Mother Who Works

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas...2011

Yes, it's that time of the year again and yes, like last year, I'm hyperventilating and existing on a diet of alcohol, chocolate, coffee and mince pies - in that order.

Here's how the conversation went a few months back:
My mum " So, are you coming up for Christmas?"
MWW: "We're thinking of going to Cambodia."
My mum: "Oh really? Dad and I went there. I found it depressing."

Two weeks later:
My mum: "So, are you coming up for Christmas?"
MWW: "No Mum, we're going to Cambodia."
My mum: "But where will you be on Christmas day??!"
MWW: "....Cambodia...."

I don't think they do Christmas there and I'm not altogether unhappy about that. In fact we'll be on a very long boat trip between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap on the day. Bliss!

Santa swung by early yesterday to deliver the little one an ATM. Yes, an Automatic Teller Machine ATM - because unlike last year when I lugged the vacuum cleaner to Dubai, (it didn't really work - god dam it!) I am not taking an ATM to Cambodia, then on to Laos, then Vietnam - including over night trains, on to Saigon and KL before home. So thank you Santa. We then had the catch up with the city relatives in a park, which went extremely well - so I feel like I'm done.

Two days of work to go and only two weeks of work to get through and we'll be flying to Cambodia - can't get that song out of my head!!

(And yes, for those of you who recall that last year I flew first class direct and sent my partner the kids via KL on Air Asia to Dubai - we're all going Air Asia!!)

Have an amazingly fabulous Christmas! MWWxx


Monday, December 12, 2011

Judgement Day


My client was telling me about how she loves getting into her tracky dacks if she’s just staying home, and did I also do this.
“Oh god no!” I gasped. “I don’t even own a pair.”
“What about your shoes?” she asked, looking pointedly at my extreme platform heels. “Do you kick those off when you get home?”
“Usually. And I put on my ugg boots. But I don’t really do trackies,” I said, perhaps with a mere hint of superiority.
“And that coming from a woman who thinks ugg boots are okay….” she muttered in good humour.

And she has a very valid point.

We took another group of clients to the launch Kaz Cooke’s new book, Women’s Stuff (another great event put on by The Wheeler Centre). It was Judith Lucy chatting with Kaz – really funny and sufficiently insightful, but what really bugged me were the judgments. So here are two smart, well groomed and made up women on stage saying how ridiculous it is that so many women now wear “prostitute shoes”  (platform high heels that were once only the domain of the working girl – and now me!), having Botox, etc. I mean, really, if I like those shoes, why is it ridiculous?

I often think that in the 30s and 40s, a woman might have been considered a bit racy if she coloured her hair. I’m not sure about you, but loads of my friends colour their hair and no one thinks twice about it. So at what point do such things become okay? And who decides that?

The Age this weekend had a story of women protesting in Harley Street London over the ‘pornographic influence’ on the trend for the complete removal of pubic hair and the dramatic increase in gynecological cosmetic surgery. It sounds bizarre and weird to me, but a doctor I met who performs such operations assured me that in his practice, it was mostly about being able to wear jeans, jog and have sex without discomfort. And you can’t blame a girl for wanting that!

Porn has had a dramatic influence of our current culture, (a subject for another post I’m sure!) but I’m not sure it’s responsible for all female image concerns. I strongly suspect it’s us; the sisterhood. We women are just all so judgmental of each other, we have our own ideas of what is and isn’t acceptable in the pursuit of ‘beauty’ and we don’t hesitate to apply that to everyone else.

So I’m going to try really hard to remember that when trackie dacks next come up in conversation.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Jimmy Barnes

We went to see Cold Chisel last night. I kept saying I was going to see Jimmy Barnes and my better half kept correcting me. But in my eyes, there is only Jimmy. I don't know what it is exactly, but he has enormous appeal. We were six rows from the front - I thought in danger of being spat on by Jimmy himself as he belted out his stuff, sweated on the very least - but no, it wasn't to be.

I've been in a room with Jimmy Barnes sat least three times (when I say 'room' I mean the Melbourne Town Hall, The Palladium at Crown and The Rod Laver Arena last night) and I'm sure you'll share my shock that he has yet to notice me. I was pretty sure we made eye contact last night - what with being that close to the front - but it was kind of hard to tell without my glasses. Let's just say we did.

The crowd was very mixed, from women who could have been my mother to young 'uns who could be my kids - but all suitably bogan. I said to my partner they should ask everyone without a tattoo to stand up - and he'd be all alone.

