Sunday, February 26, 2012

We Dared

Last Friday night Mrs Socks and I entered our first race.

It wasn't purely a running race so we thought it was a good way to ease in the the running community. It was part Amazing Race - part scavenger hunt - part running race. We had no real expectations having never done anything like this (not counting year 5 cross country where I finished third for my age...).

Our preparations even went as far as buying a wearable head lamp (think cave explorers). Our back pack was full of things from the organisers suggested list - 2L+ of water; Powerades; $5 cash; towels; notebook; pen; 1 mobile phone; Go Card x 2 (public transport pass). There were prizes for 'dressing up' but we didn't have enough time (or guts) to do so. As we left home the heavens opened so we got ponchos at a corner store. ALL SET!!

Brisbane City Raid - - - here we come!!

We arrived pretty much on time - for us this only ever happens when we have no kids [Thanks Pat :)]. And there were already good number of competitors studying there course maps --> only available 45 minutes before the start. We got our numbers - 73 thank you very much - and proceeded to look around nervously and copy what other people seemed to be doing...

After a few minutes we got a grip on how the map and clues worked and started making plans - it was about ten minutes into this that I actually felt like I had a vague idea of what we were about to do. I definitely wouldn't say we were confident - but we felt we could get to a few of the checkpoints and back to HQ again within three hours. Deep Breath.

I can't even remember if there was a starters gun but before we knew it we were racing to the nearest train station - firm on our plan. All good - got on an earlier train than we had hoped. Got off two stops later jog to first check point; start looking; rain rain rain. 5 minutes in we're still in high hopes. After twenty minutes in the same spot scouring what we thought was every inch of the surrounds we had a moment that the producers of the 'amazing race' tv show must LOVE. If we were on TV the cameraman would have shown us running and then as we passed him, he would have lowered his view to our ankles and focused on the check point marker (a small white plumbing tube on the ground) as we raced off ahead yelling at each other...

Anyway once we eventually doubled back over the whole area several times we found it YAY - checkpoint 39 - dam you for taking so long but thanks for being our first. After that everything went pretty well - we ate dry weet-bix, did rock climbing, untangled word and number puzzles, caught a city cat (ferry) three trains and did a personal training session of 50 sit ups in 1 minute, 200 punches in a minute, 100 skips in a minute and a one minute wall sit. We deciphered clues, found the price of the steak at an award winning restaurant and almosrt attend the QUT toga party in the gardens...! (oh to be 18 again)

A soaked race map, race number and train timetable

It rained the whole time - even with the ponchos we got saturated - but loved it. Mrs Socks was awesome she ran heaps and had the brains to guide us skillfully around via the map. I was very proud of all her running - love you baby xx

We finished two minutes over the deadline which cost us 40 points but we had a great time and got to every checkpoint we had planned to at the start  = = = satisfaction.

We stuck around for the presentations (mainly because there were random draw prizes - not because we were expecting to place). As it happens we didn't place top three in either the mens, women's or mixed team categories. We didn't even win the fancy dress prizes or the funny team name prize... and alas not random prizes either, but it was nice to be part of the atmosphere.

Today the full results came out - check us out here - TEAM KAYGAN - 820 points - 49th overall (out of 101 teams).

I'd break it down like this.
- TOP 50
- TOP Half
- TOP 25 for mixed teams
- TOP Half for mixed teams

And I reckon pretty bloody good for people who have never raced or done anything like this before...

We'll be back next year.

From the pair of rockers with two pairs of wet socks.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Its okay to break things


Sometimes its better I throw stuff around rather than the kids. My kids are my favourite thing in life and generally provide all my highlights. As per my profile however - they take me to extremes at both ends. And as a trusty Gemini I am by nature an extremist [extremely excitable then suddenly extremely enraged] this is a feature that definitely has come out more since I've been a father.

It's my problem really - not theirs. Somehow I let all the little things (and they're really nothing) build up until I explode.

Example of consecutive 'little things';
- #3 wee's on the ground
- #2 lets #4 get the pens
- #4 draws on the couch
- #1 and #3 have a screaming match about wanting to read the same book
- #3 spills milk (not even the wise old saying can stop me by now...)
- #1, #2, #3, #4 leave toys and paper everywhere all over the ground in three rooms
- #2 asks me for food about 111 times in a row after I have just made him a sandwich

So I yell a bit - it doesn't really make me feel any better - in fact - I feel worse. So I remove myself from the area. Breathe...


