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Archive for the ‘Setting the record straight’ Category

Dear Readers,

Grief can be, for some, an extremely private process. So it is for me and my family.

I just wanted to let you know that I haven’t abandoned this blog. It’s just that I’m finding it hard to write amusing posts about arse worms or being called a Ukrainian Clown Whore at my own husband’s 40th birthday – not when people I love are suffering so much.

So please consider my silence to be an ellipsis. A pause in my speech.

In the meantime, while you’re all waiting for me to return, I’ll try make a weekly offering of either a photo for discussion or a post I’ve uncovered in the NDM vaults.

THIS WEEK’S OFFERING: “The Inadvertent Vibrator“.

Love from

The NDM.

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All roads lead to Goulburn. At least that’s what the sign makers of New South Wales would have us think. Within a 100km radius of ‘Centre Of The Universe’ Goulburn, Sydney and Melbourne drop completely off all road signs and it’s All About Goulburn.

Is it little wonder that I naturally followed the signs to Goulburn on my way out of Canberra?

In doing so, of course, I added a tasty 70km to our journey that day – a journey that was already overwhelming enough as it was at 665 km.

“Whoops!” I said to my husband, after we discovered our mistake. He had taken over the driving by this point and had been concerned by the number of signs he saw pointing to Canberra two hours after we’d left the place.

“Ah, well,” I said philosophically, “It’s only added half an hour to our journey.”

“Sure. If you were doing 140km an hour…” my husband replied. Which I wasn’t – you know, in case anyone from the Roads and Traffic Authority happens to be reading this post.

“Well, you were the one in the Navigator’s Seat!” I replied. “And you’re the one who’s actually driven from Canberra to Melbourne before. You should have known!”

“I was asleep!” he cried. “Or drunk. Yeah, that’s it: blame the Drunk Guy. Again.”

(I should stress here for my Roads and Traffic Authority reader that he was joking about being drunk.)

“I was only going on the assumption that all roads lead to Goulburn,” I said, before adding “Stupid Goulburn!” for good measure.

(Again, just in case my Roads and Traffic Authority reader is based in Goulburn, I was only joking. Goulburn is a mighty fine town from what I can tell from its surrounding signage.)

We sat in stony silence for a while, until my husband realised we were dangerously close to running out of fuel and hostilities recommenced.

“You’re the one in the driver’s seat,” I was quick to accuse him. “That’s your responsibility! I can’t even see the fuel gauge from where I’m sitting!”

“You, as Navigator, should have asked me about the fuel level,” he replied, angrily. “Anyway, should we go head to the next town or turn back?”

“Let me check,” I replied, pulling out my iPhone.

I tried to download a petrol station finder app through iTunes only to have iTunes inform me that they had changed their terms and conditions and I had to read 58 pages of legal jibber-jabber and click ‘AGREE’.

Yes, 58 pages.

Uh, what part of ’emergency petrol station finder’ did iTunes fail to understand?

In the end, I just clicked AGREE. I mean, really, does anybody else ever read those things, even when they’re not on the verge of running out of petrol on the Hume Highway? We could all be pledging our internal organs or our first born children to Steve Jobs for all we know.

(And for the record, Roads And Traffic Authority person, I would do neither of those things willingly. Although, really, the pledging of organs or children to Steve Jobs doesn’t exactly fall within your remit at the RTA, now does it? Sheesh.)

Anyway, we made it to the next town before I could even download the stupid app, filled the car with petrol and made it to our destination (many, many hours later) without further navigational or mechanical mishap.

On the outskirts of Melbourne, I turned to my husband to remark (over the din of screaming children in the back of the car): “If you hadn’t been asleep-slash-drunk when we left Canberra and I hadn’t been so obsessed with Goulburn, we’d be home now.”

It was a bitter pill for us both to swallow. Not that we were actually popping pills while in charge of an automobi— Oh, never mind.

_______________________

Can’t get enough of reading about The NDM on the road? Feel free to read my guest post about ‘What My Children Have Taught Me About… Road Trips!’ over at ‘Maxabella Loves‘.

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The day before we left on our recent road trip, my husband mentioned something about getting an automatic fish feeder for Mr Justice’s fish.

“It’s all under control,” I said, waving my ‘To Do” list at him. “I’ve already organised actual people to feed our pets”.

“Oh, yeah,” my husband replied. “You just do all this stuff and I just get in the car and drive…”

Which is how it goes. I pack clothes, toiletries, bathers, towels, books and games for myself and the three kids and organise all the car snacks and drinks and for people to feed our pets and collect our mail and take out the bins.

And all my husband does is stuff three pairs of undies, a couple of black t-shirts and his toothbrush into a plastic shopping bag.

I’m being a bit unfair, of course. There’s some other minor details he attends to regarding car maintenance – you know, checking the oil, water and tyres and that – but that’s got to take him less than 15 minutes, right?