In honesty, the guys sharing the stage with Jimmy were probably in better shape and perhaps his choice of a white T shirt was not his best decision, but it didn't detract - he's still hot. I can't remember how long ago I developed a 'thing' for Jimmy but it must have been around 30 years ago. There was a guy I went to school with who had a bit of the 'Jimmy' about him. I caught up with him while at uni, at an agricultural college ball.... in the back of a Corolla...and well, yep, I do strangely feel that I've ticked that box! 

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Shift

Saturday morning 6am and my alarm goes off. I feel like I've been asleep for ten minutes. I turn it off and spend the next ten minutes debating the merits of getting up right now versus a few more minutes shut-eye. Naturally I lose the argument and drag my sorry-self into the shower.

I pull on my Scout uniform and work boots and yell to the girls to get up as I head to the shed to find gardening gloves and snippers. We're in the car and at the park at 7am. The truck is already there along with a few brave-hearts from the committee. We drag 95 trees from the truck, set up tables and gazebos, string banners and after that, arrange trees by approximate size. I send the girls off for coffees and croissants.

Customers begin to arrive and it's really quite busy for the first day.

A second truck arrives with another 55 trees and we drag those off as well.

I remind the committee president that I'd swapped shifts with another family because E has her netball grand final.

"Yes," she exclaimed like I just reminded her of something she'd forgotten. "I did wonder why you did that because I hadn't even rostered you on."
"But look - there's the kids' surname," I say, pointing to the roster.
"Didn't you know there's another family in Scouts with the same name?"

Clearly, I did not!


Anyway, it was a busy three and a half hours that went quickly, the coffee and croissants were good (a couple of extra hours sleep and my regular pilates class would also have been 'good') but I simply thought of it as one of the final contributions to the group. Must rush....I have Cubs in 45 minutes.....

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Trees


As part of my last duty with Scouts, I’m on the 7am shift tomorrow morning to sell Christmas trees in Central Park. This is a duty done by the committee, families and leaders so I have been flogging pines for 10 years.



When I was on the committee, part of my job was PR and advertising, (I’ve just handed that over to my gorgeous friend Penny).  I sent out a media release promoting our delivery and pick up service and actually got an interview from the local paper. I mentioned how convenient it was that “once those trees have gone all dry and crispy and start dropping needles all over the lounge room carpet, we’ll pop back and collect it.” I did expect that would be the quote that they ran with…but it was.

Our ordering ‘system’ (I use that term loosely) was an old mobile phone with a dedicated number and who ever drew the short straw was in charge of manning it (ie me). So one memorable festive season, the phone was on my desk and I was, as usual, neck deep in my paid job. That bloody phone kept ringing. I’d answer calls and jot down details on the back of Power Point presentations, random post-it notes, the edge of a research report – whatever was to hand (I’d love to say it was because I was so busy, but in truth, it’s my MO). I was driving my colleagues crazy.

“MWW!!” cried my teammate Georgie as I staggered back from yet another grueling meeting. ”That fecking Christmas tree phone has not stopped ringing since you walk away!!”
“Really?” I asked, pretending to care, my mind swimming with the complexities of yet another round of unexplained rejected work.

Determined as always to make sure I didn’t lose it, Georgie slapped a Sprirex pad on my desk. “At least write them all down in the one place,” she insisted, pointedly looking at the scribbled notes on any available blank space.  As I returned calls to nuns for extra large trees for churches, librarians for their foyers and crazy women who need their tree to be “perfectly shaped, seven feet eight inches – I’ve measured the area, we have very high ceilings - delivered to Toorak at precisely 10.12am next Saturday – oh, and could you set up please” I saw the wisdom of Georgie’s ways.

I can’t even guess how many trees I’ve unloaded off trucks, (one year while 8.5 months pregnant), how many banners I’ve strung up and pulled down (my knot tying it still very dodgy), how many lattes we’ve shared, how much fast talking I’ve done of the freshness, the quality, the appeal of the fragrance, how that flat bit will fall back out, blah, blah, blah.

And am I sad to be letting all this go? NO I AM NOT!!!!!

However, if I can interest you in a very rewarding voluntary position working with youth, drop me a line.



Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mother Who Works: Hanging Up My Woggle

Mother Who Works: Hanging Up My Woggle: It is without any mixed feelings that I am retiring from Scouts. I started on the committee 10 years ago, when George's Cub Le...

Hanging Up My Woggle


It is without any mixed feelings that I am retiring from Scouts.




