Posts Tagged ‘The Mild-Mannered Lawyer’

Yesterday morning, my husband woke up to a grim reality. Not only did he face the  possibility of a conservative State government, but he also had to deal with the memory of FatherOfCrankyPants and I singing karaoke the night before. In his mind, it was hard to know which was worse.

“Perhaps the new government will do something about the karaoke problem in this area!” he said, trying to look at the brighter side of things. “The Brumby government had eleven years to fix karaoke but they did nothing. Nothing!”

“Huh! To think that our rendition of ‘I Will Survive’ might have been avoided with a more robust policy making process at a state level,” I replied, shaking my head.

Still, we’d had ourselves a great party. A chance meeting on the street had led to us inviting the CrankyPants family over for an afternoon barbeque. And then, when Mistress M had rung, scratching around for something to do on a wet Saturday afternoon, the party was complete.

I must admit that I’d had a few misgivings about having nine children trapped in our tiny house by the rain, imagining they’d be bouncing off the walls like silly putty. But the stars must have been in alignment for us because the kids quickly broke into splinter groups and discovered the dress-ups, the Wii and the Lego, leaving the adults to eat, drink and make merry for six hours.

And merry we made. Even the Glügg came out – to a far more receptive audience than the night of my 40th, it must be said, but perhaps only because the vodka came out, too. Even Mistress M’s husband ‘The Sculptor’, a naturally temperate person, entered a world of “Yes, please!” once the vodka arrived.

And then I cracked open the karaoke on the Wii. Although, FatherOfCrankyPants was the only taker amongst the adults, I did notice that The Sculptor stood in the doorway in a nonchalant “I can turn and leave at any moment” kind of way but was singing along all the same. Yes, I saw his ‘karaoke potential’ in that moment and swore to bring out the vodka and the karaoke earlier next time to fully convert him to (what my husband calls) my “karaoke ways”.

[An aside: I later found out that The Mild-Mannered Lawyer was at that very moment in the city being forced to play charades with a group of senior insurance managers, wherein she found herself having to mime ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’ to her husband’s boss. So it’s fair to say I’m not the only person who knows how to have a great time.]

At eleven, our guests left in a big walking bus (or, rather, “staggering bus”) outside our house and my husband turned to me.

“Now that,” he said. “That was my 40th.”

“What? Even though your birthday’s not until next June?” I asked.

“Well, if I was going to have a fortieth, that’s exactly what it’d be like,” he replied. “Maybe not with the karaoke, though.”

Yeah, right. As if he has any choice about that.

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I don’t know about anybody else but I’d have thought that if I had my hair done (two words: Mad Men), wore a tiara, donned a strapless black velvet dress and heels (okay, so not the mismatching red heels but heels nonetheless), bought $1000 worth of alcohol, called in favours from all my friends so there was great food, great music and a dance floor with moving lights and a motorised disco ball etc., etc., etc.,  that the night of my 40th birthday party would have been All. About. Me., right?

But nooooooooooo.

I had to endure guest after guest (after guest) coming up to me to say: “I want to meet the Mild-Mannered Lawyer!” and “I heard the Mild-Mannered Lawyer might be here!” and “That Mild-Mannered Lawyer is hot tamale!”

The MML! Shuh! (*shakes fist*)

I mean, I’m the NDM, people! Of course, I have to concede that it would have been a bit weird if all the party guests had been asking to meet the NDM or had been pointing and staring and saying, in hushed tones, “There’s the NDM! She’s sohotrightnow!” since, you know, they were my friends and knew who I was, anyway. But still!

Near the end of the evening, my friend Miss Deb came up to me.

“I’m so excited!” she said. “I met the Mild-Mannered Lawyer!”

“Whatevs,” I said. I may even have done the hand gesture.

“But to be honest,” Miss Deb continued. “I don’t think I could tell you which one she is now.”

Ha! In your face, MML! As I said to the MML later, “I MADE YOU. I CAN UNMAKE YOU!” Although, arguably, getting Miss Deb drunk enough that she couldn’t recognise the MML a few minutes after meeting her was more about unmaking Miss Deb than anything else.

Anyway, I should concede that the MML really is hot tamale even though I’m not entirely sure what ‘tamale’ is. And that the night really was All. About. Me. – as proven by my mothers group donning feather boas and providing back up to my dear friend KT singing her heart-of-gold out to “Reach Out I’ll Be There” just for me and then, later on, my Facebook Friend performing a spontaneous interpretive dance entitled “The Four Decades of [NDM]”, which involved a lot of primal screaming and, at one point, licking of the television screen. Tasty. Even my friend The White Lady, who every time I saw her told me, in no uncertain terms, that “THIS IS A SHIT PARTY! I’M SO FUCKING BORED!”, managed to drink and dance until the early hours, shortly before riding someone else’s $500 mountain bike home wearing heels instead of the clip-on shoes required.

