Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even the Parentals Painefull, who had turned themselves into bed when they realised how much profanity would be in the Will Anderson comedy routine they had stumbled upon on television (in dad’s defence he thought he was watching Adam Hills… which also explains why he kept marvelling at how real prosthetic foots look these days).

The weather outside had been frightful when I arrived at the Dor two days earlier.  42 degrees celcius to be exact when I stumbled into the house to discover Mother Painefull was hosting the Vagina Monologues – aka the Dor Women’s Christmas Champagne Appreciation Event.  40 ladies, excess finger food, and my father missing, having removed himself to an undisclosed secondary location.

Appreciation... achieved

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree was up.  Mum had gone with an interesting gothic-Corpse Bride theme this year.

The sibling specialized family angel ornament is also hanging proudly.  I am the angel in the middle (who’s spun herself away from camera, bitch).  Do read into my placement.

Joy to the world was not precisely what I would call the experience of watching Anchorman 2 with my sister Mrs Ryan, and our parents.  The Parents Painefull had never seen the original.  I had forgotten about the franchise’s enjoyment of prolonged, absurd sex scenes, and was unaware there would be quite so much punning around the name of condoms, or quite so much singing to sharks.  Dad confessed he considered walking out 20 minutes in, but he kept thinking it would end soon.  It goes for 2 hours.

It could have been worse, it was not, for example, The Great 'Scary Movie' Debacle of 2000 - my father and I couldn't look at each other for a while after that one.

Topics of conversation for the trip to the cinema included Mrs Ryan’s thoughts on Mother Painefull’s driving style, and Father Painefull’s thoughts on Mrs Ryan distracting Mother Painefull as she drove, the weather, and how Mrs Ryan would go walking home from the movies.

Away in a manger is not where I sleep.  Because I have a bed obviously.  A lovely traditional single bed, as befits my marital status.  That is where mum photographed me this morning as I slept to show me what I look like when I sleep.  I umm-ed and ah-ed about putting that snap up (I am rocking some odd ‘thinker’ pose), but have erred on the side of maintaining the mystery in our relationship.  Here, instead, is an artist’s rendering:

The only way it could be more dead on is if it was lying down.  Unconscious.  And blonde.  And also female (you've got to forgive Rodin, he really did try his hardest to get this one right).

Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer was among the characters featured in people’s yards this evening as I joined the Ryans in their traditional tour of the neighbouring suburbs in order to cast judgment upon lighting displays.  In years gone past we used to print out official score cards and leave comments, but since the Ryans became breeders we consider it a remarkable feat when we simply manage to fit into one car now.

Topics of conversation included the Ryan Brood’s thoughts on Mrs Ryan’s driving style, a debate on whether Nephew 1 has a girlfriend, or a friend who is a girl, and the many mechanisms for the transportation and storing of sewage.

I leave you with that thought, and this image of Mrs Ryan's cat, Mouse, in full celebration of the festive season.

Like all cats, this cat is a Festive cat by virtue of his very species

Painefull Out

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Tennant, The Real Estate Agent, Her Plumber and His Dog

(plus the Electrician, the Neighbour, the Hot Deputy Plumber and the Man Who Professionally Dries Carpets)

Sometimes my life really does sound like a bad porno.  And here, by ‘bad’, I mean missing one key genre ingredient.  So sexless, but still somehow filled with strange and unplanned visitations.

Case in point: 5 Days of the Tradie

 One recent Monday a kindly neighbour informed me there was a leak in our hot water system on the roof of our house.  Apparently said leak had been in existence for about two weeks.  Fortunately the neighbour spotted me gasping for breath (and life) post wog in our driveway and shouted out the news – fortunate because as we all know it takes at least three weeks to write a note and put it in someone’s mailbox (first you have to find a piece of paper… then a pen… then you need to binge watch the last season of Big Brother so you’re across the story so far... then you need to find a flat surface on which to write… it’s a pretty big deal).

Standing at the appropriate vantage point I could see the birds were really getting a lot of joy from their newly minted winter hot springs retreat, so it was with heavy heart that I called, emailed and texted my infamously disinterested real estate agent (the kind who forgets to tell you about a rent increase until a year after the fact) with the problem.  From her I received the wonderful reply “I thought your water tank was in the laundry?”

Yes.  I am inventing a hot water system on the roof because I miss our long talks.

