How to Survive a Heatwave with Your Kids

It’s a little hot in the EG Lair today.


In this type of weather, no-one is a happy camper.

We don’t have aircon, and we’re OK with that. It used to be only a few days each Summer that actually required serious cooling down, and on those days we would drive to the closest shopping centre. 

But the hot days are increasing in numbers and intensity. To put it simply, we are having heatwaves. And more of them.

Want proof? Sydney has just broken a 125-year-old record of the most days in Summer breaking 35C (about 95F?).

I’m not a Summer kind of gal. The spawnlings handle it far better than I do, but even they are having trouble sleeping and keeping calm in the sibling battles.

So here are my Top Five Tips For Surviving A Heatwave:

  1. Get thee to a shopping centre–or swimming pool, local library, or the like. Something indoors. Outside options, including the beach, still come with a high risk of heat exhaustion. Movies are good, so are cafes and food courts. Seriously.
  2. Freeze your Fabrics–EG Grandma always puts damp washers in the freezer and they are perfect for calming the odd overheated moment (or seven). Then I moved to Central Queensland and learnt about putting your underwear in the freezer. GENIUS!! It doesn’t last long, but that immediate relief is worth it. Plus the spawnlings love the idea of undies in the freezer!
  3. Ice-creams in your bottle-shop–for those not from Aust, our “liquor stores” are known as bottle-o’s with GIANT fridge sections to keep the beer cold. Often they are located right next door to the corner shop or convenience store. Buy your ice-cream at the shop, walk next door and “peruse” the beers until your ice-cream is finished. You may want to consider buying one for the bottle-o attendant. Just in case they aren’t initially sympathetic. 
  4. Re-appropriate a kiddies pool–you know you’re just a big kid anyway. Fill the kiddies pool with water and a few dozen ice-cubes and chill out. If you place it right, you can even set it up near the TV, with ice cold drinks around you.
  5. Frozen rice–this one is for bed time. You know that wheat pack you have, for all those aches and pains? This works in the same way. Put a cup of rice in a clean sock, tie it off, and throw in the freezer. After at least an hour, you can put in bed to cool the sheets for an easier sleep. Rice won’t melt and make a mess, but does retain cold very well (thanks to Sharlene Hensler for reminding me about this one. Good minion)

Hopefully the heatwave in Aust won’t go too much longer, but each year just keeps hitting more and more extremes. That’s why it is so important we keep our cool while we convince the rest of the world to come to the climate change party.

Stay cool minions. 

The Dental Cost of Pregnancy

I cracked a tooth. 

Eating toasted fruit loaf. 

And not some Han Solo in Carbonite level toasting. I’m talking lowest dial on the toaster. Warmed enough to melt the butter. With a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. 

To be fair, I cracked the filling. Yes, I have fillings. I have really dodgy teeth. Despite brushing twice a day, flossing, and avoiding a lot of the really sticky sweets like toffee apples and Chupa Chups. I still have dodgy teeth. 


Here’s something they don’t tell you until AFTER you become the vessel for some spawnling: pregnancy is really bad for your teeth.

So here I am at the dentist. The day after The Crackin’ (I like that …) because they couldn’t give me a seat until the next day.


I haven’t eaten. I haven’t had a cuppa tea. I am not a happy camper. It’s not like the benchmark is high; I am yet to meet a person who enjoys going to the dentist. But today I’m a little more grizzly than usual.

And the dentist senses that. I see him flex his fingers, wary of putting them anywhere near my choppers–except for the fact I need his fingers working to fix my tooth.

“So how many kids do you have?”

Three spawnlings.

“You know, you can kind of blame them for some of this tooth decay…”

And with that little sentence, he has rocketed into first place of all the greatest dentists. Ever.

Now let’s get something straight: dental hygiene is more important than you probably give it credit.

Most of us know the routine; brush twice a day, floss daily, rinse after every meal, avoid sticky sweets. 

