you're just being silly.

Stop it, Catty. Now you’re just being silly.

I didn’t have regular corn flakes, so I used the crunchy nut variety.  The mixture looked dark and beautiful, and tasted pretty good.   The smell from the oven was pretty good, too.  So good, in fact, that the Boss loitered around the kitchen until the trays came out of the oven.  I told him they were too hot to eat just yet, and he said he didn’t want one anyway, because they were too soft.  Yes, he’d stuck his finger in one.  *sigh*

Cut it out, Catty, I'm warning you.

Cut it out, Catty, I’m warning you.

After they’d cooled and hardened, I used some of that magnificent cocoa to make icing.  The Boss was annoyed.  He hates icing on biscuits.  (Smirks quietly, perfectly aware of this.)  It set really quickly, as the cocoa seemed to cause the icing to dry out faster than normal.  And then it was time for taste testing.

Finally!  See, that wasn't so hard, was it Catty?

Finally! See, that wasn’t so hard, was it Catty?

You know, I didn’t enjoy them as much as I’d expected.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, they were amazing!  But after decades of eating chocolate slice from the Common Sense Cookery book, my taste buds kept looking for coconut, and they weren’t very happy when they couldn’t find it.  The kidlets, however, went biblical on the plate.  But then, my kidlets go biblical on any plate of home made biscuits.

So the verdict is in.  Next time, I replace the corn flakes with coconut.  That ought to shut my whiny taste buds up.  Also, I want to marry Woolworths Home Brand Cocoa.  Thank you, Quokka.  You’re an inspiration.

*sigh*  Go home, Catty.

*sigh* Go home, Catty.

By ConspiracyCat

A Quick Question…..

question_makrs_cutie_mark_by_rildraw-d4byewlO.k, so here’s what happened.  The Boss is loyal to a fault.  When he sees an old mate in need of a helping hand, he’s there with bells on.  One such mate is the star of this story.  For reasons that shall become apparent, I shall refer to this friend as Nigel.  Nigel No Friends.

You may ask why I call him No Friends, when I have just said the Boss is his friend.  Well, for reasons that shall also soon be apparent, the Boss is no longer his friend.

babycryingIt’s a sad story.  Like so many young men who went to high school with the Boss, Nigel was lured into a life of Heroin addiction.  His greatest achievement in life was giving it up.  Unfortunately, he has replaced the Heroin with several other drugs (including Ice), and washes them down with copious quantities of alcohol.  After several years of this, Nigel is now a gibbering mess, unable to function normally.

drugsEver since his mum took out a restraining order against him, Nigel has been living in an Assisted Living unit, paid for by his father.  Nigel’s daughter refuses to speak to him.  All his friends have deserted him.  All except the Boss, that is.  The Boss would go and see him occasionally, just to see how his old mate was doing.  And as the Boss likes a drink or nine, he would have a few beers with Nigel.  When I say ‘a few’, I mean a carton between them, plus anything else they can get their hands on.

Last night was such a night.  The Boss brought Nigel home for a few beers and a chat.  When they walked in, I was a bit worried.  Last time he was here, Nigel stole a full box of Valium as well as a bottle of the Boss’s 40% home brewed Special Water.  But he was the Boss’s mate, so I didn’t complain.  I noted that Nigel has developed quite the pot belly.  Laughing, I asked him when he was due.  Unfortunately, as it turned out, it was in two hours’ time.


At first it wasn’t so bad.  The men stayed out in the shed while I kept the kidlets inside.  Then just before dinner, Nigel came in to use the toilet.  After half an hour of stench that could melt varnish, Nigel gave birth to a Poo Baby.  On the floor.

Not satisfied with merely desecrating the floor, Nigel managed to get afterbirth all over the walls.  It was even smeared into the hinges on the back of the toilet seat.  The tub where I keep new rolls of paper was empty, and also smeared with the stinking, vile stuff.  Two rolls, gone – double length bog rolls, at that.


All that was left was a couple of shit-smeared cardboard tubes, stuffed behind the s-bend.

Then, because new mothers are often a little confused, Nigel stepped on his new baby, and made his way to the bathroom to wash his hands.  You could see where he’d been.  There were footprints.  But it was o.k – he wiped his feet clean on the bath mat.  His hands weren’t quite so clean, as they left very obvious calling cards on the tissue box and the hand towel.  Then he calmly staggered back out to the shed.

