Ways in which to test my resolve

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Today started well, I thought. I slept well, woke in plenty of time to get the day started, threw the ball for Scouty. Harry and my beloved had some quality magazine time:

Interior design is serious business. Image by The Naughty Corner

Interior design is serious business. Image by The Naughty Corner

Plenty of time turned out to filter through my fingers very quickly, and I dashed out the front door with five minutes to make a 15 minute drive to my first appointment for the day. My beloved’s daughter had parked behind my beloved’s car – the car I’m currently wrestling with while I hunt for a car of my own. Two minutes down, I arrived to my first appointment 10 minutes late. A very disturbing thing for me.

I left that appointment in plenty of time to get to my second appointment – acupuncture. My first ever acupuncture appointment. So I was feeling a little nervous, and still floating on the frustration of being late. On my way, I stopped to get fuel, which could have been when my mind wandered. Because as I pulled into the parking lot, took my parking ticket and begun the shitfight that is parking in school holidays, I had no idea that I was in entirely the wrong suburb.

I drove around for ten minutes looking for a park, until it dawned on me that it’s Kotara that has a Lindcraft, not Charlestown… so why would Charlestown be advertising Lindcraft? I’m ashamed to say it took me several moments to digest that but the result?

Total panic.

I left the carpark, and kept driving. It was just as I pulled out that I heard the storm warning for my area, and quickly rang my beloved regarding the horror bundle of joy that is Zelda. Zelda tends to lose her shit during storms, and it can get very full on. She’s been known to scale fences, escape out of holes 2 inches smaller than herself, shift bricks and stones. So I alerted my beloved to the impending storm, and continued on to Charlestown. Not Kotara. Charlestown.

I pulled in, grabbed another parking ticket, and started the parking stalk and duel.

Found a spot. Manouvered the truck to slip in, and nope. Not the right angle. Reversed, tried again. Wrong again. Glanced at the time. Officially 15 minutes late. Tried again. No no no no no.

It was around this time that I just gave up.

Opened my mouth and released a stream of profanities that I had never heard before. And they kept coming. They continued as I decided against acupuncture. They continued as I gave up on parking the truck. Continued still as I went to exit the carpark.

It was the traffic jam in the parking lot that silenced my foul mouth.

Total silence.

There was a line of cars – so many of them – and they were all going absolutely nowhere.

I kid you not – I sat in that damn traffic jam for a good 25 minutes before it started to move. By this time, I had given up not only on acupuncture and on parking the truck but also on life itself. The only thing that spurred me on was the promise of daylight.

I finally pulled out of the parking station, and realised it had hit.

The storm.

The windscreen instantly fogged, reminding me to remind my beloved to get the air conditioning fixed. I opened the window and was immediately drenched. The rain fell harder and harder and instead of heading towards home, I drove with the simple aim of finding somewhere safe to pull over while I tried to de-fog the windscreen.

I pulled over just as it really hit.

Hailstones fell. Rain torrented.

This was when I bawled and bawled. Rang my beloved, sobbed down the phone at her in an unknown language. She offered to get me but for some reason the image of her being hit by hail made me cry even harder.

I waited it out. Tried to calm myself by working out where the hell I was.

As the sky cleared and the windscreen joined it, I looked around. Started the car again, and pulled out. Saw a sign for Warners Bay. Yep. In trying to get to Charlestown, I’d gone first to Kotara and then carried on to Warners Bay on the way home.

I am fucking exhausted.

Tell me your day was better than mine?

Out of the box: How we’re still getting it wrong

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So last night I dedicated some time and brain cells to staring at a screen. The television screen. Julia Gillard was about to be interviewed, and being a fan of hers for a long time I had been pretty keen to see this. Because we are in 2014, I knew the interview wouldn’t be about hair and beauty and shit like that – it would be about policies, and political achievements, and what she wanted to achieve in her time as PM.

The fact is, Julia will always be referred to as Australia’s first female Prime Minister. Because that is what she was.

The problem with this is that straight away, she’s categorised by her vag instead of her viewpoints.

I don’t care that she is female – I’m one too – but the thing is, the more that we focus on her genitals the more we undermine this strong, wise, independent human being. Not because she’s female – but because it’s the precursor to every single thing she did in her time in office.

I love this picture of her:

JuliaGillard

Image by Sophie Deane, at the introduction of the DisabilityCare levy.

She’s human. She was PM, she achieved a huge amount in her time as PM, but for some reason the interview focused on the following:

  1. Her hair
  2. Her fashion
  3. Her photo
  4. Her boyfriend
  5. Her marital status

Get. Fucked.

Julia showed us more about ourselves as Australians than any other PM has: quite simply, the majority of us could not cope with a strong woman steering the ship of our country.

This isn’t about sexism or misogyny or the disgusting Alan Jones moment. This is about a human who achieved much but is left having to discuss her follicles and anatomy.

An hour or so after this, I admit to you that I watched the Big Brother Eviction. This was the first eviction for the year and I have to tell you something: I’ve never witnessed anything more excruciating and unnecessary in my life.

