On rage, passion and the contacting of books

It’s just an ornery Sunday. No birds singing because the dog has tried to eat a couple of them and they have fled. (Flewd?) I am looking at my pile of homework for school, the pile of lovingly drawn upon exercise books x 13, and the Contact (I believe a registered TM shoud be inserted here, but I’m not doing Mr Contact any favours in this post so I’m taking the ballsy rage-filled move of leaving it OUT).

Not only am I filled with rage, but I’m also filled with the remnants of 2 magheritas, a caipiroska and an unquantified amount of French champagne from a hen’s bash last night. I could tell you I’m hungover, but my mother reads this blog, and a hangover happened the other weekend. Since I’m grown up now and Ive got responsibles, this time let’s just say I’m tired and thirsty. Come on. It was French!! It was important I compared and contrasted the nuances of Mumm vs Moët vs Salmon-billecart. Guess who wins? They ALL do! The French are the winners! Yay for the French!

I suspect Mr Contact, the inventor of The Stuff What One Uses to Stick Stuff On Books, does not come from a country as pleasurable as France. I think he comes from somewhere cold, where they like to stick things to other things, like tongues to telegraph poles, and hands to frozen taps, just for shits and giggles. I wrote him a letter since I don’t know how to whistle and I had to do something in my head while Tinkerbell was on and I contacted my day away.

In my madness, I discovered the stupid stuff is actually useful for non-surgical facelifts.

Check me out. No forehead wrinkles, and cheaper than Botox.

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Dear Mr Contact,

I hate you. Your product fills me with a degree of angry passion I reserve generally for things I feel passionate about in a positive way. You have made it on to my passion see saw. On one end, live men, words, beaches, wine, and cheese, and on the other end lives your stupid sticking on books product, and all the cold places in the world. Oh, and tinea.

Your product presents like a test. Why is there a grid? This isn’t help. It looks like some massive freaky maths test. Ugh. And why do all the hairs stick to your product? My daughter tells me she doesn’t like having hairy books. You and Mr Velcro need to sit down and have a little brainstorm about your shortfalls in this particular follicular area. I CAN’T KEEP FAILiNg LiKe THiS! I can’t keep feeling like an inadequate mother every time I put more bubbles on the surface that no amount of skewer-bursting will remove. My tears just roll off your uncaring plastic surfaces like they mean nothing.

It’s possible I’m feeling so intense about you today because of serious cheese withdrawal. Cheese is my crack. If I saw a cow right now there’s a chance I’d roll her for a good bit of milk. Going Dairy free is BULLSHIT Mr Contact. Did you know ice cream and chocolate is dairy? My life is basically over.
Freight now my luft hand and my faughter’s ice cream wrapper are stuck to the front of the book I’m covering in your product. What’s your remedy? How will you help me face a world with you stuck to me but no cheese in it??? Well??????

Hostilely yours,
Dairy-free Kim.

The dear Contact man has made it all ok. He sent me back this completely gratuitous photo to take my focus away from all the ice cream I’m not eating.

Dear hungry Kim,
I hope you like Beagles.
Sincerely,
Mr Contact

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I remain on the fence. I understand his existence is a necessary evil, but I’m going to have to outsource all the contact work to That Man next year. He’s gone to China, AGAIN. He must pay.

Mama guilt – a dog called Bob

In case you missed the blahblah memo, I’ve started working full time, and with the change in routine I’ve developed a healthy dose of working-mother guilt. Before I was a mum full time, a wife full time, a freelance worker (so, somewhere between ‘every waking minute’ and ‘not at all’); and yet somehow I felt like half of nothing. Now I feel fulfilled, there is guilt for dessert. Almost like a woman with kids isn’t a proper mother unless she puts part of herself away and leaves it there until her kids give their blessing for her to go and retrieve it, many years later when it may no longer be there. I’m not saying this is how it is, just how I feel.

Where does our identity come from in our 30s when so much of our 20s is centred around a working persona? I’ve been wrangling with this for some time now, in my search for work satisfaction – be it part-time or freelance. The right job came along, but with it full time hours. I talked it over with the girls who are excited to go to before and after school care (so far…). It will mean a lot to me, personally, to have a separate identity outside the home again.

Even freelancing, my work in the home office was always without clear boundaries, with loads of washing here, pickups there, and hours that extended late into the night at my computer. My thoughts on working identity are a post for another day. Right now? This little worker bee is loaded up with guilt about how much I love being back at work in an office.

