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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Tips for raising a daughter Pinky style.

Lulu and Pablo

Lulu sent me this ‘selfie’ yesterday. Delighted that Lulu’s idea of taking her own photo doesn’t include a manipulated, burgeoning cleavage, an overdone makeup job, sexy bed hair and a porn-star pout down the camera lens, I immediately forwarded it to her Grandparents. It was a shout out to them, 

“Look! Look at what Pinky your daughter produced. How gorgeous is your granddaughter, eh? eh?”

How did it happen? How did I manage to produce such a vibrant, self-assured daughter? I was reading an article the other day about ten things you should do to ensure your daughter grows up to be a well-balanced, confident and adjusted teen. I’m sure the fact that she grew up with four older brothers has gone a long way into shaping her personality. 

Let’s check the ten points and decide how well I do as a mother eh Lulu?

Encourage assertiveness.

Well that was easy Lulu. With four older brothers if you weren’t assertive you would have starved to death. They could hear the sound of a packet of Tim Tams being opened from 300 metres away and it was always survival of the fittest as to who could shove and elbow their way to the last remaining biscuit.

Be specific in your compliments.

Lulu, you have a fit athletic figure from all the physical activity you do but that does not mean you should bare it quite so much when you go out. Specifically when you wear those frayed excuses for denim shorts and minuscule midriff numbers.
Make your praise match reality. 

Lulu, you do have the academic ability to achieve your life long goal of becoming a veterinarian, working in a zoo and creating the world’s first meerkat circus show; but this will only become a reality if you put in some serious study time in this vital final year of school. For this reason I am grounding you every weekend so that you do the required study instead of staying up until four in the morning when you sleep over at your girlfriend’s places and attend prohibited parties. Is that real enough?
Help her understand why she sometimes gets left out.

When you kids were all very young we would arrive home from shopping and sometimes all four lads would be busting to go to the toilet. Not able to wait until I opened the door they would relieve themselves on the Azalea plant outside the front door (that Azalea plant bloomed so often I could have put it in a gardening competition). You my poor little Lulu would be jiggling up and down in frustration wondering why life was so unfair. This will recur often in your life when you notice the male queue moves a lot faster than the females’ at the Portaloo.

Encourage competence.

As the fiercely competitive baby sister of five brothers, you independently wangled your way into your first part time job by neglecting to mention you were only fourteen years old. You’re still working there and are a qualified barista at sixteen years of age. While most kids applied for work experience in their parents/friend’s companies, you scored a gig at Australia Zoo which is 1400 kilometres away. With any more encouragement you might be scary.

Encourage her to play sport if she wants to.

With vicarious intentions I sent you to ballet lessons when you were four which you hated with a vengeance and promptly abandoned. Rebounding, dribbling like a wild cat, stealing the ball and learning offensive and defensive plays from your towering brothers whilst shooting hoops in the driveway, created an aggressive regional basketball representative and sports captain at primary school. Two broken arms and a broken foot didn’t put you off sport either. This has all culminated in me having to pay $5000 for a trip to the U.K for you to play in a netball junket later this year. I’ve encouraged plenty. Find out exactly how Lulu broke her foot on this hilarious post… Read this

Don’t make assumptions about her strengths and weaknesses.

Believe me I had no idea about your fortitude and ability to shop for six hours straight when we went on a girl’s trip to Sydney and visited Bondi Junction. Your grey eyes lit up with an avaricious gleam as soon as we entered the ostentatious mall and by the end of the day I felt like dropping dead on the spot with exhaustion. You gleefully spent a considerable amount of your earnings on shoes, clothing and other materialistic paraphernalia. However, my darling daughter, you did display a weakness on the way home … a big ole soft spot. We called into your fave restaurant ‘McDonald’s of the Golden Arches’ at Wynyard Station before we hobbled back to the hotel. Noticing a homeless man sitting dejectedly in one of the booths you snuck up and placed a fifty dollar note in front of him, then bounced out the door with a smile and a Pollyanna wave.

Encourage a healthy body image.

Okay Lulu, if you are still reading this; chocolate biscuits and a swig of coke is not a substantial breakfast and a Big Mac with extra bacon is not a well-balanced meal. One day when your knees cave in and you can’t play sport any more you will rue your bad eating habits.

Prepare her for sexism.

Where do I start…

Hagar and Padraic (veterans of the underage drinking stakes) sometimes happen to turn up at the same parties that you may or may not have attended without our precise knowledge. There have been reported instances of your brothers gallantly tipping out your illicit vodka cruiser on to the grass and scaring off prospective boyfriends with harsh verbal warnings. Like brothers in arms they maintain a code of silence regarding their own misconduct but will dob you, their little sister in, at the drop of a hat. What’s good for some is not good for others methinks. Read this enlightening post if you have a daughter…here

You do turn their male chauvinism on its head in manipulative ways though by demanding a hefty monetary fee for hanging out their washing and various other ‘womanly’ tasks they’re too lazy to do.

Point out positive female role models.

I prefer to point out negative female role models like… well me. Don’t make the same mistakes I made Lulu or you too could end up as a needy, attention-seeking woman who develops an addiction to writing a non-lucrative blog hoping someone, anyone will read it and like it on Facebook.

Reference: Chris Woolston:

Saturday, March 30, 2013

One more sleep until the Eeta Bunny comes!

Jonah, baby Padraic and Hagar

Memories of Easter Sundays with five kids under nine years of age come flooding back at this time of year. I recall with the clarity of yesterday fragments of chocolate trodden all through the house, smeared into the carpet fibres and tile grouting. At first all five would savour their eggs.

Five giant, chocolate monstrosities encased in torn psychedelic foil crowded the fridge; with ubiquitous splinters of chocolate dropping down into the crisper and permeating every crevice. The rubber seal of the fridge had its limits tested as every three minutes one kid or another would open the door to pick off a delectable nibble of Cadbury confectionary.

This lasted until Hagar finished his egg first and overcome by greed would pilfer someone else’s egg, hide under his bed and surreptitiously gobble it up.

“Someone stoled my Eeta egg!” Lulu would wail. Everyone knew it was Hagar due to his greenish hue.

Now Hagar is almost twenty years old and doesn’t want an ‘Eeta egg’. Thaddeus and Jonah gave them up years ago. Last year when Lulu was fifteen years of age and Padraic seventeen, they both requested Easter eggs.

“Really?” I asked sceptically. “Aren’t you a little bit old?”

