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Archive for the ‘Confessing’ Category

You might have heard the joke. An old man is crying on the beach when someone stops to asks him what’s wrong. He points out the nearby pier that he built entirely by hand that has weathered a thousand storms. “But do they call me Simon The Builder?” he asks. “No, they don’t.” The old man then points out a nearby boat upon which he has fearlessly fished the treacherous seas for decades. “But do they call me Simon the Fisherman?” he asks. “No, they don’t. You see, you fuck one single goat…”

And so it has been with me. And no, no, no, I haven’t literally fucked a goat. But as far as many people are concerned, I *have* fucked my life and the lives of others. You see, I left my husband. But I didn’t just leave my husband, I left my husband for another man. And not just any ‘another man’, but a man who was the husband of  another woman in my local community and a friend.  And then I stayed in that community.

That was over two years ago. To this day, some people – both in this community and beyond –  can’t see past that goat. They’ve forgotten that I was ever an active and caring member of my community, a loving mother and a wife who tried her best. They can’t see past that goat to the preceding years of loneliness in a slowly dissolving marriage. Or see how meeting and falling in love with someone outside of my marriage challenged everything I had ever thought about myself and left me feeling so scared and lost and alone that I can’t even begin to say. These people also can’t see how utterly terrifying the decision to leave my marriage was. Nor how hard the subsequent years have been living in a community that (mostly) doesn’t feel comfortable about my new partner and I living there, but where it’s been best for the kids. And they certainly can’t see how, from a single red couch in an empty rental house, my partner and I have built a full and loving home for ourselves and for our collective five children.

This is not to say that I’m proud of a lot of my behaviour and actions. Nor is this meant to deny or belittle the very real pain of the people who have been hurt by all this – our ex-spouses and their families. Our families. Our friends. Our kids. Ourselves.

But two years on, I want to be able to say this: I am not a bad person. I am a basically good person who has done some bad things. I have also done some good things. Some stupid things and some desperate things. And some noble things, too. And I’ve done all of these things in the name of trying to live this life of mine the best way I can. This crazy, complicated, once-around-only life with all its surprising twists and turns and piers and fishing and goats.

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This post was directly inspired by Kerri Sackville’s “coming out” article about her separation last month which beautifully captured the difficulties of separation in this era of social media. I’ve been feeling that I have owed the readers of this once-was-blog a brief note of explanation. However, I am closing comments on this out of respect for everyone involved.

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I don’t know about anyone else but I really love an ‘adult sleepover’ – you know, when you stay over at a friend’s house (often with your kids) instead of having to dodge breathalisers or taxi driver small talk on your way home.

I mean, what’s not to love about staying  in someone else’s house where they’re in charge of the meals and the dishes, you get to tuck your kids into beds made by someone else and then sit and drink and chat and laugh until the early hours of the night before rolling into yet another bed made by someone else? It’s perfection itself.

And so I was particularly pleased when the kids and I were recently invited by our good friends KC and MM to have a sleepover while my husband went un-flatpackin’ crazy with our new kitchen.

I am sad to report, however, that our sleepover became more about sleep than anything else. Both MM and I fell asleep on the couch during the last fifteen minutes of watching 80s classic ‘Heathers’ and KC ended up throwing a couple of blankets on me and dragging MM and herself to bed before it was even 9:30PM.

“You can’t let this be known,” KC told me the next morning. “My reputation as a party girl will be ruined forever more.”

(Now, I’m not sure where exactly she’s earned this reputation but I should add – to minimise damage control – that the last time KC came over to my house by herself she brought not one but TWO bottles of Prosseco and, handing them to me, gleefully exclaimed “I’m an enabler!!!”.)

Anyway, you’ll be pleased to know that we made up for our lack of a ‘Wild Night In’ with the grim discovery that Tiddles McGee and The Pixie were both hosting sizeable lice settlements on their scalps. KC and I subsequently got to sit outside for two hours in the freezing cold and occasional light rain shower while we carefully (and somewhat obsessively) combed through the kids’ hair in full daylight.

Yes, we are a pair of regular Good Time Gals.

Afterwards, KC kindly checked my scalp. Luckily, her extensive search uncovered only a small number of adult lice and no eggs.

“Let’s hope they were new arrivals and just didn’t have time to get into some hot louse-on-louse lovin’ action,” I remarked. “Unless, of course, they’re all females and it was hot louse-on-louse lesbotic lovin’ action. That’d be okay…”

At this point, MM passed by. Since he is a well-read sort, I thought I’d check my theory with him.

“Do you think there are lesbian lice, MM?” I asked.

“To be honest, I haven’t really thought about it,” he replied.

“Sure, you haven’t,” I said. “Sure.”

You see, I knew he would have. His mind has never been the same since I accidentally made him look at hardcore man-on-man porn.

Anyway, for the record, I’m hoping there really *are* lesbian lice and that those brave pioneers who chose to set up home on my scalp were some of them.

Unless, of course, they were progressive lesbian lice who had arranged a different sort of ‘adult sleepover’ with a gay lice couple on Tiddles McGee’s scalp before moving to mine… in which case, I think it’s fair to say that me and the lesbian lice are all fucked.

