Thursday, November 24, 2011

THE UNWRITTEN RULES



This has pretty much nothing to do with the post, but it's late. And I really like this.


So waiting in line today at the Self Service Checkout at Woolies with my 3L milk and discounted loaf of bread, I craned my neck from the 7 person deep line to see what in the fuck was taking so long.  That’s when I spotted her.  The lady who had gone too far with the self servicing. No, wait, she wasn’t doing anything untoward, she was simply scanning and bagging oh, a WHOLE trolley and bagging them around her feet.  And then I thought, well wait, it doesn't actually say anywhere that she can’t do this. It doesn't say express.  It doesn’t say x amount of items of less.  But my question is why? I mean if you want to put yourself under the pump and bag your own shit, why wouldn't you just go to Aldi and spend half the cash?


This got me thinking about the unwritten rules in life. I mean it doesn't say anywhere that these kinds of shenanigans aren't allowed and like someone pointed out to me today, sometimes people do it that way because it’s faster than waiting for the checkout chick. Sure, but not for all the time poor people waiting behind you it’s not. And just because it’s not written doesn't make it so.



UNWRITTEN RULE: Don’t write passive aggressive, vague status updates on Facebook.  ‘Oh tomorrow will be so much better than today, you can’t break me!’  Or ‘Some people should really think before they speak!’ Who can’t break you?? What did they say?  Then when people enquire after them, they fall silent or respond with an equally vague response.  FUCK. OFF. Just simply say –Jason, I hate your guts, you will pay.  Yay, we all get that.  Cut the shit people.




UNWRITTEN RULE: Never say this to someone with three children or more – ‘You must have your hands full!’  No shit lady.  Last time I looked I only had 2 hands . You do the math.



UNWRITTEN RULE:  Don’t tell someone they look ‘Tired’
Sure, they probably do look shithouse and possibly look like they could do with a bloody good 4 year sleep.  But what do you gain from pointing out the bleeding obvious?  What about when someone says that to you and prior to them opening their mouth, you'd been feeling on top of the world, not tired at all. Just like a venereal disease, keep that shit to yourself.


UNWRITTEN RULE: No dicktogs at the kiddie pool.  Pretty sure no further explanation is needed here. Just to clarify, guys - no dickstickers allowed at the public pool. In fact, unless you’re an Olympic Athlete, just don't wear them. Unlike the ladies, the more left to the imagination in that department the better.  Especially on a on a cold day.  We clear?


Unwritten Rule:  You don’t walk into other people’s houses UNANNOUNCED

Last night, it was kind of late, Phil and I were sitting up watching a DVD and we heard a rustling at the front door.  Luckily we weren’t doing anything. I mean, I know we’ve been together forever but that doesn’t mean from time to time some spontaneous lounge room action doesn’t take place.  Wait, yes it does but anyway, that's not the point.  In walks, unannounced, no knock, our new neighbour.  At 10pm.  ‘Hi guys, what’s cracking?’  Oh nothing much. Other than your skull.

UNWRITTEN RULE – Don’t be a Keith.  Keith was a guy from our childhood who always outstayed his welcome.  Never be a Keith in life.


UNWRITTEN RULE -  Don’t bring a six pack and drink a carton.  I generalise with this statement but it basically means don’t turn up to someone’s house for a function, BBQ, dinner, lunch, whatever and end up consuming way more than you brought with you and then be known for doing this consistently. When we were growing up we went to this one friend’s house a lot. They had these friends who every. single. weekend, would turn up with a six pack of beer, and drink a carton. It’s not cool.  It’s not etiquette.  It’s an unwritten rule.


UNWRITTEN RULE:  Do not stay on the phone when being served. Common courtesy yes?  Then why is it nearly impossible for people to just, oh I don’t know, show the person serving them that they can focus on their transaction and actually use their manners while doing so.  It should also be written into the fine print of this unwritten rule that by law, the Smartphone can be unceremoniously slapped from their hands if they fail to comply.  If their cheek gets caught in the crossfire, so be it.

Any unwritten rules you’d like to add?  

Sunday, November 20, 2011

WHEN I GROW UP














What did you want to be when you grew up? I mean apart from being allowed to stay up past 7:30pm and be tall enough to reach the biscuit jar at the back of the pantry (my personal goals at 8). I mean, what did you want to do? Day in day out. As your day job? Are you doing it right now?




I think I fluctuated a lot, but for the most part of my childhood, I wanted to be a detective. I am naturally inquisitive and love to know the ins and outs of any situation. For instance, I can't tell you how insane it makes me when my husband has spoken to a mutual friend and I’ll ask how they've been. “Yeah good” will be his standard response. Then I have to basically extract the rest of the information from him in such a way that pulling teeth would be both a) less painful and b) quicker.  




I digress. I wanted to be a detective. Apparently, well this is what my father used to tell me (and I think it might be half bullshit), that one grandfather was a police detective and the other, a journalist. As I am adopted I seriously don’t know how much information he was privy to but I can’t really see a reason for him to make this up.  Except for you know, him basically being a little out of his mind for a great deal of the time.




