Toxic Cloud Warning

A MOSY News exclusive

Southern Australia, 8 January 2017

Meteorologists are warning the public of a large testosterone cloud that has emerged in a small area of south-eastern Australia in recent weeks. They are unsure of the reasons for the development of the toxic plume but it is assumed to be caused by the cessation of normal activities in the area.

It is not known what health impacts are likely from exposure to the testosterone cloud but medical experts have issued a warning to anyone living in the area who is genetically female and carries the motherhood gene that there could be moderate to severe psychological effects. Such persons are advised to exit the area whenever possible to reduce exposure. Some relief from symptoms is possible through contact with other genetically female persons not affected by the cloud.

Non-residents are being advised to steer clear of the area.

While climate experts cannot yet fully account for the emergence of the cloud, analysis of historical data would suggest that this is not an entirely new phenomenon and there has been evidence of similar developments in the past. In these cases, the cloud has dissipated by early February which would indicate that the reduction in normal activities in the area is the probable cause of the toxic cloud.

Based on such evidence and despite the unusual size of the current development, it is hoped that this testosterone cloud will dissipate by mid-February. The Bureau of Meteorology advises that the cloud should hold no immediate danger to the wider community but that those living in the area should exercise caution at all times in the coming weeks.

MNN

testosterone-cloud

 

 

 

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The Crumb Wars: A Special Report

The Crumb Wars web

It is now more than eighteen months since our correspondent, Heath Dempster, was evacuated from the Central Republic of Kitchen in the wake of sustained attacks from wardrobe terrorists and continued unrest in the rebel Northern States of Boys Rooms. In this special report, Dempster returns to the region to discover how the people of CRK are faring. He spoke to our presenter Nigel Havestock yesterday.

Heath, it’s so wonderful to speak to you in the CRK again.

Yes, thank you, Nigel. It’s wonderful to be back here.

So, how are you finding it?

It’s very interesting, Nigel. In some ways, things haven’t changed but in others they have changed dramatically – both good and bad.

What’s been happening since you were last there?

Well, you would recall that my earliest reports were in regard to battles between the rebels and government forces in the Bench areas of the country.

Yes, the beginning of the Crumb Wars.

Precisely. There have been some interesting developments. Approximately six months ago, the Leader of the CRK, Mother, initiated a new Sourdough industry in a bid to improve the wellbeing of her citizens.

That sounds wonderful.

One would think so. Unfortunately, what it has done is exacerbate the conditions in the Bench areas and guerrilla attacks of toast crumbs have increased dramatically.

And what has been the response from the government?

That is what is interesting, Nigel. It seems that in order to support the fledgling Sourdough industry, the government has been tolerating these attacks, entering the area only when the rebels have moved on and initiating clean up before the rebels return. This seems to be maintaining some semblance of order while minimising the chance of increased hostilities. And, of course, the Sourdough industry is thriving in response.

What about other areas in the region, Heath? How are they doing?

Unfortunately, the Northern States of Boys Rooms have descended into complete anarchy and chaos. There was some attempt early on to enforce civic order but following extensive carpet bombing by leaders in the Northern States, this has been abandoned. It is unknown just how the citizens are surviving in such conditions but they have been sighted outside the States searching for food.

Heath, last time you were in the CRK there was some tension between the Leader and the Deputy Leader, is that correct?

That’s right, Nigel. Mother had sacked the Deputy Leader, Father, as the Secretary of Cleanliness on suspicion of siding with the rebels.

How is that relationship now?

Nigel, that is the most fascinating of the good news/bad news discoveries on my visit here. You may recall reading of the Leader’s humanitarian visit outside the CRK late last year?

Ah yes, in the wake of the recent earthquakes?

Yes. While she was absent from the CRK, the Deputy Leader was in charge and by all reports did a reasonable job of maintaining services and some civic order. He was particularly active in ensuring the continuation of hygiene and sanitation services, somewhat unusually as he has often spurned offers of ministry portfolios in these areas.

