Monday, 29 November 2010

And stretch.....

There was research last week and as we sat behind the one way mirror, my client and I discussed how it is that some people go anywhere in pants that don’t have any fastenings, ie zippers, buttons, etc. Yes, people who believe it’s perfectly fine to go through life in track pants (for the gents) and leggings (for the ladies). We started to think maybe we could invent a new dress code: Pants that do up required.

Another researcher has a theory that the minute you stop paid work, you age about 10 years. You dress for the house and then think you’re only going to the supermarket, so it doesn’t really matter – no make up and trackie daks, and then that’s it – forever!

Now ladies, Mothers Who Don’t Do Paid Work (because let’s face it, there’s no such thing as a Mother Who Doesn’t Work!) please, prove the theory wrong - please!!!! Not that I’m close to giving up paid work anytime soon (unless you’ve heard something…??) but I just want to know it’s possible to still pull a look together on a daily basis.....?

Thursday, 25 November 2010


When I was young(er), I got excited by a party, a new frock, a cute boy - usual stuff. Now I’m old(er), I get that thrill from things like a NEW FRIDGE!!!

What has my life come to when I covet nothing more than a fridge the price of a small car? When did that happen? And no, I don’t mean it happened on Monday when the other fridge shat itself. I mean, when did the thrill of a household appliance move right on up there with cute boys??! (Because yes, we all know, I still do like cute boys – but there’s no way I’m taking them home!! I live by the old adage that it’s okay for a girl to work up an appetite as long as she eats at home.)

Tuesday morning, squeezed before the smallest’s school orientation drop off and a board meeting, I sprint into the electrical store and shop exactly the same way I do for clothes. Except for some reason, high prices are really easy for me to resist in clothes – not so household purchases. I run up and the down the aisles of fridges the same way I flick through a rack of frocks – no, no, no, no. Too bulky, not big enough, looks dated already, hate that door, don’t like that digital display…and then I saw it…okay it wasn’t THE most expensive in the shop but it’s getting up there.

I head to work and fantasise about how improved my life will be with that fridge. No, not just improved, complete. I think of all kinds of ways I could possibly justify the purchase. Will the bio-fresh compartment save me thousands a year in fruit and veg currently wasted? (Probably not.) Are the running costs dramatically cheap? (They’re not.) Will its high-tech refrigeration be kinder to the environment? (Doubt it.) Hmmm. Give me time, I am determined to find a way.

So what is it that gives you a thrill? A bathroom tile? A new vacuum? Speak up – confess your desires and please also leave a comment on ways I can possibly justify that fridge!

PS - Cubs all survived on Monday despite sharp knives and hot frying pans.... 

Monday, 22 November 2010


So after a lovely weekend and good night’s sleep, Monday was looking okay.

Until my partner noted the fridge was actually radiating heat when you opened the door – not cold.  It was acting like an oven. Not good.

I had noticed last night a couple of things near the top were warm, and turned the temperature down, but it was now well past a fiddle with the knob stage. So added to the morning chaos was trying to transport every thing from the kitchen fridge to the drinks fridge in the shed. Not ideal, but under control.

The four year old is yelling at the back door. Actually, no, screaming. I suspect she’s stood on one of those pesky nails that lifts just those few millimetres out of the deck. I can hear her screaming back to the shed, verging on hysteria so go to investigate…. to discover the washing machine has pumped about 80 litres of water onto the laundry floor!

I’m having déjà vous from last Monday and the Cub tsunami! Water is pouring into the hallway, onto my hand-knotted (ie frickin’ expensive!!) runner, lapping at the new carpet in the kids’ bedrooms, pooling in the laundry cupboard and gushing into the bathroom. What a start to the day.

We’ve got Cubs tonight, and I don’t know how, but somehow I’m in charge – again??!! So, not satisfied just with sharp knives in the program last week, tonight I’ve added the extra thrill of hot fry pans as well!

Stay tuned on how this day ends….

Thursday, 18 November 2010


Cubs was action packed this week.

We had the kids in three groups. One lot were making Christmas present tags from old card, cutting up cheap sponges and stamping Christmas wrapping paper in another and I had the group carving potatoes for stamping said tags and paper.

I’d bought new knives from the supermarket, as the ones at the hall as so blunt you could cuddle them and as we all know, blunt knives are far more dangerous than sharp ones.

‘Kids,’ I sternly warned, ‘please be extremely careful with these knives, because what happens if you cut yourself?’ They should know the answer by now, but of course they all look at me blankly.
‘I look really bad as your Cub Leader!’

It was slightly chaotic but okay until one kid came flying in from the bathroom, yelling at me that the boys’ toilets were flooding.

