Monday, August 29, 2011

WHY DO YOU DO





Only recently a fairly big deal of a person asked me why I started blogging.  And I really didn’t have a good answer. Such is my reputation for being woefully unprepared, I hoped she'd think my answer of ‘I was sick of playing spider solitaire’ was cute instead of lazy but her face gave her away.  Wrong answer.  So I decided to think about it in case there was a next time.


So Now What? was born from reading a Blog from a lady I knew in real life.  Her posts illustrated a seemingly perfect life.  Her as a regular Holly Homemaker with perfect offspring.  According to her regular updates, she was spending her days reading poetry to her children upon rising, making gluten free goulash for lunch then spinning organic cotton on her multi-spool spinning frame while her perfect offspring napped for at least two hours.  She of course set aside this free time to write to her many African Sponsor children about her quest for world peace.


Meanwhile, in reality, she was setting her children up in front of ABC2 with a big bowl of Cocoa Pops and flopping back into bed to watch a Jersey Shore marathon.   It was hypocrisy at its finest . And it bugged me.  So I started my own blog, perhaps almost in retaliation. 


It also felt like I had a lot of stories to tell at the time.  A lot of shit was going down in my life. Not always good stuff, but with 3 children, a money pit, life as a working mother, good friends, bad friends, sickness and a husband who although sweet was often somewhat unpredictable, the words practically wrote themselves.


And when you look at it, there are over 250 posts on here now, averaging 800 words a post. That’s wait, I have to pull out the mad technology that is my computer calculator, 200,000 words.  That’s two books! Although I’m not sure there is a market for a book about Cheese Toast, Bedazzlers and geriatric blow up dolls.  But I’m happy to be proven wrong.


Why did you start writing blogs or reading them for that matter?



Blog post in the making. Drinking with my sisters-in-law

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

DON'T FORGET YOUR CRACK PIPE


We are renovating.  You know that. 

What you don’t know is that we have progressed a little.  See, Phil, my lovely, wonderful and sometimes undervalued husband (read about that here) has had a bit of a slack new financial year.   



Plumbing, construction in general is facing a bit of tough time.  Two years ago, he had more work than he could poke a plunger at (do you like what I did there?), but right now, not so much.   Anyhoo, as such, he’s had a few days to work exclusively on our own home and I am pleased to tell you – we no longer have an asbestos fence.  I know right!  One more deadly poison taken out of the equation.    What a win for our children’s health.

 

Now, up until roughly three weeks ago, I was working from the dining room table.   Did I mention our dining room would be more appropriate in a Barbie Townhouse?  All too often, I found chick peas in my notebooks and chicken korma jammed in the printer.  The situation was less than ideal.

 

But, then, one bright day in August, we got a new bathroom and laundry, which made way for a study nook where the old laundry used to be.  And by jingo, lookey here, I have found my happy place.  It’s nothing more than a long bench and a chair, but it’s mine and I am no longer a nomad in my own home.



Study Nook & Jack using his best table manners.
 


All we have left to do now is:
 

Patch Internal Walls
 
Unfortunately our walls are about 50 years old and cracked to the shit.  Before we moved in, every single one of them was wallpapered.  And not in a good way.  So eager to start, I ripped it off every single wall.  Three years later, it’s like time stood still.  I haven’t hung a photo in my house in over 3 years.  I realise this is a total first world problem, but it saddens me none-the-less.


Jack showing you the crap walls.  Doing his best Captain Hook Impression.
 
Paint Internal Walls
 

Remember, about ten years ago, it was all the rage to internally paint your house in bright blues and yellows?  The beach theme I think it was.  Well we got right into that shitful trend.  In fact, we went one better and used blue and yellow SUEDE effects paint.  Pretty much impossible to paint over that bad boy.  Looking back, it would have been like living in a freaking day care centre.  So, from that we’ve learnt, less is more.  Neutral is my new buzz word.


Back Deck
 

Right now, we have a culmination of three different, 1970 inspired slippery as all fuck, patterned brown tiles leading onto concrete in our back yard.  Further to this, as we have just ripped out a concrete garden/jungle, we have a lot of dirt.  Whilst the two boys just love getting into this each afternoon and ending up as mud men, we intend to put a timber deck out and create an urban oasis.  Or at least stop the kids splitting their heads open each time they run out the back door.

Don't let the cute kid and dog distract you, killer slippery tiles alert.

 

A new kitchen.


