Monday, 26 May 2014

A World of Pain

Elle fell in a hole last week. She was warming up for cross country when it happened. Her ankle is very swollen and black with bruising. It required two trips to the doctor, an MRI, an x-ray and a physio appointment to determine that she has two torn ligaments. Surprising really, as I was quite sure she's been fortunate to inherit my 'sturdy ankles'.

I'm sure it hurts. It looks sore.

But it's been just as painful for me based on the following:

  • Moans, groans and even whimpers every time I'm within hearing distance
  • She can't take her own plates to the dishwasher
  • I have to pack her lunch and her school bag
  • I have to put up with demands like 'Can you make my lunch?' (Yes, of course she got a lecture about saying please - that was axiomatic)
  • She divides her clothes on the bathroom floor between clean and dirty - for me to deal with
  • I have to put her doona on her once she's in bed
  • I fill her water bottle, open the car door, carry her bag into school.....
Getting a picture? And to top it off, it means she can't do an introductory shift for the interview she's meant to be having at McDonald's in some vague attempt of generating some of her own money instead of bleeding me.

It's painful alright.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

The Wolf

His suit is a blue as deep as depression, the sharp cut is equally unforgiving.  The shine of his black shoes and hair is only surpassed by the diamond-hard glint in his eye. If it weren't for his private-school breeding, he'd physically be salivating like a wolf on the verge of the kill. But I guess that's exactly what it is.

His bitch, there to bear witness that protocol is adhered to, to ensure there'll be no come back, sits away from the table, shoulders slumped, arms and legs crossed as if by curling into herself and taking up minimal physical space, she is somehow emotionally removing herself from the inevitable blood letting.

'Please,' he says, indicating one of the sixteen plush leather boardroom chairs, all befitting the arses of the power brokers of this cut-throat, ASX top-100 corporation, 'have a seat.' I don't bother to verbally acknowledge him, fuck that, but I do sit and meet his cool blue gaze with one I hope is accurately conveying my nonchalant disinterest.

Naturally, I have rehearsed this meeting a hundred times in my head. In one version, I actually refuse to take a seat and just stand there which is incredibly awkward for him and amusing for me. But on reflection I realise this stance will give him an advantage - the school teacher to student. So I had already predetermined that I would sit. Might as well be comfortable - this could drag on. Or not.

'As you're no doubt aware,' he launches into his legal-department-approved speech, 'due to unexpected market conditions, the company is not fairing as well as we'd hoped and therefore not meeting budget.' I'm tempted to ask how that's got anything to do with m
e. No one asked me what I thought the market might do, no one asked me to have a crack at the budget and yet, here I am, being casually informed of the mistakes of the securely employed. 'That being the case, we are now in the unfortunate position of having to make some..... adjustments.' I almost laugh out loud. But then I remember I am one of those adjustments.

Again, in my usual smart-arse manner, the one that probably led to me being in this seat and in this meeting, I set my mouth in a firm straight line and nod sagely, as if he's just explained something to me that makes complete sense. It's only because he knows me that he gets a whiff of piss taking. One to me.

I could cut this short. I could just ask how much my severance is, what the exclusion and confidentiality clauses are and be done with it. But where's the sport in that?

He rambles on with his speech, clearly deriving a perverse satisfaction from his performance as the consummate professional, imagining himself secretly being filmed for the documentary version of Wall Street. Sadly, his audience, me and the cowering HR woman in the background, aren't the least bit dazzled. I glance at the clock on the wall and sit up a little straighter as I realise with pride that we're 15 minutes in and I'm yet to utter a word. Two to me.

He reaches the business end of his speech,'... so I'm afraid we have to let you go.' I nod and deign to speak for the first time. 'Okay.' Not 'okay' as in affirming or agreeing, that's a trap for young players who don't know me better. This 'okay' is merely an acknowledgment that I have heard what you said. A subtle but essential difference. I doubt he noticed, but I did and that's what matters.