But it all fits.  I’ve always been writing, although I guess I postponed it for a long time.  When I met Phil I was attending classes at night studying Creative Writing but then my own life got far too creative and I lost interest. Before I knew it, I turned around and realised 16 years had passed and I was not doing what I loved. Sure I was working with some fantastic people, but my life was passing me by and I was still where I was when I left school. A little lost.




And this is how it happened. Essentially. I left school, went to Byron Bay for schoolies, spent all of my money and returned home with a part time job at Maccas and zero prospects. I wanted to go uni and study Journalism. It was immediately ruled out by my mother. Back then I didn’t know about HECS, she didn't either, I guess and although I did really well at school, it was never addressed. I had no real options other than to get a day job. So, I sat down and applied for all the jobs from the previous weekend's paper I had retrieved from the bin. 




I kind of fell into accounting with my first ever boss basically telling me she gave me the job because I was clearly on my way to the beach straight after my interview.  She liked that I had other interests. She also liked that I really needed a job. Because they were the stayers. And I stayed. And I got married. And I changed jobs a few times. And I had babies. And then, about 16 years later it was almost like I woke up and wondered where the hell I’d been.




That’s when I started this blog. And started to write something on the side. And now we’ve moved  to a completely different State and just quietly, that has been incredibly bloody hard. For numerous and varied reasons, but a very big positive is that I have gotten a job where I am doing something COMPLETELY different to what I have been doing for the last 16 years. Sure it's a bit of a paycut and involves writing stuff to entice people to buy bras and weekends away, but it’s creative. And it’s a start. And it’s all I can really hope for at this stage in my life. I can’t change careers and hope to survive financially. Slow and Steady and all that. But one day, and this might be a total pipe dream, I want to sustain my living from writing and be involved in Social Media.  




Because it seems to be what I do not only naturally, but also instinctively love. I know, half of you are rolling your eyes; the other half didn’t make it this far into my post. That's Okay. All I know is that I am not where I want to be yet. Perhaps I want or expect too much. Perhaps this is as good as it gets. Impossible to know, but I do know that I have to give it all red hot go. Or I’ll be forever left wondering. 



What about you? Are you doing today what you always wanted?  What you fell into? What you were expected to do?  Have you changed career midway through your already established life? 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

MY NORMAL







Looking back it was probably the dinner plate that was thrown at my Mother's head that was the catalyst.  The moment when she thought enough was enough. I’m guessing it was then anyway.



My father wasn’t an aggressive man, well not physically.  And not usually.   I’ve written about him HERE, but to sum it up, he was an alcoholic.  And not even a particularly good one.  A man lost to his mad mind long before I was even born if we’re to be honest.  But my brother and I weren’t aware that our lives weren’t normal.  That to have a father who verbally abused his wife on a constant basis wasn’t normal.  That to be in a household where you as a child, were often afraid of what your father would do next, wasn’t normal.  Because that was our normal.


That particular night started out fine enough and my brother and I tell this story often. At BBQ’s or dinners and often with an injection of humour. When in reality, we  shouldn’t I guess, because domestic violence is anything but funny.



I was about 8, my brother 11.  Dad was in the kitchen trying to light his cigarette from the hotplate after returning home from the pub.  He was also whipping up some fried rice.  As you do.  Meanwhile, Mum was dishing out the perfectly fine meal  she had just finished cooking behind him on the kitchen bench.  My brother and I were in the room we shared more than likely dicking around doing something we shouldn’t have been doing.  We heard a commotion and both eagerly ran up the hallway to check it out.  I was in front, he, close on my heels. 


That’s when we saw the fire.  The one that, in his paraletic state trying to light his smoke on the hotplate, my father had  managed to start with the assistance of an ill placed tea towel. My brother and I watched on in horror as Mum raced around trying to extinguish it.  She started to shout, told him to move. That’s when I saw him walking towards us with such malice that I remember I physically tried to shrink. To become invisible.  As he reached us, he turned on his heel, grabbed a dinner plate and frisbee’d it directly at my mother’s head.  Somehow she had the 6th sense to duck and it smashed into a hundred tiny pieces on the wall behind her.


My brother and I audibly gasped and turned to run as fast as our little legs would take us, back to our room.  The next thing I remember, Dad was reefing our bedroom door open  as I cowered in the corner, my brother standing protectively in front of me.  I remember Mum screaming and chasing him up the hallway.  He didn’t hurt us, he simply, with a little more force than was necessary, removed us from the room.  The next we knew the television was being thrown from the second story window, then the fan, then our toys.   We were bundled up and we fled.  I can’t even remember where we went.


This wasn’t the first time that heavy shit went down,  it was just the one that sticks in my mind the most.  When we returned to the house later that night, he was gone.  And Mum did what she had to do to make sure he could never return.  And believe me, back in the early 80’s removing your husband from the house, supporting yourself as a woman and not losing your mind, was no easy task.


