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Archive for the ‘Confessing’ Category

I’m the kind of person who often walks into a room and has everybody whisper “Who’s that girl?”

Unfortunately, it’s never said in the hushed and awe-filled tones of someone in the presence of True Beauty. It’s said in the same kind of way that someone might say “What did I just step in?” or even “Is that a pubic hair in my soup??”

I’m pretty sure I made such an entrance when I recently went to a swanky Sydney wine bar, wearing jeans and a smock top that mades me look like a hunchbank who’s six months pregnant.

I was going to see my fabulous friend GT sing and, indeed, had rung her beforehand to check the dress code.

“It’s very casual. Jeans are fine,” she assured me.

It wasn’t until I arrived there that I realised the statement “Jeans are fine” applied only to people as fabulous as GT who can wear anything anywhere and, in fact, never wear jeans because they’ve got far better things to wear.

There was some small part of me that wanted to shout out “Anyone care for spot of scrapbooking?” or (better still) “The Bells! THE BELLS!”as I walked across the room. Luckily, I was meeting my friend Dr L and my stepmother JJ – both of whom have known me for over two decades and know that I’m way cooler than I look. Okay, so a little cooler.

Anyway, the gig was great. GT has a velvety voice like an angel who’s wooing the devil, or at least talking him into giving her a really long foot rub.

But the “Who’s that girl?” moments continued. During one break between sets, Dr L and I heard our names being spoken. We looked up to see GT and a pretty blonde woman looking over at us. They waved to us and we waved back.

GT walked over to us a few minutes later.

“That’s [Karen], Mr F’s friend,” she said.

“Oh! Karen!” I exclaimed, knowingly.

“Ah yes! Karen...” Dr L echoed.

GT went back to the stage and began singing. After a few bars, Dr L whispered out the side of her mouth.

“Just checking… Do we know who Karen is?”

“Fuck, no,” I whispered back, my smile still fixed on my face.

After a few more songs, Karen got up to leave. She waved to us cheerfully. We waved back with equal enthusiasm.

“Bye, Karen!” Dr L said, brightly.

“God go with you, Karen!” I said, which made me giggle to myself for at least half an hour because I was a jeans-clad pregnant hunchback in a swanky Sydney bar and I had to find something to laugh about that wasn’t myself.

Anyway, as fate would have it, during the next break I found myself chatting to GT’s guitarist, a very talented man that I had met a number of times over the past 15 years.

After a while, he extended his hand to introduce himself.

“Uh, we’ve actually met a few times before,” I told him. “I’m [NDM].”

“Oh! [NDM]!” he exclaimed, clearly remembering the name but struggling to put it to the mumsy Quasimodo figure before him. “Uh…”

“It’s okay!” I told him. “I’ve had three children and have gone completely to seed!”

He looked back at me blankly and blinked. I took this as my cue to continue.

“You, however, look exactly the same!” I enthused. “That’s worked out well for you!”

And I smiled my brightest smile, knowing full well he’d be thinking “Who is this girl?” even though I had ostensibly just answered that question for him.

What can I say? I clearly have a gift. But who that gift is for is anyone’s guess.

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Some of us learn the hard way that handling an iPhone while drunk is a big responsibility.
‘Mr C’, August 26th, 2010

The Mild-Mannered Lawyer and I recently found ourselves out at an art gallery opening, both of us with access to a free bar and to twitter. (Yes, I have an iPhone, now, don’t you know –  thanks to my dear friend Uncle B.)

Turns out it was too hard to tweet *and* hold a glass of wine at the same time, so that somewhat curtailed both activities. In the end, the worst thing that happened was I later took this photo at a pub and posted it on twitter with the caption “I don’t know what the cowboy is doing to that animal but I suspect it’s naaaasty”:

See? Not too bad. Not too bad at all.

Unlike last Friday night. An impromptu end-of-term catch-up at the house of The Fabulous Miss Jones well and truly answered the question of ‘how much alcohol is too much alcohol’ and the answer was ‘that much’. Unfortunately I don’t know how much ‘that much’ was because I was too damn drunk to keep count of my drinks.

I asked my husband the next morning if I’d been too embarrassing.

“No, not at all,” my husband – who, as the skipper, had remained sober – said. “You were just having a bit more fun than everyone else.”

And indeed I was. I got into the Fabulous Mister Jones’ music collection and started busting a move in the kitchen. For the record: dancing to the songs of your youth when you’re drunk is a bit like chewing gum with your mouth open – it feels a lot cooler than it actually looks.

In the middle of all this, I remembered I had an iPhone.

“I might just see what the good people of twitter have to say for themselves!” I announced to the room. And nobody stopped me. Nobody.

Friends do not let friends go on twitter when they are drunk.