Now assuming the usual response time the past few years have taught me to expect, I decided to take a quick shower before the Portly Plumber arrived in what I presumed would be several hours.  Of course, I was mid conditioner when Portly rang to say he was standing at the door.

One frantic, damp and scrabbled clothing dousing later I let him in wearing my father’s old grey fleece jumper.  And a trusty pair of ugg boots.  And hole-riddled jeans.  But in my defence I had no idea that Portly would be joined, not just by his rather skittish dog, but by a strapping younger assistant who dutifully removed his shoes every time he walked into the house

The owners decided to replace the solar system with a new tank in the laundry (which means my real estate agent was almost right, or she partakes in recreational time travel – to be honest the second one feels more realistic).  Needless to say I felt it was my duty to help Deputy Hot Plumber in spontaneously clearing out the area where the tank would go.

There’s nothing like the moment you realise just how attractive a Deputy Hot Plumber is, followed by the moment you realise you’re realising this while holding the surfer skateboard that looks like it belongs to a teenage boy, but actually belongs to your housemate, but clearly because you’re holding it, it appears to belong to you.  This sent me into hyperactive, unnecessary exposition about my housemate and her skateboard.  It sounded like a lie, like the times I used to buy shapeless men’s t-shirts and broadcast loudly about buying them for my young brother (though that in fact was a lie – shapeless men’s t-shirts are just so comfortable and I can only steal so many from unwitting brothers in law).

I didn’t mind that they had to come back the next day to finish the work – at least it gave me more time to come up with a surreptitious method by which to take a photo of DHP.  I suspected my housemate Layla would be a particular fan.  I did mind that through a series of misunderstandings they arrived on the Tuesday while I was once again in the shower.  So flabbergasted was I, and disbelieving was old Portly, that I actually managed to answer the door in a towel that time around (which, Mother Painefull might argue, was a better and much more comely look than the previous outfit anyway).

I had to work incredibly hard not to make any dirty jokes about cleaning pipes.  Thoroughly pleased with myself I took one look at the new hot water tank and lost all self-restraint:

“But is it big enough?”

“I think so.”

The reply came from the very literal tank delivery guy.  Did I mention there were 3 men at the door, with a dog, when I answered it in a towel that Tuesday?

As the menfolk packed themselves into the laundry to try and appear like they were all necessary for what was happening in there, I remembered something a little awkward.  Oh god, there’s a pap smear notice on the pin board in the laundry… (for reasons that require their own separate post we have a pin board that features things ranging from speed dating score cards, to the person each of my friends wants me to direct the police to if they die under mysterious circumstances).

Just as I came to the conclusion that it was a good thing that The Great Tradie Invasion of 2013 was about to conclude I heard them referring to the parts of the job they’d finish the next day.  Plumbing, I must conclude, is like an election campaign – theoretically brief, but feels like a marathon once you’ve passed the point of no return.

To my credit I made damn sure not to be in the shower the next morning when the electrician popped in to say condescending things about my generation, hook up the power to the new tank, and flood the laundry and lounge room (in that order).

Some swearing, some shrieking and one rage run later (yes, I actually ran – apparently I need to Hulk out to exercise properly) I foolishly decided it was safe to get back into the water before the Man Who Specialises in Drying Carpet that Has Been Made Wet By Wildly Incompetent Electricians arrived.  A hint of paranoia is why I left my phone in arms reach as I showered, which is why I was able to answer it, and exfoliate at the same time, when the MWSDCHBMWBWIE rang to say he was at the door.

“You’re not going to believe this, but I am in the shower again… (awkward phone silence) which might sound like a strange thing to tell you seeing as we’ve never met…  (awkwarder silence) it’s kind of an in joke… (is it possible he’s hung up on me?) I’ll be right down.”

It must be said that by Friday, when he arrived to take back the industrial fan that had been drying the concrete under our ripped up carpet in the lounge room, he finally found the funny side to the fact that I was once again in the shower.  I can only imagine my reputation on the tradie circuit – ‘She’s hella weird, but that girl is cleeeeaaaannnn.’

On the upside, if the Electrician (who’s response to unleashing a small wave from the new tank into my house was “Look at that, it’s flooding”) hadn’t given us a temporary water feature beside the couch, we would never have had to clean out our storage under the stairs (which also flooded).  Who knew two tents, three lamps, two vacuums (one broken), a television (also broken) and this…
Undiscovered species?  Mrs Claus merkin?