I started on the committee 10 years ago, when George's Cub Leader assured me it wasn’t a huge commitment. Ha! As the only chick and blonde, they naturally insisted I be the secretary. I nearly laughed in their faces. Never the less, I took copious minutes and nagged them relentlessly about having NOT done their action points. Like small boys, they responded so well to this treatment, they decided I should be President when the position became available.

“Whoa up there, fellas!” I objected. “I don’t remember putting my hand up for that role.”
“ No, you didn’t,” they cheerfully conceded. “But we decided you should do it.”
And there you have it: more proof that righteousness is its own punishment.

So after 5 years of cheap wine fuelled meetings, the foundations of what has become life-long friendships, ambitious intentions and some material sucesses, we faced a crisis that threatened the future of the group; a shortage of Cub Leaders.
“Alright,” I said. “I’ll be a Leader.” (What was that about righteousness?)

I’ll do a separate post on the required training ….it does deserve one. Let me just whet your appetite with a couple of headlines like “Middle of Winter", “3-Day Weekend”, “Kumbaya”, “Home-Brand Food” and “No Alcohol”. What a treat!

I’ve just emailed my very last program ever to the other two Leaders. It’s the end of an era, with highlights including:  
    ·    Flesh coloured play-doh wounds (you can impale them with nails for extra effect), fake blood,   
        Vaseline blobs covered with tissue that look exactly like blisters, and smudged eye-liner black-eyes
    ·      Jars of rotting vegetation that after a few weeks, smell so bad you could throw up      
    ·      Scuba diving at the local pool     
    ·   Making sherbet, lava lamps, sock puppets, fires and worm farms     
    ·      Excursions to gardens, libraries, the city and the local park
    ·      Clean Up Australia and Tree Planting community days   
    ·      Light aircraft flights over Port Philip Bay
    ·    Family camps – all of them
    ·      District camps – some of them
    ·   Training camps – none of them

Anyone looking for a voluntary position working with youth? Let me know I can forward you the details!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mother Who Works: Hot as fire!!

Mother Who Works: Hot as fire!!: Some of you will recall that last year my friend Penny and I bought a lunch for 10 girls at a fire station, with firemen, at a c...

Hot as fire!!


Some of you will recall that last year my friend Penny and I bought a lunch for 10 girls at a fire station, with firemen, at a charity auction. Not content with that and frankly, just being plain greedy, Mandy and I got it this year. We were so excited we nearly bid against ourselves. (Actually, I’m still not entirely certain we didn’t – but it was a fund raiser.)

The big day was Saturday and what a fun day we had! The actual prize said ’10 girls’ but we also brought along Jason, one of our work mates from TV Production and my friends Anthony and Chris – plus 5 gorgeous, fun-loving girls – and of course, Mandy and me.

We piled into a very dark stretch limo with nightclub lighting and 3 bottles of champagne at 11.30am and proceeded to make short work of the drinks before arriving at the station house 30 minutes later. There’s no drinking there, so time was of the essence.

Now I can’t actually tell you too much about the rest of the day except to say it was a heap of fun and the guys were all extremely hospitable. But what I can share is that when we had a chance to play with the hoses there was the option of popping on the uniform. And Anthony wasted no time.

“Get your shirt off!” I screamed several times in what was in retrospect, a most unlady-like manner. 
“I don’t need to be asked twice,” he dared me.
“Oh for god’s sake, I’ve already asked you at least three times.”

So he did.




And there you are ladies! Please do feel free to leave your comments of appreciation and I’ll be sure to pass them on.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Christmas in July


Our fundraising committee met this week. (We’ve finally got a name – The MJs. We discovered that for middle names, there are 3 Jane’s, 2 Mary’s and a Joy!) We tossed around the old Christmas in July theme, which took me back to such an event a few years back.

It was a benefit for the special school and held at a reception centre in a far-away suburb more famous for its crime and low socio-economic status than its fancy function centres - in fact, its fancy anything. At $55 a head and drinks at bar prices, it wasn’t hard to rustle up 30 friends and head out – although one was most concerned about the dark car park behind a shabby shopping mall and the safety of their Jaguar!

The young bouncer, sporting the local hair cut of the moment - cropped close to his skull for the most part but delighting with a set of long and wispy rats’ tails down the back  - took his job very seriously, not allowing any of my middle-aged friends to enter without a ticket. I’ve never felt so dangerous!!