Within days of Mother’s return to the CRK, there was a shocking assassination attempt by a wardrobe terrorist cell, the Clothing Moths, that had been ravaging the country. Fortunately, the assassination attempt failed. However, the Leader was severely injured and unable to resume duties for some months. Father continued in the role, ensuring transport, food provision and sanitation services were maintained throughout the country.

What has been most fascinating, Nigel, is that while Mother has now resumed the leadership of the country, Father has retained his role in coordinating hygiene and sanitation services.

That is fascinating, Heath. Why do you think that is?

I’m not sure, Nigel, but I suspect Mother was not keen to resume control of those ministry areas and Father felt no option but to remain. It will be interesting to see if it continues in the longer term but it does seem to have brought some stability to the region now that the Leader and Deputy Leader appear to be working together for the betterment of their citizens.

Well, Heath, I wish you well on the rest of your visit to the CRK and do keep us posted.

Of course. It’s been a pleasure to talk to you, Nigel.

That was Heath Dempster, our correspondent, reporting from the Central Republic of Kitchen. Heath travelled to the CRK as a special media representative with the United Household Nations.

Want more information? Check out our Crumb Wars archives:

The Crumb Wars: Battle of the Bench

The Crumb Wars 2: Expansion Into The Northern States

The Crumb Wars 3: Abandonment of Civic Order

The Crumb Wars 4: Rice Wars

The Crumb Wars 5: Terror in the Skies

 

 

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A House Full Of Boys Doesn’t Equal A House Full Of Balls

Baby Boys

I am a mother of boys. As in, only boys. Outnumbered in the gender stakes, I have no female allies in the house. (Even the cat is male.)

Mothers of only boys are a unique breed. So much so, there are even clubs you can join to meet other mothers without daughters.

Mothers with both sons and daughters can get a bit narky when you claim special standing for having only boys.

“But we deal with that, too,” they’ll say when you complain of stinky bedrooms and an inherent ability not to notice a household task that needs doing.

Yes, but you also have someone you can nudge when the male offspring are suffering from man-flu and share an eyeroll. Mothers of boys can only eyeroll inwardly.

We will never be the Mother of the Bride or the Maternal Grandmother both of whom seem to hold a higher standing in society than the paternal equivalents.

I am not one of those mothers who wishes she’d had a daughter so she could buy pretty dresses and play with Barbies. I was never that kind of girl myself, preferring to climb trees and play with Lego and I had a passionate objection to wearing dresses. I hate clothes shopping and the pink-themed aisles in toy stores give me the heebie jeebies.

But sometimes I can’t help wondering what my life would be like if I had another person in the house whose brain was wired similarly to mine. Maybe I’d feel a little less like an alien in my own home.

So you can imagine how keen I was to open up an article in the weekend magazine of one of our national newspapers to read about other mothers like me.

Boy Oh Boys

Click on the image to read the article.

At the first line – “Neck deep in dirty footy tops, toy soldiers and cricket balls…” – I sighed. As I read on, I sighed some more. By the end, I was more than a little annoyed.

A household full of boys does not automatically equate to a household full of sporting equipment. I do not bond with my boys over football matches. We bond at superhero movies. I do not trip over basketballs in the house but over stacks of Japanese comic books. Our television is more likely to be tuned to the sci fi channel than the sports channel. I do not spend my time managing their sporting schedules but managing how much time they are spending in front of a screen. I don’t have to learn the rules of cricket scoring but I do have to learn how to use the parental controls on the wifi router.

It’s not that we didn’t give them the opportunity to pursue sports. Their father grew up in a sporting household and is a cricketer and tennis player. Cricket, tennis, football, basketball…we offered them all at various times to each of the boys. None of them stuck. It’s just not in their nature.

Boys don’t have to play sports.

Yes, they need activity, especially in the early years. So there were lots of trips to the park, the beach, the indoor play centre. And you have to watch them every second because they will take risks. But I’m more likely to be trying to get hair dye out of a costume shirt than grass stains out of cricket whites.