Okay, so I might not have expressed my intention to go on twitter quite that articulately (it was probably more like “I jussshhhhttt urgh, um, twitter!“), but I did pull my iPhone out of my pocket and start looking at it, shortly after having sung my heart out to Foreigner’s ‘I Wanna Know What Love Is ‘. If that doesn’t cry out for some kind of intervention, I don’t know what does.

Anyway, on twitter, I discovered I had made an error in my post that day by crediting one twitter friend (love_kt) with another twitter friend’s comment (cookingkt). Looking at this with the kind of clarity that drinking your body weight in champagne  can give you, I decided that this was the worst possible thing I could have done to a person. Ever.

In my pain, I hit twitter big time with the following tweets:

Of course, I thought at the time I was being charmingly conciliatory, but turns out I was doing the twitter equivalent of Bernard Black’s ‘Belly Savalas‘ impression.

And then I moved on to Facebook. Yes, Facebook. Luckily, all I managed to do was post an “I’m drunk. Deal with it.” status update before just lying on The Fabulous Miss Jones’ couch and letting the great world turn. I didn’t start hassling my highschool friends by posting comments like ‘Nice tits!’ on photos of their pets. Nor did I manage to share links to clown porn sites.

But I so easily could have.

Yes, it could have been much much worse. Which is why next time, I’m installing an app on my iPhone that turns the phone off the minute my blood alcohol level reaches a certain level. Oh, and also short-circuits any hi-fi equipment within a twenty metre radius in case of dancing or singing.

I think it’s best for everyone.

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I am an extremely accomplished multi-tasker – as long as you don’t expect any of those tasks to be completed well or, indeed, completed at all.

The other day I found myself in the kitchen making pizza dough, chicken madras and a custard tart simultaneously – and all from scratch. And please don’t ask me why because I’d have to bore you with a long convoluted answer about ‘chicken on the verge of an expiry date’, a husband returning from a three day business trip and a sick child’s plaintive pleas for a pizza dinner.

But nothing – nothing – can explain the custard tart… Except, perhaps, that it was a book group night and I’d earned myself a bit of a reputation as the bearer of freshly baked goods. I mean, let’s face it: I have to contribute something worthwhile to the group, especially since I tend to have read most of my book group books asleep and/or drunk. So I guess I can explain the custard tart, after all.

Anyway, there I was, already juggling recipe books, ingredients and sharp knives, when I decided to start tweeting about my endeavours.

Luckily, only one twitter friend, ‘cookingkt responded. “That’s a whole lotta kitchenbusy…. Hope there’s wine and music in the background?!” she said.

I think we can all agree that alcohol was the last thing this particular scenario needed. As it was, I still managed to make a complete mess of things completely sober.

In my defence, I don’t know why most pizza dough recipes insist on letting it rise a second time. It’s like the ‘difficult second album’ – agonising for everyone involved. And because I’d ambitiously started off with the dough with less than hour until my children officially expired with hunger, I had to settle for two ‘micro-rises’. It’s the kind of thing that makes a woman wish someone’d invent a kind of viagra for pizza dough. (“Is that pizza dough in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?”)

In case you are wondering, the results were spectacular – if, that is, that you count a pizza crust that’s just like cardboard parboiled in paper glue as “spectacular”.

And the custard tart? Let’s just say it brought to mind that Spice Girls’ song ‘When Two Become One’ because the crust rose up to greet the filling and the whole thing became one big biscuity omelette – ‘frit-tart-a’, if you will. Badoom tish! Yes, I’m here all week. Try the fish. But not the custard tart, obviously.

As for the chicken madras… Well, I didn’t get to sample it before I left the house for book group but when I got home there was a note on the table from my husband saying “That was the best curry I ever had.”

Admittedly, his handwriting was a little shaky. I personally like to think it was because of all the emotion he must have been feeling after eating such a magnificent meal and not, say, because he’d just spent three hours vomiting in the toilet and could barely grasp the pen.

Still, there it was: Best. Curry. Ever.

So I’ve decided I won’t be sad. One out of three certainly isn’t “all good”, but it isn’t “all bad” either, right?

(Anyone got a good recipe for Meat Loaf?)

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Mr Justice spent a good part of 2004 on the Naughty Spot. The following year, he spent as much time on the Thinking Spot, which was actually the same spot as the Naughty Spot, just with better branding.

In stark contrast, Tiddles McGee – the youngest of our three –  has never done hard time in any spot – naughty, thinking or otherwise. Most of the time when he does something deemed naughty, he just gives us a cheeky look and my husband and I say “Awwww, isn’t he cute!” and hand him a lolly.

It’s only fair then, that we recently introduced a pocket money scheme across all three kids.

Here’s the deal: each child starts the month with a predetermined amount and they lose (and gain back) money for ‘bad’ (and ‘good’) behaviour. At the end of the month, they can ‘cash in’ what’s remaining of their pocket money (= blow it all on some cheap Made In China crap at Kmart) or they can carry it over to the next month.

