Category Archives: weird and more than a little disgusting

Toilet redux

Warning. Disgusting story ahead.

Many of you know the story of our camping toiletIt has spent the last four years on the porch of the kids’ cubby house (“the only cubby with an outdoor loo”), waiting to find a new home, and occasionally holding cash for tradies (“the money is in the dunny”).
Last night, a friend of a friend posted on Facebook that she was looking to buy or borrow a camping toilet for this weekend. The perfect moment! We arranged for her to collect it this morning.

Waking this morning, somewhat queasy from overnight painkillers (I’m recovering from Round 2 of kidney stone surgery), I thought that I would do the right thing and move it to the front of the house.
Friends, I picked up that camping toilet, and it SLOSHED.
I checked the “flushing” tank. Empty.
You know what that means.
Yep, somebody – at some point in the last four years, but probably more than once – has USED the camping toilet in our back yard, on the porch of the kids’ cubby house.

I have cleaned and cleaned and cleaned, and then disinfected some more. And then showered, and resisted the temptation to scrub myself with BLEACH.

And the toilet is gone. I’m chalking it up as a decluttering win.


Urgent! I need a toilet! (Just not in the way you might think)

Those who follow me on Twitter will know that toilets have been on my mind lately. You see, the next stage of the Curse’s after-effects has been the demolition of much of our bathroom floor. It’s rotten under the shower … AGAIN.

Unfortunately, the rot had spread to under the toilet as well. Our lovely builder Alberto warned us last week that the toilet was going to have to go, maybe for as much as a week.

Cue panic.

Then it was all OK and we were only going to be without a toilet on Monday night.

Which sounds reasonable until you think about the words. Without. A. Toilet. Family of Four. Ugh.

And so every day since about last Thursday, I have wondered whether I would have a toilet that night. And I have been oh so very thankful when I did.

And then the Bigster realised that her exams were at the start of this week. No proper shower (only hand-held over bath). No toilet. Actually, half a bathroom missing. And Exams. Yikes.

So we hatched a little plan that involved me and Bigster going to a hotel for Monday night, leaving Fraser and Otto to wizz in a bucket manage on their own. And then we considered getting a family room or something so that we could all go. And then our builder said today, “Oh by the way, you won’t have a toilet tomorrow either.”

Which he clearly meant to be reassuring. Or, at the least, informative.

But you see, “no toilet” and “reassuring” do not really go together. And I started to add numbers in my head, because we were already way over “budget” on, well, everything, but especially on the unbudgeted “hotel” item. And I flung myself in my car and drove to Aldi, because some of my friends thought that MAYBEJUSTMAYBE they might have seen camping toilets at Aldi.

And of all the things that were bad about having OMG NO TOILET, that one was the least bad. Because it would mean that the inspection camera was no longer the strangest thing that I had bought at Aldi. I was able to go to a happy place inside my head. A toilet-free happy place, admittedly, but an only slightly less happy place for it.

Until the woman at my local Aldi smashed my dreams. “Yeah, we had those. About three months ago. But they didn’t sell so we sent all our stock to the rural stores.”

Grrr. I drove home again, thoroughly subdued. Then: Brainwave! Camping Stores!

I rang the “local” camping store, which is about 15 minutes’ drive away. It was 5:13. They had camping toilets in stock, but closed at 5:30. It was a challenge I was determined to make; I was out the door before we were even off the phone.  (I rang my family while I was on the way, to tell them I had gone out).

I made good time to the camping store, until … disaster. A train. Ding, ding, ding, boomgates down, no chance to cross.

Thoroughly desperate for my toilet, I rang them. “I’m on my way to pick up a camping toilet but I am at the boomgates and now I will be late. Could I possibly pay by credit card or something, just to speed it up?” I was ready to offer any staff member willing to WAIT OUTSIDE THE STORE WITH MY TOILET $20 cash. Things were down to the wire.

Fortunately, the assistant manager was lovely and helpful and reassuring. After establishing that I really WAS just up the road, she promised to keep the till open for me, even past 5:30 if need be.

And so it was that I got there, and ran through the doors, and was greeted with one sweet sweet word: “Toilet?”

And it was 5:33 and all was good.


I bought the special toilet paper which “hindert Verstopfungen” (stops blockages) which made me giggle because I will swear that Verstopfung is German for constipation. Trust me, by that time I would have giggled at anything. And then I bought the special tank chemicals, only it turns out that you aren’t supposed to use them in the regular sewers, so I didn’t. And then I over-filled the tank (the clean water for flushing, people, minds out of the gutter) and it started leaking and there may or may not have been some al-fresco wizzing and some argufying with Fraser about how much water should be going into the waste tank anyway because there is a PROPER WAY to use a camping toilet and I might have missed it. And then we demonstrated how to flush the toilet to the girls and there was much hilarity except from them and Fraser, who all think it is a little revolting. So from me, really.

