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Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

pianoIt’s been so long since I’ve blogged. I’ve been putting it off because it’s been a long time, thereby making it even longer since I’ve blogged. I keep doing this. And then I have to keep beginning my posts like someone going to confession. Forgive me, readers ,for I have not written a post for five months.

I’ve had a novel published. This one here, called How To Be Second Best. Just thought I’d get that out there. It was released in Australia a month ago. It’ll come out in Canada some time this year. The rights to publish in the UK, USA and rest of the world are up for grabs so get on it, foreign publishers! There is a paperback, an ebook and an audiobook. People seem to have liked it. I’ve had lots of nice emails from readers, some of whom aren’t even my friends. That’s a bit mind-blowing. It seems to appeal mostly to people around my age, who have children, although my Dad’s friend James, who is in his seventies and has no children, said he laughed out loud at parts and was very pleased when I wrote that the protagonist’s house had two rooms on each side of the hall, not two rooms on either side of the hall. Apparently the second one is incorrect and a particular bugbear of his. I’d like to say I knew this and very deliberately wrote that sentence but that would be untrue. It was luck. But I’m glad James liked it.

Because it is January and I have another book to write, I have been doing a lot of decluttering. I know this is very fashionable because of Marie Kondo and that Netflix show about tidying up and only keeping things that ‘spark joy’, but I only watched a few minutes of the show before I was so bored I decided to tackle the odd sock box. Maybe that’s how it’s meant to work.

Anyway, I prefer the alternative decluttering guru, whom H and I invented. He’s called Murray from Condobolin. This Murray Condo backs a ute up to your house and you throw in everything you hate. Murray then assures you he will dispose of it thoughtfully and recycle everything but deep down you know he drives to the next suburb and dumps it all on the verge. (more…)

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img_1639Hooray, December is upon us! Like a crushing weight in your heart! Upon us like a thousand years of late tax returns!

I don’t quite know what it is about December that makes me so down in the dumps every year, except oh yes, maybe I do. Maybe it’s the way the end of the year looms like a horrendous deadline for all the things you promised yourself you’d achieve this year and didn’t. Maybe it’s all the things you have to do and buy and attend and make a costume for and take a plate to. Maybe it’s because you have to decide on a Christmas tree.

Historically, choosing a tree hasn’t been a problem in our family. Because historically we’ve just bought a massive chopped down tree if we are going to be at home for Christmas, and used a large plastic tree if we are going away.

But this year, although we are home for the holidays, H has come over all Sting and doesn’t want a nice chopped-down pine. He’d rather we have a tiny potted facsimile of a Christmas tree that you decorate, leave inside for a fortnight, then banish to the garden, before you go to haul it out next Christmas and realize it is dead, just like the lovely big purpose-grown Christmas tree you passed up this year. He thinks he is saving a Christmas tree life, but he is wrong. All Christmas trees are meant to die. That is their purpose. They are the gladiators of the tree world. We kill them for our sport. (more…)

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baffling

Baffling contraption

As we are wont to do from time to time, H and I have started a small health kick. It’s not a high kick. We’re not idiots; we don’t want to put our backs out. It’s more like the miniature kicks you use to move a school bag to another room when your arms are full of laundry and mail.

Our motivating forces are vanity and pain. We’re not getting any younger. One of us has just turned twenty-one for the second time. And while he doesn’t look much older than the uni student who used to drive a campervan to parties that he was the first time he was twenty-one, his sore back is telling a different story.

As for me, well, I recently read one of my stories live at a comedy club for the first time (you can listen to the podcast here, if you’re so inclined), and let’s just say the official photographs made me look further up the wrong end of the Bardot-Brando Continuum than I’m happy with, jowel and chinwise. And as Presidential Candidate Trump has shown us, bronzer is only going to trick people so far. So, it’s time for action. (more…)

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legoanger

Part of a Lego exhibition we saw on the weekend and in no way a freakishly accurate representation of our bedroom when it’s my morning to get up at dawn with Garnet.

The last few weeks have involved a lot of of autopilot mornings. The kind where everyone has played musical beds all night, and when you realise there is finally a crack of dawn in the sky and there is no point hoping for sleep any longer, you get up. In this house, H and I alternately get up with the earliest riser in the morning. This civilised turn taking is like a gently teetering see-saw upon which our happy marriages rests. Recently those mornings have begun around 4.55 am, a time known to normal people as ‘still night’.

