Sunday, November 28, 2010

HANDY HINT NUMBER 1605

Please note, unfortunately this is NOT  my thigh


Here’s another handy use for a seatbelt. You can use it to keep your drunken husband from falling on you when you ferry him home from YOUR Christmas party.

Did I mention that it was a Christmas Party I was invited to? That he was my plus one? Oh, and did I also mention that I missed out on indulging on what were probably the best Pina Coladas on the face of the freaking planet? The same Pina Coladas that were concocted by a designated Cocktail maker man brought in for the night to make us anything in the cocktail world that our hearts desired? No?  Well, did I mention then, that this was a themed Hawaiian party? Which are always fantastic and a great conversation starter, especially when you're pissed. Not so much when you are dead set sober and standing around in inappropriately see through grass skirt.

The thing is though; the party was an hour away from where we live, we had to drop the kids to our in-laws to be babysat and I am not married to Donald Trump, ergo, a $300 taxi fare was not feasible, therefore one of us had to be designated driver. Often the Dessy driver is decided halfway through a night where we catch each other’s eye across a crowded venue, notice we are both holding Vodkas and mouth “Who the fuck is driving?” Responsible parents, oh yes we are.

But last night we literally drew straws. Wait, not literally, no, we had a Rock Off. And my scissors got smashed by his giant rock; hence I was in the driver’s seat.

I still remember my very first boss regaling me stories about the “good ole days” when she would finish work early on a Friday, go to lunch with the staff and start drinking. She swears she would wake up each and every Saturday morning and sure enough, her car would be sitting outside her house with not one memory as to how it got there. Apparently drink driving was no big deal but surely there were alcohol related car accidents back then?

Fast forward twenty years and I am too scared to even have one drink and then drive, let alone get shitfaced. Funnily enough, I’ve gotten to thirty five years of age without seeing the inside of a Divvy van; I do not intend to change that anytime soon.

We have my brothers birthday party this coming Saturday.  Again, one of us will need to be the designated driver but at least the babysitter is coming to us. This time though, when we rock off, I’m using dynamite. After all, dynamite trumps all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SANTA HAS A BIG SACK


As a kid, I  swear I heard jingle bells on our tin roof when Santa landed.  

Of course this was total bunkum because I was rarely up past 8pm and even if Jesus Christ himself had turned up and started a trance dance in front of my face, I still wouldn't have woken up.

But believing as a kid is the most magical feeling you’ll ever experience.  Nothing will ever be the same.  Whether it’s Santa, the Tooth Fairy or that Chocolate Egg fiend, the Easter Bunny, nothing can ever replace the feeling of trusting in something truly magical. 

I mean, I never questioned for instance, what must have been a logistical nightmare for Santa, the delivery of a 20ft above ground swimming pool full of water into our front yard.  Nor his ability to circumnavigate the world with umpteen billion people in it, and deliver all of those presents with seemingly only one sack in the back of his sleigh.  Hey, let’s face it; we believed this guy hung out in the coldest place on earth with his short statured friends and banged out toys for 364 days a year.  There was nothing untoward in my mind, when a fully assembled Barbie Townhouse arrived in my bedroom one Christmas morning. 

My mother’s approach to Christmas Day, was to put all of our presents on our beds. To make it look like Santa had been there, in our rooms, possibly only inches from our faces.  Scary really, when nearly every person in the world leaves out a beer for Santa to suck down in between gigs.  

 

We do it a little different for our kids. 

Maddie, 11 this year, no longer believes.  Probably a good thing really and to be honest, I think she did fairly well getting that far.  Grade 6 is one step away from first boyfriends and leg shaving, so it was time.    This time last year though, she still WANTED to believe even though she was being told everything to the contrary at school.  



When the time did come though,  I think it went a little something like this.  I was sitting out on the deck reading the paper and she wandered out.  “Mum, you’re Santa  aren’t you?”  Me: “Yep”. Her “I KNEW it!  I could tell it was your writing”.  Busted.  One down, two to go. Although I reckon Sam may take it to heart.  I mean, it’s a massive white lie we are telling our kids and even though it's for their own good, I still think Sam will see it as a sign of betrayal when he finally cottons on. 

