Gizmo

Standard

Dear Gizmo,

I can’t share the photos of your obnoxious number plate because I’m hoping that there is going to be some follow up legal action regarding this. But I can absolutely share your story.

I can’t share photos of the two year old and 6 month old fast asleep in your car.

But I can write about how it felt when we pulled into the Spotlight carpark. My beloved pulled into a carpark, pulled on the handbrake, turned the engine off and stopped. Paused. I looked to see what she was doing and her face said it all: there was something bad in the car next to us. I looked to see what she was seeing.

Two sleeping babies. A boy, maybe 6 months. A toddler, a little girl – around 2. Fast asleep. In the back seat of your car.

You were nowhere to be seen.

The windows were cracked open – maybe a centimetre at the front, and 2 centimetres at the back. I’m guessing you didn’t want to risk your sound system or anything in the front.

And to be fair, it wasn’t a beltingly hot day. Not like yesterday.

But Gizmo, that’s the thing about car park towers. They tend to hold in heat. And yesterday was hot. Really hot. 37 degrees. Those parking stations are made of concrete. So actually, Gizmo, it was warm in the carpark.

My beloved stayed watching over your two babies while I went into Spotlight and got them to page you by your number plate. In fact, they paged you twice. Then I returned to the car to be with my beloved.

Your son woke up. Had a wriggle, then went back to sleep.

And still, you shopped.

We stayed there, parked next to them. Watching over them. Waiting for you. While we sat, my beloved called the police, who sent the NRMA and a patrol car. They asked if an ambulance was needed and my beloved discussed the kids and how they looked with the words that parents use.

We’re a couple of women who came to Spotlight to get some fabric and some yarn, and some stuffing for a project. Neither of us have criminal records. We’re both good people. Honest. Protective of the vulnerable. Passionate.

You got lucky, Gizmo.

Because there are other people in Newcastle.

People who have guns. People who have less than humane intentions towards others. People who would see your children as a jackpot. People who would see your two little ones sleeping peacefully locked in your car, and rub their hands together with glee. People who are sick. Twisted. Criminal. Dangerous. Deadly.

And you were parked in the dark corner of a parking tower.

We could have smashed the windows of your car, Gizmo, and pulled the kids to safety. But if we had done that, they would have woken up. Fear would have etched across their little cherubic faces, and in that still sleepy haze, they would have panicked. Because regardless of how innocent we are, waking up to strangers smashing in a car window would be terrifying. But if you were parked in the sun. If it was a hotter day, and the heat was even more amplified than it already was. If your children were awake, or scared, or crying, or listless. Then we would not have hesitated.

Because, Gizmo, here’s the thing: Kids rely on adults to make smart choices for them. When you have kids trusted to your care, you have a responsibility to make choices that protect those kids. Leaving them locked in a car with the windows cracked open a touch does not equal a choice to protect those kids.

You eventually returned to your car and sleeping babies, with your hands empty. So what was important enough to leave your kids behind while you shopped? Maybe they were out of stock. I’d like to say you rushed back to the car. That you checked on the kids before you drove away. But you didn’t. You gave the two dykes glaring at you a smug smile, hopped into the car and drove away.

The police still came. We spoke to them. They are following it up. We’ve already had a call asking if we’re willing to give statements. We are, as it happens. And fingers crossed, if you have a wife, she might have a word or two to have with you about this.

You got a second chance with your kids, Gizmo.

Don’t fuck it up.

How to Drive to Nowhere

Standard

We’d been waiting for this weekend.

A comedic writing workshop with the amazing Mandy Nolan; a birthday celebration for my beloved’s father; a chance for beloved and her siblings to be together for the first time in years; cuddles with babies; friendship. A big weekend, a good weekend, a weekend that we’d been counting down to.

I awoke with a sore nose and upon closer inspection, turns out I have a massive pimple growing on the inside of my right nostril. It’s still growing. My nose is still swelling. Beloved is calling me Papa Smurf, which is a little bit offensive.

Image by the Naughty Corner

Image by the Naughty Corner

The dog sitter was ready to roll, our bags were packed, the sun was shining.

And shining.

And shining.

