Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Family Painefull

The time has come to put forth something of a cheat sheet when it comes to the Family Painefull. As you will see in future blogs we are as numerous and difficult to keep track of as our name might suggest. What follows are brief bios, in chronological order according to age, so as to better acquaint you with our brood.

Father Painefull
Patriarch, Old Wise Man, “The Wallet”, Long-Suffering
Father Painefull has been a silver fox for as long as I can remember, and has failed to visibly age since his mid 50’s (which were a long time ago). He is a man of extreme habit (the genetic source of my own OCD tendencies) – I believe some people in the Dor, where he was born, raised and worked in the one job in his entire life, could set their watches by him. He is ridiculously smart, has a supreme knowledge of all things history, and has been known to make quips that would be funny if only someone nearby was intelligent enough to get them. He is rather skilled at falling a sleep while seated, his hair stands up when he is drunk and his signature catch phrase is “wacky doo” (“wacky doo” being a bizarre way of noting how amazing something is, without having to express genuine amazement).

Mother Painefull
Matriarch, Queen Bee, “The Politician”
Mother Painefull tends to be more popular with my friends than I am. People constantly ask me how she is, and are prone to quoting her endlessly. She has a mild addiction to retail therapy of which I am often the beneficiary, she adores artwork and has an ever-expanding collection… including a hilarious portrait of herself that I have written Mrs Ryan’s name on the back of so she may enjoy it for all eternity. She tends to be right, not instantly, perhaps not within a week, but eventually. She knows everyone – whenever I walk the streets of the Dor with her we have to take alleyways if we’re in a rush for fear she will be waylaid by some passing stranger she spoke to once at a gallery opening 5 years ago. She is a former nurse who can diagnose you on sight (and is constantly advising me to get a blood test). She is smarter than she realizes. Her signature catch phrases are “As a woman, and a mother…”, “Why wouldn’t you…” (as in “Why wouldn’t you buy a house/marry him/move to new York/put on a garage sale/dye your hair orange”) and “Half a mango” (as in “All I’ve had to eat today is half a mango”).

Mrs Ryan
Eldest Sister, former Real Estate Agent, Mother of 3, Bonafide Career Woman, Celebrant for Hire
Mrs Ryan perfected child-rearing in her 20’s and has been passing down her wisdom ever since. She is stone cold mad, eternally hilarious and the Countess of Photo-Bombing. Due to the age difference between us, there was a period in which, while wandering the streets of the Western Suburbs, she would be mistaken for my mother. She is Mother Painefull’s heir apparent in all things political, and constantly keeps herself sharp by dueling with the St Matthew’s Mafia. She is married to Pookie, a fixture of my childhood who earned his place in the Family Painefull by wheeling me and my friends around in wheelbarrows at my 7th birthday party. Pookie can and will fix anything, lost part of a finger in a freak grate incident, and humours Mrs Ryan’s pet obsession (which has featured guinea pigs, birds, mice, dogs, cats, and a Shetland pony called Bob).

Mrs Woog
2nd Eldest, Teacher, Accidental Publisher, Mother of 2, Accidental Blogger
Most of what you need to know about Mrs Woog can be found in her blog. She taught me how to drink like a fish, and persists (despite all obstacles) in trying to teach me about eye make-up and accessorizing. She once convinced me that the reason I have a scar on my nose is because she hit me over the head with a cricket bat when I was a baby. There was a period of time when I thought it made perfect sense for Mrs Woog to time me while I took the washing off the line and got her a glass of iced water. I distinctly remember being babysat by a series of her boyfriends until Mr Woog entered the scene. When I visited her at university her friends there delighted in training me in the use of a politically incorrect form of speech, with which I managed to unwittingly offend people for several years afterwards. During my teens and early 20’s I spent a lot of time occupying her fold-out bed and eating all her milo. Mr Woog and I have a mutual appreciation of silence, broken largely when he needs to ask me about which movie he should watch.

Middle Child, Only Boy, Dancing Queen
One of my favourite childhood photos involves me sitting on the front of a bicycle, all pig tails and chubby cheeks, while Roo powers the 2-wheeled steed behind me. Roo spent the early days of his time at boarding school running away from it… the fact that he often used this time to visit my sisters and their friends at an all girls boarding school allows it all to make a bit more sense. While I failed to be the brother Roo might have wanted, I managed to be the tomboy he could enjoy wrestling and sitting on top of. Roo isn’t averse to boycotting the occasional family event (coining the phrase “I’m out, no interest” in regard to one particular Christmas). He is married to the sensational Snooze, and never fails to raise just how drunk I managed to be at his wedding a few years ago.

Only 10 Years Older Than Me, the Really Patient One, Mother of 2, the Lawyer
Elspeth and I used to be “the blonde ones” – this led to the Mrs Woog and Mrs Ryan locking the 2 of us in the linen cupboard in retaliation for our hair colour sometime when I was a toddler. At the time, while Elspeth might have found this discomforting, I forever remember this as a thrilling event that marked the moment of my core integration into my sibling’s lives. Elspeth is smart, pretty and prone to jogging. She is currently in the process of taking over the family business from Father Painefull, but before that she was a hot, little inner city lawyer who worked ridiculous hours and looked awesome in cute business suits. Elspeth is generally awesome. Being lawyer-ly, she loves rules. On the flip-side, champagne (which she enjoys) will send her voice up several octaves to a shrill volume. She is married to Glen the Geography teacher, who is famed for his hairy arms and enthusiastic love of sporting efforts.

Somewhere in there are some “full this”, “step that” and “half whatever”s… but it’s kind of hard to keep track of, and relatively unimportant to any of us. Of course there are numerous nephews, a niece, extended family members and former spouses that probably warrant their own notation. But we’ll get to all of that in good time.

Painefull Out

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