Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mother Painefull’s… Things That Will Make You Feel Better

Visiting the Parentals Painefull at the Dsor* is always a fairly glorious event. It usually involves an epic sleep in, it always entails copious amounts of delicious food and it gives me permission to drink sherry (a beverage I cannot find excuse for under any other circumstances, despite its surprising delights). Molly and Milly (known to my dad as Old Dog and New Dog) stand guard, the open fireplace crackles with warmth during the winter, and every day my parents (who are incapable of simply doing nothing, a feature I failed to inherit) will invariably get bored and do something I’ve been putting off.

Another inevitable feature is the shared wisdom Mother and Father Painefull endeavor to impart. With dad it’s usually a series of concerns about paperwork, timeliness and adult responsibilities. His current cause célèbre is personal insurance. With mum there are several categories. One which never fails to amuse me are the suggestions she offers, which are always given with the reassurance that they will make me feel better.

This afternoon featured another fantastic entry into the canon, so it seems as good a time as any to share. I can only hope these words will help others. And so I give you a sampling of…

Mother Painefull’s… Things That Will Make You Feel Better**

Kicking off with today’s entry…

Next time you’re at the service station spend $2 and vacuum your car – it’ll make you feel better.

Next time you visit why don’t I make you an appointment for a manicure? It will make you feel better.

Go for a run – you’ll feel better.

Put on some mascara, it will make you feel so much better.

Make a fantastic salad, you will feel so much better.

You look tired. You don’t visit enough. If you visited more often… you might feel better.

Painefull Out

* - The ‘s’ is silent

** - Not to be mistaken with other sub-categories such as Things That Will Make Me Happy, Things Men Find Attractive, Meals That Will Fill You Up For The Day and Reasons That I Should Live With You In My Old Age.

Monday, September 19, 2011

So You Think You Can Dance… How Unfortunate

Dream sequences and big nights out have a lot in common – they both tend to end with your very own version of Dorothy’s return to the real world at the end of The Wizard of Oz. Instead of the classic…

“And you – and you – and you – and you were there…”

You find yourself saying something along the lines of…

“And everyone from work… and a trans-gendered puppet… and the cast of Happy Days were there… and then we all ate lasagna.”

So when I uttered this sentence to Fi on the phone the other day…

“And the bride and groom… and a whole heap of people I used to work with… and Guy Sebastian* was there… and then I got in a dance off… twice.”

You might be excused for thinking I was describing a vivid unconscious imagining rather than my Saturday night.

It was superb weather for a fairytale wedding overlooking Sydney Harbour. The bride was stunning (the bride is stunning as a rule, the type of woman who probably serenades birds as they help her dress in the morning), the groom was dashing, the gathered friends and family were aglow with the goodwill generated by coming together for a truly special event.

I wore a borrowed dress, borrowed accessories and my very own, extra special Heels-That-Make-Me-Want-To-Cry-Or-Alternatively-Chop-Off-My-Own-Feet. The shoes came off the minute the ceremony ended and I had my first glass of champagne in hand – I liked to think I was rocking a bit of a bare-foot hippy look, when in actual fact I was probably giving off more of a hillbilly-lush vibe.

The evening was going absolutely swell, I had just lost a fictional sheep station as part of a rather elaborate bet, and had managed to scrawl out an appallingly nonsensical series of messages in the guest book (I think I referred to myself as “the Judy Greer to the bride’s Anne Hathaway”, which is both obscure and misleading because I can’t guarantee Judy Greer is actually a widely understood reference, and I’m fairly sure those 2 women haven’t actually ever shared a substantial amount of screen time) using the kind of horrid handwriting that would usually be attributed to a 14 year old boy (sadly that’s not drunk handwriting, that’s just what it looks like whenever I put pen to paper).

Then the alcohol in my body flicked that most tiresome of switches in me – the one that leaves me convinced I’m a fabulous dancer. I hate that switch, it is an old, time-worn, mortifying, inhibition-free version of myself that is certain people can’t help but be impressed by my amazing moves.