Sitting at my desk at 9 each morning feels so natural for me, it’s like I stepped back in time 10 years and misplaced a couple of kids along the way.

Working mother guilt. My new buddy, like a pet dog that lives in my handbag. We’ll call him Bob. Bob catches the train with me every day. He barked like an annoying MOFO when I missed the first infants’ sports carnival on Day 3. He made me buy lots of charity pens and daffodils on Daffodil Day, in case each seller at 200 m intervals in the city thought I hadn’t bought anything, since I purchased from the first schoolgirls I saw off the train that morning. (Does anyone else’s brain work this way?!)

Bob tells me going to the gym would be a selfish indulgence now I’m gone so much. Bob is probably letting my littlest get away with a bit more bad behaviour than usual, and a bit more clingy ‘mummy’ behaviour too, because, transition. Change. I did it to her. Stupid dog. Bob even tells me to eat Tim Tams in the office far too often, and I’m sure he’s the evil little bugger who arranged for my skin to breakout. That dog has powers. Powers to the nth arsehole degree.

 

My stupid mummy-guilt dog Bob. Ugly little shit.

My stupid mummy-guilt dog Bob. Ugly little shit.

I’d euthanase the dog, but I don’t need to. I just feed him a lovely barista-made coffee, a toilet break with a closed door and nobody yelling, and a healthy dose of work respect, and POOF! He’s gone. His stupid fluffy little head tucks back into the recesses of my handbag.

That’s right, people. I said RESPECT. That’s what’s been missing, and what I’ve found back at work. The jury’s still out, but it *may* be even more important than money.

Among the other perks, aside from a choice of coffee, respect, lunch breaks, shops, RESPECT and the knowledge that my brain won’t atrophy, is the train. My spoilt 20s-self thought the train was a hardship to be endured. Now it’s an uninterrupted 40 mins of quiet time, just for me, twice a day, when I couldn’t be doing washing or sweating it out in a Pump class even if I wanted to. Take THAT, Bob.

I’m excited about this new bend in the lane. Bob is a fluffy dog, small and manageable. I’ll turn him into a football at some point, when I’m ready to let him go.

Do you carry around a mother-guilt dog in your handbag? What do you feed him to shut him up? 

The best, the best, the best of me

I’ve got another confession to make. These words aren’t mine. Dave Grohl, Mr Foo Fighter God, you’ve called me out. Someone is getting the best, the best, the best, the best of me. Not in the way he thinks though. His jealousy is unwarranted. Grohly – I’m all yours.

I’m not entirely sure who that someone is yet. This week I’m in disk defrag mode, pulling all the bits apart and putting some bits back into the places where they should probably go… Hmmmm technical computer analogy not really working for this technomoron. In Face First speak, I’m trying to do THINGS, times MANY, and am only just pulling off little bits of little things. Kids, not yelling, sorting before and after school care, trotting off to interviews, and being PROFESSIONAL (ermergherd – wearing heels and smiling at the same time!! Don’t make me. I won’t.)

One of them is not blogging. I have about three draft posts glaring at me, saying ‘Hi! I’m in BITS! Will you please finish something?’ And I go back and yell at them ‘POSTS! Can’t you see I’m doing everything and my disk is being defragmented? Surely that means something to you since you live in a COMPUTER!? I will come back and complete you when the bits are in all the right places! And all the words are not being given to other people! OK?’ And they meekly agree that it sounds reasonable. Posts are good like that.

I won’t be writing my best post today, so I’m offering something from the past I quite liked. It’s long. Apologies. It was about a LONG DAY. (Bit like Stephen King’s The Long Walk). The future? There will be many, many words. Hopefully good ones, with all the bits in the right places.

‘Auspicious’ dates – heralding a load of crap?

The 12th of the 12th of 2012, what have you done for me lately? Apparently you were supposed to be some mystical karmic oooh-ahhh date of significance. All you brought me was a day of shitpoo.

I’m sorry I can’t express it more mature terms. I could try, but it would sound like ‘on this day of December, in the 12th year of the 21st century, I was arraigned with torrents of excrement, metaphorical in origin, which may or may not have been borne of a cosmic nature, heralding impending doom and the end of our time, or in fact may just have been another ordinary day worthy of flushing’. Utter rubbish.

So the Mayans stopped making their calendar. Maybe they just got bored. Seriously, if you just had to keep writing down numbers, over and over, wouldn’t you find something else to do and stop? Just because the calendar on your wall runs out at December 31, 2012, doesn’t mean there won’t BE a New Year’s Day. Of course there will be, full of headaches and regret. You just need to go down to Westfield and buy your 50% off 2013 calendar, as soon as your vision clears. It’s not the Mayans’ fault they didn’t have Westfield.

