Archive for August, 2010

It’s fair to say that uttering the words ‘ORAL’ or ‘THRUSH’ in public is bad enough, but when paired together, they make for a very awkward conversation. Especially when talking and showing your tongue to a pharmacist in a crowded pharmacy.

But please don’t be alarmed. I don’t actually have oral thrush. At least, according to one doctor and three different pharmacists, I don’t. Apparently I don’t appear to have anything as there are no visible symptoms. But from where I’m standing, my tongue feels like it’s licked an electric hotplate and whenever I eat I feel like that metal-mouthed Isabel Lucas character in “Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen” – but without the tan.

Of course this has all happened on the back of oral surgery and a cold sore and a week without alcohol, combined with the dairy-free diet my doctor placed me on to see if I’m late-in-life-lactose-intolerant. Part of me suspects my taste buds have just withered up and died of disappointment.

Anyway, in lieu of an actual diagnosis, I ended up trying to diagnose myself by way of google. Big mistake. Turns out the internet is littered with forums full of jolly people discussing their symptoms in minute detail with other people helpfully suggesting treatments with nary a trained medical professional in sight. These sites are obviously for the medical profession what Deadwood was for the law.

The diagnosis I ended up choosing from the veritable buffet of diagnoses on offer was that my ‘oral flora’ needed re-balancing. I mostly chose this because it gave me an excuse to shout “There’s a garden party in my mouth and you’re all invited!”, except that it’s really less of a “garden party” and more like a scene from Apocalypse Now where half the “garden” has been napalmed and Martin Sheen is smashing furniture.

According to my new online friends, the way to ‘redress the balance’ was to sprinkle acidophilus on your tongue. (Acid on your tongue? Surely that would make it worse!) I also (briefly) contemplated trying out the Candida Diet, which I had high hopes would involve playing food tricks on people in front of hidden cameras but ended up being one of those bleak diets where you’re not allowed to eat anything but leafy green vegetables and wheatgrass, which I have long suspected is just the scunge scraped from the bottom of a fish tank.

In the end, I followed my husband’s advice (often more dangerous than random online strangers) by swirling shots of whiskey around in my mouth to “kill the nasties”, also to make me drunk enough to forget that my tongue was giving me jip. But ultimately this treatment just added a slight headache to my raft of ailments.

Then to make matters worse, nine days into my lactose-free diet, I made a terrible discovery. In an incident soon to be known as ‘The People versus Paul’s Milk”,  I erroneously bought – and consumed – a carton of Physi-Cal rather than the lactose-free Zymil and now will have to embark upon my two weeks without butter again.

Mere words can not express my disappointment in life right now…

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Dear Readers,

I realised the other day that I totally missed out on being nominated for Australian Cosmopolitan’s Fun, Fearless and Female Blogger Award for 2010 (although I’ve noticed they’re already accepting nominations for 2011hint, hint… I think we ALL want to see me treading the red carpet at that event, right?)

Luckily, the world was saved from me writing yet another angry Open Letter to Australian Cosmo because my friend ‘Mad Cow’ over at  Diary of A Mad Cow gave me this award instead:

On first glance, it appeared to be an award for being shit. But then I read it properly and realised it was an award for my rampant alcoholism and therefore quite complimentary, although the three arseholes filling in for the letters U, C and K in FUCKING were a bit off-putting.

Unfortunately, however, I can’t accept the award because I can cook for shit (she says, boasting just a little… okay a lot). Even when completely pissed on vodka, I can still cook. It’s true.

However, I’m very happy to pass it on to someone deserving. Just leave a comment describing the worst ever meal you’ve ever cooked and you can become part of Mad Cow’s Top Ten. I’ll even select the winner while drunk on vodka. It’s only fitting.

Love The NDM

PS. Let’s pretend the picture of the cow on this award is of a young deer. That way, the title of this non-post becomes so much wittier.

PPS. Let’s also remember here that the prize at stake is a JPEG! And, unlike my Bloggies Award JPEG you don’t even have to make it yourself. Gold.

PPPS. I’ll also throw in an Extra Special JPEG of my own as special prize for those entrants that are neither mothers nor bloggers. And I think we all know from my post ‘Picture Perfect‘ that when I say special, I mean special.