Not long ago I got all the files taken off an old laptop that would start anymore.

On one of these days where all the little things added up I spotted above mentioned dead LG and decided to let it have it...!

It did feel good to launch it as hard as I could into the ground - it didn't shatter as much as I thought (and hoped) it might. So I gave it a few more whacks. It's okay to break things - just not your kids...

It should be noted that I'm recalling this story with a lot of "laugh at yourself" reflection and am feeling very chilled today. Today even as a solo parent we have had a walk to the shops (we = Dad + 4 kids) and had a smooth lunch. Now the kids are even reading to each other *JOY*.

I am interrupted as I type by rain - I am so chilled today that i allowed the following to occur (very unusual for me...)


Puddles <--- click me for You Tube fun

Love you kids - I know your socks will always rock!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Our Dunny in Paris

Be warned this post may not be as interesting as the title...

My wife and I recently moved our family interstate. It's a big deal moving interstate. I know, I know, we're not the first family to do it - I'm sure we're not even the first family with four kids 6 y/o and under to do it. But none the less it was a big deal for us (side note - we have moved interstate on three previous occasions......... important to note that each of those was on the company account [read very cruisey and free]).

This post is not about the move although it was fun and there were some adventures had. OK I will make one very quick mention - - - if ever you drive from Adelaide to Brisbane via Broken Hill be sure you stop at the Mt Bryan Hotel and eat dinner at the counter and chat to the locals. Very warm and welcoming and if you're feeling game mention wind farming...

So back to our Dunny in Paris.

Often when moving house (local, interstate or overseas) it takes a while to fully unpack in the new house. Generally we seem to do 50% of the unpacking in the first 24 hours - - - think, beds, fridges, cutlery, crockery, clothes. Then the next 30% is done over the next 24 hours - - - think, kids toys, more bedding, chairs, couches, tabels, drawers. However the remaining 20% seems to drag out over the next two months. C'mon who here hasn't got a box or two that has never been unpacked from your last two (or maybe three) moves...

It has now been a smidge off 5 weeks since we moved in and I am up to wall hangings (photos, paintings, corkboards etc). One always looks for preexisting hooks and nails so that one doesn't have the responsibility of finding that elusive stud in the wall from which to hang the important artworks of the household (think Blue Poles less about $1mill). One hook that I found was in the toilet;

It's the small touches that make a house a home.

In other news our new home is also a wildlife sanctuary. Many fauna reside in and around our little place. Most commonly sighted are house geckos (opaque with bludgey black eyes) and I asked the kids to name them. It started with Lizzie (a good start although not all that left of field), then came Yellow. After a while we realised that Apple (this one I named and reasoning may become more apparent later) and lastly Orange joined the crew - unsure of whether my son based this name on Yellow or Apple (or just because it is his favourite colour - or something else completely random). 

Yesterday to my wife's absolute disgust the neighbour showed us two baby Brown Snakes in his front yard - not great. A closer inspection of our property reveals about 47,000 possible hiding places for snakes so thats comforting - NOT!

We also have a good collection of toads (mainly seen at night), bugs, birds, mozzies and crickets. Ants too; lots of ants.

Pretty sure this is Lizzie and Yellow

Lastly - the JOB hunt. So it took a little longer than I would have liked but I am now gainfully employed or I will be by the 27th of this month. Actually as I type this I am anxiously waiting for a courier to arrive with my contract - my employer would like me to return it to them today via post so that I can start next week - I really really want to start next week.

Lessons from this experience - no amount of staring at a phone or computer screen make calls and emails come any quicker (you'd think I would have learned this from Bridget Jones' Diary already.) This also applies to leaving your front door open and checking the letter box repeatedly. Which brings me to another lesson - - - if your house is hot and you don't have mod cons like Air Con and only have one ceiling fan in the house and you like to walk around in just your undies (really adding to the feeling of unemployment) in order to stay cool BUT you are waiting on a courier to arrive at your open front door; put on some precautionary pants - thats all I'm saying.

