Archive for November, 2010

I have often said that when Tiddles McGee turned three years old, it was like we turned a corner and found some remnants of our old “pre-children” lives waiting there. Life suddenly seemed full of possibilities again…

Now that he’s turned four, however, we seem to have turned another corner – and found a puppy waiting for us there, wagging her tail and with one of my perfect red shoes already in her mouth.

I’ve only got myself to blame. You see, I have also often said “We can’t get a puppy until Tiddles turns four.” It seemed a safe enough thing to say when he was two, for example. Or even three. But when it was a week before his fourth birthday? Not so safe. I should have set the goal posts further away – fourteen or, better still, forty-four – but I was only echoing what the experts said. Stupid experts. They really should know better.

I tried to put the kids off, saying it’d be better to wait until Christmas (and such) but then my husband started in on me, too.

“If we don’t buy the puppy today, I’ll then be away for work for two weeks and then it’ll be practically December and every man (and his dog) will want a puppy for Christmas and we’ll have missed out all together,” he whined.

The general gist was that if I didn’t let him go out and buy a puppy At That Very Moment, we’d never ever get a dog and the kids would blame me, like, FOREVER. I was in the midst of pre-party “planning” so I just agreed with him so we could go back to talking about the important stuff, such as where to hang the disco ball and why I couldn’t find any coloured stockings that weren’t “Tangerine Explosion” in the local Coles.

Of course, when he took me to see the dog he’d found, I fell in love with her.

“You fell in love with the cat, too,” my dear friend KT warned me. “And look how that turned out.”

“Well, I didn’t know that the cat was going to grow up to be homicidal!” I exclaimed. Of course, as I’ve admitted before, calling him Genghis Cat instead of, say, Fluffy Fluffkins of Fluffville Manor, may have contributed to this a little.

So here I am. With a puppy. She’s half-Staffy, half-Jack Russell and 100% Love. And her name is Roxy.

(An aside: I thought Roxy was a safe enough choice until KT started singing a song from ‘Chicago’ that reminded me that ‘Roxie’ was a fame-hungry murderer. I’m hoping the ‘y’ instead of the ‘ie’ will make all the difference, frankly.)

In the days leading up to Roxy’s arrival, people took great pleasure in telling me how having a puppy was like having a baby in the house. And when she first came home, I cried alternate tears of happiness and of grief and had to have a Little Lie-Down shortly afterwards.

But then there I was the very next day, showered, fully-dressed, drinking a hot cup of coffee and about to leave the leave the house – WITHOUT THE PUPPY – and I thought “There’s no way in fuck this is like having a baby.” And I simply stopped panicking.

As for Tiddles McGee, whose birthday was a little hijacked by Roxy’s arrival, and who had the unnerving experience of opening a big cardboard box and finding a living creature inside instead of, say, a Kung Zhu Battle Hamster Ninja Training Ground Dragon Alley U-Turn set… Well, all I can say is he’s stopped hassling me for television quite so much when his siblings are at school and I regularly hear him saying to her stuff like “Would you like cheese, Gromit?” in his best Yorkshire accent and “Let’s get on my pirate ship, puppy. You can be my pirate dog!”.

Yes, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship… for all of us. Except for my shoes and the distinctly murderous cat, that is.

Happy Birthday, Tiddles-McGee-Who-Is-No-Longer-Three

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I don’t know about anybody else but I’d have thought that if I had my hair done (two words: Mad Men), wore a tiara, donned a strapless black velvet dress and heels (okay, so not the mismatching red heels but heels nonetheless), bought $1000 worth of alcohol, called in favours from all my friends so there was great food, great music and a dance floor with moving lights and a motorised disco ball etc., etc., etc.,  that the night of my 40th birthday party would have been All. About. Me., right?

But nooooooooooo.

I had to endure guest after guest (after guest) coming up to me to say: “I want to meet the Mild-Mannered Lawyer!” and “I heard the Mild-Mannered Lawyer might be here!” and “That Mild-Mannered Lawyer is hot tamale!”

The MML! Shuh! (*shakes fist*)

I mean, I’m the NDM, people! Of course, I have to concede that it would have been a bit weird if all the party guests had been asking to meet the NDM or had been pointing and staring and saying, in hushed tones, “There’s the NDM! She’s sohotrightnow!” since, you know, they were my friends and knew who I was, anyway. But still!

Near the end of the evening, my friend Miss Deb came up to me.

“I’m so excited!” she said. “I met the Mild-Mannered Lawyer!”

“Whatevs,” I said. I may even have done the hand gesture.

“But to be honest,” Miss Deb continued. “I don’t think I could tell you which one she is now.”

Ha! In your face, MML! As I said to the MML later, “I MADE YOU. I CAN UNMAKE YOU!” Although, arguably, getting Miss Deb drunk enough that she couldn’t recognise the MML a few minutes after meeting her was more about unmaking Miss Deb than anything else.

