Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Friday, 5 December 2014

You Want My View Sucker? Pay Serious Money For It!!

Oh my goodness I am angry.

It has been a month of massive change and I am sitting (uncomfortably) in a low chair, typing with my elbows on my knees in this 'show home' of a building.

We stripped ourselves bare in order to attract a buyer and do you know what? I don't look my best bare nowadays. You wanna find my value? You gotta look a whole lot deeper than the cellulite thighs and the middle aged paunch.

This house has character. It may be a quirky character but it is not without purpose. There are distinctive areas in this house in which different groups of people can exist apart from each other and oh. my. goodness....that can be a precious thing.

This house has frontage on two streets. It has a shed with full power. It has a double garage to keep your car from rusting out. It has a pool which is a blessing on a 40C day and ..........

I am not selling it to you for peanuts!

In fact asshole, I may rent out rooms so that I can: nurture my garden, know my way home in the dark, spread out my sewing, stay in an area I love and continue to enjoy the beautiful sunsets rather than give my beloved home away to you for a song.

I hope I have made myself clear.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

It's Too Late Baby

My husband moved out today.

I knew it was happening. Hell, I'd spent the weekend packing boxes and hefting large items of furniture into the garage.

But all the same, he moved out today.

Coming home from work, the house is bare bones furnished with attendant dust bunnies and spider webs festooned across hitherto unseen wall spaces. The desolation of an imprint on the carpet, stark, dust clogged, indelible. Something has been taken from this place.

I have been here before. I have been here by choice and by circumstance. I have hefted and lugged before; I have planned, rationalised and adapted. I am a survivor. I am a survivor through Grace.

But that was then and this is today. All those experiences do not lessen the grief of this one. Do not lessen the feeling of isolation. Do not salve the burn of failure, the grief of loss. The visceral excision of a part of my life which, although flawed, had been stable.

I really thought this one would work.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

But If You Try Some Time....

So did I mention how much I like the Rolling Stones? Maybe not. Maybe that's a facebook thing....?

So, I really like the Rolling Stones. I like them so much I have considered getting a tattoo when I'm 80 (and I HATE tattoos).

And at this very moment in time they are IN MY TOWN. I even know where they're staying! I suspect that they will perform a small, intimate,  surprise gig somewhere in town prior to their concert on Saturday night and I am desperate to see them!

This weekend I went down to their hotel and sat in the bar for a while, but they didn't come out. I am considering a camp out on Friday (my day off)........

Truthfully though, I have a friend, who knows someone who works in the hotel, and although she has given me tasty tidbits like: the floor they are on, and calls me when they are going in or out with exhortations to 'get down here!!!'.... to be honest, the thought of being that close to them fills me with an awe approaching paralysis!! I am a pathetic creature torn in two directions.

One part of me wants to take my Goats Head Soup album (the second I ever bought, after Ziggy Stardust) or my Keith Richards authentic T Shirt certificate, down to the hotel and hope for the best. The other part thinks that I would not have the words or the spine to approach them....

But Saturday night is the big night. Of course we all know the traumatic story of their cancellation of the March shows after the death of L'Wren Scott. It was weird because people had been teasing me about one of them dropping dead before the concert etc and when a UK friend posted about L'wren's death at 6.30am my time.....I thought I was still dreaming! Still, time passes and we are here and now, waiting for The Stones.

So last weekend I went out on a Stone Hunt. After all, Adelaide is a small town. I had had a few tips as to where they may surface and, although I was flying solo, I ventured out into the night life of Adelaide in order to stalk the Stones. After all, what did I have to lose? It's not like they're going tobe here again.....

Most of the suggested venues looked pretty subdued during my drive past so I thought to park in the CBD and hang out in the hotel lobby. As I made a right turn into the street where I hoped to park, I noticed a slumped form on a bench outside the Cenotaph on the corner. By the time I had parked and walked up the street to the Cenotaph corner, the slumped form had parted company with the bench and landed squarely (and hard) on the pavement. He was lying in, roughly, the recovery position (apart from a weirdly twisted arm) and a quick check ensured that he was breathing. I tried to rouse ham and got little response so, feeling somewhat desperate, I called the Police. They were very kind and took all the details, assuring me that it was not my responsibility to sit with him until the officers came. But what could I do? He was incredibly vulnerable. I waited with him.

