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Archive for the ‘Venting’ Category

All the world’s a bumper sticker. At least that’s how it feels at the moment.

Recently, my husband and I were driving and we came to one of those intersections where all three lanes of traffic had no choice but to turn left. I put on my indicator and couldn’t help but notice the other cars who weren’t indicating.

“I hate it when cars don’t indicate,” I said. “It’s like they assume I know that they are just going to follow the road rules and turn left. For all I know, they could be intending to go straight – illegally, mind you… Where’s their sense of community? Their pride of being part of a left-turning group, all indicating their left-turningness together?”

“Does it make you angry?” my husband asked.

“No, it saddens me,” I said. “It makes me feel… alone.

“That’s very interesting,” he remarked. “I have often wondered what other people thought of my failure to indicate at intersections such as these.”

(By ‘often’, I think we can all assume my husband meant ‘I’m actually only thinking about this at this very moment since you happen to have raised it as a topic of conversation’. Still, I appreciated the fact he was feigning an interest.)

“Well, now you know,” I replied. “You make people like me sad.”

“And I expect you find it a bit of a turn off,” he observed.

“Yes. Yes, I do,” I mused although I should now stress that I wouldn’t necessarily be hot for someone simply because they DID indicate.

We then discussed a bumper sticker awareness program I could start. Some initial ideas included:

TURN ON (YOUR INDICATOR) AND TURN ON (ME).

TURN OFF YOUR TURN OFF AND TURN ON YOUR INDICATOR.

YOU TURN ME OFF WHEN YOU FAIL TO TURN ON: INDICATE.

or even

INDICATE, ARSE-CLOWN.

Interestingly enough, the other day when my youngest son took an unscheduled toilet break behind the park bench my husband and I were sitting on, my husband came up with his own bumper sticker awareness program for his MEP (Minimum Effort Parenting) style. The bumper sticker will apparently read:

IF YOU CAN’T SEE THEM, YOU’RE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THEM.

I argued that it probably should read “IF YOU CAN’T SEE THEM, YOU’RE PROBABLY NOT BEING RESPONSIBLE ENOUGH FOR THEM” but he thought that was too wordy.

Bumper sticker awareness programs? Yep, that’s what my life has come to. Somewhere along the way, somebody – quite possibly me – has obviously failed to indicate. Arse clown.

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Tomorrow marks my seventh week without a functioning oven. Yes, seven weeks. Let’s count ‘em, shall we? One… two… three… oh, god, that noise you just heard was my spirit stabbing itself with a serving fork.  Either that, or my spirit stabbing my husband with a serving fork.

Here’s what happened.

My oven broke. To get really technical about it, that thingy that you have to pull out to light the thing got pulled out for good. And since the oven door was the detachable sort (not in a good way) and the knobs fell off when you looked at them sharpishly, we decided to replace the whole thing.

Unfortunately we then had to wait two weeks for some money to come in so we could afford to replace it.

But come that happy day, we marched into our local white goods store to order Our Brand New Oven. But somewhere somehow, in the middle of the ordering process, my husband changed his mind and decided we needed to consider renovating the whole kitchen before committing to one model or another.

For the record, my ability to talk renovations doesn’t extend much past the three minute mark, after which I start to glaze over and think about the bottle of wine in the fridge. If the conversation, say, wanders onto the topic of splashbacks and cupboard door handles, I start to think about the vodka bottle in the freezer. And if you tried, for example, to get me into some kind of FLOOR EMPORIUM to look at and discuss lino and carpet samples, then please be prepared to see me there swigging from the wine bottle and drinking straight from that vodka bottle with a straw at the same time. Just sayin’.

ANYWAY so I didn’t actually have to discuss renovations with him, I agreed to let my husband invite our friend C, who designs kitchens for a living, to come over and talk about them with him instead.

Within ten minutes of C arriving, I realised this was what’s officially known as a Bad Idea.  C and my husband began running about excitedly together, talking about knocking down walls and digging a three foot deep trench down the side of the house. And in one of those horror movie moments, C’s wife – who was helping me out with that bottle of wine in the fridge –  turned to me and revealed she hadn’t had running water in her kitchen or bathroom for over two years due to her husband’s own renovation project. I mean, she may as well have told me she no longer had a soul and wanted to eat my offal on toast for breakfast, such was my terror.