There are also heaps of unsubstantiated stories of why pregnancy effects your teeth; the baby leeches your calcium, mum’s too busy to brush, morning sickness brings too much acid to your mouth, excess blood in the gums increases your risk for gingivitis.

The thing is, some of these are kind of true…and there’s not enough detailed research to confirm anything. Typical of any pregnancy-related research.

So which parts can I blame on my spawnlings?

  • Babies leech your calcium reserves during pregnancy: true but when they do, it will come from your bones first. Apparently, any leech-able calcium in your mouth is found first in your saliva, not your teeth. While small in quota, any calcium in your saliva is beneficial for coating your teeth and adding to the enamel protecting your pearlers. If your teeth are losing any of their structure, your problems go far beyond the symbiotic relationship with your unborn;
  • Morning sickness rots your teeth: true in that morning sickness… No ALL-DAY sickness will upchuck more acid into your mouth, throwing out the delicate balance of bacteria-fighting acid and enamel-protection. Add to this any reduction in the calcium in your saliva, and Holy Teeth, Batman! 
  • Extra blood increases your chance of gingivitis: true, for some but not a blanket concern. Increased blood flow can make your gums swell and bleed in pregnancy, but this is also because of a build up of plaque. Vicious cycle–you can’t brush your teeth properly because your gums are bleeding, but then the plaque builds up and causes your gums to bleed. Add those pesky pregnancy hormones to the mix and your gums are even MORE susceptible to infection. 

Here’s a bonus for you: the pregnancy hormone Relaxin loosens up your ligaments. ALL of your ligaments. Including the ligaments supporting your jaw. So when you’re lying in the dentist chair with your mouth wide open, be aware how loose your jaw will be… 

I found out the hard way, at 2am when I dislocated my jaw yawning. Yes – yawning. The day after a long session in the dentists chair, my jaw was so loose it was dislocating every time I yawned. 

So what have I learnt from all of this? Pregnancy is a bitch. Sure, I could go with the wise dentist and blame it on the spawnlings but I reckon that gives them far more credit than they deserve.

The truth with pregnancy is we are not just vessels. We are powerful creators! We are investors in the future, giving ourselves to whatever may come from it. Sometimes that cost can be way too high. It is not always the glowing experience romanticised in marketing campaigns.

In the meantime, my dentist and I are working on a dental management plan. My teeth may not improve, but I have no intention of allowing them to get any worse. 


And The Crackin’? Well, that’s just a reminder of how much I have invested already. 

Yeah, my spawnlings are so sweet they give me toothaches. 

My Spawnlings Drive Me Crazy

There comes a time in every parents’ life when they look at their precious little spawnlings and say to themselves, “Good Gods in Hades. What have I created?”

I used to think our spawnlings take after their father, with a healthy dose of my dry wit to keep them fresh and alert. I now realise how wrong I am, and worse still: It is all my own fault.

This realisation came to me last Thursday when the EG Mobile broke.

my-spawnlings-drive-me-crazy

Short story: Zaltu and I started driving home from the doctors’ (just a check-up) and the battery light comes up on the dash. By the time we have covered the 5km back to our home, every light is on and I have lost power steering. I am still surprised I maneuvered that tank up our driveway.

Because I was able to drive it (and other factors), we figured it was the alternator, not the battery. I called a mobile mechanic, who would be there the next day. No problem. I can walk to school to pick up the boys, and we’ll just miss martial arts that day.

Sinister was first to meet us at the school-gate.

We’re not going to martial arts today, buddy.

“Why not?”

The car’s broken.

“What did you do to it this time?!?”

Now, given he has a fairly good reason for this response. In the last 3 years, I have sideswiped 2 poles. Two stationary cement poles. The first was totally my fault for not checking my mirrors when backing out of a carpark space. The second was totally not my fault since another car was heading straight for me and the only space I had was to scrape the damn pole. I know I should have let the guy hit us for insurance purposes, but since he over-corrected and started heading for Nefarious’ door I think the pole was the better option.