And the best part of all, is that I got to buy something completely weird, and actually genuinely put it on the “saving money” side of the ledger.

And also, I have just topped my Best Toilet Ever story.


Inspection Required

My love affair with Aldi continues apace.

Visiting on Thursday, I discovered this unique concept:

Gravy Warmer: Keeps Gravy warm

It’s a Gravy Warmer. As one friend pointed out, it could only be more fabulously useless if it were a USB Gravy Warmer.

Picking up their catalogue at the same time, I discovered that Saturday’s specials included something called an Inspection Camera. Which is a still/video camera with a long bendy flex attached to a hand-held unit with a screen. The camera – and a fairly strong LED light – are on the end of the flex – so you can poke it into places and see what is going on. Read the rest of this entry »


Milking my family for sympathy (NOT)

More mentions of vomit within. Also a cat poo reprise. You have been warned.

After being told that I had fractured a rib just from vomiting I was, well, spewing. But I figured that I should at least get one night’s sympathy from my family. And I would milk it for all it was worth.

I started via SMS:

Me: Hope your day went well especially the Latin test. I went to the Dr and it turns out I vomited so badly 2 weeks ago that I FRACTURED A RIB omg!! See you when you get home xxmum

I was pleased with that. Caring loving parent who thinks about what is going on in her child’s life and then WHAM! FRACTURED RIB! and then caring loving parent again. Maybe she would bring me chocolate?

Read the rest of this entry »


Lessons in Medicine. Which gets a little gross.

I learned all sorts of interesting things today.

For example about parts of the body.

Here is a diagram of some parts of the body that I know. (I do know some other ones but it would be pretty dull if I listed all the tarsals and carpals and things. And much more interesting if I listed some of the others but I strive to keep things PG here).

ankle stomach ribs humerus ears etc

It gets icky behind the “More” link, if you are still on the homepage of my blog. Consider yourself warned!

Read the rest of this entry »


Cat poo

Yes. Cat poo. That is what has been causing conflict Chez Nous of late.

See, when we adopted two small, adorable kittens, we did not realise that they were in fact POO MACHINES disguised as small, adorable kittens.

Within a week of coming home, Snowflake had caused evacuations of the dining and living rooms* – and it continued. Despite the very expensive “Indoor cat, low fecal odour” kibble, there is something about our cats’ by-products (read: GOAL IN LIFE) that just carries.

(* turns out, this is a problem of open-plan living. The cat poo fumes just SPREAD. Even to my study which is around several corners.)

I made a schedule, to deal with the problem. It is very simple and looks like this:


Monday: Biggie

Tuesday: Fraser

Wednesday: Fraser

Thursday: Fraser

Friday: Fraser

Saturday: Fraser

Sunday: Fraser

OK, maybe not quite like that. It really looks like this:


Monday: Biggie

Tuesday: Fraser

Wednesday: Fraser

Thursday: Fraser

Friday: Melissa

Saturday: Melissa

Sunday: Melissa

and on the edge it has a teeny tiny very crafty-looking miniature wooden clothes peg, which shows on which day the kitty litter was last completely changed (ie discarded, tray disinfected and rinsed, then refilled). It is my attempt to make the functional cat poo schedule a thing of beauty.

Schedules are all very nice, in theory.

Except that I forgot to factor in my cats.

Here is what happens every morning:

7:30 Fraser leaves for work

7:45 Cats: WHEE! HE’S GONE! LET’S POO!

The exception to this is Monday mornings, which is Biggie’s rostered day.

7:30 Fraser leaves for work

7:45 Cats: WHEE! HE’S GONE! LET’S — OH WAIT, IT’S MONDAY. *cross legs*

8:00 Bigster leaves for school


I usually get home from work around 4.


And then we have my favourite, the Evening Special.


7:31 Melissa (as unbearable fumes threaten extinction to all in the living room and beyond): Yeesh. That’s disgusting

7:32 Melissa (pointedly): IT”S YOUR DAY TO CLEAN IT UP

7:32:30 Fraser (wearing the DUH! face): You can’t empty the kitty litter when it’s fresh! It would be too smelly!



Our exchange student from Hong Kong is only here for one weekend, so we are trying to make the most of it and cram as many tasty things into the weekend as possible.

