Reflection from 28/6/20 – prior to the second wave of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdown.

My kids are always pestering me to go for overnight stays at my parent’s house. And why wouldn’t they? TV on demand, hand delivered snacks (hand feeding also optional), vegetables are decorative garnishes, bedtime is when you nod off, two-minute noodles is a breakfast option, and NO is as elusive as seeing me exercising or spotting a unicorn. Visiting my parents is like visiting the Candy House from the tale of Hansel and Gretel, and we can all guess how that really turned out.

Not to mention that my parent’s house is a death trap waiting to happen. I’ve mentioned this before but to newbie readers… my dad is a prolific collector – a hoarder if I can be so bold. He has six fish tanks, glass furniture everywhere, shelf upon shelf of breakable ornaments and electronics galore. He’s gotten worse with age but neither my brother or mother are willing to do anything about it.

Anyhow, for sleepovers, I insist on being there for supervision and that’s why they are few and far in between. With the pandemic and limited outdoor activities, we’ve all suffered from cabin fever and I thought the kids would benefit from a different scene. I was quickly reminded why we don’t do sleepovers at my parents.

“What is that?” asked my seven-year-old daughter, Mandy, pointing at a clear perspex tube sitting underneath the taps of the bathtub.

My three-year-old son, Henry, made a move to grab the metre-long tube.

“Don’t touch it!” I yelled at him. “Mum!”

The kids were having a bath at my parent’s house. We were having a sleepover for the first time in years.

My Mum poked her head into the bathroom. “What?”

“What is that?” I asked my Mum, looking at the suspicious tube and the nearby glass vase. You never know with my parents. Their house is full of strange, random, embarrassing, and dangerous-to-children things.

“Uh. Don’t touch that. It’s your Dad’s pee contraption,” replied my Mum, shaking her head in disbelief.

“EEEWWWW,” exclaimed Mandy, “Why does he have a pee tube?”

“Your Grampa is too lazy to go to the toilet at night. He made THAT so he can pee into it and pours it out in the morning. It stinks. Why do you think we have separate rooms?” explained my Mum, shrugging her shoulders as if we should have known better.

“Can I use it as my horn?” asked Henry, reaching for the offensive tube.

“NOOOOOO!!!!!” I screamed, pulling his arm back before he could connect his mouth to the tube. “Did you not hear? It’s a PEE tube.” I can’t believe those words have come from my mouth.

“It’s clean.” My mum replied in a matter of fact way, like it made a difference.

“His room is right next to the toilet. Why is he being so lazy? It’s not hygienic!” I cried out.

But then I peeked into his room and understood why he created the pee tube. He had two TV’s mounted on the wall, massive loudspeakers lining the perimeter of the room, a couch and a wall to wall table. All squeezed around a wooden platform bed in his three by three metre room.

No wonder he doesn’t want to make the nightly trek. It makes the Kokoda Trail seem like a walk in the park! He’s likely to lose a leg against a sharp corner or two.

You know that proverb… Like father, like son? I’m glad I’m a daughter.

Copyright © 2020, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.



What’s the convention for housing guests? I’ve always pondered this. Who gets which bathroom or toilet? How does the shower procession work? What if your house guests have routines that conflict with yours?

It’s like having new roommates and learning their nuances. It can be unsettling.

We have house guests. This means some bed hopping. Hold on, that doesn’t sound right! What I mean is that we give up our bed to our guests, and the four of us are crammed into Mandy and Henry’s shared room. It’s either that or glimpsing half undressed people sleeping in the lounge room with my morning tea and toast. No thanks! So a little sufferance is necessary.

Night One:

Mandy and I are on the inflatable queen bed, Henry is in his cot and Gary is in the single bed (smart man).

I shuffle my body to relieve the tingling sensation in my left arm. Henry has my hand in a python-like stranglehold. I painfully extract my hand without stirring the beast and turn to my side, hoping to get a few winks. The inflatable bed squeaks in protest at my movements. Mandy stirs and wraps her leg around my torso like a koala baby to its mum. I guess it’s better than enduring her kicks and flinging arms to the back. I wake up way too early, tired and a little irritable.

Gary is snoring.

Night Two:

Same bedding arrangement.

Henry has rolled off his cot and snuggled to my front. Instead of sleeping on her side of the bed, Mandy presses as close as possible to me. I’m squished between the kids and busting to go to the toilet. I manoeuvre under the blankets to get out of bed, relieve myself and come back to see Mandy sleeping horizontal. I end up sleeping at the foot of the bed. I wake up grumpy, cold and stiff as a board.

Gary is snoring.

Night Three:

I insist on Gary and I sleeping on the queen bed, Mandy is in the single bed and Henry is in his cot.

I spend a few minutes debating whether we should move the single bed next to the cot instead of having the inflatable in the middle. In the end, we’re too tired to action our plans.

Gary and I snuggle. It’s nice. We chat about the kids and their antics. We fall asleep.

I jolt awake to see that Mandy has rolled off the bed and fallen on top of Gary. I have to lift her off of Gary and move her heavy lug back to bed.

It takes me ages to fall back to sleep only to jerk awake at the sounds of Henry screaming. Somehow, he had fallen and lodged himself between the inflatable bed and his cot. I’m surprised neither Mandy or Gary have woken with the noise.

After consoling Henry, I lay there wide-eyed and restless. I feel my body sink into Gary’s side and my face eventually rests at his armpit. The stupid inflatable bed has popped.

With perfect timing, Henry begins to fuss again and wants to sleep with us. I get off the sinking bed and end up awake most of the night; balancing on the edge of Henry’s cot and trying to coax him back to sleep.

I return to the now deflated bed on the floor. I haven’t slept, and I feel like a zombie.

Gary remains snoring!

House guests go home and I decide that perhaps witnessing people in various states of undress isn’t that bad after all!

Copyright © 2019, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.