CUTS, COLDS AND SORE HOLES

Well that’s what my grandfather used to call the first aid kit.  According to other family members that is.   My only childhood memory of my paternal grandfather’s words was “Shhhhhhhh!”

No matter.  It is the last quarter of the moon and you know that is the best time to clean up, throw out things, organize what’s left and make space for all the new ventures of a pending new moon.   A month earlier, Stayatworkfatherofthree had obtained his first aid and CPR certificates through the Coast Guard safety courses and while that was not the first time I had held such qualifications, it was welcome.

Last week we purged the carport storage cupboards, pruned the kitchen of unnecessary clutter, repurposed the space under the stairs, the list goes on.  Stayathomemotheroffour showed little excitement, although the lack of busy clutter in every corner must have had some positive effect.  With the new found space in the hall cupboard where we keep the first aid kit, she decided this would be a job for “Mr. Anal Retentive.”   She placed the three crammed plastic containers that comprised our first aid options on the dining table and said “you do it as you know what everything is.”

There is rarely progress without sacrifice.  So as much as I loved keeping all my IT cables and plugs in a little plastic pigeon holed container with lid, that was a vessel destined for recommissioning in the next 24 hours.   

The only problem with traveling with such a mobile Radio Shack / Dick Smith branch packed into my roll on luggage was the extra weight it hogged from the meager 7kg allowed on budget airlines I am so fond of.     Space was not the issue as for half a decade we have been evangelical about the merits of not folding holiday clothes if possible and laying each garment flat on top of each other until one or two final folds.   I had needed a system for keeping cables, plugs and devices like the three phones etc. and thought it would make things simple.  It did, but low net weight won over and I did not even bring the eight compartment pigeon holed plastic container back on the return journey.

We still had an identical container at our island home and it was now in line of sight with the three container first aid mess we had once tried to explain to contents of which to our last baby sitter before she called the child services hotline (just kidding;-)   Like a mindful guy, I put everything to one side on a chair and slept on the problem.

Woke this morning and went down to the marina to change the fuel on our boat and get her ready or a nice day of sailing with Grandma and the boys.   Then the wind picked up too high for our little boat which does not even take half meter waves all that well.   Not problem, our monthly Coast Guard meeting was not until 18:00 hours, our three year old daughter would not finish day care until 16:00 hours.  We were in no hurry to fight the wind.   So the boys settled down eight Grandma to watch a funny French movie about school boys and the English subtitles kept them busy and possibly counted towards their daily reading quota.

Meanwhile, I tossed all the out of date medications first, unfolded boxes if they were printed with instructions and separated everything else as so:

1. Small blue box with only Alpha’s seasonal asthma puffer and note to self to make sure we would never need to use that again.

2. Medium plastic box with only items for cuts and bruises.  Plasters, antiseptic creams, cold sprays, bandaids, sterile scissors, saline solutions and surgical sheets for all manner of bloody mess.

3. Said eight compartment plastic organizer containing only medication and ointments for after care.  All carefully labeled with homemade bi-lingual sub headings.   Nose, foot, ear, pain relief, intestinal, muscle , cold and flu, at which point Grandma piped up the immoral words only children English colonies can create.

“Cuts, colds and sore holes” with all the crudeness of an East-end hawker and laziness of an Antipodean hooker I suppose.

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Hell Kids are great!

It is mid school year vacation for 2018 and day three of the kids’ holidays.   Just got their Semester 1 report cards and it brought me to tears.

Last weekend was a public holiday long weekend which kicked the school vacation off to an off the deep end 25/7 child care marathon.  Fighting the noisy thumping of them pounding up and down the stairs, scattering LEGO in every corner, demanding F&B faster than a pub’s last call, we are coping.  (ENGAGE !  Resistance is futile!)

Let me let you in a little secret.  Since we moved to Australia nearly three years ago, or TVs have been getting larger and number of bed time story readings has been getting smaller.  English at school HAS NOT BEEN AFFECTED!

