Since arriving back at our home the kids have been making good use of the extra space afforded by a house as opposed to living on a bus by hiding and jumping out at each other from under beds or behind doors when it looks like they’re going to get found.
“You’re funny,” Miss6 told Master13 once he’d stopped swinging her around and she’d stopped giggling.
“Thank you,” he said, sounding a little taken aback by the rather nice acknowledgment.
“I mean your face.”
There’s an excitement here amongst the kids which is infectious.
They’ve been moving their beds from room to room to work out where and with whom to share a room, rediscovering old toys we couldn’t take with us eighteen months ago and cooking apple & raspberry crumble and sponge cakes, all while Tracey and I have been cleaning fans and walls. And best of all we aren’t all having to push past each other with hissing cuss flavoured mutterings of frustration.
Don’t get me wrong, I hate it. I hate not being parked up at a showground, waking up to the whispers of my kids at the front of the bus trying to decide who’s going to be sacrificed on the alter of asking-Dad-for-permission-to-play-electronics.
But I am loving my house.
Especially our bedroom with its closable door and ceiling we can’t touch lying or even ‘sitting’ in bed. Much better than a tent. Especially in winter. This is one aspect of being home I fully intend taking advantage of these next seven months.
If I’m honest, I was dreading pulling up our big lap progress even when Tracey told me she had a good reason.
“You made a promise,” she reminded me. When negotiating our trip I’d assured Miss11 she could finish her primary school years with her class, since they would all be going off to one of five different high schools in G-town. “You can’t back down.”
“You say can’t, I say shouldn’t,” I said, mentally kicking the wall like a petulant six year old. “And by the way, when I said she could finish the year with them I meant the last week or two, not half a year.”
But once I’d gotten over myself – I’m fast forwarding weeks here, not hours – I suddenly found a heap of good reasons to need to be home for a bit.
Firstly, as already noted, our bedroom isn’t a cold tent with a blow up mattress.
Secondly, I need to spend time with my physio because I rather hilariously have golfers elbow, plus a fresh hell called trigger finger. Again, hilarious for someone who is not a fan of guns. On the bright side, neither of these things require booking in to an ICU so winning.
Thirdly, the kids’ rooms aren’t in our bedroom and their beds aren’t under or next to ours.
Fourthly, our son announced a little while ago he has a transfer to Brisbane, so we need to prepare our house for renting out. At this point we’re tossing up permanent rental vs listing the place on Stayz. Money-wise we think it’ll be about the same, but the advantage we see in casual renting is being able to come home anytime we like without kicking anyone out and not having to store the few furnishing we have left. While we think about that we’re doing some maintenance around the place. Painting and floor coverings. That sort of thing.
Fifthly, being able to spend some alone time in our bedroom without kids. I love our kids. So much. But not being able to hear them breathing when they’re asleep and listening out for a change in rhythm which means they’re possibly awake so we have to stop our rhythm is a wonderful and hitherto underrated thing.
Sixthly, we’ve got some ideas for the bus which we think will make it even more comfortable on our journey. Things like improving storage and adding solar and a cartridge loo so we can free camp when we need to as we head for WA, and installing seats with over the shoulder seatbelts instead of the majority lap belts we have at the moment. We’re even looking at blinds and maybe an awning.
Seventhly – and this is the biggy – seeing our family and friends. This is huge. Huger even than points one, three and five.
Well, maybe huge is the wrong word, but certainly nothing to be ashamed or self-conscious of and I’ve never had any complaints. What were we discussing again?
Seriously though, thank goodness for social media these days for keeping in touch, but at the end of the day there’s nothing like a big ol’ hug from Grandma or Nanny. Or my buddy Luke. I miss people who know me and like me anyway.
And the kids really do miss their friends too.
We were an hour and a half out of Gympie, coming from Ballina, when we announced to our munchkins we weren’t stopping for a couple of nights in Brisbane after all and were driving through to home. There were tears.
Followed by the kids all saying why they couldn’t wait to get back – most of which I’ve covered in that seventh point. Although there was this one other thing Miss8 brought up.
“I miss watching our apple thing!!” she squealed over-excitedly from behind me in her seat. That girl can hit notes which make me wonder if the tinting is the only thing stopping our windows from shattering.
After regaining control of the bus I decided that was a really odd comment.
“We’ve got all our Apple things with us,” I called back. “Computers. Laptops. Pods. Pads. Phones.”
“No, the other apple thing.”
“Of course!” I exclaimed a few moments later. “Apple TV!”
I’d forgotten all about it. We don’t have a television on the bus. We tend to watch Netflix and Stan and Youtube and Curiosity Stream these days.
“No, the other apple thing.”
“You’ve lost me,” I admitted after some more thought. “I can’t think of any other Apple product we’ve ever owned. You sure you don’t mean the iPods? You haven’t used them for a while but they’re here somewhere.” With a exasperated tone she assured me she didn’t. “Well, can you tell me what you used it for? I know for a fact that’s all the Apple things I’ve ever bought.”
And moments later I had to admit I was 100% wrong. There was another apple product I’d completely forgotten about which we used to use all the time.
“You know,” she said, “the apple thing to take the skin off apples and remove the yucky bit with seeds.”
Raising a family on little more than laughs
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