...completely inexplicable object were all taking up residence in the Room That Time Forgot.  Mary Poppins bag, eat your heart out.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m waiting for someone to arrive for a cup of tea – I think I’ll hurry them along by hopping into the shower.

Painefull Out

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Painefull Guide to Looking Less Awkward (while remaining utterly awkward)

On the list of my Greatest Fears (a list that ranges all the way from Uncomfortable Underwear to Robot Led Apocalypse) one of the most highly ranked concerns to plague my mind is my Fear of Showing Up at the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time.  Its genesis can be found in a teenage incident in which I was dropped off at boarding school a day early.  It’s the reason I get cold sweats when arriving at fancy dress gatherings.  Every now and then something happens to reinforce my Fear – like the charming HR woman a few years back who instructed me (through several clarifying emails and phone calls) that I was to start my new job on the 1st of January.  In her defence, how was she to know that the entire building was shut down on New Year’s Day?  She was on holiday after all.

The other source of my fear of fancy dress gatherings

In any case I am quite certain that this, my Fear of Showing Up at the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time, is one of the major contributing factors to the unparalleled wave of Awkward I bring along with me when attending any type of Function.  Here I use the word ‘Function’ as an umbrella term for those genre-less, mystifyingly dress coded gatherings in which one must make unending small talk with complete strangers while exuding charm, grace and confidence, not to mention managing the Olympian juggling act of sipping, nibbling and having a business card at the ready… all at the same time.  Some people call this Networking.  I call this Dying Slowly.

Through a series of inexplicable events I found myself at two such gatherings recently.  Though I failed (like a movie about a board game involving battleships, which is to say utterly) at the social side of both events, I did pick up some advice on the matter.

And now I feel it is my duty to all similarly awkward individuals (who would rather gnaw off their own hand than ‘work a room’), to share that advice as some sort of emergency kit should they ever get backed into a hall filled with finger food that’s being held by people who smile with ‘good-humoured interest’ while glancing over your shoulder.

Let’s called it The Painefull Guide to Surviving a Networking Situation and Hopefully Only Dying on the Inside.  Catchy, huh?  Who needs 5 words when you can use 15 (asked no one ever)?  Scrap that, let’s just begin by saying this: like Law & Order, there are two schools of thought when it comes to approaching a ‘networking opportunity’, those that wish to blend in, and those that wish to stand out… these are their stories.


EVENT 1: Let’s call this the McMidney Milm Mestival Launch

Ah yes, the McMidney Milm Mestival Launch… I managed around 10 minutes of gormless smiling while clutching a Launch program (and somehow sweating through said program, applying printers ink to my hands, which I then thoughtfully transferred to my chin half an hour later when I drummed my fingers there while squinting into the middle distance in a failed attempt to appear intelligent and engaged).  Then I enacted my sacred right to text a friend.

Am currently trapped at a function where I know NO ONE.  Any tips on how to look busy, yet casual, yet totally at ease??

I sent this text to Chesty, an old hand on the networking scene.  Chesty replied with a stream of tidbits on how to achieve this.

The Chesty Manifesty on How to Blend In

The only time I am certain I will be able to blend in is during a zombie apocalypse.  I'm still working on robots.

1. “Do as I do and call your mum.”

This is a classic manoeuvre that everyone has used at least once.  The old ‘I’m so important, I’m so connected, my phone is my office, I’m having an animated conversation which surely means I’m awesome’ gambit.  Sadly or me at the Mestival Launch, when I called Mother Painefull she was two short sashays away from having coffee with one of the Carols (my mother knows a lot of Carols – I think it’s a generational thing, because all the Carols I know are her Carols).

2. “Go over to drinks/food/juice table at same time as someone, give big smile to anyone else approaching and then make lame joke about wishing it was late enough to drink or similar, use that to start convo ‘what brings you here?’.” 

As it turns out the Mestival Launch crowd was not the group for me to test out comedy bits.  At all.  They were quite serious about their tea.

3. “Ask someone near the bathroom where the bathroom is.  Go in and wait a few minutes then go out and as you pass them say thanks and then sort of stay nearby and start convo.”