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My husband once told me that the ninety-ninth push-up feels extra hard when you are doing a hundred push-ups. But if you’re doing two hundred, it’s a breeze. His wisdom was, of course, a little lost on me because the closest I’ve ever been to a push-up is the wonderbra range in David Jones, and even then I’m only walking past them on my way to the Mama-jug Scaffolding Solution bras.

Still, last Wednesday, I felt the full strain of my ninety-ninth push-up of one hundred. Last Wednesday was the second last day of a five week stint of looking after my dear friend KT’s two children three days a week (see “And Then There Were Five“). It also happened to be my second last day ever helping KT and her husband Uncle B out in this particular way.

Strangely enough, having five kids on a part-time basis hasn’t been too bad – as proven by a distinct lack of blogs on the subject.

Some might say I’ve even developed a certain knack for dealing with five children. For example, I have learnt never to ask the question “Would anyone like something to drink?” because it only turns me into the kiddie-equivalent of James Bond’s drinks waiter, taking orders for everything from “half-lemon half-orange cordial with cold water and ice in a big cup with a twisty straw” to “milk at room temperature in a drinky pot with a lid, but not the one with the orange lid, the one that used to have a clown on it”. Now, I just fill five similar-sized cups with tap water, plonk them on the table and then flee the room screaming before anyone can complain.

And then there came the day I managed to gain two EXTRA-extra children. Yes, I ferried seven children home in the Star Wagon from school – they don’t call it a People Mover for nothing.

“Look, kids. Let’s watch the crazy lady put all the kids in the car,” one school mother whispered to her children as I got the kids to line their school bags along the fence and got them to form an orderly queue.

So it’s little wonder that I had gotten a little cocky by the time my ninety-ninth push-up came around.

Turns out I needed to take The Pixie to a doctor’s appointment and,with my husband unexpectedly out of town on a business trip, I decided I should just take all five kids along with me.

When I made this decision of course, I imagined them in my mind’s eye, all standing in a row, like the Von Trapps in crisp sailor suits, their arms by their side, silently waiting for me to give my orders. And while, in reality, it didn’t turn out exactly like that, they weren’t too bad. Of course, the doctor and I had to use our night-club voices to make ourselves heard, but it was okay.

And that, as they say, might have been that – except I then had to go to the pharmacist to get a prescription filled, which involved getting the kids in and out of the car a second time.

“No problem,” I said to myself. “The fish and chip shop is just next door. After we’ve got the medicine, we’ll make the most of our second car stop and get fish and chips for dinner. That way I won’t have to cook under pressure when we get home at shit o’clock.”

If I wasn’t carrying two pre-schoolers over a hole in the footpath at that moment, I might even have patted myself on the back.

The pharmacy was a little harder than the doctor’s, mostly because there were more things to break and pay for. But it was fine. Fine. It wasn’t until we went to the Fish And Chip shop that I realised I’d gone one shop too far with them. It also was at this point that the E102-saturated Barbeque Shapes I’d fed them all in the car came into their own.

All of a sudden, I was like a juggler losing control of  my super-dooper-bouncing balls, that once dropped, start bouncing everywhere, leaving me to desperately clamber about trying to gather them all up again. And by “clamber about”, I mean shouting “SIT! DOWN!” and giving my fiercest looks, while the children, completely oblivious to me, rolled around on the floor, jumped off chairs, threw the newspaper around the room, opened and closed the fridge and the icecream freezer and tried to crawl along the front window to get behind the counter.

By the time our food was ready, I was close to tears. And then it turned out I didn’t have enough money to pay for the fish and chips – I was fifty cents short. The lady, sensing my delicate state, told me not to worry, at which point, my tears began to flow.

I wept openly as I tried to herd the kids back to the car. They were still all bouncing around, whacking each other with found objects, and, while trying to strap the final child into the car, I reached the Snapping Point. You know, that point where the ‘Scary Voice’ emerges  – the voice that in no way resembles your normal voice and you suspect was sampled and used in The Exorcist – and I uttered the dreaded words “THAT’S IT! NOBODY – AND I MEAN NOBODY – IS GETTING DESERT TONIGHT!”

Judging from the response, I may as well have said “The tooth fairy doesn’t exist” or “Santa hates your guts”. The older boys went pale and the girls and Tiddles McGee started wailing like banshees who’d been told by Santa that the tooth fairy didn’t exist.

And I realised at that moment that the ninety-ninth push-up was a complete and utter bitch.