Not week goes past without Alpha and Bravo taking their school banking to the office on a Tuesday morning without a small deposit.  Maths results HAVE HIT THE CEILING!

Buying a small yacht, waxing the car together on a Saturday afternoon, buying groceries together, preparing the ingredients for meals as a group once in a while, etc., and Health, Science and Technology at school are all HIGH or VERY HIGH achievement.

Stayatworkfatherofthree sat down this afternoon in the car port with a small bottle of my now favorite beer Miller Chill, and opened the two hard paper envelopes with the reports and sucked incessantly and I digested such glowing accounts of our boys’ progress.

Not bad for two young boys who had to move house twice in Term 1 and then be on the wrong side of bullies for a few too many weeks.   So I rose from my plastic garden chair and walked inside and put my hands on their shoulders letting them know they had something to be proud of.  Despite their behavior at home at times being borderline GBH, their school performance was without fault, even at time I had been overseas.

Explaining to them, their sister Charlie and Stayathomemotheroffour, that all the subjects were above average and in the top 75% to 100% range, the tears came and my voice began to shake.   A Father for only 8 and 3/4 years and they are still my babies learning to walk on Earth.

How did we make it this far?  Elsa telling us to let it go has helped us and might help you too.  You have to write your own book and if your life was movie you get to choose the ending.

My problem now is they already have a laptop and Nintendo, R2-D2 3D cardboard DIY sculpture, Robot mechanical sets.  How do you reward boys like that ?  An interview with Elon Musk would go over their heads.

Have a great evening everyone.  The future is in good hands.

WHEN THE BOOK COMES OUT

A funny thing happened last night.  You know when you hit a wall, procrastination sets in or you get to the top of the mountain and don’t know what do up there.   When you have talked the talk.  Then the only thing to do is to walk the walk.

When both your sons come home from school with a tale of woe and feel down with the teachers or another student has hit them and you wonder when will the World ever stop fighting.  So we go for a long walk on the beach we live on and talk as we go about how Daddy solves conflicts and pick up some interesting granite and quartz stones, gems if you like.

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We discuss everything from my own school experience with violence and why violence is illegal in most places.  Stayatworkfatherofthree being careful not to point out that while violence is banned in most schools yet rife among adults in the same country as the school.  We eventually settle on a large log of drift wood and Bravo starts hammering it with a pointed piece of granite and makes good headway in gradually cutting it in half.  In the process I show Alpha how cavemen would have once wedged a smaller sharper stone into a split stick to fashion a tomahawk.   The boys calm down, not because Dad is doing something with them.  They are using their hands and their heads are following.

We agree on walking away from violence at school and finding a teacher at all costs if it happens to either of them again.  We always do.  Until the next time it happens.  All ends well and we head home across the road so they can shower before dinner.

Later I take a sunset stroll down to where Sandpiper is berthed and she looks great and serene sitting in the dark water as the night chill comes on.   Further around the point I head into the supermarket and bump into another Father at the school and we get talking about kids.  We talk about the energy they have, we talk about slapping and we talk about kids in crisis.  For the next five minutes I let this younger Father knows the best way to calm a child is to pick them up and hug them while moving to another location so they can see a view of mountain or sea or sky to change the focus of their eyes.  Especially if they have been  inside or too long with eyes closely focused on reading, TV or toys.  Just simply allowing their eyes to re-focus a further distance seems to do the trick.

As we part he says the damnedest thing.  Thanks mate, when’s the book coming out  No question mark required because it is a cheeky rhetorical Australian question to put me in my place among friends.   I cannot stop laughing and wondering why no one has ever said that to me before.   In fact, never having hear it in the 20 years I grew up in Australia, how this gem escaped me.   Moreover, why the hell haven’t I in all these years produced a book.  (The Shining is one reason now I have a wife and kids and becoming an alcoholic like Hemmingway is another.)

