WEDNESDAY WONDERINGS

Random thoughts from today…

The Chinese President Visits Tasmania

Never mind that the Tasmanian Weather’s multiple personality disorder was in full force yesterday when today it was all, “Look at me, I’m so gorgeous”, it was a brilliant day for our little Island. Chinese President Xi Jinping and his rockstar wife Madam Peng Liyuan popped in for a short visit. They had lunch, planted a tree, patted some devils, met a load of Tassies, went up the mountain and then flew away again. And with that, 1.3 billion people (the population of China) will have Tasmania thrust into their consciousness.

I have heard it said that on China’s news channel, which has around 53 million viewers, 20 minutes will be dedicated to Tasmania. People will have booked tickets already. This is seriously exciting for local business, and that’s even before the state has struck any major industry deals as a result of all yesterday’s schmoozing.

So anyone how had a whinge about the traffic disruptions in Hobart the other day, shove that in your snuff box and sniff it.

Salt’n’Pepa

Remember them pushing it all over the eighties? Well they will be in my back yard this New Year’s for the Falls Festival and I’ll be rocking like I’m 15 again. Mostly because my dance skills have not advanced since then. Is there a dance school for oldies? Like a cool one, not an oldie one?

I’d be happy to be Pepa – it’s kind of a cool stage name, but I’d feel raw prawned to get Salt. How did they decide that one? Toss a coin best of 3? Talk about unfair. Oh wait, quick google search tells me that Salt’s real name is Cheryl. Hmm, Cheryl’n’Pepa?

I have a crush on Taylor Swift

I think I really do. I mean if she tried to kiss me I think I’d draw the line but I do appear to have a fascinated admiration for her and kind of want to get my hair done like her and stuff. She is beautiful whilst still looking interesting, has a sense of humour and a good brain and I can’t stop singing her songs even though I bought the CD for my daughters.

I was singing loudly to one of the songs on her new album (1979, which I don’t yet like as much as Red but give it time) when I got some words wrong and realised that I’m THAT dorky mum singing along with her kid’s songs and getting them wrong – durrrr Muuuuum. A quick glance into the rear vision mirror showed that my children were singing loudly too and hadn’t noticed and that maybe I can get away with singing Taylor Swift with them for about another couple of years at the most.

New House, New Everything

In a few weeks I will be moving into the house we have dreamed of for the last eight years, and built in the last one. This is AMAZING and wonderful and exciting and should have no problems attached beyond the usual moving issues like cardboard boxes bursting and dogs getting confused.

But as I begin to pack up our life into said boxes I am feeling a distinct lack of enthusiasm for most of our existing stuff. The sofas are going to look shite in the new living room, I don’t want any of my daggy clothes in my new wardrobe and my charmingly mix matched photo frames are suddenly unusable in my new calm, co-ordinated interiors.

My son asked me if we will be getting a new car as well as a new house and I laughed and said, “Hey yes let’s get new everything – new house, new car, hell I might take a lover and get some new kids as well. Out with the old and all that…”

He laughed, he knew I was joking, except I wasn’t, not entirely. My volvo model is a bit on the early side for the new garage. And if the kids keep getting out of their beds I really will be coveting new ones of those too.

I’m Sleeping with Alexander McCall Smith 

At least I have been for the last week or so. I read every night to get me to sleep. These days I’m gettingemma to bed late and I last about two pages so heavy reading material is out. Which is why I picked up Alexander McCall Smith’s modernised version of Jane Austen’s “Emma”.

I read his Number One Ladies Detective Agency series and loved every minute. My mum took my sister and I to see him speak in the town hall a few years ago and again I loved every minute of his address. He is charming, disarming, unassuming, clever and hilarious. All my favourite things. If he were more my age he’d be my free ticket shag. Actually it’d be a toss up between him and Denzel Washington, whose smile melts my popsicle everytime.

