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Archive for September, 2010

I’m the kind of person who often walks into a room and has everybody whisper “Who’s that girl?”

Unfortunately, it’s never said in the hushed and awe-filled tones of someone in the presence of True Beauty. It’s said in the same kind of way that someone might say “What did I just step in?” or even “Is that a pubic hair in my soup??”

I’m pretty sure I made such an entrance when I recently went to a swanky Sydney wine bar, wearing jeans and a smock top that mades me look like a hunchbank who’s six months pregnant.

I was going to see my fabulous friend GT sing and, indeed, had rung her beforehand to check the dress code.

“It’s very casual. Jeans are fine,” she assured me.

It wasn’t until I arrived there that I realised the statement “Jeans are fine” applied only to people as fabulous as GT who can wear anything anywhere and, in fact, never wear jeans because they’ve got far better things to wear.

There was some small part of me that wanted to shout out “Anyone care for spot of scrapbooking?” or (better still) “The Bells! THE BELLS!”as I walked across the room. Luckily, I was meeting my friend Dr L and my stepmother JJ – both of whom have known me for over two decades and know that I’m way cooler than I look. Okay, so a little cooler.

Anyway, the gig was great. GT has a velvety voice like an angel who’s wooing the devil, or at least talking him into giving her a really long foot rub.

But the “Who’s that girl?” moments continued. During one break between sets, Dr L and I heard our names being spoken. We looked up to see GT and a pretty blonde woman looking over at us. They waved to us and we waved back.

GT walked over to us a few minutes later.

“That’s [Karen], Mr F’s friend,” she said.

“Oh! Karen!” I exclaimed, knowingly.

“Ah yes! Karen...” Dr L echoed.

GT went back to the stage and began singing. After a few bars, Dr L whispered out the side of her mouth.

“Just checking… Do we know who Karen is?”

“Fuck, no,” I whispered back, my smile still fixed on my face.

After a few more songs, Karen got up to leave. She waved to us cheerfully. We waved back with equal enthusiasm.

“Bye, Karen!” Dr L said, brightly.

“God go with you, Karen!” I said, which made me giggle to myself for at least half an hour because I was a jeans-clad pregnant hunchback in a swanky Sydney bar and I had to find something to laugh about that wasn’t myself.

Anyway, as fate would have it, during the next break I found myself chatting to GT’s guitarist, a very talented man that I had met a number of times over the past 15 years.

After a while, he extended his hand to introduce himself.

“Uh, we’ve actually met a few times before,” I told him. “I’m [NDM].”

“Oh! [NDM]!” he exclaimed, clearly remembering the name but struggling to put it to the mumsy Quasimodo figure before him. “Uh…”

“It’s okay!” I told him. “I’ve had three children and have gone completely to seed!”

He looked back at me blankly and blinked. I took this as my cue to continue.

“You, however, look exactly the same!” I enthused. “That’s worked out well for you!”

And I smiled my brightest smile, knowing full well he’d be thinking “Who is this girl?” even though I had ostensibly just answered that question for him.

What can I say? I clearly have a gift. But who that gift is for is anyone’s guess.

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“Road Trip” is one of those terms that once filled my head with images of bikini clad girls in a convertible jeep being mooned by a station wagon full of frat boys chugging beer.

Now, it just fills me with a sense of dread. Well, a different kind of dread, not being one to favour bikini tops or college boys’ arses.

Last Friday, I set off on a 900km trip to Sydney with my three kids, my husband and my mother. Since we couldn’t, in all good conscience, put everyone in NASA-issue diapers and drive the whole thing straight,we chose to do it over Two Big Days.

The road trip started optimistically enough. Every time we saw a sign mentioning our destination, my mother would shout “Woo hoo!” and my husband would shout “Spring Break!” and the kids would echo it. That was for the first hundred kilometres. After that the adults fell into a deep pit of depression. The distance felt so great that any sign reminding us of how far there was to go felt like an affront to our very persons.

That night in our stopover accommodation, the adults  turned to alcohol and the children threw mini-soaps at each other until they passed out asleep.

It wasn’t until the final 100km on the second day that the mood became hopeful again. The ‘Woo Hoos!’ and the ‘Spring Breaks’ returned. I was on my way to a two hour hair appointment in central Sydney without the children. Things were looking up.

But then I made two fateful errors.

Since my hair appointment was at 2PM, we only had time for a ‘drive thru’ lunch – yes, I’d become the kind of person to put my hair before my children’s nutritional needs. But then, if you had the kind of three-toned regrowth that I was sporting, you probably would have done the same.

At 11:30am, we approached a McDonalds.

“It’s too early for lunch. We’ll go through the next road services!” I said to my husband.