“I’ll have one of those Humpty Dumpty ones with the Smarties inside please.” requested an unfazed Padraic.

This year I’ve decided to put a bowl in the kitchen with some gold rabbits and assorted eggs and they can help themselves. Enough’s enough.

I do have a nephew Heinrich, however, who is only eight years old and my mission today is to find a distinctly macho style of egg just for him, if that is humanly possible.

Heinrich abhors anything remotely feminine and last year ripped into the Easter bunny for the apparently contemptible egg he was presented with on Sunday morning. Heinrich is not spoiled mind you… just extremely pedantic about his masculinity.

A football shaped Easter egg seems a little trite and uncreative don’t you agree?

It can’t have any bunnies in any colour or creed and baby chicks should only appear on the packaging if the benefactor wishes to incite a temper tantrum. 

So now I’m off to seek out the holy grail of ‘blokey’ eggs. If only I could find one shaped like this…

Find out why Lulu is afraid of the Easter bunny on…Don't miss this one!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Pinky's special poem for teachers.

Half eaten Easter egg

Ode for teachers.

Alarm goes off, it’s the last day of school.

Pinky sits up and wipes away the drool

From her middle-aged mouth, she’s been snoring it seems,

Loudly intruding on poor Scotto’s dreams.

One more day and it’s holiday time

Stagger to the shower, wash away the grime.

Trips on dog on the way downstairs

Shuffles outside in the pyjamas she wears

To get the paper from the dead brown lawn

She squints at the brightness of the gentle dawn.

Espying a jogger, Pinky darts behind a tree.

There is no need for a jogger to see

Pinky’s pyjamas with the hole in the a*#e.

She hides til she sees the jogger pass.

Back inside for her first caffeine hit

Without that coffee she feels like sh#t.

Swears at drivers on way to school

Why does she always get in front of the fool

Who drives a big truck and sits on her tail

With a honking horn and arms that flail?

Arrives at school, colleagues full of glee

Only six more hours and they’ll all be free.

“We’ve eggs for you Miss!” the children shout

One of the eggs has a bite taken out.

By one o’clock the teachers feel grand

As they all know after school drinks are planned.

The girls will be heading to Shazza’s place

Where no doubt they will all get off their face.

With only one hour left of school to go

There’s a disco in the shed for the kids and so

Pinky does the chicken dance, and grooves to the beat

Til she gets puffed out and has to sit on a seat.

Like Gabriel’s trumpet we hear the bell ring,

P#ss off kids! The teachers sing

Under their breath so no one can hear

Why did we pick a teaching career?

Is it all for the kids and their learning we wish to raise?

Don’t be bloody stupid…it’s the holidays!!!!

# I don’t really mean that, I love teaching the rugrats.

The egg in the photo was actually presented to my colleague, Rach and had indeed been bitten in to.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The day Pinky snapped - or one of them anyway.


This morning as I precariously balanced two full coffee mugs up the stairs, a certain baby Chihuahua somehow became tangled up in my feet and I lost the lot. On the previous night I’d let myself slip into holiday mode and requested that Scotto set the alarm a half hour later than usual. 

“Are you sure?” he asked warily, knowing how I already cut it fine. No, if I prune my usual frivolous activities (like wasting valuable minutes on the laptop) I can get a bit of extra kip and still get to work on time… I optimistically thought.

As the coffee slopped all over the stairs, walls and dogs I knew things weren’t going to pan out as planned. Three bedroom doors opened simultaneously with a chorus of voices exclaiming, 

“What the hell?”, 

“Mum! You woke me up!” and “Are you okay? (Scotto).

Scotto came down and helped me do a slip shod job of sopping up five hundred millilitres of liquid and I thought about the stench of sour milk that would probably linger for weeks. Not to mention two dogs that smelled like Brazilian baristas.

Scheduling me time never really materialises into reality these days. Last year we invited an old friend of Scotto’s to stay with us for a week or so. Excited at the thought of a house guest I could impress with my domestic goddess prowess I set about cleaning out Jonah’s old room. 

I made up a fresh bed, plumped the pillows and folded a towel at the end of the bed just like they do in hotels. Classy! He had to share the room with my treadmill but that was auspicious on two levels. Firstly he had something to hang his towel on and secondly, I had an excuse not to use my treadmill for an entire week.

My gastronomic repertoire would be stretched …Read this funny post!  but I was hopeful I’d be able to place a different delectable dish from my culinary catalogue on the table for each of the seven nights.

The only tiny problem I could foresee was that you can’t really be yourself when you have a house guest - at least not in Pinky’s world anyway. You can’t walk around the house in your knickers and bra, you have to speak sweetly to your children (no disgraceful cussing) and you can’t take your dinner upstairs in disgust at your teenager’s attitude and eat it in bed. Nevertheless, I love a challenge and was fairly certain I could maintain the façade for a week.

“Greg commented to me that he can’t believe what a well organised household this is,” said Scotto towards the end of the visit.

“Really? How nice of him,” replied a very pleased Pinky, Queen of the Smug.

Towards the end of Greg’s visit it was decided that Scotto would take him to watch our home team play in the NBL game at the entertainment centre on Friday night. Hagar, Padraic and Lulu were all going out which meant I would have the house to myself; a rare, hungered-for luxury.

My plan was to drop them off at basketball at seven o’clock, drop Lulu off at the restaurant on the way, then drive home to an affectionate date with a bottle of Chardonay and ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ on the telly. 

I drove home late on Friday after a stressful week of work, ferrying my kids to basketball training, footy training, netball training, tutoring and part-time jobs to find an anxious Hagar pacing the driveway. “Mum! I need a lift to Kevin's.” 

Sh*t! It was a forty minute round trip. “Get in.” I growled, happy, at least to be getting rid of him.

As soon as I walked in the door when I got home Padraic ambushed me. “I need a lift to Josh’s.” Another half an hour later I pulled up once more in our driveway. It was late and Scotto and Greg were waiting for me out the front, along with a hostile Lulu.

“Hog’s Breath, Mum. Can you hurry? I’m late.”

Hog’s Breath was in the opposite direction to the entertainment centre and Cactus Jack’s, where she had originally told me she was going. It was a bloody fifty minute round trip. 

I may have overreacted. I know Greg looked frightened and Scotto looked decidedly nervous.