Of course, if my husband came up to tell me at that point that I wasn’t doing a hundred push-ups, I was actually doing two hundred and that KT wasn’t due back for another five weeks, it all would have been okay again, right? RIGHT?

Yeah, right.

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“How do you do it, NDM?” people often ask me. “How do you effortlessly come up with hil-a-rious blog topics week after week, month after month?”

“Gee, thanks for asking this question so that I could use it in the opening paragraph of this post.” I say to the people. “I mean, anyone might think that I just made this whole conversation up just so I’d have something to blog about!”

Indeed, only yesterday, I woke to find I couldn’t think of anything to write about. Absolutely nothing.

In a mild panic, I turned to twitter, as I often do when I have an important question such as “Soy yoghurt… What fresh hell is this?” and “How many black hairs do you need to have growing out of your chin before it can be classified as a beard?”.

I tweeted:

“Anyone care to suggest a topic for tomorrow’s NDM post? My mind is as blank as the cheque I will pay you with.”

Of course, I didn’t mention that the blank cheque would be so incredibly blank that it would actually just be a piece of paper and any demands to honour the promise of payment for topic ideas would be met with an even blanker look on my face. Anyway, turns out that my question drew the biggest blank of all because the only reply I had was from my friend SpiltMilk, who said:

“Julia Gillard’s hair and marital status. Not enough people are writing about these crucial issues!”

She was right. Not nearly enough. Because if enough people DID write about Julia’s hair and de facto relationship, we could totally pretend that the environment, the economy, immigration, public health and education and almost anything else that actually matters didn’t exist at all.

For those of you who don’t live in Australia, we’re three weeks into a federal election campaign. On one side, we have Tony Abbott, the embarrassing – and slightly creepy – uncle you’re worried is going to express his opinions on gay marriage in front of your cool friends. And on the other side, we have Julia Gillard, the Catch Phrase Queen, whose “Moving Australia Forward” response to any question is just like the Daleks’ “Exterminate!”, except from all reports Gillard can climb stairs, unlike the Daleks who don’t even have great hair to recommend them.

But there I am, blogging about Julia Gillard’s hair like everyone else. This is what this election is doing to me. The elections ruins lives, people! Yes, ruins lives!

The election means my husband has to work seven days a week for the entire campaign and is seen stroking his Electronic Mistress even when he’s not working. The election made my husband bail out of a christening on the way to it, leaving me to wrestle the three kids in a cold church on my own, while he went into his office in the city. At one point, McGee and Pixie both sat on my lap and began moving around so much that we began to resemble a writhing pit of snakes. At another point, Mr Justice, who’d been gazing at the crucifix, exclaimed loudly “When you told me about Jesus and the cross, you didn’t tell me it was like that!”. And, to secure my place in hell, I found myself texting my husband the following message: “The service has just finished. The kids are possessed by the devil. YOU. FUCKING. OWE. ME” See? The election made me swear via SMS in a church. IN A CHURCH.

And now the election has made my mind completely blank. BLANK. I think it might be because if I try too hard to think about things, all I can see is this. Yes, that’s why my mind is blank. And I think I’ll keep it that way for the time being, if you don’t mind.

What’s that? Oh, it’s the people saying that they don’t mind at all. In fact, they’re telling me to sit back and relax and to open another bottle of wine…

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I SAY: It all started when my friend The Mild-Mannered Lawyer handed me the gift of two bottles of wine at school pick-up time. It’s hard not to feel a little self-conscious standing in a school playground with a bottle of wine in each hand and at least half the school community looking on. So the minute Mr Justice turned up, I stashed them away into his school bag – which, of course, half the school community watched me do.  Not wanting that same half of the school community to then see make my seven-year-old son carry my wine, I hoicked his bag onto my back and stepped forward with great confidence straight into a slight dip in the pavement, causing me to stagger in a most unseemly fashion, my legs buckling underneath me and my arms swinging wildly.

THEY SAY: The NDM is drunk. Again.

I SAY: The next morning I had one of those school runs where I was still making my kids’ lunches twenty minutes before the bell was due to ring, standing in my bra and only my bra. Somehow, I managed to get the kids through the school gates on time (and yes, I managed to get dressed as well) but I paid the price back at home when my mouth – like some kind of self-inflating life jacket – exploded into a cold sore. And we all know how I feel about cold sores – not least because it means I really shouldn’t drink alcohol until it’s well past its “rapid expansion” phase. Stupid empire-building cold sore.

