family, humour, Thoughts on life

Boiling point

I’m not the world’s most patient person. 

Not even close 

Barking dogs in my street annoy me, I get angry when I hear cars being “revved” unnecessarily in my neighbors driveways

I’m trying to relax to my Chillout Lounge Ambience megamix, thank you very much…

and don’t even get me started on my neighbours late night parties with his Doov Doov mus- no, noise (seriously mate, that’s NOT music!) pounding through my walls til 4am!!

I don’t like noise unless it’s my own. I especially don’t like my neighbours noise.

Okay, perhaps I just don’t like my neighbours

which is weird – seeing as I actually married one – but that’s a whole other story…

Anyway, the house next door always emits strange sounds. It is old, and extremely close to our fence line, which also happens to sit along my bead head 

like, literally. 

Our bedroom wall is their back fence

When they walk through their house it’s like elephants on parade. When they slam doors it gives me whiplash. And when they run through their back yard it’s like the whole damn zoo is charging.

At my head

While I’m trying to sleep

Did I mention I don’t have much patience??

They always seem to be up late

Not always partying with late music (which is a shame, as at least I could get the cops sympathy on that one)

No…just living

late

…and LOUD

In fact, it almost seems like they deliberately stay quiet, until just before I’m about to go to bed.

I’ve even considered moving, because – seriously – how do you have that kind of conflict resolution conversation?

Ummm, excuse me mate, would you mind terribly ummm – not walking, using your doors or living? Cheers, thanks, oh, and while I’m here can I borrow some sugar?”

Yeah….right!

But the other day I found sweet salvation

Sitting in the lounge quite late at night, I was rejoicing in the realisation that it had finally gone quiet next door and I could, perhaps, actually go to bed and get some sleep before the dawn chorus woke me (oh I forgot to mention…not only are they late night party animals with no taste in music…they also happen to be tradies who develop elephantisis at 5am as well)

With everyone else in my house either in bed or preparing for said activity, the house went deathly quiet as soon as I switched off the TV

Tick

tick

Tick

That’s when I heard it…
The most beautiful sound in the world!

The most God awful rattling, gurgling, popping, wheezing and just plain ANNOYING sound I’d ever had the pleasure of hearing…

And it was coming from my house.

From the side of my house where noisy neighbours live..

From very, very close to the house where I assumed my dear neighbours would now be peacefully slumbering…

Hallelujah!!!

It turns out we own a defective, loud and just plain irritatingly NOISY hot water system

One that could easily wake the neighbours, their dogs and quite possibly the elephants too…

             * * *

Almost midnight…

Time to jump in the shower!

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family, life

Love….of a different kind

An amazing thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been wanting to write it down ever since but wasn’t sure if I should…

Let me start by saying I don’t believe in ghosts. At least…I don’t think I do.

I think I believe in spirits…well…let’s just say I’m getting more used to the idea as I get older

But I DO believe in love

* * *
A text msg to my sister was not answered as fast as usual.
Knowing she was working through some differences with other family members I wondered if I’d said or done something wrong…

Doubt rising, worry filling in the blanks, I feared the worst

The whole day passed and the reply finally came back.
Colder than normal and in a strangers “voice” it confirmed my suspicions.

All night and the next morning I grappled with the most natural of human instincts…fight or run (in other words, hide and avoid dealing with the conflict my brain was inventing)

I knew I needed to call. I knew I’d done nothing wrong.

But I also didn’t know what was going on…all I knew that there was a massive disconnect in my family that I hadn’t been able to fix…and I feared it was about to get worse.

Fear. Worry. Doubt. Pain. Repressed “stuff” (we all have it…)

I felt numb

Then, for some strange reason, driving to work, I saw my Nans face in my mind. The brevity of time spent with her before she passed, did nothing to minimise the love I still felt for her.