Anyway, the point is I really only have myself to blame about the bathers I packed for myself. Truth be told, I didn’t give them much thought because I only anticipated wearing them in the pool at a cheap Canberra motel…

I will say that it was entirely my husband’s fault we ended up at Bondi Beach on the first real beach-going day of spring along with half of Sydney. Our family stuck out a mile with our glow-in-the-dark bodies and our children wearing flotation vests even in the shallow water. It was the equivalent of carrying a huge banner that said “YES, WE ARE FROM MELBOURNE”.

The bathers I was wearing were a two-piece but not, I should stress, a bikini. The top was meant to cover my torso but because I’ve got the longest torso known to woman (to complement my short-arse legs), it kept riding up to reveal my crepe-paper tummy. Of course, I had also spontaneously broken out in pimples right across my decolletage, so I couldn’t pull the top down too much else I start making people worry I was contagious. And finally, any thought of going all “Harry High Pants” by pulling my bottoms up to cover my tummy was out because of the small matter of the neglected lady garden…

So there was my choice: should I showcase my crepe-paper tummy, my lady garden overgrowth or my plague-like symptoms?

It’s little wonder then that, when forced to walk along the boulevard at North Bondi in front of hundreds of sunbathing hotties, I chose to hold my bag in front of me to cover my multitude of sins.

Until my dad appeared out of nowhere to help me, that is.

“Let me take that for you, sweetheart,” my dad said, reaching out for my strategically-placed bag.

“No, Dad, I’m okay,” I said.

“No, really,” he said, trying to take the bag off me.

“Nooooo!” I said, trying to hold onto the bag.

It was like that scene in ‘Trainspotting’ where the goofy one is trying to take his soiled sheets to laundry. I need not go into any further detail about that scene but let’s just say, I felt that the horror unleashed when my dad finally wrenched the bag away from me was on a par. I ended up having to scuttle the rest of the way, with my hand on my chest, my top pulled down and my thighs pressed together, my head hung in shame.

But here’s the real shame: as I sat down and started to write about all this, I began to truly blush. Not because of my body, no. But because I had let my body down.  My body is a magical place – it has harboured three lives and fed them to independence. It has worked hard for me and my children, goddammit. Why did I have to get so highschool about it? I should have held my head up high and strutted my stuff like an entrant in the Smokin’ Hot Postpartum Mama Contest.

That said, however, I should probably take a leaf out of my husband’s book and give myself a 15 minute maintenance check before we set off on our next family holiday…

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I SAY: It all started when my friend The Mild-Mannered Lawyer handed me the gift of two bottles of wine at school pick-up time. It’s hard not to feel a little self-conscious standing in a school playground with a bottle of wine in each hand and at least half the school community looking on. So the minute Mr Justice turned up, I stashed them away into his school bag – which, of course, half the school community watched me do.  Not wanting that same half of the school community to then see make my seven-year-old son carry my wine, I hoicked his bag onto my back and stepped forward with great confidence straight into a slight dip in the pavement, causing me to stagger in a most unseemly fashion, my legs buckling underneath me and my arms swinging wildly.

THEY SAY: The NDM is drunk. Again.

I SAY: The next morning I had one of those school runs where I was still making my kids’ lunches twenty minutes before the bell was due to ring, standing in my bra and only my bra. Somehow, I managed to get the kids through the school gates on time (and yes, I managed to get dressed as well) but I paid the price back at home when my mouth – like some kind of self-inflating life jacket – exploded into a cold sore. And we all know how I feel about cold sores – not least because it means I really shouldn’t drink alcohol until it’s well past its “rapid expansion” phase. Stupid empire-building cold sore.

Later that afternoon I went to see my doctor about – how can I put this delicately? – the protracted case of the blurty bums I’d been having. The doctor’s response was to send me out for blood tests and to take me off dairy for two weeks. Yes, two weeks without butter. I think this was the point where the light in my eyes went completely out.

And so it came to pass that I found myself as a volunteer at a Bunnings sausage sizzle twenty four hours later. With a cold sore the size of the Roman Empire. And a dairy-free dullness to my eyes. And track marks and bruising on my arm from where the nurse had taken thirty litres of blood.

THEY SAY: The NDM is on the junk.

I SAY: It was then that my trousers started falling down. The particular trousers I had chosen that day are strange in that they start off behaving well, lulling me into a false sense of security. But then I think my weight – like so many beans in a bean bag – must redistribute itself and the trousers start to panic. Now, luckily from the front view, my trouser-failure was covered by my apron. But not from the back. And of course, the money tin and the soft drinks were behind me, resulting in many a sausage sale with me awkwardly trying to get the change without turning around, all the while spreading my legs out as wide was I possibly could to stop my trousers from falling the fuck off completely.

