Archive for the ‘And introducing…’ Category

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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So, it’s official. We have a NEW CAR to replace The Love Bus, now dearly departed (see “The Long Journey Home“). This is the first time I have ever experienced this NEW CAR feeling. By the time I got my license to drive in the winter of 2007, The Love Bus had already been with us for over a year, and around for at least 20 years previous to that. This NEW CAR is not only NEW to us, it’s also NEW within this decade. That’s worth the capitalisation of NEW CAR, wouldn’t you say?

My NEW CAR joy, however, has been somewhat dampened by the extreme pain I’ve been experiencing following my little oral surgery “holiday” (see “Result“). Some holiday that turned out to be. I can bet, though, that my oral surgeon is thanking his lucky stars that I have had that NEW CAR feeling to distract me. So, instead of marching into his office and kicking him where it hurts so he can experience just a small taste of the pain I’ve been in, all I’ve done has been to mutter vaguely on twitter about dropping the words “fuck” and “arse clown” into my next exchange with him (as in “I’m in fucking pain, you arse clown”).

[For the record, when I did actually ring “Dr Nick”, he was extremely dismissive about my complaints. “Oh, that’s just muscular,” he said, after I’d explained how I felt like I’d had to squint directly into harsh sunlight while being forced to smile for the camera and repeatedly slapped on my right cheek for 24 hours straight.]

[Also: I have a theory that while I was sedated, Dr Nick and his anaesthetist made me their Ventriloquist Bitch and video-taped me for hours doing a testimonial for their upcoming late-night infomercial by squeezing my cheeks together repeatedly and making me appear to say stuff like “Even when I’m heavily sedated, I am extremely happy with the services of Dr Nick and Associates”. Or that they tried to fit a whole basketball in my mouth as part of some kind of sick bet and then posted their results on YouTube. Either way, I really can’t explain the “muscular” pain, otherwise. Or why people keep recognising me on the street.]

Anyway, the NEW CAR came to us with its own name. Because it is a Mitsubishi “Starwagon”, we have rather imaginatively named it “The Star Wagon”. 

Other than being NEW, The Star Wagon has other some other qualities to recommend it:

For one thing, it is white. Just like the A-Team Van. Except that the A-Team van was actually black. Whatever.  From certain angles, it might even be taken for a “light commercial” vehicle. The Mild-Mannered Lawyer, in particular, was impressed with its “loading zone potential” and my husband and I are currently looking into buying some magnetised Australia Post signage to slap on its side when we need a handy parking spot. But don’t tell anyone. 

Also, it has “walk-through” from the front seats through to the back. I think this particularly excites my husband because the next time the kids won’t quit their jibba jabba, he can shout at them “Don’t make me come back there!” and it will actually mean something. Because he can. Go back there. Using the power of the walk-through.

It has a “vacation stripe” down both sides. 

It hasn’t broken down (yet). 

It is NEW.

On the downside, it lacks a certain “personality”. When Mistress M first saw it, she exclaimed “It looks great! But it’s not very ‘you’…”. Which suggested that The Love Bus had been “me” and made me wonder what part of “unreliable 80s throw-back champagne-coloured rust-bucket on wheels” she was referring to. And I’d appreciate it if you didn’t say anything right now. 

Anyway, as wise friend LSK pointed out, “too much personality in a car can be a bad thing.” Just as Dr Nick is about to find that too much personality in a patient can also a bad thing, if my pain doesn’t disappear by our appointment on Monday. Which, also for the record, I will be driving to in my NEW CAR.

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There’s not much to speak of in the small country town that my mother lives in. We shall call this small dot on the map “Blinkton” because – yep, you guessed it – if you blinked you would be forgiven for thinking you’d just passed one of those mysterious roadside “weighbridges” that always have a “WEIGHBRIDGE CLOSED” sign just before them. For the record: I have yet to see a weighbridge actually open in this State. I mean, aren’t any of the truckies watching their weight any more?

Anyway, Blinkton does have a pub and that is all a town really needs to be considered a town. For one thing, how many weighbridges have you seen with a pub? Although, arguably, the one weighbridge that does have a pub is probably the only weighbridge on the planet with a “Weighbridge Open” sign. 

ANYWAY, the other night my husband took The Pixie down to the Blinkton Pub (not the weighbridge) to pick up some fish and chips on the aptly named “Fish And Chips Night”. When The Pixie grew fearful about all the “big men” in the front bar, he took her to the dining room to wait for the food. 

Their conversation went something like this:

THE PIXIE: Daddy, why are there so many big men in that other room?

MY HUSBAND: They like to meet together and drink some beer.

THE PIXIE: (looking up) What’s that?

MY HUSBAND: Oh, it’s a disco ball for when they have parties here.

THE PIXIE: Do the men come here to dance with each other when they’ve finished drinking beer?

MY HUSBAND: (spluttering into his beer) Uh, maybe. 

When my husband relayed this conversation to me later, it was only natural that the concept of the “Blinkton Men’s Association Disco Dance Party” be born.

It was a concept that fortified me considerably, I must say. After all, walking into a front bar full of 40-something blokes drinking copious amounts of beer can be a bit intimidating. But imagining them all kicking off their shoes and dancing the light fantastic? Well, it’s as good as that age-old advice to imagine the audience naked when public speaking. Of course, in my case, I was always imagining them to be naked and jelly-wrestling. But perhaps that’s just me and my comfort zone. 

Anyway, we’re slowly unraveling the mysteries of Blinkton with every successive visit there. The day after the fish and chips night, my husband mentioned he’d walked past the Anglican church and it looked like it hadn’t been used for a very long time.

“I thought they had a service there once a month?”, I said. “And what’s more, I thought you told me that.”

“That was the Presbyterian church!” my husband replied. “There’s a huuuggge difference between an Anglican church and a Presbyterian church, my darling.”

And he gave the kind of laugh that was the equivalent of saying “Now don’t you go worrying your pretty little head about such things and go get me a beer instead”.

So I decided to call him on it. 

“What is the difference?” I asked. 

“That’s easy!” he told me. “Presbyterians have presbyteries.”

“And what’s a presbytery?”

“Uh, I don’t know.”

A long silence fell upon us, after which I spoke, at first hesitantly, and then with growing confidence. 

“Um, I think that, er,  the main difference is that Presbyterians frown a bit more than the average, uh, Anglican. As a general rule… You know, just sayin’… Oh, and Presbyterians are far less likely to dance the Macerana at the Blinkton Men’s Association Disco Dance Party. And they’re probably the ones behind the closure of all those damn weighbridges.”

Yep, I think I got it in one.

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