Meanwhile, we were completely unaware of the new little life lying on the toilet floor, and were trying to eat our dinner without gagging at the bewildering stench.  Windows were thrown open, the fan was on, but the smell was pervasive.  Suddenly, the Boss came in and announced that I was to drop what I was doing and drive Nigel home.  Right Now.


So I did.  I was kinda glad to get away from the stink, to be honest.  Unfortunately, Nigel brought the stink with him.  I had all the car windows down, but the smell kept punching me in the face.  It was terrifying.

By the time I got home, I realised that the car was going to need fumigating.  Nigel might have gotten out of the car, but the stink sure hadn’t.  On the drive back, the Boss (who had come along for the ride) told me how Nigel had returned from the toilet, picked up a 3/4 full bottle of scotch, and chugged the lot down in about 4 gulps.  It made him aggressive, almost immediately.  He tried to throw a few punches, but the Boss wasn’t quite as Rat Arsed, so he was able to drag Nigel out of the shed and into the car.  To be honest, he was going to kick him to the kerb, but remembered that he had promised Nige a lift home.  See?  Loyal to a fault.

Eventually we got back home, where  The Gimmee was waiting with a ‘You’re REALLY not going to like this‘ look on her face.  While I was out, they’d found the Poo Baby.


So Catty snaps on two pairs of rubber gloves, arms herself with a bucket of heavy duty cleaning products, and announces bravely, “I’m going in.  If I’m not back in an hour, remember me with fondness”.

Almost an hour later, Catty staggers out and announces gravely, “It is done.  We shall never speak of this again”.


But they did speak of it.  Which brings me, finally, to my not-so-quick question.

Although I am convinced that the car, the hallway carpet, the dunny and the bathroom are all now completely clean (thanks to a full bottle of Domestos, many disposable cleaning rags, a lot of elbow grease and two cans of Glen 20), nobody is game to test the theory by actually using the toilet.  The Boss declared that he is going to rip up the carpet and throw it out, or if I won’t let him do that, burn down the house.


Can any of you give me some advice on any cleaning products or methods of cleaning that will reassure the Boss enough to prevent this happening?  I kinda like my house and I’d really rather the Boss didn’t take a match to it.

It may interest you to know that the Boss’s loyalty has wilted in the face of Poo Baby’s fragrance.  He has (Thank God) finally decided that the friendship is over.  And now Nigel truly does have No Friends.  Which is sad.  But if he ever gets lonely, I’d be happy to return the Poo Baby, to keep him company.  It’s the least I can do.

By ConspiracyCat

I hate the Irony Faerie.


I had to say it.  I had to mention my great dentist.  Stupid!  Stupid!  Stupid!

You know how these things work.  You mention that you haven’t had a flat tyre in years, and the Irony Faerie gives you one the next day.  You tell everyone you’ve found a fabulous Chinese Restaurant, and the Irony Faerie closes it down.  You smugly announce you have never had a speeding fine, and the Irony Faerie drops a motorcycle cop behind the very next bush you speed past.

So yesterday, when Q was talking about her dental woes, I should have shut my mouth about my dentist.  I should have known better than to draw the Irony Faerie’s attention to myself.  But, no.


What happened?  Oh, it was all very simple.  I went in to the bathroom to floss, as we’d had pizza for dinner and I didn’t want any stray pieces of pepperoni hanging out of my teeth at the kidlets’ dance class.  SNAP!  And there I was with what appeared to be a large chunk of tooth in my hand.  EEEEEEEEKKKK!


Because I couldn’t help myself, I spent the entire evening poking the sharp, broken edge of the remaining lump of tooth with my tongue.  It got me some funny looks at the dance studio, but I defy anyone to resist that particular urge.  It was a long night.  I could hardly wait for opening hours this morning, and rushed home from the school run to ring the dentist.  I was cursing the Irony Faerie under my breath, convinced that the dentist would be

  • dead
  • shut down
  • booked solid for a month
  • substantially more expensive than last time
  • affiliated with a root canal surgeon
  • newly converted to S&M
  • all of the above

When the receptionist told me to come straight in, I thought, “A-hah!  The Irony Faerie is trying to lull me into a false sense of security!  But I’m on to her!”