'So,' he continues on, 'how would you like to play this? In terms of letting your team and the staff know? Moving on to pursue other interests?' He punctuates this last sentence with quotation marks etched in the air with his fingers. The wolf is starting to look a lot like a pussy.

I arrange my face to a look of boredom. 'Why don't you just tell them the truth? Unexpected market conditions, blah blah blah - you flung me.' He looks affronted. Not because I'm being blunt about my position but that I'm not being respectful enough of his brilliant performance. He looks just a little bit defeatist. Three to me. Time to sign and get out.

PS This isn't true. I just made it up. I have been retrenched in my career, just the once which is surprising in advertising. It was early in my career, the managing director who delivered the news was kind, even ringing his mate at another agency to get me an interview there. I got that gig and actually liked it more than my previous job. As is so often the case.

Monday, 12 May 2014

The Trap

Do you have a garage? A shed? An attic? A spare room perhaps? Somewhere you can store stuff that you don't require on a day to day basis or stuff that you're hanging onto because you might need it one day or you have some emotional attachment and can't let go?

We have an attic. They type that has the pull down ladder in the ceiling and Geoff has put some flooring up there and that's pretty much it. It's a trap. Why? Because it's far too easy to fling stuff up there rather than make an actual decision about it.

The door to The Trap! What lurks behind....

There is so much crap up there it's a fire hazard. So at Easter I decided the big project would be to check though what the heck was there and get rid of some stuff.

Here's a summary:

  • Rationalising the enormous collection of soft toys down to just two huge stripy bags full. We should have gone harder I know but there's a lot of emotion in those stuffed bits of bathmat
  • At least half a dozen good quality woollen blankets that Mum had given me when she and Dad moved house god knows how many years ago. We've never used them and as the weather grows increasingly chilly, I figure anyone sleeping rough would probably like one. Straight to St Vinnies.
  • Three sleeping mats (we have bunk beds for the tent now) and about as many sleeping bags that have since been upgraded or that we no longer use. See above.
  • A couple of Lladro figurines (not rare) that were Mum's - although she says she has no recollection of them. My cousin Amy likes that style of decoration so why on earth are they sitting gathering dust in my attic when she could be enjoying them?
  • Just a few clothes that were Jazzy's and Elle's that I thought Sass might wear one day. Ha! Apart from a couple of pairs of wacky sneakers, the rest went straight to St Vinnie's.
  • God knows how many crates of the kids' 'special art' and school journals - but could I get Elle and Sass to part with more than a small fraction of it? No. I'm thinking a sneaky clean out without them might be in order!
Here's a stroll through history:
  • A huge crate of rolls for the pianola. We did have a pianola - it was my grandmother's - but do we really need so many old rolls of songs and music from the 1920s?? Probably not. But they're still there.
  • A crate of memorabilia from my youth (yes, yes - all those years ago....)
  • A box of family heirlooms from my parent's place (now minus a couple of Lladro figurines)
  • A small crate of adorable baby things that I hope one day the girls might want for their babies
  • Crates of photo albums - even though Geoff has pretty much scanned every photo we own
  • The doll's house that was Jaz's, then Elle's, then Sass's
  • The rocking horse that was Jaz's, then Elle's, then Sass's
  • A crate of George's special things
  • Some dioramas the kids did at school
  • A crate of favourite kid's books (see baby things)
  • Old trophies and awards
What's also staying that is useful:
  • A couple of crates of ski gear - although we did manage to weed out the bits that don't fit anyone anymore
  • Doona, pillows, mattresses and sleeping bags for sleep overs
  • Some miscellaneous furniture we have pledged to rid ourselves of should any of it not find a home when we finally renovate
  • Christmas decorations
I'm such a hoarder! I'm sure if George and Jaz were still with us, I feel sure I wouldn't need to hang on to so many tangible memories - but also suspect that space would just be taken up by other crap of theirs! I also suspect if one day it all just disappeared, apart from the useful stuff, we'd manage perfectly well without the rest.

So do you have storage trap? What do you keep and how do you let go of 'stuff'?? All tips gratefully received!

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. ...