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Like many people, I loathe having to make the double-goodbye – you know, when you go through the whole “I’m leaving now. Great to see you. Catch you again soon!” routine with, like, EVERYONE in the room, only to reappear a couple of minutes later because you’ve left one of your children behind. It always makes me feel a little like a dog returning to its own vomit – a phrase I admittedly tend to over-use in the same way that, well, a dog might return to its own vomit.

So is it any surprise that, having made my farewells at the kindergarten the other day and dragged Tiddles McGee, his bag and his portfolio of ‘pasting’ masterpieces (= patty pans stuck randomly to cardboard) to the car only to have him suddenly start tugging furiously at the front of his pants, that I opted for my now patented pee-in-a-bottle method?

Now, every time I employ this method, I promise myself that I will dispose of the bottle at the earliest opportunity, to avoid any “I’m thirsty! Ooh, there’s a bit of apple juice left here in this here unlabeled bottle…” high jinx.

And every time, I totally forget about it.

You might ask how anyone could forget about a bottle of urine on their car passenger seat. Let’s just say it takes a special kind of person.

Of course, a few days (yes, days) later, I was driving along when I saw my friend The MR walking along with his daughter on the other side of the road. I hastily pulled over to the side of the road to offer them both a lift to the school. And as I hastily pulled over, I heard a distinct noise. It was the distinct noise of a plastic bottle full of piss rolling off the passenger seat and falling down into a place that could only mean the first thing that would happen when The MR opened the passenger door was that the bottle would roll out and land cheerfully at his feet.

And so I began scrabbling furiously down the side of the passenger seat to retrieve the bottle before he opened the door.

See where this is going? Yes, instead of opening the passenger door to have a plastic bottle of piss fall and explode on his feet, The MR opened the passenger door to find a middle-aged woman stretched seductively across the passenger seat. Holding a plastic bottle of piss.

I think we’ll all agree that’s what’s called a result.

Of course, you’d think I’d remember to dispose of the bottle after that. Yes, you’d think that.

But no. The bottle had to remain in the car long enough that the next time we were parked outside the school, Tiddles McGee was able to pick it up from where I’d hastily stashed it and, holding it out to a large group of parents and children passing by, announce proudly “Here’s my wee!!”.

Needless to say, when we got home from that particular school run, I prioritised putting that particular bottle of wonderful straight into the outside bin. And I’m delighted to report that I got to have a prolonged chat with one of my neighbours while doing it…

By the way, in case anyone’s wondering, the little girl equivalent of “Piss In A Bottle” involves the car bin. But I’ll spare you the details, mostly because I’m still trying to block them out and not return to them like a dog… to its own piss-filled car bin. Oh, and subsequent vomit, of course.

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I’ll be frank with you. Turning up at a live music gig with my friend The Fabulous Miss Jones to see my very first Childhood Crush play felt a little bit like going to my school reunion with a supermodel.

Before the gig, I left a message on my Childhood Crush’s facebook wall saying:

“If I don’t get to talk to you tonight, can you pretend that the tall leggy blonde you saw in the audience was me? Thanks.”

When I told my husband about my misgivings, I thoroughly expected he would give me a little pep talk about how I’d impress the Childhood Crush with my sparkling wit and personality. Instead, he said “You should wear a dress that shows off your breasts.”

So I did. I mean, there’s something about revisiting the flames of your past that makes you want to look your Absolute Best – even if it’s just your breasts looking their Absolute Best.

Sadly, I once saw a Former Love in a food court in the city. I instantly knew it was him – after all, the bastard had broken my heart. He, in turn, looked over at me with some uncertainty. You see, it was shortly after the birth of The Pixie and I was the bloated shadow of my former self. So I kept my head down and thanked the Lord that I had used my ‘Starbucks Name’ when ordering my Boost juice.

[An aside: for those of you who are unaware of the Starbucks Name concept, it’s an easy-to-grasp pseudonym adopted by those poor souls endowed with Eastern European names with complex spelling who don’t want to be shouting “NO, NO! THAT’S ‘M’ FOR MOTHER!” over the din of a food court. ]

So when my Starbucks Name was called and it clearly wasn’t my name, the Former Love obviously decided it wasn’t me and went back to his conversation with his colleague. And I was able to waddle home to my suburban lair, Boost juice in hand.

Of course, ever since I became sohotrightnow, I have not seen him. Not once. The universe must hate me.

Anyway, back at the live gig, my Childhood Crush was very handsome and charming and gave The Fabulous Miss Jones, me and my breasts equal attention and I went home with that reassuring feeling that I’d had excellent taste in men at the age of 13. Result.

But here’s the thing… I also went home perilously late and extremely very drunk (another good reason not to go places with The Fabulous Miss Jones: neither of us have ‘Moderate’ as our middle name) and woke early in the morning fully dressed on the couch.

Except, I wasn’t fully dressed.