 

I digress.  Last year, when Maddie still did believe, we took them all to a theme park on Christmas Eve. We then made sure they copped lots of sun, lots of chlorine and were well and truly knackered.  This was so that when the Allen Key came out and the bike/mini kitchen/scooter and or drum kit needed construction, the kids didn’t wake to check out what the feck was going on.  

The year we had to construct the trampoline was the most fun of all.  Combine a husband drinking with the neighbours for a good chunk of the afternoon, two missing springs and torrential rain, and you’ve got a situation where Santa very nearly screwed himself over.  Luckily he pulled through and the kids didn’t even stop and ponder how in the hell Santa dropped a 14ft circular missile from the sky and directly into our front yard. 

I have recently learned though, that Santa apparently only delivers one present to each child, and it is meant to be unwrapped.   Shit, why didn’t they cover this in “What to Expect in the First Year”?  We’ve been giving Santa credit for every single god damn present and then wrapped them all to boot.   

What I have learned though, is that the wonder of Christmas is fleeting.  Soon enough all will be revealed.  Mum and Dad are Santa.  Or to be more blunt, there is no Santa.  And I still have a little part of my heart that wishes I believed.  Or at least believed in something.

How did you find out? 



This is last Xmas Eve.  Note the terrified Japanese girl behind us.


rrsahm

Sunday, November 21, 2010

TARGET MARKET FAIL



In March next year, I am attending the Aussie Bloggers Conference in Sydney.  Not only that, I’ve been chosen to read out to an audience of my peers, one of my blog posts.    This is a huge thing for me.  Both because it’s a major honour and also because the last time I had to read out aloud, in an oral  presentation type of situation, I was in year 12 and had to discuss the merits of U2’s song, With or Without you.  WTF Education QLD??

Luckily, my 11 year old daughter has been campaigning for her spot as School Captain recently and has a few pointers for me.  Firstly, talk slowly. Secondly, make eye contact with people in the audience and thirdly, don’t mumble.  If the spectators are armed with eggs, mumbling will be what starts the egging riot.

Did I mention I’ll be all alone at these shenanigans?  Sans kids?  From Friday through Sunday?  I know this may mean nothing to some, but to those of us who can’t even take a leisurely crap on their lonesome, this is like winning Powerball. 

So, to get myself there though, I’ve kind of convinced my husband that I’ll get a sponsor to pay for my accommodation and airfares.  You know, so I’m not using the precious dollars he could  be using to buy himself a new surfboard or I don’t know, finish off this god forsaken house with.

I have shot off a few emails but don’t think I understand my target market.  Apple?  They said no.  This could possibly be because I don’t have an Apple Computer or iPhone.   Qantas.  Nope.  All out of sponsorship dollars apparently.   I call bullshit, I mean surely they’d like someone to spread the good news that one of their aircraft landed unscathed in Sydney?
 

So this is where you guys come in.  Help me find my market.  Who can I approach and hit up for a sponsorship deal that sees me wearing their goods or wearing a t-shirt touting their wares.  I'm happy to talk them up to complete strangers and, if applicable, shove a sample of their product in said strangers’ hand.  Note, this will not work if my sponsor is the type that produces Vibrators.  Oh shit, or will it?
 

Ideally it will be someone who wants me to take the Gold Coast to Sydney.  I mean if the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, then Bern must take the Gold Coast to those missing out in Sydney right?? Right?? 

If Warwick Capper can get a gig with Quickbeds.com.au, surely I can get a little bit of love in return for an endorsement from yours truly?  I do draw the line at Gold Lame dicktogs though. 

You guys read my blog, you know what I represent.   Although, recently someone did find my blog by searching for “My Vadge”, so perhaps you guys aren’t the best people to ask after all.  Gah, I’m confused.  A little help?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

GUEST POSTING



Lucy over here at Diminishing Lucy has asked me to guest post for her & I am super excited to do so.

Lucy is an inspirational lady who is not only a gun at the weight loss game, but is totally my kinda gal when it comes to humour.  The title of the post is Wallowing in her Own Filth.  And I'm talking about my daughter.

Perhaps you can relate?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

GROOVY KIND OF LOVE.

Phil & I (and Maddie in the tummy)

When you get married, there are a thousand and one decisions to make.

Church or Beach?

Chicken or Lamb?

