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Archive for May, 2010

I learnt the hard way when I was seventeen that “Tunisian Blonde” essentially meant “pink hair”. You’d think the ensuing weeks of walking around looking like Stephanie from Lazy Town might have put me off dying my hair for life, but alas, no.

Last weekend I found myself unexpectedly alone in the house for twenty hours and got a bit carried away. I had been the Walking Wall of Beige for so long now that it was time to be bold and to make a change. I went to the supermarket and purchased a packet of hair dye called “Bordeaux Chocolate Brown”, partly because the colour looked rich and lustrous, but mostly because it was on sale.

As I applied it to my head, the fact that “Bordeaux” was a region known more for its red wine than its chocolate began to worry me. It looked very, uh, purple. I grew deeply concerned that I was going to look like some kind of mid-life crisis Barney The Dinosaur. Result.

Nervously, I waited the requisite 30 minutes and rinsed it out. Wet, it didn’t look too bad. It certainly didn’t look purple. Maybe I wouldn’t look too bad after all?

After a while, however, I became concerned again. Surely my hair would have dried by now? I put my hand to my head and realised it was bone dry.

I rang KT. “I seem to have made a terrible mistake! I’ve put a colour through my hair and it’s come out black!”

“That sounds great!” KT enthused.

“No, it isn’t. It’s accentuated every single blemish and wrinkle on my face. I look like one of those old Italian women who can’t let go of their youth!” I wailed.

“All you need is some make up!” KT reassured me.

“Makeup??” I was horrified. The only time I had really worn makeup in the last twenty years was my wedding day and even then I had run screaming from the eye shadow. “Oh, god. What have I done…”

“Don’t worry, it’ll wash out. I mean, it wasn’t permanent, was it?” KT asked.

“I don’t know. I’ll check…” I said, grabbing the box. “OH. MY. SWEET. FUCK… It’s not only permanent but it’s “salon-tested fade-proof”. I mean, if it says it on the box it must be true. Oh god! The regrowth! I’ll have a beige-coloured skunk stripe along my part in a matter of weeks! WEEKS!”

I quickly did some calculations. That was pretty much perfect timing for my interstate trip to attend my friend GT’s 40th and meet [Famous Person]. That was great. Fucking great.

I rang my husband, who had taken the kids to Blinkton for the night.

“Um, I’m not sure you should leave me alone in the house again,” I said. “You could say the freedom has gone to my head… literally…”

And I confessed to the fact that I now officially looked like Liberace but without the diamontes and jewelery and how I now understood why he wore all that sparkly crap – it was to take the focus off his goddamn hair. And how, instead of enjoying my child-free time, I was just wandering from room to room and exclaiming “GAH!” every time I caught sight of my reflection.

My husband was philosophical.

“I’ll still love you,” he said. “In any case, I’ve got the hair clippers.”

I can see where all this is heading. If I cut all my hair off,  rather than looking like Sinead O’Connor or even Britney Spears mid-nervous breakdown, I’ll look like Jabba The Fucking Hutt. (*Sigh*).

It’s really hard to know which way to go with this.

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It’s recently come to my attention that I’m not being taken seriously as a writer and that my blog is being pigeon-holed as a “parenting blog”. To show that there’s more to me and my blog, I decided to have an up-close and personal chat with an inflatable doll dressed up as Brad Pitt.

________________________

NOT DROWNING MOTHER: Welcome, Inflatable Brad Pitt! It’s great to have you here today. Are you okay with that beard I’ve stuck on you? I couldn’t find any glue or sticky tape so I’ve used Wiggles bandaids. They seem to be holding so far but Jeff looks like he’s struggling a bit. Lazy git. (tries to readjust beard a bit).

Now, before we get started, would you like a drink? Tea or coffee? I’ve also got some cordial which the kids have deemed to be ‘bisgusting’, improbably called ‘Gubble Bum’. It sounds like euphemism for ‘arse licker’, if you ask me.

INFLATABLE BRAD PITT: (gives blank look)

NDM: Sorry, ‘bum’ is an Australian word for arse. You know, like your American word ‘fanny’ – although, arguably, a cordial called “Gobble Fanny” is even less appropriate… Anyway, what do you think of my new haircut? Do I look like the little dude from that 70s family show ‘Eight Is Enough’ or what?

