Archive for November, 2010

I have no great talent for walking in high heels. In fact, it’s fair to say that whenever I wear them I resemble a novice stilt walker with an ear infection.

And then I discovered that Doc Marten’s did heels. Yes, Doc Martens heels. Heels so comfortable I can walk, run and pogo dance in them for hours. Thanks to these miraculous heels, I was no longer the only girl at the ball wearing “comfortable shoes”. I was a lay-dee.

And so it was only natural that I would wear my heels to a garden party we’d been invited to. What I didn’t realise at the time of choosing my footwear was that the “garden” referred to in the term “garden party” was on the side of a mountain.

The party didn’t start well for me and my feet. My husband had dropped us off at the gate of the house and driven further up the mountain to park.

When he arrived a few minutes later on foot, he exclaimed “Oh shit! I forgot the present!”

“So when I rang you and asked you to bring the sunscreen ‘as well’ what did you think the ‘as well’ referred to??” I grumbled.

“Um… ‘as well as my good self’?” my husband ventured.

Somehow, I ended up trekking back up to the car to get the present. On a loose gravel track. In my heels. It was like I’d been sent to High Heels Boot Camp. And yes, it was a pity I wasn’t wearing these Dr Marten high heeled boots because that would have made that metaphor very tidy. Very tidy indeed.

Anyway, this set the tone for the rest of the party – an otherwise beautiful event – where I endlessly hiked up and down steep pathways with the kids, who had been drinking from a never ending fountain of soft drinks and needed to do toilet trip after toilet trip in the house at the bottom of the mountain. Moreover, I had to carry Tiddles McGee up and down the mountain, because he’d conveniently fallen into a pond in the first five minutes of the party and spent the rest of the time barefoot and rockin’ a toga fashioned from a bath towel. Which was the kind of thing I’d normally expect my husband to do, quite frankly.

Needless to say, by the end of the afternoon, my feet were knackered. I had adopted the gait of a novice stilt walker with an ear infection who’d gotten rat-arsed drunk while taking antibiotics for said ear infection. Which is always a good look at an afternoon garden party.

And of course, I had another party to go to – without any chance to go home and change my shoes. When my husband dropped me off in town, I immediately set off to buy some band-aids. Eight blocks later, I realised this was doing far more damage than good because the party was in a restaurant and all I was going to be doing was sitting and drinking and eating and chatting and the only walking I’d have to do was to the toilets, which ended up being conveniently and mercifully situated four steps away. I say “mercifully” here not just because of my feet, but also the fact that later in the evening I managed to emerge from the toilets with my bodice sash tucked into my knickers, thus parting the front of my dress like a pair of goddamn curtains. Which is always a good look at a fancy restaurant.

And actually, now I think about it, it’s something I should have done much earlier in the day to take my mind off my aching feet. There’s nothing like the pain of embarrassment to negate the pain of a hard-earnt blister.

In fact, now that I think about it further, I should have just thrown myself in the pond after Tiddles and made my husband and a team of his friends carry me in my towel-toga up and down the mountain in a sedan chair. Or, indeed, skipped the pond all together and demanded the sedan chair anyway.

And I pride myself on being an Ideas Person. Sheesh.

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Let’s face it: there’s an awkward gap between bedtime and actual sleeptime.

In this household, this gap is traditionally filled by the kids listening to storybook CDs in bed, something which require no parental input – except, of course, when the CD needs changing, at which point Mr Justice will call “Finished!” and the parent in charge will call back “Coming!” and try to find the remote control to pause the DVD he or she has optimistically started watching, but for some reason Mr Justice will not quite hear the call or will grow rapidly dissatisfied with the parental response time and will roar “FINISHED!” again, forcing the parent to roar back “COMINGGGGGG!!!” and accidentally knock over a glass of wine or trip over the homicidal cat, which will delay them even further and cause all three children to chime together “FINISHED!” and make the parent burst a blood vessel when they shout back “I’M COMMMMMMIIINNNNNGGGGGG!”.

Of course, with all that shouting and carry-on, sleeptime is pushed just that little further back. Nice work, everyone.

In the middle of this year, we made the interesting decision to put the boys in separate bedroom from The Pixie so now we have two CD players to manage. Sometimes, I feel like a flippin’ DJ working two dancefloors or that I’m living in the middle of one of those Crazy Warehouse Guy ads, what with all the shouting and banging for attention.

It can be a little… annoying.

But add a few more things to the mix and it becomes interminable.