Peach Taffeta or Puce Lace?

Stretch Hummer or Cinderella Carriage?

Fireworks or Latin Dancers?

There is one area I, as a young bride over ten years ago, struggled with.  My wedding song.  *The* Song.  The one where you walk down the aisle (if applicable) or into the ceremony to and people sob because it’s just so emotional.  Or the song you dance to and enchant all the guests with the loving scene they are collectively witnessing.

So what in the hell was going on when I was originally thinking of using this?





It’s a song about animals. And Cannonballs.  And television freak shows.  Was I intending to shimmy up the carpet to a petrified Phil?  Throw in a few fist pumps?  I also vividly remember discussing this choice with my two best girlfriends and they gave me the thumbs up.  Perhaps they were just agreeing with their clearly unhinged friend for fear of reprisals.  We all know how Brides can get.


In fact, a couple of years later we went to a wedding that was held at a very flash golf course.  It was a bit bizarre really, because I wasn’t at all close to the bride and groom and Phil had not even laid eyes on them before the wedding day.   I think it was a conscience invite because I had recently started working with her after being an acquaintance for years.   We all waited, course side,  for the  bride to arrive.  She turned up on the back of a  Harley, gracefully removed herself  and then the song started . The song that would accompany her up the “aisle.  It was this.


Oh yeah.  But hey, it was their choice and it fitted in well with them sitting on individual thrones all night and requesting the company of their  guests by appointment only.  I shit you not.

Luckily for me, somewhere between becoming a Savage Garden Junkie and walking in to my wedding ceremony I had an epiphany.  It was like the common sense gods slapped me on the back of the head and told me to get off myself.

From memory I was listening to a lot of Jeff Buckley at the time, so am unsure how I came up with this, but on a very rainy day in June, 1999, I walked into to greet my husband to be, to this song:




I know. It’s daggy.  I know Phil Collins is a bald English guy who dumped his wife via fax, but let me tell you, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

What was your song?  Married or not, is there a song that you’ve set a scene to?

Here are some wonderful wedding songs shares from some fantastic people.

@QueenKellyKelly had this to say: Every single person i know who had 'your still the one' by that shania twain are now divorced.....

@nicolegrgas Split Enz Message to My Girl

@jpvinci I sang mine to my wife @B666V "Lady" Kenny Rogers

@Magnetoboldtoo we had 'I will' by the Beatles. And 'Baby don't forget my number' by Milli Vanilli. First song we ever danced to... heh

@Maya_Abeille ours was 'let's fall in love' sung by diana krall with big screen of her live in paris in background

@zuzu Our wedding song was 'About a Girl' – Nirvana


@GC_Guy Sail Away - David Gray and "Dance Me To The End of Love" - Leonard Cohen are two of my favs

@kazloutom ours was Feeler by Pete Murray..


@Big_Norm Jackson - Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood :-))

@Lisa_Taliana Ohhh god, don't remind me. I had a Whitney Houston song

@NomiePT we had in your eyes by Peter Gabrielle. Say anything a fave movie. Hubby did not hold up a boom box or wear a trench coat sadly


@Glowless My wedding song was "Shut up and kiss me" - suited us :)


@_Elle_09 I honestly Love You by Olivia Newton John...Ohhhh C'MON!!! That's a winner!! Acoustic version!!

@Bundynelle B52s "Love Shack" played when we met 1998. In 2003 our bridal waltz was Ewan McGregor's "Your Song"\Proclaimers "500 Miles" LOL


@kj_nash H&C Throw Your Arms Around Me


@Bookbek Mine was Have I Told You Lately by Van Morrison. Good thing it was a long song, as the flower girl did baby steps all the way.



@queeniebean ours was meant to be Luka Bloom's "You couldn't have come at a better time" but the CD was lost so a cousin chose the Lemonheads "Into your arms" instead. Both are great and really apt for @JustinBarrie & I and we laugh about it still!
 

Mum and bro.  Caught in the act.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

SPARE THE ROD AND SPOIL THE CHILD?



It used to be all about the feather duster to the bottom, the ruler to the bare knuckles and for the very unfortunate few, a whipped electrical cord to the back of the legs.
 
Nowadays it’s more about timeouts, countdowns and the naughty chair.  Welcome to 2010.