After C and his family left, my husband found me sobbing into my wine glass about “just wanting a fucking oven that worked”.

Luckily, my husband is a sensitive man. He saw my pain and realised it was all too much for me. He reassured me we’d just buy a replacement oven. The renovations could wait a few more years…

And then he changed his mind. Again.

Oh, he bought a new oven, all right. A good one, too. One that I am happy with – or rather, would be happy with except that it has been sitting, all warm and cozy and wrapped in plastic, cardboard and polystyrene in our garage for over a week now… while my husband has taken to one of our kitchen walls with a crowbar.

This is my kitchen now.

Extra points for spotting the almost empty bottle of vodka

And no, I didn’t see that coming, either.

The fact of the matter is I’m writing this blog post in the lounge room with the fridge next to me. The contents of my entire spice rack are currently alongside my bed just waiting for someone to make a joke about ‘spicing things up’ in the bedroom. For the record: don’t make that joke. DO NOT MAKE THAT JOKE.

But I think Tiddles McGee, all of four years old, put it best. When my husband first started pulling out the cupboards, he reportedly said  “I’m telling mummy you’re destroying the kitchen! She will think you’ve turned evil!”

Now where was that second bottle of vodka…

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It’s not enough these days to simply have Harry Potter books, movies and merchandise. They have to be cross-bred with Lego so there’s Harry Potter Lego and then they get in bed with Nintendo so there can be a Harry Potter Lego Wii game. It’s like one big cross-promotional orgy.

And then there are the “brand extensions” where marketing people push brands in new (and often unexpected) directions.

Just the other day, when we were stuck in a Canberra motel with nothing but the Disney Channel for the kids to watch, we saw an ad for My Little Pony Mermaids. Yes, My Little Pony Mermaids. Apparently (according to the ad) whenever the My Little Ponies visit the sea, they magically turn into beautiful mermaids – or rather, pony mermaids. I mean, I was still getting over the Barbie film The Pixie made me watch, where the Barbie character found out she was half-human half-mermaid. What that actually meant in reproductive terms was disturbing enough, but a stallion getting it on with a trout’? That’s more ‘sick-as-fuck’ than “magical”, people.

“Who comes up with this sh…” I started to say, but then I saw the look of wonder on my daughter’s face. It was like that commercial had spoken directly to her soul.

“…imply fantashtic shtuff!” I concluded, brightly.

“Oh, I want a My Little Pony Mermaid Castle for my birthday, Mama,” The Pixie said. “Oh, please can I have one. Please??”

So I did what any parent would do. And no, I didn’t refuse to buy it. That’s what an ‘ethical’ or perhaps even ‘sane’ parent would do. Instead, I delegated the purchase of said My Little Pony Mermaid Castle to my father.

A few days later, my dad rang me from Target. He sounded in shock. A seasoned-father of three daughters, there was nothing in his nearly 40 years of parenting that had prepared him for the My Little Pony Mermaid range.

“There’s a My Little Mermaid Pony dolphin carriage here,” he said. “But no castle…”

Of course, there is a My Little Pony Dolphin Carriage, I thought to myself. Because if a mermaid pony wanted to get around under the sea, they’d totally make the dolphins their bitches rather than do any actual swimming themselves. You know it makes sense.

I considered for a moment letting him off the hook and telling him to get her the dolphin carriage but I knew, in my heart of hearts, that it was the My Little Pony Mermaid Castle she wanted.

Sure enough, a few days later, my decision to bully my father into searching until he’d found the castle was vindicated. After her party, I asked The Pixie if she’d liked the presents she’d received.

“They’re great!” she said, and then her bottom lip started to tremble. “But I’m a little sad because… because… I didn’t get the present of my dreams!”

And she burst into tears.

“Nobody gave me the My Little Mermaid Pony Castle!” she wailed. “And… and… nobody gave me the Dora Mermaid that [Baby C] got for Christmas!”

Dora the Mermaid Explorer? Oh. My. Sweet. Fuck. Is there no end to this madness?

