Monday, August 1, 2011

Sole Parent Saga Continues

It's kind of hard to get shit done when you're on Sole Parent Duty. The writing is not moving well. Every time I turn around, I'm either playing chauffeur, or cook, or just cleaning and motivating and suchlike. Bah.

Winter weather is doing its thing. Ironically, it got a lot warmer just about the time Natalie left. She's been whining for months about the cold, and to be fair, up until Wednesday last week, we were having an unusually bitter winter. However, the moment she left on holiday, things reverted to the typical mild, damp Tasmanian winter. I've kicked off half the covers, and young Genghis told me this morning that he tried sleeping on the floor last night because he got too hot with the cats in his bed.

Of course, one has to wonder why he didn't throw the cats off. But wondering would do no good at all. Genghis is the kid who created the Rhino of the Twilight, and often wonders what the world would be like if God was a great big chicken. For him, no doubt it's much more rational to climb out of bed and sleep on the floor to escape the excessive warmth of cats.

Certainly his sister would think differently. I had them strip their beds today so I could change the sheets. When I went into the Mau-mau's room with the fresh bedding, I found I was walking over... something. Little hard lumps of something on the carpet.

I knelt, and looked closely. Cat food. Dry cat food.


I called the Mau-mau. "Why is there cat food on the floor?"

"I don't know," she said. Not unexpectedly.

"Why did you put cat food in your bed?" I figured a quick change of tack might shake her.

"I didn't," she said.

At that point, I allowed myself to play Angry Dad. I snapped at her, cutting her off, and told her flatly that she was lying. I did so because I'd worked out what was going on.

"I'm not," she said. And if I didn't know better, it might have been convincing.

"You wanted the cat to climb on your bed," I told her. "So you put cat food up there. But when you took the sheets off, the cat food fell on the floor."

And that was it. She crumbled, and admitted she'd been trying to get the cat to sleep on her bed. I told her off sharply for lying, and made her clean up the cat food. Frankly, I'm just glad we only give the cats kitty-crunchies... I have no doubt at all the Mau-mau would quite happily have put a big, wet bowl of sloppy cat food on the end of her bed if she thought it would attract the cats.

Anyway. I've worked my way through the laundry. I've run the pump, and organised firewood. I spent half the weekend taking Genghis to lessons and running errands in Launceston, and the other half helping look after spare Double-Trouble kids.

Oh -- that ended well, actually. I had a new computer monitor for the Double-Troubles, plus drivers for a USB wifi aerial, so I thought I'd load both the Double-Troubles and my two kids in the car and head out to Bridport to return the non-Flintharts to their lair. When I got there, I was able to help figure out the reason for patches of mould on the ceilings. I theorised that perhaps the insulation in the ceiling was incomplete, leading to cold patches on the interior where breath/vapour could condense, allowing mould to grow. Once the theory was devised, I despatched the eldest Double-Trouble kid into their ceiling crawlspaces - and voila! Problem identified! All they really need to do is organise to fill in the missing patches of insulation, and the Mystery of the Ceiling Blotches should resolve.

Even better: the Double-Trouble matriarch told me that a new restaurant in Scottsdale actually had a woodfire pizza oven... so Genghis and the Mau-mau and I put it to the test on our way home. Hooray! It was quite a decent bit of pizza, and thus I didn't have to cook for the evening. Better stil, there was enough left over for lunches the next day...

And finally: tonight, a quick phone call from Natalie, in Ireland. She's managed to get sunburned, which is kind of impressive. More impressive, though, was the fact that she was calling from the Jameson distillery, and wanted me to tell her what I wanted.

"Something interesting and reasonably expensive," I said.

I wonder what she's going to buy?