The background – several housemates were up for eviction, votes were tallied and it came down to one pair – Jake and Gemma. Here they are, the night they entered the Big Brother House:

And this is them last night, as the housemates took turns to say whether they wanted Jake or Gemma to remain in the House:

Image via Channel 9

Image via Channel 9

So.

Ever been the last person picked for a team? Ever been in a situation where every single person (except one) chose against you? Ever had that happen to you on national TV?

Completely unnecessary. Totally brutal.

For me, viewing of the box left me with an overwhelming sense of how far we still had to go. We have a lot to learn about the way we treat each other. About respect. About being thankful and considerate and protecting the inner core of each other – that part we all have that can be so easily wounded.

Because it’s there. There’s no disputing it.

If your heart has ever shrunk with shame, you have it. If your tummy has ever dropped with fear, or fluttered to life with anxiety, then you have it. If you’ve ever felt like you were going to drown in grief or loss or loneliness, you have it.

It’s time we remember it. It’s time to remember we all have that part.

It’s time to protect each other.

What do you think?

The Hunt

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I’m looking for a car at the moment, after the ill-timed demise of the Subaru and the chaotic unreliability of the Kia. I’ve test driven several potential cars, and in the testing I’ve decided that buying a car is a bit like online dating. Photos lie. Write ups exaggerate. 

Let me explain.

I revisited this car today, to take it for a test drive:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

The ad spoke of room, low kilometres, affordability. When I met this potential beau, I admit to being impressed by the shine and the lack of spider webs. I took my beloved to meet it today, and she opened the door and looked at the interior.

I think someone had pooed in it.

The smell hit us first, and the brown smear on the back seat spoke of many terrible hours spent in the car.

We didn’t drive it. We just shut the doors and backed away.

 

I then found a selfy that looked sporty. Solid. Promising. Here is a photo of the make and model – not the actual car:

This is a car that made me dream of changed toilet rolls and astrology. This looked like a grown up car that wouldn’t be out of place with music blaring out of the windows. And it is European! How very mature and worldly! My hairy armpits would be fine in this car –  after all, I would almost have dual citizenship. We jumped in and drove it. The first thing we noticed was that Europeans are very strong. This thing was heavy. The second?

A very touchy gear box is standard.

I stalled this thing three times before I got out the car yard. Obviously a car issue, and not me. Really. Not. Me.

The hunt continued.

 

A small sedan would be OK, I had reasoned. I’d prefer a hatchback, but a small sedan? Doable. Kind of like settling for a family-oriented beau, without the pressure of future breeding. I admired the smallness of the nose, worried about the size of the boot, climbed aboard and off we went. Here is a photo of a similar probable squire:

Have you ever sat on a car seat that has had a large coke spilled on it, been left to dry and the foam underlay grated with a small shredder?

This was one uncomfortable vehicle. It claimed to be fuel efficient. It claimed to be sporting new rubber. It claimed many things, but the seats undid every single one of them.

We drove it, and loved it. But the five minute test drive made us realise that this was not the third member of our relationship. As transport donors go, this was a dud.

 

And so, I am still carless. If you have one to donate, sell or perhaps even to sponsor me with, all offers will be considered. Considered, you understand.

I’ve learned the hard way that when it comes to cars, it pays to be careful.

 

 

 

A funny old week

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It’s been a funny old week.

We had lots of visitors, post-wedding, and it was great. Which is peculiar because I’m not very adept at dealing with noise and crowds. But I honestly enjoyed it. On Sunday I realised that the three guests who were currently waking up in the spare room were total strangers to me just a few months ago. Granted, one of them was only five weeks old, but still, strangers!

As an aside, my bestie and I once found a German backpacker looking lost in KMart, and we brought her home to spend the night while she sorted out her next adventure. That was a total stranger, not an in-utero stranger.

Also this week, I’ve been trying to find a car. The demise of the last two cars I owned has left me very much doubting the integrity of the car industry. Forget lemons. These two were grape fruits. In fact, we received our cheque from the scrap metal dealer who bought the Subaru this week.

Yeah.

Thanks for that.

There’s been terror alerts in Sydney and of course it was the anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Which got me thinking. When 9-11 happened, I was teaching English to high school kids at an International college. Computer room rules went out the window and most of us were in there, jostling for news and information and all silently wondering what had happened. Back in the classroom, teenagers with fumbled English asked me to explain. I did my best, but even now I know I fell short. All these years later, and I’m not teaching. I’m writing and blogging and hoping that one day I’ll have the courage to return to teaching. Lots of water under the bridge and all that crap.

But I am seriously working on returning to teaching. I think I’m good at it. And I love helping kids realise they are better than they thought they were. When they learn to spell a word they’ve never heard of, or manage to get through an assembly without punching someone. Hell, I’ll be happy if I can do that.

It’s also been a week where we’ve had a significant washing issue. Dirty clothes have mated with clean clothes and created clirties – clothes that look clean but smell like they’ve put in a full day of protecting our nakedness. Floors have disappeared. Tensions have risen. So today I loaded up the washing machine and started to conquer Mount Washmore.

All was well until I took the last load of the day out.