Apparently not.

 

Just waiting for Lego to come to the party...

 

___________________________________________

Darling Pixie: Happy 6th Birthday for yesterday. Remember, your mummy loves you so much that she bought you a Dora The Mermaid Explorer (after she worked out that it wasn’t a talking or singing toy, that is. Small mercies, people. SMALL MERCIES.)

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A work friend of my husband’s evidently has seen my “WILL WRITE POSTS FOR WINE” sign because she asked him to ask me to write a post about Gisele Bundchen’s recent remarks about breastfeeding. I’ve asked my husband to ask her to pay the wine directly to me and not to pass it on via him because he is likely to have drunk the lot before the bottle even gets through the front door. Somehow I don’t think the message got through because I’ve yet to receive the wine. Or maybe she doesn’t actually know about the ‘FOR WINE’ part of my writing. However,  I remain hopeful. And just a little less drunk than I would otherwise like.

Dear Gisele,

Thank you so much for sharing your recent thoughts regarding a world-wide law to ensure mothers breastfeed their babies for the first six months. You’re obviously an Ideas Person and as one Ideas Person to another, I applaud you.

However, I remain a little uncertain of how such a law might be enforced.  My husband likes to think that there will be an international congress of topless women. I, personally, choose to imagine teams of special-force Lactating Ninjas creeping around after dark, conducting surprise inspections of recycling bins to make sure there are no empty SMA GOLD tins in there and squeezing new mother’s breasts to check that there’s adequate flow.

I mean, seriously, Gisele. What the fuck? Okay, okay, I know it’s likely that your comments were taken out of context. You probably said something much more innocent like women who don’t breastfeed should be nailed to the front doors of the maternity hospitals as an example to one and all that Breast is Best.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Gisele. I am pro-breastfeeding. I really am. I even was a card-carrying member of the Australian Breastfeeding Association and once had the uncomfortable experience of hosting an ABA meeting in my lounge room a few days after The Pixie had unexpectedly and suddenly self-weaned at 14 months. And yes, I was sad she had self-weaned, but not so sad that I was willing to pay $5 for the ABA brochure about ‘Relactation’ that they tried to sell me . After all, I was sick’n’pregnant with Tiddles McGee at the time and felt that ye olde “tandem feeding” was probably best left to other, more robust people or The Goodies cycling their way through a McDonald’s drive-thru.

Anyway, I have always known it was easy for me to be pro-breastfeeding because I had two fully-operational mama-jugs to offer my three healthy children in the comfort and safety of my first world home that I shared with my loving, supportive partner.  Just like you, Gisele. Well not just like you because, unlike you, I wasn’t modeling swimwear six weeks after the birth of my first child. That shit ain’t right.

But did you ever stop to think that not all people might be as fortunate as you, Gisele? There are a whole myriad of reasons why women might not breastfeed, many of them completely of their control. Just as there are a myriad of reasons for why women might not be able to give birth vaginally.

Apparently you never thought for a moment that you wouldn’t be able to have a natural birth. “Billions of other women have come before me and have done this  –  so why can’t I do it?’ you reportedly said to Harper’s Bazaar.

Sure, I once thought I could do it, too. Turned out, after twenty-eight hours, I couldn’t and I had to say hello to my doctor’s friend ‘Mister Knife’. Of course, had you turned up at this point to share the story of your eight-hour labour enhanced by the power of meditation, I would probably have shown you the colour of both my fists and said “MEDITATE ON THESE, BITCH”.

I mean, to be completely honest here, Gisele, you were much  more likeable when you were going out with Leonardo DiCaprio for a living. Fact.

Love,

The NDM

PS. In case you can’t tell, I did all the graphics for this letter while still under the influence of the drugs my oral surgeon gave me when he drilled into my skull.

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Attention: Genghis Cat, Feline Overlord of [address omitted]

Dear Cat,

I am writing to remind you that, according to the pet registry at the local council, I am listed as your owner. Not the other way around.