It got to about 37 degrees (Celsius) and we were sweltering in beloved’s truck. Which was peculiar, given the air conditioner was on. It wasn’t until the sweat was rolling down my face and we were about an hour in to the trip that I queried as to the functionality of the air conditioner. Turns out it had none. Yep, after a service on the car last week, the air conditioner had died. And it was hot.

We carried on.

Now, my beloved loves her truck. And I admire the amount of stuff it can carry, and I love how much she enjoys it, and it’s great for carting stuff around. And I love that it’s her first ever brand new car. But the one thing it seems to be lacking is suspension. You tend to get bounced around and jarred and jolted for the duration of the trip.

Usually, this is fine and I can manage.

But when my Achilles surgery is still 12 days away and pain levels are out of control? This was not working.

After about three hours, of sweltering and sweating and clenching muscles to try to avoid being jolted, and stopping every half hour or so for stretching, beloved pulled into a roadside rest stop and we had a chat. About pain, about communicating pain, about options. Then she made some phone calls.

While she was on the phone, all I could think about was what she was missing out on because of my foot. About feeling old. About being so stuck with how things are, and knowing that while the solution is only 12 days away, it’s still 12 days away. And feeling guilty and horrible and crap that she has to miss stuff because of my foot, and that I have to miss stuff because of my foot.

We got in the car, and found somewhere for a cold drink. It was while beloved was eating an icecream that it happened. The photo opportunity that summed up the entire day. The dead air conditioner, the sweltering heat, the pain, the tears, the disappointment, the lost opportunities. And look at the devastation on her little face. Because, you see, on the table is half of her Gaytime.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

It broke off, and melted into a puddle of brown and white milk. We watched it. I laughed.

Then we got in the car and headed for home.

Pie Night

Standard

It’s pie night tonight.

Pie night is usually saved for Fridays during the football season, and it is an absolute favourite for my beloved.

It’s pretty simple – a heap of veges thrown in with some chicken in a mushroomy sauce (or a cheesy sauce or whatever I can find), with some puff pastry on the top and baked for about 30 minutes. But it’s like a big old hug, and given I do most of it in the slow cooker, it’s an easy dinner.

As I write this, the pie is in the oven with the pastry starting to puff in a very satisfying way. Which means I’ve got about 15 minutes to write this blog.

The last couple of days have been busy. I had a trial meeting with a client for my new job, and it went well. But it left me feeling a bit sad, and a bit anxious. Because the thing is, the people I will be working with are vulnerable. And they rely on me to be a decent person – someone who will respect them and honour them and promote their needs. I have no problem with this because this is how I try to treat everyone in my world. But there are some people who don’t act this way, and one of them is in charge of all of Australia at the moment, and it’s heartbreaking.

It never pays to assume. To assume decency or to assume that you’ll get change or assume that a certain size will fit you. You have try things on and test them out and make sure that they’re worth trusting. I’m a big fan of giving people respect, and then seeing what they do with it. From experience, I’ve observed that they either rise up and meet that respect and it becomes a mutual thing, or they act in ways that slowly erodes it. Then it’s up to them to act in ways that slowly earns that respect back.

I’ve been sore today. It’s crap. 15 days til surgery. I’ve been hooking:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

That’s for Little Miss A. Love her guts and I haven’t met her yet. She’s been on earth for a fairly short time, but I get to meet her soon and I am thrilled to buggery. We’re heading up north for a writing workshop with the gorgeous and talented Mandy Nolan. So, hopefully we’ll get to meet Little Miss A, and see E, K and I as well. Oh, and their parents. Who are awesome.

The timer has just gone off and I’ve written a blog about not much really. Sorry about that.

Here’s the pie:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

How has your day been?

Ten Days of Whirlwind

Standard

Things have been a little bit bizarre, the last week or so. Which is a vague apology for not blogging, but not really an apology, because I’m not sure if there is anything to be sorry for. The beauty of blogging is that nobody pays me to do this, so if I write or not there’s no pressure, no deadline, no dress code – I do it because I love it, and when I don’t get to blog it’s generally because life is happening and leaving me a bit overwhelmed or bewildered.

Anyway, anyway. I digress, and in paragraph one! Oh this is going to be a ripper, isn’t it.

This has been a really big week. Week and a bit. Let’s say ten days. A big ten days.

And now I’m counting, and getting totally distracted.