Unfortunately when I did this I was at the end of my networking tether, and thus I looked frantic and sweaty – then I went into a stall and stood, pondering whether they thought my frantic, sweaty appearance might mean something.  Then I realised I had been pondering this scenario for 10 minutes and wondered what they thought my 10 minute bathroom visit was for – this became 20 minutes due to excess pondering.  I then had no choice but to race out of the bathroom avoiding all eye contact with those nearby in case they recognised me from my previous faux bathroom questing interlude.


EVENT 2: The Pinscription Polarship Pannouncement

Everyone loves a Pannouncement, am I right?  No.  I’m lying.  If you nodded you’re lying (but you’re also physically reacting to something written by me, so you’re not all bad).  If you’re in any way associated with said Pannouncement, if your name is say… on a short list, that intrinsically means there is a medium to high chance that someone there will try to engage you in conversation about yourself.  If you are inherently awkward, as I am, this is disastrous.  You will make awful quips, you will become clammy-handed, you will be tempted to get drunk.  Lucky for me, at this Pannouncement, Mother Painefull was on hand to show how it’s really done.

The Mother Painefull Broadway Show-stopper On How to Stand Out

That's not a coat, this... is a coat

1. Wear a loud jacket, it’s always a good talking point

Mother Painefull could have been spotted in a pitch black room, so brightly hued was her coat.  I didn’t get the memo.  I wore black.  I was practically a waitress.  In mourning.  Who was about to head to her next gig as a stagehand at a high school production of Fiddler On the Roof (which, FYI, is a challenging role, and not a ‘sympathy gig’ your drama teacher gives you upon discovering 20 seconds into your audition that you cannot sing to save yourself).

2. Conclude a bonding session with a relative stranger by declaring her your new daughter (in front of one of your current daughters)

Thus a new talking point is raised for all involved.  Don’t take this talking point and spin it into an elaborate joke about playing Sibling Survivor and kicking people out of the family.  Not everyone can tell when you’re joking.  Which might have been the problem at the Mestival now that I think about it.

3. Upon the announcement of someone else winning the prize, ask them if they will take you.  Then tell everyone loudly that your daughter (the old one, not the new one) in fact came second – several people will assume that this means there is in fact a second place and she is talking with authority.  Then line up the winner for a photo between the old daughter and some other shortlisted entrant and loudly talk about getting a photo of the podium finish (telling the other shortlisted entrant he came 3rd – he looks intrigued by this)

To be honest, this one’s hard to replicate when your mother is already doing it.  But I will say, Operation Stand Out… big success.

If the above two approaches to Networking completely fail, if you feel like a fraud, if you need something to make you feel better… I would suggest, why not find someone more awkward, stand near them, and let that comparison play to your strengths?

For me, at the Pannouncement , that relief arrived when I overheard one Nervous Entrant in conversation with Father Painefull.

FATHER PAINEFULL: The hosts said to make ourselves at home…
NERVOUS ENTRANT: Yeah, they’ll never be able to kick us out…
FP: Yes, I was thinking of checking out the bedroom…
NE: I know!  I said to my girlfriend – what if we went and had sex in their bedroom?!

Now imagine giant screeching cicadas.  Father Painefull looked mystified and discomforted in equal measure.  I know my father well enough to know he was joking about going upstairs for a nap (Father Painefull love a nap), and that randomly discussing sex under any circumstances at a social gathering is as off-putting to him as the idea of the two of us settling in to watch an episode of Game of Thrones together would be for me.

At that point I relaxed a touch.  In fact I sighed with relief that I was not the most awkward person in that moment.  Of course I was relieved - I didn’t yet know I was going to have to call Mother Painefull the next day to instruct her to please stop telling people that I came second, because those people have begun to ring me to congratulate me, and they seem to think I have won some sort of runner’s up prize.

This is of course impossible because at the Pannouncement, just as it is in life and Networking, there is no second place whatsoever, just people looking at you with concern, wondering why your eye is twitching.

Painefull Out

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Of Mice & Parking Men

There are two things I dislike intensely (because, as Mother Painefull says: we don’t hate, we just dislike intensely).  Actually, there are many things I dislike intensely, the damn list of them seems to grow daily – I harbour a dislike, bordering on intense, for said imagined list itself.  But it is here, at this moment, that I want to stop and point aggressively at two of those things (pointing, I was once told by an army reservist, is rude… but so am I by most standards, so what’s a dog to do but bark?).