4 T

The dentist took one look at my teeth and said, “It’s just calcification.  You haven’t been to a dentist for a while, have you?”  He was right.  The last dentist I saw ripped out one of my molars.  The needles hurt so much I fainted.  The previous dentist ripped out all four wisdom teeth.  In the chair.  I needed stitches.  So, yeah, I haven’t been to a dentist for a while.

He got rid of the calcification and gave my teeth a good clean.  There went 20 years worth of coffee stain buildup.  Then he told me that I have some problem with my neck and shoulders that is causing me to clench my jaw too much (fibromyalgia will do that) – and then he gave my shoulders a bloody good massage.  Which would have been great, except that while he was doing it, he was giving me a lecture about not using my teeth as nutcrackers.  “No chewing!”  he reprimanded me.  *sigh*  Yes, Doctor.  I’ve already heard this lecture, and have long since given up chewing my favourite chewy things.


So it was all going well.  My dentist was spot-on with everything, and I didn’t faint once (although I did cringe a lot).  I was still suspicious, though.  The Irony Faerie was probably just biding her time.

When it came time to pay, their price was the same as they charge me for the kidlets.  He even gave me a bulk-billed referral to get a dental x-ray, and told me that he would only call me back in if any problems showed up on the scan.  Otherwise, I’m good for 12 months.  And still no sign of the Irony Faerie.  Surely she can’t have overlooked me?  Nah, can’t be.


I still think the Irony Faerie is working her way up to something particularly vicious.  The x-ray is tomorrow.  What’s the bet the scan comes back with some massive cavity that will require very expensive fillings?  What’s that you say?  No Bet?  I don’t blame you.  Especially now that one of my remaining molars has just started to ache….. Curse you, Irony Faerie!


By ConspiracyCat

Lost Treasure


Goodbye Sir Terry.

Thank you for leaving the world a better place than you found it.

quid venit in exeundum.


Sir Terence David John “Terry” Pratchett, OBE

28/4/48 – 12/3/15

By ConspiracyCat

Dear Teen… Things Could Be Worse.


In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the Teen made this Facebook post:

I can’t sleep. Also, I tried to put my pants on as a jumper.

Her post made me think, “what’s wrong with that?  At least she’s in bed, and not on stage, like Rhianna”.  So in the interests of putting the poor Teen’s mind at rest, I searched Google to find that old photo of Rhianna with her jumper on crooked.

It took a while.  There were a lot of other fashion fails to dig through first.


I realised very quickly that wearing a jumper as an entire outfit was pretty tame by Rhianna’s usual standards.  For a start, she appears to have trouble with all her jumpers.

Rihanna was all smiles while sporting a racy see through black shirt out in New York last night

Sometimes she gives up on jumpers altogether.


Also, underwear.  But not always.  Sometimes the underwear is all she wears.


Or not.


It’s not just jumpers that Ri-Ri has trouble with.  Pants also appear to confuse her.


Again, as with the jumpers, she sometimes gives up on the pants altogether.


And she hasn’t quite got the hang of shoes, either.


Some days you wonder if she bothered to look in a mirror before she left the house.


Then there are days you wonder if Rhianna even owns a mirror.


So, my darling Teen, you have nothing at all to worry about.  While you may accidentally pull on the wrong garment in the middle of the night, you would never accidentally go out dressed in nothing but a snake.


At least, I hope you wouldn’t.

So there you have it.  You can sleep tight now, Duck, secure in the knowledge that no matter how bad your fashion fails, a quick Google search will invariably present you with someone who has failed harder, faster and far more often.  Just type in ‘Rhianna’.  Goodnight darling!  *MWAH*

By ConspiracyCat

Merry Christmas!


To my darling friends and family:

I love you, and I thank you for a year of treasured memories, hilarity, hugs, and acceptance.  Without your loving support, there is so much in life that I would not be able to cope with.  Sometimes you don’t even have to do anything.  Just knowing you are there if I need you gives me the strength to get through the tricky days.  You are truly beautiful people, and I feel humbled and honoured to be a part of your lives.

To the rest of my friends and family:

Up yours.


By ConspiracyCat

Just One Of Those Days.


Have you ever had a day so bad that it needed a run-up?  Last Friday was one of those days.  Let me start at the beginning…..

Monday: I put the crock pot on the kitchen bench, ready to make dinner.  The Boss promptly left town for the week.

Tuesday: I turned off the internet to prove to Telstra that someone was stealing my internet downloads.


Then my iPhone stopped working.  I have no idea why.