“What am I a f*#ing taxi driver?” and “Why the f*#k did you tell me it was f#*king Cactus Jack’s when it was f#*king Hog’s Breath?” were among the colourful, expletive- filled phrases that vomited from my mouth. I must have sounded like a large sow giving birth. 

As if the neighbours didn’t already have enough to disapprove of.

Greg and Scotto timidly and unobtrusively caught a cab and sadly, my ‘hostess with the mostess’ reputation went eddying down the drain.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?


Since Padraic’s scandalous interview with the Deputy Principal …Read more on this he appears to have pulled his socks up and has been arriving at school on time every day and staying put, thanks to a strict card signing system introduced by his vigilant teachers. My darling eighteen year old son even presented an autonomously written English assignment for me to proofread on Sunday afternoon. 

Shaken with joy at this promising sign I sat down to peruse the essay and was brought to an abrupt halt at the third sentence, “The young girl was very pulchritudinous.”

“Pulchritudinous?” I chuckled, wondering where he’d got that one from.

Then I remembered the week before I’d been fed up with him dithering over the draft of the same essay and had shown him where to find the thesaurus on Word. I’d unleashed a monster; the entire essay was littered with flowery prose and numerous words of four syllables or more. The English teacher should be entertained if nothing else.

At least he’s 'having a go' unlike ‘Hagar the Illiterate’ who just didn’t bother to put any effort in at all. Thaddeus and Jonah never asked or needed my help with school work but with Hagar it was essential to question him at least once a week as to what assignments were due and how far had he progressed in writing said assignments.

“I’ve got to hand in the draft of my English assignment tomorrow.” Hagar answered me one Sunday evening.

“Is this all you’ve done?” I asked incredulously as he handed over a crumpled paper with three lines of chicken scratchings across it.

The task was to write an argumentative essay about the movie, “The Castle” and whether or not the family in the movie symbolised materialistic values. I loved that movie.

“Get upstairs!” I ordered a reluctant Hagar. “We’ll write the draft together.”

So there we sat together; Pinky typing with the enthusiasm of Virginia Woolf and Hagar reclining back in the chair with his eyes closed and head lolling. I have to say by the time I’d finished it was pretty damn good.

“So what did Mr Rogers think of m… your essay?” I eagerly intercepted Hagar on his way to the fridge a few days later.

“It’s all wrong, Mum!” whined Hagar, “He said it didn’t follow the criteria sheet.”

Bells rang. Criteria sheet? Hagar didn’t tell me there was a criteria sheet.

I didn’t bother with Hagar this time. Snatching the sheet I rushed upstairs to marry Mr Roger’s notes, the criteria sheet and my literary genius together in a glorious piece of masterful literature.

It was a long excruciating two weeks but Mr Rogers had finally got around to marking the essay and once again I pounced on Hagar as he walked in after school.

“You got a B minus, Mum.” Hagar said reproachfully.

How could this be? I thought. It was my best work! I have an honours degree in Education for God’s sake! Mr Rogers is a bloody b#stard.

“He’s said it’s not going towards my assessment because I didn’t hand the draft back in.”

Right! That was it. I was straight on the phone to this officious Mr Rogers.

“To be quite honest,” said Mr Rogers after we’d sorted out the draft issue, "I just don’t believe that Hagar wrote this essay. It’s too good, he’s taken the opposing argument and it’s better than anything my A plus students have written. I’m afraid I can’t accept it.”

Little monkeys began to dance around in my brain doing somersaults and cheering. He said it was better than what his A plus students wrote!! Yippee!!!

The moral of the story is: if you have a passion for writing, don’t waste your time cheating for your kids, start writing a blog.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pinky has a headache.


There were workmen outside my classroom all day today making a God awful, droning noise with some seriously heavy machinery. Coupled with twenty-eight frisky and highly strung nine year olds, the hullabaloo has infiltrated my brain cells and led to localised swelling in the frontal lobe.

There is no university subject schooling prospective teachers on the unpredictability of student behaviour dependent on variables such as; the end of term, the weather, birthdays and the teacher’s fragile emotional vulnerability at any particular time.

On windy days the teachers will shuffle into the staffroom, not making eye contact with anyone and head straight for the coffee jar. “It must be the wind,” they will wheeze, “Little Joel Blackmore just sucked on a gel pen and had red ink oozing out of his mouth. I thought it was blood and sent him up to first aid and the office ladies are p*ssed off with me.”

Rainy days are just as bad. The minute it begins to pour down the whole class has an urgent need to go to the toilet. Of course we teachers are all clued up and know that all they really want to do is walk around in the rain and get as wet as they possibly can. That way when they return to the classroom they are so saturated all their classmates laugh at them when they appear at the doorway looking like a drowned rat. 
Personally I don’t let them go to the toilet until the third request and they have to be jiggling around like a Riverdance performer on speed before I even give them the benefit of the doubt.

The end of first term is a different story entirely; the teacher is damaged property. Already sapped of the will to live by the shock of having to get into the groove after Christmas break, we are effortlessly crushed by the unrelenting enthusiasm of a large group of Easter bunny aficionados. 

The kids appear at the classroom door every morning with fistfuls of chocolate ecstasy; farming out their sugary eggs to all and sundry, fuelling the already hyperactive individuals with even more vitality and wickedly corrupting the usually calm students.

Kill me now.

Anyway precious readers, my head is hurting so I won’t be writing on my blog tonight!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Pinky pays homage to Uncle Pedro

Uncle Pedro giving Hagar a noogy!

I remember the grass rushing towards my face and the weight of twenty-three year old Thaddeus falling on top of me. He’d been attempting to give me a bear hug and in his inebriated state had lost his balance and taken me down with him.

“Thaddeus, you d#*khead!” came the catcalls from the crowd. “Go to bed for God’s sake!”

We were all at my sister Sam’s house last night celebrating my brother-in-law Pedro’s birthday. Someone had the brilliant idea of introducing cocktails into the festivities and Thaddeus went a bit silly guzzling them down with a little too much zest.

Pedro is a big kind-hearted Irishman who loves nothing more than a loud piss up with close friends and family… and when I say loud I mean really bloody loud. Sam lives literally around the corner and up the road from us and we’ve staggered home late after many of their gatherings, listening to Pedro’s booming baritone entertaining the entire neighbourhood with his rendition of “Seven Spanish Angels”.

I’ve never witnessed it first hand, but have heard that the neighbours have called the police several times complaining about a big party with loud music. When the police arrive they scratch their heads at the fact that there are only about four people in attendance at the residence and the only music is coming from a small ghetto blaster. What they don’t realise is that all the cacophony is coming from Pedro.