The way you and I were punished growing up is very different and completely unacceptable in todays day and age.  Well in public anyway.  I bet you my Honda Jazz  that a truckload of people still give physical punishment behind closed doors.   Am I one of them?  Well not very often, but yes, I have.  Am I proud of this?  No. Do I realise that trying to teach a child right from wrong whilst inflicting pain is a totally backward concept?  Yes I do.

Did it hurt me as a child?  No.  I often deserved it.  Oh, except for that time I was hiding matches from my brother so he couldn’t light fires under the mango tree and inadvertently got busted with the evidence.  Yeah that time I received the belt I built up a bit of revenge filled rage that was duly taken out on my brothers back with my fingernails in due course.   Were we  abused?  Never.   We only ever got a whack (the belt was Mum’s weapon of choice) when were complete shits.  When we didn’t stop running up and down the hallway even though we’d been asked at least 15 times.   Or when we broke our Mum and Dad’s bed after  repeatedly using it has a high-jump mat. You know, the times we sent her to breaking point.

Phil was the same.  And from what I understand, being one of four rambunctious boys was enough for his mother to actually break the feather duster over his arse one day.   Believable considering they (he and his brother) accidentally set a derelict house on fire in their street once and stole their Gran’s ciggies on a daily basis.

I only ever got slapped once.  I lied to mum and told her I was at my girlfriends for the night.  I was at my boyfriends.  I was 17, older by most standards, but not by hers.  When she eventually found me and got me home, she simply slapped me across my face.  I got up and went to my room.  No further discussion was had about the matter.  Did I stop lying?  Yeah.  I did.

The thing is, one size does not fit all with discipline.  My guinea pig, first child, got smacked when she tore part of the wooden venetian blinds to get a better view from her room to the world outside.  She got smacked when she ripped the tape out of 5 videos.   She got a belting when she pinched her new born brother on the leg for no good reason.    Did it work?  She never did any of those three things again.  Would I do it now?  No way.

Sam was different.  I’m pretty sure he’s never received or deserved a smack in his life.  He’s a pleaser.  He hates to be in trouble and to be honest, all it has ever taken is a stern word and he folds.

Jack. Well imagine Hurricane Katrina and Cyclone Larry had a baby and then fed it frozen coke.   That’s Mr Jack.  I soon figured out physical punishment doesn't work with him.  Time outs are my only currency.  Hard to pull off in a public space however.

We went to visit my best friend today in the hospital. She had a baby on Friday and seeing as we’ve all decided Maeve, the new baby, will be Jack’s bride via arranged marriage, they should meet.  And meet they did.

So we’ve rocked up, one very hungover husband and 3 relatively calm children, washed our hands and headed on in to meet everyone.  Jack was really sweet with Maeve.  He stroked her hands, stared at her in wonder and then approximately 30 seconds later started jumping off the window ledge.

In came other visitors, another lovely friend and her three children.  Now these three children sat like angels.  They were happy to hold the baby, sit in one spot and not yell or interrupt  their mother.

Meanwhile, Sam was constantly attempting to tickle his severely hungover father even though he was well aware how this could bring on the voms.  Jack, if not trying to tempt the golden orb spider into the maternity suite was speaking in his loudest voice and telling all who would listen that Bonnie had two bums and that’s how she had the baby.  We were that diabiolical family. The one that leaves a giant void when they leave a room.   And not one that people are keen to refill.

So would a bloody big belting have stopped that behaviour today?  Perhaps.  Do I want to beat my child into submission? No.  Is there a middle road that can be taken in this day and age?  I really wish I knew.  See here’s the conundrum we new age parents find ourselves in.  We don’t want to smack our children  and yet we don’t want to let them get away with blue murder either.  

I get that kids have to learn  that there are consequences to every action, however consequences are all well and good  when the children can understand the concept.  What do we do until then?   Mime?  Stop taking them out of the house? Feed them mushy peas until they submit?
 

How did you grow up?  Were there smacks at home?  At school?  From grandma?
 
Is there a place in modern parenting for the smack?  Love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

THE ONLY WAY IS UP - BABY



I remember buying our first home and being absolutely scared shitless, (Yes, that's right, so scared I couldn’t even poo) because we had to borrow, and wait for it, $143,000.  I also remember being stressed out of my mind because we had bought a house that was $2,000 over our limit.  That’s right folks, our limit was $150,000 and we went to $152,000.  Oh Em Gee.