Anyway, I should concede that the MML really is hot tamale even though I’m not entirely sure what ‘tamale’ is. And that the night really was All. About. Me. – as proven by my mothers group donning feather boas and providing back up to my dear friend KT singing her heart-of-gold out to “Reach Out I’ll Be There” just for me and then, later on, my Facebook Friend performing a spontaneous interpretive dance entitled “The Four Decades of [NDM]”, which involved a lot of primal screaming and, at one point, licking of the television screen. Tasty. Even my friend The White Lady, who every time I saw her told me, in no uncertain terms, that “THIS IS A SHIT PARTY! I’M SO FUCKING BORED!”, managed to drink and dance until the early hours, shortly before riding someone else’s $500 mountain bike home wearing heels instead of the clip-on shoes required.

And there was the Glügg. Of course there was the Glügg. HOW COULD THERE NOT BE THE GLÜGG? As predicted, a  group of people joined me in a shot of Glügg some time around 3am. I’m not entirely sure that Glügg is meant to be drunk that way and, indeed, some might argue that the best way to serve Glügg is to pour it directly down the drain, but still… my friends honoured me with those shots.

As for the karaoke, all I can say is that some people still can’t get ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ out of their heads four days later. Yes, they took that bullet for me and I love them all the more for it.

And then there were the hangovers right across the city the following day. Yes, my friends continued to honour me (and perhaps curse me a little) into the late hours of Sunday – and in some case, well into Monday, too.

So now I am forty. Pah! With such friends and family dancing up a storm in my corner, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve made forty my bitch…

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Here’s a step-by-step guide to having a midlife crisis:

1. Tell everyone as early as possible in the year that you’re going to have a big 40th birthday party. Go on, talk it up. It’s going to be epic,  or whatever the young people call things when they’re totally mintox.

2. A month before your party, realise that at least eight interstate friends have already bought airline tickets to come to your allegedly ‘epic’ party.

4. Panic.

5. Print at least 80 invitations and make sure you hand them all out.

6. Count the number of RSVPs you’ve received and realise your party is now officially bigger than your wedding and your house is a fifth of the size of your wedding venue. Epic.

7. Realise that all chance of turning 40 by curling up in a quiet corner with a litre bottle of vodka and a straw has passed you by. Yep, you’ve blown that option completely.

8. Panic a little more.

9. To make yourself feel better, go to the dentist so you can be presented with a $1000 bill. Make sure you end up crying in reception because you’re having to spend money on your dental health instead of, say, your epic party.

10. Get a cold sore.

11. Even though you’ve asked everyone to bring a bottle, send your husband to Dan Murphy’s to buy the “supplementary” alcohol. Have a paper bag ready to breathe into when he comes back with his credit card maxed and a carload of this:

12. Realise a few days before your party that you’ve completely failed to look for and find the perfect pair of red shoes to turn 40 in and that turning 40 in the perfect pair of red shoes has suddenly become inexplicably – and yet vitally – important to you.

13. Instead of, say, cleaning your house for the party or making beds for your interstate guests, go on a last minute shopping trip to find the perfect pair of red shoes to turn 40 in.

14. Find and buy the perfect pair of red shoes to turn 40 in, using money you really don’t have.

15. Realise that said perfect pair of red shoes to turn 40 in do not actually match the perfect dress to turn 40 in.

16. Also realise that the party fairies totally failed to tidy the house or make the beds for the guests while you were shopping for shoes.

17. While attempting to put a fresh cover on your king-sized quilt for your guests, put the quilt in the wrong way and end up have a full-blown panic attack with a doona cover on your head. When your husband finds you and remarks “You’re really enjoying your party so far!”, burst into tears and say you don’t know why you’ve spent so much money just so over a hundred people can come and stare at you and your cold sore and your ill-matching shoes and your messy-frickin’-fuckin’ house with its doona covers that you can never frickin-fuckin’ fit properly the first time because the tag on the side of the quilt and not on the bottom and that is frickin’-fuckin’ counter-intuitive and, if you hadn’t already spent all your money on your dental-fucking-health and so-called supplementary alcohol, you’d, like, totally be seeking legal counsel and suing the quilt tag off somebody somewhere instead of sitting on your bed sobbing like a baby wearing the wrong pair of red shoes.

18. Listen to your husband when he wisely tells you “If you’re going to do these things, you’ve got to do them properly. You only turn 40 once and we’ve got the rest of our lives to pay it off.”

19. Both know, in your heart of hearts, that it will take the rest of your lives to pay it off.

20. Prepare to party.


Tomorrow, I am turning 40 – in case you haven’t guessed.

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The other day I went to a Ball with a headache and a cold sore – this season’s Must Have accessories. In my little lady purse, I packed myself some codeine and some Zovirax. Yes, I sure know how to party hard.

I was going as the date of my friend The Mild-Mannered Lawyer, who was attending the Ball for the second year in a row for work. The previous year, she’d gone with our friend Lady K and they’d drunk excessively and the details were all a bit hazy. This year, however, neither she nor I were really drinking – The MML was driving and I was trying not to extend the lives of my cold sore and my headache any more than I absolutely had to. Understandably, I was worried that I might appear to be a dud date in comparison.

