Monday, 29 April 2013

Shopping With Pommy Paul

You know when you go to the office Christmas party and there’s always some idiot in the corner that insists on dancing on the table with his pants around his ankles and tops it off with a floral lampshade on his head?  Let me introduce you to my good friend Pommy Paul, Merry Christmas.

Yep, that’s right.  Every year without fail, he manages to make a complete and utter idiot of himself at the Christmas party (and that even includes all of those years he was unemployed and crashed Centrelink’s Christmas function.

Every December he promises himself that this year it will be different, and then every year, the Christmas spirit enters him, followed by the Christmas wine, the Christmas beer, and suddenly he’s back on the table looking like Ned Kelly.

Of course the root of most of the problem can be traced back to two simple words – free beer.  And if there’s one thing that the Christmas party is all about, it’s free food and booze.  In fact, he even has a formula for working out how much he should eat and drink.  First, take the amount of money he thinks he should be paid for his job, then subtracts the amount he actually does get paid and the number he has left over is how much he has to eat and drink in free booze and nibbles to get even.

And, he says, if he feels like a little bonus and the boss isn’t forthcoming, he steals a bit of stationery on the way out.

Well, I took lovely Paul shopping yesterday.  Why do men hate shopping with women so much?  We were talking about it and Paul said that he knows why women like to take men shopping.  It combines two of our favourite activities – buying stuff and seeing their male partners miserable.  He also says that it’s because we shop differently.  Women will happily window shop for hours, whereas the only time you’ll hear a man say he’s going window shopping is when he has a big hole in the wall of his house and he wants a sheet of glass to stop the wind blowing over his beer. 

Anyway, I wanted a new outfit for my trip to the casino today. You know what I like about shopping here?  My size is different at every clothes shop.  From shop to shop, I can be a 10, 32 or 1.  It makes you feel good when you go from one shop where you are a 10 to the next where you are a 1.  Wow, 9 sizes in 10 steps.  Stick that in your health drinks, Jenny Craig!

Right, I’m going to tell about the funniest thing that's ever happened to us.

Paul and I were in the car going to do said shopping, and we were hailed by this old fellow.  His wife was sitting in their car and the bonnet was up.  He looked at Paul and said "You got jump leads, mate?"  Apparently they had left their lights on etc etc.  Dead now.  Need jump leads, need a good Samaritan, need a friendly hand from someone who looks like he knows what to do with jump leads.  And the good fairy of fate placed them in Paul’s hands!  Men are supposed know about cars and cables.  It's supposed to be in the genetic code, right?  Then there's Paul, and if it's under the hood of a car - it's voodoo Jack, and that's the end of it.

I started laughing when Paul came back to the car and said "the guy only asked me if I had leads, he didn't ask me if I knew how to use them!" And I'm still laughing.  Anyway, I got out of the car and looked under his hood and there's no battery.  "There you go" says I "someone's stolen your battery"  By this stage the wife had gotten out of their car and said that the battery was under the back seat.  Of course. Where else would it be. I looked and sure enough, there it was. 

This guy then made the statement of the century.  He said something like "I took auto mechanics and sex education at the same time at tech. college and they've been confused in my mind ever since, when it came to where things were and what you did to get any action out of them".  We all thought that was hilarious.  His wife didn't.  She pulled out the manual and started thumbing through it.

Anyway, the sum of our knowledge was that positives and negatives were involved and one of the cars had to be running.  Paul thought the other guy knew what he was doing and kind of went along with it.  Guess the other guy thought the same.  When it was all hooked up, they turned the ignition keys in both cars at the same time and there was this electrical arc between the cars that knocked Paul’s baseball cap off and practically fried both cars.
We all sat down on the grass and the boys were in total awe of what they had accomplished.  I had to leave, I was in total hysterics, and his wife went off to try to find some semi-intelligent help. 

What a day!!!  Just don't ask us for help.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The Wedding We're Not Going To Forget

Just wanted to tell you all of the most bizzare wedding I've ever been to.

It took place in London last week and the cast included Paul, groom and Emily, bride. However there was a cast of thousands, but one person stood out.

The central figure was the mother of the bride (MOTB).  Usually a polite, reasonable,  intelligent and sane human being.  

Nobody knew it, but this lady had been waiting with a script that would have met with Cecil B. DeMille’s approval.  And since it was her money, it was hard to say no to anything.  

The father of the bride began to pray for an elopement.  His prayers were not answered.  She (MOTB) had 7 months to work and no detail was left to chance.  Everything that could be engraved was engraved.  Everything that could be printed was printed and everything that could be bought was bought.  

There were teas, showers and dinners.  Then there were more teas, showers and dinners.

When I got married, I think we met with the minister maybe twice.  She called him weekly.  No-one was ever going to forget this wedding.  

So we arrived and by George, she had done it.  

