Garbos, Cupboards and lots of Tea

Still going Christmas gangbusters here.   Last Monday evening we had dinner with some lovely family friends of Steve’s.  His godmother, Ailyn, was one of the sweetest, most humble people I have ever met, and she was always so kind to us and supportive.  She moved here from the Philippines years ago when she married an Australian.  We last saw her when we were here with Drew as a tiny baby.  Soon after that, she was surprisingly diagnosed with a terminal disease and died less than a year later, leaving behind two young boys.  Well, last Monday, we got to meet her now  13-year-old son, and eat with her sister, who was very close to her and looks just like her.  It made me teary to see them both and it was a very special evening.  Drew entertained everyone by singing Christmas carols and Wheels on the Bus, and even Zach warmed up to everyone and got in a few Hey!s during Jingle Bells. 

The rest of the week was pretty much in keeping with our new/current normal.  A playgroup Christmas party, a church music Christmas party, errands, my attempts at crafts now that I’m a stay at home Mom, etc. 

It was rainy and cloudy most of the week, and coupled with the holiday season and family health issues, I was in a bit of a funk.  It was great to have a relief from the heat for a bit, but it was a bit long without the sun.  I just felt really homesick a lot.  My back started acting funky, which happens to me when I’m stressed and overdoing it a bit—my body’s way of telling me to slow down I guess.  So that kept me in bed more than usual, and kept me from exercising, which I guess is a good thing, but kind of can also add to the funk.  But the rain makes me want to curl up in bed anyway…….

We had some very touching moments with my family back home as well.  A big Christmas package arrived on Tuesday, full of so much love and thoughtful treasures for all of us, that it just warmed my heart and made me smile to go through it all.  One of the gifts for the boys that said “open early” was a recordable story book of Frosty the Snowman.  My parents recorded it together, taking turns reading each page, and singing the song together at the end.  When the boys and I opened it and started ‘reading’, I just started crying when I heard their voices—silly, seeing as I hear their voices a few times a week and see them as well through Skype, anyway.  But the reaction of the boys was truly overwhelming.  Drew’s face lit up, and Zach started saying “Hi, Nana.”  Drew said, “I love it when they read to me.  They’re such GOOD readers.”  I promise I didn’t even get annoyed with the book and music  even while it was ‘played’ every 10  minutes for the entire first two days we had it, until the battery wore out.  We’re taking a little break before I replace it.  At rest time Drew told me “You don’t have to read to me, Mommy, because Nana and Granddad read me this book.”  It was all too precious.

Then on my Mom’s birthday (Sunday for us, the 10th, Saturday for her—that’s one thing that really annoys me—-Really?!  I’m not even living the same day as the people I love and talk to?!),  we had a great chat with my parents, and Steve, on his own, got the boys to put on silly hats, get a toy guitar and do a rock band version of the Happy Birthday song—just what she always loves to do with them for any family member’s birthday.  It was very sweet.  But, as we were wrapping up the call, Drew leaned in to kiss the computer screen as he often does, and then leaned back and encircled his arms in a hug for her.  He did it a few times; I was so touched that I just hugged him tightly and then my Mom started bawling.  It was beautiful.  And it kinda sucked. 

We put up our Charlie Brown tree and it is a bit pitiful, but it is growing on me and it is neat seeing our sentimental ornaments over here and on the tree.  They made it all the way from Colorado and then about five got smashed up by the boys within five minutes of being out of the box.  Buff fans—I need a new gold CU ball ornament!  J

We’ve also had a few more money frustrations.   There’s just so much happening, and it can all be so confusing that some things just get messed up.  We screwed up something with our flights back to the U.S. next June (long story related to immigration confusion), and basically could have just taken about $2,000 and just lit a match to it.  Ay yi yi!  Then today, I pick up my fancy Smartphone and it won’t turn on—turns out it got wet somehow, not even sure how, and it’ll be $600 to replace the exact phone!  Obviously, we won’t get that exact phone, but it’s just frustrating when things like this happen.  I just can’t sit and think about all the money we’ve lost/wasted over the years—we would maybe be millionaires!  Yeah, right……Thankfully, the Australian government has taken a liking to giving us money lately, which has been a very  helpful surprise, and makes these mistakes a bit less painful.

I always feel like I write too much, but I just can’t help it.  I’ve really wanted to start putting down words and phrases here that I find confusing and nonsensical, and words and practices that I really like.  So, here we go, a start:

Confusing:  “How’re ya going?”  What do I say to that?!  “I’m going on foot currently, although we most often go by car, which means I’m going well, as long as I remember to stay on the right, I mean, left, side of the road.”

Cupboards—fine if they were really just cupboards, confusing when cupboards are anything with a door that opens in the house—the closets, the kitchen cabinets (what I would call cupboards), the pantry—which one do they mean?!

Tea—now ‘morning tea’ is for everyone, except adults either have tea or coffee and kids just have a snack, so why do we call it tea for the kids?  ‘Afternoon tea’ can be water, tea, coffee, or even liquor, and then there’s ‘Tea’ which I am finally figuring out must mean dinner—no tea involved whatsoever.  “Kids, sit down and finish your tea”, often referring to a big plate of meat and vegetables.

Togs—how that ever became the word for a swimsuit, especially even only one swimsuit, I think I may never know.

Manchester—I still don’t know what this means, but I have an idea that it may mean sheets and towels—the bedding and bath department of a store, but why is it named Manchester?  Am I right that that is even what Manchester is (you’re right if you’re wondering if this means that even my husband doesn’t know)?

Fun:  Some of the slang and the fact that it’s used even by news reporters and on commercials

Garbos means garbage men “The garbos are still on strike”

Postie is the post/mailman

My personal favourite—Sparky, an electrician  “She had to call the sparky over to get her lights working again.” 

Yanks—me!  My poor Alabama family will spit up a little bit I think to hear that they’re called Yanks as well;  all of us are!  Much better than the other term for Americans—Sepos, coming from some weird, stretch of a derivation from the word septic tank, which rhymes with Yank, so Yank, septic tank, therefore sepo—-wtf?! 

Great idea—that people are actually paid fair wages, and the cost of things is the entire of value of the service/purchase, so no tipping needed EVER.  Also, sales tax is built into the shelf price, so when you bring up a $4.95 item to a cash register, you actually pay $4.95.  Makes life a bit easier and you don’t need as much math in your head!


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