“Now, I don’t want to hear about how last year you did such and such with Lady K and how much fun you had together,” I told her sternly as we drove there. “And I don’t want to see you crying when they play the song you danced together to because you miss her so much and you wish I was her. You’re with me now, okay?”

The MML nodded.

“Now let’s go make our own memories!” I said.

Luckily we had ‘The Darryl Cotton Band’ to help us make those memories on the dance floor. Which is just as well, as it turns out my old memories were growing faulty.

After the second song, I shouted to the MML: “I didn’t know Sherbert sung ‘Tainted Love’!”

“You’re thinking of the wrong Darryl!” The MML shouted back. “The lead singer of Sherbert was Darryl Braithwaite. This is Darryl Cotton.

I was bitterly disappointed and I don’t think I was the only one. On the other side of the dance floor, one man had pulled out his iPhone.

“Look!” I shouted to the MML. “I think he’s googling ‘Who the fuck is Darryl Cotton if he’s not from Sherbert’!”

I did the same the minute we returned to our table. Wikipedia had something about him being in a band called ‘Zoot’ and a hit single in 1980 called ‘Same Old Girl’. And yet ‘Darryl Cotton’ was a name I’d known for at least 20 years of my life. Is this what it meant to get older? To know you know people but not to remember how or why?

ANYWAY, the MML and I had ourselves a fine time dancing to ‘The Darryl Cotton Band’, mostly because we were the only women under 50 without our husbands on the dance floor and that made us hot.

However, at one toilet stop, I realised the one thing I hadn’t packed in my lady purse was a Welcome Pack for the Silent Red Ninja – whose approach was the cause of both the headache and the cold sore, of course.

And so it came to pass that I spent the last band’s last set of the evening on the dance floor dancing to a Darryl I didn’t know and in the shadow of the MML’s previous wild date Lady K, one week off my 40th birthday, virtually sober, with a cold sore and a thumping headache AND with half a roll of toilet paper stuffed down my undies and I STILL managed to attract the attentions of a bearded youth (albeit an extremely drunken bearded youth).

Which is to say “I still got it”, right? RIGHT?

In saying that, of course, I thought I was quoting The Fonz from Happy Days but I’ve just googled it and it turns out I’m actually quoting Ralph The Mouth.

Which is to say, whatever the “it” is that I’ve got, let’s hope it’s not contagious.


PS. ‘The Darryl Cotton Band’ got me thinking…  If there were ever a ‘The Darryl Cotton Band’ tribute band, they could call themselves ‘The Darryl Cotton Experience’ (part of which would no doubt involve the audience googling the name ‘Darryl Cotton’ and all of which would involve playing cover versions of cover versions) and if that didn’t work out for them, they could maybe throw some Buddy Holly numbers into the mix and call themselves ‘The Cotton Bud Experience’. Maybe not.

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It’s fair to say my husband has a colourful turn of phrase. The other night as we were going to sleep, I asked him how his latest case of “the runs” was progressing.

“It’s okay. At least it’s not like Niagra Falls down there any more,” he said, referring to that delightful ‘pure liquid stage’ of diarrhea.

“What? Did you climb up a ladder and shit into the toilet bowl from on high?” I asked, somewhat bewildered.

“Yes, with tourists taking photos and a guy in a barrel going over the top,” he said, and we both lay in the dark and thought about that image for a while.

Eventually, I broke the silence.

“Did you ever notice that Niagra rhymes with Viagra?” I remarked. “Do you think that’s on purpose? You know, because taking Viagra helps you relive the honeymoon of your youth?”

“I think it’s to help people to remember what to ask for at the pharmacy,” my husband said. “All they have to remember is ‘Niagra falls, Viagra rises’.'”

“‘Niagra falls, Viagra rises’,” I repeated. “Is that a pnuemonic like ‘Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight’?”

“Yes, but it’s not a pneumonic, it’s a mnemonic.”

Stupid mnemonic. I always get it confused with pneumonic. Ironically, there doesn’t appear to be a mnemonic to help you remember which is which. You know, something like “M and N help out your tongue whereas P and N put liquid in your lung.” And no, I’m not planning on quitting my day job and becoming a full-time mnemonic writer any time soon.

“Pneumonic, mnemonic… Whatevs!” I concluded. “Back in the day, we used to have our own mnemonic at work for a guy called John. We used to say ‘Red sky at night, John will take a sickie. Red sky in the morning, John will also take a sickie.'”

“Uh huh…” my husband yawned.

“Also, that  ‘Spring Forward, Fall Back’ always fucks me up,” I continued. “It’s supposed to help you understand daylight savings and all but it doesn’t work for me because I tend to fall forwards – you know, when I trip over something while drunk. And I spring backwards – you know, in horror, when I find something unspeakably horrible at the bottom the vegetable crisper. Anyone who springs forward into something like that is sick and needs help. As for falling backwards, that’s not falling: YOU WERE PUSHED,”

“Uh, okay,” said my husband, who was trying to go to sleep and no doubt wondering how a conversation about his bowel movements had so quickly turned into a conversation into someone being drunk and being pushed into the vegetable crisper.

It’s hard to say, really.

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