It was an outside wedding and there was an 18 piece band playing softly in the background when the guests were arriving.  We were all seated and the wedding music started.  Nine – count them – 9 chiffon draped bridesmaids stepped down the aisle and then the bride herself.  

What you first noticed as she stood waiting to walk down the aisle was not her white dress (which, of course was beautiful), but her face – whiter than the dress!!  

Father started walking her down the aisle and just as she passed her mother, the bride threw up.  The mother fainted. Everyone rushed to help. Glasses of water were called for. Kids (and some adults) were laughing, Everyone was unnecessarily calling for an ambulance.    It was fantastic.  Only the Marx brothers could have topped it.  

They took her off to a room somewhere to get herself together and we all walked off for a smoke.  After an hour or so, the cast was re-assembled.  The bride, wearing a bridesmaid’s dress, tried again.  There was a lot of hugging from the groom, and a lot of tears from the bride.   MOTB was now whiter than white. Father was still laughing.  Finally the words were spoken and the dead was done.  

Everybody cried.  I think you’re supposed to.  Hey, I’ve been to wet weddings before, but this one turned into a communal bath!  

What a great wedding and the MOTB was right.  We were not going to forget this one!

Thursday, 18 April 2013


Every new year, for many years, I set myself the task of writing a personal statement of belief.  When I was younger, the statement ran for many pages, trying to cover every base, with no loose ends.  It sounded like a Supreme Court brief, as if words could resolve all conflicts about the meaning of existence.

It’s grown shorter in recent years – sometimes cynical, sometimes comical and sometimes bland – but I keep working on it.  The inspiration for berevity came to me at a petrol station.  I managed to fill my car’s tank with super deluxe, high-octane go-juice.  My old hoopy couldn’t handle it and got the willies – kept sputtering out at intersections and burping going down hill.  I understood.  My mind gets like that from time to time.  Too much high-content information, and I get the existential willies.  I keep sputtering out at intersections where life’s choices must be made and I either don’t know enough or know too much.  The examined life is no picnic.

I realised then that I already know most of what’s necessary to live a meaningful life – that it isn’t all that complicated.  I know it and I have known it for a long, long time.  Living it – well, that’s another matter.

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarden. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandpit at pre School.

These are the things I learned:-
Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and cats and dogs and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation.  Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work, government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Imagine if all governments had a basic policy to always put thing back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are - when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

Bit's and Pieces

I remember, I was watching a man set up a Valentine’s display in a shop window. It was just after New Year’s Day, but shop people need to get a jump on love, I guess.

Don’t get me wrong.  Shop owners are fine people.  They give us choices and keep us informed on the important holidays. 

Think about it, how would we know it was Valentine’s Day or Christmas, Easter or Mother’s Day, if the shop people didn’t stay on the ball?

The other group to count on, is kindergarden teachers.  They always know about special days and when it comes to Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day, what the kindy teachers set in motion, no shop person could ever hope to compete with.

Which reminds me ……….

This is kind of personal.  It might get a little syrupy, so watch out.

What I’m talking about here, is something I think of as a ‘treasure box’ given to me by my nephew when he was 3 and made at kinda, of course.

Once it was a simple white box and now it’s decorated with glitter, feathers, dried pasta, magazine pictures, shells and pebbles.

It’s gotten a bit moldy now, but once you look inside, you’ll know what I mean.

There are all these bits of paper with “Hello Katie”, and “Happy Volintime” and “I luv you Katie” written on them, and silly little red hearts everywhere. Stuck to the bottom of the box are exactly 23 “X’s” made out of macaroni.  I’ve counted them more than once.

There are bead bracelets and a necklace, a ring out of a lolly dispensing machine, hand drawn ‘portraits’, favourite pieces of string, dead flowers, marbles, pictures carefully cut out of magazines and even a little favourite stuffed teddy bear.

I can honestly tell you, the treasures of King Tut are nothing compared to this.

I cried when he gave it to me.  I just think it’s evidence of love in it’s most uncomplicated and pure state.

He’s 7 now. He still loves me, though it’s harder to get direct evidence.  It’s love that’s complicated by age, knowledge and confusing values.

Yeah sure, this is probably the worst kind of simpleminded female drivel imaginable, and I’ve, more than likely, embarrassed us both by mentioning it. But it beats the hell out of anything else I have, for comfort.

This box stands for my kind of love and I want to take it with me when, and wherever, I go.

Speaking of crying …...

The Christmas before last, I didn’t receive many Christmas cards.  One warm February afternoon this troublemaking realisation actually came to me out of the backroom in my head that is the source of useless information.  I guess I just needed some reason to feel really shitty, so there it was.

But I didn’t say anything about it.  I can take it.  I’m tough.  I won’t complain when my cheap friends don’t even care enough to send me a stupid Christmas card. 