The inventory of mischievous fables ascribed to Pedro is of legendary status and he has had his fair share of run-ins with the law, but mainly for the right reasons. 

One night when leaving the Casino he came across some officers who may or may not have been overly rough in their dealings with a vagrant. 

“Excuse me but is there something I can do to help this man?” interrupted Pedro concerned for the poor bloke and hoping to diffuse the tension. 
He was promptly handcuffed and thrown in the back of the car with the vagrant for interfering with police work or some such other bullsh*t.

Mind you there is also the narrative of Pedro’s dramatic enactment of suffering an asthma attack to avoid being breathalysed on the roadside. Taken to hospital in the back of an ambulance the story has it that he then went on to feign a seizure to evade a blood test. 

“You should get a bloody Oscar for this mate.” The orderly apparently said while observing Pedro dribbling and jerking around in an epileptic fashion. How I’d have loved to see that.

My four boys adore Uncle Pedro but the jury is still out on whether he has been the most desirable male role model in their lives. Every Christmas the boys would knowingly wait for Uncle Pedro to get well-oiled enough for them to scam money from him, often walking away with twenty dollar notes in their pocket. 
“Did you get good marks on your report this year Jonah?” Pedro would bellow. If the particular child in question answered in the affirmative they’d be handed money. My kids aren’t stupid and Uncle Pedro would wake up the next morning fleeced.

When each of my boys turned eighteen Uncle Pedro took them out for a night on the town; drinking, gambling and no doubt visiting disagreeable establishments. Not nice for a mother to think about but a rite of passage according to Pedro.

One of the most charitable and family minded of Pedro’s undertakings has been employing nineteen year old Hagar as an apprentice. 

Apparently on a recent work trip out of town Pedro finally entrusted inexperienced (and on occasion thick as two bricks) Hagar with some actual responsibility. Hagar was to drive the big truck back to town and Pedro and the boys would catch up to him on the highway about fifteen minutes later. 

The boys still hadn’t sighted Hagar after the estimated time and after twenty minutes received an anxious call from him saying that the truck had a flat tyre and he was stranded by the side of the road.

“Well why haven’t we passed you on the highway then Hagar?” asked Pedro.

Apparently deep in a daydream, Hagar had turned off the wrong way and had been heading South instead of North; so it’s probably a good thing he got the puncture or he might have ended up in Brisbane before he worked it all out.

You have the patience of a saint Pedro… Happy birthday!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Why Pinky isn't fussed on Bunnings

Scotto in the garage.

I spent last night (a Friday night no less!) in church, as my class was presenting a dramatized version of the Stations of the Cross for their parents and any super keen parishioners who showed up. We had rehearsed in the morning with no major stuff ups and I was optimistic all would run smoothly. 

As the teacher it was my task to deliver the opening prayer and I forgot to take my reading glasses up to the lecturn with me. It was a lengthy and self-conscious skulk down to her handbag and back up again for Pinky. 

The kids stepped up to the mark though and apart from Jesus’ crown of thorns falling off during the crucifixion, it went without a hitch. In fact you might even say…we nailed it.

Saturday morning is my favourite time of the week. Unfortunately that blissful sleep in and undisturbed coffee in bed with the newspaper has been besmirched by the entrance into our lives of the baby Chihuahua, Pablo Escobark… Read more here

Waking up with a sharp-toothed Mexican rat chewing on my earlobe has become the standard and there is no more lying in or reading of newspapers. In fact our main priority this morning was to get up early anyway and go on a reconnaissance expedition to the Shangri-La of all home renovators, Bunnings. 

Paranoid about Pablo inadvertently getting out the back door and falling into the swimming pool and drowning, Scotto decided some pool-fence work was in order and guess who felt duty-bound to go with him to purchase the necessary materials. 

I feel at this point I must express my deep-seated aversion to that particular genre of retail outlet. Many jokes have been made about women dragging their long-suffering husbands around department stores and dress shops, but what about our side of the story? 

It’s not the concrete floors or the cheesy smell of fertilisers that put me off. It’s not even the flock of scavengers blocking the front door, who are only there for the cheap, two dollar sausage sizzle. I really don’t mind the sweaty, pongy blokes walking around in singlets with their tufts of grey underarm hair poking out either. 

The reason I hate going is because of Scotto (I had to write that in a small font so that he won’t notice his name if he looks over at my screen), however, because he was going for the sole purpose of safeguarding the well-being of my mutt I felt guiltily compelled to accompany him.

A few years ago I dug in my heels and stubbornly refused to enter the doors of the hardware store any more and would sit in the hot car panting like a dog waiting for him to return. My reasoning was that if Scotto was conscious of his overheating spouse in the sweltering temperature of a car in the North Queensland sun, he might hurry the f#*k up.

is quite the handyman and I love him for this quality. His ability to take an hour to purchase one screw however, is not so endearing. He will stand at the shelf comparing screw widths, lengths and then move on to hinges trying to check for the right fit and on and on and on and on. Call me unadventurous but I really don’t see the appeal.

Miraculously it didn’t take
Scotto long to find the correct sized edging so we were in and out in ten minutes. Yay! 

Some stupid, clumsy twit carrying a whipper-snipper over his shoulder nearly knocked my effing eye out... but never mind.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Biggest Loser Blogger


I love watching the reality show “The Biggest Loser” and seeing the progress the contestants make in transforming their bodies through a Spartan regime of diet and punishing exercise overseen by domineering personal trainers with names like “The Commando”. The only drawback is that it tends to make me incredibly hungry and I wind up staring ravenously into the fridge.

Recently (after only seven weeks of blogging), I had the impudent gall to enter my blog ‘Pinky Poinker’ in a Best Blog competition. After perusing my site I’ve come to the conclusion that it could do with a bit of a shake up and I’m thinking I need a personal trainer to give me that extra push. In fact, wouldn’t it be great if they could create a reality show called, “The Biggest Loser Blogger.”

I’d want social media doyen Jeff Bullas, author of "Blogging the Smart Way - How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media" - as my personal trainer.

Episode One- “The Biggest Loser Blogger”

#Cue in music (possibly the Beatles, “Paperback Writer”).

Pinky stands on a podium as the camera pans over the contestants.

“So,” says Jeff, “we’ve been secretly filming all of you in your homes.”