You know what, I seriously think Phil and I sat down and smoked a big crack pipe the day we bought this house.   It is the only reason I can feasibly come up with as to why we didn’t see how useless this kitchen would be for a family of 5.  Or a family of 1 for that matter.

Not only is it tiny, there is zero bench space.  Further to this, there is hardly any cupboard space and more often than not, someone cops an elbow to the face if they attempt to enter when it is being utilised.  I know I exaggerate and I wish this time, I was.   It’s also starting to fall apart.  Something needs to be done before we try to sell it.  Either that or we will have to force-feed people joints at the door when they rock up for an Open for Inspection.


The kitchen is even sending Sam bananas.

A new driveway. 

Bit of concrete.  I have nothing funny to insert here.  It genuinely is, just fancier concrete than the revolting stuff that is out there now.

Right, all that needs to be done now is a) work to make money to pay for the above, b) find time in between working at our normal jobs, to finish it and c) agree with each other on the details.  Guess which bit is going to be the toughest?

And then, after all that, you know what we will do? The same thing we’ve done every other time we’ve renovated the bejesus out of a house.  Sell it.   And move on.  Will we renovate again?  To this extent?  Ooooh, let me think, did I enjoy living with mould, asbestos, lead paint and one toilet to share between five?    Let’s just say, I’d rather paper cut my own eyeballs with a ream of Reflex than attempt this again, so that’s a no.







rrsahm

Monday, August 22, 2011

SAY WHAT NOW?







There were words and phrases we used growing up that don’t really get a run these days. Well not enough.  Ace, tops, rad, poxy, unreal, dead set, Skeg, Webber, spewing, bummed and, for those of you in Victoria, grouse - just to mention a few. The 8o’s weren’t big on making things complicated. We were too busy crimping our hair, sourcing some sweet leg warmers and being dazzled by Max Headroom. 




Lately though, I’ve heard some words and phrases bandied about that make me feel like I’m  100 years old because I don’t know what they mean. I mean, when did I become uncool? When did these kids overtake me? I recently had the privilege of learning what an actual champagne Shower is. And it's not this:






Colour me informed. I unfortunately had to do this at work and am really hoping I don’t have to explain it to my boss. Hi Nadia *waves*. I’ve been learning acronyms against my will and equally, using them when space permits me no other option. LMFAO, LOL, IDK.    




So, with that in mind, surely all I need is a little up skilling? A little further education in the 2011 way of speak? So here, thanks to the brilliance that is the internet, I have the following to share. I dare you to throw a few into conversations today:




BEEF WALK: Going outside or away from the group in order to fart with less consequence




COCKBLOCALYPSE: To go out to a bar and get cockblocked SO BADLY it is like the end of the world as you know it.




JFC: Acronym for Jesus Fucking Christ.  




DIRTY PIRATE HOOKER: A fun and nice way of calling someone an extremely dirty whore.  (Oh, there is a “fun” way to do this. Huh?)




GOOGLEHEIMERS: The condition where you think of something you want to Google but by the time you get to your computer or open the tab, you have forgotten what it was. 




NOMONYM: When you eat something and it tastes like something else.  Things often taste like chicken.



HANGRY: When you are so hungry that your lack of food causes you to become hungry, frustrated or both. We used to call this Fungry.  (Fucking hungry – much better IMO) Oh, IMO means In my opinion.




TRAFFUCK: Peak hour traffic or any traffic that slows you down.




BOREGASM: The result of or act of reaching the apex or climax of boredom; Filling one’s capacity for boredom to the extreme boundary.




FO’ SHIZZLE MA NIZZLE:  is a bastardisation of “fo’ sheezy mah neezy” which is a bastardisation of “for sure mah nigga” which is a bastardisation of “I concur with you whole heartedly my African American brother”.




JIGGA:  Someone who has a way with the ladies i.e. a Gigolo. 




WITAF: What in the Actual fuck?  I just made that one up, but I’m going to get it happening.




Now here’s one from back in the day. One, admittedly I only learnt a couple of months ago thanks to my lovely workmate – Gusset Typing. Google it. 




Please update me with any more. I'm all about learning if nothing else.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

MESSAGE RECEIVED






I didn’t pick up my best friends call last Thursday, even though she rang twice in the space of 10 minutes.  This is nothing new.  She does it to me, I do it to her, figuring, as per usual, it would just be something trivial.  It’s pretty standard that we both call each other at inopportune times for nothing in particular.  I was at work.  I was busy and I didn’t bother listening to the message she left me straight away.  In fact, I only listened to her message later that night to get to another one I thought would be important.  It wasn’t, but hers couldn’t have been more so.