Once inside the venue, the fun continued: carpet that could be mistake for Velco as I had to tear my shoes from the spills of a hundred of prior events with every step, crumbling concrete stairs disguised with said sticky carpet, a mirrored wall with water romantically flowing down it, but so close to what would normally be the bridal table (on this occasion, the silent auction table), that every time I lent forward to look at something, my arse got wet – and I strongly suspect the brides of this area have arses much larger than mine.

I was reassured when I got to the bar to see that champagne was $12. Okay, it wouldn’t be French, but for 12 bucks you could expect a glass of something decent. I placed my order and paid my money. The barman slammed down a bottle - egads! Surprised, I looked at the label – it boasted the name of the venue.  Without sounding like a total snob, I had no idea you could get anything other than soda water that was that cheap with bubbles.

First course was soup; one orangy, one browny-green. “What is the soup, please?” enquired one of my guests. “I dunno,” said the waiter, with a tone that clearly implied why the hell should he and what a stupid question to ask, of all people, the waiter. Main was hot ham or turkey and dessert bought Christmas pud. All a little mysterious but tasty and plentiful and for $55 for 3 courses, excellent value.

And of course, in spite of all our trepidations and initial misgivings, it was a fabulous night. A great band got everyone up on the dance floor, the auctions raised cash for the school and we all had stories to dine out on for weeks to come.

Oh, and the Jag managed to survive too!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

School

George was on camp with school last week but back into the usual routine this week.

He really enjoyed camp and an opportunity, at 18, to have some time away from the family.

It also provided an opportunity for me to ask over the dinner table how school was going, now he's back.

"Do you like school?" I prompted.
"It's an aggravation," he replied.
"Great word!" I said.
"What does that mean?" asked the 5 year old.
"I don't know," said George.

Knowing or not, I think he was on the money!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Not Busy" is so busy!!


The usual Friday office conversation turned to the weekend and what’s on. I’m always interested to know what my work mates get up to. ‘What about you?’ one asked. ‘Not much’, I replied. ‘And I’m quite happy about that as last weekend was so busy.’ Last weekend I’d had a working bee, a shoot and my school reunion on Saturday, a charity run Sunday morning, followed by an induction for E’s rep netball and finally, the writing, shopping and setting up of a Cub program for Monday. Stupidly busy.

So this weekend my diary indicated NOTHING! Bliss.  In addition, George was on a school camp in Queensland, so I decided Friday night would be date night. We had a lovely dinner and indulged in Gold Class for Midnight In Paris (a great film BTW). A great start to the weekend. And sadly, the end of my relaxing ambitions.

Saturday I had pilates, picked up the little one from a sleepover, went to the greengrocer and bakery, dropped that stuff home, went to the supermarket and butcher, put everything away, tidied out the pantries while I was at it, then it was time to go to the airport to pick up George. Got home, made dinner, read the front of the paper, cleaned up and was frankly, bloody tired! So as the rest settled in for X Men, I retired to my bedroom with a large glass of very nice red, my laptop and season two of The Tudors (I’m such a dag).

I did read a bit on Sunday morning, then went for a run, then tackled that goddamned barbecue I incinerated a while back. As I scrubbed and scoured, I did ask my better half what did he think of an insurance claim? But on I went. Hours it took. It is significantly better but it’ll never be what it once was.

Not content with the size of that job and while I was still filthy from running and scrubbing, I decided to tackle the compost bit – shoveling loads of worm-ridden soil from the bottom, spreading and toweling it into a couple of beds – and that did me.

Back inside to read the second half of the paper, get the dinner on and do some emails…..so much for ‘nothing on’.

And even now as I sit down, I think I could spend a whole day tidying out cupboards, another in the garden, one in the attic, one in the shed, one attending to the filing and paper, one sorting out the IT and iPod issues…..it’s endless!!

Do you have the same problem? Filling every waking moment that’s free, with jobs?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Wheeler Centre

If you live in Melbourne and you have the chance, get along to The Wheeler Centre (the centre for books, writing and ideas).

Last night after work, a girlfriend and I swung past to hear a couple of notorious crime journos chat about their subjects and the books they’ve written. For a Tuesday night in the city, it’s excellent entertainment – and like last night, most often free.

The guys were very funny. One was talking about a notorious Sydney criminal "who was at the time, the country’s biggest importer of heroin and working with the country’s biggest criminal organisation – the New South Wales Police.”

The first time I went was to see a session on Ethics in Advertising….yes, really!!