No blogging, no text messages.  I was tempted to while away the suddenly empty hours with housework.  Egad!  I went straight to the doctor.  He laughed at me.  I didn’t punch him in the groin – but I wanted to.  He must have guessed this, as he ordered a series of blood tests.

Wednesday:  My iPhone still wouldn’t work.  I didn’t get the text from the doctor, telling me they’ve rescheduled my blood test.  Not that it mattered, I’d written down the wrong time anyway.


Late that evening, the home phone rang.  It was the Boss.  He was upset because he had been calling, texting and emailing me all day without any response.  He’d even called his mother to ask her where I was.  She reminded him about the internet blackout and the broken iPhone, then suggested he call me on the land line.  I asked him why he hadn’t thought of that himself.  His answer?


Then we had an interesting discussion about the internet.  Telstra had called.  The reason for our excessive internet usage was not some nefarious neighbour hacking into our wi-fi.  No, it was the Boss, with his insatiable thirst for… well, beer.  Also, very, very bad television series.


I pointed out that he could have told me the truth and saved me the hassle of shutting down the internet and harassing Telstra.  He pointed out that if he had told me the truth, I would almost certainly have punched him in the groin.  I thanked him for his tactful – if inaccurate – use of the word ‘almost’.

Thursday:  Now that I had internet access again, I checked out our bank account balance to work out the grocery budget.  But when I actually tried to withdraw some money later, the balance was substantially diminished.  What the… ?  A short investigation provided the answer:


Yes, I have succinctly and eloquently explained my feelings about this to the Boss.  Remind me sometime to tell you my own unique definitions of the words ‘succinctly’ and ‘eloquently’.

Friday:  Time for the blood test results.  Good news.  I got an A+.  But seriously…. My doctor has informed me that I have high cholesterol.  So, no animal products – especially red meat – for three months.  I also have a vitamin D deficiency, and have to take supplements for 3 months.  Then he told me I have arthritis in my jaw.  I have to take anti inflammatory tablets for 3 months.  And I’m not allowed to chew.  No more Kettle Chips!  *sob*.  It’s a good thing you can suck chocolate, or life wouldn’t be worth living.


There was a very short discussion about the possibility of a colonoscopy for IBS.  Yeah, right!  After ‘that’ surgery, they’ve got Buckley’s of convincing me to let them stuff a camera up there.  I still shudder when I see lemons.


But at least my thyroid is o.k.  Cheered by this news, I went shopping.  I’d bought a pretty, pre-owned Spring dress a few weeks ago, and needed red shoes to go with it.  Miracle of miracles, I found a pair.  Brand new, gorgeous, comfy and only $3.00.  Friday no longer seemed so dire, but I should have known it was just the eye of the storm.  As I came out of Woolworths with my groceries (but without Kettle Chips – bloody arthritis!), I discovered I had a flat tyre.  And there I was with no iPhone to call the RACV.  A very kind lady offered me the use of her iPhone.  I’m assuming she was kind, and wasn’t just trying to move me from behind her car, where I had curled up in the foetal position for a good whimper.


The RACV man came.  He said I’d run over a tech screw, and because they’re low profile tyres, I didn’t notice the slow leak until the rubber had shredded on the rim.  So I needed a whole new tyre.  Later, when the Boss got home from his trip, I sent him to the tyre place for a quote while I checked the bank balance to see how much we could afford.  He called with the quote.  We were exactly $3.00 short.  Fortunately for the Boss, he didn’t mention red shoes.  Which is just as well, or I would have had to succinctly and eloquently remind him exactly who had dropped a box of tech screws under the car.  Or punch him in the groin.


A frantic search under the couch cushions for coins was successful.  Phew!  Disaster averted, I cheerfully went to the kitchen to start on dinner.  Oh.  Oh, dear.  I’d defrosted a roast.  No red meat, no chewing.  I had to sit there sucking on mashed potatoes and mooshy broccoli while the rest of the family gobbled up a massive lump of slow-cooked cow covered in the Boss’s exceptionally delicious gravy.  *sob*

Of course, with all the kerfuffle, I’d forgotten that Friday was Halloween.  There were some strange noises outside, but I was so sick of Friday that I didn’t bother going out to investigate.  So I didn’t know until Saturday that someone egged our house.  Given the day I’d had, I suppose I should have expected it.