IBP: (blank look)

NDM: Go on, say it. Although, I’m not sure I can take hair advice from a blow up sex doll with pubic hair stuck to its chin.

IBP: (blank look)

NDM: Don’t worry. I didn’t cut any especially or anything. It was from the plughole.

IBP: (beard falls off)

NDM: (mutters) Stupid Jeff… Anyway, Inflatable Brad, I’m really glad to see you’ve got all the inflatable versions of your kids here for the interview, along with their inflatable nannies. Sorry I didn’t have enough balloons to make them all. I actually had to blow up a couple of cask wine “space bags” for the twins. And before you go checking, I drank the wine first.

IBP: (blank look)

NDM: It wasn’t until I had to blow them all up that I really appreciated what a tribe you have there. Why, I’ve heard that even your nannies have nannies! Ha-ha-ha-ha. Seriously though, whenever you travel are you ever tempted to stage a flash-mob stunt at, say, the transit lounge in Singapore Changi airport?

IBP: (blank look)

NDM: You should try it – especially after a long flight and the kids have gone totally feral. Whenever my three kids all have a simultaneous meltdown in the supermarket, I just pretend it’s a Telstra-sponsored flash mob and video it with my mobile phone. You’d be surprised how much nicer people are about screaming children if they think they’re going to end up on YouTube.

ANYWAY, I know your PR person specifically told me not to ask any questions about your ex-wife but someone’s got to ask the tough questions. And that someone is me. Inflatable Brad: are you still friends with Jennifer Aniston on facebook or has she blocked you?

IBP: (blank look)

NDM: Answer the question, Brad! Your fans need to know!

IBP: (blank look)

NDM: I think you just nodded, but it might have been because Inflatable Maddox popped and caused you to fall forward a little. Whatever. I’ve heard a lot of people unfriended Jen when she got really into FarmVille there and kept sending out requests for people to feed her beaver or something stupid. I mean, who keeps beavers on a farm?

IBP: (blank look)

NDM: Yeah, I don’t know either. But what I will say is (hears sound of husband’s keys in the front door) it’s-been-great-having-you-here-today. (hurriedly stuffs Inflatable Brad under the bed and kicks all inflatable kids and nannies into the kids’ room).

______________________

Yep, that should do the job nicely. Very nicely indeed.

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One of the benefits of having small children is that you never have to worry about grooming yourself. Most mornings I leave the house looking not so much like I’d just rolled out of bed but that the bed had rolled over me and  vomited its breakfast all over me in the process. By the time I arrive at any evening event, I inevitably look like I’ve come straight from the Prom Night in Carrie - but, in my mind at least, I’m always forgiven and even celebrated for that small section of my left shoe not coated in child spit. I have small children, you know.

However, I know that I won’t get away with that excuse at my fashionista friend GT’s upcoming 40th, especially since I will be in a completely different state from my children. I’m going to have to lift my game, perhaps even brush my hair and put some lipstick on. I’m going to have to wear clothes not held together with velcro or safety pins, goddammit.

When we spoke on the phone the other night, GT didn’t help things by telling me who else was invited.

“Eek!” I said. “They all sound cool and interesting and well-dressed and I’m just, you know, a stay-at-home mum…”.

“Oh, but you’re not! You’re an internationally-acclaimed award-winning blogger!” GT said, kindly.

“Some award! I didn’t get a trophy or a certificate. All I’ve got to show for it is a stupid JPEG and even then, I had to make the JPEG myself!” I said. “Even if I print it out the JPEG and walked around saying ‘Oooh, look at me and my JPEG!’, it’s not really that impressive.”

I mean, honestly, there should have at least been a Special Occasion glow-in-the-dark winner’s sash that I could have worn beauty-queen style to such events, with a light-up crown and a matching sceptre with a hollowed out stem for holding vodka. And yes, I have thought about this a lot.

Anyway, GT probably knew I was going to start lamenting my lack of Bloggies-branded vodka-sceptre again and so swiftly changed the topic.

“Oh, and [Famous Person] will be there,” she mentioned, casually.