Gasps from the audience as the cameras focus on the mortified faces of the bloggers.

“We know every dirty little habit that happens behind closed doors!”

The scene cuts to Pinky sitting at home on her laptop presumably working on her blog. Camera closes in on the laptop screen revealing that Pinky is watching a Facebook clip about a cute cat riding in a car. The scene swiftly changes to Pinky going to the fridge, getting a glass of wine then going back to reading her Twitter messages. The clock on the wall shows two hours have passed and Pinky is still on Twitter. Disapproving titters are heard from the studio audience.

“That’s a lot of wasted time there. What do you have to say for yourself Pinky?” Jeff demands of the humiliated Pinky.

“I come home from work…I go straight to my laptop and over indulge in social media instead of writing. I can’t help it, the temptation is too great.” whispers a teary Pinky.

“Well Pinky, the time has finally come to weigh in. There’s nowhere to hide. Your word count is about to be revealed to Australia. How do you feel about that?”

Pinky looks down the monitor with pathos. “But… I haven’t checked my word count for two months. Alright then, I guess I’m ready. I want to be open to letting the light back into my life again. I want to live.”

Episode Two- “Bootcamp”

“Come on Pinky, Get on that laptop! I want sixty smash ‘em in your face headlines. Come on! Bring your knees parallel to the laptop. Push it!”

“I can’t do it Jeff.” Pinky pants. The camera swings over to another blogger spewing in a bucket. “I need my Thesaurus,” the blogger gags.

“Don’t be a pussy!” yells Jeff, “I’m gonna make you guys so strong you’ll walk out of here freaks!”

“What did we get ourselves into?” wheezes a shattered Pinky.

“You’re all talk!” Jeff barks. “Now give me ten similes and five metaphors before the next commercial.”

Episode Three- The Immunity Challenge

“Okay, now one of you bloggers wins immunity this week if you beat the others in this challenge. The blogger who can publish a post and last the longest without checking their pageviews wins immunity this week.” announces Jeff. “Remember it’s not all about pageviews.”

“But how will we know if people liked it?” cries a beseeching Pinky.

“Think of how you’ve ended up here, Pinky. Too much time clicking on distracting sites instead of focussing on your writing. We need to get to the core of the problem. Do you want empowerment or what?”

“Damn straight I want empowerment, Jeff.” says Pinky, tears glistening in her eyes, gazing straight down the camera lens with feeling.

#Cue closing music.

Stay tuned next week on “The Biggest Loser Blogger” twist when Pinky faces temptation. The immunity challenge reward will be choosing between ten retweets or ten comments on her blog.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pinky knows Dr Google can diagnose anything!


Arriving at the doctor’s surgery today I was painstakingly careful not to touch the front door with my hands. I gave the front counter a wide berth as well, conscious of the plethora of viruses and germs gleefully teeming around on it. The waiting room was packed with patients snuffling and wheezing away like asthmatic chain smokers so I sat as far away as I could in the circumstances, considering the dearth of available seating. 

I was there to pick up a prescription for a minor non-contagious ailment and I didn’t want to take any lurgies home with me. 
Filthy places those doctor’s surgeries. 

While I was sitting checking the text messages on my phone the doctor sauntered out with a plastic sheet and placed it on the seat beside me. A fortyish woman followed him out, “Just sit there for a minute.” said the doctor directing her to the chair. Oh God, what is wrong with her? Panicky thoughts flooded my paranoid mind. I’ve got to get away, I inwardly screamed, but I can’t just get up it would be too obvious. 

Why was she sitting on a plastic sheet? Was something going to ooze out of her? Her husband and a couple of kids moved towards us. Thank God, I thought, a means of escape. 
“Here take my seat.” I offered magnanimously and quite insistently.

I realised about five minutes later that it wasn’t a plastic sheet but a raincoat and she was taking her little girl to the doctor for her needles. Oh well, doesn’t hurt to play it safe.

Usually I avoid visiting the doctor like the proverbial plague especially since Dr Google set up shop. As a confirmed hypochondriac I regularly check out any tiny but strange symptom on the internet and I’m always delighted to discover there are many idiots out there just like me. 

No matter how obscure the symptom I still manage to find pages of questions and answers. I once looked up “creepy crawly sensation on left shoulder close to a mole” and found fifty-six other neurotics who’d looked up exactly the same thing, even the ‘left’ bit.

Before the internet I relied on medical books from which to glean knowledge and fancied myself a bit of a health expert, particularly in regards to kids.

Dragging Jonah into the doctors one day I self-assuredly announced, “Dr Mullen, I’m fairly sure these spreading sores on Jonah’s leg are the result of a white-tail spider bite.” (I’d seen an article about white-tailed spider bites in the Sunday newspaper.)

“No Pinky, it’s actually called Impetigo.” he replied tolerantly. Oh! I thought, I’ll have to research that one when I get home. “Sometimes people call them school sores.” he added.

Oh…not quite as glamorous as a white-tail spider bite. 

Dealing with five kids and their various illnesses over the years eventually turned me into a bit of a bloody know it all.

My sister Sam rang me for advice one day at the same time I had Cyril the painter at home doing some work in the lounge room. Sam’s baby daughter Kathleen had a fever.

“So have you given her paracetemol?” I asked over the phone.

“Well that’s good. Does she have a rash? No? That’s good. Is she drinking a lot of fluid? Good. Make sure you keep those fluids up,” I added confidently, “and if her temperature goes up put her in a tepid bath. Dress her in loose, cool clothing and keep her somewhere cool. Okay, no worries, bye bye.”

Cyril looked at me admirably, “They never leave you poor doctors alone do they?” he chuckled in reverence.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Big Brother is watching you!

Granddad chasing Padraic
Since the commencement of writing my blog I've had several discussions with other parents of teenagers who have related their own hairy tales. Frankly this surprised me and at the same time reassured me that my kids’ reckless attitudes are not entirely my fault and probably not as uncommon as I suspected.

I’ve always carried the guilt of wondering if their Ned Kelly mentality is a reflection of my marriage breakdown or if I just wasn’t a strict enough mother.

“My son set off a fire extinguisher at University and incurred a two thousand dollar clean-up bill which we had to loan him and he is now paying us back.” One lawyer Mum told me about her first year medical student son. The reason I’m mentioning he is a medical student (and dux of his senior year) is to highlight the fact that intelligence has clearly nothing to do with stupid and impulsive actions.