Source

This was my flushable day. It started with the dentist (again. If you want to see why this is AGAIN – see here). This is something of an ongoing saga for Little L, so some backstory: I hauled little L away from the last dentist who was about to extract the hurting tooth that had recently had baby root-canal, in the chair, telling me ‘every anaesthetic takes your child one step closer to the grave’ like she DIDN’T HAVE EARS. She was so traumatised from his treatment and ‘tap tap – yep I have to pull it out – here 5-year old girl, swallow a tablet goodbye’ I had to carry a sobbing child into this gorgeous children’s dentist last visit, while they gently coaxed her trust back. Too scared to be treated, we had to go back again today, while they did some safeguarding of some early decay on the top and had to put a filling in. Diabetes can TRASH your teeth. Who knew?! Not me.

Anyway, that done gently and nicely, we got on with the day. It went on in the usual as can be sometimes crappy fashion. Mini-fights, complaints, Mexican standoffs, whingeing etc. but then this afternoon playing up the road at a neighbour’s house WE LOST THEM. Little L and her friend took off out the front door which I hate them doing but they’ve done before to be cheeky, not telling us before they took off. I grabbed my bag and went to follow, knowing they are pretty careful when they cross our quiet road, but prepared for my ‘don’t do that!’ rant when we caught them up. We were chatting, saying goodbye while they had gone at 5-year old speed, so by the time we’d arrived in my front door and found nothing, and no answer, then raced back up the road to their place to see if they’d ducked around the back to trick us, hearts were pounding and parents were yelling. We were asking neighbours, yelling in the vacant lot, looking down the easement, and running breathless, of course thinking the worst… There have been reports before of cars trying to lure kids in the neighbourhood.
More frantic yelling, and they emerge, blessedly, sheepishly, from my house where they’ve been hiding in my bedroom. Hilarious. Starting to yell, instead we hug, so very relieved.

Recourse came later, and remorse, but little L’s remorse was extreme, and hysterical, with sobbing and screaming. Emotional outburst? Blood glucose check. Sure enough, she’s quite hypoglycaemic (very low blood sugar), and forgot (again) to mention she was feeling bad. Yay. Diabetes strikes again. Topping off a great day!

Just as she’s slowly climbing back towards the safe zone, above 4 and safe to leave unattended, a holler comes from the bathroom from little A: ‘muuuummmeeeeee the bath’s overflowing! Quick!’

Blessed I am. My cup overfloweth, as does my bath. The river in the bathroom was not too dire, and finally, all is peaceful as I lap my gin. I’m a spectacular human specimen today, and I’m high-fiving my superior and intelligent mothering skills. Not. Which is probably a good thing in light of what follows.

I watched a Stephen Hawking doco the other night suggesting that it would be a super-great idea (he didn’t use those words obviously, he’s a bit smart and sounds like a computer) if we looked for somewhere else to live other than Earth, what with the likelihood of it being smashed to smithereens by an asteroid, or being nuclear irradiated.  As he sensibly pointed out, INTELLIGENCE is not so important to survival, and may in fact be the key to our downfall. Amoeba and microbes have been getting by just fine for millions of years without intelligence, and yet dinosaurs with their tiny brains couldn’t make it through a little sauna time.

I think there’s something in this for all of us. Perhaps we need to get back to our petri-dishes of gin, and soak away our intelligence. Maybe then we’d stand a better chance of survival? I don’t know about you, but I’m not keen on a red-hot life on Mars in a spacesuit, living in a bunker on dehydrated peas. As far as theories go, this is probably not quite SBS-standard, and I suspect Stephen Hawking may poke a couple of holes, but it’s good enough for me after today, and I’m off to soak it away with a tonic or three, splashing in gin.

xx

Is someone getting the best, the best, the best of you? 

Throwing myself on Rachel’s lounge at Theviblog today. You should too. It’s soft and comfy.

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Jumper pants. FTW by she who fails best.

I’m sure you’ll believe me when I tell you this fail post wrote itself. Falling face first is what I do, right? The internet with all of its ‘fail’ blogs and memes is my natural home.

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A little pop culture factoid for you: The earliest documented use of the term “FAIL” can be traced to a Japanese 16-bit scrolling shooter game, Blazing Star (1998), often mocked for its grammatically incorrect “game over” message that reads:

“YOU FAIL IT!
YOUR SKILL IS NOT ENOUGH-
SEE YOU NEXT TIME- BYE BYE.”

