About Me

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Single Mum of teenage chef, affectionately known as The Brat. Have started a new life at the tender age of 44, embarking on a relationship with my childhood sweetheart... I know cliche central, but so far it works for us! New job, new friends, new challenges. Life's GOOD!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

One Hell Of A Fortnight.

Sorry for the delay in updating... it's been a long week.

The week in Melbourne was everything I had hoped for and more! Spent quality time with my man, alone, with his friends (some old some new), and his family. Ran into an old schoolmate and had a nice chat with her. Even managed a pleasant enough evening in the company of my man's ex-wife.  Also caught up (fairly briefly) with my sisters and the kids, had a day at Melbourne zoo and met up with Havock, Bangar and Catty for lunch.

We stayed a couple of nights at my Man's place, then moved into a little B & B nearby, so as not to upset his Dad, who  lives with him and has trouble dealing with change. On Sunday my Man had arranged a drive to visit a little country market, and lunch at a nearby country pub. Another couple were supposed to join us, but begged off at the last minute due to a family illness. So it was just the two of us. A beautiful drive, the markets weren't much, but a decent feed and some pretty countryside.

My man worked through the week, so Monday and Tuesday I spent with one of his sisters. On Tuesday I had lunch with both of his sisters and his brother, rather nice vietnamese, which I don't normally enjoy. Wednesday I travelled over to my sister's and went with her partner and the kids to see Mali the baby elephant. VERY cute.  Wednesday night is Parma Nite at the local. My man usually joins his mates on Wednesday night for a cheap feed and somewhat riotous get together. This week I was specifically invited, as his mates wanted to meet me, and because some of the boys who were part of the group I knocked around with as a teen, were expected to be there. Awesome night! My man has some wonderful friends, and catching up with old mates was a blast. I got along particularly well with the couple who had been supposed to join us on the previous Sunday, and was chuffed when my man let me know on Thursday that he had received a call from them, saying that they really liked me, they'd had the best Wednesday night get together in months, and they wanted to get together again before I left. Thursday night was a quiet one, my Man cooked and we had an early night. Friday was a quick catch up with my older sister (who had been suffering gastro earlier in the week), then the Burger lunch. It was awesome to catch up with the guys, but can I just say, having met them now, I have so much trouble reconciling the guys with their avatars, although Catty actually resembles hers. (And I mean that in the nicest possible way Catty)! Friday night was a lovely little tradition my Man's sisters have of meeting at the home of one of their group for Friday night bubbles. This week was at one of the sister's houses, and was a great night of bubbles, conversation and more old friends. It was not even terribly uncomfortable when "the ex" joined us. I have known her as long as I've known the rest of the crew, though we never got along terribly well. Anyway, she gave me a kiss hello, and we made small talk and all was okay. Even my Man, who has absolutely nothing to do with her was okay. On Saturday night we went out for Thai with my Man's brother and his partner, as well as the couple I had met Wednesday night. Beautiful food, excellent comapny, and an early night for my last one in Melbourne. Well.... sort of....

Burger lunch was fun, (somewhat at Catty's expense, as she managed to get hopelessly lost on her way to the city), fairly brief, and definitely worth repeating. Thanks guys! I DO however need to say, that contrary to what you may read on other blogs or twitter,organisation was somewhat less than optimal. Only had a definite time and place a couple of hours before kickoff, and THEN the General was late! Almost as late as Catty!

I arrived home on a high, after a week that more than convinced me that I belong in Melbourne. Of course reality set in, and I was a bit low the next couple of days, should have expected it I suppose, I am impatient by nature, and just wanted to get straight back there and start my new life. Naturally it is awesome to be home with The Brat, I really wish he was in a position to come with me when I'm ready to jump ship, but given the way his apprenticeship is structured, he's not, and he has categorically stated that under NO circumstances am I to wait until he has finished his apprenticeship to do what makes me happy. It's just a shame that some other members of my family aren't so selfless....

The rot REALLY set in on Friday. My brother has an opportunity to move out, live with a mate in Redcliffe, 45 minutes or so north of here.  Personally I think it's awesome on a number of fronts.

One - Since he first caught up with this mate a couple of months ago after several years of no contact, my brother has started to have a life. He's getting out, meeting people, and being social. This guy knows my brother's medical and financial difficulties, and has been helping out where he can. He has introduced him to new people and helped him arrange employment up in Redcliffe. Among other things he also now has an opportunity to work with horses, an animal he fell in love with as a teenager. Being happy in himself has helped stabilise his moods, and he's altogether a much nicer guy to be around.