“[Famous Person]?” I squeaked.

“Yes, [Famous Person].”

“[Famous Person] will be there! Oh. My. God. [Famous Person]…” I said, before adding once more for good measure: “[Famous Person]!”

“We seem to be saying [Famous Person]’s name a lot here,” GT mentioned.

“And so we should! He’s [Famous Person] after all! Wow… Oh, I’m definitely bringing along some ‘Not Drowning, Mothering’ business cards now. And I’ll print out my JPEG and stick it on the back with sticky tape so that it looks like they’re laminated on and then I’ll give [Famous Person] one and he’ll instantly whip out his iPhone and become my fan on Facebook or ‘like’ me or whatever the hell it is that you do on facebook these days. Oh, GT! I’m so glad I invited myself to your 40th now!” I enthused.

Yes, I was excited. I knew that nobody would be talking about my mumsy-opshop-chic-zombie look at all at the party. In fact, I could wear whatever the hell I liked and it wouldn’t matter. Nobody would be looking at my clothes. Instead, they’d be all whispering to each other “Did you see that woman handing out business cards wrapped in sticky tape? Yes, the one wearing the home-made sash and the plastic crown, claiming the bottle of vodka she was carrying was a sceptre? She’s, like, so hot right now…”

Man, I’m totally going to wow that room.

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In a new series titled “Easy Recipes For Women of Easy Virtue”, The NDM plans to share some of her favourite recipes.

C-CUPCAKES

The recipe for these darling little cakes is adapted from Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess. It’s not strictly necessary to flash your cleavage and lick your fingers a lot when making them, but it seems to help the process (or so my husband tells me).

Ingredients

125 grams caster sugar
125 grams unsalted butter, softened

I really love it when a recipe calls for softened butter because it requires the kind of forward planning that I am incapable of. I always end up having to bung the butter in the microwave, only to accidentally put it on ‘high’ and then completely forget about it for fifteen minutes so that it starts exploding like molten lava, thoroughly coating the roof of the microwave and ultimately turns rancid and drips into everything I subsequently try to heat up. Yes, as I said, I really love it.

125 grams of self-raising flour

Self-raising flour is distinctly different from self-raising children, who somehow know that mummy had a few too many champagnes last night and that it would be best for everyone if they got their own cereal and watched the telly for a while.

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Vanilla essence, with an ABV of 35% , is almost as alcoholic as gin. You know, just sayin’.

2 – 3 tablespoons of milk

Milk, however, doesn’t have any alcohol content, unless, of course, you’re talking about breast milk the morning after a big night, which I hope you’re not planning to use here because that’s just sick.

Method

Put everything, except the milk, in the food processor and process the crap out of it.  With the motor still running (like you’re about to make some kind of getaway), add the milk one teaspoon at a time until the mixture has a nice ‘dropping consistency’ (about a Type 5 on the Bristol Stool Scale).

Place patty pans placed in a lightly greased 12-hole muffin pan (is it just me or does “a lightly-greased 12-hole muffin pan” sound like a porno industry term?) and carefully spoon mixture evenly between them (See? Even the idea of ‘spooning’ gets a bit dodgy when spoken about in the context of a lightly-greased 12-hole muffin pan).

Bake in a moderately hot oven for 15  minutes, until golden on top. For those of you who insist on putting a number value on “moderately hot”, I mean 200°C. And for those of you who insist I convert that temperature into Fahrenheit, it’s 392°F. And for those of you who are claiming 392° is a ridiculous number to put in a recipe because the notches on most oven dials are only in ten degree increments, I’ll round it down for you to 390°. Sheesh! Do I have to do everything around here?

Cool on a wire rack and ice when cold. And by ‘ice’ I mean ‘cover with icing’ as opposed to ‘take out in a cold premeditated military-style execution’ – remember: violence against baked goods is not cool, people! And if you’re wanting the recipe for the icing, you’re just going to have to goddamn wait. I accidentally swallowed the rest of the vanilla essence, swiftly moved on to the cooking sherry and think I need to have a little lie down now.

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Attention: Genghis Cat, Feline Overlord of [address omitted]

Dear Cat,

I am writing to remind you that, according to the pet registry at the local council, I am listed as your owner. Not the other way around.