I have lots of things to tell you, and long time followers will know that each of these things is significant. But what they actually are, is a list of how my world has become a bit of a whirlwind. And to be honest, completely and utterly honest, I’m going to tell you that these things are all awesome. But the reality is I am starting to panic a bit. Panicking is something I do when I feel like self sabotaging. It’s very counter productive and is generally accompanied by increased nicotine inhalation and a rise in the amount of time spent playing mindless games on my phone.

Anyway anyway anyway. Here is what’s going on.

1. I got a job. I got a job. I got a job. I’m yet to start, but I got a job. Can you believe that? I had a two hour interview – yes, TWO HOURS! I’m looking forward to starting.

2. During the job interview, I was trying really hard not to fidget around. So I stuck my hand into my shoe. It made sense at the time so shh. Anyway I was sitting there talking in a very grown up and professional manner when my fingers found themselves encircled by a random piece of RIBBON that was attached to the inner sole of the shoe I was wearing. So I did what anyone would do, when they were in the middle of a job interview with the hand shoved in their shoe: I pulled. Yanked out the ribbon. Slipped it into my pocket without them even noticing. Because that is how smooth I am. Total adult.

3. A few days after the interview, I found out that Skunk would be riding again. Skunk is my Scout name. Because I was a Cub Scout leader. For a long time, minus 12 months after being stood down for fighting to save my beautiful little group. I’ve been reinstated. And I started on Thursday. And it was hard. It was the actual definition of bittersweet. I was happy to be back, but heartbroken to be back at the wrong Hall and seeing everyone in the wrong scarves. But I guess that’s the thing, isn’t it. My passion for giving kids a chance to step up has to be bigger than my grief or my pride. And I suppose it is, because I go back tomorrow night.

4. Before I left for Scouts, my baby Scouty hurt her foot. Pretty badly. Not amputate or put down – probably only comparable to a sprain. But fuck. Seeing that furry little face in pain and not understanding why she was hurting and my beloved having to take her to the vet without me to hold her paw. Then I came home, and she just held onto my arm and breathed and slowly her breathing returned to normal and she looked at me with her big brown eyes and then limped out to bed. My heart, in a million pieces. She’s fine, by the way. Still a bit hobbling but absolutely improving.

5. So I got a job, got reinstated as Cub leader, my fur baby hurt herself and then I went to the Hawkesbury to visit my family. And this is awesome, this bit. My sister got a PUPPY. His name is Rory and he’s beautiful. Look, this is him!

Rory. Image by The Naughty Corner

Rory. Image by The Naughty Corner

6. I set a goal and I’m working towards it. By nature, I’m someone who loves to be at home. I recharge at home, I feel safe at home, I have some form of control over things at home – not in a I’m a control freak way, but in a knowing how things will be kind of way. Comfort from routine and lack of surprises, I guess. But I’ve been really making a huge effort the last week or so to go out every single day. I fucking hate it. But I’m doing it. And working on this is confronting. But I’m doing it.

7. I came home from the Hawkesbury today. Was met by my rambunctious furries and slightly overwhelmed dog sitters. We had dinner and then they left. Then I saw this clip, from a show called “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here”. I had been backing the glorious Chrissie Swan to win since day one. I love this chick. She’s beautiful and clever and witty and funny and caring and smart. And she’s a mum and spoke often of missing her kids while she was on the reality series, eating this like ostrich arseholes and having maggots poured over her. The finale was tonight and this, this moment here happened. Watch it, then I will tell you why it reduced me to tears as I watched it over and over and over again:

Did you see it? Chrissie, so tired and worn out. And just… waiting. And then she hears it. A hopeful little word. A word that’s a question and a hope and an assumption and a heart. “Mum?”. And everything changes. And I watched it and cried and then watched it again and again. And it wasn’t the obvious answer of oh god I miss my mum. It was this:

Is that what it’s going to be like when I finally get to see my mum again? When we meet again in the next part of life? Will she be waiting for me? I might get to hold her and hear her and see her, and smell her listen to her, and in one word tell her how much she has been missed and loved and remembered and thought of and hoped for. In one word, I’d catch her attention and she’d look up and see me. And everything changes.

And everything has changed.

But it isn’t all bad.

