About hodgehegs

hodgehegs is a family blog I started primarily for me and my eldest boy . I'm a late 30's mum, wife and part-time worker. I have a Dearly Beloved (DB) and 2 boys - known here as Squidge (8) and This Dog Bruce (5). We live in suburban Perth with Bella the dog and Chickorita & John - our (female) chooks.

Tales from a member of the Sandwich Generation – Observations

Being a member of the sandwich generation I’ve been able to observe some similarities in behaviour between one slice of my olive ciabatta and the other (I like to imagine I’m not an ordinary white bread sandwich).

  1. Both can be really fussy when it comes to eating.  Just as Bruce doesn’t really like his food mixed together and served with gravy or sauce, the same goes for one of my parents
  2. Bruce has about 2 vegetables that he will eat with any regularity and enthusiasm, so does one of my parents
  3. Neither of them function in the working world and so have unrealistic expectations – from the capacity of a bureaucracy like a hospital or school to be flexible and accommodating to how much services and products really cost and how difficult they can be to access when on a strict budget
  4. There’s a lot of washing involved as they can spill food REALLY easily
  5. At a point in time both may need the assistance of a walker to get around
  6. They walk really, really, really slowly
  7. Their enthusiasm and desire to drive a car is completely outstripped by their capacity to do so
  8. They can both have trouble remembering how to get home

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Tales from a member of the Sandwich Generation

I’m part of the sandwich generation. Caught between young children and elderly parents. My parents have reached somewhat of a crisis in their lives. So this week, being school holidays in our state I’ve spent time being ham and cheese.

I’ve gone from someone telling me their legs were bored as they watched me look at clothes in Myer to some difficult and futile conversations like this one:

Me: “You will lose your driver’s licence because you have severe memory loss”

Parent: “I’ve never had my memory tested”

Me: “Yes you have, twice in September – you’ve just forgotten”

If it wasn’t real, it’d be funny.

Well insured

Today I was once again reminded how much my health insurance means to me. My mum is in hospital. She doesn’t have private health insurance.

To be fair when I took her in to the emergency department on Friday I couldn’t have asked for more. They took her 81 years and her bad asthma symptoms very seriously. A Social Worker who sees everyone in emergency over the age of 61 had a chat with me and told me about more support services available to her. She was admitted and is being looked after.

But she shared her room with another elderly woman who is in hospital because her granddaughter threw a heavy book at her as she wouldn’t give her money for drugs. And the blow on her hip has caused repercussions to her health that I don’t think she could ever have anticipated. This woman is also raising her granddaughter’s child.

While recovering from this injury her son, who is an alcoholic, has been visiting her demanding money from her. He got some yesterday, came back for more last night and then more again today. This after the lady asked the medical staff to not let her son out of the psych ward knowing full well he’d turn up at her bedside demanding more money.

When I visited my mum the lady was being moved to a different room so her son couldn’t find her so easily and she could have some peace.

I started thinking – how did this family become so dysfunctional? And not just one child but generations, and what future does the great grandchild have?

I understand addiction and the hold it can have on a person. From my experience, aside from the trauma that can be involved, it robs that person and their family of choice. Choices that involve where you live, who you live with and so on.

Perhaps this family didn’t have a someone to make their life normal, to give them other options & choices and it would seem that through the generations their chances are getting thinner.

I hope the lady gets some rest and to be brutally selfish, I hope the son doesn’t return to look for her because I hate to think of my mum being in a place where she should be safe and feeling scared.

That’s why I’ll always have private health insurance – at least I’ll have choice.

Real Life Wednesday – Expectations vs Reality

On Wednesdays I don’t work.  The expectations I have for what I can achieve on a Wednesday between school drop off and pick up are rarely realised.

Plan:

Pack a lunch that is healthy, all home-made and everyone will love and will rush home and tell me was wonderful.

Reality:

Packed a lunch that contained gherkins and avocado because they were the only green vegetables left in the house.  Threw in a packet of mini-biscuits (full of fat, sugar, salt and more numbers than a times table).  I had to ask the children if they liked it.  Apparently it was too big and they don’t have enough time to play (yet when they see it being packed in the mornings they say they need more food – go figure).

Plan:

Do the grocery shopping and be home by 10:30.

Reality:

I had to return books to the library and got a couple more out.  When Bruce saw one of them he complained bitterly that I should have looked inside it because clearly it was a song book not a story book.

My eyebrows resemble caterpillars and my top lip looks like the caterpillars have shed hair over it.  Unfortunately neither could be tamed today but I made an appointment for next week.

Hunted for various birthday presents.  Had some success.

Visited chemist for our annual winter wallet clean out.

Scraped together some coins and bought a small coffee.

Started grocery shopping.  Haven’t done a big grocery shop for weeks.  It took an age.  Spilt the remains of my coffee through my grocery bags.  Got home at 11:30.

Plan:

Clean out pantry and fridge, unpack groceries, clean and tidy the kitchen.

Reality:

Unpacked groceries.

Plan:

Walk dog, feed chickens, collect eggs.

Reality:

Achieved (but the dog walk is never, ever, long enough).

Plan:

Put away washing that’s hanging on the airer and driving me nuts when the kids use it as a prop in their latest superhero game.

Reality:

Pffff.