After all, I had read there were now more McDonald’s along the Hume Highway than there were towns. Why wouldn’t there be another McDonalds in 50km just when and where I needed it?

Mistake Number One.

And then I made my second mistake. I turned to my husband and whispered: “You know, the kids have been great on this trip!”

Look, I honestly don’t know what had gotten into me. I mean, we all know that, as parents, we’re allowed to think these things but that we should never – EVER – say them out loud. It only gives karma an excuse to bitch-slap us.

Turns out my casual remark to my husband was Tiddles McGee’s cue to kinghit his sister and for all hell to break loose in the back seat, shit itself and then rub my nose in it. You see, we went on to drive for almost an hour and a half (with the kids hysterically screaming) without a single Fast Food outlet in sight. An hour at a half. At 110km per hour. That’s over a 150km of food-free hell.

In desperation, we turned off the highway only to find ourselves driving through an industrial wasteland. Meanwhile, the air temperature outside suddenly rose ten degrees  and I started wishing I had worn a bikini top after all and, moreover, I started thinking that chucking a brown eye out the window might just be the best way of showing Sydney what I thought of it and its lack of roadside services.

But then, finally, after ten minutes of driving off the highway, there they were: the Golden Arches of Salvation. All I can say is trans fat has never tasted so sweet – but then, that may have something to do with the sugar they put in the burger buns…

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FOR THE RECORD:

  • I made my hairdressing appointment on time and got to sit around with foils on my head looking like a “Tin Rasta” for the first time in my life. My hair now looks fabulous (Thanks to my sister, Belle).
  • The McDonalds logo will forever more look like a big yellow bottom pointing at the sky and saying “Back in your face, Karma!”
  • We still have the 900km return journey home to look forward to.

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The other morning, The Pixie told me about a dream she’d had about Harry Potter. This was markedly different from the dream I’d had about my husband misbehaving himself with a french exchange student. (“We’re never getting a french exchange student now, are we?” my husband said dolefully when I told him about the dream. Listen, he’s only got his Dream Self to blame.)

The Pixie’s dream involved her talking to Harry Potter and then getting ‘ouchies’ all over her foot.

“It wasn’t real – it was just a dream!” The Pixie told me, as she examined her foot. “Is Harry Potter real, Mama?”

“No, sweetheart, he’s just a character,” I replied. I explained about the books and then the movie version of the books. The Pixie thought deeply about this for a while.

“Harry Potter is a boy who just wanted to be in a movie!” she concluded, before jumping onto her next question. “Was Michael Jackson real?”

“Yes,” I replied. Well, bits of him were.

“He’s dead because his doctor gave him the wrong medicine,” she gravely informed me.

This was a little different from her original theory when he first died that “Michael Jackson was just too sad because he had girl hair.” Mr Justice, on the other hand, was quick to say “Why did Michael Jackson die? Because someone told him to ‘Beat It’.” which – at the time – fell into the ‘Too Soon’ joke category. I was so proud.

There’s a whole generation of children who are learning about death through Michael Jackson. Even my friend The Fabulous Miss Jones’ three year old knows who he is (although she calls him “Mikeson Jackson”) and my little friend Cyclone Bella (aged 4) is often heard to exclaim “Michael Jackson is the best boy in the world!” and refuses to accept he is dead. According to her dad Uncle B, however, she was heard to remark “Michael’s face is changing!” while watching his ‘Best Of’ collection on DVD. And no, Uncle B went on to add, it wasn’t when she was watching Thriller.

Anyway, we talked a little while about Michael Jackson and how his kids must have felt very sad when he died. The Pixie went on to explain that he was probably “in Heaven” now – a place that is apparently “on the way to Chloe’s house”.

“You mean the place where all the graves are?” I asked. I mean, she was either referring to the big cemetery or the Hungry Jacks with the cool slide.

“Yes, you go to Heaven when you die so you can become soil. Michael Jackson is soil now.”

Tiddles McGee piped up suddenly with something that sounded like “He wore a pumpkin suit!”

“He wore a pumpkin suit?” I asked.

“No! He drank pumpkin juice,” Tiddles McGee clarified – which, quite frankly – didn’t make much more sense than him wearing a pumpkin suit. “And there was this hand that went all mouldy.”

“Mouldy?”

“No, moley.

“Michael Jackson had a mole hand?” I tried to clarify. It would certainly explain why he wore one glove.

“No! Harry Potter drank the pumpkin juice. And the other one got the moley hand.”

I didn’t want to ask who “the other one” was. I was confused enough as it is.

Need I mention this conversation happened before 7 o’clock in the morning and before I’d even had my first coffee of the day? Hopefully someone will read this post before their first coffee of the day and can share my pain…

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