Thursday, 28 February 2013

All Give.....

As you may recall at Christmas, I had the joy of giving to The City of Melbourne by the means of a parking fine they issued me at 6.58pm in a zone that was free from 7pm.

And I just keep giving!!

Tuesday last week was a crap day. Not special crap, just ordinary crap - late for meetings, forgotten papers for said meeting, that kind of annoying stuff. And when I got home I had one of 'those' envelopes in the mail. It didn't look pretty. And my instincts were right....

This time my generosity has been involuntarily directed to Victoria Police......

.... to the tune of $352!! Eeeek. That is a lot of money for 1.6 seconds. If it can keep that up, that camera is earning $792,000 an hour.

I confess this is not my first red light offence. Remember that bit at the start about running late for a meeting? Story of my life really..... that and driving a large black van with sliding doors.

And you've gotta love their lexicon - look in that top right corner - your OBLIGATION NUMBER!!!! They clearly have a sense of humour. Yes, I am 'much obliged' - thank you very much.

More frightening than the smack of $352 was the 3 demerit points. I think I just got some back.... I hope I had three to give. I haven't heard. Anyone know what happens if you overdraw that account??

Monday, 25 February 2013

Therapy; Take Two

Okay, so I have fired my therapist. Maybe that's too dramatic. Let me try again. My therapist and I have parted company. I did give that nature thing a red hot go and I even turned up for the second session where I felt somewhat criticised for my steadfast (her word was 'ridgid') lack of belief. Hmmm.

Moving on from nature, part two was meant to involve my study of Quantum Physics. Now listen here people, I do not write under the name Mother Who Works because I spend my days sitting around watching daytime TV!!! I am very, very busy and I'm sure Quantum Physics is fascinating and I'll look forward to looking into that ....when I retire. Which given my financial commitments will be no time soon.

So I sent her what I hoped was a nice note and she eventually responded with an equally nice response.


But having wriggled out of that, I still didn't have a solution to my 'issue'. (Did you like that? 'Issue'. It looks so insignificant doesn't it?) I needed a Plan B, and it arrived in the post in the form of the newsletter that I receive monthly from the Children's Hospital - specifically, the Bereaved Parents Support Group.

I'd never seriously contemplated turning up to one of their meetings as even reading the news letters made me cry - every time, every month, for nearly four years. Why would I subject myself to the amplified exposure of actually being there in person? It was bad enough reading about it in the privacy of my own home. But this time it seemed a bit different. There was no newsletter, just an invitation to the next meeting which sounded more casual, with no guest speaker, a bit of a looser start to the year's program. I decided to go. And it was good.

It was kinda hard to take seriously at the start as we all sat in a circle of stackable chairs with strategically placed boxes of tissues under every third or fourth one. It seriously looked like a set for a sitcom. But it became very serious as each person introduced themselves and relayed the story of how their child died. Oh my god. It was so sad. There was lots of weeping - me mostly - but we all soldiered on. And it was like I had finally found my tribe. We laughed, we cried, it was an emotional roller coaster. But these people were so honest and frank and raw and articulating things I've been thinking, talking about their contradictions in expectations of other people, about all the awkward situations they find themselves in - all the same as me!!!

I can see the benefit of group therapy - to be amongst people who are in such similar circumstances is extremely comforting. I don't think I'm crazy after all. The room was filled with understanding, appreciation, tolerance and empathy. I was so appreciative that I wanted to suggest a group hug! (You'll be pleased to know I didn't spoil what had been a very productive evening!)

I think I'll go next month too.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Neil vs Paul

On Monday night Geoff, his best mate Charlie and I went to see Neil Finn and Paul Kelly in concert at The Palais. It was hot, it was a Monday, I was tired but is was amazing! Well, half of it was anyway. Which let to this discussion on the walk back to the car.

Me: Half of that was great! The other half was.. meh..
Boys: How can you say that?
Me: Paul Kelly should seriously not have agreed to that concert. He just embarrassed himself.
Boys: What?! He's a genius! Okay, he may not have such a great voice but his songs are legendary
Me: No they're not. How can you compare songs with lyrics about making gravy and falling asleep in the back of the car as a kid to Neil Finn's sublime poetry?
Boys: That 'gravy' song is about Christmas! It's gold. That will be the 'Silent Night' in 50 years time. You mark my words.
Me: I very much doubt that ....