Before you know it I’m in a retro dance off with some random guy I had never met, and failed to speak to before or after. People backed away. I wish I had backed away. But no, there I was throwing out some robot, some running man, some shopping cart, a little decorate the tree, a hint of drive the car followed by the necessary sequel, reverse the car… it was like one of those conversations where someone grabs a joke and runs with it far beyond its used by date.

It would have been fine, a weird blip, if it only happened the once. The 2nd dance off had a format change that saw me going move-for-move in the middle of the dance floor with a friend. I maintain it was her idea.

The evening was rounded out with the bouquet toss. After the first throw saw it land on the ground, I (hater of bouquet tosses) stepped in a little closer (as I thought everyone would do) with joke serious face on for the next throw. Turns out no, no one else stepped in closer, thus it appeared I was some desperate, superstitious spinster out to snag those flowers whether it was the last thing I did. Suddenly I was Desperate Deidre, Crazed Candice, Man-Hunt Mandy. Appalling. How do you then make clear to a group of relative strangers and drunken friends that you were joking? You can’t – it’s too late.

Dancing and drinking continued – laughter and merriment galore. It was, on the whole, a perfect evening for a rather perfect couple (off-putting, I know).

As I took myself off to bed that night (after briefly and inexplicably trying to boil an egg) I could not help but be grateful to have been invited to such a important, intimate event. Then I tripped over the Evil Heels of Doom, slammed head-first on the floor, and suddenly I was pondering how I managed to store so much crap under my bed. But the wedding glow of seeing a happy friend still lingered - it warmed my cold, cold heart as I drifted off to sleep.

Painefull Out

* = Guy Sebastian, the proof that talent shows find actual talent, the single most delightful male singer Australia has produced in quite some time, and a freshly re-acquired crush.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Domestic Vuvuzelas

For a while now I’ve been waking up before my alarm. I don’t need to tell you how spectacularly awful this is – everyone is familiar with the overwhelming anger one feels upon discovering there’s still 10 good minutes in which you could have enjoyed being unconscious. Instead you get to spend those 10 minutes with your eyes clenched shut, willing yourself to get your money’s worth of bed time (or trying to return to the absurd, but erotic dream you’d been enjoying), and then just as slumber decides to take hold you’re ripped back into reality by your alarm.

My first alarm (there are 2) goes off at 4:30am, so needless to say I found it incomprehensible that my body would actually choose to be awake any earlier than that.

After a while I realized it was an odd sound that occurred each morning at precisely 4:20am that was spring-boarding me into yet another new day. The noise was so very foreign that I couldn’t actually peg it. Was it a bird? Was it a plane? Was it that woman next door having particularly loud sex again?

This probably would have remained one of life’s less important mysteries, except that I ended up waking up even earlier the other day and hearing something much more recognizable, and annoying. The honking sound of a pre-dawn bird delighting in the silence of the wee hours by filling said silence. Then I heard what has been waking me up every morning for the last month, and I knew.

It was a Vuvuzela.

To the fortunate who are unfamiliar with the instrument, it sounds like a million monotone matronly women yelling at you to stop running, filtered through a fog horn, and it looks like this.

The world knows them as the scourge of World Cup football events, and I know them as perfectly weighted alternatives to baseball bats, especially when you’re a 7 year old entertaining yourself by smashing the crap out of Moreton Bay seed pods.

Apparently they are now also the go to for scaring away birds, greeting the new day and waking up neighbours.

Discovering that the Vuvuzela is now a domestic tool wasn’t even the weirdest thing that happened that morning, pre-dawn. That honour goes to the nudie fruit drink which exploded on me as I inhaled breakfast in the kitchen. I know these beverages are famed for getting violent when they go off, but my calm was severely harmed when this one went kamikaze and forced me to change clothes before work.

The reason I have a highly repetitive morning, pre-work ritual is so I can do it while still half asleep. The paranoid part of me (and a large part of me is routinely paranoid) is starting to suspect that vuvuzelas and exploding drinks are conspiring against me.

Painefull Out