And there was the Glügg. Of course there was the Glügg. HOW COULD THERE NOT BE THE GLÜGG? As predicted, a  group of people joined me in a shot of Glügg some time around 3am. I’m not entirely sure that Glügg is meant to be drunk that way and, indeed, some might argue that the best way to serve Glügg is to pour it directly down the drain, but still… my friends honoured me with those shots.

As for the karaoke, all I can say is that some people still can’t get ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ out of their heads four days later. Yes, they took that bullet for me and I love them all the more for it.

And then there were the hangovers right across the city the following day. Yes, my friends continued to honour me (and perhaps curse me a little) into the late hours of Sunday – and in some case, well into Monday, too.

So now I am forty. Pah! With such friends and family dancing up a storm in my corner, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve made forty my bitch…

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Going to the Cox Plate with the Mild-Mannered Lawyer has become an annual event. It’s pretty easy for something to become an annual event, you know. You do it one year and then the following year you do it again. As they say in the classics: “Too easy!”

Last year, we were living the high life in the Members area. It was all champagne-in-glass-bottles and gourmet sausages. This year, however, we were slummin’ it in General Admission with sparkling-wine-in-plastic-bottles and rolls from “The Meat Shop”.

“Doesn’t he know who I am!” I told the MML when I heard her usual contact hadn’t been able to get us Member passes.

Indeed, when we first arrived in all our races finery, I remarked “There’s a man in skinny jeans and a ‘HEAPS COOL’ t-shirt. I clearly don’t belong here. For one thing, ‘HEAPS COOL’ is grammatically incorrect and I’m a writer, you know…”

I was also growing increasingly angry at the number of doorways we couldn’t enter because of our non-Member status. I vowed that, once we’d drunk our next bottle of champagne, I’d march up to the information counter and ask them if we, ‘The People’, would still be denied entry to the Members’ area in the event of a fire.

Of course, by the time the next bottle of champagne had been drunk, I was past caring and, in fact, had decided that General Admission was as good as Members – if not better.

For one thing, while the General Admission (GA) area was a little short on toilets and has limited access to the track (“Horses? What horses?”), at least we could sit unchallenged in a stairwell. In Members the previous year, we had found ourselves trapped in a World of No. We were always being stopped by officials for transgressing Members rules: no alcohol in lifts, no glass bottles in the stands, no napping under tables…

Also, the GA area had an AGE VERIFICATION tent where you could go up and get a little wristband allowing you to buy alcohol unchallenged. It gave me the opportunity to run up to to the bewildered Age Verification staff and blurt out “I’m – tee hee hee – turning 40 – tee hee hee – and my friend’s taking a photo – tee hee hee.”

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get an age verification wristband because I didn’t have my ID on me. I thought that was a good enough indication that I still looked under 18. Yep, that’s totally it.

Indeed, later, a jolly (=drunk) guy beckoned me over. That never happened to me in Members.

“You’re a bit geeky-looking, but you’re nice,” he said, rather generously.

“Aw, bless!” I said, patting him on his arm. “You know, mate? I hate to break it to you but I’ve got three kids and I’m turning 40 in less than two weeks.”

“Well, I’m 26 and I’m raring to go!” he replied, with some enthusiasm.

He really was very drunk, but at least he wasn’t wearing a fluorescent suit. Which is more than you could say for a lot of the GA crowd.

You see, one of the best things about the GA area was the number of men who laughed in the face of fashion and good taste. And I discovered that one of the best things about iPhones is that you can look like you’re checking your messages but secretly you can be taking photos of young men in startlingly coloured clothing, like some kind of Germaine Greer-inspired pervy-pants cougar person.

In fact, I ended up taking so many pictures that I started a segment called ‘Suit Of The Day’ on twitter. It had a theme song and everything  – although its genius was somewhat lost in a text and photo based format. It went: “Suit of the day, suit of the day, suit of the day… Suit of the day!” (I recommend you sing it as you look at the following pictures. Truly, it will enhance your viewing pleasure.)

“Next year, I’m doing ‘Shoe Of The Day’,” I told the MML a little drunkenly, as we waited for the bus to go home. “I don’t want to become typecast as the ‘Suit Girl’. I might even do ‘Shih-Tzu Of The Day’!”