Admittedly, however, I mustn’t be much of an owner. I mean, I’ve never felt the need to put a picture of you up as my facebook profile pic or get you to wear a Santa Hat on our Christmas cards or have your name tattooed on my arse. Also, I’ve certainly never felt the way cat food manufacturers obviously think I should feel – most of the cats featured on their packaging are giving me their best “Come Hither” eyes and others seem positively post-coital. Is this really how cat owners feel about their pets? If so, I’m sorry. I just don’t see you That Way. For one thing, whenever I try to pat you, you just bite me. Perhaps that’s your way of giving me some lovin’ but I can tell you now, Cat: I’ve no interest in becoming your S&M bitch-slave. It just ain’t my scene.

Anyway, now that I’ve reestablished the fact that I’m your owner, I would like to remind you of a few house rules:

Greetings
Please do not greet me at the door with an accusatory whine, as if continuing a previous argument right at the point where we left off (no doubt about the fact that I “never” feed you). In return, I will cease regarding you warily with a “Helllooooo, Genghis”, like I’m Jerry Seinfeld greeting his nemesis Newman.

Disposal of body parts
I may be wrong here but I think most serial killers attempt to tidy up after themselves a bit. Whilst it can be said that nothing heightens the hanging-out-the-washing experience more than standing barefoot on a mouse head, I’d prefer it if you could either eat your prey in its entireity or use one of the garbage receptacles provided.

Land rights
You have no legal claim over the spot in front of the heater. You therefore do not reserve the right to stalk, pounce upon, scratch or bite anybody standing in that spot, especially if they have just been outside in the cold, cleaning up bird entrails from the trampoline. My husband would also like it to be known that when he sits naked in front of the heater in the mornings (for reasons known only to himself), those things hanging down between his legs are not your sworn enemy.

Meal Times
When I refuse to feed you outside of designated feeding times, please do not sit right in front of me and proceed to elaborately groom your arsehole in protest. And, for the record, other cats the size of small ponies subsist on one cup of dry cat food a day without complaint. You receive the same PLUS two sachets of ‘wet food’, which costs more per gram than most fancy-pants French cheeses, and yet you never quit your bitchin’. WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM? If I served all your meals to you dressed in a gimp suit made entirely rubber and let you bite the crap out of me, would that make you satisfied? Would it? WOULD IT? Well, it ain’t gonna happen, Cat. It ain’t gonna happen.

Sheesh.

Your loving owner,

The NDM

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I was mightily surprised to spot a Chicken Dance Elmo toy at my classy friend JS’s house recently. Not that I was in any position to judge – we have an all-singing all-dancing My Little Pony called “Pinky Pie” in our house, after all. But that’s a whooooole other story. 

JS observed my horror when one of my children hit the button on Chicken Dance Elmo and it began doing that thing that it does – which happens to be being Elmo in a chicken suit, dancing and singing along to the Chicken Dance. 

“As you can see, I have only ever given my son the most educational of wooden toys,” JS remarked. 

“Yes, I’m sure it has the Steiner Tick of Approval under its left foot,” I replied. 

“Not to mention the ‘Fair Trade’ sticker under the other,” she added.

Need I mention that all that long car journey home, The Pixie and McGee sang and danced the Chicken Dance? Need I reiterate that it was ALL the way home? WELL, DO I?

“I feel sick because of that chicken singing Elmo,” Mr Justice proclaimed when our journey was finally at its end. 

I knew exactly how he felt. 

I have always considered Elmo’s meteoric rise to fame on Sesame Street as the show’s “jumping the shark” moment. Which, coincidentally, happened around the same time Mr Snuffleupagus stopped fucking with Big Bird’s head and became visible to everyone. Sheesh! 1985 must have been the Sesame Street writing team’s “annus horribilis” – which, incidentally, is one of those phrases that always makes me giggle because it looks and sounds much ruder than it actually is, especially when applied to the writers of Sesame Street

ANYWAY, ne’er an Elmo toy has graced this house because of my deep aversion to all things Elmo. Not in a chicken suit, not in a nappy, not in a PVC multi-zippered “tickle me” gimp suit. And I’m proud of it. 

But then there are really good friends of mine, whose opinions I respect and company I seek, who have revealed themselves to be Elmo fans. In fact, it’s fair to say that they love Elmo and want to marry him. And maybe even want to kiss him. On the lips. 