So after an hour of intellectual stimulation, we retired to the Seamstress' cocktail bar for a couple of beverages and a review. I was home by 9.30pm. Perfect night out on a Tuesday.

BTW,  a couple of people have asked about the tap light from The Renovation. Here’s a link for a shower head that also lights up: …I think I need to investigate that one too!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Reunion


I had my 30-year school reunion last night (I’m 47 – it’ll save you doing the maths!). It was a really interesting night. There really isn’t anyone who I see a lot of and in fact, there were many who I’d not seen since the 20 or 10-year reunions – and some I’d not seen for the full 30 years.

Thank god they provided the promised name-tags. There were some familiar faces that in other circumstances I’d never be able to place and others that were an absolute blank. There were matched faces and names that had I not been at a school reunion, I’d never have connected that we’d actually attended the same school in the same year.

There were a brief few words at the start congratulating us that of the 180 or so in our year, about 113 were there. It was predominantly a boarding school so we were literally living together – in classes, at meals, at church, at sport and weekend dances and movies. And yet, there were still people I was like, “Really??” Perhaps because I was only at that school for the last four years of high school and only two of those at the main campus.

We were also reminded how out numbered the girls were; of the boarders, perhaps only 45 or so. So of course the discussion of whether the girls or the guys had aged better was a perennial topic. Naturally I was batting for the girls, but in truth, it was patchy on both sides.

I was extremely happy when one guy commented that he still remembered the dress I wore to the 10-year reunion – and with surprising detail! He said he liked that I "wore it like I meant it", whatever that means, but I was flattered none the less.
“So have you still got it?” he asked
“Um, I don’t know…. I guess you’d be the judge of that,” I faltered, feeling somewhat deflated.
“I meant the dress!” he laughed.
“Of course,” I said, desperately trying to recover.

Anyway, it was a really fun night. I spoke to some really lovely people I didn’t have much to do with while I was at school, and didn’t even get to speak to some who I did. I guess I’ll just have to wait for the 40-year reunion.



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Romit


“Romiting” is what the little one calls vomiting. Although given the gastro that’s hot in our household, the cross between vomiting and the runs could be more apt than she knows.

She was the first cab off the rank, starting with a good series of chucks during the night on Friday and being very poorly on Saturday morning. She'd bucked up by the arvo.

My partner was next to fall victim on Sunday and in my usual sympathetic style, I accused him of being ‘delicate’. We were heading up to the country for lunch with my parents and he elected to still come along, so I figured he couldn’t be too bad.

Come Monday, day before the Melbourne Cup public holiday and a work day notorious for people bunking off, I was up and showered and almost dressed when it hit me like a Mac truck – I had to lie down on the bed, still dressed, hoping for the faintness to pass. It didn’t.  I was so sick. Not just a bit or for half a day – the whole day and into the night. Even as about 80 kids were banging on the door screaming “Trick or treat!!” Lucky for them I was really unwell or I may have had the energy to yell what I was thinking back at them.

Sunday morning George started throwing up. “I’m as sick as a dog,” he commented as I helped him back to bed. “Yes, you are,” I said. “I know how you feel.” I was quite well again by then, just feeling cheated that to add insult to injury, I hadn’t lost a gram in weight.

Four down, one to go??

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mr Minit – The Resolution

Geez – it’s been a long few weeks with Mr Minit.

You might recall the dilemma which was that I wasn’t certain that he was deliberately infuriating with appalling customer service and trying to avoid responsibility or that he was just not that sharp. 

I called Mr Minit on the following two Fridays, advising him that despite a global search on the net (actually, is there any other?? But it did sound like I was being thorough) I couldn’t find any similar boots, new or second hand other than $199 ones. He was just as rude on the phone but I refrained from barking at him that this was taking up a ridiculous amount of my time and did he have any idea of my charge out rate?? (In fact, another reason I didn't say that is that it does make me sound like a prostitute - and the way I dress, well, he could already be forgiven for being suspicious.) After 3 weeks I bit the bullet and purchased the $199 ones thinking I'd just take what ever he was prepared to contribute. A few days later I got an email to say the stock wasn’t available and they’d cancelled my order. Crikey, this was exasperating!!!

Tony Bianco, the shoe chain, had been helpful to date. In fact I can’t tell you how lovely the girls there are; they could teach Mr Minit a thing or two about customer service. They emailed all their stores looking for something similar and in the end, I settled on a far more conservative (ie I don’t love them) version of the boot reduced to a mere $30 plus $18 postage.