Then last August, I was pottering about in the garage, trying to establish some order in the mess, and found stacked in with the Christmas decorations, a whole box of unopened greeting cards from the previous Christmas.  As I was working over the Christmas period, I had asked my housemate to toss them into the box to open at leisure, and then I ran out of leisure in the shambles of the usual Christmas panic, so the cards got stuck in the throw-the-box-in-the-garage-and-we’ll-sort-it-next-year syndrome.

I hauled the box down, and on a freezing day, in the middle of August, I sat on a garden chair in the back garden with a hot drink and a puzzled frame of mind, and began opening my Christmas cards.  Just to help, I had put a CD of Christmas songs on the stereo and cranked up the volume.

I opened the envelopes and set the cards up on the lawn.  Here it all was.  Angels, snow, Wise Men, candles, pine boughs, horses and sleighs, the Holy Family, elves and Santa.  Heavy messages about love and joy and peace and goodwill. 

If that wasn’t enough, there were all these handwritten messages of affection from my cheap friends who had, in fact, come through.

I cried.  Very rarely have I felt so bad and so good at the same time.

As fate always seems to have it, I was discovered in this condition by my next door neighbor, who had been attracted to the scene by the sound of Christmas music.  She laughed.  I showed her my cards and she got weepy.  I was weepy.  And we had this stupid Christmas ordeal right there in my backyard in the middle of August, singing along with Neil Diamond to the final mighty strains of “O Holy Night.”  “Faaalll on your kneeees, O heeeeer the angel vooiiices.”

What can I say?  I guess wonder and joy are always in the attic of your mind somewhere, and it doesn’t take a lot to set them off. 

Saturday, 13 April 2013


Ok this is going to get mushy, so be warned. It’s about birthdays and presents. Well any present giving day and presents, really.

You want to know something; it’s not true that what counts is the thought and not the gift. Our mothers were pulling out legs on that one. Come on, be honest, you're probably like me and have collected so much gift-wrapped rubbish over the years from people who copped out and hurriedly bought a little plastic thingy to give under the protective flag of ‘good thoughts’.

Anyway, I don’t know who brought it up, but Keith asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year. I said that I’d think about it, so I sat and thought.

Ok, this is what I want. I want to be 5 years old again. Just for a couple of hours. I want to laugh a lot and cry a lot. I want to be picked up and rocked to sleep in my mother or father’s arms.

I want to argue with my mother about eating and I want to go to the park with my dad and my brother.

I want to dirty my clothes in the garden, I want to go outside and play with my friends. I want to fall off my bike and I want my mum to put a bandaid on my hurt knee.

That's what I want.  Oh God, that's what I want.

No-one’s going to be able to give me that, but I might give, at least, the memory of it to myself if I try.

I told him.  He just shook his head, and looked at me as if I had been on something. 

He’s decided to get me tool box. Sort of, I get the thought, he get’s the gift. He said that he knows it is wicked, but it’s realistic and practical. Ho hum!

Actually, I am about to embarass him. Last year I received a card from him. Written in the card :- "Morning babe Because I care about you, for your birthday I thought I might come clean and confess to a few things that I know, have been baffling you for a while: 
*      I used the wok once to change the oil in the car

*      I used your sewing scissors to cut canvas

*      I used the kitchen sink sponge to clean my shoes (just once)

*      Sometimes I said that the coffee I made you was decaf when it wasn't

*      It was me who ate the chocolates Paul sent you, not the dog

*      I deliberately left price tags on presents and sometimes I even raised them

*      I lied when I said you looked beautiful in that awful green dress

*      The Playboy subscription that I've been receiving was not a gift from a friend

*      Remember your white uniform shirts that mysteriously turned pink in the wash?
It wasn't an accident.

*      I know who sends you anonymous cards on Valentine's Day

*      At times I’ve said I missed you, when, in fact, I was glad to have the house to myself

*      Sometimes I tell you that I love you when you drive me up the bloody wall

*      I always said I was proud of you even when I knew you could do better

*      That plant you liked so much didn't die of old age

*      I’ve told you little white lies sometimes and let you do the same to me because I knew the truth was too hard for both of us.

Beats a tool box, but come to think about it, he didn't spend any money last year. Actually, I lie - he did. He had to pay for headache tablets for the headach he received when I trhrew the radio at him.

Never mind.

I still have that card. It was a great thought, but don't tell him I said that.




Friday, 5 April 2013

Wish My Life Was Like A Movie

When I was growing up, I wished my life was like a movie.  I remember watching films and thinking how amazing it would be if you really could transform from the ugliest girl in school into the prettiest by shaking out the ponytail and taking off the glasses.

I mean, think of all the body-image issues and eating disorders that would be cleared up if all you had to do to go from ugly duckling to swan was throw away the specs and ban the bun.  (and wouldn’t it make a great episode of Extreme Makeover if, instead of the usual plucking, fat dumping and breast pumping, stylist looked contestants up and down and said “OK four-eyes, take off the glasses, shake out the scrunchie and we’re done!”)