Love. Family. Connection. Life

I found myself clinging to this feeling.
I felt my heart grow with a fullness of warmth and light.
I realised then, that all my efforts to stay distant and avoid possible conflict wasn’t actually the answer, but I just couldn’t get past all the negativity that had settled into my bones…

So I sent all that love outwards into the universe and said

“I need your help Nan. Our family needs your help. You’ve done it once before…(I know it was you and Grandad who did it last time!) please help fix our family….”

I arrived at work, went about my day, called my sister, had a really good talk, reconnected, cried a bit, laughed a lot and then went to my dance lesson….filled with a newfound optimism that my family would, in fact, be okay!

* * *

Driving home two hours later I did what I always did while driving…singing along to very loud music I had my very own little in-car party.

Somewhere in between “Livin La Vida Loca” and a Coldplay song I can’t quite remember….

…I saw her

I stopped singing.
Stopped breathing.
I wondered briefly whether I’d been thinking about her without realising it?
(It was like she was there)

Then it hit me.

A smile that came from somewhere surreal, filled my face without effort.

Goosebumps ran up and down my arms, though I was feeling anything but cold…

“Oh…thanks, Nan…” I whispered

crap I say, entertainment, family, humour, life

37 years

…for someone who grew up with teeth that never quite got along with the reluctant smile, feeling inconveniently born into the wrong era, and an absolute love of dancing that persisted beyond (and perhaps in total retaliation to) my circumstances…it’s not surprising really…

…that I absolutely love this song.

The first time I heard it, I fell in love. It simply spoke to me.

“Spinning, laughing, dancing to
her favourite song….
A little girl with nothing wrong
Is all alone…

…crooked little smile on her face
Tells a tale of grace
That’s all her own…

…and she’s all alone…”

Norah Jones – “Seven Years”

* * *

I don’t remember the verandah incident

But my Mum does.

She’s told me the story many times and, although I don’t remember it – except as an anecdote of someone else’s memory – for me, it will always remain a moment in time that is purely and simply…

ME

…she searched high and low for her 4 year old daughter….

Given that this quiet, amiable child was almost never out of sight, that the house sat atop a hill on one of the busiest main roads in Perth (….at the time…you’d skateboard blindfolded down there now) and that she was (oh, Mum, please forgive me…) prone to just a teensy bit of over-protectiveness…it was, to say the least, a frantic search!

When she finally found me, after peering into countless toy boxes, cupboards, lolly jars and other child favoured haunts….she was surprised at what she found.

The front window jimmied open (of course the front door was locked! Did you not just read the paragraph above?!) fly screen pushed out….

Her daughter, tiny, free…totally alone….

…..and perfectly happy!

twirling…
….on
the…

…..front……

verandah…

“What are you doing???” (Only a “scared out of her wits” mother can get away with this tone and still sound completely loving)

“….nothing….”

“Then why on a Gods earth are you outside??!!” (Cars screaming by, brakes screeching, all possible dangers known to man lurking just beyond the verandah…….)

I just wanted to dance”

* * *

The smile’s being straightened
I still like being alone occasionally
My mother doesn’t worry about me (as much) these days…

But I still just want to dance.

(And I’m 37)

So I do

family, life, Poetry

The struggle unseen…

I see the struggle everywhere.

Bodies aged and bent, crippled over cane
shuffled steps, shrinking shoulders.

Getting out of cars, an effort in itself. Crossing the street at painful pace.

When a metre is a mile
Understanding is a smile

The rhythm of life around them quietly mocking…

Years of life dragging down weary faces

A lifetime of frowns forged in wrinkled skin
A lifetime of working worn onto hands of grey

When the memory of youth is nothing more than that

When life has been struggle
But life is no more…

And only struggle remains

The elderly wear their age so obviously, that it is hard not to feel compassion. Show tolerance.
Have understanding.

But the weariness carried by some is often invisible.
The struggle of many, more often than not, goes unseen.

Misunderstood.

I want to tell you a story

It’s something which happened to me recently that changed my perspective forever.