You know I can totally pull off that entire look

It is here that I would like to note my intense dislike of bullies and cowards.  Said note must come with the admission that I have been both on several occasions.  Haven’t we all?  Most of my retrospective regrets relate to displays in one, or both categories, that I only later recognised for what they were.  The bully uses force to get what they want from another, the coward is often the one standing to the side watching it happen.

I made a series of strange and frantic phone calls last week.  They weren’t emotional, or filled with revelation, I wasn’t trying to track down a missing pet, or asking someone to come and help me move a body.  I didn’t bother with greetings or niceties (one must be intrinsically ‘nice’ to pull of niceties, which I am not, so they invariably turn into an interlude in awkward whenever I give them a try), and each went a little something like this:

“Are you home?  It’s free!  Can you come around right now to visit for a tea?  You don’t need to have a tea – just park and I’ll drive you home.  Or park, and go away, whatever.  We don’t need to see each other.”

My furtive calls could be traced to an incident that happened only a few days earlier.  It was a Wednesday night, and I was arriving home at 11:45pm from a meeting.  After doing a loop of the inevitably packed one-way street parking, and laying my sweet, sweet Yaris to rest curb side on the closest available spot to home (around 20 metres down the road), I alighted from said vehicle as another car approached.

Said car, maroon with envy, had a driver who pulled up beside me in the middle of the street, got out of the car, and asked/demanded that I move my car.

Initially confused, I assured him I wasn't covering a driveway.  He replied that the perfectly legal street park I had taken was right outside his house, and therefore his park.  Apparently he parks there 'every day' so it was 'his'.  I asked him if he was joking.  He accused me of being rude.  So no, he doesn't have an obscure, but ultimately harmless sense of humour... just a sense of entitlement.

Eventually, after an argument of escalating ridiculousness, because I couldn't get him to stop talking to me and get back into his car, and because this guy was over 30 and a little intimidating... and now knew exactly where to find my car if his sense of entitlement turned sour... I actually did move it.  I should mention that a woman, who I assume is this man’s wife, watched the entire exchange passively from within the Parking Douche’s automobile.

It is at this juncture that I should reveal that I have long held the irrational belief I could hold my own in a fight (and am destined to solve crime), so needless to say the sensation of giving into a bully such as this was rather galling.

But I haven't dedicated 2 years of my life to watching Revenge for nothing.

Thusly, after taking several days off to hone my own sense of self-loathing for giving in to such a douche, I decided to alleviate my rage and feeling of disempowerment the only way I knew how.  I sent a photo of the street park in question (filled with his car... because his car owns that spot apparently), and street number to everyone who has ever driven to visit me at home.  The offer I made was simple - I will personally cook dinner for anyone that manages to park in that spot while visiting me at any point this year (photographic proof required), I will also keep a tally should many people manage to do this, and will award a prize in December to whoever does it most often (bonus points if the car holds the park for over 24 hours).

Petty?  Yes.  Soothing?  Definitely.

But, as Emily Thorne also discovered, once you set about enacting karmic vengeance, fresh complications can ensue.  It seems, put out by my presumptuous attempt to usurp his rightful vehicular throne, the Parking Douche has decided to start using his motorbike and his wife’s moped, which neatly combine to take up one spot beside the Maroon Devil Car, to block off anyone else looking to utilize his car’s park should he decide to go for a drive.  Yes, did I mention his hereditary claim apparently covers TWO parking spots for him to use at his own leisure?

When I made those frantic calls to several friends not long after it was because the Parking Douche has momentarily slipped and allowed the space to become free.  Sadly no one was available to take up my kindly offer to ‘park, and go away, whatever’.

But just you wait Parking Douche.  Just.  You.  Wait.  The game of cat and mouse continues.  The grand chess match.  The epic battle of wills.  That he’s totally unaware of.  Yes, I recognise I am currently on the character arc of pretty much every villain from every super hero movie.  I’m okay with that.

The one thing that reassures me about bullies is my blind belief that karma will eventually slap them back into place.  And if karma needs assistance with delivery of said service, who am I not to lend a hand?