And that’s the biggest whirlwind of all, I think.

Some Thinkings

Standard

Did you ever watch A Country Practice? It was on channel 7 here in Australia for many years, and I loved it.

There was a character in it called Molly, Molly had cancer and she died lying on a couch watching her husband, Brendan and their daughter, Chloe, playing outside. Flying kites, from memory.

This scene comes to mind often, because more often than not I am finding myself watching my beloved throwing the disc for Scouty or the elephant for Harry and Zel, and I’m stuck on the bench, just watching because I’m stuck. Not because of cancer but because of pain, and it’s fucked up.

When I buy an avocado on Saturday I kind of want to be able to cut it open on Monday without this happening. Thanks, Woolworths.

Woolies, you are not the fresh food people. Image by The Naughty Corner

Woolies, you are not the fresh food people. Image by The Naughty Corner

There’s a writing competition coming up, and the theme is Grieve. Because it’s a competition there will be winners and losers. So hey, you might win with your grief. Your grief might be the winningest grief in all the land. And if you don’t win then maybe you can write about the grief it causes you next year.

I’m consistently the last person who notices how dirty my glasses are. I don’t care if they’re dirty. I see right through them, anyway.

The Bear got robbed yesterday. She was on the loo and heard someone walk into her house. She wasn’t in a position to chase after them. All sorts of shit would have gone down. But she yelled out and she heard a noise. Anyway turns out they took her purse and I’m pretty cross about it. What kind of person walks straight in to someone’s home and swipes their purse while they’re on the loo?

Oh, and it looks like there’s a chance, a whisper, a maybe that Skunk might be about to ride again…

That’s all I have.

The Bounty.

Standard

Yum.

That’s all. Just YUM.

The Bear, who used to be my neighbour, came over for dinner this week. This is a fairly regular occurrence, because I was a fantastic neighbour. This time, however, I charged her with a mission: make those chocolate things that she shared on Facebook.

This is the beauty of the interwebs, people. Particularly Facebook. You see, when the Bear shared the post in question, I saw it and I told asked her to make it for me. AND SHE DID!

Here is the before shot:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

And here is the during shot:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

And this is the after shot:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

These home made Bounty bars were pretty damn awesome. And I love that the Bear made them for me! She’s a bloody ripper of a chick and I am thankful that after 5 years of living as neighbours we’re still mates. So I bet by now you’re wanting that Bounty recipe, right? Well here it is!

The Bear tells me it was easy but messy. And the good news is that she still has the stuff to make more. I must invite her back soon.

And now it’s Saturday, and Beloved and I have made the trek to Bunnings. I am not sure what happened, but for a moment there we swapped roles. I was eyeing off different products and items, and she would calmly explain to me why we didn’t need them and therefore wouldn’t be buying them. Beloved herself only bought one thing, and it was exactly what she had gone in for! Is this the beginning of a new time? I am not sure how I feel about this. I’m really not. If only because it means that my yarn and wool purchases might start being curbed. Surely not…

How’s your weekend shaping up? Do you reckon you’re going to have a shot at those Bounty bars? Let me know what you think!

Bed Goes Up

Standard

I caught up with the foot surgeon again today. You might remember our initial meeting – and to his credit, his good humour hasn’t wavered one little bit. Today, I was on my own as my beloved had bigger fish to fry. So it is little wonder that I got a bit bored while I waited on the surgeon’s bed.

I was sitting there, gazing around at the room:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

And as I kicked my legs back and forth, my left foot connected with something under the bed. I leaned forward to see what it was, and my eyes fell upon a pedal type thing. Well, it was two pedals. One was labelled “UP” and the other “DOWN”.

I carefully waved my toe towards the up pedal and the bed went up!

Then I tapped on the down pedal, and the bed went down!

The next few minutes were a bit like this:

Until my foot got a bit stuck, and the bed shot upwards until my foot was no longer able to reach the pedal.

The dear surgeon came into the room in time to find me suspended halfway up the wall, my feet dangling in mid air and a look of pure guilt on my face.

He smiled, worked out what had happened but let me explain. And apologise.

He kept me up there until it was time for me to leave, though.

And side note – I’m getting that Achilles release in just over a month. Which means that in two months? My life can start coming back together.

I am so freaking excited!