More about my trip in later blogs.
Let me introduce you to my brother, David. David lives in Liverpool with his poor suffering wife Sue,and their two lovely children - Christopher and Ellie.
I know you read this David, but I'm going to embarrass you even further than I already have.
David is trying to be a bloke, guys - or a female Hungarian heavy-weight lifter - nah, I'm pretty sure he wants to be a bloke.
Now, as if he needed further confirmation that he is a compromised male, a visit from the plumber, recently, put the final nail in the coffin.
If you asked David what he did for a living, he would tell you that he was a "professional gambler involved in organised crime". He is, in fact a financial advisor and has a more than healthy disrespect for the entire industry. However, speaking to him recently, he said that he greatly admires people who actually work for a living. Plus, with plumbers, he feels that they're (he and the plumbers) are in the same line of work. It's just that he talks it, and they make sure that it get's flushed away.
Anyway at the end of a long day working in the cold and rain, and him awkwardly lingering, he decided to bond with the bonza blokes by getting them a 'bloody beer' (he learned everything he knows about bloke-talk from Alf in Home and Away)!
So he went to the fridge looking fr a good bloke's beer like the Aussie VB or Fosters, only to be greeted by a range of designer ales with titles so strange they sounded like they were named after Bob Geldof's kids. I think he was quite embarrassed by his poncy ales, he ended up pouring the beer into glasses for the plumbers, and writing 'Fosters' on the outside, in a felt tip pen.
His wife, Sue, and I were watching this. I was laughing but Sue was just rolling her eyes. She said that that experience probably won't do much for his sense of self as a red-blooded Australian male. Sure enough, when he came back in, he said he'd made a resolution - he was going to try to become more of a male.
No, he wasn't going to shove some socks down his jocks, he was going to pull on some overalls, get his hands dirty, build a shed and hide in it, just like all the real Aussie blokes out there. As a consequence, he's been doing so much nailing and screwing of late, that all his Aussie mates have nicknamed him 'Lara Bingle'. (Look it up, non-Aussie people.)
Yes folks, in the last few days, he's spent every waking moment doing odd jobs. (By the way, I have no idea why tasks such as putting up shelves are called 'odd jobs'. Milking a rat for a living - now that would be an odd job.)
He's obsessed. You've heard of born again Christians? Well he thinks he's a born again tradesman. He has seen the light, and then installed it himself.
Not that his home renovations are any good, I should point out. You'd see less streaks at a nudist colony than his paint jobs. His shelves are like the Australian Broadcasting Commission board -= they lean heavily to the right, and even an asthmatic wolf who had just walked up a flight of stairs could probably blow his house down.
And while Sue is very happy that things are getting fixed around the house, she's not so happy about the amount of crack he's started to show out the back of his shorts!
But I digress.
If being a home handyman is his new religion, then if he was in Australia, his church would be Bunnings Hardware. Over here it's the equivalent, and I can't remember the hardware store name, and he's been praying at his 'hardware' church 5 times a day.
He says he loves it there and he's been so often that the staff are beginning to think he's a stalker, although the real reason he goes there numerous times a day, is that he doesn't know what he's doing, so he keeps forgetting to buy stuff. "Oh, so you're saying I need brushes to put the paint, I bought earlier, on the wall?"
Luckily, he says, the staff are so damn helpful. It's like DIY for Dummies. They're so full of answers that if he ever went on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire", he would use the staff at the hardware store as his 'phone-a-friend'.
Not that they are complaining. No sir. Mr Hardware-store, has just put a new wing on his house due to David's financial contributions.
In a couple of weeks, David went from a bloke whose only experience with screwdrivers was drinking them, to someone who has more tools than an audition for Australian Idol. He niw has so many hammers, nails, screws, hooks, files and saws, that he has to go back to the hardware store to buy more wood so he can build a box to store them in.
A few days ago, I did a spot of babysitting. Good friends finally put their resources together and made themselves a child. Me? I'm the godmother in the deal and I take my job seriously. So far I've introduced the kid to the good things in life - chocolate, wine, classical music and dirty jokes. I don't think he cares much for classical music, but he's only 18 months old and he'll get tired of chocolate, wine and dirty jokes.
So that particular morning while his folks were out doing parenty things, I looked after him my niece and nephew, and also a group of 5 six/seven/ year olds. Happy, happy days. I found myself playing a cutthroat game of Snap with these card sharks. I was the 'babysitter' from my point of view, and the latest 'sucker' to play cards with them as they saw it. We were eating popcorn laced with strawberry jelly and knocking back straight shots of coke (straight from the can which was being solemnly passed around). You have to look serious when you play cards. I was 'done' 3 times running and I got down to 9 M&Ms before I realised they were cheating every chance they got. One of them had an extra deck and was passing cards under the table. I can't prove it, but that's what I think! Anyway, mother finally came home and saved me from utter ruin at the hands of this criminal element. I went to bed that night thinking - if the future is in the hands of maniacs like these, we're in trouble.
Well you'll be pleased to know that the kids have progressed. No more Snap or Old Maid. Now I've decided they play by my rules - Poker!!! It was up to me to teach them, and may I add, it was foolish of me to assume that they would be using their own money, so it was M&Ms again.
Ever tried to teach kids to play poker? Difficult. The hardest part was making them put all their cards back into the deck for another game. They wanted to hold on to their good cards for the next time! Bluffing was a stumbling block. When I explained that sometimes you had to pretend you had good cards when you didn't, they asked "Isn't that lying? I'm not allowed to lie." OK, just this once, you're allowed to kid. Anyway to cut a long story short, I got my M&Ms back and I went to bed a happy woman.
Get me away from this madness.