Lost in self examination, I leant against the rail at the ferry terminal and watched the water lap against the small granite boulders.   Long before this blog started, I had produced small books at school and even at University.  Then in the throes of my lost years in Hong Kong’s nightlife, my weekly funpack emails were enjoyed by everyone except one uncle who did not have enough bandwidth to download the photo laden program for each weekend.  My magazine articles were published for months every couple of years and it you put them all together with reports we sent to clients every day, they would amount to several books.

Remembering I had our marina key in my pocket, a quick beeline was made to the little resort room open to marina residents and the little library of pre-loved books left by sailors of all description.   Settling for a very short history of the world and now armed with more than 300 pages to fend off random conversations with strangers, headed for dinner.   Reading no more than 40 pages during a tomato gazacho followed by BBQ tofu with avocado and quinoa, the restaurant filled and this was not the ambience to required.  I was done shortly after the table to my right asked for no sauce with their steak and only mustard on the side.  Because not 60 seconds later the table to my left requested the same no sauce, mustard only on the side.  Could they hear each other?  Was subliminal messaging at work.  The bane of the detective.  Not being able to switch off.

Exit Stage Right.  A quick coffee on the way home at Scallywags, the pirate cafe with bodiced waitresses and 30’s music.  The uncomfortable white wrought iron table and chair had the best light for reading.   Served by people who remember your name and piping hot cappuccino, was just reabsorbed in the human migration from Alaska to South America when the owner Pete comes to shake my hand.  “Love the way your are using this space” he says referring to possible the least used table, yet the only one beside the little fountain.  Or was it because I was the only solo diner not looking at a phone?

Respect for books.  They change the tone.  Perhaps the World need a few more, if you can believe there aren’t already.  There, I said this was funny, not hilarious.  But it certainly reminded me to finish reading and writing the ones I have already started.

Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.  You were so right Mr. Lennon.

 

PACK-MAN JOINS THE THIRD INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

Kitsch Crazy Cakes.  If they had online ordering, Pack-Man would forward everyone the web-link.  Maybe they would have one later.  For now it would be an open secret in a private war on waste.

One of the Mothers at school had started a small home enterprise making cakes.  Well banana bread, muffins and delicious seed cookies.  So long as you placed your order before the weekend, everything would be baked on Monday afternoon and delivered that evening ready for the rest of the school week.  This would free Pack-Man’s family from some of the packaged foods they normally had delivered.  It was cheaper and it would also fill the void left when Pack-man’s wife sold their own cake mixer along with a load of other cake making accessories only having been used to make two birthday cakes for their first son nearly a decade ago.

More importantly, it would help support the front line of the a new economy driven by cottage industry.  One of the first and most favorite terms Pack-Man studied in economics and where he saw the future heading as global retail was a cliff for lemming-like entrepreneurs.  Just as in previous World Wars, local sharing economies were emerging and families would come together to help other families by providing mutually exclusive goods and services.

As people were tightening their belts and spending less in restaurants and shopping malls, more people were starting to grow their own organic food.  People were working from home and recycling was a big thing for two reasons.  It was a status symbol for those above the poverty line to show they were environmentally conscience, while at the same time most of the trash was shipped to third world country above ground land fills.

A month ago Pack-Man had moved house for the second time in three months and thankfully his family had held two yard sales off-loading old toys, clothes and furnishings to interested parties.  The remainder being donated to local charities.  Things were looking lighter, if not brighter too.  Mess creates stress.

Somewhere in the second industrial revolution, Pack-Man had gone from being a teenage survivalist hermit to consumerist salary-man most of his adult life.  From his first pocket knife and a book he borrowed from the school library, Pack-Man was always ready for change.   He had frustrated his parents with overly-preparing for all manner of natural disaster, animal encounter and criminal threats.

In less than a decade, the young Pack-Man had raided his Dad’s tool shed and sequestered every old tobacco tin, emptied the screws, nails, nuts and bolts and fashioned each into a vintage survival kit.  Complete with built holographs and requisite snubs of pencil each attached with string to the side of the tins.  Never going outside without at least one of these, initial school ridicule quickly turned to fascination.  Especially the survival rations.