Anyway, “Emma” – I haven’t yet finished it but I LOVE it. Like J. Austen, he manages to make us love Emma herself despite her snobbish, interfering ways, something I’ve always found to be a stroke of genius on Austen’s part and central to the novel’s success. The reviews in general of AM-S’s retelling are not great, but I disagree with them. I’m having fun with it and if you love a bit of English romantic comedy, you will too.

An Unexpected Benefit of False Nails

You might remember me bemoaning my decision to visit a nail bar and have plastic nails stuck to my real ones in a fit of vanity. Well the long nails grew longer and more silly looking and cumbersome BUT, my itchy skin (which is a constant for me in varying degrees depending on flare ups, triggers and other boring things) became softer simply because the thicker nails and the club-finger style are incapable of taking any skin off or getting right into itchy bits. The result – the usual itchy patches and hives but less unsightly broken skin, damage and risk of infection. Hooray for that.

So, armed with a brilliant excuse for my vanity I went in and had them trimmed, refilled and re-painted. Maybe next time I’ll get a colour.

Mum

Every Tuesday for 20 years

Every Tuesday morning after my daughter’s swimming lesson – just as I’m trying to get her knickers on and they’re rolling up into a tangle because I’m trying to beat the other parents in the post-lesson dressing thing (everything’s a competition) and haven’t dried her properly – an elderly woman comes slowly in the door and up the steps to the pool. She arrives at the very same time every time (knicker time) and wears the same large towling moo-moo.

I love those hanging pants.

I love those hanging pants.

This week I said hello and engaged her in a chat as she got into the pool. She told me that she’s been coming to that pool at that time every Tuesday for 20 years. This means that the little people she saw putting their rolled up knickers on 20 years ago are probably wheeling their own small children in by now. Imagine all the frazzled mothers she’s seen, the tantrummy children and the bored fathers.

She said the fake hanging plants and the murals have been the same for that whole time, which by the look of them doesn’t surprise me – they’re so past it they’re now retro cool and I couldn’t imagine the pool without them.

We young people know nothing about dedication, except maybe when it comes to Denzel.

denzel

 

 

 

 

 

CATERPILLAR MOMENTS

Today I had a moment.

I was sitting at my daughter’s dance practice holding a balloon and a grass caterpillar and it dawned on me that (what feels like) just the other day I was sitting at the uni bar watching “Something For Kate” and holding a beer. And I thought, is watching only moderately rhythmic dance whilst holding a grass caterpillar really what I want to do with my life?

But then the other mums and I had a laugh and joked about maybe finishing the end of year dance performance with a quick bit of us doing ballet in pink leotards. And I laughed again on the way home about the fact that the dance teacher has kindly asked for our input into the routine which means it’s peppered with Jane Fonda tributes, some sprinkler and a good old lawnmower move.

When we got home I observed my little girl take her bear’s temperature with a chop stick and announce, “He’s a bit sniffy, I’ll have to get him something to clear the snostrils”, which is funny because her bear’s nose fell off about 6 months ago and rolled into a mouse hole. He has no sniffy snostrils. I laughed and felt all awwww and wondered at how amazing my little people are.

At bedtime I read them a chapter of “The 52 Storey Treehouse” by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton and we all laughed, particularly at the part where it’s Andy’s birthday and Terry has forgotten:

“What’s special about today?” Says Terry. “That’s what I want you to tell me”, I say. Terry thinks for a moment and then says, “Is it underpants-changing-day?”

Then I laughed again at how undies and farts and poos and wees always make us laugh. Well almost always. Dog poo is never funny. The dog is though, especially when his lip gets caught on his teeth and he switches from designer dog to dork.

Then my girls gave each other an impromptu cuddle goodnight and my son reminded me how he will give me a hug every day even when he’s a spotty sullen teen and later my little one climbed into my arms when she had a bad dream and all I had to do to fix it was hold her.

And I thought, well maybe tomorrow someone will wallop someone else and there’ll be crying and manners forgotten and broken somethings and my phone will go missing and I might roar and wish I was in Paris aged 29.