As I crawled into bed I offered up a small prayer, grateful that this horrible day was finally over.  Except, it wasn’t.  Aunt Irma chose that moment to show up and start demanding Kettle Chips.


By ConspiracyCat

A Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience.


I was delighted to get an email from Motherpedia, telling me I’d won a $500 photographic session with Verve.  “Oooh”, thinks I.  “We haven’t had a family portrait since that fundraiser at the Teen’s primary school, 12 years ago.  It would be nice to have a portrait photo that has the littlest Kidlet in it”.  Soon after, the gift card came in the mail.  It was pretty swish.  All matt black and silver, with glossy brochures and a promotional DVD.  The brochures said the $500 covered the cost of the photo shoot, the design consultation, and a single 8×10 framed portrait.  Ouch!  Still, at that price, at least I could be sure I wouldn’t wind up with a photo like this one:


Before I had the chance to call them, Harry from Verve was on the phone, trying to book me into the soonest possible session.  He was so completely, totally upbeat, I wondered if he was sucking helium.  Surely nobody can squeak with excitement like that without chemical assistance?  Despite feeling faintly alarmed, I booked us in.

Next I had a call from the designer.  Did I say Harry was upbeat?  Wrong – if you compared him to the bubbly bundle of fun that was Rebecca.  She wanted to discuss options for props we could bring to the photo shoot.  “We want to make artworks that capture the bond between your family“.  Ah.  Action shots.

1116-contest-family-launch-3So I sat the family down on Saturday, and discussed the photo shoot with them.  I was quite clear about it.  “Two outfits.  Got it?  Two outfits.  One dressy, one casual.  But, NEAT casual.  No moccasins, no pilling, nothing stained or ripped, and it has to fit”.  Everybody groaned.  “Each of you is to bring something important to you.  It can be a hobby item, a favourite teddy, a loved book, a board game.  Just don’t go overboard”.  Everyone looked bewildered.  So I showed them the brochures, and parroted some of Rebecca’s descriptions.  I guess I must have been imitating Rebecca a bit too enthusiastically, because my family were looking at me with worried concern.  “Is your headache back, darl?  Can I get you some Panadeine?”  asked the Boss.  Actually, the headache I’d had since Thursday hadn’t really gone away, so I just glared at him and took the Panadeine.


When I asked the Teenie what he planned to take, he said, “Pokemon”.  Obviously.

The middle Kidlet loved the brochure pictures with cakes, so she decided to take cupcakes and decorate them at the photo shoot.  “Make sure you bake them today”, I reminded her.  “We have to leave early in the morning, so we won’t have time to bake them then”.

The Boss said he couldn’t think of anything, and probably wouldn’t take it even if he could think of something.  I’m not sure what he muttered next, but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t repeat it even if I had heard it.  He also waxed eloquent on how smart the Teen was for not answering her phone or responding to messages, and how he might just disappear for a few days with his phone switched off.  I told him if he tried it, I’d tie him naked to the mailbox with a dog leash.  (Again.  But this time it wouldn’t be fun).

The littlest kidlet said he wanted to take monkeys.  By now the headache was insisting that I go and lie down, so I just said, “fine, whatever”, and with a final reminder to set everything out that night, I went to bed.


Bright and early on Sunday morning, I dragged my headache out to the kitchen to pack up the middle Kidlet’s cupcakes.

There weren’t any.

So I baked some.

See if you can guess how many rude words I said?

While they baked, I rummaged around for the books I wanted to take.  Do you think I could find them?  No.  No I could not.  Somebody had  come into my room and taken my books.   Somebody had come into my room, and TAKEN MY BOOKS!  After a half hour of stomping, searching and swearing, everyone else had woken up, and in a vain attempt to shut me up, began to help me search.  Another half hour passed by before anyone bothered to ask me what we were looking for.  As soon as I named the books, the littlest Kidlet said, “Oh, those!  Middle Kidlet has them in her room”.  She did, too.  They were buried under a pile of dirty socks and chocolate wrappers that I had stepped over at least 14 times during the search.