I’m in sales. I sell women’s fashion at wholesale and my customers are made up of roughly 70 independent fashion boutiques owned, mostly, by women.

One of my customers is a strange woman. I shouldn’t call her strange. That’s not kind.

The thing is though, there is an aloofness and sense of disorientation that I just can’t quite explain.

She forgets things, needs explanations and reminders of simple things.

It is unnerving at best and downright inconvenient at worst.

She rarely smiles, yet doesn’t seem sad, or angry.

Just……distant

She often comes across as cold and, although I’ve never felt that she doesn’t like me or that’s it’s personal in anyway, I can’t help but feel frustrated by this slow pace, lack of mental clarity and absent….oh, I don’t know. Soul?

I’m sorry to even say that, but as I take great pride in my relationships and consider myself the consummate clichéd “people person”, I have to admit I’ve been questioning to no end just HOW, after two whole years of attempting to build a relationship, this could be all I can get!

I have asked myself, “what am I doing wrong??”

I’ve also questioned, on many occasions, “what on earth is wrong with this lady??”

(Judgement is such a natural state…isn’t it?)

Then one day recently a colleague told me something, the most horrendous of things, and it quite literally stopped me in my tracks.

That customer.
A mother.
A beautiful son the same age as mine.
A simple life on the farm.
A school break a few years ago…
A tractor.
A cord hanging loose from a jumper.
An unimaginable chain of events.
An outcome too awful

In that moment I was unexpectedly, emotionally and abruptly forced to think differently about this woman who in that very moment became anything but a difficult customer.

She simply became a mother who’d lost a child…

I almost cried, imagining her on that day. Picturing her face, feeling her heart stop beating.

In an instant I saw it all…her tears, her fear, her panic, her desperate cries…her slip from reality

I felt her disbelief and anger, felt her life and soul fall away and become separate from her very existence.

I heard her sobbing, her screams, her wails of agony, heard her pleading, her begging, her prayers, her denial, her acceptance and then…….finally……….her numb.

Just NUMB

How could I ever go back to my first impressions of her?

Two minutes of knowing her story, changed two whole years of thinking (ridiculously perhaps) that I could even begin to know the inside, simply because I thought I knew the outside.

….feeling her pain, knowing her truth and finally seeing her in a way I had NEVER done before

I now see this amazing woman exactly as she is.

I see her struggle.

Not the struggle she’s already been through, or the struggle she’s overcome.

But the struggle she’s become…..

And now I understand

crap I say, entertainment, family, humour, life, Uncategorized

Death by Mac n Cheese

We have an open door policy in our house. Sure, we use locks sometimes, but we have instilled the value of respecting privacy enough that, if a door happens to be closed, we simply knock before entering.

If, on the odd occasion they forget and I’ve stepped out of the shower just as one of the boys come running in to tell me ask me for something, I simply yell “NAKED!!!!!!” At the top of my lungs – whenever I hear the door creak.

Which usually works. Although I admit it’s kind of overkill those times when it’s the cat.

My 14 year old, God love him, doesn’t need a lock on his door.

Even if you could manage to push the door open, against the ceiling high mound of debris, and navigate successfully through the half eaten bowls of Mac n Cheese to make your entrance, the smell would most certainly stop you, quite literally, dead in your tracks.

Might explain why we haven’t seen him in a few days….

My other son, Mr 16, is never here either. But that’s just because he got a part time job.

His contribution to the family ecosystem is the crusty fast food infused uniforms that I get the pleasure of washing 4 times a week, at 11pm, ready for a last minute early morning shift change.

Oh and did I mention my Friday night ritual of drowning my 9-5 sorrows with red wine has been replaced with midnight pick ups? If the cheesey bedroom remnants don’t get me first I may just die of unintentional weekend sobriety!

Yes, I do quite like living with teenage sons….