Her thirteen month old daughter was at the Mater Children’s hospital having micro surgery on her teeny tiny thumb in an attempt to save it.  It had been basically severed off when she attempted to pick up a piece of shattered glass. 



But when I did eventually listen to the message, Jodi, my friend, still didn’t actually tell me what had happened.  The message was fast and it was clear that she was upset and anxious.  She was in shock but in auto-pilot mode which is, from my experience, the brace position we all take as parents when something truly awful happens to our children.  No, see, the silly thing was, the message was an apology to me.  Huh?

It was hard to interpret her words at times, but basically she was trying to stress that she didn’t think she had been around enough when my children were in hospital.  She was leaving this message, pacing the hospital corridor while her husband cradled her daughter.  I knew that feeling and I certainly didn’t want her feeling any extra irrational guilt for being a shit friend.  Because she wasn’t.  To the contrary, I always felt well supported and even more importantly, like I could count on my close friends and family when something spectacularly awful had gone down.  I should be the one apologising.


And you know, had Jodi come around the corner 5 seconds earlier, gorgeous little Georgia would know for sure that she’d be able to make the  AOK signal with her hand when she grows up.   But she didn’t. And that's life.


Our own examples:

Maddison Aged 2: Got her foot broken by a kid at Sizzler.  This kid got up on the railing, jumped down and drove his knee  down  into her foot  WWF style.  Two broken bones and 6 weeks in a cast.


Sam Aged 1.5: RSV – In for three nights



Same Aged 2: Intussusception  (when the bowel telescopes back in on itself) Scary as shit to watch.  Scarier when they find it hard to diagnose. 



Sam Aged 2.5: Hernia operation .  In for a week




Sam Aged 3: Severe Influenza A.  Lumbar Puncture. Weeks in hospital




Jack Aged: 3 Fell from his father’s shoulders and broke both is wrists and busted his face. 




Sam Aged 7: Fell off the monkey bars, totally broke and disconnected his upper and low arms.  Surgery to insert wires.  Wires got infected (100:1 odds) and had to spend another week in hospital on heavy duty antibiotics.  Further surgery to remove wires.

So that’s it.  I think. There may have been other nights we rushed them to the ER that don’t stand out.  Oh, once we had Jack taken to the hospital in the Ambulance because he couldn’t breathe.  Equally tops.

And I guess it all comes down to the fact that to get through life unscathed and to never see the inside of a hospital for anyone is rare.  To blame ourselves for not identifying certain symptoms in time, or to beat ourselves up for not avoiding the day to day accidents is just useless.   Phil still finds it hard to accept that Jack fell from his shoulders on his watch.  And I'm pretty sure he's never forgiven himself no matter how much I try and make him see otherwise.


But Jodi, you have done a wonderful job of not only being my friend, but also being there when I have needed you.  You are an outstanding mother and Jodi, be kind to yourself, it’s all going to be okay.  And I promise to pick up every call in the future. x



Jodi, myself and Bonnie.  Best friends a gal could have. (and you too Bron) 


Thursday, August 11, 2011

SO LONG, FAREWELL, GOOD RIDDANCE





So the fuckstick neighbours have moved out. And I didn’t even realise.


If only they had applied such stealth to the way they lived their lives.


Let’s call the couple that used to to be our neighbours, Dazza and Shazza. Dazza and Shazza moved into the high-set house next door, around a year ago.  They were a young couple in their very early 20’s and unfortunately we didn’t have the pleasure of getting to know them very well.   This is more than likely due to our first interaction.




Daz and Shaz had a “house-warming” party. Or a riot. You be the judge. From my experience, parties usually end somewhere at worst, in the early hours of the morning. Oh no, this was a 24 hour event chock full of massive mufflered cars coming and going, unnecessary screaming and boys wearing hats perpendicular to their skulls. The ones you just want to slap right off.




Next day when they were still recreating the night before’s hilarity on their veranda, my husband walked on over and politely said “That’s not going to happen again is it?” half asking but mostly instructing. Shazza shook her head and implored that it was a one off. Shazza is clearly a bit shit at maths because they had no less than 15 events Corey Worthington would be proud to endorse in the following 6 months.