Pack-Man would spend hours carefully cutting plastic straws into thirds and seal one end with a lit match and only sealing the other end after filling the segment with grains of sugar or salt.  That is when he wasn’t dripping hot wax on match heads in a an attempt to make them water-proof, long before he saw more erotic uses for hot wax.

Darwin had not merely said survival of the fittest.  It was being fittest to adapt to a changing environment that led to survival.  Change was here.  That was clear.  The environment was changing.   Unemployment was rising two and as an arm-chair economist, this worried Pack-Man.  For as long he could remember he wanted to solve one of the most persistent of problems in the World.

A year ago he had explained to his Mother, one option open to people in a fully robotized world.  Other than renting out the family robot the same way people were already now renting out their cars and apartments.  People who no longer worked, would be able to rent out all spare capacities and crypto currencies had pioneered this concept by allowing computing capacity to be mined.  Similarly, there had been a decade of residential solar power generated and sold back to grids around the globe.  Next would be water and then communication bandwidth.  All were ripe for monetization when un-used capacity would be otherwise wasted.

That is if a household had the spare capacity.  So much of the World lacked even basic electricity, much less had the capacity to sell back to the grid.  Were would they get a robot to rent out to a local factory.  How could they leverage spare bandwidth on their mobiles when sim card storage was on a subsistence charity basis.   If more people were going to be displaced by automation and at the same time digitizing created a have/have not divide.  Basic Universal Income would become another Holy Grail.  Would people need to wait another 2,000 years only to be frustrated.

No.  There was another way.  As always the innovation came from the Third World if not out of necessity, out of exploitation.  Was that a dirty word now?  The underdeveloped nations had succeeded in exporting armies of Professional Refugees to skim enough for their own development back home.  Pack-Man had first seen it in the back streets of Guangzhou.  Places even the Public Security Bureau were too scared to patrol.  Later in Bangkok, it was more apparent.

Thailand was surrounded by equally low-cost nations offering one to three month visas to most underdeveloped country citizens.  In they would come with next to nothing and first work in a boiler room scam during the day.  In the evenings, the females would walk the streets prostituting themselves, while the males would fawn over the over-aged and over weight single expat women with promises of being married to an African prince.  Then when their visas were up they would move on to the next country and repeat the process.  Often smuggling counterfeit goods or contraband to the next destination.  Calling back to their targets in the previous country to keep the relationships warm before they repeated the same MO in a third or four country.

Wandering in and out of South-east Asia, they effortlessly moved home and work base.  Consummate small-time crooks, low-ranking mafia,all the time skimming the excess financial capacity of their targets until the right time to take their life savings.

The point being they effectively had a mercantile survival kits, albeit illegal and certainly unethical.  It worked.

Two weeks earlier Pack-Man had remembered all this when sitting in the offices of the countries largest employment assistance contractor.  Their operation was tasked with bringing people off government benefits and into gainful employment.   They were were looking for a talent developer to inspire and motivate their clientele, re-working resumes, finding them positions and creating jobs.

Pack-Man’s eyes glazed over.  If some of these people had been unemployed for a year or more, what chance would they have to realize they should be looking for work and not a job.  Especially if they were middle aged.  What they needed was a mercantile survival kit.  A suite of income sources they could rely on when conditions declined for one source, they would flourish for the other revenue stream.  Just like the Professional Refugees.

Pack-Man had been an economic refugee for most of his working life.  A running capitalist dog like his great grandfather.  Dodging deficits and taking the path less traveled.   It was better to be prepared than popular.   Always going to opposite direction to others, sometimes not even knowing why.  Was it a habit or was it a predisposition.  Was it human nature and if so, why had 95% of the World forgotten they were human.

What these people needed was not just a side hustle, they needed three.  If you can’t have your cake and eat it.  Get two cakes!   Let them eat cake indeed.  The biggest mistake anyone ever made was giving up their day job and trying to make their side hustle their prime source of income.   Ask anyone in a pyramid scheme.  Well that would be everyone would’t it.   The only time a pyramid ceased was when it was a matrix.  A matrix was a network.  Networks were going to be the future and were here.

