by JIM UNWIN
5.09AM SATURDAY MORNING – DAY 1 OF HOLIDAYS.
Those fucking Kookaburras. I love nature. I love wildlife. I love kookaburras. Just not at 5.09am on the 1st full day of holidays, with a 5 month old asleep in our bathroom, and 2 year old asleep across the backyard (i’ll get to that story in a sec).
My wife, son and baby daughter, and I arrived at our digs yesterday afternoon. It’s beautiful. When the kids stop screaming, you can hear the faint crashing of waves in the distance. When we’re not changing nappies, you can smell the sea air. And those fucking kookaburras keep laughing at us.
Why do we, and so many families like us, pack up our whole lives, to go on a beach holiday? Life would be so much easier, and relaxing, if we just stayed at home, and went on day trips.This “holiday” started for me at 10am on Thursday morning, when I left Sydney at the wheel of a loaded up fake four wheel drive, for the 11 hour road trip to Byron Bay. My wife and kids are flying Friday morning for a rendevous at Ballina/Byron airport. (I don’t surf, and my wife doesn’t smoke pot – there’s nothing alternative about our lifestyle – so we may as well be holidaying in Dubbo, but anyway, I digress.)
Packing the car is a particular sense of pride for any self respecting Aussie bloke, and it seems the duty of every Aussie wife is to interrupt, with last minute items; bags, a pram, a hair dryer and sports bras. Sports Bras! (I don’t want a sports bra blowing round the car and; landing across my face, as I tear up the highway, with the windows down, reliving my youth!).Anyway, on this “holiday”, we are taking 1 tub of toys, 1 portacot, 1 sterilizer, 1 breast pump (the industrial kind), 1 bouncer, 1 pram, 1 trike, 2 massive boxes of nappies the list goes on.. I’m lucky to fit in a change of clothes and my budgysmugglers.
Let me make it clear at this point, apart from the lack of timing in my wife’s delivery of said items to the back of the car for packing, I am completely in awe of her. We do need all this stuff – really. She has planned this holiday meticulously. But it does make me think whether it would have been easier to put the house on the back of a flat bed semi and tow it up the highway! Remember the days of throwing a bag in the back seat, and heading north to an unplanned destination? Now that backseat has a baby capsule, a toddlers seat, and some cold, old, cheese jaffle.
Anyway, I enjoyed the solitude of the car, set for a Friday morning reunion with the family. I enjoyed that it is, until I realized that the NSW Government is finally coming good on it’s promise to build a freeway between Sydney and Brisbane – and they’re doing most of it this week!
BALLINA AIRPORT – FRIDAY MORNING.
Wife gets off the plane. From a distance her expression is already telling me “I can’t believe I agreed to do that”. Seriously, it looks like she’s seen the devil. Our two year old screamed the whole way; from take-off to touch down. Thanks to Kerry in the seat next to her, who nursed our 5 month old the whole way, so my wife could look after our boy.
Anyway, we arrive at the beach house. Beach houses, plural, would be a more accurate description. Not that it’s big – just that in a really trendy Byron way, the two bedrooms are in their own freestanding huts. My wife is now having “Maddie McCann” conniptions. I can understand where she’s coming from.
So it’s off to Byron Hire to get two baby monitors. This takes most of the afternoon, and between feeding, nappy changing, and bathing – it’s time for bed. By the way – a wrought iron free standing bath looks great on the web, but is not ideal for kids. The cherubs compete on screams for a few hours, scared out of their wits in their new surrounds. All the two year old keeps wailing is “I want to go home Daddio” (I know how you feel champ).
Finally, I settle down to the first night of finals footy. Dogs v Manly and Hawks v The Pies. Cold Beer. Comfy Couch. Perfect. 10 minutes in, the wife asks… “so don’t you want to have sex?”
Tick, tick, tick… how do I answer this one. “Of course I do,” I say, but internally, there’s a fierce debate going on in my head – and it’s got nothing to do with my wife’s allure, more my desire for some man time. Luckily I’m saved by Foxtel IQ! (Which makes me think – what if it was the other way around, and you could record, pause and rewind your sex life).
Jim Unwin is a married father of two who is glad that VB has returned to its old recipe.
Family holidays. Discuss.