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Archive for the ‘Death’ Category

Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 2.11.35 PMThis morning I went outside and discovered the builders next door merrily bricklaying away at the wall of the neighbour’s house that sits on our boundary, just beside our dining room. Except they weren’t bricking all of it. There was a large rectangular gap where there should have been bricks.

‘What’s that window doing there?’ I asked.

‘It’s not really a window,’ the brickie told me. ‘It’s more of a vent.’

I said nothing.

‘So they can get some fresh air in this bathroom,’ he clarified. ‘It’ll be frosted.’

‘A frosted glass vent that opens and shuts is commonly called a window,’ I said in a pleasant enough voice that nonetheless contained the suggestion that he might like to go get the foreman, Paul.

‘I’ll go get Paul,’ he said. (more…)

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hotdogsThere’s now a five-year-old living in our house. I don’t quite understand how, since I only just gave birth to her. Her birthday was excellent and exciting, beginning with mango pancakes in bed (thankfully she let herself be talked out of having soup), and finishing with pizza.

On Sunday we threw her an awesome Peter Pan-themed party, attended by seven Peters Pan, two Captains Hook, one mermaid, one Wendy (the birthday girl) and one Michael.

We played Pass the Parcel with an ordinary parcel because when I went to buy the fish and chips to put in it I found the fish and chip shop had shut down. Instead, the parcel contained a lame prize in the middle and a chocolate coin in each layer, which turned out to be ill advised because every time someone unwrapped a layer and got their coin, they promptly devoted all their attention to eating it and not to passing the parcel. Meanwhile, anyone who didn’t yet have a chocolate coin cried. (more…)

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IMG_2095Last night, both of my children asked me to sleep in their room with them. I said no, because I am not a pushover, and went to bed. In the middle of the night Garnet woke up and called ‘Mummy, I need you.’ About six seconds later I was tucked up in his bed with my arms around him, listening to the sounds of him and May Blossom breathing. Last night, on an island in Indonesia, eight people were taken out into the bush and shot to death, on the Indonesian government’s orders. Two of them were young Australian men. They were four people’s little boys. They were brothers, friends, nephews and grandsons. One was a new husband. As far as I know they weren’t anyone’s fathers, and I suppose it’s a good thing there aren’t any children to be left fatherless by their executions.

I’m generally pretty hopeless at looking the bad aspects of our world in the eye. I’m didn’t participate in any vigils for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. I didn’t write to President Joko Widodo. I doubt I could have done anything to change what happened. And at the moment, my life doesn’t really allow me to devote a lot of time to political activism. I feel constantly overwhelmed by how much I don’t know and understand about government, politics, the law and how any of this could be changed to make the world a better place. I just don’t know enough, and it makes me feel helpless. (more…)

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Things aren’t going exactly according to plan on our holiday. No sooner had we arrived and unpacked our Tetris-style car that took us a full hour to load, than I came down with some kind of horrible lurgy. Coughing like an old man outside the TAB, a headache like a horse kicked me and and a mood to match, I promptly retired to my bed and have barely raised my head since. (more…)

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It has been a week of ups and downs. I know that every week is, really, but this past week we have experienced the following.

In the down column:

1. My 102-year-old grandmother suffered a small stroke.

2. The fate of our missing family cat, Tigercat, was discovered. It was not pretty and probably involved a fox. Vale, Tigercat.

3. Gusto, who is an indoor cat, got out and went missing for several hours on a rainy night.

In the up column:

1. My grandmother was released from hospital and is now doing well at home.1. May Blossom slept through the night for the first time.

2. May Blossom slept through the night for the second time.

3. May Blossom slept through the night for the third time.

4. May Blossom slept through the night for the fourth time, having learned to put herself to sleep without the aid of any back-rubbing.

5. H and I went out to dinner with friends, and then to a concert. We sat beside the Harbour and ate a tower of food (top level burgers, second level seafood, third level dumplings and sushi). We were extremely cool about the whole thing and to look at us no-one would have known we don’t do that sort of thing all the time. Except maybe the way we kept squeaking ‘WE’RE OUT!’ at random moments and the way H knocked a glass of champagne over our friend Pearl in his excitement might have been tiny signals to the well-trained observer.

When Pearl noted that we hadn’t lasted five minutes before starting to talk about May Blossom, we assured her that we weren’t talking about our daughter May Blossom. Good heavens no, we were talking about our very cool new friend May Blossom, who is a part-time keyboard player for Radiohead and does a great number of other cool things besides. That’s who were were saying had learned to do forward rolls and say ‘wall’ and ‘kiss’. As if we’d be talking about our baby.

6. May Blossom stayed asleep while we were out, and was no trouble to her grandfather.

7. My little brother came home from New York after a year away and May Blossom fell in love with him. She thinks he and his girlfriend are the cat’s pyjamas.

8. Gusto was found. Right beside the house. I used the corporal cuddling method of discipline to punish her.

9. Inspired by a unbelievably pleasant trip to Ikea on Saturday morning, I made delicious Swedish meatballs for dinner. We let three toddlers eat them with lingonberry jam, which it turns out is just red sugar. Result: a epic game of  ‘Boom Crash’, where you run at top speed the length of the apartment and flop onto a pile of quilts.

10. SuperChief showed up one evening with a huge piece of dry aged steak for our dinner. Just for no reason except that he had been to an excellent butcher that day.

On balance, there were more ups than downs, but the downs were pretty big and sad and scary. It was a day before we knew that my grandmother was all right, and call me pessimistic, but I spent much of that day thinking she was a gonner. At 102, it seemed unlikely she would bounce back. Recently she had decided to have her entire apartment redecorated: new upholstery, wallpaper, paint — the works, which is enough to give anyone a stroke, let alone a centenarian. But she is amazing, and she wasn’t going to let decisions about paint colours and fabric swatches carry her off.

The fate of Tigercat is just plain awful. She was a wonderful cat. We were her second family: she moved in after her first family named her Ice-cream and then bought a rottweiler. Good decision, Tigey. I’ll tell you the whole story another time.

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When we arrived in Perth three days ago, sixteen hours after Pappy’s death, we were running on what could charitably described as empty. Coming off close to a month of illness for May Blossom and me, with a few semi-emerged molars thrown into the mix, sleep was but a faraway dream.

Twenty-four hours later, things were even worse. The three-hour time difference meant that we had woken May Blossom at 5 am Sydney time to get on the plane and put her to bed at 1 am Sydney time the following day. She had about six hours sleep over a 30-hour period. Then a man knocked on the door and gave us a Parenting Gold Medal. No he didn’t. (more…)

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H’s beloved dad died on Saturday. It was expected, and a relief in that he was released from his suffering after a year of illness. It is also completely fucking devastating. ‘Silly Old Man’ is how he used to sign his letters and emails to his two boys, but of those words only the last described him. He wasn’t old enough to die. Whatever that means.

He got to see his little boy become a dad though, and May Blossom was seriously the apple of her Pappy’s eye. He held her the day she was born and for the next fifteen months made the best possible use of the time they shared on the earth. (more…)

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