Later that afternoon I went to see my doctor about – how can I put this delicately? – the protracted case of the blurty bums I’d been having. The doctor’s response was to send me out for blood tests and to take me off dairy for two weeks. Yes, two weeks without butter. I think this was the point where the light in my eyes went completely out.

And so it came to pass that I found myself as a volunteer at a Bunnings sausage sizzle twenty four hours later. With a cold sore the size of the Roman Empire. And a dairy-free dullness to my eyes. And track marks and bruising on my arm from where the nurse had taken thirty litres of blood.

THEY SAY: The NDM is on the junk.

I SAY: It was then that my trousers started falling down. The particular trousers I had chosen that day are strange in that they start off behaving well, lulling me into a false sense of security. But then I think my weight – like so many beans in a bean bag – must redistribute itself and the trousers start to panic. Now, luckily from the front view, my trouser-failure was covered by my apron. But not from the back. And of course, the money tin and the soft drinks were behind me, resulting in many a sausage sale with me awkwardly trying to get the change without turning around, all the while spreading my legs out as wide was I possibly could to stop my trousers from falling the fuck off completely.

THEY SAY: The NDM is on the junk while she’s serving at the Bunnings Sausage Sizzle.

I SAY: At the end of the sausage sizzle, we were in the process of cleaning up when two guys asked us we had any soft drinks left. We did but they had already been packed into the back of The Suburban Diva’s car a few metres away, where I duly led the two gentlemen to make the transaction.

THEY SAY: The NDM is selling bootleg soft drinks from the back of a car in the Bunnings’ car park to fund her junk habit.

I SAY: Of course, as the two gentlemen walked away, I had to seriously re-adjust my trousers again and at that point I realised that A) I was still holding a fistful of latex gloves the sausage-cooks had been wearing that I’d been in the process of throwing away; and that B) from a distance, these latex gloves may or may not have resembled at least thirty used condoms.

THEY SAY: The NDM is turning tricks in the back of a car in the Bunnings’ car park to support her junk habit.

I SAY: It’s not as bad as it looks!

THEY SAY: Sure it isn’t.

I SAY: No, really! I just need some wine, a shit load of butter and a new pair of trousers!

THEY SAY: We really don’t need to know any more details.

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A work friend of my husband’s evidently has seen my “WILL WRITE POSTS FOR WINE” sign because she asked him to ask me to write a post about Gisele Bundchen’s recent remarks about breastfeeding. I’ve asked my husband to ask her to pay the wine directly to me and not to pass it on via him because he is likely to have drunk the lot before the bottle even gets through the front door. Somehow I don’t think the message got through because I’ve yet to receive the wine. Or maybe she doesn’t actually know about the ‘FOR WINE’ part of my writing. However,  I remain hopeful. And just a little less drunk than I would otherwise like.

Dear Gisele,

Thank you so much for sharing your recent thoughts regarding a world-wide law to ensure mothers breastfeed their babies for the first six months. You’re obviously an Ideas Person and as one Ideas Person to another, I applaud you.

However, I remain a little uncertain of how such a law might be enforced.  My husband likes to think that there will be an international congress of topless women. I, personally, choose to imagine teams of special-force Lactating Ninjas creeping around after dark, conducting surprise inspections of recycling bins to make sure there are no empty SMA GOLD tins in there and squeezing new mother’s breasts to check that there’s adequate flow.

I mean, seriously, Gisele. What the fuck? Okay, okay, I know it’s likely that your comments were taken out of context. You probably said something much more innocent like women who don’t breastfeed should be nailed to the front doors of the maternity hospitals as an example to one and all that Breast is Best.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Gisele. I am pro-breastfeeding. I really am. I even was a card-carrying member of the Australian Breastfeeding Association and once had the uncomfortable experience of hosting an ABA meeting in my lounge room a few days after The Pixie had unexpectedly and suddenly self-weaned at 14 months. And yes, I was sad she had self-weaned, but not so sad that I was willing to pay $5 for the ABA brochure about ‘Relactation’ that they tried to sell me . After all, I was sick’n’pregnant with Tiddles McGee at the time and felt that ye olde “tandem feeding” was probably best left to other, more robust people or The Goodies cycling their way through a McDonald’s drive-thru.