Mr Minit was naturally relieved when I rang to tell him the damage. He said he’d have a cheque for $48 made out for me. When I went to collect it, for the first time ever, he was friendly and sympathetic; acknowledging it wasn’t often you could replace exactly what you had and apologising for all the inconvenience. But the answer to the dilemma was confirmed when he rightly asked me sign a receipt for the money which said it was for ‘selling the rong product.’ Oh dear. And I thought my spelling was bad.

PS Sorry for the reduction to weekly posts - just been a little under the pump recently.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Cupcake Competition


It was the Sass’s school fair today. It was a slick affair when George started 12 years ago, and has now escalated into an operation a sophisticated military unit would be proud of. I’m completely in awe – and clearly completely uninvolved. (Actually that’s not quite true; I did donate all the citrus fruit from our garden to make marmalade. Mostly because for the first time in years, I could not be fagged making it myself and frankly, I was quite relieved!)

The cupcake competition was launched with fanfare weeks ago with a notice home,  the details and a form to enter. It was to be judged by the celebrated Matt Preston of Master Chef and restricted to students of the school. (I’m sure he’s in huge demand, so I do find his tireless involvement for our local school generous. And no, despite him being a spokesperson for one of my client’s products, I don’t actually know him.) Once entered, this week we received a small cake box to decorate and construct, a recipe for 12 cupcakes, several silver foil patty-pans, extra bags and plates and boxes and tags and cellophane bags for the ‘spares’ to go to the cake stall. Amazing!

Elle and I had a bit of a brainstorm and in truth, after I had cooked the cakes, Elle did a lot of the decorating with Sass’s help. She had sea blue icing, raw sugar sand, a chuppa chup beach ball, marshmallow and lifesaver bucket, deconstructed liquorice allsorts for a towel and a cocktail umbrella. I thought it looked pretty good. So I was gob-smacked when Sass and I dropped it off to see the caliber of the other Prep offerings. Seriously, they were NOT done by children!!! It was like the product of a Cake Boss episode. There were expertly moulded mermaids, elaborate piping, and complex arrangements of flowers. It was truly laughable. Sass’s looked positively na├»ve by comparison.

I was reminded of JB (who was Deputy Important there before retirement) who often lamented she really needed to set a project for the kids AND one for the mothers!!

So it was and wasn’t surprising when Sass took out second prize for her cupcake. It clearly wasn’t the most amazing cupcake there – far from it – but it was plausible that a child had been involved.

And to top off a winning day, check out the fish George caught on his outing with JCAAA (Joint Councils Access for All Abilities) fishing trip! The biggest of the day – around 5kgs – that’s my runners in the photo to give you a perspective. It’s in the oven now…..


Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Khaki Skirt

I had a khaki pencil skirt a few years back that seemed so corporate. It was well know Melbourne designer in a crisp cotton to the knee, fully lined, suitably expensive and with a split up the front that saved it from being dull.

I also had a new senior client that had come into the agency for an induction, and as arranged, we then headed out to lunch. I was driving. We were casually chatting. I glanced over and noticed he was not only looking out the passenger-side window, but had his head determinedly facing away from me. Hmmm, slightly unusual I thought, chatting on. As we turned into a side street to park, I happened to glance downwards and realised I could see my undies!!!! That bloody khaki skirt. So proper when you try it on or getting dressed - standing up. Perfectly decent when your lower half is parked under a boardroom table or desk. So very, very wrong in a car.

Sharing this story with a female client from the same organisation, she felt compelled to send me the following poem:

Mary had a little skirt,
It was split right up the sides
And everywhere that Mary went,
The boys could see her thighs.

Mary had another skirt,
It was split right up the front,
She didn’t wear that one very often…

You know who you are.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wait one minute Mr Minit!

Mr Minit ruined my boots and I am not happy. However it has raised a dilemma that I’m struggling to resolve and would love to have your thoughts.

On Sunday, I asked Mr Minit if he had any black spray to restore my suede boots and make them look new again. No, he said, he didn’t, but he did have this bottle of black stuff I could simply paint on. Having only used the spray, I was dubious.
‘Do you need to brush it after?’ I asked
‘No, it just soaks in.’
Okay. He’s the shoe guy. I believe him. I spent the $10.80, took it home and painted my boots.

And OMG – this stuff just dried solid on them. I tried brushing with a wire suede brush, a suede pumice block (yes, I have all this at home), all to no avail. So I decided to head back yesterday with the hope they’d be able to use their wire wheel thingy and get them back to suede.

My sad boot
Close up of ruination...





