According to Google Trends, Internet users later began exchanging and searching for pictures and videos labelled with “FAIL” as early as in 2004. So look at us here, on this Lounge, reclining like recalcitrant lizards. We’re so positively late to the party, we’re ironically, um… ON THEME.

Guess I’d better tell you about my biggest and best personal fail.

Three little ducks went out one day, over the hills and far away. Mother duck said ‘I’m just going to the cafe to get a coffee, but if you feel comfortable playing in the playground where I feel comfortable having you in a group together, you know where to find me’. Then only one little duck came back. That little duck said the other little duck was happy playing in the playground, and she smiled and waved at me when we made eye contact from just outside the gate fencing the playground.

Lo and behold, little duck A said to mumma duck ‘Mumma duck, I need to wee, NOW!’ Did I mention mumma duck is holding a 40 kg dog, a bike and a scooter? Did I mention also it’s started to rain? Not a teeny weeny drip drop (like in a nursery rhyme), but a SYDNEY SHOWER kind of downpour. We all know that ‘NOW’ means 5 minutes ago in 3-year old speak, so I counted my limited options, and grabbed dog, child and ran for the bushes. No time for the toilet. Plus, dog.

It was too late. Her undies and jeans were soaked through. Tears were streaming down her cheeks as she contemplated humiliating nude-scooting.

As I perched on my haunches in the bushes, rain dripping off my nose, I became somewhat close to panic as to how I would take my nude-bottomed 3-year-old scooting back to the car, while holding a 40-kilo dog on a lead, AND also find another daughter in the playground simultaneously. Without David Tennant’s help, that is. The little duck L was returned to us in the bushes sobbing, utterly distraught, by a lovely kind woman as she’d thought she’d lost us thoroughly. Cue heart-stabbing guilt. The nude bottom still presented a problem.

Then I remembered something I’d seen on the Melbourne Comedy Festival not so long before.

Jumper pants.

There was a song. You can watch and sing along (starting at about 1:19). It’s quite catchy. I had a jumper. I could do this.

You won’t believe this, Melbourne Comedy Festival guys, but somebody saw your idea and THOUGHT YOU WERE SERIOUS. They are making them as REAL PANTS and trying to sell them. Oops. They did reduce their price considerably from their originally marked RRP $260 down to only $99, and now, they are OUT! OF! STOCK! So… now I’m not really sure who has failed here. The person who took it seriously as an idea? Or the person who thought it actually looked cutting edge with ankle boots and (this is awkward) bought them.

Uhh.. yeah. You look totally, like… amaaahhhzing.

Uhh.. yeah. You look totally, like… amaaahhhzing.

In my humble opinion? The only person this look could possibly work on is this girl. The one with all the attitude in the world. The girl who says she wants ‘the chicken head’ when asked what part of the chicken she wants for dinner.

Here’s my little scooter girl. Dry bum but soaked everywhere else. Big sister tearfully bringing up the rear, while I reign in the enormous dog. Winning at failing, like only I know how.

Jumper pants. You know you want to.

Jumper pants. You know you want to.

Add your link below, PLEASE guys, and tell me you know how to fail too, like I do. We can toast our inadequacies and dance to being rubbish by the light of the moon! Or something.

 

Things that are Epic

On Saturday, amidst the storm clouds and rain, little L and I drove fiercely through the car flock to Fox Studios to a preview screening of Epic in 3D. It was, erm… an Epic adventure. My first fail? It was actually Sunday. Little L pointed this out to me after a confusing few moments where she explained that no, she truly hadn’t been at school the day before. Thank goodness for L. She is 5 and knows everything.

Little L was unsure whether being squeezed by a giant bug was a wise decision.

Little L was unsure whether being squeezed by a giant bug was a wise decision.

I’m not going to actually ‘review’ the movie, because Kimba has done a spectacular job already over here: Epic in 3D : Movie Review. Turns out she was there. In the rain and mist and snow (oh, wait.. it wasn’t quite that bad) I missed her completely. I feel, also, that I’m far too immature to accurately review a movie. I was swept away by the loveliness of the world created, and was so ready to immerse myself in a pretty green 3D forest with small dancing flowers that I threw my critical hat right out the door with my choc-top wrapper. I did find Mumabulous Brenda and her two wee Ps, however, all dripping and cuteness in their raincoats with choc-topped noses. Anyway. The movie? It was really good.