Til next time - may your socks rock!


Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Artist and the Inventor

I feeling like starting all my blogs with "So you know when the kids do / say... etc etc"

So I will.

So you know how kids say the most adorable amazing things - often completely out of left field. Well this happened to me this week (maybe Thursday morning).

Our family is moving back to Brisbane in January and we've been letting the kids in on it bit by bit. Some stuff they understand - like we'll be closer to Nan and Grandad and living in our old house (old in more ways than one unfortunately). Some stuff they don't get, for example, "O" told me all the people he wanted at his next Birthday party [which occurs when we're back in Bris] and listed all this Adelaide friends...

On the particular morning in question I was explaining to "S" & "O" how I'll be getting a new job - this fascinated them as I have worked at my organisation for over 17 years - given they are 6 yrs and 4 yrs it is needless to say that they have only ever know me to work at YYYY (not it's real name... =]). So they asked if I would do the same job as now but just be in Brisbane - I said no, a different job. They said will you just work for PPPP (a different brand of YYYY's that I worked in previously - and again I explained, no it will be a different job altogether with a different organisation.

They thought on this for a few moments.

I told them I was looking for a job in Brisbane and could do lots of different things but just not what I was doing now (all that they'd ever know of me). Then "O" says carefully, "You could be an inventor". He was completely serious. A moment later "S" advises me that I could be an Artist; she was full of confidence in her Daddy.

I looked at them both and felt such a sense of pride (after the initial amazement) - a parent wants to instil a sense of aspiration in their kids; the 'If I work hard I can be anything I want' mindset and here they were expecting that for me - suggesting creative and intelligent career options for me; reminding me to dream big and be the best that I can be. Gotta love 'em.

I can be anything I want to be - although those that know me best may be surprised to see me being an Artist and Inventor.

Thanks for the inspiration kids!


Friday, November 25, 2011


Morning World

I woke to a bed full of children this morning. On my mind was the inside of my eyelids. 

Somewhere behind that were thoughts of getting up and exercising - of making something of the day - of making something the of weekend. Further back but quite strong were thoughts of change - of moving - of how will we make it happen?

Then to help me out of my slumber (but not by request) a book about bears was thrust upon my face as the body of a 4 year old boy was thrust onto my tummy - oommfff. Once I get got over the shock it made me smile; so I read to him about Borris, Billy, Bertha (and many other "B" bears). Its actually a nice way to start a day.

Exercise = not right now (if at all today...)

We head out of mummy and daddy's room with breakfast on our minds - oh, and there's another child in a cot somewhere. My mistake was to set the others up for breakky whilst the 2nd youngest entertained Willow in her cot... outcome below - hilarious and infuriating at the same time: I choose to let hilarious win out and pluck Willow up for her nappy change - the mess can wait (a life motto of mine it seems).

So somewhere in between the nappy and writing this we've all had breakfast, mummy has been to the gym and I've vacuumed the living area and kitchen and then given the kids morning tea after they watched 2 DVD's. 

Who knows what the rest of the day will hold...!

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Welcome back to the occasionally (ever so occasionally) rockin' socks blog.

It seems I have not blogged for about 10 months; in that time the following has happened;

  • Took a team from my work to compete in the national finals of the KFC Olympics
  • MC'd the awards dinner at the above (rocked it!)
  • Turned a year older
  • Watched a lot of late night TV (Loving Parks & Recreation among others)
  • Got an iPhone
  • Got addicted to Twitter
  • Had a huge 3 week driving holiday (7,000kms & 4 states)
  • Became (even more) proud of my wife as she nails her fitness kick (goodbye 28kgs)
  • Went to a great mates great wedding
  • Watched with pride as my daughter learnt to ride a bike!

I'll probably try to blog a bit more moving forward...

Monday, January 17, 2011


- Got new wheels and bearings for my mal-skate. It's good to get back out and cruise around. Need to be on a bit more to get some of my old tricks back...

- Going to a golf driving range tomorrow - should be fun, haven't done that in years!

- Is $100 a lot to pay for meeting room hire for only 4 hours?

- Mem Fox is a very good children's author

- Jodi Picoult is a very good grown ups author

Happy Monday - may your socks keep rocking...

S t R