I suspect I was destined to have boys. My husband is one of three boys. His father is one of two boys. His uncle had two children who were, you guessed it, boys. Let’s face it, I was never going to have a girl.

And that’s okay. Because I consider myself lucky that I scored three boys who love things I love – fantasy books, sci fi movies and cosplay – and I don’t have to trip over cricket balls in the backyard.

Being a mother of boys is a challenge but a house full of boys doesn’t have to mean a house full of sports any more than a house full of girls has to mean a house full of dolls.

Boys are different – I’ll never understand the tolerance for a floor carpeted in dirty clothes and the lingering smell of rotten apples – and being a mother of boys is different to any other parenting experience.

But…

I wouldn’t change it for all the sonic screwdrivers in the universe.

And yes, that title is a sniggering play on words. I live in a house full of boys, remember?

 

 

 

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Never Make A Christmas Cake With Baby Brain

Merry Christmas 2

It was a week before Christmas and the MOSY household had only a few weeks before been blessed with the birth of a son. Another one. To match the pair they already had, aged two and five. Life was…busy.

For some reason, Mother Me had offered to make the family Christmas cake. [1]

For some other reason (or possibly the same one), she had also decided to ice the cake. Despite the fact that it was usually left plain. Despite the fact that she had never iced a fruit cake in her life. [2]

So just before Christmas, on a hot summer day, when the baby had gone down for a nap and the other two boys were occupying themselves upstairs, she set out to tackle the challenge.

After a while, it occurred to her that the house was a little too quiet. Going upstairs she found the two boys in the bathroom, standing on a stool together, playing in the basin.

“At least they’re amusing themselves,” she thought. “So they might get a bit wet. It’s a hot day. What’s the worst that can happen?” So she left them to it. [3]

Some time later – a time that was filled with swearing, tears and cries of “why the hell did I decide to do this” – the cake was finished. It was hardly masterful – she’d tried to hide a patched corner with a sculptured bit of icing holly – but at least it was done.

She went into her bedroom to check on the baby. Hearing a faint noise, she leant on the bed to try and work out what it was and found it wet. Very wet.

Huh?

She ran upstairs. Even from the end of the hallway, she could see the large spreading dark stain in the carpet outside the bathroom door.

The boys were standing on their wooden island in a sea of water. They had made the scientific discovery that if you put the plug in and leave the tap running, eventually the water volume will exceed the capacity of the basin. They’d obviously decided to test the theory to extremes.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t as much water on the floor as there should have been. ‘Unfortunately’, because most of it had run down the heating vent in the floor. [4]

The nearest exit was the vent in the ceiling above the bed.

As she set the two miscreants to mopping up the mess with every towel she could find in the linen closet, she went downstairs to call the Maternal Parentals to come and collect said horrors so that they might live long enough to see Christmas. Or even dinner time.

Going back into the bedroom, she discovered not only was the bedding wet but the mattress, the mattress base and the floor. So, quite a bit of volume versus capacity testing, then.

She had, of course, just changed the sheets on their bed the day before, so she hauled the doona off – cover and all – and lugged it outside to the clothesline.

In the midst of gardening works, the rotary clothesline was not in its usual hole in the ground but leaning against a brick wall and tied to a couple of stakes where it had been functioning quite normally for a number of months.

She threw the sodden doona onto the clothesline.

It fell down. [5]

She started to laugh. She laughed and laughed until the tears flowed freely.

What else can a mother do?

* * * * * * * * * *

Postscript:

On Christmas Day, she proudly cut the Christmas cake that had caused so much havoc. It was raw in the middle. She’d doubled the recipe but forgotten to increase the cooking time and had not checked to see if it was cooked before taking it out of the oven.

She’s never made a Christmas cake since.

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1. Those who have read this blog are not surprised.