Enthralled 3D girls - What? This photo is blurry and rubbish? Who are you calling a bad photographer? ME? Yeah. Fair call. I am ASHAMED OF MYSELF.

Enthralled 3D girls – What? This photo is blurry and rubbish? Who are you calling a bad photographer? ME? Yeah. Fair call. In the bin SLAM with me and my bad photographing ways.

The movie aftermath? Now THAT was Epic. I managed to get lost inside my own city for over 40 minutes while I drove up and down backstreets on a magical mystery tour of WHERE THE HELL ARE WE? Added to my angst was the birthday lunch we were due to attend for my dad, back over the north shore and a 40 minute (direct) drive away.

I went on an accidental tour of St Vincent’s hospital, somehow driving through the emergency entrance in my state of epic confusion. There may have been an epic amount of inappropriate language streaming from my lips, followed by ‘Sorry L, mummy shouldn’t have said that’, followed by another epically inappropriate word as I turned the wrong way down a one-way lane and was confronted by two rows of parked cars and an angrily oncoming car. Mean streets, I tell you.

I may have had an epic showdown – a navigate-off, if you will, between the two directing ladies who live inside my phone. The first one, insanely, tried to make me drive through the cross-city tunnel, after her inability to re-route forced me to keep backtracking to go back to her original ‘desired’ route. In Little L’s words, ‘That phone lady’s stupid’. Yes, SHE IS EPICALLY STUPID AND SHE HAS NO IDEA WHERE SHE’S GOING.

Cue an emergency That Man phonecall. ‘I don’t know where I am’. ‘I don’t know where you are either’. ‘WELL WHY CAN’T YOU HELP ME!’ ‘Because, you need to pull over, find out where you are, and navigate yourself back out’. ‘WHY CAN’T YOU TELL ME? THE PHONE LADIES ARE ALL STUPID! THEY DON’T KNOW WHERE THEY’RE GOING! I’M AT THESE TWO STREETS. SO WHY CAN’T YOU JUST TELL ME? GRRR! WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SO UNHELPFUL!?’ One of my finer moments.

Big bad mean evil trapping Sydney that wouldn't let me out. BOOO! I say BOOOOO!

Big bad mean evil trapping Sydney that wouldn’t let me out. BOOO! I say BOOOOO!

Google maps lady was much nicer to me. We liked her better. It was all good, until I got a little big for my boots with false chutzpah and, smiling with victory through the driving rain, I took the wrong lane leading to the Harbour Bridge and went… back into the city north. EPIC swearing. Sorry Little L. More Epic swearing. Sorry. Possibly a small tear.

Cue wobbly phonecall to family at lunch already. ‘I’m trapped in the city. It won’t let me out’. ‘Remember that day mum was driving us home from the airport, and was upset, and somehow accidentally ended up driving us up Everleigh St behind a police car with 4 police in it? This is like that.’ My brother was soothing. ‘It’s ok. We’ll just eat more olives.’

This more than likely would have been the solution to all the Epic problems, though I'm concerned that there are brussels sprouts coming out of the bottle?

This more than likely would have been the solution to all the Epic problems, though I’m concerned that there are brussels sprouts coming out of the bottle?

And then… then it happened. The clouds parted. The rain stopped. I went around the same roundabout one, final time, and drove onto the Harbour Bridge, northbound! We were free!!!!!!!

I had an Epic nap at the conclusion of lunch. That, too, was really good.

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[We were guests of the Digitial Parents Collective and the Natural Cordial Company - an Epic THANKS!]

I can’t believe it’s not Better

I should be better at everything by now. I’m a perfectionist. That’s the way it works. I should at least be better at walking, and not be covered in bruises from not seeing tables and walls that throw themselves at me. In particular, though, I should be better at this domestic goddess thing. But guess what? I’m NOT. So, house. It’s YOU that should be better. Why can’t you do more? Why aren’t you adapting? I can’t believe you’re not better. I can’t believe you can’t at least buy butter, or order milk, or do SOMETHING useful other than sit here bumping into me every morning.

I’m getting quite perturbed by the house’s audacity, the way it just lolls around, parked on its hefty foundations, expecting me to keep doing all the things, while it never lifts a finger to better itself, or get a little fresh air or exercise.

Seriously. I’ve been managing my own living environment for twelve years now. I can conclude I’m fairly adult and responsible in most areas. I pay bills on time, have never had credit card debt, shopped around and selected the most cost-effective mortgage, hunted and bought real estate, travelled alone to foreign countries with only the clothes on my back, and successfully brought two healthy children into the world. I think this cements my status as ‘grown up’ in this housing relationship.