I became Mrs Mangel on a rampage. I found out which agency managed the house, I wrote to the owners direct, I called the cops (who, by the way, told us that unless someone was being hurt, there was nothing they could do). The agent told me they were living cleanly and she had never heard a party. Of course not dickhead!  Unless you are doing drivebys at 4am, there's nothing to see!




It got to the point where I was so stressed out, I was imagining ways to make their lives a living hell to reciprocate the atrocious way they were treating our neighbourhood. One night I even did a walk-by egging. Except I threw the egg into the yard and it didn’t break. It just sat there. So the next day they no doubt woke up, walked down the stairs and wondered how in the fuck a whole egg had gotten into their front yard. Passive Aggressiveness is my speciality. Clandestine egging is not.




Amazingly enough they settled down one Sunday morning after being kept up all night listening to them yell and talk utter shit, I got out the ultimate weapon, Hot Potato by the wiggles.  I played it full bore, directed at their open windows on repeat. And then we went out for the day.




So to be honest it kind of saddens me because they were just beginning to get the idea of how to be normal members of society and respect their neighbours. Please powers that be, just send us a normal family next time. One where I don’t have go Sunny Queen on their arse.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

HOW'S THE SERENITY






All I really wanted was a nice Sunday out.


Bit of kicking a ball around a park followed by a nice lunch.  Preferably in a restaurant where we could fob the kids off to a supervised play area and then sit quietly in the beautiful sunshine, having a few quiet Sunday beverages watching the world go by.  Was. Never. Going. To. Happen.


See Jack the 4 year old, received some 2nd hand football boots from our friends just over two weeks ago. For two solid weeks, those shoes have only left his feet when it was time to sleep.  And even then, he was reluctant to part with them. He has stood on my exposed fingers and toes with the studs no less than five times.  So many expletives. So, so many expletives.  So with that we figured we should take him and his boots down the local oval and use them for what they were intended, kicking a football.





So promising





At around 11am, we all got ready to leave the house and head out.  Oh wait, the receptacle of bad attitude, aka Maddison the 11 year old, was still in bed asleep.  Sleeping off a big night of doing fuck all it seemed.  I shotgunned not to be the one to wake her and retreated to the car and waited for her to appear.  She appeared at my window five minutes later, dressed for what I imagined you would wear to the apocalypse.  Our conversation went like this:

HER: Can’t I stay here?

ME: No

HER: Why not?! I don’t want to go to the stupid football ground.

ME: Because

HER: We always do what they want to do, never what *I* want to 
do

ME: Well what do you want to do?

HER: I don’t know. Nothing.

ME: Get in the car.


We turned up to the football ground and exploded out of the car as only a family of 5 jam packed into a ridiculously small car can, and made our way over to the oval.


This is when Maddison thought it would be a top idea to position herself right under the goalposts.  Right where Jack was making it his mission to kick the ball over said goalposts.  We told her to move, she chose to ignore us.  Two balls to the head later, she still refused to move but was sobbing silently.


Sam was wandering around constantly returning to lament on the litter situation, often referring to it as a “wasteland” and surely a sign of the “end of days”.


As for Jack, the reason we were even down at this godforsaken oval?  Well he’d lost his shit almost immediately. We were either kicking it too high, too low, too fast, too slow.  There was no pleasing him.  He did manage to kick it over the goalposts twice. 2 times out of about 54 attempts meant 52 meltdowns. 


By the time he’d got himself wedged in the tree he had climbed in a fit of rage, we called time on the Morley football adventure.  Time to activate part B – relaxing lunch.  Oh, but not before Jack coat-hangered himself on the rope he failed to see on the ovals perimeter. 


I’ll admit at this point I was ready to throw in the towel, go home and commence drinking.  Screw a nice steak; we had cheese tubes in the cupboard and all manner of alcoholic selections atop the fridge.  But we soldiered on, determined we would have a nice day out.  Damn it.


For some unknown reason we decided to try somewhere we’d heard about yet never actually been.  It was in a dodgy area, yet people were raving and we were a family wearing football shoes and thongs, we were hardly in a position to judge.


11 year old Maddie was still moaning over god knows what, peeping up from her angsty Vampire book every so often to shoot me daggers. The two boys had settled in nicely to a game of 'Catch the Cop' which I assume is reverse Cops and Robbers in the playground I had surreptitiously swept for used needles and Phil and I sat down in the sunshine as planned.


Then we were asked to leave.  Well leave the sunshine.  Apparently only people smoking could sit in the sweet area where you could actually keep an eye on your children.   As we attempted to move ourselves, Phil accidently knocked his beer and in turn, gave Jack a bath in Peroni.  Cue the screaming. Not because he was soaked in beer, but because now he’d have to get “naked!” 