Painefull Out

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Things You Can Tell Just By Aging Her

It was earlier this year when a new song began to truly haunt me.  It didn’t come with the usual warning signs (like the name ‘Chris Brown’), it wasn’t instantly offensive (like the opening bars of One Direction’s audio assault on Blondie), nor was it distractingly confusing (like the lyrics to Good Charlotte’s… anything).  It was catchy, easy on the ear, and offered a pleasant break from hearing about how the singer was never, ever, ever getting back together (with Tina Fey & Amy Poehler since deciding to take on misogyny one feminist, woman-empowering female comedy duo at a time).

I never really had a problem with Taylor Swift, until she released the single ‘22’.  It was then, about a week of high rotation FM station airplay in, that I realised something awful – for the rest of my life, Swifty is just going to be motoring along, 5 years behind me, writing songs about how awesome the age is that I’ll never be again.  ‘15’ I could handle with its ode to heartbreak (what me worry… I have no heart) but ‘22’?  Come on, that’s just cruel.

Taylor seems set to be my Ghost of Ages Past.  All this I realised around March, when I was 27.  And now, to make matters worse, I’m 28.

Unless I find a carnival fortune telling machine that’s taking requests, I can no longer even remotely sell the idea that I’m in my mid-20’s.  And now, when I hear ‘22’ I’m not just thinking of the age I’ll never be again, I’m thinking things like:

It feels like one of those nights
We ditch the whole scene
[god I hate changing venues]
It feels like one of those nights
We won't be sleeping
[I don’t know, that sounds tiring, and I don’t really want to screw up my sleeping pattern]
It feels like one of those nights
You look like bad news I gotta have you, I gotta have you
[come on Taylor, make good choices - if he’s bad news now, what’s going to make him good news later?]

And following my birthday I’m noticing more and more signs of just how old I am.  I can hear you asking, Imaginary Audience, ‘what signs?’, and so I will provide detail:

That’s Why The Lady’s A Dame
Case in point, recently some friends and I were trying to assign each other actors and characters that we essentially are in real life (because, as we all know, actors, like characters and eskimos, aren’t real).  After much deliberation I was awarded Maggie Smith.  Current Maggie Smith.

Maggie Smith is awesome, but she’s also, like, a whole 10 years older than me.  It probably proved the point when I proceeded to purchase a cane for a dress up party a few weeks back, then use it at all subsequent gatherings as a dance prop.  But Maggie and I have a lot of other stuff in common aside from a walking stick.  That I am not listing them now should in no way be taken as an indication that no examples readily come to mind – plenty do.  Plenty.  For example… she was in Gosford Park, and I love Gosford Park.  It’s uncanny.

Use Your Words!
My two teenage nephew’s Facebook updates are incomprehensible.

Hey Guys, me & Slothy r [acronym] and will [acronym] the best [acronym] that any1 can [acronym].  Bring it!!!!!!!

I’m not completely off the grid, I do know what LOL, FML, FOMO and YOLO mean (and knowing doesn’t make their use any more acceptable… said Maggie Smith… not me, cause I’m cool, why would I think the only thing more mortifying is adults using emoticons?  That’s pure Mags talking), but this is a whole new level.  I find myself wondering whether said acronyms are simply invented keyboard spasms and the aim of the game is to interpret at will and then reply confidently in kind.

My Body Is Not A Wonderland
My body hurts more in general.  I’m just one set of dentures away from being able to predict the weather through the ache in my joints.

Next Thing You’ll Be Telling Me You Haven’t Watched ‘Spice World’…
There’s this entirely discomforting batch of people popping up in workplaces who were all born in the 90’s and therefore cannot complete a Spice Girls lyric if I sing it at them (call and response style)*.  This in turn has made me realise just how often I punctuate conversations with Spice Girls riffs.

Never fear, it’s not all doom and gloom though.  There are still a few fronts on which I’m fighting the youthful fight.  I still fail to see the allure of quince paste, would sleep in till 12 every day if that was remotely acceptable and simply can’t bring myself to listen to people talk on the radio for longer than 30 seconds (it’s for music after all… except when ‘22’ plays again, then it’s for self-pity).

On the plus side, I can still be mistaken for someone younger.  Not due to looks or attitude, but rather clothing.  You see, I've returned to the bottom of the workplace ladder this year to start all over again, and this event has been made less awkward for those giving me their coffee orders by the fact that I still dress (to quote former boss Dame Deadpan) 'like a teenage boy' leading them to assume I'm an oddly wizened 23 year old**.  Which is much closer to, though not actually, so still failing to be, 22.  Damn you Taylor, damn you.