So why am I telling you this today?  Well,  this is my experience with Domestic Violence.  And it is one too many.
My very good friend Kristen Brumm has been recently endorsed as Ambassador for the Domestic Violence awareness campaign, SPEAK OUT.  Her story is hers and hers alone to tell, but she reminds me a lot of my Mum.  She did what it took, everything she could, to remove her children from the unhealthy situation that they were in.


I urge you, if you need a safe place to discuss your situation, to do so.  Don’t let Domestic Violence become your normal.  Because it should be anything but. 


If you're in Australia, start here with some links: Reach Out

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NEW KID IN TOWN





On Friday afternoon, a mysterious, hyperactive child appeared inside our new home in Melbourne.  After much questioning, I found out this child was named Talon (I confirmed this no less than six times with him), he was four years of age and no, he didn’t know where his mother was.  He then proceeded to take his massive scabby cat under his arm and head upstairs. And I didn’t stop him.  Because this is my new life.

 
We’ve only technically lived here, in Willsmere, an old asylum for just on a week.  And just quietly, it’s leading me down the loose parenting path rather quickly.  Seriously, there are a THOUSAND children in this place who appear to roam around the joint unsupervised for an alarming amount of time.


I find this difficult to deal with because while I wouldn’t say I was ever a helicopter parent, I certainly knew where my kid was at any given moment.  Which was usually inside our own gates, at our own home.  But here, well here it’s a bit of a free for all. 


And I should embrace this.  I grew up that way.  We’d leave in the morning, walk to our friends house (who had a pool) about 15 minutes away, and return at nightfall.  And this was with an extremely strict parent.  It was great, taught me life (and road skills) and well, made up my childhood.  But something feels wrong about giving the green light to a four year old to roam around what is essentially the set of a Hitchcock movie.   What if he goes missing? Where do I start looking?


And it started after Jack’s first day here at kindy.  He came home and told me with determination that his new best friend was a kid called Harry.  I took this on board and then quickly forgot it as a) he lies and b) he changes his best friend like he changes his Batman undies.  Turns out, Harry lives 3 doors down from us.  And in even better news, his dad owns a WINE SHOP!


So, their 3 children and our 3 children will be spending a fair bit of time together it seems.  And their parents are tops.  But I’ve always been weary of these kind of situations.  My mother always warned me about “living in each other’s pockets” and I’ve always taken that on board.   Luckily with all of us working 5 days a week and having a sweet communal pool, I think there will only be so much time allotted where we can actually bug each other.


We’ve also since then, met no less than about 20 people over drinks, BBQ’s, poolside encounters and general car park rage. Seems like our new home is a very social, welcoming and inclusive place.


So back to Talon and his mangy cat.  I never did meet his mother but he turns up from time to time.  He came over just yesterday afternoon, spewed a whole bunch of sentences at me, none of which I could understand other than the word ‘ukulele’ and bolted off again.  I’m not even entirely sure he was speaking English.   My bet is he belongs to the guy who is a professional Opera Singer at 210.  But at this stage, that is just a hunch.


And look, don’t get wrong, it’s all kinds of wonderful to potentially live amoungst families who, just like us,  are a little bit fucked up, a little bit tired and emotional after a full week of work and ready to live and let live as a general rule.


All I know is that if I can cut a balance somewhere between the uptight parent I guess I once was and Talon’s mother, I think we’ll be OK.


How about you?  Did you grow up ‘FreeRange’?  Do you overprotect your children or let them go for it?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

HOW DO YOU WRITE






We have finally moved into our new place. This is great for a number of reasons, the most obvious being I am no longer being Dutch ovened on a regular basis by three males in a 3 x 3 metre motel room.  The other bonus is that I have somewhere to sit down and write.


And I kind of took this for granted, the whole sitting down, being able to concentrate and having my own space thing.  
Although to be honest I have mostly always written in front of the TV, laptop resting on my knees with kids and phone calls and conversations whirring around my head.  You know that sound a message makes when it is sent on an iPhone?  I didn’t either until a couple of days ago, but that sound is exactly what I hear in my head when something gets done.  And of late, I haven’t heard it a lot.  Mainly because nothing much has been getting done.


But today, I found this waiting for me in our bedroom. 









To appreciate this you need to know the layout of our new place.  It’s a three story townhouse. Bottom floor living and kitchen. Second level, two bedrooms for the kids and top is a loft style room complete with elevated step that has a massive window on the roof. To look at the stars through or listen to the rain on.  Quite simply, if I can’t find inspiration to write up there, I suck. 


I also went for a run today for the first time in eons.  I found possibly the prettiest part of Kew by accident and this lane which although I will more than likely snap my ankle on, I will make sure I run up every day because it’s a little bit magical. 





Plus, this isn’t too shabby to run past either.  I miss the water, I do, but this is what we came here for, to experience the exact opposite.



Yes. It is as cold as it looks.



I’ve also started listening to these guys a bit.






So where do you write? How do you write? Where do you get your inspiration from?  Does scenery, music or position play a part?