2. All together now, “Of course she did!”

3. I know, I know.

4. Honestly, who puts a heating vent in a bathroom floor??

5. Of course it did.

 

 

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The Crumb Wars 5: Terror In The Skies

 

A report from the Central Republic of Kitchen by our foreign correspondent Heath Dempster.

There has been a temporary cessation of hostilities between the government forces of the Central Republic of Kitchen and the rebels from the Northern States of Boys Rooms as they battle a new enemy invading both countries.

The CRK, Northern States and other countries in the region, including the Kingdom of Laundry and the United States of Lounge are under sustained aerial attack from the secretive terror organisation Clothing Moths.

Clothing Moth

Originating from hidden bases inside the tiny states of Wardrobe, the Clothing Moths have been attacking crops of Woollen Garments. While it is currently not Woollen Garment season, the attacks are likely to leave the citizens of all countries in dire circumstances in future months.

Together, the CRK army and the Northern State rebels have attempted to eliminate the threat by targetting individual Clothing Moths, but it is becoming evident that the assault is larger and more extensive than expected. There have been confirmed reports of the decimation of Carpet crops in some corners of the region.

The leader of the CRK, Mother, has called an emergency meeting of cabinet to discuss the possible action of widespread bombing to clear the region of this terror cell.

Even if the terrorists are driven from the region, the countries will undoubtedly require international assistance to clean up the extensive damage sustained by the attack.

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Scene of battles with the terrorist Clothing Moths.

In Related News:

The Crumb Wars: Battle of the Bench
The Crumb Wars 2: Expansion Into The Northern States
The Crumb Wars 3: Abandonment of Civic Order
The Crumb Wars 4: Rice Wars

 

 

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The Crumb Wars 4: Rice Wars

The following report is from our foreign correspondent, Heath Dempster, based in the Central Republic of Kitchen.

Information is just coming in that rebels in the Central Republic of Kitchen – who have for some weeks been waging a toast crumbs guerrilla war in the Bench fringes of the country – are being supplied with higher grade weapons from the subcontinent.

Locals say the first appearance of Basmati Rice was thought to be a one-off but there are eye witness reports of increasingly brazen use of this dangerous weapon in all areas of the Bench.

It is assumed that the weapons are being smuggled into the country via the secretive enclave of Pantry. The CRK has been in trade negotiations with the rogue state to open up trade routes but talks were abandoned last week over the suspected misappropriation of Biscuit Funds.

Government forces have been sent into the region to track down the weapons and to capture those responsible. However, it is feared that should the Basmati Rice supply route be shut down, the rebels may resort to the more lethal Jasmine Rice.

Observers from the United Household Nations are monitoring the situation.

More reports as information comes to hand.

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Evidence of the rebels’ use of the new weapon Basmati Rice. (Image copyright: Fisher Paykel, CRK)

 

In Related News:

The Crumb Wars: Battle of the Bench
The Crumb Wars 2: Expansion Into The Northern States
The Crumb Wars 3: Abandonment of Civic Order

 

 

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The Crumb Wars 3: Abandonment of Civic Order

Central Republic of Kitchen

Our local presenter, Nigel Havenstock, speaks to foreign correspondent Heath Dempster about the latest developments in the Central Republic of Kitchen.

Nigel: Heath, thanks for joining us. Fill us in on what has been happening in the CRK.

Heath: Thank you, Nigel. Well, it seems the situation here has worsened considerably in recent days and there is a great deal of tension in the region.

Nigel: Tension? Why?

Heath: As you will be aware, the leader of the CRK, Mother, attempted to force Clean Up After Yourself legislation through parliament a fortnight ago in order to combat an insurgency in the outlying Bench areas of the CRK. So far this move has been unsuccessful. For the past two days, Mother has travelled outside the country to consult with members of the United Household Nations. It is believed she has appealed for international support for these harsh measures.

Nigel: Yes, our reporter Beryl Maynard was present at the talks. We understood that some support was likely.

Heath: Yes, I believe the news that came back from the UHN Headquarters was that the talks were positive. However, it would seem that the UHN ultimately cannot affect any real control over the situation in the CRK.