Although there’s not a lot of Shih-Tzus at the races, granted. But who knows? Maybe next year, I could galvanise The People to rise up in protest to allow the Shih-Tzus of the world admission to the races, even if they are mostly owned by the Members.

You see, that’s the best thing about annual events. There’s always the promise of next year…

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The other day I found myself star-jumping off the wagon, wearing heels and a fascinator that made me look half-bird, half-showgirl. Yes, folks, it was another day at the races for this party girl.

For the record, I had a great afternoon, which is pretty much guaranteed when you’re with eight friends, all dressed up to the nines, drinking champagne with a straw and even winning some money on the horses. (At one point, I won $7.60. Yes, $7.60. I swaggered up to the TAB counter and announced “I’m a winner, baby! Let the one dollar coins roll…..”)

There was only one disappointment. A minor thing, really, but in my slightly drunken state, it became the sole focus of my very being. You see,  there didn’t seem to be any Rich Gentleman willing to buy us rounds of drinks.

When I confided my disappointment to one friend, she was appalled. “What? Are you willing to put out or something? Drinks from gentleman of any financial status come at a price.”

“Of course I’m not willing to ‘put out’,” I replied. “Nobody would have to ‘put out’. These gentlemen will buy us alcohol for the pure pleasure of watching a group of beautiful, well-dressed women get really really piss-faced and then fall over their own high heels trying to dance the Macarena for no good reason at all. What other reward could they possibly need?”

I might have continued, except I dropped my betting slips, and, in bending down to retrieve it, got the man in the seat in front of me  square in the eye with my fascinator.

“Sorry! So sorry!” I said, before throwing in a hasty “Are-you-rich?”

Apparently he wasn’t rich. At least that’s what he said before he took himself off to sick bay with his eye injury.

Anyway, I decided the group-thing was cramping my style so I took to standing at the bar by myself. If I smiled at a Rich Gentleman and he smiled back, surely that would get me a drink? Of course, I couldn’t just smile at everyone at the bar, in case I got picked up for soliciting in the Members’ Area. But then again, I couldn’t exactly tell who was rich and who wasn’t. I mean, I wouldn’t know an expensive suit unless it walked over and bought me a bottle of Moet.

So I made the Mild-Mannered Lawyer come stand with me. She’s a lawyer, after all. Money is her second language! I was explaining my strategy when a group of young men nearby started hooting and high-fiving each other. One of them had obviously enjoyed a sizable win so if they weren’t rich before, they were now.

“Quick!” I said to the Mild-Mannered Lawyer. “If we go stand near them, when one of them shouts ‘Drinks are on me!’, we can be part of their round.”

The Mild-Mannered Lawyer refused to go with me, so I walked over and stood awkwardly nearby but they barely noticed me, even though I was wearing half a bird on my head.

On my way back to the MML, I saw another pair of nice young gentlemen. “Excuse me but are you rich?” I asked, as politely as I could for a drunken woman twice their age.

“No,” they said, somewhat nervously, stepping back slightly. Their mothers had obviously put them on High-Cougar-Alert.

Anyway, I ask you all: what is the point of getting all dressed up if rich men aren’t going to buy you drinks? Shuh! Next time I go to the races (and there will be a next time, right, MML?), I am pre-ordering some Rich Gentleman via RSVP. Look out for me there. I’ll be the half-bird half-showgirl who states she’s looking for “Free Drinks Only’. Classy.

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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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The Mild-Mannered Lawyer and I recently found ourselves waving the ‘Suburban Mums’ flag at an inner-city warehouse-conversion party full of cool people wearing ironic hats. We had declared ourselves early in the piece by declining dinner (“I ate with the kids at 5!”) and yawning a lot (“Wow, is it as late as eight-thirty already??”).

However, we were Suburban Mums With A Difference. We had to leave the party early – and not because we had to get back to the babysitter or because one of our kids was in a gymnastics exhibition at 8am the next morning. We had to leave the party early because we had another party to go to. Yes, we were party-hopping.

Had the cool people actually noticed we were leaving to go to another party, I do believe that might have been our ‘O Captain My Captain’ moment. In a way, it was lucky that they didn’t notice because I would have felt compelled to tell them that standing on chairs was dangerous and then confess that our other party was 30km from the CBD and that we were taking along our own bedding, toothbrushes and jimmy-jams. They probably would have thrown their ironic hats at us in disgust.

To be honest, it’s always a little hard to arrive at a party in full swing, clutching your own pillow to your chest. Luckily, my dear friend Muliercula (whose 40th was our second and final stop on the party circuit) was quick to show us our room for the night and then direct us to the Make Your Own Cocktail table to help us get into the mood.