But right now, when I should be asleep and there’s some god-awful tripe on telly featuring Tory Spelling and her husband screaming at each other, I reflect on the day and my dear family and I think, well actually, right now, this mothering caterpillar-balloon-holding thing is exactly what I want to do with my life. Oh yes it is.

There is so much joy everywhere, from the big dance hall to the tiny mouse holes.

Yoo-hoo, Mousie, Bear wants his snostrils back.

Yoo-hoo, Mousie, Bear wants his snostrils back.

 

HOW THE WORLD BEGAN

A few weeks ago, on a long car trip home, I broke the backseat about-to-fight tension by asking my children how the world was made. Might as well throw them a biggie.

Big Bang By Bess Bignell (alliteration rools)

Big Bang By Bess Bignell (alliteration rools)

“There was a big blow up”, said one, “An explosion. And everything broke up and a bit of it made a ball and that’s Earth, and then the trees and stuff fell down on the Earth too, and everything else. I think.” By this stage his tone was less confident. “Don’t you know this Mum?”

And I had to say no not really actually. There was some sort of big bang but other than that I’m actually shamefully dunce when it comes to the biggest question of all. I probably learnt it once, although my school was pretty Goddy so probably a bit anti-bang in favour of God having a particularly productive week but I don’t think I’ll go there. Mostly I go about walking (sometimes stomping) about on the Earth getting all busy and inward with narry a thought for the miracle of it all. Time I did think about how amazing ’tis the universe. Narry isn’t used enough, I’m bringing it back. Along with whole-room wallpaper.

Then my youngest piped up with, “Mum, can you tell us again about when the Titanic ran into the Tasman Bridge because the driver had too many beers?” And that was the end of the creation conversation because I clearly had to move on.

But I’m still bothered by the big bang thing, so join me as I embark on a cosmic knowledge quest…

And POP! goes the world-zel. By Lucie Bignell

And POP! goes the world-zel. By Lucie Bignell

WHAT IS THE BIG BANG THEORY?

Well the answer to that had befuddled my brain and caused the extended Megoracle silence (this shit takes some getting one’s head around). In all honesty, when I look at the theory itself without all the brainy-person credibility, I find it about as believable as The God Thing. EVERYTHING came from a teeny weeny particle? Really? But anyway, I will press on and keep it as simple as possible.  Off we go…

Cosmology finds that the universe didn’t, contrary to my son’s take on it, explode into existence. The term “Big Bang” was actually coined in scoffy tones by those who opposed the theory. But there was no bang. More like a whisper.

Approximately 13.8 billion years ago, the universe was contained within a single, dense and very hot point. The heat triggered expansion which allowed the universe to cool enough for subatomic particles (protons, neutrons and electrons). After a few more thousand year’s worth of expansion, the first atoms came into being, evolution began and hey presto, 13.8 billion years later we are building micro computers and worrying about the battery life of our phones. bigbang WHO CAME UP WITH SUCH A SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE THEORY?

It was first hunched at in the 1920’s by Russian Mathematician Alexander Alexandrovich Friedmann, who along with Belgian Catholic priest and scientist Georges Lemaitre, tabled that a universe controlled by the theory of relativity would have to expand or contract. In 1929, Edwin Hubble (of telescope fame) was inspecting the light emitted from other galaxies when he noted that the light was “red shifted” which, as opposed to “blue shifted”, means that the source of the light is moving away.

This means that Lemaitre was able to conclude that the distant galaxies are moving away from the Earth – i.e. the universe is expanding. He published his theory which in turn helped to measure (based on the speed of the galactic movement – can I say galactic? It sounds cool so I will) how much time has passed since the universe was together as one.

SO HOW DID THE HOT, DENSE MATTER GET THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE, i.e. BEFORE TIME?

