Justin Cawthorne dot com

read, write, ramble

Author: Justin (Page 1 of 24)

April 7

It’s the last day of school, which is good for so many reasons (no having to prepare lunches, kids can relax and stop giving me grief, roads will be nice and clear, etc).

Rach’s ear piercing has been bothering her since she returned from Melbourne. The pain is making her so nauseous that she leaves work almost as soon as arriving so she can head into the city and get it replaced. She does not return to work.

For our Fridate with Seb I decide to compile a playlist of short horror films to give us something different to watch. The list goes down well, with several definite highlights, even though we don’t have enough time to get to the end. If you want to check it out, here you go.

Meanwhile the Elderbeast is so exhausted by the last term at school that he spends the entire evening in his room, with the lights off, reading on his iPad.

I go to bed glad it’s the weekend, looking forward to seeing friends, and with absolutely no idea of what’s about to happen …

April 6

Rach is back at work today, but I have so many meetings that we barely see each other. After dinner she heads off to the gym: she has returned from Melbourne determined to start a newer, healthier routine. She must be very committed as it’s nearly three hours before she returns home.

Meanwhile, despite yesterday’s chat, the Elderbeast gives me the usual grief when I try to get him to do his work. He eventually does it, but the effort is exhausting.

April 5

Kids have a bizarre desire to get to school early, which is a switch. I gladly indulge them and then head off to work. I cram as much catching up into my day as I can, then leave at 2:30 for the school run. The Elderbeast, once again, heads off to his friend’s house. The Kinderbeast and I to travel to Woodman Point for some Pokemon hunting–enough, in fact, to get me up to Level 11.

The Elderbeast’s attitude is, sadly, little better than last night, resulting in another thoroughly exhausting evening. There is, however, some light at the end of the tunnel: after all of it, he tells me that he’s sad at the way he’s behaved. I urge him to remember that next time, and tell him I’m pretty impressed by his self-awareness. There have been times when I worry that he just doesn’t care, but that’s clearly not the case. This admission gives us something to work with.

Finally, long after the kids have gone to bed, Rach returns from her trip to Melbourne.


April 4

I get woken up twice in the night, by the Kinderbeast, and wake up massively tired. Somehow I still manage to get up for my morning shift (continuing the rewrite of 1-UP). It’s PEAC day for the Elderbeast, but he resists going. It’s obviously going to be one of those weeks with him. Luckily the school holidays are pending, which will give us both a chance to relax.

After dropping the Elderbeast at PEAC I head to work and instantly wonder why I bothered: I’m zombie tired, and will have to leave again in less than two hours to collect the Elderbeast from PEAC, and will then have to finish the day at 2:30 for the school run. I figure I may as well work from home for the afternoon.

It’s a good decision. I manage to get a lot of things out of the way.

I pick the Kinderbesten up from the school. The Elderbeast heads off with a friend, so the Kinderbeast and I stroll slowly back, via the playground, and catch some Pokemon on the way. In doing so I manage to exhaust both my phone battery and my remaining energy levels.

Somehow I manage to cook both meat sauce and banana bread, all while enduring the Elderbeast at his maximum level of entitled brattiness. Finally things calm down and bedtime arrives.

The Story I submitted yesterday, Between The Devil & The Comfy Chair, got rejected quicker than a Dan Brown novel on a Booker Prize short list. It was auto-rejected for being over the word limit, so I manage to cut the other 300 words out and submit it again. It’s a good exercise, cutting just over 10% out of the story, and it reminds me of the advice Stephen King shared in On Writing, which was, indeed, to try and cut 10% out with each rewrite.

But how long until you end up cutting the whole story out …?

April 3

With the kinderbesten to myself all weekend, I’ve planned ahead and booked this Monday off work for some well-earned respite. Almost on a whim I finally download Pokemon Go, thinking that it will give Rach and something to do together when she gets back from Melbourne (among my wife and all of my friends, I’m just about only holdout when it comes to Pokemon Go).

I head off to Freo for some breakfast at Chalkie’s and deliberately park on the other side of Esplanade park thinking it will give me the chance to hit up some Pokestops. It begins so quickly …

Breakfast is awesome, and I take the time to catch up on my diary posts. Then I walk back to the car and hit up some Pokestops. I realise I’m quite enjoying getting stuck into the game.

Back home I start a rewrite of an older story of my called 1-UP–there’s an upcoming anthology that it might be suitable for. I collect the kinderbesten from school and get a resounding ‘yes’ when I suggest we head off to Woodman Point to do some Pokehunting.

Despite all this, when we get home the Elderbeast still puts up mountains of resistance when it comes to doing his homework. I have limited capacity to enter into battle with him.

Meanwhile the Kinderbeast is in the front room playing Just Dance as I dish up dinner. I hear him sniffing. A minute later he comes out and asks me if he has a ‘blood nose’. Given that he now resembles one of the vampires from 30 Days Of Night I’m forced to say yes. I grab some kitchen roll and try to soak up some of the blood. I then grab some more kitchen roll. The blood is starting to drip over the kitchen floor, so I engineer a swift relocation to the bathroom (stupidly not bringing the kitchen roll with me). The blood is not stopping. I grab a flannel and get the Kinderbeast to hold it under his nose. It’s not enough. I get him to hold his head over the bath, just so the blood has somewhere to go. I’m shocked to see how freely it’s flowing, now that he’s not holding any tissues or flannels under it. Within a minute there’s a small river of blood flowing towards the drain. It’s not a nosebleed, it’s a bloodflood! I start to think that hospital might have to be involved.