So it was that at 1.30am, I finally made it to the Intercontinental Hotel and strolled surreptitiously into the bar, to be surroundedby  a whole bunch of people in red, white and black clothing, and not a Rolling Stone in sight.

But my thirst for the Stones is unassuaged. I cannot wait for Saturday's concert. It is an amazing opportunity to see an iconic group of people doing what they do best. My Baby Angel was brought up to the strains of 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' and 'Straycat Blues' (a lullaby), warbled inexpertly by her obsessed mama. You cannot imagine how proud I was the day a friend reported that she had sung it to him from the back seat of his car as he had admonished his (same aged) son for asking for that 'one thing too many'. That's my gal!

And this brings to mind another issue. The BA had phoned me from the UK in November 2013 to ask me to buy her Stones tickets, back when March was the concert date. I baulked and refused to buy them on the grounds that she should not be deciding her course of action based upon the performance dates of a rock group! As a result, she stayed in her nanny position, traveled around and had a jolly good time. Just as we missed out on the Stones!

So here she is now, brought up on the icons, short of funds and pretty well 'bought out' of the ticket market by the ridiculously swift uptake of tickets in the first instance. There have been offers of tickets this time around, where people were unable to honor their commitments, but I felt unsure about buying them off the internet. It seemed inherently dodgy.  Then tonight all that changed.

Checking my twitter feed to see whether there was any suggestion of a late night show in Adelaide to night I came upon a last minute 'production run' of tickets. My mind was clouded by fog. I said to myself:
Is it likely your daughter is going to be able to see The Rolling Stones in real life ever again?
Can you let her miss out on this life event?

Of course the answer was 'non'. I booked those tickets right there in the car park of the supermarket.  They'll probably be behind a pole, but hell.......she'll be there! IT"S ONLY ROCK N ROLL!!!!!!

Friday, 17 October 2014

On A Happier Note

I recently received this from one of my ex pupils. She had been writing an essay on her Mathematical Journey for her Uni course....

"Through high school my anxieties developed into panic as my school placed an enormous emphasis on high level maths. Late in year nine a maths teacher started to understand that my abilities were limited due to the constant fear of failure and she took it upon herself to help me in any way she could. She began to tutor me every Tuesday after school for a couple of hours, working through the class work again and helping me with my homework. It was this teacher’s kindness, skill and patience that ensured my success with mathematics and I will forever be grateful to her. "

Nawwwwwwww. Well, at least I saved one starfish!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Following Day

He called his father at 7.30pm the next day and asked to be picked up from the bus station at 8.20pm. My first reaction was to suggest he found his own way home but Himself, ever dutiful and 'caring', hopped in the car and responded to the finger click. When they arrived home I waited for the fireworks.
There were none.
There were no consequences.

At 2.30am that night/morning the Small Boy was on the phone to his mother again, crying, anxious and desperate.

His world is out of control. He is controlling the adults and it does not feel safe.

His mother has taken him to a psychologist since then and apparently there have been blood tests. I hope they're testing for drugs. Nothing like ice afterglow to give you paranoia and 'bad thoughts'.

Since then, Himself and I are barely speaking. Small Boy went back to his mother's mid week last week when Himself had a country trip to do for work. When I asked when he was coming back, I got a snarled "He's not." This is apparently because we are selling the house but if truth be known, I am merely speculating at Himself's motivation in sending the boy away. Could be to save himself the trouble of confrontation, could be to keep me out of the equation.....

I texted The Small Boy a few nights ago and got a mild "I'm fine. I'll let you know if I need anything." I'm not sure there's much more I can do.

I think I'm done here. It's been nearly 9 years and the realisation that nothing is going to change crashed over me with the force of a breaker which has hung, curled over my head for so long. I don't want to watch this train wreck of a relationship anymore. I don't want to be asked for advice and then ignored. I don't want to see the hurt in that boy's eyes and the casual lies he tells to cover for his spineless parents. "I have a caring family."

You have a lazy father Small Boy. He is lazy in all his relationships and you deserve so much more.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Where I'm No Fun Anymore

After the 'grounding' we entered a period of inertia. As I predicted, allowing the Small Boy to move into the downstairs area (albeit newly renovated) meant he became isolated from the family. I had suggested to Himself that it would be more difficult to monitor him from upstairs. Himself solved the problem by peering over the balcony to see if the lights were off downstairs. 