Well this is what you might call a cosmic quandary. There are many theories. Einstein thought it likely that before expansion took place, time simply stood still.  Others say that the singularity or point from which the universe expanded just sprang into being. Other theories include:

  • That universe creation is cyclical and we will one day collapse back in on ourselves and cause another ‘bang’ that will create another universe. I suspect if this is true that pollutey humans have given the process a bit of a boost.
  • That the universe is the offspring of an older and bigger universe and that one day ours will throw off others too.
  • That our universe was the result of the creation of a black hole – meaning we are formed from the bit that used to be where the hole is. These theorists believe that there are likely to be other universes in other black holes.
  • That in another realm a group of giants were playing soccer with a medicine ball and one of them kicked it so hard it flew out of the stratosphere and was left so long it went mouldy and attracted flies which evolved into the world as we know it now. That’s My Theory, strongly supported by this ancient cave painting. I’m not sure who Ed is, must be an early humanoid.

20141112_085603   WHAT EVIDENCE DO WE HAVE FOR IT’S TRUTH?

Apart from Hubble’s Red Shift (Hubble’s Law), there is also the Cosmic Microwave Background. This is the heat left behind by the rapid expansion or big bang. It was been successfully measured by orbiting detectors in the 60’s. The 60’s and cosmic microwaves? Sounds a bit sus to me.

The abundance of “light elements” hydogen and helium in the observable universe are also thought to support the big bang theory.

I’d move on to the Hedron Collider and the Higgs Bosun but my brain is hurting and I can’t make head or tail of whether those things support the big bang or not. I’ve done my particle physics for this month (year). Anyone? If you can shed light on that in a sentence I’ll write a haiku about you.

In short, Big Bang is the best explanation we have so far, or at least the most popular. It still, however, has it critics, its flaws and its uknowns.

In conclusion, this is just scratching the cosmic surface and as always I am open to corrections/additions from brainy people, but I feel better having a bit of a grasp on the most likely theory as to why I’m sitting here right now. Well better in some ways. In other ways I just feel very very small. I mean 13.8 billion years – that, in the scheme of it all, shrinks the existence of homo sapiens into a little sliver on the timeline. And my life into a blip on the sliver.

There goes Meg, a blip on the sliver.

Life is short people, make the very most. xx

VANITY MAKES YOUR FINGERS ACHE

I’ve spent the majority of the year in tracksuit and windcheater covered in paint. I’ve also hit the last year of my thirties and have to not smile in photos to avoid the disappearance of eyes and the appearance of crows’ STOMP MARKS on my eye corners. I haven’t seen a hairdresser in a year and as for hair elsewhere, there’s every chance the RSPCA could step in on grounds of neglect.

I have noticed a steady increase in my use of makeup, I hate my clothes and I am getting snappy when my children intrude on my getting ready time. These are all positive “I feel like shit” indicators.

So with the promise of a few social occasions coming up I decided bugger it I’m getting some shit done. (No not botox, I still haven’t been brave enough to try that, not after feeling sort of morbidly fascinated by the shiny, mask-like faces of a few of my peers. These days parties seem to have a Frozen theme, and I’m not talking about kids’ birthdays).

Hair was first. Half of my boob length hair was so dead it could sit comfortably next to the Mummies at MONA. It had to go. With time at a premium this year, I called a brilliant girl from up the road and within half an hour she and her glamour kit were in my kitchen and before too long there was a pitiful pile of hair on the floor and me in the mirror thinking I looked pretty much like Heidi Klum but without the bone structure or the beauty. This is great, thinks I, what next?

I performed a face scrub followed by a youth-promise mask, which worked brilliantly because the next day I got a pimple.

Then I visited a beauty salon for some waxing, some eyebrow fixing and hell why not, eyelash extensions. I was – I thought – fast entering the world of the glamorous. I bought myself some high heels that weren’t from Target – my first EVER – and a matching patent nude bag (tho thophithticated).

Then I decided to damn well get my nails done BECAUSE I’M WORTH IT. By this stage the reinvention budget was looking a little stretched so I opted for one of those quick nail bars – “a full set of gel nails for $20 in 20 minutes”. Can’t go wrong.