Two - not having him here will allow me to save money, as I will no longer be supporting him. The money he gives me for board doesn't come anywhere near food and his share of the bills, but it's what he can afford, so I have been (begrudgingly I admit) carrying him for several years.

Three - we have been told by my sister, who owns the house we rent, that she will be kicking us out around the middle of the year. So rather than leaving it 'til the last minute, he has made his arrangements with plenty of time to spare. He won't end up homeless or dependant on me or my parents for somewhere to live. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would probably have to move to temporary accomodation for as long as it takes me to get myself financial for the big move.

Here's the kicker... Friday my brother rang to let my sister know of his plans. She freaked! She rang me at work to tell me that they can't possibly do without his rent, as they will have trouble meeting the mortgage payments. That she will have to put my rent up to cover it if he leaves, that they had decided not to do anything about the house until the end of the year, so that I wouldn't have to move twice. (Very decent, but it would have been handy to know). Of course, having to cover his share of the rent pretty much negates or at least severely reduces my ability to save money, given that I'll also be missing out on the small amount he gives me. I just told her she needs to do what she needs to do, hung up and promptly burst into tears. I rang my brother to let him know what my sister had said. He lost the plot! Then Mum got in on the act! She told him he was doing the wrong thing by my sister, that without him being there she would have to forget any more trips to Melbourne to see her grandchildren, that he had already had one falling out with this guy he's moving in with and it would inevitably happen again etc., etc., etc. By the time I got home from work, out of pure frustration, hurt and anger he had told them both to forget it, he wouldn't go anywhere. Two happy campers! Two VERY UNHAPPY campers.

The Brat had texted me earlier in the day, before all this happened, and asked if I would mind dropping him out to a nightclub after work if he decided to come home and change first. He doesn't ask often and the club is reasonably local, so I agreed. Of course by the time he got home, all this other rubbish  had gone down, and I was tired and cranky. I explained the situation to him, and he had an immediate response. That's just fucken wrong, no way should you have to pay his rent, I'll move into the flat and pay it. We discussed the details, how much per week etc., and he was really keen to do it. Given that he planned to move out anyway, this seemed the perfect solution. He has a bit more privacy, it's probably cheaper than moving out, and given he's due for a payrise, shouldn't be too much of a burden financially. From a Mum's point of view, it reduces the amount of available cash he has to spend on alcohol... never a bad thing, and he is also prepared to pay me a little bit of board after his payrise, which will help cover some of the bills. I'm certainly not going to charge him heaps, and given that our bills should reduce with the elimination of one of the three computers, should still allow me to save some money. Please note that ALL of this was his own idea, I didn't even suggest it, and certainly wouldn't pressure him to do this. I dropped The Brat up at the nightclub, where coincidentally my brother was working security, and let him know of the plan. He warned that this wouldn't solve the problem of Mum's reaction, but hey it was certainly a start. Okay, given that it's well after midnight by the time all of this is sorted out, I let my sister know the next day what we had thought of as a reasonable solution. She was on board with the whole idea, though thought maybe they'd reduce the rent a little for The Brat.

My brother decided to give Mum a couple of days to calm down, before telling her that the move was probably back on. Unfortunately he forgot to tell my sister this who has phoned me this afternoon to let me know that she had said something to Mum, expecting that she already knew. Sh!t! Well I was supposed to go over this afternoon to help Mum interpret her Car Insurance renewal notice, so decided to bite the bullet, and go straight over. all very pleasant to start with, I let her know what was what with the current policy, and started to do some online quotes with other companies so she could get an idea of what other options she had.

Then it started! First about my brother moving.... I gave her my opinions. Pointed out why it would be good for him and good for me. That didn't make her happy at all! So she started in on me! My plans to move to Melbourne, to ABANDON my child, to be with a man who is a loser and a deadbeat, and doesn't want me anyway. Again, I told her my side, disagreed with her assessment of a man who works hard, loves and supports his kids, and believe it or not has grown up somewhat in the last 25 years. I conceded that our relationship, though certainly heading that way, is not 100% solid, and may never be so. We will never know what we might have together until we give us a proper go. Explained my other reasons for wanting to make this move. I was honest and forthright, and it pissed her off enormously. You just don't disagree with my Mum.