Here are some excerpts from their chart to give you an idea of how it plays out:

MR JUSTICE

-$2 for ripping leg off Pixie’s new doll
-$1 for pushing Pixie
-$1 for hitting Pixie
-$1 for being rude to Mummy
+$1 for chores
-$1 for ruining Pixie’s game by throwing Genghis Cat on it (NB: not for throwing Genghis Cat)
+$1 for chores
-$1 for throwing a ball at Pixie
-$1 for giving attitude for being penalised $1 for throwing a ball at Pixie
-$1 for fighting Pixie over beanbag even after Mummy told him to stop
-$1 for being rude to Mummy
-$2 for stealing and then giving Mummy attitude about it
-$1 for not doing what he’s told

TIDDLES

-$1 for getting down from table without asking
-$1 for not eating dinner
-50c for running off near busy road
+50c for chores
-50c for throwing a coat hanging at Pixie
-50c for punching Pixie in the face
-50c for running around nude instead of getting dressed like Mummy told him
-$1 for stealing daddy’s keys, drawing on Pixie’s picture and eating brown sauce with a spoon

Of course there was virtually nothing on The Pixie’s chart because she was too busy having the crap beaten out of her by her brothers to get around to doing anything naughty herself.

Anyway, the other day, I was thinking about what would happen if a similar scheme was extended to me. I suspect my chart for this week would read something like this:

THE NDM

-$1 for forgetting to give Mr Justice breakfast and then making him eat half his lunch on the way to school because we were already running late
-$2 for then giving Mr Justice money to buy a sausage roll knowing full well that Mr Justice would spend it on an icy pole
-$1 for being annoyed with Mr Justice later that day when he admitted he’d spent the money on icy poles instead of ‘proper food’
-50c for even thinking sausage rolls fall into the category of ‘proper food’
-$2 for failing to disclose the fact that she herself had eaten half a block of Cadbury’s ‘Bar Of Plenty‘ for lunch that day
-$1 for being even vaguely surprised when Mr Justice begged for money for the canteen the next day
-$2 for giving in to Mr Justice by using the hollowest words in the English language “Only this once!”, knowing full well that when combined with the money the day before this actually made it twice
+$1 for managing to give Mr Justice the money without the other children seeing it
-$2 for then sneakily eating the other half of the block of Cadbury’s ‘Bar Of Plenty’ for breakfast

That makes for a grand total of $10.50 to be deducted from my pocket money just in two days. But of course, in that period alone, I’d have earnt back about $1,000 in chores so, really, I’m not doing too bad, am I?

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Here’s a little advice for you: check your vehicle’s height before entering a multi-storey carpark – you know, in case it’s grown… You might end up peeling your new roofracks off like the top of a sardine can. For example.

Not that anything like that has ever happened to me, mind. Oh, no. It’s not like I drove The Star Wagon into a car park that I’d been in a hundred times before and totally forgot about the roof racks my husband had recently installed and subsequently found myself in a predicament a little like Winnie-The-Pooh’s when he got stuck in Rabbit’s hole. (Uh, that’d be the entrance to Rabbit’s house, people. Sheesh!). And it’s not like the sound of metal against concrete is imprinted forever more on my brain or that I blushed so deeply that four days later I’d still be glowing a deep shade of Amaranth. No. None of that.

Anyway, the point is that if something like that did happen to me, I’d really hope that there was a really nice man working in the little booth at the exit boom gate to help me get ‘unstuck’. And I’d hope this man wouldn’t get even a tiny bit flustered by the growing queue of cars in both directions and that he would remain so cheerful and friendly that I’d feel compelled to go and buy him a box of chocolates to express some small part of my gratitude. Such a man – were he to exist, of course – would forever have a special place in my heart.

I’d also like to think that had these events happened on my watch, that I would have remained calm and collected and not, say, started howling like a baby and alarm my three year old so much that he, too, would burst into tears, saying “Mummy! I’s crying ’cause you broked the car!!”. And it goes without saying that if I were to ring my husband under such circumstances that I would like to have had (but probably wouldn’t have had) the forethought to stress that “We’re okay. Nobody’s hurt!” before incoherently sobbing “Aruunnnnghhhhhhhh sorrrrrrrrrrrrry! The caarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!” for two minutes so that I could’ve saved my husband from almost having a Fart Plus Occasion in his pants.

Anyway, if – and only if – any of this had happened to me, I’d also like to hope that the car would mostly be okay and that any damage incurred would look kind of cool, like it had taken some serious heat in a bank-heist-gone-wrong. A bit like this, for example:

Gangstaaaaaaaa!

And I’d certainly hope that my husband would later admit that he would’ve forgotten about the roof racks and done exactly the same thing, but then he’d probably immediately request I didn’t include that in any blog post that I might write about the incident because he wouldn’t like people to think he was a complete idiot.

Luckily none of the above happened to me or my car. Because do you honestly think I’d put it in a blog post if it did?

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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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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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