Yes, Paul sang about the clock on the silo saying 11 degrees (which was ironic given it was 40 degrees in the hall) and we all know it was a Silver Top taxi that took him t her door, all very local and heartfelt and nostalgic but hardly comparable. Let me demonstrate:

Here's a few words from Paul:

Guess the brothers are driving down from Queensland and Stella's 
flying in from the coast 
They say it's gonna be a hundred degrees, even more maybe, but that 
won't stop the roast 

Who's gonna make the gravy now? 
I bet it won't taste the same 

Just add flour, salt, a little red wine and don't forget a dollop of 
tomato sauce for sweetness and that extra tang 

And a few from Neil:

I'm really close tonight
And i feel like I'm moving towards you
Been lying in the dark
But i think that I'm beginning to know you
Let it go
I'll be waiting when you call
And whenever i fall at your feet
You let your tears rain down on me
Whenever i touch your slow turning pain

And a short, very dodgy, sideways  clip I took, but is about the sounds anyway... (If you receive this post via email, you do need to pop onto my blog site to see the videos...)

Am I being harsh?? Come one people, defend Paul Kelly if you dare!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Six, five, four, three.

Four years ago, there were six of us living here. The kids were 15, 13, 10 and 3. George and Jaz were both at Glenallen and although Jaz's status was palliative, she was still getting to school about three days a week and staying out of hospital. We were busy with usual family, work and school activities, but we knew it was only a matter of time. We were looking forward to camping at Bright for Easter - and we got there!

Jaz & Elle 2006, aged 11 and 7.

This time last year, there were five of us living here - although George was still in hospital after his spinal surgery to correct his scoliosis. Unexpectedly, he nearly didn't make it - which you may have read about but feel free to recap on this link. Thankfully he pulled through. We had hoped to camp at Nagambie. We didn't get there.

From October, there were four of us living here. Not only that but there was no equipment and no one with a disability. Of course I'd prefer there was - it'd mean George was still with us, but that's not the case. Our routine has changed dramatically. It was early mornings to get George (and Jaz prior to that) up, dressed and fed for the 7.10am bus pick up, the broken sleep and constant worry during the night that he was okay and still breathing, still in bed and not on the floor, the keeping track of five tube feeds a day and countless medications. Now our routine is what most people would consider  to be 'normal', although it's new to us. I have reflected often that for some families, due to illness or accident, they find their world turned around in the opposite direction - to go from 'normal' to suddenly having to care for someone. I'm sure that would be much more difficult.

And now, there's just the three of us living here. Elle is at boarding school and people ask me if I miss her. In honesty, I don't. I know she's having a great time and is safe and happy. I think I still miss George and Jaz so much there's no room for any more 'missing' - and there's really no need, Elle will be coming back.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

1970s Advertising

Geoff bought Palmolive Gold soap at the supermarket. (He should not be allowed to enter supermarkets unsupervised. I think he really believes Wagon Wheels are in one of the major food groups required for essential daily nutrition.) And it sparked my memory for some highly questionable advertising in the 1970s. If you're old enough do you remember the soap's jingle with people sniffing arm pits?

Don't wait to be told, you need Palmolive Gold!

Promoted to imply it had some kind of BO mitigating properties, in an era where nylon and polyester were fabric du jour, I don't think an overly perfumed soap was really going to cut it. Unless you were showing half hourly. Even a cloud of the now familiar Lynx would be hard pressed to mask that special odour. Perhaps anti-perspirant may have been a better idea.

And then that got me thinking about Scorched Peanut bar, the hard bar. I had a look on YouTube and I found it!!! I remember this when I was a kid. We thought it was hilarious. (Actually, I still do...)

And what about Give you man's meat a treat, spread the Leggo's!

I didn't locate that gem, but I did find this from the Gruen Transfer website.
Apparently there was an ad for Leggos pasta sauces back in the 70s, where the wife is in the kitchen and she says:
"When your man's come home from a rough day at work, open up your 'Leggos' and give his meat a treat!"
It was only shown a few times before the ad was pulled.
Is this an urban myth, or can you show it on the next show? :D

It wasn't an urban myth. I saw it with my own eyes. Seriously, the 1970s was not a time renowned for its political correctness.

And finally Salvital. I can't locate that one either, but don't worry, I've wasted some precious memory on that jingle too:
Little housewife, has such a hard life,
Worn out before her man gets hooooo-o-ome
So they gave her, a glass of Salvital,
Now he's afraid to come home alone (as wife grabs husband by the tie and drags him into the house to presumably have her way with him.)

I've worked in big advertising agencies for 25 years until Mandy and I started our own business nearly a year ago. The late 80s when I started were a far cry from the far more austere 90s and rapidly changing dynamics of the new millenium. But I really think the 70s was a whole different paradigm (see, proof that I work in advertising, I use ridiculous words like 'paradigm'). Funny in retrospect yes, but I'm sure the women of the era working at those agencies didn't find it nearly so fun.