To be honest, I’m not even sure what the interest rates were back in the year 2000 and I certainly wasn’t aware that the reserve bank met each month on a Tuesday and fucked with our lives.  Was I just oblivious or was it the fact that information wasn't quite as readily available as it is today?

Phil’s dad was horrified when he heard we were going to borrow that kind of dosh.  Couldn’t we just save up and buy it outright he asked?  Um, let me think about it.  No we fucking can’t because

  
a) Unless we won the lottery, robbed a bank or (nudge, nudge wink wink) were left an inheritance it was impossible and
 

b) even if we could save up $140 odd thousand, by the time we did that, the house would have tripled in value and we’d be worse off than had we just jumped into the abyss in the first place.

The fact of the matter was, the banks had us over a barrel and if we ever wanted to get close to living the 'Great Australian Dream', we'd have to beg them for the cashola upfront.  Thing is, 'The Great Australian Dream' has changed since our parents were tackers.  Back then it was all about having a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom, and single story house sporting a sizeable back yard with enough bindy patches to take down a fully grown man and mandatory Hills Hoist to whirl both washing and kids around on.  The really well off people had an in ground pool.   Those of us who weren’t, spent our summer days in their pools anyway.    


Nowadays the great Australian Dream comes attached with an average mortgage that once upon a time would have made us millionaires, and at the mercy of lending institutions at large.

Yesterday, when they thought the nation would be too pissed to notice, the Commonwealth bank jacked up interest rates to nearly twice that of the Reserve Banks.  Basically they gave its customers the giant middle finger.  This, hot on the heels of its rival, or I guess a more apt description would be its fuckbuddy, Westpac declaring a 6.3 BILLION dollar profit. Not bad hey. 

Who wins when the banks make profits?  The shareholders and the fat cats at the top.  Oh, and those on trail commissions.  Of course those with Super Funds that have investments in banks and the self-funded retirees do a happy dance every time the rates go up but does the young myopic guy behind the counter copping everyone’s vitriol get a fair chunk of any of this?  Nope.  The best he can hope for is a holdup-free day.


And of course there are those out there who would argue that if you can’t afford a few rate rises, perhaps you shouldn’t have the loan in the first place.    I doubt it’s the rate rises that have gotten them in the shit.  Perhaps it's because a father has had to spend the last 2 months at his daughters bedside after she contracted meningococcal and therefore, hasn’t worked.  Or perhaps their car has unexpectedly shat itself.  Maybe someone’s wife got cancer and the insurance won't pay out.  Who knows?  Circumstances have led them to the point where they can’t afford the mortgage and no one has the right to judge why they are there. 

I kind of got to wondering about the Reserve Bank.  We hear the term every month but what are they there for?  And if they can lend our banks money and set the rates, why can’t we just borrow directly from them?  I know this is naive.  I know I sound like Pauline Hanson, (who by the way, I believe is a fully fledged fruitloop) that time when she asked why we just can't print more money, but it's just something I'd like an answer to.

 
Here are the obligations of the Reserve Bank, per their very own website,

 
 ‘It is the duty of the Reserve Bank Board, within the limits of its powers, to ensure that the monetary and banking policy of the Bank is directed to the greatest advantage of the people of Australia and that the powers of the Bank ... are exercised in such a manner as, in the opinion of the Reserve Bank Board, will best contribute to:
 

a.    the stability of the currency of Australia;
 

b.    the maintenance of full employment in Australia; and
 

c.    the economic prosperity and welfare of the people of Australia.’

So there you have it.  That’s their deal. Are they sticking to it?  Do they have a choice? You need to ask a much smarter person than I, but jacking up interest rates right before our biggest retail period of the year certainly does nothing for employment or internal economic spending as far as I can tell.  And employment, well ask any business owner or construction worker on the street and I guarantee you that there are many concerns about long term prospects.


I guess the only way to make a point with the banks is talk with our feet.  You'd be surprised how much as a collective group, we all mean to them.

Ironically enough, we now live in a house that although in a top location, is smaller than the one we started with. That either makes us shithouse with our money or simply just a family living in 2010.