Plan:

Sort out the goodies I have in my wardrobe for our school fete so I can drop them off.  This will mean that I stop tripping over them and Tigger stops making noises like a demented door charm every time I walk in to my so-called walk-in-robe.

Reality:

As if.

Plan:

Help out in Bruce’s class.

Reality:

Yes!  But lordy it was exhausting and I was only there for just over an hour.  Hats off to all you wonderful teachers out there.

Plan:

Log in to work and check emails.

Reality:

I brought my work laptop home.  See – it’s over there.

Plan:

Make home-made pizza from scratch for dinner.

Reality:

I’m writing this blog post.

 

I’m linking up with Kate from Picklebums for Real Life Wednesday. Real Life Wednesdays

Ear Worm

This wasn’t the post I set out to write today but during the course of writing that post, the song “I’ve Never Been to Me” by Charlene has come in to my head and won’t leave me alone.

I suppose I should be glad that it’s driven out “G’Day G’Day” by Slim Dusty.  For those of you who don’t reside in Australia, this is a classic Australian country song.  It was re-introduced to me by Bruce who has been learning it at school and likes to sing it (nay shout it out), at the top of his lungs while sitting on the loo.  As I’ve mentioned before that boy can occupy a toilet for a LONG time.

Are you ever tormented by ear worms and if so how do you get rid of them?

Taking Control

Recently I celebrated my 38th birthday.  The countdown is now on until I turn 40.  Getting older hasn’t really ever bothered me.  Getting older while being overweight does.

I’ve been overweight for most of my life.  Except in my late teens/early twenties when I only ate one meal a day (assisted by an evening shift job after uni and sleeping lots – I couldn’t sustain treating my body that way now); and before we had Squidge when I lost quite a bit of weight via Weight Watchers  by correspondence (it seems sooo long ago!).

I’ve set goals and seen them sail past.  I’ve tried motivating myself by not setting long term goals but rather short term ones like, I’ll eat very well today.  Day by day.

Makes me sound like an addict doesn’t it?  Taking one day at a time. In a way perhaps I am.  Instead of dealing with anxiety and stress by drinking or drugs I reach for food.  On days when I feel anxious I can eat and eat and never fill a void that I truly feel in the pit of my stomach.  And over time it’s become a habit and one that I need to break.

One thing I remember about the period when I didn’t eat or when I was achieving success via Weight Watchers was how good it felt to be in control.  I controlled what I ate and when, rather than blindly giving in to the urge to eat.

Why now?  There’s more and more evidence linking being overweight to disease such as breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes and the list goes on.  I carry a lot of my weight above my belly button – close to my heart.  And the simple fact is I don’t feel good.  I don’t feel attractive, or sexy, or confident.  I feel lumpy and awkward.

I know what I should do – eat fewer calories and expend more via exercise.  Sounds simple yet I don’t seem to achieve it.  But I’ve decided to take back control.  It is as simple as saying No.  To others when they offer me sweets or biscuits.  But most importantly to myself when I reach for food I don’t need.

What tools will I use to help me in gaining control?  Well outing myself on the interweb is one – I hope it makes me accountable.

What I really enjoyed about Weight Watchers was the thinking was done for me – I had meal plans which told me what to eat each and every day for 3 months.  It’s harder now that I have kids and have to take into account their likes and dislikes come meal times because I just cannot make multiple meals for the family.  The other thing it did was encourage me to keep track of the food I was eating.

I can achieve the same thing for free via Calorie King.  You set how much weight you want to lose and it sets a target calorie intake for a day.  You record your meals against for that day and see how you are progressing.  There are recipes, articles and forums.  The database of food is pretty good.

There’s also Weigh It Up – the group that was behind Channel 10’s Million Kilo Challenge earlier this year.  I’m sure they are connected to a health brand (Swisse from memory) but it sets out meal plans and exercise for 8 weeks of weight loss.  I’ve taken ideas from here but found it hard trying to juggle the various dietary requirements in the house.  And just recently I subscribed to Healthy Eating Planner on Facebook – they have weekly menu plans and regular motivational posts.

So how did I go today?  My calorie budget was 1460.  I snacked on a banana and mixed nuts but had lunch at a local cafe of a chicken burger with a few chips.  I came in at 1419 calories.  So far, so good.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Real Life Wednesday

Hypothetically speaking….

What might happen when a child gets an imitation brand birthday gift that’s not as good as the real thing?  Normally the mother might say nothing and encourage her kids to see the good in what they got (after all the kids get invited to so many parties and the mother understands that it can get expensive).

What happens then when the imitation brand gift is from someone who brags about their several investment properties, and clever tax accountants who ground her husband’s very substantial income down so low she gets the Child Care Benefit?

It’s just possible that when putting this gift together the mother remembers this and could be inclined to mutter about the rubbish instructions, the poor design, the fact that the pieces won’t stay together and in some instances fly off all by themselves.  She might even be heard to call it cheap.

What happens when the recipient of this gift is at another child’s birthday party and spots the very same present given to this birthday boy?

He might be heard to tell the giver of the present “You shouldn’t buy that stuff, it’s cheap and doesn’t stay together”.

His mother might be heard to say his name sharply and then shake her head at him and later on explain why he shouldn’t say those words and instead focus on the things he really like about that gift.

Hypothetically speaking of course.

I’m linking up with Kate from Picklebums for Real Life Wednesday.

Real Life Wednesdays

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net