For example, add a puppy. And not just any old puppy, but a puppy who automatically cranks the dial up to 11 the minute the kids are tucked up in their beds, like she’s just been directly injected with yellow food colouring mixed with pseudoephedrine.  She just runs around from room to room, bed to bed, revving everyone up. But don’t try to put the puppy outside. Oh, no. She’ll only recreate that famous scene from The Shining where Jack Nicholson breaks down the door – except instead of an axe, she’ll just be using sheer enthusiasm.

Now add a four year old who claims to be “so scared” and insists that he needs “somebody to sleep wid him” – that “somebody” being me and not, say, the freebasing puppy.

And then take away my husband. Yes, that’s it. Put him on a plane and send him interstate. Don’t bother reminding him it was his idea to get a puppy before going away for practically two weeks. He’ll deny it. Because he can. He’s 800km away, you know.

With this heady  mix, my evening ends up like one of those children’s games where you whack one thing down with a hammer, only to have another thing pop up elsewhere – usually in the form of a figure at the doorway informing me that her contractually-agreed “fresh water” hasn’t been provided or, just as I’m creeping out of the bedroom away from the now-sleeping four year old, a puppy rushing at me with such great speed that I get winded and the four year-old leaps up and shouts “I’m awake!!” quickly followed by “And I’m scared!” when he realises I’m trying to make a getaway.

Is it little wonder that, three nights out of four this week, I’ve ended up drinking wine and watching ‘Arrested Development’ with the four year old sleeping on my lap and the puppy gnawing the side of the sofa we’re sitting on because I’m sooooo way past the point of giving a shit? I mean, if that gap between bedtime and sleeptime is going to be so interminable, it may as well be filled with cheap wine and good TV. No, really.

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It was one of those idyllic afternoons, when the hot day had surrendered to a cool change and we were all sitting in the backyard, basking in the sun and the breeze. The two younger kids were jumping on the trampoline, Mr Justice was reading aloud from a book, I was sipping from a flute of ice-cold champagne and Roxy the puppy was sniffing at my toes.

And then I saw him, standing at the back door, glowering at us through the fly screen, his heart hardened with hatred by what he saw before him.

No, not my husband – he was at work.

It was the cat.

The fricking-fucking cat.

I’ve made no secret of my feelings about Genghis Cat on this blog and in public. I’ve shocked many a person by referring to him as a “complete arsehole” in casual conversation. Even my husband has been known to tell our guests “Genghis? Oh, Genghis is a cock.”.

But at the end of the day, he’s *OUR* complete-arsehole-slash-cock and we feed him and love him as best as you can love something that bites you as quick as he’ll look at you. And I must concede that the arrival of a puppy would’ve upset even a cat like Fluffy Fluffkins of Fluffville Manor.

It doesn’t help that Roxy is prone to “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” around Genghis. She dances and prances and yelps all around him while Genghis stands as still as a rock. A murderous-looking rock.

It also doesn’t help that Genghis had turned our backyard into the Killing Fields in the weeks leading up to the puppy’s arrival with many a grizzly discovery made when we were setting up for my 40th birthday party.

And it certainly doesn’t help that my husband, who having breezily said “Genghis will just have to deal with it!” before bringing Roxy home, suddenly announced a day after Roxy joined us with extreme gravity: “I think Genghis is capable of killing our puppy!”

He had obviously finally remembered the guinea pig. Lest we forget the guinea pig.

Still, we’ve all been working hard to broker some kind of peace deal between the two.  And slowly, ever so slowly,  progress is being made.

One week on, they can be in the same room without us all being on high alert (in the case of the kids, “high alert” means putting their hands over their ears, shutting their eyes and shouting every time Genghis walked in the room). Indeed, this morning, Tiddles, Roxy and Genghis all shared my bed at five-fucking-thirty-AM. Everyone was happy, except me. Because it was five-fucking-thirty-AM.

Yes, Genghis seems to be growing tolerant. For one thing, he’s recognised the fact that Roxy provides him with a whole new avenue of food. Turns out he loves puppy food. Of course he loves puppy food. It shits all over cat food. Just as burnt popcorn scraps, squashed peanut butter toast and congealed milk shits all over cat food. Stupid cat food.

I also suspect Genghis’ PR people have had a few words to him about his image. Suddenly, he’s trying to climb up on our laps and letting us pat him for more than a second before going for the jugular. But it’s a bit like Darth Vader handing out balloons or Heath Ledger’s ‘The Joker’ doing face painting at the local primary school fete – the menace is still there.

You see, I fear he’s playing a longer game than any of us are expecting. When we’ve all long since been lulled into a false sense of security, he’ll whip out a rocket launcher fashioned from the bones of dead birds, rodents and guinea pigs and blast the dog to kingdom come.


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