THEY SAY: The NDM is on the junk while she’s serving at the Bunnings Sausage Sizzle.

I SAY: At the end of the sausage sizzle, we were in the process of cleaning up when two guys asked us we had any soft drinks left. We did but they had already been packed into the back of The Suburban Diva’s car a few metres away, where I duly led the two gentlemen to make the transaction.

THEY SAY: The NDM is selling bootleg soft drinks from the back of a car in the Bunnings’ car park to fund her junk habit.

I SAY: Of course, as the two gentlemen walked away, I had to seriously re-adjust my trousers again and at that point I realised that A) I was still holding a fistful of latex gloves the sausage-cooks had been wearing that I’d been in the process of throwing away; and that B) from a distance, these latex gloves may or may not have resembled at least thirty used condoms.

THEY SAY: The NDM is turning tricks in the back of a car in the Bunnings’ car park to support her junk habit.

I SAY: It’s not as bad as it looks!

THEY SAY: Sure it isn’t.

I SAY: No, really! I just need some wine, a shit load of butter and a new pair of trousers!

THEY SAY: We really don’t need to know any more details.

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All families have their own family folk lore. You know, the stories they like to tell each other.

In my little family, we like to tell of how a newborn Mr Justice lay in his hospital crib with his legs completely stretched out, causing a passing midwife to comment “You don’t see that every day!”. And how the Pixie, was born the size of a small planet and had cheeks like giant marshmallows. And how Tiddles McGee managed to urinate not only on the delivering surgeon but on the pediatrician, too. This last story is particularly popular with the kids and Tiddles takes great delight in randomly telling people that he “peed on the doctor’s face!” – which, when taken out of context, sounds like all kinds of wrong.

It’s little wonder that our vomitous misadventures on the mountain last year have become the stuff of legend. The kids often like to sit ’round retelling the sorry chain of events.

“First, Pixie threw up on Tiddles’ head,” they like to say. “Then Tiddles threw up in Mummy’s hand in the snow. Then KC, Master D and Daddy got it, too. Although, Daddy didn’t vomit, he just got a ‘blurty bum’. Then Mummy starting vomiting… But only Mr Justice and MM stood strong!”

Turns out this nostalgia is as contagious as the gastro itself. As we drove to the ‘scene of the crime’ (our holiday house) last week, I found myself pointing out a bleak stretch of road and exclaiming “I think that’s where we stopped for someone to throw up!”.  Once at the house, MM and I found ourselves standing in the laundry, looking wistfully at the washing machine and laundry sink, site of the scrubbing and soaking of many stained sheets and clothing. A lot of good times, a lot of good times. Over in one the bedrooms (and scene of the initial vomit-on-the-head incident), I found myself thinking “If only these walls could talk…” shortly followed by “Shit, someone should really either clean these walls or slap a gagging order on them before they can talk…”.

Slowly but surely, however, the house was transformed from the House Of Horror to our happy holiday home again, thanks to plenty of good company, good conversation, good food and good wine.

There only remained the mountain for us to reclaim.

It should be noted here that driving up to the snow each year involves the same kind of precision planning and execution required for a large-scale military coup. There’s all that damn snow gear to pack and snow chains to hire and the drive up a perilous stretch of road and then the scramble in the back of the van to locate everyone’s gloves and hats and boots before anyone can even start getting wet and cold and whingey.

It’s the kind of thing that really does made me wish the mountain could come to me instead of me going to the mountain. Especially when I can still remember the hot, wet weight of Tiddles McGee’s vomit in my hand eleven months after our last mountain trip.

For the record, our trip to the mountain this year was vomit-free (or “free vomit” as The Pixie later misquoted). Indeed, I wore the NDM Children’s Vomit Scale t-shirt’ KC and MM gave me as a birthday present last year.

Yes, I made that mountain my bitch again.

But while there may have been no vomiting, there was this:

In case you can’t tell, that is a hot jet stream of piss coming out the sliding door of the Starwagon, giving credence to the adage “Don’t eat the yellow snow”.

And yet this was no holiday mishap. Oh, no. This was another act of reclaiming that mountain. All we needed was for the piss to be hitting a print-out of last year’s holiday blog post. Or, even better, having a bemused and panicked doctor in its direct line of fire. Then this blog post would have been complete…

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I used to think that bikini shopping was the worst kind of shopping of all. But now I realise at least bikinis are optional. Brassieres, however, are not – especially when, like me, your breasts have become a potential tripping hazard.

I will put bra shopping off for as long as I possibly can. It’s no matter to me if the underwire is threatening to give me a lumbar puncture at any given moment or has gone MIA all together. It’s no matter if my “flesh-coloured” bras have taken on the hue of a four day old corpse or they’ve got so many holes in them that they look like a fishnet bra. I don’t care. I’ll do anything to avoid bra shopping.