On one occasion, I arrived home around midnight to see the lights still on in The Pit. On approaching Small Boy with the suggestion that he should be in bed, I was greeted with howls of "Let me finish", "I'm just about to..."and "In a minute.....". After a few well placed words I simply went upstairs and turned off the internet. On another occasion I got "What's your problem?"

Given the information , that Small Bo may not be adhering to his curfew, Himself completely failed to change his checking methods. Head over the balcony. Light out. Must be in bed.

School holidays commence. Small Boy has licence to do as he pleases. Although this is less than appropriate, I was assuming that there would be no crises until term time when the demands piled on.


After a week of holidays, where significant adults were continuing with work and other commitments, Small Boy called his mother on a Friday morning, crying, anxious and talking about 'bad thoughts'. Desperate, Mother called Himself. Unable to get away from work, Himself called me.

Assured that SmallBoy was prepared to talk to me, I went down and hauled him up out of The Pit. We sat up in the sunshine and I got out a pad and paper to make graphic notations of our discussions (since his working memory is not great). For two hours we talked, I sketched, he cried, I held him.....it was intense. We established a few points:
  • he is terrified of being a failure
  • he cannot articulate many of his own strengths
  • he glosses over his family issues (my family care about me)
  • he is a pathological liar (not surprisingly he cannot admit to this)
At the end of this he said he wanted to go to his friend's house and 'forget about everything'. I drew up a list of things to do for the day. They included all the things he wanted to do but finished with


His immediate reaction was to wriggle.
"Why do I need to come home? 

I've got to truncate this because it causes me so much distress; but suffice to say I endured over an hour of harassment to change the boundary. It was insidious, passiv aggressive, but insistent and you so knew it was usually successful. Later that day I had to go into Himself's work  and had an opportunity to discuss the same thing with SB's parent "Whatever you do," I urged, "Do NOT let him talk you into a sleepover." The sleepover was not the point. He was being allowed to do a number of things which he wanted to do, the coming home thing was a line in the sand.

The testing time would come later at night when his parents were tired.

10.30pm Himself gets a text message from the Small boy: Can I stay the night?
Himself, desperate to make this work decides to phone first. SB does not answer. Himself calls SB's mum. She texts and calls. No answer. Finally Himself and his ex get in the car and go to the address Mum  thinks is the home of the boy SB is staying with. It is an old people's home.

At this point they called me.

"He's got you over a barrel " I say. The best thing is to get him home safely and determine consequences later.

They agreed and we all went  home....

Monday, 13 October 2014

It's Getting To The Point

I feel guilty. I should tell him what I've decided but I haven't got the heart yet.

I have to get good and mad again; as mad as I was when I finally worked my way towards the realisation that nothing is going to change and I need to get out. As mad as I was last Sunday.

Small Boy has been back with us. Things have not been going well for him this year. Aside from the usual round of visits to school to discuss his failure to submit work, failure to turn up at classes, and (a new low) failure to pay for a chocolate frog at the local supermarket whilst in school uniform and during school hours.....he has been getting himself mixed up in some pretty dubious stuff. If the shoplifting incident was not a large enough red flag, the charging ipad left open on facebook messenger should have been. He has been involved in assisting others in the procuring of 'controlled substances'.

Himself and SB's mum were devastated. They were furious! They counted 30 names on the thread of messages, asking about access to a variety of substances. They were horrified by how many pupils at the school were casually making enquiries. They considered their options before confronting him.

They gave him a good talking to and he promised never to do it again.

No, I am not joking.

They did assure him that if he put one more foot out of line he would be whipped out of that school (assuming they could find another to take him) and sent to a private school, and that they would let the parents of these other pupils know what had been going on. So, there. That's good then. That'll show him they mean business. Won't it?

So why then, when he was caught truanting again just weeks later, did nothing happen? Why then when he was picked up by the police for smoking dope in a car with two post school aged fellows a month ago, did nothing happen??? Oh, sorry. Something happened. He was grounded.

Grounded for a weekend that included a sleepover at a friend's house, a visit to the Royal Show on the Saturday and a trip to the Skate Park on Sunday. None of which were supervised by his father.

That kind of grounded.

But the full stupidity of my husband had yet to reveal itself.

Friday, 10 October 2014

At The Cross Roads

It has been a long time coming, as these things always are.