Anyway, I have always known it was easy for me to be pro-breastfeeding because I had two fully-operational mama-jugs to offer my three healthy children in the comfort and safety of my first world home that I shared with my loving, supportive partner.  Just like you, Gisele. Well not just like you because, unlike you, I wasn’t modeling swimwear six weeks after the birth of my first child. That shit ain’t right.

But did you ever stop to think that not all people might be as fortunate as you, Gisele? There are a whole myriad of reasons why women might not breastfeed, many of them completely of their control. Just as there are a myriad of reasons for why women might not be able to give birth vaginally.

Apparently you never thought for a moment that you wouldn’t be able to have a natural birth. “Billions of other women have come before me and have done this  –  so why can’t I do it?’ you reportedly said to Harper’s Bazaar.

Sure, I once thought I could do it, too. Turned out, after twenty-eight hours, I couldn’t and I had to say hello to my doctor’s friend ‘Mister Knife’. Of course, had you turned up at this point to share the story of your eight-hour labour enhanced by the power of meditation, I would probably have shown you the colour of both my fists and said “MEDITATE ON THESE, BITCH”.

I mean, to be completely honest here, Gisele, you were much  more likeable when you were going out with Leonardo DiCaprio for a living. Fact.



PS. In case you can’t tell, I did all the graphics for this letter while still under the influence of the drugs my oral surgeon gave me when he drilled into my skull.

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You’ve probably seen me on telly, you know. I made a brief – yet pivotal – appearance on ‘Deal Or No Deal’ in 2004. Remember that suburban housewife in the audience crossing her arms and shouting ‘NO DEAL!’? Yep, that was me.

So I was excited to hear that my friend The Mild Mannered Lawyer was following in my footsteps and making her own appearance on an Australian game show of note. Except I was less excited to discover that, after the show had been taped last week, she was tight-lipped about the results. It turns out the production company in question made her ‘pinky swear’ that she would keep them to herself until the show was aired, later this month.

It also just happened that she was due to be a guest of ours at our Country Retreat (also known as my mother’s house in ‘Blinkton’) the very next weekend.

“She may be a millionaire!” I told my husband a few days before the weekend. “If we’re really really nice to her, she might give us money. MONEY!”

I shook him by the shoulders.

“MONEY!!!” I repeated, for good measure.

“How much ‘MONEY’ are we talking here?” my husband asked.

“That’s it,” I said. “I don’t know. I just don’t know.

I paced around the loungeroom for a while, thinking, thinking, thinking. Then, I had it. My plan.

“We should get her really very extremely drunk and make her play ‘Truth, Dare or Torture’,” I said. “If she chooses ‘Truth’, she has to tell us if she won any money. If she chooses ‘Dare’, I’ll dare her to break the terms and conditions of her contract with [production company]. And if she chooses ‘Torture’, well, we’ll be in the middle of nowhere, won’t we? I mean, no-one will hear her scream…

Now before you start getting the wrong idea, I was only planning to talk about my farts in her presence. You see, the MML has made it clear in the past that this is a kind of torture for her  – and luckily for me, there’s nothing in the Geneva Convention that prohibits fart-talk. Nothing. Not a sausage. Not even a sausage-flavoured fart.

The MML, for her mild-manneredness, knew something was brewing. She tried to email me ‘drunken rant topics’ in advance to set some kind of conversation agenda for our (drunken) time together. But she wasn’t expecting the fart anecdotes. That was my little secret weapon and I was going to keep it… ‘secret’.

Anyway, my plan all ready, I greeted The MML warmly in Blinkford last Saturday. We even went out to dinner, just the two of us, while my husband and my mother tried to get the five children to bed back at home. But I’m sorry to say that my plan didn’t exactly go to… ‘plan’.

The truth? If anyone got “really very extremely drunk”, it was me.

The dare? Well, the only thing even vaguely daring we did was sit in the front bar of the Blinkton pub and drink a bottle of champagne. Moreoever, having whispered to each other that we should respect the Men’s Pub Code and not talk about menstruation or urinary tract infections while sitting there, we then proceeded to chat loudly about school lunches. Yes, school lunches.

The torture? The knowledge that I will never have a career in espionage, international or otherwise. You see, I totally forgot to talk about farting. I mean, how could I forget to talk about farting? In fact, I even forgot I was supposed to finding out about the money. And I didn’t even fart during dinner so now I can’t even turn the whole thing into a fart anecdote on my goddamn blog.

(*shakes fist*)

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