But then recently, my dear friend KT bought a fantastic bra with a fancy French name and became some kind of bra born-again.

“My breasts feel fantastic in this bra!” she told me, with bras in her eyes. And indeed, when she gave me a quick flash, they looked fantastic, too.

“All you need is a good bra!” she said, suddenly looking at me with a corsetiere’s eye. “We’re going bra shopping this week. I won’t take no for an answer.”

So next thing I knew, I found myself staring at my semi-naked reflection in the change rooms of a department store lingerie department. The light was so harsh, I could practically see the cracks in my self-esteem widening with every breath I took.

KT brought in the first round of bras for me to try on. Turns out that these days my breasts are a lot like sleeping bags –  there’s a fine art to rolling them up the right way to fit them back neatly in their covers. But the problem was finding the right cover. Of course the whole notion of ‘sizing’ didn’t help – in one bra, a 16D made me look like the Michelin man with water retention, while a 14C in another bra made my breasts looked like a 3 year old’s feet her mother’s shoes. And all the while, I kept seeing those little pictures of the 10B models on the sales tags. Why put a 10B model on a 16D tag, or even on a 10A one for that matter? Most certainly, most women do not look like that and the suggestion that we should all want to look like that is just plain insulting.

As KT went off to try and find some better styles, I found myself really looking at my body. That flabby tummy had nurtured three new lives. And those saggy-baggy breasts had given sustenance for a total of fifty-seven months. My body rocked, goddammit! It was a magical marvellous mystical place and I should be wearing those stretch-marks proudly like sergeant’s stripes.

Still, when I tried on the next bra and it cut into my breasts, dividing them neatly into four like some kind of cow, I had one last stab at self-loathing.

“My breasts are stupid!” I moaned.

“These are shit bras,” KT said. “They’re all gapey and baggy and bulgy and badly made. They’re all wrong. That is all. Your breasts are just right.”

And we walked out of the department store, our heads held high – although admittedly, one set of breasts wasn’t held quite as high as the other.

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In the Dog Person versus Cat Person war where you have to CHOOSE YOUR SIDE (in the tradition of Transformers), I fall on the side of the dogs. I mean, what’s not to love about a dog? I’d get a puppy in a heartbeat –  if the thought of toilet-training another creature didn’t chill me to my very core, that is. Oh, and if I didn’t think Genghis Cat would eat it in another heartbeat.

However, as much as I love dogs, I draw the line at this: whenever I tell an amusing parenting anecdote to a dog owner  – whether it be about how clever Mr Justice is or what a cute thing The Pixie said the other day or the time I caught Mr McGee’s vomit in my hand – they’re always quick to say “Aw! That’s just like [insert dog’s name]”.

For the record, here are a few of the key differences between children and dogs that I have identified:

People do not look kindly upon you letting your children piss or shit on their front lawn, even when you are carrying a little plastic bag.

You have to take your kids inside shops full of precious breakable objects. Tying them to a pole outside is not an option.

When you are ever-so-slightly hungover and about to merge onto a busy freeway and your daughter insists on “singing the song in my heart, Mummy!!” very loudly, you can not put a muzzle on her. You can merely request that she “sing on the inside of her head”.

Dogs are good at coming when you call them. Children are not.

Dogs, for better or for worse, tend to eat whatever you give them. Children do not.

You can exercise a dog just by simply taking them for a walk. No activity they do requires you to endlessly trek from shop to shop in search of size 4 flesh-coloured underpants for the ballet concert or to stand next to a muddy field in the freezing rain for three hours on a Saturday  morning.

Child-worming tablets are far more expensive than dog-worming ones and there’s apparently not a single louse collar commercially available that can prevent your children from getting the itches.

Children, if they come into your bed at night, will not lie at the end of the bed and keep your feet warm. Instead, they will stick their cold pointy toes into your tender bits and/or will insist on holding onto both of your ears while they sleep so you can not escape.

You can say whatever you like in front of your dog without fear of them later repeating it ad verbatim in front of the person you were bitching about.

You can’t ask your neighbours to drop by and feed the kids while you go away for the weekend.

Dogs will take the rap for your farts. Most children will not.

Children don’t tend to scare off would-be thieves and door-to-door salesmen, unless said thieves and salesmen have the same aversion to being touched by sticky-jam-hands or human snot as my husband has.

If you’re a single woman, taking your dog to the local park can be a great way to meet single men. But taking your children to the park? Not so much.

Finally, dogs don’t insist on saying “Hello” to everyone you ever speak to on the phone, answer back, tell lies, wipe snot on their bedroom wall, hide the TV remote, colour in your passport with permanent marker, hassle you to go to McDonalds just so they can get another piece of plastic shit for the toy box or ask for iPhone for their eighth birthday when you yourself don’t even have fucking iPhone.

I rest my case.

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