My Mum is scared! I get that. She thinks her kids are all abandoning her. Two (soon to be three) of her daughters are almost as far away as it's possible to get. Her son won't be there to visit her every day as he is now, though he will be available to help out with Dad if Mum wants to visit Melbourne. Her youngest child has written off the entire family. She doesn't believe him (or says she doesn't), when my brother tells her he is happy to stay with Dad when she wants to go away. My Dad should take some heat for this as well. He refuses to travel with Mum though his health is certainly not so bad that he couldn't. Frankly, we all believe that they would be happier in Melbourne. The kids are there, they have old friends there. It's not as though they ever DO anything or go anywhere here, because my Dad refuses. He sits at the computer playing Spider Solitaire until Mum just wants to smash the bloody thing. If Dad's not happier in Mebourne, certainly he won't be more miserable. Not that I think he's miserable now, he's too apathetic for any such emotion.

Look, I love my parents. I adore my son. I really believe that eventually he will join me in Melbourne, but I want him to do it because it's what he WANTS, not because it's expected or what I want. I will miss him enormously, and it will be hard. But I am 43 years old, and it is time for me to have a life.


  1. Sounds like you've done rather a lot for your family as it stands. Very commendable-and by no means an easy set of tasks. Time for you to do a bit of what you want, though.

    You're 43? Same here. 1966 and 1967 must have been good years!

  2. Red: Actually my parents (Mum actually) wanted us around as long as she possibly could, she's something of a control freak sadly. Even with The Brat, she's told me that he must open a passbook account and give it to her, because he's not saving any money. Good luck to her telling him to do that, 'cos I sure as hell ain't gunna.

    I wish she would just follow the example of her own Mother, who spent the last 20 years of her own short life, travelling around the country and even overseas to visit her kids and grandkids. With 6 kids, Grandma was never in one place very long. But then, she was widowed young, and didn't have Grandfather holding her back.

    YD: Yes I'm there for Mum and Dad, but that's a two-way street. They have been more than supportive and helpful in many areas of my life, particularly with my son. There have been other areas I could really have used their help, especially with the issue of supporting my brother all these years. When I told Mum that him moving out will take a huge financial burden off me, her response was basically So What? I help support him why shouldn't you?

    And yes, 66 & 67 were very good years.

  3. And Red: Thank you, I'm pretty proud of both myself and The Brat for how he's turned out. Like all 18 year olds, he can still be a pain but he's grown into a very nice young man.

  4. Families are great, aren't they, kind of explains why my dad picked up his family and moved. To the other side of the planet. Now there's motivation for you. In spite of the wailing and howling from the relatives. Do what is right for you. The family will learn to deal with it, one way or another.

  5. Your Mum's scared? It's no excuse. Nobody owns their children. She had a life before you came along, right? And you certainly deserve a life of your own right now. As does your brother.

    Your sister's mortgage/rent problems are her own. How much sympathy would you have for a non-sister landlord who vacillated between throwing you out, and then wailing over the loss of rent? It's certain we have obligations to our families, but those obligations go BOTH DIRECTIONS.

    There's nothing in the goddam rulebook that says you have to buy your sister's investment house for her. That's your money, and it could be doing something useful for YOUR future.

    Gently, carefully -- but firmly. That's how you do this. And whenever you feel the need to 'be there' for your family, take a deep breath, pause, and ask yourself how your family is 'being there' for you. Is the family obligation being honoured by both sides?

    Or is one side simply being used for the convenience of the other?

  6. DD: Thanks for dropping in. My thoughts exactly. I am still going to make the move, and I will continue to work on my relationship, regardless of my Mother's opinion.

    Flinthart: Always with the wise words, please keep coming back. As far as my sister/landlord goes, she has kept the rent well below market for us, but on the other hand she's put very little money into the place and would have trouble renting it at market value the state it's in now. I'm talking about the wiring is shot, the place is a hotbox with no insulation or air con, and ceiling fans which may as well not be there. An oven that has worked for a total of about 6 months in the 5 years since she had installed, lino that's peeling and ripped etc... And yes, the constant we're selling, we're not selling over the last couple of years has been unsettling to say the least. Also, she is VERY quick to throw the low rent issue in my face if it suits her purposes.

    Sadly, as far as Mum goes, I'm not sure she did have a life before we came along. Married at 19 and mother of 5 by 25. The closest she's come to having a life was the social scene in Penang when we lived there, and much of the household tasks were undertaken by the Amah. She did have good friends, a Church community she belonged to, and a decent social life in Melbourne, partly through interaction with parents of the kids' friends. The idea of moving "home" to Brisbane when Dad got out of the RAAF, was that they would be near family, and continue to have an active social life with Mum's various cousins etc. It hasn't turned out that way, and in fact she would be deeply hurt to know that there was a 70th birthday party for one of her cousins recently, to which Mum and Dad were not invited. This is why my sibs and I are of the opinion that they should move back to Melbourne ASAP, because if nothing else, they will have us there and at least the younger grandchildren. Still it's their choice, and they won't be bullied.