Networks would allow cottage industries to sell outside their neighborhood.   People would three or four sources of income to survive.  Just as 3D printers were a China-killer.  Cottage industries would maim the monopolies until they morphed into networks.

Pack-Man hadn’t used post-it notes for 15 years.  They were a waste.  How had he got these.  Oh yes, they were free when purchasing stationary.  He peeled one yellow sheet off and drew a square in the center.  Further drawing four small nodular circles on each of the four corners.  Starting at the bottom left corner as always.  Side-hustle.  Operations.  That would have be done in the morning before anyone else woke up.  That would be his time.  That would be paying himself first and use his energies as selfishly as he wanted before any else could get to him.

Top-left corner.  Full-time job.  Human resources intensive.  Verbal intensive.  Yuck!  But necessary.  Office small talk.  This was the 80 in Pareto for sure.  That is when the time vampires sucked the most.

Moving on the top right corner.   Part-time.  Sales & Marketing.  Charity work would fit here certainly.   Donating time to non-profits was important.  They were one of the world’s largest employers.   No need to keep two feet in that door.

Lastly the unholy grail of passive income.  In the bottom right corner.  Administration and Accounting.  Money working for money.  All you had to do was count it and administer the facilitation.

Pack-Man then folded the top margin of the post-it and stuck it on the glass louver above his desk.  This was the challenge he was looking for.  A purpose in life.  Teach the world to fish…….responsibly.  Packaging such a survival kit would have to be responsible too.  This was the kind of work he like.  Solving big-ass problems that would make a difference.  It was so simple too.   Everyone was half way there.

Leaning back in his chair he unpeeled the paper cup from a chocolate cream cheese muffin and took a mindful bite.   No more Oreos for his kids.  No more wrappers in the recycling bin.    The Third Industrial Revolution had no place for waste.  Even less room for time wasters.  He checked the clock on the laptop screen and was pleased a full 90 minutes had passed since he last procrastinated.  Pack-Man smiled for the first time that day.

 

 

Hijacked at almost 3 feet

Well the kids are home from school for a three day long weekend for Australia Day (January 26th) and it is raining too much to visit our boat in the marina.  Everyone was fed dinner early almost as soon as they got home from school or day care in Charlie’s case.

Stayatworkfatherofthree was in the new crib searching the Internet for a custom furniture maker in our area to make a simple round 8-seater banquet table with lazy Susan, when Charlie started her normal twilight whining and shouting, so I took her from my wife’s arms.   After a little cooing and color crayons, I realized my search was hijacked.   I had to engage, resistance was futile, as they say.

So with more crayons and an exercise book left over from Bravo’s 2017 school stationary quota, she was happy to lie on my desk just as Alpha did eight years ago in my first Bangkok office and Bravo did two years later when I was babysitting during work hours.   Loosely scanning the online newspapers and wondering when the rain would stop enough to decorate our boat with Aussie bunting and national flags, I was hijacked again.

The very woman who started, and succeeded, with Australia’s change campaign to have a postal vote on same sex marriage was suggesting, rightly, to have the concept of Australia Day changed to be more respectful of the original people of this land.  Same sex marriage candidates represent close to 11% of our population whereas the original population prior to European settlement represent 2.8% of the census.   

Back in 2008, the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd gave a legendary speech taking Australia’s decade old ‘National Sorry Day’ quantum leaps toward reconciliation and meaningful unison of all present citizens.  That day I sat at my top floor office computer looking out across Hong Kong harbor at a population also colonized by the same armies, with one eye looking at the online video of the speech.   His words brought tears of faith in humanity and my colleagues had rarely seen me blubbing at my desk.   Regardless, the mood was set and less than a month later I met Stayathomemotheroffour and my heart was still full of love for all and faith in all nations.