My friend Sue told me she learnt about her sixteen year old son’s "Jackass" pranks on Youtube.

“He was putting petrol from the mower into the swimming pool and setting it alight creating a flash bomb effect. He did the same thing in my toilet, filmed it and posted it on the Internet,” she told me incredulously “and there were no marks left or anything. I had no idea.”

That scared me. What ‘things’ am I blissfully unaware of? I’ve returned from a night away and although unable to prove it, have been apprehensive about what might have been going down. Pictures on the wall askew, breakfast cereal all through the house, a (thankfully unopened) condom on my ironing board, all suggesting some type of shenanigans. Of course Hagar has held wild destructive parties at his father’s house as mentioned in… Check this post.

But Scotto and I have been left unscathed thus far. This may be something to do with the security cameras we have put up at the front and back of the house. The kids have been advised that the footage from the cameras is directed back to a security firm and any unusual circumstances will be immediately redirected to us via a text message. 

“What are you doing that for!” an outraged Padraic yelled.

“If you’re not doing anything wrong then you have nothing to worry about.” We replied sanctimoniously. They all screamed and ranted about breaches of privacy at first but appear to have accepted Big Brother now.

It’s funny that they haven’t noticed that the security cameras aren’t actually plugged in to anything.
Boys will be boys and rat-bag conduct is not a new phenomenon. I can remember one Christmas my parents were going out with their best friends to a restaurant for lunch. My fifteen year old brother Dom, was supposed to go along but at the last minute feigned illness. 

“I’ll just stay at home and rest,” he assured my parents. 

Dad was just about to tuck into his Christmas pudding when the Maître d’ approached the festive table. 

“Excuse me sir but there is a phone call at the front desk for you.” Dad returned to the table a few minutes later looking somewhat murderous. 

Dom had taken my father’s work utility out for a joyride and had crashed it into a tree. An observant spectator had recognised the company sign on the side of the truck and had somehow tracked my father down. 

Dad’s friend Alan went with him on the reconnaissance mission insisting it was imperative he accompany Dad to prevent him from committing filicide. Alan still grumbles thirty years later about missing out on his Christmas pudding because of Dom.

Dom, a respectable musician, business owner and father now, went on to wreck at least two more cars and a motorbike in his youth, driving my parents to the verge of a nervous breakdown. 

That must be why when I complain to my father with my family tales of woe he just laughs at me. “That’ll teach you to have five kids!”

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pinky and her Sixteen Jobs

My days working at the Sheraton Hotel/Casino

While at a seminar last year we had to share something about ourselves that no one else knew about. One of my colleagues submitted the fact that he had had twenty-two jobs all up in his life. Everyone laughed. It does seem excessive but then I began to list in my head the jobs I have had from fifteen years of age up until now and they added up to quite a few.

Casual dress shop assistant (15) – I was eventually sacked for ringing in sick four Saturdays in a row.

Squash Court Attendant (15) - given my marching orders for attending my school swimming carnival instead of work.

Carny or Showy (16) - for five days during show week selling show bags.

Casual health food shop assistant (17) - told to finish up because I turned up with a hickey on my neck.

Dental nurse (18) - never sacked but came very close when I posted the banking envelope in the letterbox by mistake.

Rental car hostess (19) - never sacked but should have been for sleeping on the job, see…this post

Radio Station Sales Executive (22) - only lasted three months due to a lack of sales ability.

Corporate Hotel Sales Executive (22) - very cushy job with no verifiable sales necessary but lousy money.

Agency Babysitter (22) to supplement lousy money from job above - only lasted one night because I kept getting better social offers.

Record Company Sales Representative-(24) only lasted three months due to a lack of sales ability.

Real Estate Agent (24) - lasted one week due to a lack of interest in houses and real estate in general.

Waitress in Mexican restaurant (24)- was friends with the boss who let us all drink on the job. Restaurant closed down.

Printing Sales Representative (25) - only lasted three months due to a lack of sales ability.

Casino Hotel Sales Executive (25-28) – very cushy job and not bad money, overseas trips! Yay!

Private DramaTeacher and Childrens' Theatre Director- (28-40) - Loved working for myself but not very lucrative as I hate taking money from people.

Primary School Teacher (44- present day) – the only job I've ever had where I don’t get bored.

Not the best resume in the world.

The worst job of the lot was the babysitting job. 

The agency sent me to a mansion in Double Bay in Sydney with a million dollar view. This suburb is renowned for all the rich folk that live there and the family I was sitting for seemed to fall into that category. 

There were three little kids under the age of eight and at the self-serving age of twenty-two, I had no experience with or interest in children. To me this was just an undemanding method of earning extra cash to pay on my overdrawn credit cards. My plan was to tuck the kids in bed early and watch telly for the evening with my feet up.

The matriarch of the house didn’t even acknowledge me as she wafted past to the door in a cloud of Chanel no 5. The distracted father gave me brief instructions about bed times, left me in the kitchen and rushed after his wife. 

I wandered upstairs to the bedroom where I found all three kids sitting precariously on top of a lofty cupboard.

“Um…don’t you think you’d better come down from there guys?” I cautioned nervously, “You might fall and hurt yourselves.”

“We’re not coming down. Caspian says you’re a witch.” said the little girl.

“Why do you think I’m a witch, Caspian?” I asked the eldest boy.

“Because you look like one!” He screamed at me. “We want our real babysitter back. We want Mrs Cheeseman. I’m calling the police!”

I eventually talked Ritchie Rich and his siblings down and after about six bedtime stories they went to bed.

Only another three hours before their parents were expected home; time for Melrose Place, I thought cheerily.

Wandering through the dark, spacious and opulent bottom level I soon discovered there were no light switches to be found. That’s weird, I thought. The only light seemed to be in the kitchen and even worse, there didn’t seem to be a television anywhere. What is wrong with rich people, I pondered. 

Are they rich because they don’t pay electricity bills? I scanned the downstairs rooms for a bookcase, magazine rack, anything I could use to while away the next three hours. 

Nada, niente, nichts, nani mo, nothing! 

So for the next two hours and fifty-five minutes I sat at the kitchen table staring at the wall. 

When Mr and Mrs Toffee Nose arrived home, Mummsy impolitely bolted upstairs while Daddykins reluctantly handed over the nineteen dollar babysitting fee. 

“I’ve only got a twenty dollar note,” he grumped, “Do you have a dollar coin for change?”

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Pinky Discovers how to Melt a Teenager's Heart.