I was bossed into a chair and had my hands taken and stroked at before anyone had even looked at my face. I could have had no head for all these small bossy women knew. I was asked what I wanted and said, “I don’t know, gel nails – a full set? Maybe? Not too long”.

“White tips?” Snapped small bossy woman. No thank you. “Colour?” No thank you, just natural. She looked at me like I was wasting her time (her own nails had palm trees painted on them) but got down to business.

Business was pretty rough actually. There were loud sanding machine things and a lot of loud bossy talk between the nail artists – all of it is another language with bursts of laughter which made me feel slightly paranoid and a bit left out frankly. I felt like a school girl – were they talking about my pimple? Laughing at my ridiculous eyelashes? The red patches around my eyebrows? I wanted to go home.

I tried to get into it though. There were plenty of other patrons looking at ease. Some of them had clearly been there numerous times and were being treated like one of the gang. I tried to join in, pictured myself joking around with these deft, confident women, maybe learning a bit of their language. I admired the small bossy woman’s ring and then realised it was actually my own, on my own finger, entangled with hers. I stopped trying to be cool.

Then the small bossy woman was replaced by a slighter larger bossy woman who got a file out and starting pummeling my nail beds like some sort of dirty sock. It hurt. It really hurt. Then she stuck things on that looked a lot like talons and clipped them down slightly.

“They’re a bit long”, I said. Larger bossy woman paused and for the first time looked at me.

“You should say to me before”, she snapped.

“I did say earlier, to -” I indicated the small bossy woman but my hand was pushed back into pummel position and I was ignored.

Out came the scary sanding machine again and my talons were reduced, getting very hot in the process. I was starting to wonder if this nail thing was such a good idea after all. Or legal. They were still too long but I feared having the hot sanding thingy shoved up my clacker and god knows that was already smarting from it’s own reduction-by-wax. I shut up.

Forty minutes and $35 later (whatever happened to the 20/20 thing?) I had new, squared off, long nails that looked like they belong in a bordello.

Four hours later and my fingertips are throbbing like someone’s dropped logs of wood on them. I’m expecting to wake tomorrow to purple nails. Just this typing is painful. I had to take panadol before getting the washing out of the machine. I can no longer remove contact lenses, do up buttons pick up egg shell, play guitar or pick my nose. All essentials of life really. God knows how I’ll go wiping my bottom.

Social engagement number one is coming soon and I haven’t yet had a chance to get used to my new shoes. I can sense a day of sore feet, falling over and fumbling finger food coming on.

Why can’t I just learn that vanity gets you nowhere? This is up there with the time I got a spray tan and took ‘pat dry with towel’ to mean ‘wipe dry with towel’, had to get a double spray to cover the smearing and finished up looking like a cross between an orangutan and Mr Tickle.

Oh well, if you were to look at my fingers and took my head off you could mistake me for Heidi Klum. But without the class.

 

 

Hey Mum, Mum, Mum, Mum, Mum, Muuuuuuuuum.

Here are three habits my children have got into that are quite adorable for the first little while, then really bloody annoying thereof:

1) Hey Mum, watch this. 

It plays out like this:- I am in the middle of a very important and highly dangerous feat of brilliance (such as chopping an onion or catching up on Bachelor revelations) when 1 or 3 children arrive in the middle to shout:

“Mum, watch this Mum, Mum? Mum? Muuum? Look at me Mum!”

At this point I watch as they perform something really amazing and potentially dangerous like a little skippity thing or a bit of a wobbly somersault. Both require some wowing. Too much wowing leads to numerous repeat performances of said skippity thing from more children and the chopping of onion getting so dragged out that the fumes have rendered you blind anyway, which leads to a complete frenzy of:

“Mum, Mum, Mum, Muuuum, look Mum, look, watch, watch, look, look at this, Mum, Mum, Mum, Muuuuuuuum, look at me, Mum, you gotta watch, Mum, Mum, Mum, Mum, MUUUUUUUUUUUM!”

