Thursday, March 29, 2012

It Was Four Years Ago Today...

Four years ago today I married Chyken.  I know it's a bit of a cliche, but it really was the best day of my life.  So much love, so much laughter, so many people that are special to us.  Here's a few of my favourite photos of the day..


Thank you for everything you do for me.  Thanks for working so hard to make the Castle a home.  Thanks for stacking the dishwasher.  Thanks for saying four kittehs wasn't too many.  Thanks for making me smile.  Thanks for cleaning the shower.  Thanks for buying me sprite and jaffas.  Thanks for standing by my side through all the good and bad stuff.  And especially thanks for rolling over when I poke you because you are snoring.

Chyken, I love you more now than I did then and I didn't think that was possible. I am the luckiest girl in all the lands.  Happy Anniversary my love, here's to at least 44 more!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Guess Who Is Going To #DPCON12?

Last night I decided on a whim to send a tweet out asking if anyone was selling a ticket to the Digital Parents Conference.  DPCON is on this Friday in Melbourne.  When the tickets were released I didn't have the cash to get one and I was rostered on to work that day.  Since then, the roster has been changed, I have nowhere I need to be on Friday and recently this little old blog has made me a little bit of money, so I thought, why not?  It turns out there was someone who was wanting to sell their ticket, so I snapped it up!

I am VERY excited to see bloggers I have met before and hopefully meet new ones too.  The only concern I have is that I am now going to a conference for Digital Parents, I'm not a parent, digital or otherwise, but I have been assured that this doesn't matter. Apparently there's a dinner dance after?  I don't dance, but I do like dinner.  I'm looking very forward to meeting other bloggers.  I just need to get over the part of me that is shitscared about meeting new people and I'm sure I'll be ok.  If all else fails maybe I'll just throw them a business card and run away. 

Are you going?  Leave me a comment so I can try and find you!!  Or better still, follow me on Twitter, so I can get to know you beforehand!  @chickensbees

The picture below has nothing to do with DPCON12, I just like it.  So.  Much.  Cat.

How kittehs can you see?

Digital Parents

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hindsight - Part Two

The Gambler's Help Significant Others series highlights how speaking with a gambler about their problem isn’t easy, so before you talk to them, start by talking to
Gambler’s Help. 1 in 4 people who contact Gambler’s Help aren’t problem gamblers at all. They’re just friends and family who want to help someone with a gambling problem.
Visit or call Gambler’s Help on 1800 858 858, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Last week I posted about living with someone who had a gambling problem.  I was surprised by how many people contacted me and said they had a story that involved gambling.  One of those 'I thought I was the only one', type situations I guess.  We need to be talking about this more, so that more people know the signs!

I guess I'll never really know why Fred was so addicted to gambling, we're not exactly on speaking terms these days, but I think he really did believe the next big win was around the corner.  Perhaps he thought money was the route to all happiness? Perhaps he just liked the thrill of the 'win'?  Maybe it was the flashing lights that sucked him in?

I really do hope he admitted there was a problem and got help.

If you or someone you know has a problem with gambling, please contact Gambler's Help.

Sponsored Series by Nuffnang
The Gambler's Help Significant Others series highlights how speaking with a gambler about their problem isn’t easy, so before you talk to them, start by talking to
Gambler’s Help. 1 in 4 people who contact Gambler’s Help aren’t problem gamblers at all. They’re just friends and family who want to help someone with a gambling problem.
Visit or call Gambler’s Help on 1800 858 858, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


In the olden dayes, way before I met Chyken, I was engaged to someone else.  For the purposes of this post let’s call him Fred.  I was 18 and living in a very small flat in a country town.  I met Fred when I started at a crappy job.  The job was not to last, but Fred and I were.  For a while at least.

I’m not really sure how it happened, but he moved in with me quite soon after we met.  I was blissfully in love.  Hindsight tells me it was NOT love, but when you’re 18 you think you know everything, don’t you?  Anyway, at the beginning, things were rosy.

We both ended up leaving the crappy job where we had met.  There weren’t many jobs in the country town where we lived, but even if there had been I doubt we would have looked very hard for them.  Fred was forever looking for the next big thing, instead of just finding a normal job he started numerous businesses, including a courier service and a pinball parlour, but they all failed.  I got swept up in it all and went along for the ride.  At the time it all seemed like a great idea.  Of course, hindsight tells me I should have seen the signs.

As well as believing that a billion dollar idea was just around the corner, Fred loved the pokies.  Not in a social, kick back and relax kind of way.   Oh no!  He was convinced that the next big win was imminent.  Despite our bank balance telling him that we always lost, we always had to go there on pay day.  I was OK with this at first, quite happy to spend SOME money there every week.  The problem was that even though we always had a conversation before we left home and set a limit to spend, when that was gone, Fred always raided the bank account to get more.  Because the machine he was on was ‘just about to pay out big, sweetheart’.  If I stood my ground and refused to let him withdraw more money, a fight would ensue.  In the pub.  I would inevitably get embarrassed and hand over some more money.

Hindsight tells me he knew that would happen and never had any intention of sticking to the limit.  Hindsight also tells me that all those times he ‘disappeared’ for hours on end he was away gambling.  And don’t get me started on the amount of times we were ‘robbed’.  Somehow, they never messed the place up though, they only ever took one or two items of value.  I’d bet all four of my cats that they were pawned for gambling money.

As I mentioned before, we didn’t go looking for a job, so we were on the dole.  The dole doesn’t pay very well (and why should it?) so the amount of money we had spare was extremely minimal.  It wasn’t uncommon to have $50 to see us through a fortnight after we had paid rent and bills.  I would look at that $50 and try and work out the best way to use it.  Fred, on the other hand, would look at that $50 and say ‘Well, if I take that down to the club I can double it and then we’ll be fine!’  We’d have a fight about it, usually with Fred using his fists to convince me that his way was the best plan.  He’d return later that day, with no money and I’d be left to work out how to conjure up meals out of thin air and a packet of corn flakes.  This scenario happened more often than not.

This was back in the mid to late 90’s (I am sooooo old!!), so the internet hadn’t really taken off, but if it had and I had realised that Fred was in fact, addicted to gambling, I daresay I would have spent some time on the Gambler’s Help site.  Looking back, I can see that Fred was a classic gambler.  Gambler’s Help have a checklist that might indicate a problem.  It looks like this:

- Regularly short of money
- Borrowing money on a regular basis
- Being secretive about financial records
- Unpaid bills/disconnection notices
- Becoming withdrawn from others/family events and social events
- Seeming worried, agitated or upset for no apparent reason
- Controlling and/or manipulative behaviour
- Spending more and more time gambling
- Being secretive about unexplained absences
- Often being late for commitments

It will probably come as no surprise that had I seen this 15 years ago, Fred would have ticked almost ALL of those boxes!

I didn’t realise it was that bad at the time, kind of like I didn’t realise the domestic violence was as bad either, but I often wonder what I would have done if I had allowed myself to realise what was really going on.  Gambler’s Help are not just for the people with the gambling problem, they also offer lots of support for the friends and family of a gambler.  They have a number you can call for free and confidential advice… 1800 858 858.  You can even harness the wonders of modern technology and chat to someone about it on their website. Best of all, this advice is all free!

Fred and I were together for almost four years.  We broke up for many reasons, not the least of which was the fact that he was abusive towards me.  With the benefit of hindsight I can see that the violence was only one of many issues that Fred had.  Sometimes I wonder if he ever got help for that, and for the gambling.  I hope so, for his own sake.

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