A few days before Sunday before last I mentioned to R that this Sunday we did not have anything happening and as I was not working, what should we do? Should we celebrate Tradie Brother's birthday at the the largest RSL in Victoria? Frankston, that is. I texted Oldest Niece as without her attendance with her daughters, Little M and Little E, it would not come together. She texted back, sounds like a great idea for Dad's birthday. Many text messages went back and forth and it was all sorted.
While it seems like a long way away for us, it only takes 50 minutes to get there via City Link, Monash Freeway and East Link, never mind the tolls of over $20. It was a cold and quiet Sunday on the roads. I love motorways when no one else uses them.
We parked next to Sister and Little Jo who had come across from the Bellarine on the ferry. Sister was not well and quite grumpy. We entered the club and had to sign in and the easiest way was a scan of our driving licenses. Later Mother had to sign in manually by filling in a form, but she played the senile and dottery old lady and did not fill in the form. We were the first there and my goodness, Oldest Niece had booked the table for 14 people. Bone Doctor was off on a training camp to become a scout leader, but otherwise, the whole family attended and there was a surprise attendance by Ex Sis in Law, Tradie Brother's ex wife. While it is not quite a garage they are living in, courtesy of Oldest Niece's father in law, it is modest accommodation. Ex Sis in Law's husband is in depression over the loss of the Gippsland business. They have been and are in a long legal battle with the nasty man they bought the business and freehold from. They have a house on the Mornington Peninsula but it is highly mortgaged and they will have to sell it to cover debts, most of which are legal costs. So complicated and messy!
The Frankston RSL is a great venue for a Sunday meal. The staff are ever so nice and the varied areas within the building are great. The focus was on Little M and Little E. Little M is now two years old and very entertaining and the few months old Little E gave us a great smile. The nearly eight year old Little Jo was lovely too. How odd that her life began with designer clothing and now there is a safety pin pulling the top of her tee shirt together. I told unfashionably dressed Sister to give some money to Mother to take Little Jo out to buy some clothes. Mother has an eye for what looks right in clothes, even now at 82, just not with her own but she still tries.
The food was good as were the chats. Firefighting Nephew, formerly known as Dreaded Nephew and then Non Dreaded Nephew and his Jewish Partner have announced their engagement and have now announced their wedding date, in November 2017. Lordy, I might be dead by then.
Firefighting Niece, formerly known as Hippie Niece or Chainsaw Niece leaves on Queens Birthday for her Euro Contiki tour. She begins with a stay in London for two nights before joining the tour in Paris, finishing in Amsterdam where she will stay with a friend for a few days before travelling to the north of England to stay with R's Sister for a day or so and then on to Scotland where her brother, Fire Fighting Nephew lived for a couple of years.
All good, and it was a lovely catch up. But we were just so exhausted after we arrived home. Discombobulated is a good word, and that is how we were.
But family stuff did not end there.
A couple of months ago Oldest Niece asked if we, meaning R really, could look after Little M and Little E for a couple of hours while she took her mother for a high tea at a classy city hotel. It was a Christmas gift voucher. Of course, R answered yes. Come last Wednesday, R was feeling very nervous about looking after the two younguns. I came home for lunch and then they all arrived. Absolute chaos, mess and untidiness, which I like as that rarely happens in The Highrise. They left for their high tea and I went back to work, leaving R with the two little ones and of course they were fine. He got Little E to sleep and he and Little M lay on the bed with him watching kids tv.
Little Jo did not get her hands on an electronic device until she was about 5 years old. She is now a heavy user. It seems it makes no difference in the long run. Little M at 2 can already scroll on a propped up phone in front of her. What a world we live in.
So at lunch time there was Oldest Niece and her two daughters, Firefighting Niece, Ex Sis in Law and her sister. When I arrived home from work, there was in addition Firefighting Nephew and his Jewish Partner and a couple of slices of pizza left over for me for dinner. Next day was Mother Day for R and my day off and I had a medical appointment, so very sadly (grin) could not go with R to take Mother out. I cleaned off Little M's fingerprints from the glass and The Highrise was back to normal after being in chaos.
I shouldn't but here is Little E on our lounge room floor. Unlike Little M who is a carbon copy of her mother, Little E has her father's blue eyes and possible slim build. The obligatory child care nurse person has concerns about her weight, but I have none.
Tradie Brother has never much bothered with is birthday, and nor had we, so it was to arrange something for him and I think he appreciated it.