Until you are forced to yell something bad motherish like, “STOP YOU BOGAN HOOLIGANS, I WATCHED THE FIRST TIME”, and thinking something worse like “Come back when you can do a perfect backflip” and they all slouch off leaving you feeling awful but not awful enough to call for an encore.

2) Hey Mum, what’s your favourite…?

This one is mostly fine. I do like it when they switch their favourites to be like me. And I don’t mind the usual, What’s your favourite ice cream, what’s your favourite film type ones, but they soon run out and we’re left with:

  • “Hey Mum, what’s your favourite rock?” – this while looking at a beach covered in thousands of rocks.
  • “Mum, which is your favourite ant?”
  • “Which is your favourite toe?”
  • “Which is your favourite way of eating your sandwich?”
  • “What’s your favourite Mum, penises or chinas?” This followed by squeals of laughter.

Sometimes, after a long day and way too many favourite questions, I can no longer pick a favourite because my desire to screech, ‘I don’t actually give a fuuuuuck’ gets well in the way and I want to add, “What’s your favourite – shoosh your gobs, shut your cake holes or shut the fuck up?”.

3) Hey Mum, can you do this?

This is one closely linked to trampolines I find, but is being wheeled out more frequently, often when I’m in a public place and trying not to appear bonkers. A small person who looks quite like me but whom of course I don’t know will approach me while I’m in the medicare queue and say,

“Hey mum, can you do this?” and then hop madly on one leg with their head at a crazed angle, to which I smile a patient smile and say, “I don’t think so, it’s so clever,” which prompts them to try a bit of an on-floor leg-in-the-air thing and shout, “Can you do this Mum?”

I wish I was the sort of mother who would give the on-floor leg-in-the-air thing a red hot crack right there on the purple patterned medicare carpet, but I’m more of a, “Darling, would you like a little sit down and a shutupachup?” type. Unless I’m at home. At home I’ll try most things – the on-couch head stand, the crawl through chair legs trick, the dance with the dog, the make your hair stand up with shampoo trick…

Sometimes though, I wish they’d lie on the couch with their eyes closed and say, “Hey Mum, can you do this?”

But of course, I will embrace all these questions as best I can, love the askers and answer them with as much patience and understanding as I can muster, because really I do want them to continue for as long as possible.

One day in the not too distant future they will switch their favourites so as to not be like me and they will grow out of wobbly somersaults and not be in the slightest bit interested in what I can or can’t do and possibly go for long stretches without asking me anything or even talking to me at all. And then I’ll whinge and moan about that and do lots of silly flippety things in the hopes that they might see me.

The Bastard Business of Building

Disclaimer right up: I am a very, very lucky girl and I am grateful for my wonderful life and everything in it and I know there are people out there who would give their souls to have gripes like mine. Sir help me God (except I think it’s so help me God – is it? I never know). Anyway…

We’re in the throes of building a house and I’M OVER IT. It’s at the stage now when the bloody thing is built and has been for months and everyone’s asking if we’re in yet and we’re not because it’s actually just a nice looking shell of a house with nothing in it but a lot of mess and and no sign of lights at end of tunnels. The not-exciting-anymore bit. Have you built a house? Do you know the bit I mean?…