“You know how there are those things that you hate that you expect everyone else must hate too but then you end up being constantly surprised by how many people who you thought were just like you actually like those things? The ones that you hate, that is,” I asked my husband in a rather convoluted fashion later that evening. 

“You mean like the Queen?”

“Yes, the Queen and Pauline Hanson and NCIS.” 

“Shit! Not that show with that red-headed guy!” my husband said, appalled. 

“No, not that one. That’s CSI: Law and Order Special Investigation Unit Thingy in Miami,” I replied, a little uncertainly. 

“Oh, I hate that red-headed guy. That terrible hair. He should be ashamed of it!” he said, himself a redhead and with two redheaded children. 

“ANYWAY, I’m talking about Elmo!” I announced in an attempt to rein the conversation back in. After all, this was about my pet hates, not his. 

“Oh, Elmo… ” my husband sighed. “I once saw Elmo on Rove and he was talking to an adult audience about himself in the third person and in a high squeaky voice. And that’s when I realised he was a complete prick,” he concluded.

“What, Elmo or Rove?” I asked. The volume in my head had suddenly been turned right up on that Chicken Dance song and it was hard to think clearly. Next time I go to JS’s house, remind me to set our all-singing all-dancing Pinkie Pie onto that terrible redheaded thing – and no, I don’t mean my husband. At least I don’t think so. I just don’t know anymore…

Elmo want to be a chicken, Elmo want to be a duck. Cluck cluck cluck cluck.  

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Let’s get this straight: Telstra came to me. I did not go to Telstra.

I was simply minding my own business when a cheerful Telstra representative gave me a courtesy call informing me that my mobile phone contract was up for renewal.

“Would you like a new phone? Look! Shiny-shiny!”, he said, trying to lure me into another two year contract. 

However, he was not to know that the last “shiny-shiny” phone Telstra sold me got pissed on by a Dora The Explorer drink bottle full of lemon cordial. Yes, that golden shower brought about its untimely end only two months into a new contract and I’d ended up having to replace it with the cheapest phone I could find.  

And so I was not going to fall for that “shiny-shiny” trick again. Me and my electronic house-brick were very happy together, thank you very much. But not being entirely impervious to the charms of salesmen (see “Business At The Door“), I did find myself agreeing to move to a Member’s Plan. 

“Is there a secret handshake?” I asked, eagerly. The salesman thought I was joking but I wasn’t. It turns out there wasn’t a secret handshake, nor a member’s card, member’s badge or member’s clubhouse. Still, the word “Member” was in my new plan and that had to mean something, right?

Right. It meant I was charged a $30 fee on my next bill for “early termination of contract”. 

“B-b-but!” I spluttered when I saw the charge. Nobody told me I was breaking my current contract to become a Member. Nobody told me I’d be penalised. They came to me, remember? They. Came. To. Me. 

Now, it’s funny how the first time you ring Telstra with a complaint, the female voice on their automated system has that back-of-the-throat barely-suppressed-mirth quality used a lot in tampon advertising. And then the more calls you have to make with the same complaint, the more sinister the voice becomes, to the point you feel it’s openly mocking you and/or planning to shit on your doorstep next time it’s in your neighbourhood. 

At least, this was my experience. You see, I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone to Customer Service over the past three months. And I’ve now been charged that $30 fee a grand total of three times. Each time I’ve rung to get it removed, it’s reappeared on the next bill, like The Terminator, emerging unscathed from the slow burning wreckage of my relationship with Telstra. 

So you can imagine my delight, when twenty minutes into Phone call #4, the customer rep said: “So, while we’re waiting for the system to update, may I ask…  Are you happy with your Member’s Plan?”

“Oh, ecstatic!” I said, somewhat sarcastically. Now I knew for certain that there was a secret Telstra handshake – but it was just a case of Telstra shaking itself in secret. If you know what I mean. 

Anyhoo, it’s all too late for Telstra to salvage our relationship. Of that, I’m certain.

However, I’d like it to be known for the record that I’m very happy to entertain overtures from Optus –  if they’re happy to throw in a free Iphone with a waterproof case, that is. 

You know, just sayin’…

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