My Father for as long as I can remember had always told me the main difference between Europeans and indigenous in Australia was that the former marked out plots and said “this land belongs to me!”, whereas original inhabitants had a more scientifically accurate refrain of ” I belong to this land.”

So this evening, my daughter has unwittingly taken me on a path to sensibility and without any desire to celebrate our Nation’s date of taking custody of these shores from the original inhabitants, as was so much the custom in past centuries and how present borders have been drawn.  In fact she has taken me right back to my Hong Kong days where it was my devote practice to work in the office on public holidays so my Chinese colleagues could enjoy time with their families.

Those were the days I enjoyed empty streets and a quiet building without interruption or delay and my best ideas would arise.   Freedom to create new strategies and file away at my own pace.   I was single then and exploiting the path less travelled.   Reaping great financial rewards and thinking I was the only one.   That is until last month when we were back in Bangkok and one of our American neighbors mentioned most of his luck and riches have come from working when other people are enjoying a public holiday.  If any thing, my own reasoning has been largely that you can exclusively take any incoming sales enquiries.

More importantly though, it has always been more a lack of interest in resting or partying for the sake of it.   Two years ago I firmly told our founding Partner that Stayatworkfatherofthree does not need any government gazette to tell him when to take a rest from work.    He agreed wholeheartedly and admitted to doing the same.

While tomorrow most of Australia will wear anything with a flag or our Olympic colors and all the nation, even the 2.8%, will wish they were never born anywhere else and love this country as much as anyone.   Most of Australia will also be drinking, some to celebrate and some to forget and commiserate.

You can bet I will be at my desk and hopefully my daughter will be there and I can teach her nearly three year old psyche that we belong to the universe and this planet does not belong to any of us.   That is if her brothers can stop arguing about who owns which toy!

Dragons, Volcanos & Dinosaurs

Late November 2017 and Stayathomemotheroffour had already made it to Thailand with Charlie, while I was left on the island with Alpha and Bravo.  The Bali volcano was seriously toying with our ability to make it to Thailand once school term finished.

 

The boys and I were busy washing clothes and sheets, getting the yard cyclone ready and packing school lunches.  We were determined to prepare a clean house for our return, when all five of us returned on Christmas Eve.   My to-do-list of chores was growing and both of our connecting flights were cancelled.  We were torn about packing the bags and thinking we would have to fly my wife and daughter back via Perth or Darwin.

 

Alpha then insisted we play mahjong while we waited.   “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.”

 

So at first we removed one suit from the pack to make things easier for Bravo who has limited experience and it had really been 2 or 3 years since he tried to play.  Now six years old and heading to Grade 2 in the new school year, we would test him out.   Never one to be phased we played the first few rounds on our toy car tablecloth.  It was their choice, not mine, if you think of calling child abuse hotline.   The boys managed just fine with the tiny detail on the tiles and crazy color background of the tablecloth.  Our eyes got a bit stronger in the process.

 

The first day, we started at 1pm on a Saturday and we played to 5pm, with only minor break for snacks and constant refills of milk in plastic dinosaur mugs left over from Charlie’s 2nd birthday morning tea party on the beach.  We were supposed to be flying on Wednesday and all hope was fading.

 

Still, on Sunday morning I mowed the entire backyard lawn just in case.  More mahjong in the afternoon and only interrupted by a beautiful swim in the summer sea.  Warm water, clean sand and gentle afternoon sun.  Shirtless drive home with windows rolled down, wet car seats and showers straight after arriving home.

 

At 01:00 hours Monday morning, I woke up and checked both airlines.  Our flights had resumed!   With total glee, the boys went to school and I hoped they would not blab about the binge mahjong session and even though we were not gambling, we were keeping one of Grandma’s traditions by rewarding all young players with chocolate.

 

Tuesday was the school swimming carnival, and that was a great way to catch up with everyone.  No need to make school lunches either as they had a sausage sizzle and we hit the bakery quite hard.   I dropped our boat’s keys off with the marina manager just in case a cyclone hit while we were away.   Then played mahjong til 8pm that night.