Many double-strength ‘Salty Dogs’ and glasses of french champagne later, we were probably a little too much in the mood because before I knew it, we were singing (and dancing) full-pelt to Tears For Fears.

“I LOVE TEARS FOR FEARS!” I shouted over the music to the MML.

“Yeah! Roland Whatshisfacewiththebigteeth!” the MML shouted back. And I gave her the thumbs-up and kept dancing and singing until I remembered Tears For Fears were responsible for ‘Sowing The Seeds of Love ‘, a song most notable for being a pastiche of The Beatles and being about semen.  Feeling a bit queasy all of a sudden thinking of Roland Whatshisfacewiththebigteeth’s semen, I sat down on the couch.

The MML joined me while someone changed over the records (Yes, we were listening to vinyl).

“I’m going to our room to remove my stockings,” I whispered to the MML. I was feeling a little hot.

“And what am I supposed to do with that information?” the MML asked.

“You’re supposed to wait two minutes and then follow me there,” I replied.

Now, before you start jumping to conclusions, I was concerned that, in attempting to remove my stockings under the influence, I’d forget to remove my shoes first and end up falling over and hurting myself  – or, worse still, damaging private property. I mean, what’s the point in taking your legal counsel to a party if they’re not going to help you avoid a potential lawsuit? Shuh! I guess I could have said “If I’m not back in two minutes, please come and check I haven’t fallen face-first into a double bass” but where’s the fun in that?

Anyway, it doesn’t matter. I didn’t fall face first into a double bass and the whole point of this post is that us Suburban Mums partied as hard as anyone wearing an ironic hat and the subsequent headache that I still have, four days later, I’ve worn as a badge of honour, people! Except it’s now less a badge of honour and more a pain in the arse. Not to say that my head is an arse, mind, although you could say I got it from acting like an arse. Look, I’m going to end this post right now. Sheesh.

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Last Saturday, my friend Uncle B lost his Quiz Night virginity. In the lead up, he was understandably very excited.

“Obviously, film is my strongest category,” he told one of his work mates the day beforehand. “But I like to think I have a broad grasp of general knowledge… except for maybe history, politics… sport… oh, and literature.”

“So, just films then?” his work friend remarked.

“Yes, just films,” he admitted.

Still, Uncle B was lucky on the night that there was a whole section devoted to films – which our table got a perfect score for. That’s ten-out-of-ten, people!

However, on reflection, there was not a single literary question – which is my personal quiz night superpower. Most certainly, there was not a single question on feminist performance theory in the 1980s – the topic of my honours dissertation. Sheesh! (That sheesh was directed at the lack of 80s feminist performance theory questions but could equally be applied to the fact I once wrote twelve thousand words on the topic.)

And since at least three of our party were self-professed experts in the area of Politics and World Events, it was disappointing that the only vaguely related question was a close-up of [Australian Opposition Leader] Tony Abbott’s lycra-clad cock in a ‘Guess the famous person’ section. (For our sins, we got the question right).

Anyway, no wonder our team came second. It’s clear they just asked us the wrong questions. Yeah, that must be it.

Of course, the Mild-Mannered Lawyer tried to blame our loss on my “slow writing”, which, quite frankly, I found discriminatory. For reasons unknown, the person designated to write down the answers in the ‘Speed Round’ was the one person at the table with osteoarthritis. OSTEOARTHRITIS, PEOPLE! And the fact that I wrote down ‘Flemington’ instead of ‘Lamington’ was neither here nor there and most certainly not alcohol-related. Anyone – even the most sober person in the world – could make that mistake. Anyone. I dare the MML to go up to ten random people on the street and ask them to write ‘Lamington’ and I’ll guarantee that at least half will write ‘Flemington’. And by ‘half’, I mean ‘one’. And by ‘one’, I mean ‘me’. Especially if I’m completely rat-arsed.

In any case, it should be stated for the record that I wrote down 12 answers while the MML, who, having commandeered someone else’s pen so she could compile an alternate list, wrote down a grand total of ZERO. That’s possibly because she was too busy shouting “Flemington!” at me.

Anyway, there was a point when someone looked around our table and realised, of our nine team mates, only Uncle B and KT actually had a child at the kindergarten which the quiz night was raising funds for. And even then, they were both eleventh hour additions to our table.

“Uh, so why are we here?” someone asked the MML, who had arranged the whole evening.

I think her (drunken) reply was something along the lines of “QUIZZZZZZZZZZ NIGGGHHHHHHHHHHT!” which, to be quite honest, still sounded a lot like “Flemington” to me.

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