Sadly, in real life, it doesn’t work that way.

But movies can also be dangerous and misleading for kids.  When I was a teenager, I certainly wished fights were more like they were in the movies.  In every action film, no matter how many villians are attacking the hero, they would always join the fight one at a time – as if they had taken a ticket at the deli counter and were waiting their turns.  When my brother got into a fight (which was fairly often, mind), the other kids obviously hadn’t read their movie fight rules of engagement because they would all punch at the same time.  That never happened to Jackie Chan.

And while I’m on the subject of high school, what about the prom?  In movies, all dilemmas, problems and major storylines are always cleared up at the prom.  Plus, I thought they must have had a prom every second week, yet I didn’t experience one single prom in my entire 6 years of high school.  Sure we had Blue Light Discos run by the Victorian Police, but you couldn’t solve problems at Blue Light Discos.

But it’s not just on the big issues that movies are misleading – the small stuff always seems easier too.  Phone calls seem much simpler.  No time for hello or a chat, it is always straight to the point, then hang up – no need for  ‘goodbye’ or ‘let’s talk in the morning’.

I would have been hopeless in a movie:  “Well there you go, there’s all the important information you need to save the world, so I guess I should go then.  No you hang up … no you hang up.  OK, on the count of three, we’ll hang up together.  1, 2, 3 … You didn’t hang up!”

The same applies for catching taxis.  In a movie, the hero can be in the middle of an intense chase, jump in a cab, shout “Follow that taxi”, and not only go the whole journey without once saying “So, have you been busy?” but always have the right amount of change for the trip.  If it were me, I’d be chasing the baddie and when the cab pulled up, I’d suddenly have to say “Sorry mate.  Can you change a $50?”

And in movies, if you can’t find a cab, then don’t worry.  Because any movie hero (or villain for that matter) worth their salt can hot-wire any car, and have it started within three seconds.
I’m still constantly amazed by this, because I can’t start my car in less than a minute and I have the keys.

And don’t even get me started on movie musicals.  I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have been down at the local 7-11 and tried to start singing and dancing and, instead of joining in on the tune and choreography as they do in the movies (particularly the Bollywood variety), everyone else has just stared at me as if I was the crazy one.

It’s enough to drive you to drink.  In fact, bartender, can I have a scotch on the rocks, please?  Screw it, just leave the whole bottle.  What do you mean you can’t just leave the whole bottle.  They do it all the time in the movies!

Sex with Becks

Okay, I admit it, I slept with David Beckham. 

I didn't think I had, but then I saw all the money available for sharing my recollections, and suddenly it all came flooding back to me.

How could I have forgotten the texties so sexy they should have been charged at $4.95 per minute? The romantic way he said he wanted to put his balls in the back of my net, or the constant messages demanding me naked covering myself in Pepsi.

I'll always remember the cute way after he scored with me he'd pull his shirt over his head, and who can forget the hot night we set up the video camera and made a very special film "Bonk It Like Beckham."

Of course, I'd like to reveal all the juicy details, but they don't pay me enough, and my love for Becks was so special, I feel to reveal it for anything less than a million dollars would just cheapen it.

After reading this old magazine someone's left here. I've realised the best thing I could have done was follow the example of Rebecca Loos and Sarah Marbeck and sold my story to that bastion of fine journalism the News Of The World, so it could have been  taken seriously alongside all their other stories like the Woman Who Was Killed By Her Fur Coat etc.

Rebecca Loos' allegations ran under the headline "The Story You Never Thought You'd Read" which I immediately assumed was about Russell Crowe or Demi Moore making a decent movie.

Ms Loos apparently told her story after she was upset Becks was SMSing other people: "I thought I was special to David and the only girl in the world this devoted family man would stray for." Oh, good grief.

Then there were claims by Aussie Sarah Marbeck who slept with her phone by the bed for two years waiting for Becks to call.  Now unless she had the phone switched to vibrate to keep her company, that seems a little long.

Don't get me wrong, I'm never quite sure when the right time to call is after a date. But I'm pretty sure if someone hasn't called in two years, that's not a case of treat‚ 'em mean, keep  'em keen.

But it's not just text messages. According to the ABC's World Today there were also "audio recordings, which will further embarrass the couple" although they could just be referring to Posh's solo recordings.
And strangely many women even seem to be on Beck's side. Usually the reaction when most girls I know hear about a man having an affair they are livid, but with Beckham it has been more a reaction of: "Cool. Hope I'm next. Is there a list you have to signup to, get a ticket in the lotto or do I have to take a number like at the deli?"

So anyway Editors Of The World, I have a story to tell of Sex With Becks and the bidding starts now.