Prior to these events, I have never NEVER crashed my car.

But the spawnlings don’t know this. They just think their incubator shouldn’t drive near cement poles.

For the record, spawnling, I did nothing to the car. The alternator died and needs replacing.

“The alternator? Is that like a fancy word for ‘passenger side door that was taken off by a cement pole’?”

trolling-meAnd there you have it, folks. Sinister is my own personal troll. That’s exactly the same sarcastic wit I have been using as my primary language for the last 40-odd years. Clearly he does listen to me… At times.

Nefarious was next to join us, and I told him the same: Not going to martial arts because the car is broken.

“What did you do to it this time, mum?”

Sinister: “Hey, that’s what I said!”

I can’t even be mad at them. Not only have I created the scenario, but I have total admiration for their quick wit. Both of them.

Suffice to say, both spawnlings have lived to tell the tale to their father, who is conveniently away in the US for work and thus a safe distance to laugh long and hard at his poor suffering wife.

 

Edit: BTW–This isn’t the first time EG Dad has been absent during a household Chaos-Event. Last time was the Broken Wrist v Broken Fridge event. Convenient, don’t you think?

 

Microsoft Xbox Fanfest: Sydney 2016

The next big event on my social calendar work-duty list is the EB Games Expo, starting next week on Friday 30 September. I’m heading in for the day, under the codename “Official GeekMom Writer”, which should improve my chances of scoring some playtime with ‘yet-to-be-released’ computer games. My preview expectations is up on GeekDad/GeekMom.

In the meantime, Microsoft is doing their own special lead-up to the Expo with Xbox Fanfest: Sydney 2016.

xbox-fanfest

The Good News: Fanfest is totally free. I kid you not. This is a free event and it comes with some pretty cool stuff. More on that in a minute.

The Bad News: Tickets are limited to the first 250 people who turn up at the Microsoft Store in Pitt Street Mall at 10.30am Tuesday 27 September. Tickets will be first-come-first-serve, one per person, adult only (no kids AT ALL), and must be there in person ready to go for the next three (3) days.

If you do happen to satisfy all the criteria (including the insanity of lining up early enough to gain the ticket), then you have this to look forward to:

  • A special Forza Horizon 3 launch event at Sydney Dragway (Tuesday afternoon – transport provided);
  • A secret Wednesday activity for Gears of War 4 (late Wednesday afternoon);
  • Exclusive early access to the Xbox booth at EB Games Expo (Thursday night);
  • Fan swag, Xbox fan shirt, and other loot;
  • Meet and greet with some top-notch developers.

Let me know if you score a ticket, Willy Wonka style. If not, don’t stress. There is still EB Games Expo starting on Friday 30 September.

I’ll see you there.

 

Review: Monstrous (The Game)

Out of all the elements of this new game, the one that hooked the spawnlings was:

Throwing Cards Inside

Despite all of their Evil Genius training to take over the world, they are still little spawnlings at heart. Awwwww…

Of course, they also loved the mythical monsters, the references to Greek Mythology, the fantastic artwork, and especially the competition to be the GREATEST OF ALL GODS!! But let’s be honest here: Any game that allows them to break what is usually a standard rule in the house is ALWAYS going to win esteem points in their minds.IMG_0879

Monstrous was sent to me to play and review by Good Games (Australia). The deal was simply to play it with EG Inc and tell Good Games what I thought. They are familiar with my blog and my ever endearing personality – so they know they are going to have an honest and upfront assessment of this game. As will you.

So What Is It?