Mexican Standoff with Teenagers

Something weird and bizarre is taking place in this household. Yesterday when I was sitting on my bed, laptop open and typing a post, eighteen year old Padraic flopped down on the bed and chatted to me pleasantly for about half an hour whilst playing with the new puppy. 

This remarkable occurrence would normally only eventuate if one; he was attempting to fleece me of my hard earned cash or two, he was in some sort of dire trouble with his teachers, the motor vehicle registry office or the law. 

Immediately after Padraic left who should unceremoniously meander in to the bedroom and lay on the bed beside me but sixteen year old Lulu. Again, unless she is trying to persuade me into allowing her curfew to be extended or asking if five of her friends can sleepover on Saturday night I don’t usually warrant an audience with Princess Lulu. 

Stranger still, yesterday, out of the blue Hagar’s normally reticent girlfriend Meggles nonchalantly sat down with Scotto, me and the puppy for a twenty minute chinwag. 

 Ten minutes ago twenty-three year old Thaddeus unexpectedly rang and asked if he could pop over for a visit and dinner.

Could this precipitous display of teenage sociability possibly be the result of the arrival of our new family member? Could it be the baby Chihuahua Pablo cracking open the hardened exteriors of their teenage hearts and allowing the gooey centres to seep out for a change?

It must be said that all of my kids have been perpetual animal lovers. Padraic and Lulu went through an exasperating stage at about nine and ten years of age when they became passionately fixated on dogs. 

Every afternoon they zealously leashed the German Shepherd Borat, and Silky Terrier Willy, and dragged them off to the dog park no matter how inclement the weather might have been. 
What am I complaining about? I hear you ask. 

Well it may have been a good thing apart from the fact that both dogs caught kennel cough and hacked all night like three pack-a-day smokers for several weeks.

Eventually the other dog owners suggested to the kids that they stop coming to the park as feisty little Willy kept starting brawls with the other mutts. Instead they took the dogs for walks along the river and would inevitably return from these forays with an extra furry friend in tow. I never discovered whether Padraic and Lulu were deliberately enticing the dogs out of their yards or if they really were strays. The amount of times Scotto and I had to haul a large hound into our car and drive out to the dog pound ceased to be funny after number four.

They quickly transferred their doggy mania on to other preoccupations but our new puppy Pablo is clearly a current attraction. 

Honestly; gazing down at the tiny creature snuggled beside me as type this post, I could easily imagine that Pablo could singularly inspire world peace. 

The rat-sized pup is napping on his back, exposing his fat hairless belly. His little tongue is protruding in and out as he dreams of last week when he was still suckling on his mummy. 
I’m in love!
Celine and Pablo

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rats know the way of rats. - Chinese proverb

(Or if you don’t like that title)…From a bad crow a bad egg.
- Sophocles
School days


A recent post related the perturbing story of my teenage son Padraic, getting sprung playing a prolific amount of hooky from school and to be fair I should come clean about similar misdemeanours occurring during my high school years. 

The big difference however, was that I was never stupid enough to get caught. 

I had a friend Annie who was a truly undesirable influence and the mastermind behind many of our transgressions.

Every month the senior students would have to walk to the church about two kilometres away to attend Mass. 

“Stuff church!” Annie would say mutinously. “Let’s go and hide in the park instead.”

We would unobtrusively slip out of the line as the hundred or so students walked by the park and scuttle under the cover of trees, like cockroaches escaping the light. The next hour would be spent holed up under thorny bushes, smoking Benson and Hedges and slapping away green ants and mosquitoes. 

When the council workers doing maintenance in the park came near us we’d hastily stub the cigarettes out to avoid detection. It was an extremely uncomfortable experience and I actually would have much preferred to go to church.

By our final year of school we had blossomed into more sophisticated truants. By that stage our friend Pip had her P Plates so Annie, Pip, Jen and I drove to Annie’s empty house. 

‘Annie the Insurgent’s’ taste in music was feral and it wasn’t long before Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin were blaring from her Dad’s speakers.

“Ever tasted this?” the wild child demanded holding up a bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label. “It’s really smooth!” our worldly friend added.

“Won’t your father notice if any is missing?”

“Nah… I’ll just fill it up with black tea.” She answered with the voice of experience.

We had no mixers so we skulled the expensive liquor straight from the bottle and swallowed it down with lumps of white bread. 

I’m here to tell you there was nothing smooth about it. 

An hour later we had finished the entire bottle between the four of us and proceeded to dance in an unsteady fashion to the heavy metal. 

Half an hour later I was to be found lying on the veranda, vomiting into the flower bed. Pip drove me home and told my mother I had fainted at school. 

“Are you sure you’re just sick?” my mother queried, “I could swear I smelt alcohol on Pip’s breath.” 

If you’ve been reading my blog by now you will have worked out what an accomplished liar I was. 

The gold medal for stories about wagging school has to be awarded to my younger sister Sam. When she was thirteen she and her friend Shazza decided to skip their science lesson and came up with a seemingly flawless scheme. Instead of leaving the school they chose to hole up within the grounds. 

There was a filthy crawl space under the library which could be accessed via a small gate. When no-one was looking Sam and Shazza scurried through the tiny entrance and sat patiently in the dark with the rats and spiders, waiting for the dreary science lesson to finish.

“Pinky! Your sister and her friend are locked under the library!” Someone breathlessly yelled out to me at lunchtime. 

This I had to see. 

When I arrived at the scene of the crime there was a huge, approving crowd gathered around the little gate. Some of the kids were feeding the girls sandwiches through the bars of the gate. 
The grounds man had apparently come along and padlocked the gate while they were hiding in the darkness. 
The girls were eventually released from their hidey hole and inventively fabricated an unlikely excuse about hearing a cat crying under the library, going in to have a look and being accidentally locked in by the janitor. The sceptical teachers dubiously accepted their explanation. 

My sister was a legend at school after that.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Have Pinky's teenagers driven her to alcoholism?

                             Lee-lee, Pinky,Shazza and Kyles partying up at Karaoke!

Okay so I have a glass of wine every day with Scotto when he comes home from work before I have to start cooking dinner.

I may enjoy another little tipple whilst slaving over the hot stove merely to make the task more pleasant. I may even sup on a wine with my dinner to compliment my overcooked broccoli.

“That’s too much Pinky!” I hear the accusatory voices in my head screaming at me.