  • When you’re living in one house and trying to keep it semi-hygienic and livable and stocked with food while at the same time trying to finish another? When every spare minute of time is not spare time at all but New House Time, when you should be looking at garage doors on pinterest or ordering bathroom tiles or painting the skirting boards or at least thinking about pavers.
  • When you realise that a decision you made way back at the start of things (six months ago) when you were young and keen was the wrong one but have to convince yourself it is right or just not look at it ever again because changing it would mean dismantling the house. And when you think about that person back at the beginning and she seems fresh faced and non-haggard with no dust-in-pore pimples (I know – pimples and I’m nearly 40 – where’s the justice in that?).
  • When you no longer can see the dream because it’s hidden behind clouds of said dust all the work that must be done to get in the bloody thing and you can’t imagine ever putting your feet up on a couch in the living room because obviously there is no time to put feet up ever ever again and besides there’s a stack of floor adhesive, twenty paint tins and three ladders in there.
  • When you choose said bathroom tiles and stride in to the tile shop order them only to be halted by those display thingies and a sales person who says your choice is too slippery for floors and unless you want children with cracked heads you’d better think again and so you have to go back home and discuss it all over again with husband only to be left more confused and verging on a “let ‘em crack their heads” kind of rash decision that you will surely regret later when there’s blood in the grout.
  • When you suspect your joiner has begun screening your calls.
  • When you suspect your husband has begun screening your calls.
  • When you can’t remember the last time you saw your friends and your Granny has forgotten who you are.
  • When every single bit of comfy clothing has at least one fleck of paint on it and your black painting coat is now a nice shade of Dulux vivid white.
  • When you carry a measuring tape in your handbag, have to get the house plans laminated and start thinking in square metres.
  • When ‘cutting in’ is the new C-word.
  • When you JUST WANT IT TO BE OVER so you can remember what it’s like to browse the shops with no pressure or wear smart clothes or have your hair done or have a whole day doing something you love.
  • When you just say, “fuckit whatever goforyourlife” when your husband says he’s choosing the bedroom wall colour.
  • When you think, Oh so this is what people mean when they say building a house is stressful.
  • When your hands remind you of a regency washer woman’s.

 

A Manicurist's Delight

A Manicurist’s Delight

You know that stage? If you don’t, and you think one day you might like to build a house, consider yourself warned.

Thank goodness for cheery tradies, Radio National and angled paint brushes. If you do build, surround yourself with these is my tip. Other tips when building – particularly for wives and mothers – include:

  • If your husband expresses interest in choosing the light fitting for the study, show him literally HUNDREDS of options on the internet. He’ll soon lose interest and leave it to you.
  • If you reeeaaaaallllly love a particular shade of blue but suspect it might be just a bit too blue for said husband, show him a few samples, all of which are even more blue that the one you really want. He’ll choose yours for sure.
  • Double check measurements.
  • Go with your gut – this applies to aesthetic choices, ethical choices and choosing tradespeople.
  • You bloody can climb a scaffolding but you most likely can’t lift a large beam.
  • If you do try the beam, bend your knees.
  • When the task seems too huge, concentrate on one little thing at a time.
  • Don’t think you can get painting done with a four year old on site. And never give in and give her a paint brush.
  • Avoid trends, they have an over-it date.
  • If someone says, “no one does that” or “that’s not so popular” or “no one does that anymore”, all the more reason to do it.
  • Buy a radio and a small toastie press.
  • Keep a large house file. A small binder with dividers just won’t cut it.
  • Tell people you love their work if you do. Tell them you don’t if you don’t.
  • And for every spouse – be good to each other and keep it all in perspective; paint colours and cornices are not worth your marriage.  Rule of thumb though – the party who does the most washing up gets to choose the kitchen tap and sink, the person uses the oven the most gets to choose that too, the person who does the laundry chooses the laundry fit out, the one who makes the beds chooses the linen and so on… For the most part though, remember how lucky you are; some people have to build an igloo.
  • When it’s all finished and shiny and perfect and new, never, ever let the grubby family in. Or at least get a mud room.
  • And when it’s done, get a makeover. I am already planning mine – it’s going to go for a whole day, there will be hairs coloured and cut and ripped out and skin done over and nails fixed and I may well be unrecognizable at the end. So help my Bod.

Anyone else have any tips? I still need as many as I can get.

At least I'm still married

The hands are ruined but at least there’s still a ring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FALLING OVER

So I was running with my dog the other day; just my usual Monday morning run. I pop my children on the school bus and set about trying not to look too gleefully free after a weekend of inevitably tiresome concentrated time of tying to keep children amused whilst getting the washing done close family time. I walk most of the way but usually can’t contain a bit of a gallop. Last Monday’s gallop was especially bouncy. I can’t remember why, someone must have lost their shoes on leaving time or something, but I was definitely in a glorious gallop – spurned on by the big ‘how great is this running together thing?’ smile on my dog’s upturned face.