"Who, me?"  Yes, you.

It feels like one of those nights
I’ll bail on work drinks
It feels like one of those nights
I’ll sleep 10 hours
It feels like one of those nights
Katie Holmes in First Daughter, so bad I must watch, so bad I must watch

Painefull Out

* = I feel safe excluding 1990 born J-Law from this group.  Any girl that can quote First Wives Club knows how to Spice Up Your Life (Every boy and every girl!)
** = See Mother Painefull, comfort, unlike crime, does pay!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Cool Woggings

I have long believed that getting fit is just a fancy, more socially acceptable way of injuring yourself.  If someone screws up their knee pulling aeroplane parts across a beach at sunrise while being yelled at by a sadistic drill sergeant (and paying for the pleasure) it’s somehow impressive, but you blow out one slightly important bodily hinge while joyously kicking snow and you know everyone will find you faintly ridiculous for the length of your limping.

This is a really kind-hearted artist's rendering of what I look like after exercising

That’s not an excuse for my complete lack of fitness (as excuses go, I’ve made better), but rather more of a philosophical viewpoint.

Obviously the real reason I’m unfit is because I’m lazy, but for the first 20 years of my life I was lazy in a less obvious way.  I’d always preferred team sports over the individual pursuits, and it was easy to assume this was because I was a naturally social person (an absurd assumption really, when combined with the well-known fact that I don’t like people).

Retrospectively I realise the real reason I so excelled at softball, basketball, hockey, cricket and touch football was because they actually involved a superb amount of standing.  You may think to yourself that basketball, hockey and touch football in particular actually involve a ludicrous amount of running, but you’d be wrong – not the way I played them.  I am an excellent stander (for no longer than 60 minutes).  When a whole team of people are running around madly, it can actually be considered an asset to be the one person who will always be reliably found standing in the same spot.

The only time I’ve managed to become some version of athletic was by complete accident.  I hiked the Machu Picchu trail and I can only assume the lack of the oxygen in the air made me more efficient at breathing or something (because that’s how those things work, surely).

When I went to university I got a bicycle and briefly became determined to be one of those people who rode everywhere (you know, Dutch, but with a point), and promptly failed.  I lacked the necessary balance and grit to ride up hills and inevitably ended up walking my bike most of the way.

That was 8 years ago, which is how long it took for me to recover from the mortification of being overtaken by toddlers on tricycles.

So here I am, in my late 20’s, newly emboldened to try to become fit.  I’m attempting this through running, but you know what they say, you have to wog before you can run.  Where do they say that (Mother Painefull wonders to herself as she engages in her weekly furniture rearranging session)?  Cool places mum, that’s where.

This is a rather sarcastic artist's rendering of what wogging looks like, the kind of clothes I do it in, and what sports bras do to my breasts - thanks Phil, you douche

I’m sure I don’t have to explain what wogging is, but I will.  It’s the pursuit of personal transportation through a combination of both walking and jogging.  And because it’s pretty much a science, I can tell you it can only become such a hybrid once 10% of the journey is done with jogging.  Of course, once the jogging takes up over 50% it becomes jalking (please don’t argue with me over the naming system, I have put a rather sad amount of thought into this – I think ‘brunch’ and ‘liger’ prove that the dominant feature gets leading naming rights, don’t you?).

But as I mentioned, it’s been 8 years since I attempted any meaningful and regular exercise, and 2 new facts have emerged:

1. Wogging is actually incredibly boring
2. Without my glasses I am basically blind

As such I’ve had to invent games to make it more interesting, and fortunately wogging blind provided the very first one.  This game was called ‘Man-Woman?’  Without spectacles I can’t even pick someone’s gender until they’re standing beside me… with that in mind I tend to lose at this game more than I win.

After tripping over several hoses, 2 branches, a crack in the pavement, and an orange safety cone I started wearing my glasses while wogging, which meant coming up with a new game.  This one is called ‘Engage!’.  When playing this game you get a point for every time you get someone to respond to your greeting while you wog.  This has the added bonus of alleviating some of the concern of people who look at me as if I’m dying as I heave past them, gasping for air.