However, meal plans, preparing dinner at lunchtime, having designated washing days, organised pre-printed holiday packing lists, lists of service-people, drawers for cords and kids’ birthday presents pre-wrapped and labelled? Such things make me want to SLIT MY WRISTS. The house, on the other hand, has never once said thank you for my efforts to make it look pretty, brushing its hairy floors, or washing its face. It just doesn’t appreciate me. I’ve tried for so long, but I think, now, there’s only one conclusion I can draw. House? I’m just not that into you.

So, house. HOUSE yes – I’m talking to you! Pay attention, and look at me with your windows. Why aren’t your whitegoods good? Why are they so bad and lackadaisical, forcing me to do things like putting the dishes inside them, instead of being good and self-stacking? Why is the fridge continually getting empty and not self-replenishing? Why is the washing machine not able to put on a load of washing and wash? Why the HELL won’t my dining table fold up all of this washing? Doesn’t it know I want to eat some dinner there sometime this century???

Now – for some evidence of my house’s disappointing ability to adapt to its inhabitants. Here is my dining table. All laid out, ready for some feasting. On clothes. Lazy, lazy table. Call yourself Susan why don’t you.

The lazy table.

Here is the kitchen. It reminds me very much of the movie The Sixth Sense. The cupboards, particularly. Paying close attention to cupboard closure won’t enhance its beauty. No cordon bleu cooking happening here, people, can you believe it? It’s not very inspiring, despite the woodland setting of faux-trees-on-panels. I am a pretty good cook. No slouch. Give me the tools, and the space, and I’ll cook you a three-course gourmet bonanza. Here? Well… you get what you get and you don’t get upset. But come ON. This kitchen? Why hasn’t it thrown off its wallpaper in shame? If I was wearing that flowery dress I’d be walking around naked in preference. Why isn’t my wall? Have some PRIDE, wall. Take. It. Off.

I see … *whispers*.. dead wallpaper ….

Perhaps things will change one day, when I awaken to find myself in a beach-side abode of pure white, an enormous kitchen at my disposal and a hibiscus tree growing through my back window. We may then be in true love, my house and me. I don’t actually want to break up though. Happy things happen in this house, with my family. I’ll keep doing all the work, I guess, if it just remembers to be big and strong for me every now and again.

Sorry, house. I love you really. I’ll try harder ok? Promise.

xx

Linking up with The Lounge over at Musings of the Misguided, because confessing to strangers in the dark is so much easier than making them coffee in your horrendous kitchen. 

Driving … you’re doing it wrong.

When I say ‘you’re’ doing it wrong, I only mean me. You are not, because you’re not driving in the car with my kids. If you were, you’d be wrong, too. Because they have RULES. Scary, hard rules. When you go for your L plates you should have two small girls yelling at you to ‘STOP! WEE COMING!’ while you do the computer test, then a large dog farting Chum farts while you attempt to reverse park for your P- plate test.

According to small girl rules, I first make the mistake of paying far too much attention to the road. I forget I am a DJ and top chef with go-go Gadget hands, ready to retrieve dropped items from under my seat whilst simultaneously dishing out delectable snacks and Eclipse mints for dessert from the depths of my handbag. Operating a vehicle? Pah. I can do that with the eyes in the back of my head and my extra octopus arms.

There are complex and difficult games. ‘I spy with my little eye, something beginning with pink’. We also play the ‘magic word’ game, where they make deals based on my knowledge of the secret word. They’ll do as I ask, if I know the password. Too easy! Says I, cocky in the knowledge that yesterday’s was FoxBox. ‘Noooo Muuuuuuuum’. I lose. Today’s word is Stinkydingo. Of course. Outwitted by a 4-year old once again.

I do slightly better in my role as DJ. I’ve worked out some get-arounds for the more high-rotation dodgy lyrics we encounter, but some of the swearing still catches me off guard on the school run in the mornings. Today on the way back from the beach we wound all the windows up so nobody could hear us having a Gangnam Style dance party while we sang ‘Hey… Chips and gravy, op op op op, open Gangnam style!’ because that song is like, SO last year. The other day I had them convinced that Gwen Stefani was singing ‘Ooooooh, this my ship this my ship’, ‘The sheep is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!’ before launching in to a lengthy explanation of what a Hollaback Girl might actually BE…. However. I still get caught out frequently, usually before my brain logs on at 10am, and I’m forced to start singing really loudly over the top of the radio with some ridiculous makeup words. Over the past week with laryngitis I’ve sounded a lot like a dying cockatoo, BUT, on the up-side I’ve preserved my kids’ aural virginity another day….