Admittedly, however, I mustn’t be much of an owner. I mean, I’ve never felt the need to put a picture of you up as my facebook profile pic or get you to wear a Santa Hat on our Christmas cards or have your name tattooed on my arse. Also, I’ve certainly never felt the way cat food manufacturers obviously think I should feel – most of the cats featured on their packaging are giving me their best “Come Hither” eyes and others seem positively post-coital. Is this really how cat owners feel about their pets? If so, I’m sorry. I just don’t see you That Way. For one thing, whenever I try to pat you, you just bite me. Perhaps that’s your way of giving me some lovin’ but I can tell you now, Cat: I’ve no interest in becoming your S&M bitch-slave. It just ain’t my scene.

Anyway, now that I’ve reestablished the fact that I’m your owner, I would like to remind you of a few house rules:

Greetings
Please do not greet me at the door with an accusatory whine, as if continuing a previous argument right at the point where we left off (no doubt about the fact that I “never” feed you). In return, I will cease regarding you warily with a “Helllooooo, Genghis”, like I’m Jerry Seinfeld greeting his nemesis Newman.

Disposal of body parts
I may be wrong here but I think most serial killers attempt to tidy up after themselves a bit. Whilst it can be said that nothing heightens the hanging-out-the-washing experience more than standing barefoot on a mouse head, I’d prefer it if you could either eat your prey in its entireity or use one of the garbage receptacles provided.

Land rights
You have no legal claim over the spot in front of the heater. You therefore do not reserve the right to stalk, pounce upon, scratch or bite anybody standing in that spot, especially if they have just been outside in the cold, cleaning up bird entrails from the trampoline. My husband would also like it to be known that when he sits naked in front of the heater in the mornings (for reasons known only to himself), those things hanging down between his legs are not your sworn enemy.

Meal Times
When I refuse to feed you outside of designated feeding times, please do not sit right in front of me and proceed to elaborately groom your arsehole in protest. And, for the record, other cats the size of small ponies subsist on one cup of dry cat food a day without complaint. You receive the same PLUS two sachets of ‘wet food’, which costs more per gram than most fancy-pants French cheeses, and yet you never quit your bitchin’. WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM? If I served all your meals to you dressed in a gimp suit made entirely rubber and let you bite the crap out of me, would that make you satisfied? Would it? WOULD IT? Well, it ain’t gonna happen, Cat. It ain’t gonna happen.

Sheesh.

Your loving owner,

The NDM

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There’s not much to be recommended about starting work at 6am, except, perhaps, the possibility of knocking off early.

“Why, I can be home by 2:30!” my husband recently said, trying to look at the upside of his working hours.

“You can but you rarely are,” I corrected him. More often than not he’s not home until 4pm, conveniently after the school run. Funny, that.

“Okay, okay,” my husband said. “So I can be home by 2:30 if I have to.”

“If you have to? Is that what you think of your life here at home – as something you only do if you have to??” I was quick to accuse. My poor husband. Conversations with me must be like running blindfolded through a minefield while being chased by rabid she-dogs with PMT.

Still, it must be said that my husband and I have completely different concepts of time. I don’t feel like any of the time I take away from my family duties ever really feels like my own – it’s simply feels borrowed. And my husband? Well, let’s just say he has a greater sense of ownership over ‘his’ time.

Here’s an example: the other day he was supposed to be working a half-day – finishing at 10:30. He’d arranged to have ‘an early lunch’ with a colleague who leaving work forever that day. At 3:15pm, I rang him, asking if he was almost home. 

“Um, almost…” he replied. There was a lot of noise in the background. 

“Are you still at lunch?” I asked.

“Oh, no. Of course not!” was his quick response. “That finished ages ago. But here’s the thing, see… I was at the bus stop waiting to go home when [another friend] rang and asked me out for a beer.”

“So you’re at the pub,” I said.

“Yes. Yes, I am.”

“And not, for example, about to meet me at the school so that we can attend the meeting with Pixie’s teacher that you, yourself, arranged?” 

“Ah, no. No, I’m not,” he admitted, before adding cheerfully: “But you can go and show that at least one of us is a responsible parent!”