 

Wednesday, we packed everything from the front porch into the living room, had washing machine in overdrive and purged the fridges of anything perishable, although kept a two liter bottle of milk and packet of tim tams for later.   Mopped most of the floors, aired all the pillows and cushions while the sun was out.   Picked up boys from school, showered then and they watched TV while I hung the last of the laundry on a clothes horse in the dining area.

 

Tied the jungle gym to the car with nylon rope and shoved the last of my I.T. equipment into one of the boys’ roll-on bags.  Taxi arrived five minutes early and I still had a half a basket of undies to hang.  Got to the ferry in time and sat down with my two very grown-up looking sons.  Ordered a can of beer from the ferry kiosk and started pouring out cups of milk for Alpha and Bravo, while all three of us got into the tim tams.

 

One we arrived in Bangkok and were reunited with wife and daughter, drove up to my Thai mother-in-law’s place where we have built a house and realized we did not have a mahjong set.  Despite, leaving my Hong Kong travel majong surfaces in Thailand, we only had one set of mahjong and that was the one we took to the island.  So the hunt began.

 

This little town is a Thai-Chinese stronghold and you would think some of the toys stores stocked with chess and scrabble would have a set.  Nope!   In addition, even the most Chinese of looking townsfolk had not even seen a set of mahjong in their life.

 

So we drove back to Bangkok and scoured Chinatown in Yaowarat and only came up with one shop, although it was closed.  No matter, we had parked car at Shangrila Chinese Restaurant and ordered a whole Peking duck for Stayathomemotheroffour who was turning an age when hair starts to grey.   Kids loved the little pancakes with duck skin.  Ditto the sweet and sour duck meat taken from just below the skin.  The icing on the cake was really all the meat left on the bones which the chefs chopped and fried in boiling oil so it came out all crispy, chewy and dry, so perfect for dipping in Sriracha sauce.   Meanwhile, we starting hitting the internet for private sellers who might have a mahjong set up for grabs.  Who knows we might even score an antique set.

 

It was not to be and so Stayathomemotheroffour and Bravo had to return all the way to Chinatown the next day when the mahjong shop was open.   They purchased one with slightly larger tiles which is easier for kids to handle and the elderly to read.

 

That was Monday morning, two days ago.  We drove back up to the country house that night and had everyone out of the car and into bed by about 11pm as I had worked in the Bangkok office all day and it was a four hour drive in moderate traffic.  We played mahjong all Tuesday and Alpha recruited us all to play again this morning, right in the middle of me starting this blog.

 

They have all now gone out to the local land registry office now and I can sign off properly, in peace.  It is so nice to been writing again and am eager to post the saga related to our Fifty Shades of Gravy Thanksgiving dinner on the island.  So stay tuned.

MISSION 2 ACCOMPLISHED

You may recall last year we first wanted to move to the island.  Tick!!!!!

Now 10 months later we have finally purchased our first boat and so proud our son Alpha and Stayathomemotheroffour were the first of our family to take it for a test sail before we paid.   Stayatworkfatherofthree was left on shore to watch with Bravo and Charlie, under doctors’ orders not to get my arm wet in the sea until the wounds healed (a whole different story).

Here is our first (crappy) video of the test voyage (shaking a bit as arm in sling and keeping one eye on our toddler climbing on the rails):

Three Cheers (how appropriate) for the smallest boat in the marina.   Good things come in small packages is what my old school Principal used to say.

And it is not what you have, but what you do with it that counts.  Well, that’s what my wife says anyway.

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When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy, And the dimpling stream runs laughing by; When the air does laugh with our merry wit, And the green hill laughs with the noise of it.

MyStoriesWithMusic

GETTING CREATIVE- this is my little creative corner in the world where I have my music, my stories sometimes combined with my music (read the story and you’ll find the song), poems (or really, really short stories as I like to call them 😉), audio stories and audio poems (for those of you who prefer to listen), my digital drawings and sometimes I even throw in some quotes for inspiration 😊.

Round Two

"Life is better than we expected."

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