Did I say the ‘S’ word? Oops

What I really need, I think, is some kind of scrambling device for the radio, like the police have. (Do they? Or did I just make this up? Whatever. Go with me, cos I said. Bossy. Shoosh.) So this scrambling device would recognise swearing or inappropriate lyrics in the music, and would scramble the word and substitute something else, like ‘plucking’. Basically, it would do all the thinking on my feet for me, while I’m busy being an Inspector Gadget octopus chef.

 

A dramatic re-enactment of events. Cos I would not talk on my phone. Oh no.

Speaking of police, I recently had a close encounter of the back pocket kind. I pulled up at the lights, and realised, distracted as I was with my mobile, that the intermittent woop noise was in fact a cop car alongside trying to gently gain my attention. Oh. He smiled at me, shook his head and waggled his finger. I chucked aside my phone like it was Psy’s underpants and made the most contrite face I could conjure (a cross between a strangled goat and a goldfish). I KNOW. Massive fail. I wasn’t texting or tweeting, and what I was doing on my phone is not important, since I shouldn’t have been holding it. BAD person. In the bin SLAM. I was just looking for the good songs to play. The sweary ones, since I was in the car, without the kids, and I wasn’t going to get into trouble for once.

[Photo credit: Alamy – www.Telegraph.co.uk]

Italian in a past life

 

I don’t believe in past lives, but there is a little italian living inside me. Not LITERALLY, you twisted people. Since That Man’s not italian, that would present something of a problem, yes?

I’ve been fortunate to travel to quite a number of countries in the world, but nowhere speaks to me and feels comfortable in the way that Italy does. Everything Italian – the language, the food, the excess of emotion, the landscape – just feels like it fits to me. Learning the language when I was at school and then at uni felt like pulling on a pair of ugh boots. It was warm, soft and enveloping and the words just wrapped around me. I didn’t want to take them off when the HSC was over. Well, my ugh boots either, for that matter. My language skills these days are pretty shabby, but after a couple of wines in an italian restaurant they seem to spring forth from nowhere, and I end up engaged in discussions with homesick waiters about their homelands. A particularly lovely one two weeks ago invited me to visit him in Calabria later this year when he returns home. Um… about That Man and two children …!!!!

Stuff they get right:

Food. 

Prosciutto. Antipasto. Tomatoes. Olive oil. Buffalo mozzarella that doesn’t cost $10 per piece. Limoncello. I could eat prosciutto all day every day for the rest of my life. I think easter eggs should be made from prosciutto. Cake should be made from prosciutto. Hell. The harbour bridge could be made from prosciutto, but then they’d have to rope it off with barbed wire or I’d eat my way from one end to the other. Poor piggies. They never saw me coming. If I ever have a night home alone, my ultimate meal involves some pickings of deli meats, good tomatoes, spinach leaves, olive oil, basil, sourdough and some kind of cheese. Party for one. Yum. And for dessert? Stuff dessert. All dessert should be affogato, forever. Coffee, icecream, and frangelico (my preferred liquer for the purpose). The italians are not the best at bureaucratic efficiency, but when it comes to gastronomic genius, it doesn’t get much more streamlined than this.

My kind of dinner.

Coffee:

On the topic of efficiency and streamlining, we are kindred spirits on the notion of caffeine and food as fuel. In Italy, sitting and lingering over a cappucino is a fairly strange notion, with natives preferring it short, black, and taken standing at a bar before they continue their day. Since most of my coffee and, indeed, meals seem to be consumed standing these days while I focus instead on the needs of others (under 1.5 metres tall), I like to think I’m being hip and italian rather than harried and disorganised. Yep. That’s me. Italian mamma.

Language:

It sounds like a song. It’s pretty intuitive. It’s sensible, unlike english. And, we’ve already adopted half the words anyway. Cappucino, foccacia, bruschetta, antipasto, pasta, vista etc etc. They seem to know that style even matters in your speech, and I love that.

Style:

I can’t help it. I feel naked leaving the house without bling. And tell me, have you ever seen an italian devoid of jewellery of any sort? We are kindred spirits. You don’t really need me to point this out to you, but Gucci, Armani, Prada, Cavalli, Ferragamo and Versace, the best of the best of the best, all hail from Italy. Their style is more bold and colourful on the whole than the French, and I like it.