I called to one of the male leaders but he seemed pretty pre-occupied and the kid had me by the arm assuring me it’d be okay to venture into the boys’ toilets – just hurry!!! As I got to the door, I could hear gushing and see small waves of water coming out from under the door and into the hallway. Not good. But when I flung open the door, a veritable tsunami crashed over the hallway and flooded the kitchen. I peered in and saw my charges had put the plug in the trough and turned on all four, old fashioned (ie high pressure) taps, to full blast. There was water cascading like a casino fountain – only no pond. And I’m wearing my thigh-high, black suede boots – damn it!

I managed to tip toe in and get all the taps off before recruiting some help to try and mop up. And in the middle of it all, one of the usual suspects slashes his finger while wielding a potato and an extremely sharp knife.


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Good Help

The old adage is true; it’s hard to get good help.

I know I’m spoilt when it comes to having assistance on the domestic front, but I do have exacting standards (although you’d never know it looking at the state of my desk at work…)

We had a domestic goddess a while back who’d clean, wash, fold, put everything back where it went, rearrange the linen cupboard, refold and colour coordinate every thing in my wardrobe and on occasion, even throw dinner in the oven on her way out. Then she moved.

Our current cleaners are lovely, lovely people. When they first started, they said to just write anything down that needed doing. What I quickly discovered is their grip on the local language is as tenuous as a wet bar of soap. One minute they seem to have a fairly firm grip, the next it’s completely shot out of their grasp.

I did leave them a note, once, asking if they could put the clean washing back in the cupboard. They said they’d seen a note but couldn’t read my writing. Seriously, I had printed like a 12-year-old high school girl, so don’t think typing it in 36 point would have actually help.

Nearly every doona is in its cover side ways, there are single sheets on the queen sized bed and dust thick enough to grow tomatoes on the bookshelves.

Last night I noticed the spider webs on the ceiling fan in our bedroom are now so elaborate, I’m torn between attending to them myself or just spraying them silver for Christmas.

But the bathrooms are clean, their folding is so good it’s slashed my ironing bill and they are lovely, lovely people. Where did I put that can of silver spray paint??

Saturday, 13 November 2010

The Tumour

I’m only writing this because Dad can’t use a computer. But Mum, or any relatives who might stumble across this, please don’t tell him. Really. You all know why.

So, Mum and Dad were in town recently because Dad had a check up after a prostate operation that had gone well. I was meeting them in the city for a drink.

The three of us sit down in the bar of the club with our drinks and Dad looks me in the eye and pauses for effect:
‘I’ve got a tumour,’ he announces with a stoic tone, despite his stare pleading me to break down and weep, panic, pale, something, anything, as long as it’s dramatic.
‘And…?’ I venture, calmly. ‘What does that mean?’

As you probably know, a tumour just means a lump. Yes, it can be a very bad lump, but it can also be a very benign lump. I wasn’t falling for that old chestnut without more information.

‘Well, it means I’m not very bloody happy, doesn’t it!’, he protests, clearly disappointed I hadn’t responded as he’d hoped.

‘Yes, but what did the doctor say?’ I asked in what I hoped was an encouraging tone, although I was by now, and knowing Dad, pretty sure that it wasn’t going to be bad news.

‘Well, he said not to worry about it,’ he meekly admitted.

‘Right then…’ I said.

So predictable.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Summer Bag

No – not me in a bikini looking like porridge poured into a body stocking – not that kind of ‘summer bag’. I mean the hand/shoulder/tote type bag.

I picked up a couple of great ones when we were in Malaysia. ‘Timmy’ Choos as Susan, who I used to work with calls them. But we noted, this recalcitrant, lesser-known brother does insist on using Jimmy’s name. How very bold!

The guy at the night market in Penang recognised a women who was absolutely, positively going to buy a bag. So after I’d selected a couple, we were onto the business of negotiating cash.

‘Look,’ he said, flicking a cigarette lighter and waving the flame dangerously close to the paler of the bags I’d selected, ‘Real leather’.

Now I’m no leather expert, but having recently purchased a leatherette jacket from Portman’s, I recognised the soft-to-the-touch material immediately.

‘Mate, it’s polyurethane,’ I said flatly. ‘I know it’s not leather, you know it’s not leather, so let’s just talk price, shall we?’

(Actually, I liked it better when things were vinyl. You could profess that seven vinyls gave their lives for that handbag! But polyurethanes just don’t work. And yes Mandy, I have used the word ‘leatherette’ which you hate, so feel free to give me an alternative…)

Anyway, back to Penang: Deflated, the guy popped the lighter back in his pocket and we did the deal.

I’ve been using the black one for winter – and losing bits of that bloody fringe everywhere, especially getting them jammed in the seat belt buckle in the car! But really, you can hardly tell, can you? And for less than $40 each, I’m more than happy to have a few ‘Timmy’s’!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The ultimate come back....