We settled into more appropriate seats and I started reading the Sunday paper.  As talk turned to the Ekka (Brisbane’s Royal show), Phil declared we were going to go this year.  News to me as a) he usually fucking hates the Ekka and b) I don’t even have a b. I was thrown.   Immediately the kids went nuts scouring the show bag guide.  Maddie decided Sam would be getting the Mega Moron bag which of course Sam took umbrage at and the name calling commenced.   Jack fell from his chair after being repeatedly asked to sit still and the other two had upped the ante and started a slapping war. 


I was mopping up beer, yell whispering death threats under my breath and mechanically chewing what was really good steak.  I looked at Phil, he at me and I shook my head.  I turned serenely to my three animals children and quietly told them that there would be no more Sunday Lunches and there would definitely not be a trip to the Ekka.  I also may have said they were a bunch of ingrates.  At this point all three started to cry.  Sunday bloody Sunday.






Ahh, how’s the serenity?  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

WHERE WERE YOU WHEN...






As I sit here and write this, there is a situation unfolding.  Apparently an 18 year old girl in Mosman, Sydney has had an explosives collar attached to her neck along with a reported ransom note.  There is a lot of speculation and a lot of unconfirmed stories floating around.  I’m watching ABC 24 waiting for a news conference to receive the official news.  It’s late, I’ve got to have the 11 year old at school by 7:30 to compete in regional shot-put (go my big girl) but I can’t go to bed.  Because I need to know what’s going on.  I am really hoping the fact that not a whole lot of attention and exposure is being given to the situation on commercial TV means it won’t be as bad it appears.  I'm really hoping it's not going to turn into one of those moments I remember where I was “when”.


Because there are only so many moments, in hindsight, that you will remember exactly where you were “when”.


For example:

9/11  I was at home.  Pregnant.  In fact, my husband had gotten up that morning, watched a lot of it in real time but FAILED TO WAKE ME UP.  I guess perhaps he didn’t want to wake me, but when I did eventually get up and realised ABC kids wasn't even on, I figured some heavy shit was going down. Playschool stops for no man.  I flicked from channel to channel and it didn’t take me long to comprehend that what I was witnessing wasn’t a bad Bruce Willis movie, but actual real life planes slamming into actual real life buildings.  The world changed that day.  And we all remember where we were when we heard or saw the news.





The Day Diana died.  Love, hate, ambivalence, whatever it is you feel towards The Royal Family, you would still remember where you were when you heard the news that Diana had been killed in a car crash.   It was a Saturday morning here in Australia.  I was at work in a real estate agency bumming around, reading the paper and pretending to look busy.   We didn’t have internet back then and we certainly didn’t have very accurate, up to the minute news like we do today.  I heard it on the radio news, rang my then boyfriend and mulled it over in the office until we had the news confirmed. It shocked me and I couldn’t even explain why.  I also remember that we were in a hotel room the night of her funeral and instead of going out like we had planned, we stayed in and witnessed the prolific scene where her sons walked behind the card that was atop her funeral procession with the simple word “Mummy”.





Winning the America’s Cup.  I was in grade 3 and vividly remember the famous Bob Hawke line about bums and bosses.  What I remember more was that my dad was home that morning, putting off going to work to watch the unfolding events.  He was so happy that morning.  Everyone was.  I was probably just happy I was allowed to say bum and get away with it.


Port Arthur.  I’ve written about this before.  We were at a friend’s house having a BBQ and as we all slowly but surely made our way inside to gather around the television, it was so horribly obvious that we would never be as innocent as we were when we had arrived that day.



Stuart Diver rescue.  We were away, staying in Iluka.  I had gone to pick up our Chinese from the one and only Iluka Bowls Club when on the little TV on the wall, we saw him being stretchered out.  I remember bawling my eyes out surrounded by people waiting for their takeaway. There's something kind of beautiful sharing an emotional moment like that with complete strangers.






Socceroos’s making it into the world cup.  We were sitting in bed, flicking around channels and for some reason stayed on SBS and watched the final kick and subsequent shirt over the head, running around goosebump moment. 


You so silly Aloisi.  Don't stop.



Oh, and it’s 12pm and they have just announced that the 18 year old is safe and sound.  Very happy to say this won’t be one of those moments I'll remember forever.


So where were you “when”?