Part of me is relieved and part of me is terrified he'll talk me out of it.....

I am sad, excited and sad all at once.
Sorry to everyone, especially Small Boy...

Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Case Of The Missing Trousers

"What have you done with my belt and jeans?!" read the unexpected text during this morning's church service. Feeling quite self righteous, for a change,  I was quick to reply: "I haven't touched them!" According to Himself, I am frequently guilty of deliberately hiding his clothes. Usually they are in the washing basket (placed there by me...Himself doesn't know how the lid works...) or drying on the back of some piece of furniture in the Chinese laundry that is our house in winter. Always, they have been 'missing for months' and he has' looked everywhere' for them but in this case I knew for sure that I hadn't been anywhere near them.                               
I knew this because I have been, once more, absorbed by the annual sewing frenzy that is The Musical. For the past four days I have done little other than sew, think about sewing or buy items for sewing with. Laundry was not even on my radar. So it was with a clear conscience that I arrived home from church to find Himself huffing and puffing about the amount of time he had spent looking for his missing jeans and belt and how they had 'vanished off the planet'. Possibly eaten by the laundry basket? Being a helpful wife I naturally followed him around the house (which I noticed he had actually gone some way to tidying! Perhaps he should lose clothes more often?) clucking sympathetically and exclaiming in conciliatory tones every time he indicated a new place he had (unsuccessfully) searched. In the end, we were both stumped. The jeans had indeed seemed to have vanished off the face of the earth.

Shortly thereafter I opened my wardrobe to hang up my coat and a grey raincoat fell out on my head. This surprised me for two reasons: firstly it fell on my head and secondly, I had not worn this raincoat for over 20 years. At a visceral level I knew this had something to do with the mysterious disappearance of Himself's trousers although I could not immediately determine the link.

Searching frantically through the last 12 hours, I tried to recall an event which would result in a raincoat suddenly launching itself from the upper reaches of my cupboard. After all, it was usually found in one of my 'dressing up bags', the ones I keep tucked away on the top shelf; the ones containing decades worth of odd or unusual items of clothing, which had looked sensational or at least striking in 1979-89-99, but whose short lived fashion flame had long since expired; the ones containing odds and ends of props and shoes and the occasional 'basic' item which might come in handy for a musical at some point; items such as all the BA's old school shirts (because a white shirt is always useful)...


With a flash bordering on brilliance I saw what had happened. Looking upwards to see the contents of the bags spilling out over the shelf, my hypothesis was confirmed. Now all I needed was the final, vital piece of hard evidence.

(I have been watching a bit of Poirot lately, did I mention?)

"Himself," I bellowed," I think I know where your trousers are!"
He came stomping down the hallway to find me step ladder deep in dress ups, intently hauling random items off the top shelf. "Remember when the BA was looking for a white shirt last night, to wear for her catering gig? Well......"
The missing trousers (and belt) came flying out of the back of the shelf where the BA had carelessly shoved them the previous evening, along with the contents of the the three bags she had emptied out on my bedroom floor.

Well, if he WILL leave his trousers on the floor..........

All this talk of missing trousers reminded me of the brilliant Jonathan Miller sketch which reduced me to tears as an 11 year old and which I present for you now via the wonders of the internet. Do yourself a favour and marvel at understated British humour at its best.

The Heat Death of the Universe: Jonathan Miller 1962

Friday, 22 August 2014

The Perils of Facebook MkII

This is not a new phenomenon. I have fallen afoul of facebook before, albeit in a different manner, but it still  surprises me when I upset someone unwittingly.

I may be overthinking this, but I am of the Aussie generation that use gentle, deprecating humour to indicate mateship. The kids nowadays seem to have swallowed the hyperbole dictionary!

For example:
Picture of 15 year old pouting at camera.
Oh you are perfect.
So pretty
Why can't I look like you
You are hawt

etc etc etc
On the other hand, when I see a picture, on facebook, of a normally very laid back acquaintance, at his engagement party, wearing a SUIT (well, I might add), my response is to rib him mildly whilst still indicating that I approve of his 'look'.

"Hey Bob (not his real name). Wow! You look almost respectable!!!" Lol

This is apparently not the thing to say. I received a message from his fiancee shortly afterwards, on my facebook messenger, asking me why I felt it necessary to be rude to her partner.