Angelina’s leg is wearing Versace, and her foot is wearing Ferragamo. Head to toe Italian. Noice choice Angie.

A friend of mine made the EMINENTLY sensible choice to get married in Lake Como in 2011 for no other reason than that Italy’s awesome, so I was forced, dragged, kicking and screaming by my bestie and thrown on a plane to accompany her on a 2-week child-free girls’ trip. It was awful (ly wonderful). After a few days in Milan, we discovered the joys of the Aperol Spritz, and spent a lazy week by the lake with the wedding party, dipping in to Bellagio and Menaggio from our home in Varenna, a magical place. I learnt to make gnocchi (who knew? I’m a natural!!) and perfected my ability to eat my body weight in gelato. The sales were on in Milan. A happy coincidence. We saw Aida in Verona in the original open-air Roman amphitheatre, which ended dramatically around 1am when we were washed out by a torrential thunderstorm.

They get plenty wrong too. Living there is a bureaucratic nightmare, and driving there? Just don’t. Berlusconi needs no mention, unless anyone is fond of a bunga bunga party and wants to impart the true meaning… I think we’re still all a little unsure. It’s Australia for me, all the way, but Italy remains number 1 on my holiday destination list.

Lago di Como – from Varenna

xx

Mumbot Version 2.0 – a work in progress

This is not me. This is, in fact, Nicole Kidman. Doing the acting.

Disappointing as it may be to That Man, there will never be anything Stepford about me. I can bake, but I don’t do it recreationally. I love to cook, but I don’t do it to impress work colleagues. I can dance, but I don’t do it sober in a floral frock. And pearls? I like them black.

I wrote last year about my immense frustration with being at home, and the fact I’d thoroughly misplaced my patience. Sadly this is not a victory post. In fact, today I’m dangerously close to taking myself off for some ‘Time out’ in the sandpit to try and breathe and feel some sand between my toes. It’s about as close to the beach and some ‘me time’ as I’m likely to get. HOWEVER – I think I may have found, if not the patience, then some trick around it. BALANCE. Or some approximation of it, anyway.

There are two invisible kids sitting on the heavy side. Can you see them?

For me, that balance is work. I’ve been working two days per week in the office, doing work I love, for about a month or so now. My permanence hasn’t been confirmed so I’m a bit hesitant about declaring the work drought over, though I’m super-optimistic and feeling less like a citrus-fruit than I was around October last year.

Today, as a home day, has been a TOUGH DAY. Often they’re not, and we hang out and are chilled and relaxed and play together nicely. Yes! I know how to share! This is not that day, however. Keeping me going is the promise of a cappuccino, a desk, and air-conditioning tomorrow. Little A, my pocket rocket, has today drawn with biro on the white wardrobe (‘couldn’t find any paper mum’), put lipstick on the dog, taken 15 minutes to go to the toilet at the gym with the ‘engaged’ lock on the door and me outside, then had a fight with me about seatbelts. Oh, and hurt herself 3 times (falling off things, getting feet stuck in things), and spilt 2 cups of water. It’s only 4pm. I’m so tense I could scream, and with much guilt, I admit I have been. Revision: 5 minutes later – I have just found her in the bathroom lathered in Lucas’ pawpaw cream and water, over her face, arms, hands and hair. WHHYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!! Attention? Me going to work? Maybe I should be sitting with her and a book or playing, but we are both so mad at each other we need a little space right now. Tomorrow is a fresh start and we had a chat and makeup cuddles at bed.

I’m relieved to be going to work tomorrow. People listen to me there, and say ‘thank you’, and suggest I go and make myself a cup of coffee before we do some work. I sit and eat lunch in a courtyard garden, and read my Kindle on the train, and wear nice clothes, and get PAID to do these things. The best part of all is, I miss my girls, and I kiss their little faces all over when I come home, and look forward to playing with them all the next day. Work 5 days? That’s hard. Two days? That feels like balance, and like fake patience, because it makes me fresh for the girls twice each week. It also feels selfish, but I’ve almost convinced myself it’s part of making me a better mother. Plus, money.

This Mumbot Version 2.0 I’m working on? There’s nothing Stepford about it. Like that Vegemite Version 2.0 (Cheesymite?) they brought out a year or so ago and had trouble naming, I’m a work-in-progress. There’s a slower, more planned and organised way I’d like to deal with and respond to the girls, without the heights of emotion and the urgency of being late. Now, if only I can get the littlest family member to play along …

xx