That is too early to think, so the only way to manage when things get like this is to have a system. Order and repetition are your friends. Here follows my system, which is pretty much transferable to any household with children under six, I think. Feel free to borrow it. (more…)

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braidsSomeone has taught my toddler all his nursery rhymes. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t his father. It wasn’t his sister. Is he learning them by osmosis? Are they inherent in his genetic makeup, like the reflexes small babies have that stop them falling off their mother’s hairy back?

While Garnet was sick all he has wanted to do was have me read him books while he languished in my lap. Once day I dragged out a Play School book of nursery rhymes and started singing them, and lo and behold, he joined in. Now as far as I know, the only music that kid has been exposed to in the last six months is the soundtrack to Frozen, the soundtrack to Cats, and the theme tune to the TV shows Peter Rabbit, Peppa Pig and Octonauts. So how does he know ‘Incy Wincy Spider’? I’ve heard him sing ‘Let It Go’ and I’ve heard him sing ‘Journey to The Heavyside Layer’ (both multiple times each day), but somehow ‘Row Row Row Your Boat’ has crept in too.

As May Blossom is approaching four and is thus an adult with many opinions about why she should be allowed to wear earrings, have a job as a waitress and get married, she will not tolerate the playing of baby music. One morning recently as I sat and sang the nursery rhymes with Garnet, she called out from the dining room where she was gluing triangles of paper mostly to the tablecloth, ‘Will you stop that singing please? You are disturbing my work.’

‘No,’ I replied. ‘When you were a baby we sang these songs with you for hours and hours, and we never do that with Garnet, so you might just have to deal with it for a bit.’

‘Ugh,’ she groaned. There was a pause. ‘Carry on then.’

Carry on indeed.

She asked me about university the other day. I explained it is like a school you go to after you finish high school. ‘Your uncle, Superchief, goes to university,’ I told her. ‘He’s studying law.’ I started to explain about the law and how it protects civilised society from breaking down, but she interrupted me.

‘I know all about law,’ she said. ‘I can talk to him about that.’

‘What do you know about law?’ I asked her.

She thought for a moment and then, in a very serious voice, she said, ‘You must never ever stand on a crab.’

She’s right, you know. Laws are there to protect people, and crabs, I guess.

But I don’t think, ultimately, that she will go into law as a profession. Not while she can make a killing from the latest product she and Garnet have started manufacturing. This afternoon I came across them jumping up and down on an armchair, right next a tepee that her father and I set up for them yesterday, almost at the cost of our sanity and marriage.

‘Could you please stop that?’ I asked. ‘Maybe you could do the jumping inside that excellent tent instead.’

‘We can’t,’ May Blossom informed me, ‘because we live in that tent. This chair is where we work.’

‘Oh,’ I said. ‘What exactly do you do for work up on that chair?’

‘We make positivity.’

And for that there is no comeback and they are now allowed to jump on the furniture as much as they like forever.

 

 

 

 

 

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hugsHappy New Year from the House of Gusto, where we specialise in creating problems for ourselves, and then complaining about them! This year has kicked off in fine style, with a wonderful country holiday featuring daily trips to swim in the sea, huge and delicious meals with friends and restful afternoons on the verandah.  A perfect life, you might say, if not for the issues of Sleep and Cats.

Why the italics, you might ask. What has Gusto done to merit that? Nothing. Gusto is being an exemplary feline. It is the jellicle cats that are the problem around here. The cats created by T. S. Eliot in his 1939 book of poems Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and made more annoying to the power of infinity by Andrew Lloyd-Webber in 1981. You see, about three months ago May Blossom, Garnet and I tagged along with Other Jess to a Year 6 Production of Cats at the school where she works. It was pretty amazing. And just like that it became, like Singin’ in the Rain and before that the song ‘1234’ by Feist, a complete obsession for May Blossom. (more…)

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IMG_6371

So sweet, you’d never know they have tiny ear canals brimming with filth and germs. Nor that the one on the right is about to throw up in that car seat.

My big brother emailed me today with two queries. ‘When you gonna blog again?’ and ‘How’s your wedding Adirondacks?’ The second question is easier to answer. The Adirondacks to which he refers so grammatically incorrectly are two chairs that he gave H and me for our wedding present. We got married in April 2009. He dropped off the chairs yesterday. They are flat-packed and likely to remain so until we achieve a vomit-free week in this household.

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