Kids can be very precocious at times, and if you’re anything like me, you do try and hold your tongue and not tell them what you’re really thinking because you know the therapy later in life will cost you dearly – financially and emotionally.

But sometimes it just slips out.

I was running one day and daughter two was riding her bike. Actually, it was a very pleasant afternoon and she wasn’t being precocious – for a change – so I don’t really know what inspired me.

We were stopped at the traffic lights and I asked for a drink from her water bottle. After taking a good gulp, I handed it back and she began furiously wiping the end on her T-shirt.

‘What are you doing?’ I asked.
‘I don’t want your germs,’ she said, in a reasonable tone.
‘I don’t know why you’re worried about that,’ I mumbled. ‘You came out of my vagina.’

Therapy, here we come…..

Monday, 8 November 2010


We had a new business pitch last week and being in the (perceived) cool and groovy industry of advertising, we thought we’d present on an iPad. There were only two potential clients. It seemed like a good idea.

So we’re in the presentation and all’s going well. Baby cupcakes adorn the table in the appropriately dressed room, the clients are friendly and we’re all making sense – bonus!

Time for me to show a video and I tap the correct button. So far, so good.

‘MWW, can you turn the volume up a bit?’ asks the Creative Chairman.
No pressure. Just me, the Managing Director, the Creative Chairman, the Head of Strategy Planning, two potential clients and an iPad.
‘Sure,’ I say with false confidence.
I hit a button. The screen goes black.

‘Sorry about that,’ I say with false serenity.
I hit the home button and we’re now looking and the Finance Director’s children – one face-painted as a tiger, the other as some other animal – but less distinctive.
‘They're not my children,’ I comment, like anyone cares less, but just desperate the fill the gaping chasm of techno failure.

I slide the ‘Slide to unlock’ and we’re back.
Thank the lord!!

So just to prove I’m not a total idiot, I give it about 5 seconds and attempt the volume thing again….and I hit the same ‘off’ button!!!

Seriously, there are some days I should just be fired in manner befitting my stupidity.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


So I'm at my desk one day when my boss, MD (Managing Director) yells over the open-plan, in ear-shot of, well, pretty much the entire floor, "Mother Who Works! You'd have an MBA wouldn't you?" Great.
My colleague, Sarah, is facing me with her back to MD. She quietly says, "If that stands for Major Bitchy Attitude, I think you're good."

And sadly, she's right.

I try and keep in under control, but every now and then it gets out - my MBA.

For example: I recently got a tattoo. And an associate, who is clearly not keen on the ancient-art-slash- current-fashion for inking was struggling for something appropriate to say as several other were commenting on my fine choice.
"Did it hurt?" he finally managed, with ill-concealed disdain.
"Why?" I asked, my MBA rising to the occasion "Are you thinking of getting one?"
"Me??" he replied, "God no!"
"Then it's irrelevant, isn't it."

That was not kind and I am not proud. But I think we all have an MBA lurking beneath the surface that can be tempted out with the right provocation. Don't we???

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Glamour of Travel

A friend took her kids on their first big OS trip this year. She shared with me that she was slightly concerned that her kids might come to expect these kinds of trips and become a bit precocious about overseas travel (she was probably looking at my kids as she was saying this….)

‘’You taking them to China for god’s sakes!” I point out. “It’s not like you’re off for a month in a villa in Tuscany and then a few weeks skiing in Aspen then a stop off at Tahiti to recover.”

On our recent Malaysia trip, which I’ve typed about before, I swear, this is a photo I took at one of the toilets at an international airport. Yes, of course there were other, sit-down options, but the small one had quite taken to this type of loo. She didn’t really get the squatting thing and literally stood up with her back to the door and took aim. She got really quite good at it! Although that splash  in the foreground just might be hers.....

And if the toilets aren’t traumatic enough, there’s the in-cabin entertainment on the 2 hour trip to the snorkelling platform on a rough and ready ferry.

I’m not sure if you can see the titles of the video selection in this shot, but they are, from left to right:
•    The Deadliest Sea
•    The one in the top middle I can’t remember - can anyone recognise it? Suggestions welcome!
•    The Perfect Storm
•    The Poseidon Adventure
•    Titanic
•    Twister (no relationship to the sea but still a disaster)
We were lucky enough to have the kids terrorised by The Poseidon Adventure as we crashed through the waves…. nice.

So yes, travel with children I’m sure could be extremely glamorous, but we’re more the circus!

The Moroccan Bath

The girls and I have come up to Dubai for a few days to escape the Melbourne winter. It's in the 40s so we've thawed out - quickly. ...