Nigel: You said that the situation had worsened. Can you tell us what has happened?

Heath: Well, Nigel, it appears that while Mother was out of the country, all civil obedience was abandoned. Standard civic services, such as Dishes and Hanging Up Towels – that had until now been carried out without issue – were discontinued in the leader’s absence. This has lead to increased chaos and a deterioration in living conditions for residents of the CRK and nearby areas.

Nigel: But who has been responsible for this rebellion?

Heath: Nigel, that is the surprising thing. It was expected that there could be some trouble from the rebels who have been waging a guerilla war of crumbs in the Bench areas of the country. However, it would seem that much of the rebellion has been orchestrated, or at least been allowed to occur, by the former Deputy Leader.

Nigel: Oh yes. Father was ousted from his position as Deputy Leader recently by Mother, was he not?

Heath: That’s correct, Nigel. It is thought that his demotion from the Cabinet may be behind the recent encouragement of civil disobedience.

Nigel: I imagine that did not go down well on Mother’s return?

Heath: [laughs wryly] No, Nigel, it certainly did not. Mother immediately invoked her emergency powers of Clean Up Now which caused considerable tension in the region, particularly among the rebels. Order is slowly being restored but we are keeping a watchful eye on proceedings.

Nigel: Do you think there will be a need to evacuate?

Heath: It is difficult to tell at this stage. Things are reasonably quiet at present but the clean up is still underway in the outlying areas and, of course, the Northern States are still a problem. It is possible that the rebels could step up their campaign in protest at the compulsory National Cleaning Service currently being invoked through Mother’s emergency powers.

Nigel: Thank you for joining us, Heath. I suppose things will depend on Mother’s success in forcing through the Clean Up After Yourself legislation?

Heath: Yes, that is certainly what the international community is wondering. Thanks, Nigel.

Nigel: That was Heath Dempster reporting from the Central Republic of Kitchen. It certainly seems that order may yet be established in the region following Mother’s return from the UHN but we continue to monitor the situation.

 

 

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The Crumb Wars 2: Expansion Into The Northern States

The following is a transcript of a radio interview with our foreign correspondent in the Central Republic of Kitchen by our local presenter Nigel Havenstock. It follows on from recent reports about The Crumb Wars on this same station.

Nigel: We recently reported on an unsettling development in the Central Republic of Kitchen where the leader, Mother, has recently declared Dishcloth Law.  We have just received news from our correspondent Heath Dempster in CRK that there has been corresponding developments in neighbouring states. Heath, tell us what is happening in the region.

Heath: Yes, thank you, Nigel. As listeners are no doubt aware, the leader of the government in the Central Republic of Kitchen recently declared Dishcloth Law in response to attacks by rebels in the bench fringes of CRK. It now seems that the CRK may be attempting to invade nearby states in an effort to gain control over Housework Laws in the region.

Nigel: So where exactly does the CRK hope to take control?

Heath: Well, Nigel, the key problem areas seem to be in the northern states of Boys Rooms. While the media has been warned from entering the states for security reasons, reports from local residents indicate that the situation is truly out of control. It is thought that the laws of Vacuuming and Dusting have been abandoned completely and it is uncertain when exactly social order was last enacted in these states.

Nigel: What is the international community’s response to this, Heath?

Heath: It’s difficult to tell. Until now, it seems that the international community and particularly the United Household Nations, has allowed the situation to continue as things have seemed stable. While the conditions in the countries in question have not been ideal, it has not been deemed sufficiently dire to warrant the introduction of suitable sanctions.

Nigel: And just what would those sanctions involve, should they be introduced?

Heath: The most obvious is, of course, financial sanctions – the cutting off of all financial support to the leaders of the states. That would be the first option. Should the northern states still not respond, it will be brought to the UHN for consideration of further restrictions on the supply of technology support, food aid and the provision of transport services.

Nigel: Heath, is there any hope for peace?