What… so I’m an alcoholic? When in doubt look it up on the internet I always say, so that is what I did.
I found a website that listed signs you are an alcoholic and have made notes beside each one in order to compare.

The questionaire began…

If you’re reading this, there’s a chance that you’re an alcoholic.

Oh crap! It looks like I’m already in with a chance.

Do you have a lot of friends whose last names and professions you don’t know? Do they have nicknames like PB Arnie, Mattallica and “the coke guy”?

Well I do know my friends last names and the only “coke guy” I know is the one who stocks our staffroom vending machine.

Do you drink with people you would be embarrassed to walk down the street with or introduce to your real friends?
No, but I’m embarrassed to walk down the street with some of my real friends.

Have you ever drunk other people’s half-empty beers because the party ran out of booze?
Who would go to a party that ran out of booze? A lousy party that would be.

Do you have trouble concentrating on the conversation at a table where alcohol is being shared because you are mentally dividing up the portions to make sure you will have enough?

That depends. If I’m having dinner with my friend Kyles the answer is, yes. She always beats me to the last glass, the cow.

Do you consistently bring alcohol into situations where there wouldn’t otherwise be any, like a movie theatre or your office?

Nope, I don’t work in an office and don’t go to the movies either.

Have you attended an after-hours club or found yourself wishing the party could continue past 5 a.m.?

My friends are always getting up me because like a nana I’m usually the first to leave a party. Pinky needs her beauty sleep or she is a grumpy shrew the next day.
Would you trade a year of your life for a consequence-free year of partying?

If consequence-free means no hangover/ liver damage/financial scarring…Hell yeah! Who wouldn’t?

Have you ever cried because you couldn’t have an alcoholic beverage?

It once took me an hour and a half to open a corked bottle of wine with a fork because I couldn’t find a corkscrew and I didn’t cry once.

Do you drink when you are sick, because vodka totally “kills the germs”?

Never. Everyone knows red wine has more anti-oxidants.

Do you harass people who aren’t drinking, or who go home before 3 am, by making comments like “What? Does your vagina hurt?”

Who wrote this questionnaire?

Have you ever wet the bed after a night of drinking?

Not since I was in hospital at six years of age and the nurse forgot to bring my bed pan.

Is drinking making your home life unhappy?

My drinking holds the fabric of my home life together. Without it dinner would never get cooked.

Have you ever felt remorse after drinking?

Only if I have managed to get hold of the Karaoke microphone sometime during the night.

Have you ever had a loss of memory as a result of drinking?
Lord how I wish I could forget singing “It’s Raining Men” the night before.

Have you ever been to a hospital or institution on account of drinking?

Yes. Five times when my children were born.

Have you ever woken up with cigarette burns on your chest?
No of course not. I don’t smoke.

Hey! I think I’m okay! It’s six o’clock! Time to crack open the vino!

Please note: I am not trying to make fun of alcoholism (which is a very serious thing Kyles!). 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pinky calls to bring back the extended family!

We were drawing up family trees at school today and I was astounded that most of my nine year old students didn’t know their aunts and uncles names. Nor did they know if their parents had siblings at all. A lot of the kids didn’t know much about their grandparents either and I must admit it made me feel a bit sad at the seeming loss of extended families in today’s society. 

Loving as they are, my parents live in another town and really don’t have much contact with the kids. I practically lived at my Grandma’s house on weekends and so did my numerous cousins.

Grandad descended from the Tafe family who were famous on the Show Circuit for their show bags containing homemade sweets. In his retirement years, he regularly made and sold these wares to local shops. 

Jar after jar of Honeycomb, Chocolate Fudge, Coconut Ice, Toffees, Toasted Marshmallows, Peanut Brittle and a myriad of other delights adorned the kitchen shelves. 

It was pretty much open slather for the grandkids. 
Lenient, generous Grandma would agree to us doing whatever we wanted and one day my cousin and I requested that we be allowed to boil up a can of condensed milk on the stove. I had heard in an urban legend at school that if you boiled the can for an hour you could create CARAMEL!

“I suppose so,” said Grandma gingerly, “but don’t make any mess please; I just cleaned the house this morning.”

We plonked the can in the saucepan of water, turned on the gas stove and watched it boil for about ten minutes before getting bored and going off to play in the mango tree. Mum arrived half an hour later to take us home.

Apparently the saucepan boiled dry, the can exploded magnificently and Grandma spent a challenging couple of days attempting to clean the caramel from the walls, shelves, floor and ceiling. Nothing was said directly to us mind you. She was a very understanding Nana.

One Father’s Day, when I was about nine years old, my mother presented my Granddad with a gift of socks, shirts and a box of chocolates. He opened the chockies and generously offered them around carefully placing them in the fridge for another day. 

My sister, brother and I were sleeping over at Grandma’s that night and I became fanatically fixated on that box of chocolates. The thought of gobbling all those delicious hard and soft centres consumed me and when the other two were in bed and the grandparents were busy watching ‘Cop Shop’ on the Telly, I pretended to read in the kitchen.

Every now and then I would sneak into the fridge and nick a chocolate, all the while remaining vigilant about not rustling the wrappings. 

He won’t notice, I thought, I’ll only pinch a couple. My gluttony slowly but exponentially spiralled out of control and before I knew it all the tempting bonbons had disappeared leaving a conspicuously empty box. What could I do now? There was only one thing for it; I had to hide the box and deny any knowledge of what may have occurred.

“Do any of you kids know what happened to Granddad’s chocolates?” asked Grandma the next morning, whilst bewildered Granddad muttered in the background as he searched through the rubbish bin.

We all shook our heads. One of us wasn't quite as convincing as the other two in our renunciations though. 

When my Mum came to pick us up later in the day I heard Grandma telling her about the missing chocolates. 

“I’m pretty sure it was little Sam that stole them,” she whispered, “She was complaining about feeling bilious during the night.” 
I never confessed to the crime.

Deceitful, gluttonous child that I was I did regret my impulsive actions that night. Many years later, when I was sixteen and seventeen years of age, after our Grandma suffered a stroke, my sister and I would take turns to look after her. We would stay with her for five hours on a Saturday afternoon while Granddad had a break away from the house. 

This went on for two years before she was eventually placed into professional care. 

There were no mobile phones back then, or IPod s or laptops and no entertainment for those five hours while Grandma slept. 
I sometimes wonder if my teenagers would sacrifice their free Saturdays to look after their Grandma with the same commitment.