IT is a ‘tabletop’ game with card-throwing as a key feature. As individuals, 2 to 5 gods can play; as teams, you can have up to 10 gods fighting over the table. The box says “ages 10 and up” but 7yo Nefarious handed me my glorified derriere so I think you can safely include younger spawnlings. Zaltu (2yo) was not invited to play – I’m already at risk of injuring myself. I don’t need to add her to the mix.

monstrous1

Photo by Good Games

 

General Guidelines

All the players are gods (it doesn’t matter which god you are – if someone asks if you are a god, you say YES!). And all the gods are a little miffed about dwindling faith on Earth, with offerings and sacrifices and what-not. So Zeus commands the gods to ‘thrown down some monstrous pets’ and scare a little faith out of the pesky mortals.

The real stars of this game are the monsters – and don’t they look beautiful! I have been a fan of Greek Mythology since I was 8, especially the artistic interpretation of the mythic creatures. Monstrous is true to form.IMG_0900

Each monster has a range of powers to use, and it totally depends on which side up your card lands. There are TRAP powers, MONSTER powers, and LOCATION powers. Some of these powers release a ‘Faith’ count to you. And the god with the most faith at the end of the game wins.

Let’s Play

I’m just going to pre-empt all of this with a single statement: I am an un-coordinated git on the best of days. The spawnlings know this. It’s pretty fair to say I lost the game.

The order of events is like this:

  • Throw a Monster
  • Check for Traps (if you have landed on another monster)
  • Check for Monster powers
  • Check for Location powers
  • Collect your Faith tokens (if any)
  • Draw a card
  • End your turn

IMG_0898So, you set up the Locations. Each god has a Player Card, with instructions and guidelines (very handy). You have your Monster Deck, and your Underworld (discard pile). It is easier standing around the table when you have your turn to throw – if your hand crosses the edge of the table, your throw is discounted and your Monster is discarded to the Underworld. Position is everything; Distractions are hilarious.

See – fairly easy going game, right?

Until you have your spawnlings (and husband) start setting up traps on your closest location.

To be honest, I was surprised at how much room there was for strategy in a game I thought was just ‘card throwing’. Each of the monster powers can be used in unique ways to give you the greatest impact on the table. If you’re a complete klutz like me, Pegasus will be your best friend – he has extra throws. Gorgons have always been, and will always be, absolute b*****s. Land on one of those and your card is GONE. And the Harpy – she steals your Faith, just like the lunch of King Phineus.

However, if you’re fellow gods pick up on your inability to throw a damn card, they are likely to start setting up traps on your more … ‘reachable’ locations. Once trapped, you lose your buddy Pegasus FOREVER!! L

Did we like the game?

Oh, yes! I have never played a game that required throwing things at the table. That’s not to say I haven’t thrown things across the table in frustration, but never as part of the game. This was novel and lots of fun.

There are lots of powers and interactions to keep track of during the game, but the rules and structure of the game are very simple to follow. The spawnlings loved it and have asked for it again next weekend. The best part is, you can change the game with locations and layouts, so maybe next time I will have a chance? Unlikely…IMG_0899

If there was anything I would change about the game, it would be the value of the Faith tokens. They come in 1, 3, 10, 30. I think I can see why they went with these combinations, but for the younger age groups, it adds a little extra work. If we had 1 and 2 value tokens, we would probably need more of them – though, the spawnlings would be faster in calculations.

For a throwing game, the cards are pretty good quality. Good durable card with a smooth glossy finish that won’t fade with wear anytime soon. Even when the Cyclops misjudged his step and went skidding across the table into a nearby wall, he walked away without even a scratch.

Monstrous is available through Good Games, for $39.95. Tell them I said hi. And thanks for the Pegasus.

Pokemon: 20 Years of Taking My Money

For 20 years, Pokemon has been taking my money. 20 YEARS!! Holy crispy Charmander! The calculations are sound: My younger brothers were in the first wave of fans; the Spawnlings are in the current wave. And with the latest money-sucker game now available on my iPhone (Pokemon Go)… well, that’s a lot of money to pay-out over such a sustained period of time. What could possibly appeal to two separate generations and maintain such high levels of fandom?Pokemon-20Bday-Cake-1

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