And by the way, Palmolive Gold still smells dreadful.

Do you remember these ads? Any other pearls I've missed?

Friday, 8 February 2013


I realised I needed therapy a couple of weeks ago. I was working with a photographer I'd spent a couple of days with on various jobs last year. We met in the foyer of the client's office and I asked  about his Christmas. He'd been to Europe so we chit-chatted about that for a bit. He then casually asked 'How's the family?' And that was it. I started crying. Not just damp eyes, a stray tear - full on CRYING.

And unlike me, I really struggled to pull myself together. In amongst it all, I did manage to mutter that George had died (he did know about the kids) and how unexpected it all was. Meanwhile, I was rummaging in my bag for a tissue, apologising. He was rummaging in his bag looking for a tissue, telling me there was no need to apologise. It was hideous. We both found tissues simultaneously. (I chose to use mine.) Fuck, I thought. I seriously need help.

There was no therapy after Jaz died. Not because I wasn't as sad as I am now, but perhaps we were immediately caught up and focused on George's increasing needs. Jaz died on a Friday and on the Monday, at my request, all the equipment we had - oxygen extractor, oxygen cylinders, the bi-PAP breathing machine, all her feeding equipment, drugs, wound care, incontinence products and her wheelchair were taken away. Two days later, George's wheelchair arrived. We literally lurched from the end of one journey to the beginning of another.

Now both of those journeys are over. And that's taken a bigger adjustment than I was prepared for.

I had my first session 2 weeks ago. There was no couch and no 'tell me about your childhood'. She did of course need to find out the lay of the land.
Do you believe things happen for a reason?
Do you believe in an after life?
Do you have any religious beliefs?
How about a spirit or soul?
No... not really.

Eeek. I felt like I was failing a test.

Okay, what do you believe in?

I've always believed in nature, evolution, spontaneous mutation - all that Darwin stuff. So we had a start. But I confess, I'm really not sure.

It was almost as therapeutic discussing the session with various friends on various occasions.

Anyhow, I was supposed to spend 20 minutes a day sitting quietly outside in nature. I have done it - a bit. It is kinda good - but I've been too busy to do it every day. I have my second session this arvo so we'll see how that goes.

PS My comments are working - please do drop me one - good, bad or indifferent.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The first letter from school...

Well, clearly my advice on being gracious has not sunk in.

Eleanor's  first letter arrived with exclamations of "Oh know!" Clearly, she doesn't know, but with the amount we're paying for her education, I'm so hoping she'll know how to spell soon.

I am refraining from what my mother did when I was at boarding school (and she wasn't alone), which was to correct my spelling for discussion on my return home at the end of term. Some mothers even had the audacity to post the corrected letters back to school which invariably led to a very long wait before a return letter was even contemplated. So I know from experience that doesn't work. I'm going to be a big girl and ignore her appalling spelling, just like you all generously do for me! (And yes, yes... you all know that unlike Geoff, I was NOT the Grade 6 Spelling Bee Champion. I was just hopeful that Elle would succeed where I have failed.)

Eleanor's letter also contained a telling off that she had not received a letter on her arrival - "It was a little awkward." I can only assume it arrived the next day.

There was a list of things she should have packed and didn't, so a request for me to sort that out. And a second letter even, instructing me to drop it to school for delivery rather than post.

And to round it all off, she signed it 'DC' - Disappointment Child. Her term, not ours. Oh, and a PSS (yes, she hasn't got a grip of how that works either) 'Sass don't touch my stuff!!!!'

So although she's now safely ensconced in boarding school a good couple of hours away, it's pretty much business as usual - or should that be attitude as usual?

Sunday, 3 February 2013

A Favour

Hello readers, friends, buddies, pals, hipsters and cool people (I think that's probably enough sucking up!)

If any of my posts have ever made you laugh, cry, smile, smirk or even just left you utterly bewildered about what the hell I'm banging on about, would you consider forwarding the link to a couple of friends? Or hitting 'SHARE' on Facebook and re-posting it to your time line?

I'm blatantly trying to increase my traffic and I need your help!

The usual way to do this is for the blogger is to constantly be surfing other blogs, littering my witty comments here and there to garner attention and drive people to my blog. Frankly, I don't have time for that; I am MWW after all!

And if you are interested in signing up to receive posts via email, you can subscribe to the left or the right of this post.... see?! Can't miss it - left and right. Canny, eh?

Thanks everyone. Very much appreciated and I promise not to ask again....any time soon!

Thanks too to everyone who commented a couple of weeks ago. I don't know how but with a lot of help from Google I managed to re-boot the template and it worked.

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. ...