It really started on Thursday night, with a barbecue.

Now the idea of the barbecue was simple: invite two other girls, friends of Bigster’s, and their families and exchange buddies, to a barbecue. Twelve or thirteen people, easy peasy. Then it snowballed: First, Bigster wanted to invite another girl she has recently become friends with. Then she told me that one of the boys’ buddies was friends with our student. Then she HAD to invite more boys because you can’t have all girls and one boy. Then the visiting teachers said a barbecue sounded nice, so I invited them too. Poor Fraser wasn’t exactly happy with me, but I do enjoy entertaining this way.

All up, I think I invited about 40 people in the end. We had a great night with the 25 or so who did come, and I think the kids even enjoyed their sausages in bread (I’m pretty confident about the pavlovas too). And the gas bottle didn’t run out until we’d cooked enough food, which was very very lucky as I under-prepared in terms of actually checking that the barbecue was ready for us.

On Friday night, we picked the kids up from school at 3:30 and drove straight to Phillip Island. Now, I’m not a fan of toll roads, and Fraser and I conscienciously avoid citylink, even changing some of our driving habits to avoid paying for toll roads THAT OMG USED TO BE FREE. But driving to Phillip Island is an exception, especially when you can take Eastlink which (a) is not owned by the same company as the other toll roads and (b) is a completely new road so doesn’t attract the capital letters that CityLink tends to.

And we were at Phillip Island – which I tend to think of as a 3 to 3.5-hour drive – in about 2 and a half hours. Including a stop at McDonalds Cranbourne because Otto was OMG SO HUNGRY.

Remember that stop, it is important.

Because after we got back in the car at Cranbourne, we passed a church that is now a Mexican Restaurant which is appropriate because fajitas realy are a slice of heaven and it allowed Fraser to say HOLY FRIJOLES! so we were all happy.

Until we were zooming along the road to the Penguin Parade and a little voice from the back (Biggie) said UM MUM, OTTO JUST THREW UP.

And I looked around and thank goodness she had the cardboard takeaway box from Mickey D’s on her lap because she had caught it all. And she was not crying.

Fraser, who was driving, said, should we pull over and clean her up?

At which point I proved that I am callous and cruel and unfit to be a mother because I said OMG NO KEEP DRIVING WE WILL BE THERE IN FIVE MINUTES.

And he asked again, and I gave him the Stern Look, and he kept driving.

The kids got out of the car very quickly when we arrived at the Penguins (four minutes or so later).

We didn’t pack a change of clothes so I did a car park wriggle into my sweatshirt so I could take off my t-shirt for Otto to wear as a dress, because she had a bit of splashback. And we put her soiled clothes (OH NO! MY FAVOURITE DRESS!) into a bag and shut it into the door of the car so it wouldn’t just drift around the carpark but neither would it make the car stinky. And thank goodness she was wearing leggings cos it meant I could just buy her a t-shirt to wear with them (Shop guy: Cranbourne McDonald’s? Yeah …)

After which, the kids had dinner (even Otto!) and we went down to the viewing area with our MP3 audio commentaries, which Otto somehow managed to first reset completely and then switch into Spanish.

And then we saw about four hundred penguins THIS close to us (I actually counted the first 200 or so but then they were coming fast) and the kids were absolutely transfixed and it was all worth it even the spew.

Technically, it was worth it to see the Holy Church of Tacos … but I digress …

Walking back to the car, there was even a stray penguin roaming the carpark. I’d like to think, as we saw one doing this last time we went, that the penguins have worked out a roster and they all buy Carpark Penguin a fish cocktail once all the people leave, but I think this poor little guy was just lost and scared.

Today we’re shopping and tomorrow we’re heading to Sovereign Hill. Whew!



I will blog about this elsewhere in good time, but meanwhile I just have to comment …


What sort of a name for a place is that?

“Oh, I am just off to Moist Cheeks for the afternoon”

It sounds – it doesn’t even sound dirty. Just kind of creepy.

I tried replacing Moist with Damp, Sweaty … nope.  Didn’t help.

All the way there – all the way through the town, even – we giggled.


Things I did not want to know

There is an “animal husbandry aide” called Boar Mate. I remember hearing about this from a friend, years ago. You spray it on a sow to – errm – enhance her readiness to receive the boar. As it were.

I went looking because I needed to know the generic term for this type of product. While I think “Animal Aphrodisiac” is good, it might not be quite what is called for. Although it sure beats Animal Husbandry Aide.

Anyway. The thing I did not want to know, and will therefore share with you all: There are people who wear this stuff themselves.