As you can imagine, when he got home over an hour later, I had a few words to say on the subject.

“All it takes is a phone call,” I said, sulkily. “I think you take it for granted that I’ll just look after the kids and do all the responsible things while you go do whatever the hell you want.”

“You know I’m always happy to do the same for you!” he replied with the air of somebody who’d just spent the afternoon at the pub.  

Now it’s here that I should give my husband some credit: he applies the same standards to my time management as he does to his own. He’s always saying “Go out and have fun! Don’t come home unless you’re completely shit-faced or in the back of a paddy wagon!” – partly because he knows the chances of me doing it are negligible. 

He decided to reiterate that point: “You know what’d I’d say if you rang me, saying you’d just taken a bad acid trip and were stuck at a rock festival for a week with Mzzz E?”.

“I don’t know. What would you say?” I asked. 

“Um, I’d say something. I just have to think what…” he mumbled. “Anyway, you’re off duty now for the rest of the evening. I’m here! I’m in charge! You can blog, sleep, read, whatever you like!”

Which is exactly what I did until one hour later, when I heard a little tap at the door.

“Um, have you finished blogging yet?” he asked in a small voice. “I was kind of hoping I could have a little lie down…”

In his defence, it was the 4am start and the 10km power-walk to work that was catching up with him. Not the four glasses of wine he’d had in the middle of the afternoon, of course. Not that. Never that.

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The other day I was trying to get down a ream of paper from the top shelf so I could refill the printer, when I fell off the stool I was standing on and banged my leg really badly. A few days later, I got a bit bored and ended up drawing two eyes, a nose and a mouth on the subsequent (and massive) bruise with a magic marker, intending to a list it on ebay along with the claim it was an apparition of Jesus  just so I would have something to blog about.

And then all of a sudden something else to blog about landed in my lap in the form of my very first rejection letter.

Now, before you get all impressed that I’ve only ever received one rejection letter, I should also add that I’ve also only ever sent in one submission for publication. Statistically, it’s not looking good.

Here is what the letter said:

Dear Not Drowning,

Thank you for submitting your article [title omitted] for consideration by our editorial review committee.

Your work has been reviewed but has not been selected for publication because it was totally crap and we hate you and would rather drink a pint of our own piss than publish your article.

Fuck off, loser.

Yours, etc.

[Name omitted]

Okay, so I may have reworded it slightly for the purposes of this blog. But I’m merely telling it as I read it, people!

Having never received a rejection letter before, I began wondering what it was that I was supposed to do. Replying seemed to be the polite thing, but what to say?

I toyed with the idea of boldly rejecting the rejection letter by replying something along the lines of:

Dear [name omitted],

Thank you for submitting your letter for consideration by my editorial review committee (i.e. me).

Unfortunately, I am unable to accept your letter at this time. I therefore look forward to seeing my article [title omitted] printed in your publication in the near future,

Yours, in anticipation

The Not Drowning Mother

And then I remembered how sending a picture of a vegetable porn star to The Bloggess had led her to endorse my 2010 Bloggies campaign and I knew that words were not enough. After all, I’d also tried to get Eddie Perfect‘s endorsement, but that had totally failed simply because I didn’t attach any photos and not because I had come across as desperate or unhinged or anything.

So I’ve been thinking of sending this instead:

Dear [name omitted],

Thank you for submitting your letter for consideration by my editorial review committee [i.e. me, a bottle of Angus Brut Brut de Brut and half a family-sized block of Cadbury’s chocolate].

I am thrilled to inform you that your letter has been accepted for publication in my blog.  Yay, you!

Unfortunately, I am unable to pay you for your work but would instead like you to have this photo of “Bruisus Christ” (attached), especially since the timely arrival of your letter gave me something to blog about and ultimately prevented me from selling my leg on ebay.

Maybe you’d like to publish it?

Yours, a little bit desperately,

The Not Drowning Mother


Yep, that’ll definitely get me published. Either that, or a letter from [publication name omitted]’s lawyers. Or maybe even a group of angry fundamentalist Christians picketing my home to get my blog closed down. Whatever. At least I’ll get the attention I’m obviously craving. Yay, me!

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