Muttering rudely, I stomped back to the kitchen to assemble my finest cake decorations.  Then I went for a shower.  The Boss had beaten me to it.  Muttering even more rudely, I stomped back out to the kitchen to check on the Kidlets.  Middle Kidlet was adorable.  Ditto the Littlest Kidlet.  But the Teenie was dressed in a daggy t-shirt that I swear I threw in the rag bag last year.  His trakkie daks were an old pair of mine, also from the ragbag.  They were pilled and faded, and about two sizes too small for him.  When I shrieked at him to go and change, he replied, “but I don’t want to get my new Pokemon t-shirt dirty, and my bum looks too big in my new jeans”.  It occurred to me that he hadn’t listened to my instructions the day before, so I asked what dressy clothes he’d packed.  He didn’t answer.  I looked in his bag and found an old suit jacket from the Dress-Up box.  Huh.  At least he was half listening.  Unlike the littlest Kidlet, who hadn’t packed a second outfit.  So I had to dig through their cupboards to find where they’d hidden their Sunday best.  It took a while.  I swore a lot.

By now the Boss was out of the shower.  He was wearing a flannie.  Guess what I said?


Once I’d finished my own shower, I grabbed my favourite designer blouse from the cupboard.  Or, at least I tried to.  It wasn’t there.  No long and profane search ensued, though, as I spied it immediately.  It had slipped off the satin hanger and was crumpled up on the floor amongst my boots.  I picked it up, wondering if I had time to iron it.  Nope.

I started yelling instructions at people.  “Kidlet!  Pack those cupcakes into a container!  Teenie, brush your teeth.  Boss!  Where are your good clothes? Teenie, put that bloody DS down and go and brush your bloody teeth.  Now!”  Then I noticed the littlest Kidlet.  He had packed two knapsacks with about 16 toy monkeys.  I opened my mouth to repeat what I’d said to the Boss about his flannie, but then I remembered I’d agreed to this yesterday, before the Panadeine kicked in.  So I let that one slide.  But I didn’t let it slide when I saw the Boss’s good clothes.  He had taken them off the hangers and dropped them on the couch.  The couch that Teenie was sitting on.  I had to iron after all.

Halfway to the Verve studio, I realised that I’d packed cakes and decorations, but no icing.  We had to stop at the supermarket to buy some.  By now I was running out of swear words.

We arrived at Verve spot on time.  Not bad, except that we were supposed to be there 10 minutes early, to set up.  I opened the boot, where the Boss had packed all our stuff.  The dressy clothes were on the bottom, in a big wrinkly tangle.  “That’s it”,  I thought.  “We’re going to have to be photographed naked”.


We were greeted by the photographer, Cat, who made Harry and Rebecca look depressed.  Cat was SO THRILLED!!!  to meet us.  I began to wonder if they were piping Nitrous Oxide through the air vents.  We were treated to the tour, which really was impressive.  Then we started the photo shoot.  The whole time I was wondering, “Where’s that bloody coffee they promised me?”  The Boss was muttering, “Where’s that bloody beer you promised they had for me?”  The Kidlets started eating the naked cupcakes.  And Cat kept being so bloody cheerful, I wanted to…. actually, she was very nice, so I couldn’t quite formulate any punishment for her good nature that didn’t make me feel guilty.

Despite the lack of promised libations, the Kidlets behaved themselves:


The Boss hid his loathing of photographic sessions quite admirably:


and despite the numerous candles scattered all around the studio, nobody set fire to anything.  So all in all, it was a pretty good session.

Today I had a call from Rebecca.  She and Cat had just gone through the photos and they were SO EXCITED!!!, they had to ring and tell me about them.  We’re due to go to the viewing next Sunday, and I’m a little nervous.  How can they be excited about monkeys?


I’m also wondering if there’s been any photoshopping.  Because the only way to disguise the manic look I’m sure I had last Sunday, is this:


Then Rebecca asked me if I’d had time to read the Style Guide they’d given me after the photo shoot.  I hadn’t, but promised I would.  The Style guide also included a price guide.

Holy Crap!

Prices for the photos start at $295.00.  Each.  Then they rise … and rise … and rise … until they get to the point where a single canvas costs substantially more than my car did.

Somehow I don’t think we’ll be buying many photos.

But I think we might buy one or two.  This is, after all, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Mainly because the Boss has declared it so, and threatened me with all sorts of dire punishments if I enter any more competitions with photographic prizes.  Some of those punishments involved a dog leash and the letter box, so I know he’s serious.

I'll be good.

I’ll be good.

And in case you’re wondering, yes I still do have the headache.  I may have to call Harry and suggest that they put Panadeine in their swish black gift packages.  Or at the very least, a cylinder of that Nitrous Oxide.

By ConspiracyCat