    Likewise, the move back to Melbourne is MY choice, and I also won't be bullied.

    Thanks all for your support, I will admit to moments of self-doubt, am I being selfish, and especially AM I deserting my boy? Then I remember that I couldn't bear to be the controlling, hang on tight at all costs parent that my Mum (whom I love dearly) is.

  7. It sounds like you had a wonderful time in Melbourne. I'm very envious about your Burger Day out.

    Golly, your family!
    Can I chime in on the chorus here?

    The thing about relationships is that there's often an issue of conflict when your needs are different from someone else's needs. The bottom line is that there's no point making yourself miserable to pay your sister's mortgage or provide your mother with a social life.

    Call me strange, but I'm inclined to think that parents are parents and whatever age they are, they need to have their own social networks and if they're looking to their kids to get their needs met for companionship then there's something going very, very wrong there.

    I met a woman at my niece's pre-formal last year who gushed at me 'Isn't it great now they're nearly 18? I've been waiting for years for my daughter to be old enough to go out clubbing with me.'

    I just boggled. I said to her 'Um, no, the last thing I'd want to do is go out clubbing with these girls. Haven't you got friends of your own you can go out with?'

    The answer to that was No.

    Families often resist change and on occasions try to sabotage it.

    Does your mother have a crystal ball that allows her to predict the future or is she just trying to undermine your confidence?

    So far in all this it sounds like out of all those around you, your son is the only one who can make good decisions that weigh up his needs and those of others and come up with a good balance. I think you should take this as a sign that he's had a good role model, somewhere, and you should continue to be one.

    A good measure, when dealing with other family members, might be 'If it were me in your shoes, what would I do?'

    Would you demand that your son live in the same city as you? Pay off your house for you? Be your main source of companionship and entertainment?

  8. The Feral Aunty QuokkaMarch 17, 2010 at 8:28 AM

    Whoops, I hit submit before I was done.

    RE: your mother's worry and insistence that you shouldn't take risks - yikes. Well, yes, if you want to wind yourself in bubble wrap and hide in the cellar for the rest of your life, go for it.

    You have no way of knowing if this relationship is going to work out unless you try. For what it's worth I think that good relationships are partly about being compatible and for the most part, they are just about the work that you put into them. I know its a worn out cliche but its like anything else - its what you both put into it that you get out of it.

    My mother didn't marry until she was 36. Her father had refused to give her permission to marry three men that he disapproved of.
    The first - the great love of her life - because he was a Catholic and my mother's family was protestant. The second because he was Greek, and my mother's family are shocking racists. Oh, and the Greek orthodoxy thing of course. The third because he was divorced. Finally he met and approved of my father - who was a complete FKN madman - so she married him. My grandfather also refused to let my mother study medicine, in 1946, because it wasn't a profession suitable for a Lady. Never mind that she was close to being dux of the school.

    Result - he successfully thwarted her happiness in life AND her career prospects under the guise of 'Caring'.

    Bullsh*t, all he cared about was his own needs.
    He produced a grand-daughter who LOVES to tell people to ignore everything their parents tell them and go find the life you love. If your parents aren't brave enough to do the same, then that's their issue, and you need to set an example to others in the family and show them that pandering to that sort of nonsense doesn't help anyone.

    Rant over....hope it helped.

  9. Hey Quokka, 'bout time you showed up!

    Absolutely agree. Yes, my folks need to get a life, maybe if they do, they'll stop trying to prevent me having one.

    Update on my brother's situation: He has told the parentals he is going, if Mum wants to deny herself the pleasure of visiting the grandkids in Melbourne because she doesn't believe him when he says he'll still be able to stay with Dad, then that's her choice. Not his problem.

    That's two of us now, who've told the folks that we're doing what we want to do, not what they think is best for us, in less than a week.

    The Brat is AWESOME - He wants to go and tell Nanna that he actually can't wait for me to leave, and please stop trying to dissuade me. And NO - I want my son to live the life that's best for him, and ONLY he will know what that is. Of course I'll worry about him, obviously he will make mistakes, hopefully anything that turns out to be less than we hope for, will be viewed as a life experience and learning opportunity, rather than a regret. For both of us.

  10. Bloody hell, Mayhem. Looks like you're well and truly out of your rut.

    I'm with Flintheart and Quokka. Not the biggest Fleetwood Mac fan in the world, but just keep singing yourself "Go Your Own Way" until it sticks.

    And keep having fun!

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  12. MM: Absolutely! Ain't noyhin' gonna stop me now!


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