But no. All I got was grief.

After explaining to the guy there – not the guy from Sunday - I got, ‘No, we can’t do anything.’
‘Right….’ I said. Long pause.
‘And….?’ I prompted.
To cut a long, awkward conversation full of long pauses short, some highlights included me saying (and I am not proud about it)
      ·      Is this a franchise?  (It was)
      ·      Are you the franchisee? (He was)      
      ·   So, what’s your responsibility??
And him saying:
      ·      What do you want me to do? (an acknowledgement or apology might be a start)
      ·      Well if this is true, and I’ll need to talk to the guy who was working Sunday…. (Yes, because I would so make this up)
And finally me (this is the bad bit)
      ·      Under Section 52 of The Trade Practices Act, you have sold me a product that was not fit for purpose, so you are legally liable!

He suggested I paint the boots all over. I said I wasn’t after that look. We’d reached an impasse.

‘Well, you can have the product back’, I fumed, slapping in on the counter before turning on my heel and leaving.

I got outside and thought WTF?? I’ve now left the evidence if I do decide to persue this and I didn’t even get my $10.80 back!! I looked for the receipt (couldn’t find it) so went back, asked for and got the product back.

Fuming, I Twittered. I felt better.

I got back to the office and called Mr Minit HQ (Head Quarters) and got the most empathetic Lesley. Leave it with me MWW, she said, we’ll get back to you shortly.

So who got back to me? Yes, the offending Mr Minit!!
‘I believe we have an arrangement to come to,” he said. This wasn’t getting better.
‘What do you suggest?’
‘In these situations, we usually try to replace the shoes.’
Usually? You weren’t offering that a couple of hours ago, buddy.
I said I’d look online and even eBay and see what I could find – even used.
He asked how much they were new, I said $160. He assured me he knew someone who got a pair exactly the same ‘off eBay’ recently for $60.

I’ve looked online, including second hand and eBay and all I can find that are the same are new boots, same brand – but now $199.

So here’s the dilemma: I’m not certain that he’s deliberately infuriating with appalling customer service and trying to avoid responsibility or if he’s just not that sharp? Should I let him know my only option is $199 (plus the $10.80 for the product) or should I just ask for $60? I really want to replace them as I was wearing them at least twice a week and am desperately missing them already.

I’d really love your advise because I have totally lost perspective……


Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Renovation

For at least a year now, I’ve harboured what I thought was a reality – to renovate – only to have my partner/builder/plumber tell me it’s a fantasy and that he has no interest in renovating. What the…?? Break it to me gently why don’t you?

I’d be gathering thoughts and ideas and had the interior designer who’d helped with the kids bathroom do a rough plan. Geoff was objecting violently (figuratively, not literally!) to having the size of his study halved, so as I contemplated solutions, he announced, point blank he’s not interested. Not at all. Bugger.

My friend Theresa has renovated her house and has an extremely beautiful (and proportionately expensive) kitchen tap that is almost a work of art the shape is so perfect. She said the same one can come with a blue light that goes on when you turn on the water.
‘Oh! I want one of those,’ I said.

So as small compensation, I arrived home the other night to discover Geoff had bought a little thing that replaces the existing end of the tap to one that lights up. Powered by the water, it’s blue for cold, green for warm and red for hot. Kitsch? Absolutely – but I do love a little bit of kitsch. And for $7 online from Japan, a hell of a lot cheaper than the reno.



PS As an aside, I’m not really into the footy, but was amazed to see these chips in Coles today when Geelong only won yesterday. If you know anything about supermarkets, logistics and manufacturing, you’ll appreciate how absolutely amazing this is!!! 

In the supermarket less than 24 hours after the Cats won.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wastage

Despite working in advertising, where our job is to drive consumers to consume, I do worry about excessive consumption. Australian’s spend $10.5 billion a year on food we don’t eat, CDs we don’t listen to, clothes we don’t wear and books we don’t read. That’s $1,200 per household.  Clive Hamilton dubs this ‘unethical consumption’ in his book Requiem For A Species.

We’re certainly (and sadly) no exception, but I try really, really hard not to waste food as I consider it the most unethical. An unworn dress can be donated to charity to be cherished and worn by someone else, but uneaten food – especially if it goes into landfill instead of compost, just creates, well, more landfill.

If you think of the resources used to produce food – water, agricultural equipment, processing, packaging and transport – that tub of yoghurt I just hurled into the bin represents far more waste than the plastic container and some curdled milk. Sometimes it really doesn’t bear thinking about.