You know how you associate smells with things? Like, the smell of lemons you associate with lemons. The smell of bread you associate with bread. The smell of cough lollies you associate with cough lollies.

SO WHY DID THE LAUNDRY STINK OF COUGH LOLLIES, I ASK YOU!!!!

Turns out a packet of Anticol took a tour of the spin cycle, stripped itself of the confines of a wrapper and Gravitron-style, adhered itself to the barrel of the washing machine.

I plan to let ants take care of it.

Finally, friends, it’s been a week where I awoke feeling concerned for a mate. I followed up on the feeling and checked in with her.

Didn’t take much.

Give it a go, huh?

Tell me about your week! What has been happening in your corner of the world?

Happily Ever After

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My beloved and I went to a wedding on Friday. I’m not a hug fan of weddings, mostly because I know they are long and I tend to get bored easily because I forget to pay attention. I knew I’d enjoy this particular wedding, mainly because of who would be there (including the stars of the show). So I packed a small dice game and a secret crochet project to ward off boredom (didn’t need them) and my beloved and I got ready. We looked like ladies!

It's not a skirt! Image by The Naughty Corner

It’s not a skirt! Image by The Naughty Corner

So the ceremony was in a park, which was great, however the entire time the beautiful bride was getting out of the car I couldn’t help but notice a dog doing an extended wee on a post just a few metres away. Seriously. This wee went for ages. Anyway I am assuming it is all part of what happens at weddings that are FUN. Because this wedding was indeed FUN. Good music, good people, good food, lots of alcohol. What more could you want?

When we first got there, I saw this sign, which I obeyed:

Aye aye, Cap'n. Image by The Naughty Corner.

Aye aye, Cap’n. Image by The Naughty Corner.

Then the special wedding car arrived. Everyone faced this way for ages. This is when I saw the weeing dog, but I didn’t take a photo of it. Because I am a grown up.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

The ceremony itself was great. Personalised, funny, to the point, involved lots of people. Then all of a sudden, they’re married! Off to the reception. There was a Photobooth, which meant that there were LOTS of dress up things:

There was also a small bubby. My beloved fell in love, and again we lamented the fact that she is shooting blanks.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

And of course, there was dancing:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Because I forgot to ask before they left for their honeymoon, I can’t show you a picture of the people who got married. Rest assured that they had an awesome wedding, and know that I wish them every happily ever after in the world. I’ve suggested they throw yearly weddings instead of having birthdays, but they weren’t really keen.

Have you been to a wedding? Did you enjoy it?

 

Prevent it.

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Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.

One of my favourite posts I’ve written here on The Naughty Corner is this one. It’s called Stay.

In the 12 months since writing Stay, there have been almost 2500 deaths by suicide in Australia alone.  That is a lot of brothers. Sisters. Uncles. Aunties. Mums. Dads. Strangers, friends, grandparents, enemies, teachers, lawyers, footballers, musicians, real estate agents. The person who usually sits opposite you on the train. The person who sat in your seat on the bus last year. Someone who you didn’t even know twelve months ago.

Gone.

Snuffed out.

Finished.

The thing about suicide is that it’s been thought through. The person who commits suicide has considered it. They’ve looked at their options, and this is what they’ve come up with. This is the only way they could see to fix things, to change things, to get rid of the turmoil they’re living with.

I kind of feel like I wave the suicide awareness flag a lot here in The Naughty Corner. I’m a huge advocate for talking about mental health, and for removing the stigma that is associated with mental illness.

But people are still dying.

I re-read Stay and I stand by what I’ve written there. I wanted to write something different for 2014, but the thing is, Stay is where it’s at. Stay is what I would write, again and again.

Because we need each other, if we are to have any chance at staying.

I also wrote about Robin Williams. I’m sharing the link again, because sadly, heartbreakingly… it’s relevant.

Suicide has a way of infiltrating the life of every single human.

We need to be OK about talking about mental health.

Because we need each other.

People, help the people.

Noted.

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I’m back from a few days with the family. We had a Fathers Day lunch, where Dad was given his present from my sister and I – tickets to the Australian Open. He’s a happy man.

When it came time to leave, I was left unattended for around about two hours. My sister had gone to work and I was waiting for Dad to turn up (he was driving me home). With time to kill, I decided to leave a special present for my sister.

Here are a few photos… there were a lot more than this.

TV. Image by The Naughty Corner

TV. Image by The Naughty Corner

Kettle, with Coffee in the background. Image by The Naughty Corner

Kettle, with Coffee in the background. Image by The Naughty Corner

Toilet. Image by The Naughty Corner

Toilet. Image by The Naughty Corner

Wipe Bum. Image by The Naughty Corner

Wipe Bum. Image by The Naughty Corner

Mugs. Image by The Naughty Corner

Mugs. Image by The Naughty Corner

Needless to say, she is less than thrilled. Every mirror is labelled with her name. Her apple is labelled, as is her coffee, her toilet, the washing machine and more.

When I got home, I discovered that the dog bed had EXPLODED all over the back yard. I told my sister, and she replied with an unfair text, comparing unsupervised dogs with me.

How very rude.