I remember – because the Tassie spring had done it’s na-na-nee-na-naaah thing and turned nasty – that I was even running a little harder for the cold and a bit of body heat. It felt great.

Then the dog must have got overcome with love because he came close enough to rub on my leg and trip me completely over. And I mean seriously over. I sprawled, I put our my hands, I hit gravel and skidded along on my right side. As I fell, I thought, “I’m falling”, which was not in any way helpful or enlightening.

I got up immediately, mainly because the dog was all, “Oh my gawd, you ok you ok?” jumpy and licking my face etc but also because we ego-driven humans are mostly more concerned about wounded pride than wounded skin, and I was probably worried that someone had seen me fall from glee to gutter with my dignity in bits around me. I need not have worried, there was no one in a bull’s roar of me, except actually for a few cows who probably would have enjoyed a bit of roaring bull. But still I felt like a bit of a dork.

It’s just not the thing for a grown woman to fall over. If I was older I could ‘have a fall’ with some good grace, but I think I’m still young enough to simply fall over. But as it turned out, it didn’t matter how old I was, because when I stood up and felt proper stinging grazey pain, I thought, “I want mum”. At 39 years of age, I was suddenly a little girl again, when grazes were a regular event. And I cried.

I cried because I’d had a fright and bits of me were hurt and bleeding, and I cried because it was ridiculous to cry and I should be braver and I wasn’t. I cried because there was suddenly so, so much to do just to get through the day and the rest of the week and the year and I didn’t know if I had it in me to do it all, what with bleeding hands and all. And I cried because there was no one to pick me up and give me a cuddle or even a hearty, “Up-a-day, you’ll be ‘right”, except the dog who has good intentions but no arms.

I was the most vulnerable I have been since I fell headlong in non-reciprocated love at age 19.

Then I pulled a few bits of myself together and properly assessed the damage – palms, elbow and thigh were all having a good old bleed and my tracksuit bottoms were missing a patch, but everything in the way of joints and bones was still working and while I toyed with the idea of calling my husband to collect me and taking the rest of he day off, I decided it was not actually necessary; tempting but unwarranted.

I continued – gingerly – on my way and all up lost only 15 minute or so off my usual time. A mere hiccup.

But I’ve been a bit hypersensitive ever since. The hiccup has turned into something of an interruption. My right hand throbbed and broke my sleep for a night or two and I had a sense of being very small and destructible, and not as capable as I might have thought. I wished my husband and children would ask me how I was and maybe offer to put help with the washing up. Night-heightened self pity I guess. The raw patches on my skin seemed to be letting in something pathetic.

I blew on my hands a lot, for some cooling relief, and I rubbed gently around the other grazes and was reminded that I am the mum around here, and while I am in the business of mothering, it’s okay to give myself a bit of simple tenderness once in a while because for one thing I deserve it and for another, no one else is likely to. I always thought ‘take care of yourself’ meant joining the gym and having your hair done, which frankly I have no time for, but it doesn’t have to. Taking care of myself might mean having some shameless self absorbed time or getting all pathetic without feeling guilty or undeserving or the control freak in me telling me to suck it up and zip it. You, Madam Control Freak can shut the hell up while I have a little sobby sob sob okay. I’m hurting.

Now, almost a week on, the grazes are healing; ugly and sensitive but toughened over. I am feeling tougher too, and I have a new empathy for my children when they fall over – which is often. I might do something more than the usual shoosh-kisses and a dab of dettol.

Then again, I might not. Maybe we all need a good fall over once in a while. I mean we could probably all do with the associated self-soothe skills, a humility sting, a bit of thickened skin and and a healthy dose of getonwithit.

I'm so very sorry.

I’m so very sorry.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 228 other followers