Oh, of course I sometimes yearn for the long passed days of early morning cartoons, warm milk bottle cuddles on the couch, snotty noses and crocodile tears. I look at photos of cheeky grins behind sucked thumbs, sleeping angels captured at what most surely is mother natures most serene of moments!

And I remember little love filled hugs that wrap around your thighs and promise to never let go…

Sigh……………….

But really, who am I to complain?

I mean, nothing quite says “I love you” like a smelly armpit wrapped affectionately around your skull, while the owner of said armpit squeals in delight at the look on your face.

…cheeky grins just get filled with bigger teeth and thumbs write inspired text messages of what can only be called teenage genius!

“yep. I was late to school today, but its cool, cause I’m still getting an education”

…and the equally poetic hand written words in Hallmark Cards….

“we’ll…you’re my Mum, so I guess it goes without saying, I wish you a nice Mothers Day xxx (10 years ago I might have noticed the words more, but these days all I see are the xxx’s)

Yep! The moments of feeling like you are their whole world do become rarer…
and although it drives you crazy, they remain firmly and unchangeably, your whole reason for living…..forever.

Even if living with them does

eventually

kill you

crap I say, entertainment, family, humour, life

How a plastic fork made everything right again

It’s safe to say the last year and a bit has been a rough ride for our family…

No major illness, deaths in family or even financial hardship. No, we’ve actually been very, very lucky compared to most….

But moving from one side of Australia to the other, even if it was technically a return to “home”, with a hormonally challenged teenager, desperate NOT to leave his new friends (made in those most crucial of years, 11-14…OUCH, bad Mum!) has proven a grueling enough exercise as far as I’m concerned…

In between the buying and selling of houses and assimilating to new schools, jobs and time zones, we kind of, well….I’m ashamed to say it, but it really must be done….we lost our teenage son.

Granted, you’d be forgiven for losing a whole class of Chemistry students in his bedroom lately (and did I tell you about the time I found a piece of pizza in his bed??)

but, no. That’s not how.

I guess we’ve been preoccupied by busy lives, every weekend spent catching up with friends between endless trips to Bunnings (sorry, Masters, you just didn’t get here quick enough!)

but, no. I’m fairly sure he was still there, in his room, every single time we left or returned home.

But he was definitely “lost”.

Lost somewhere between a happy, secure life he once had in Sydney and the “new” (old) life we’d so wisely returned him to…

…an “awesome” life where friends were hard to find, self identity had slipped into that hard to reach place (usually reserved for remote controls) and the only obvious cure for such misery was, of course, hating his Mother’s -and occasionally his Fathers – guts!

I don’t think he ever really cared for his brother’s guts much, so no change there

Conversations became brief

“hi honey, how was school?” “it sucks”

“How’s the cake?” it sucks”

“Where would you like to go on the weekend?” “it sucks”

Forget about asking him to actually do anything for me! Might as well ask the cat…

Days have passed, tears have fallen, talking has been done in silence and quiet moments have been filled by the noise of hearts breaking.

All of ours.

Threats have given way to begging, fear has crept in more than once. We’ve tiptoed and we’ve screamed, and when nothing else worked we drank wine, or cried, or both.

…and that void persisted, taunting our guilt stricken hearts again and again

“you’re losing him”

returning to Sydney was not an option, but staying was doing this? Just shoot me now.

slowly…..surely…we made sense of the world he was living in and with time, and love, he started to return. But the memory of ugly fights and carelessly dropped words pointing at scary outcomes remained….

It’s easy to get stuck in the bad. We even forget sometimes to notice when things have gotten better.

Today I offered both boys a lift to school and on the way out I said to my Lost Boy, “grab my lunch out of the fridge, please.”

I didn’t expect him to actually do it.
I didn’t think he’d do it after only one request…

But when I looked down at my little plastic container of leftovers, and saw a plastic fork lying on top…

(a fork which I hadn’t placed there myself)

I realized, in that one glorious moment….

He’s back!