I leave him briefly in the care of the Elderbeast while I consult the internet. I then return, armed with more kitchen roll, and decide to give it another few minutes to slow down, which it does. Finally, after about ten minutes, it stops. The Kinderbeast is greatly distressed, but pulls it together quickly enough. I give the bath a wipe down, and squeeze out the flannel. The place looks like a crime scene–blood spatter everywhere, water flowing red as I wipe it all down. Finally it’s down and I return to the table to eat my cold dinner.

After the kids have gone to bed I find another anthology that might give a home to my story, Between The Devil & The Comfy Chair. Unfortunately the story is almost 600 words over the specified word limit. I manage to cut 300 words out and send it off to see if they’ll give it a look.

April 2

I decide to skip my Sunday morning shift in favour of reserving energy for the day ahead (I’m still not feeling 100% better). In light of that, the decision to take the kids outside to do some gardening is a particularly foolhardy one. As I alternatively cajole and berate them into doing at least something I start to see the light: nothing ever gets done around the house because I expend at least 80% of my energy trying to get the rest of the family to do things, and end up with minimal energy to do things myself. In the end, however, we still do a pretty decent job of pulling up the jungle of weeds that has developed at the front of the house. I’m reasonably pleased.

After that we head off for a bit of shopping, mainly food for the cats. Outside Coles there is a sausage sizzle going on and I remember with undisguised glee that we have sausages and rolls waiting for us at home! We return home to make eat sausages and watch Moana a second time.

After watching Aliens, the Elderbeast is determined to play Aliens vs Predator on the PS4 (he’s been banned for some time, but I’m ok with him playing it now so long as the Kinderbeast is not around). In any case, he completely fails to play it at any point during the day, which makes things easy.

I watch Zootopia with the Kinderbeast, then make an enormous chicken and cauliflower curry for dinner.

After dinner it’s a rare evening where I have the TV to myself. Naturally I have no idea what to watch. Almost on a whim I select the John Carpenter episode of Masters of Horror. It starts off in a fairly safe place, but then goes well out there by the end. Naturally this is one of the evenings when the kinderbesten keep emerging from their covers (almost catching a decapitation scene at one point!) but they settle down eventually. It means that the 50 minute episode takes me the whole evening to watch though. C’est la vie…

April 1

Rach’s flight means getting up at stupid-o’clock. Luckily her Mum has offered to drive to the airport, so I don’t need to turf the kids out of bed, which would be needless stress right before a holiday. Inevitably I head back to bed once she has left.

The first day of #singleparentlyfe proceeds excellently–other than the Kinderbeast getting up early and destroying my attempted lie-in. We bake some brownies. Then we watch Moana (which takes me about half an hour to find as Rach has left it in an otherwise empty Target bag amid her clothes on the bedroom floor). Moana is excellent and we all love it.

Then, by popular demand, I am subjected to a round of The Game Of Life, which I lose as surely as a one-armed man in an archery contest. For dinner I treat myself and the Elderbeast to some steak. It’s a while since I’ve cooked steak, but I haven’t lost it. It’s delicious.

Finally, once the Kinderbeast has been settled in bed, it’s time for the real highlight of the weekend: introducing the Elderbeast to Aliens!

I’ve decided in the last few months that he’s ready for it, but I take time to explain that if he gets scared at any point then we can turn it off right away. I needn’t have worried: he loves it and is competely enrapt throughout.

  • Chestburster scene? “Gnarly!”
  • Burke getting finished off by an alien? “That alien deserves a promotion!”
  • The queen alien taking off after Ripley and Newt? “I guess she’s out of her stay-at-home-mum phase now…”

He already wants to watch it again…

March 31

I make it back to work today, mainly to try and catch up on all the things I’m falling behind on. Obviously I make certain I’m no longer contagious first: I don’t want to be that guy. Rach takes the day off to do her packing for Melbourne.

Seems to be the day for absences. Only half the team is in. I feel particularly terrible at around 3pm and wonder if I should head home, but the day is nearly over so I persist and start to feel less worse. Before we all go home our manager gives us each a bottle of wine and personal note to thank us for our work on delivering the project. It’s a Very Nice Touch and makes me feel all warm and gooey inside.


Highlight of Fridate, either than seeing the Glorious Seb, is our first viewing of the It trailer. Damn, but I think they might just do that book justice…

March 30

I force myself to take the day off work. I’m headachy and tired. Not sure if it’s a bug or not, but I’m not going to be the one to spread it around the office. Rach takes the kids to school and I go straight to bed where I read for a bit and then zonk out.

I offer to collect the kids from school, but Beryl (Rach’s Nan) offers to get them instead. Which is good, because I’m really not up to the effort. I retreat back to bed. Where I sleep.

I remain in bed. Repeated doses of panadol barely touch my persistent headache, but I’m too lacking in energy to even be that bothered. After the kids have gone to bed I crawl out to the sofa and we watch the first episode of Iron Fist.

It’s a curious show, given the quality of Marvel’s other Netflix shows. It’s like they wrote a first draft and didn’t go any further. Almost nothing happens, apart from the main character being a bit of a creepy stalker guy, and then being surprised when no one trusts him. Despite that, I find that I quite enjoyed it.

I then return to bed. Where I sleep.

March 29

Today is Wednesday. I made banana bread.

That was the sum total of my notes.

(Gee, last Wednesday was really memorable.)

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