Friday, April 1, 2011

A Very Painefull Family Trip To The Gold Coast

The Family Painefull doesn’t often go on holiday as one – it’s become such a giant, conflicted, constantly morphing organism that trips together are now as complicated to plan as Oprah’s incredibly low key, and ultimately unfulfilling visit to Australia. Nevertheless, Mother Painefull decided to bite the bullet in celebration of her latest 30th birthday – thus on her very generous dime the Family Painefull invaded the Gold Coast for 4 days.

It began, as all proper family holidays should, with a fight. Perhaps the most surprising element of that fight was its participants – Me versus Father Painefull. I have mentioned previously that Father Painefull has a pathological terror of being late for a flight. When my parents arrived to pick me up on their way to the airport and I foolishly dared to be 3 minutes late walking out the front door, Father Painefull and I found ourselves engaged in a protracted yelling match that began with a bang in my lounge room, before fading into a car trip filled with self-righteous indignation (from both of us), snide comments (almost entirely from me) and the sound of my mum chuckling with amusement and delight because it had nothing to do with her. Frankly I still fail to see the problem, considering Painefull Mean Time (PMT) usually involves running 10 minutes late to everything, I was technically early.

Almost everyone made it to the lovely resort (it had never met a water feature it didn’t like) – Mrs Ryan + 3, Mrs Woog + 3, Elspeth + 3… and Single Sally (aka Me). I like to imagine I am not old enough yet to be mistaken for the spinster who scored a pity invite, but rather I’m the nanny that gets taken on vacation (and does very little actually nanny-ing work).

Throughout the 4 days several attempts were made to give me a makeover, the most memorable moment featured me spending 25 minutes pretending to be asleep on a couch to avoid a particularly grueling assessment of my short-comings. Of course, whenever Mrs Woog did get near me with some earrings and a scarf she undoubtedly improved my situation immeasurably, and her critical eye was nothing if not honest. A few gems…

“This jacket should suit Painefull, it’s very man-ish.” – Mrs Woog holds up a catalogue for all to see in the maxi taxi to the resort

“God you have broad shoulders. It’s great… if you play football.” – Mrs Woog expresses her frustration while struggling to find clothing that might fit me in a store

“Isn’t it amazing what accessories and great shoes can do to dress up a really boring, plain, ordinary dress?” – Mrs Woog gives her approval, she owned the accessories and shoes, I owned the dress

Some other key Family Painefull Holiday Milestones were hit right on schedule. Mother Painefull had a crippling migraine on the first night, The Brothers Grim (aka the triumvirate of Brothers-In-Law) went to grab something from the shops across the road and came back 3 hours later from the pub, and the vegetarian Mrs Ryan got soused while watching everyone else eat prawns for dinner (well… that was her excuse, the rest of us became intoxicated out of solidarity). That was Day 1.

If I had known then that the following evening would involve the family hijacking the opening night of a restaurant, most of us joining a belly dancer in her performance, mum developing conspiracies about a group of nearby Russians (and resolving them by joining their conversation), and a group rendition of the Macarena (why?) I would have realized that Day 1 was just a warm-up.

It really was quite a successful holiday all round, capped off when Mother Painefull took us girls to high tea at the Palazzo Versace where everything that was ever gold went to live a decorative, cosmetically altered life. Basically the Gold Coast in miniature.

Most importantly our matriarch herself had a good time, and as it was in her honour (and at her expense) that we went, the whole thing felt like a triumph. If only the flight attendants served something to ease the nausea of crashing back into everyday life at the other side of the whole thing.

So above all, Happy Birthday Mother Painefull!

Painefull Out


  1. You have me in happy tears! Thank god it's not just my family that are 'special'!

  2. God no! We are as special as it gets! And I love it xx

  3. I'm still waiting for my adoption papers to arrive in the mail ...

  4. Screw the 457. I've decided that we should get married. No matter that neither of us is lesbian. It's my way of (a) getting into Australia and (b) getting into your family and (c) having permanent access to Mrs Woog's celebrated accessory collection.

  5. 'Special' families are so much better than boring ones! I am indeed the last port of entry via marriage for our family - at my current rate I'll be opening the bidding on that rather soon.

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