As I tried to drift back to sleep, I became suddenly – and terrifyingly – aware of the fact I wasn’t wearing any underpants. And, not being one to go commando for no good reason, I knew for certain I had started the evening wearing underpants…

When I got up later, I started looking for them. I looked everywhere: the laundry baskets, the bin, the fridge (yes, the fridge), under the couch, in the toilet. But they were nowhere to be seen. I even rang The Fabulously Hungover Miss Jones to ask her if she knew where they were. She denied all knowledge.

When my husband got home from work, we casually chatted about our days for a while before I tentatively raised the question of my underpants.

“Oh, yes. I found them with your handbag on the back table,” he said. “I put them in the washing machine because I didn’t think your father [our current house guest] needed to see them.”

Which at least explained their whereabouts… but not why they had been taken off or, indeed, when they had been taken off…

Listen, whatever happened, I’d like it to be stated for the record that it wasn’t me. It was someone who looked a helluva lot like me but had my Starbucks Name. Yeah, that’s it.

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How do I love my kitchen? Let me count the ways…

WAY ONE:

The cutlery drawer, whenever it is opened or closed, sprinkles a fine layer of sawdust on the items in the cupboard below.

WAY TWO:

My fruit bowl has its own Christmas decorations…

WAY THREE:

… and so does the door handle.

WAY FOUR:

This knob has been missing from my range top since we bought the house five years ago. The result? I only use three of the hotplates. It’s like the fourth one never existed.

WAY FIVE

This handy guide reminding us which knob corresponds to which hotplate falls off frequently. It is important to note that it is impossible to remember which knob corresponds to which hotplate without this guide.

WAY SIX:

This knob falls off with alarming regularity, usually into the open bin below (not pictured).

WAY SEVEN:

This knob, although turned off, gives the appearance of being on, concerning house guests and welfare officers alike.

WAY EIGHT:

You need to take the oven door off its hinges in order to be able to light it properly. Of course you do. It makes sense.

WAY NINE:

Instead of a retractor fan, I have this handy smoke alarm whenever I fry anything.

WAY TEN:

Clean (and dry) cutlery falls back into the washing up bowl with ease.

WAY ELEVEN:

My collection of broken plastic containers are stored neatly away in this broken plastic tub.

WAY TWELVE:

Finding anything in my cupboards is a dream.

Yep, I sure love my kitchen alright.

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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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Even though I’m now 40, I still take an active interest in what the Young People are doing and saying. Yes, I’m staying hip to the beat of the youth on the street.

Thanks to my dear friend KT, who maintains contact with the teenage world, I recently discovered the  mot de jour is ‘Awks’, a derivative of the word ‘awkward’. And when something is, like, TOTALLY awkward, it becomes ‘Awks Giraffe’. There is a hand gesture and everything (and I think we all know how much I love my hand gestures) which is like the old “one potato, two potato, three potato, four!” routine, but with the antlers of the giraffe poking up at the end. Tidy.

Of course the greatest thing about the gesture for ‘Awks Giraffe’ is in itself ‘awks giraffe’ because when you do it, people tend to stare at you as if to say WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING? It’s awkward for everybody and that’s so hotrightnow.

Anyhoo, it’s fair to say I have filled my life with awks giraffe moments, even if I didn’t always have the phrase (and the accompanying gesture) to express it as such.

Like the time my sister Belle got up at my ‘Champagne & Cereal’ 21st birthday party and, in her speech, described how the thirteen year old me used to get her to tie me to the bed and whip me with shoe laces.

“But you don’t understand!” I shouted out, in my defence. “I was the slave and she was the master!”

Which just added to the whole awks giraffe-ness of it all – well, for me, anyway since my party guests were laughing so hard they were blowing Froot Loops out of their noses.

(Of course, what I should have said was all I wanted to do as a thirteen year old was lie around in bed and daydream about boys, so I devised games to play with my sister which allowed me to do just that. The very same principle applied to the other game where I’d pretend to be ‘Googie the big baby’ but let’s not go into that right now.)

And then there was the time the kids’ Foreign Language Teacher was raising money for a primary school in Chile and every announcement he made about it at school assembly made me go weak at the knees because he didn’t pronounce it ‘Chilly’ like the average Australian but instead said it ‘Chil-ay’ like he was pouring warm honey directly on my soul. And then when I brought cakes in for The Pixie’s birthday and ended up hanging out with her at lunch time, we saw the Foreign Language Teacher in the playground and he remarked “Oh, Pixie! I see you have someone special with you today!” and I smiled shyly and said “Great work with the Chile fundraising!”, only to have The Pixie tell me a few minutes later that she’d told the teacher that very morning that “My mummy likes it when you say ‘Chil-ay’!!!”.

Awks Giraffe.

And then just the other afternoon, I discovered, during a particularly heavy rain shower, that the front windscreen of the car had a leak in it so that every time I turned a corner, a puddle of ice cold water fell into my lap and I ended up having  to pick up some kids from a birthday party looking like I’d completely pissed my pants.

Awky-Gee.

And then there was the time I didn’t know how to finish this post, so I set up a YouTube channel just so I could post this (soundless) video:

Yep: A dot G dot.

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