According to the website Homelife, Australian’s toss out 145kg of food per year, for every man, woman and child. OMG. (Hit the link to get the shocking details of what that's made up of...)

So in an attempt to avoid such wastage I do try, although I confess not with complete success,  to use what’s in the fridge; to love my left-overs.

We had a brunch one weekend that left cooked spinach, mushrooms and baked tomatoes (not surprisingly the eggs and bacon were all eaten!). I chopped them up, popped them in an oven proof dish, made a frittata base with eggs, milk, some mixed herbs, salt and pepper, topped it with cheese and baked in the dish, in a roasting pan with a couple of centimetres of water in it (it just cooks the egg mix more gently so it stays juicy and doesn’t go rubbery). I can only guess that it tasted okay as it disappeared before I got any.

Frittata a la left overs


Tonight I chopped up what cooked meat was in the fridge and fried it with left over veggies and rice. I added some frozen peas and made a two-egg omelette in the microwave to slice on the top. It might not have been the most amazing fried rice but it served a good purpose and was eaten.

Do you have any ways that you use up your leftovers? I’d love to hear your tips please.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Performances


It’s been quite the week of performances. First up on Monday was a relatively new MD of a client who came in to share the business strategy. He’s so dynamic, that it was really quite awe-inspiring.

Tuesday was a combined Scouts and Cubs night with an AFL footballer called Max who was so tall he threatened to bang his head on the vaulted hall ceiling! Sadly, I know so little about footy I’m not even certain which club he plays for, but he did his thing and 40 or so kids were suitably dazzled.

On Wednesday, my friend Dawn and I saw Bangarra’s Belong. Bangarra is Australia’s indigenous dance company. It was an amazing performance, made distinctive by its many graceful but angular movements, easily recognisable from traditional aboriginal dance. Their use of projected film and integration of the dancers – slipping seamlessly from film to stage and back again – was as innovative as the Netherland’s ballet performance. If you get a chance to see them, it’s well worth your time.



On Thursday, the littlest one had her school production. She was a butterfly. Much of it was sung and spoken in Japanese but as they were all Prep, Grade 1 and 2, they were so cute it didn’t matter that most of us had no idea what was going on. There were some speeches at the end that proved too much for the preppy who was front and centre, and after staring into the distance while the other couple of hundred kids on stage sang, he yawned, flopped his head forward and promptly fell asleep!!

Friday night we took George and E to see the Queen Tribute. The guy playing Freddie Mercury did do a great job but it reminded me that the world will only ever have known one voice like Freddie’s.

So a big week of performances. All very different and all very enjoyable in their own way. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Twilight

You’ve probably read the books and seen the movies. I read the first book to the oldest two when they were 13 and 15 and they were pretty underwhelmed. I must admit, if Edward ran his lips over Bella’s jaw line once more, I think I was going to throw up. It was light on the promised UST (Unresolved Sexual Tension) and heavy on the tedium.

And am I the only one who thinks there’s something fundamentally wrong with a 105 year old (albeit, Vampire) lusting after a 16 year old?? Screams pedophile to me.

But I know it’s extremely popular for many girls and women, so I was somewhat alarmed when Mahli at work talked about one of the books insinuating that you lose your soul if you have sex before marriage.

Stephanie Meyer is a Mormon and in an article I read, when challenged with the idea that her books promoted the religion, she said that wasn’t her agenda, but as a Mormon, naturally her values are portrayed in the books.

That’s fair enough, but I realised some of my friends, whose daughters were drinking up these books, had no idea of these ‘messages’. I rang one with views similar to my own and she immediately said she was going to clarify the pre-marital sex issue with her 16 year old.

(Can I say here and now, that this is merely my point of view that sex before marriage is fine. Obviously that’s my position as I’m not married and am the mother of four – and they’re not adopted. But I appreciate it’s not everyone’s view.)

I was on a mission. E, then 11, was just getting into the Twilight movies, so for some crazy reason, I thought I should ‘warn’ her.

“E, you know that it’s okay to have sex before marriage,” I blurted out as I was driving her to Scouts.
“Mum, why are you telling me this?! I’m 11!”
“Because Mahli told me that the Twilight books say you lose your soul if you do. And that’s not true.”
“I still don’t know why you’re telling me this….”
“Well, when should I tell you?”
“How’s old is Mahli?”
“23?”
“Yeah – well, maybe tell me when I’m 23.”

I suspect that might be a tad late...


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