Was I out of line? Is 20th century humour unacceptable in a 21st century medium?

I made my peace by sending her this message:

Sorry. Wasn't meaning to be rude. Was teasing him, as our artistic types (nb husbands/partners) are rarely seen dressed up. I forget facebook doesn't have vocal intonation. He ACTUALLY looks terrific. As do you. Congrats to the both of you again.

She hasn't responded.
I think I am not going to let it worry me.

Musical: Babylonian Style

It's that time of year again!

The Musical both exhausts and invigorates me. This time around, through a series of circumstances I have found myself more firmly in the driver's seat than ever before. At my first school here in Aus, I was part of a well oiled team headed up by the Drama and Music teachers where I was but a lowly Maths type. I mean, who knew Maths teachers had a creative bone in their body!!!?? With my years of experience in theatre, but not wanting to step on anyone's toes, I put up my hand for costumes. And fell in love with the art form.

I have been happily doing costumes since 2007 but this year my narrow focus was to expand. The primary music teacher left to have a baby and our new music teacher, whilst enthusiastic, collegial and an unquestionably gifted musician, confessed to a lack of confidence in the 'acting' part of the Musical process. Somehow, in the initial meetings I got myself involved in rewriting the script and shortly afterwards they decided on a double cast, meaning I was needed to direct one set of actors.

This has proved to be a joy and a pleasure but, unfortunately, having concentrated on this direction for several weeks now, it was suddenly pointed out to me that I had three short weeks to pull the costumes together.
AUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH!!! (don't panic!!!!!.....)

So that is why I find myself on a Friday night, contemplating the construction of the Abyssinian king's crown.
Wish me luck with that.......

Did I Not Make Myself Clear?

You see, scrabble. There's another tension release. I like it. It engages my brain and makes me feel good. But imagine if I nudged himself at 5.30am as the dawn chorus sounded and asked him for a few scrabble clues.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Enough Already

I have entered a rather melancholy state of late. Bad stuff keeps happening to perfectly good people and it keeps missing me and mine by a hair's breadth, which should make me happy but, which only makes me more anxious. How close can you get before the falling axe chops something off....?

Firstly, on the 29th of June, my lovely friend Rebecca, from Tapdancing On The Edge of Reason posted a photo of her eldest son on her facebook page. I didn't think much of it until a day or so later I noticed the flood of tributes follow it up. Thomas, a 16 year old guitar playing, purple haired, living, breathing, loving son, was drowned in a riptide. Around about the same time, half way across the world I had welcomed my own girl back from her European adventure. The irony was gutwrenching.

A few weeks passed and the BA and I put our hands and hearts to the grindstone in preparation for the arrival of my dad on July 18th. We were cleaning up the room vacated by No 2 Son back in December, ensuring it was once again fit for human habitation. The work was hard and took longer than we thought. On the Thursday night I was up until 3.30am laying carpet tiles and it was after only a few hours of snatched sleep that we leaped into the car to collect him from his early morning Singapore Airlines flight.

The red line shows the shortest route, the purple shows the route my father's plane took.
His journey occurred on the 17th and 18th of July. I met my father at the airport with the knowledge that nearly 300 innocent people, happily traveling to their homes, holidays, school or work, lay strewn across the Ukrainian countryside. Did they know what was happening as they fell? I can only pray that they were taken quickly.

Holding my dad and my daughter close, we made our way home. But there was more.

Back in June when the BA was travelling, she made many friends at a party hostel in Budapest.

At a place called Carpe Noctem, the BA met Haley Rue. I first saw her in posts like this...

There she is, to the right of my BA. 

Shortly afterwards she posted this on the BA's facebook site.


I will not be making Haley's wedding dress. This beautiful 19 year old also drowned, in a whirlpool at the base of waterfall in Germany.

Since this travesty, the bad news has continued: there are friends losing children, or nieces, to cancer and motor neuron disease. One of the most experienced, well loved teachers in our school,  is battling bowel and liver cancer as we speak and another friend, who was an integral part of our arrival in 2003, died from cancer last week. Then there is Gaza.  My friend Jill, from Twipply Skwood  (Try this At Home) blogged with a relief, bordering on hysteria, as her son flew in safely from Israel last week.

I know bad stuff happens but seriously, it feels like we are under attack.

I am just hugging my BA for all she is worth.......