Heath: Nigel, from my view, peace is only likely in the event of a voluntary reinstatement of the laws of Vacuuming and Dusting by the leaders of the northern states. Of course, this will not be possible until General Tidiness is restored in the region.

Nigel: Thank you, Heath. That was Heath Dempster reporting from the Central Republic of Kitchen on the suspected expansion of troubles into the northern states. A spokesperson for the United Household Nations was approached but refused to comment on the grounds of being locked in negotiations in the Kingdom of Laundry.

Battles have extended to the northern states of Boys Rooms.

Video: Battles have extended to the northern states of Boys Rooms.

 

 

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The Crumb Wars: Battle of the Bench

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Scene of the latest outbreak of hostilities.

In what can only be described as an outbreak of domestic tension in the Central Republic of Kitchen, the leader of the country has declared Dishcloth Law.

Mother, until now generally viewed as a benevolent dictator by the international community, has stated that unless all citizens implement the Clean Up After Yourself legislation being forced through parliament tomorrow, food supplies will be restricted and all citizens will be required to report daily for compulsory dishes duty.

A small rebel contingent in the country has for some time been waging a guerrilla war of toast crumbs in the bench fringes of the country.

Yesterday, Mother sacked the Deputy Leader, Father, as Secretary of Cleanliness. An anonymous source close to the leader said the Deputy Leader was found to be in line with the rebels. “He’s just as bad,” Mother is reported to have said.

The United Household Nations is monitoring the situation. At present, they advise there is no cause for alarm and it is hoped that the rebellion will be quelled peacefully and the country returned to its normal state of General Untidiness within the month.

 

 

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Parenting By The “Making It Up” Book

The Number One thing you learn when you become a parent? There is no instruction book.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Go into any bookshop or search online and there are many, many instruction books about children and parenting.

The problem is that there is no instruction book for you parenting your child. Or you parenting your other child because, trust me, the books (if they existed) would be completely different.

The books that are out there are not totally useless. They can tell you that if your baby is crying it’s probably this, this or this. But when you’ve tried fixing this, this and this and your baby is still screaming that’s when you want to hold your smartphone up to his* head and get a digital readout of what he’s thinking. Where’s the app for that??

Those books will tell you developmental milestones come at “about” X age. Mind you, “about” can have a range of anything up to a year. So when your child’s peers are all running around the park and yours is still crawling across the grass on his elbows looking like the world’s tiniest commando, you try not to worry.

And when do you worry, anyway?

When your child is three and is showing no interest in toilet-training, when is it still part of “normal” development and when is it time to put out the call “Houston, we have a problem”?

Think it gets easier when they get older? Think that if they can walk, talk, feed and toilet themselves, the hard yards are over?

Pfft.

The difficulty when they are older is trying to help them with things for which you do not possess the skills. And I’m not just talking about differential calculus.

How do you help your child establish solid study patterns for his final exams when you always used the “stay up until 3am the night before” study method?

How do you help your child navigate a tricky bullying situation at school when you were bullied as a child and never really got over it?

How do you encourage your child to pursue educational opportunities overseas knowing that you would never have done it yourself?

How do two parents who are introverts help their introverted children survive a world designed for extroverts when it’s a struggle for themselves?

How?

You make it up.

You pretend you know what you’re talking about. You act like you know what you’re doing.

And you hope nobody notices.

Parenting is not an exact science. It’s not even an approximate science. It is jumping out of an aeroplane when you’re still trying to order the parachute from the supplier. Repeatedly.

Sometimes it all comes together and you soar and float in blissful success. And sometimes you go ker-splatt.

I guess the trick is to scrape yourself off the tarmac, get back up there and try again. And hope in hell your kids survive and thrive in spite of you.

Freefall Parenting

Freefall Parenting

*All the pronouns in this post are male not because I believe in the patriarchal habit of using the male gender for general reference but because I only have boys. Referring to girl children is just not in my vocabulary.

 

 

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