You lose a point for every fail, and get bonus points if both members of a couple respond to your engagement, or if you can somehow get someone to spontaneously high five you as you go past (it’s only happened once, and it was a wonderful day).

I wouldn’t say I’m getting fit, so much as I’m getting moderately less unfit.  And the public nature of the whole thing is helping with my innate laziness.  The ease with which I get mortified in front of strangers, combined with the amount of construction workers sitting around listening to talkback radio in my suburb, means I spend much more time jogging, and trying to look nonchalant while doing it, than my body really wants to allow.  For some reason I’m really determined that these predominantly overweight men think I’m running the whole way (in reality I doubt they notice, but it’s somehow important to me to think they do… like it’s important to me not to make eye contact with the cashier while buying tampons).

Painefull Out

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Do Voters Make Passes At Prime Ministers Who Wear Glasses?

It’s been a big week in politics, and under such circumstances it’s important to focus on the truly vital components of our ever lively national debate.  And what could be more vital than our Prime Minister’s bold decision to announce the longest election campaign in the history of Australia while wearing glasses?  Of course, I don’t have to tell you that the key word there is ‘glasses’.

If The Great Michelle Obama Haircut Inauguration of 2013 has taught us anything (aside from “Ask not what your fringe can do for you – ask what you can do for your fringe”) it’s accessorizing is the contribution women were born to make.  It’s like how Twitter is the medium Shane Warne was born to speak through, and maniacal laughter was the sound Christopher Pyne was born to let out (it’s sad to watch him fight it, day after day).

But of course a pair of glasses can’t just be a pair of glasses, there has to be a vaster plot behind such a truly audacious manoeuvre.  I know this because Julia Gillard is clearly smart (she wears glasses now you see) and crafty (because she’s a woman, and by ‘crafty’ I mean ‘manipulative’, and by ‘manipulative’ I mean… ‘female’).

After much research, and whole minutes of painstaking thought, I’ve managed to narrow down the conspiracy theories surrounding Spectacle-Gate to the most likely candidates.

Rose Tinted Glasses

You can’t tell from this side, but looking out through those glasses everything’s coming up roses for Julia.  It’s all puppies frolicking through meadows and flowers made of fairy floss where she’s sitting.  Look how she smiles now when Kevin Rudd walks past – that’s because she can’t see him (and there ain’t nothing he can do about that for the next 8 months).  She’s the only one who won’t be suffering the next time Tony Abbott emerges from the surf in nothing but a modesty cloth – to her he’ll appear full clothed.

The theory goes that she attained this technology on a vision quest back in 1993 and she’s been moving forward ever since.  The only other pair of these glasses in the world was given to Anthony Mundine, and no one knows why.

Ron Burgundy’s Glass Case of Emotion

This one’s really a Reverse Rose Tint – there’s some speculation the glasses are in fact aimed at hiding the wearers actual response to what’s going on around them.  Apparently they were rushed into production mere days ago.  According to packaging found at a top secret dump site (also the location of several well documented Yeti sightings) they’re specially suited for hiding the First Bloke-inducing winces that come when middle aged white men stumble into jokes that feature prostate exams and small Asian women.

Reportedly impenetrable, a small tag tucked behind the Prime Minister’s ear states ‘Only to be broken in cases of emergency or misogyny’.  According to anonymous, but highly creditable sources on conspiracy site TheDogAteMyHomework.com, the Ron Burgundy specials were designed to withstand extreme rage and despair, having been purpose bought for when Oprah inevitably scores the Craig Thomson interview (“Welcome Craaaiiigg Thomsoooooooon!  You’re getting a Health Services Union credit card, you’re getting a Health Services Union credit card, everyone’s getting a Health Services Union credit card!”).

There’s a failsafe button being held in a bunker at the Lodge – if there are any glitches it will simply render her mute.  It’ll be like watching Andrew Murray lose the Australian open and wondering why he keeps mouthing the word ‘Duck!’

Alien Invasion

This is the most obvious and concerning theory.  Julia Gillard has been taken over by alien life forms.  Who owns one of the most famous pairs of glasses in the world?  Clark Kent.  What was he trying to hide?  He was from another planet.  Boom!  I rest my case.

Need more?  One off-shoot of the theory suggest the glasses themselves are the sentient being controlling our PM – why else would they have their own Twitter account?

Clearly this means an invasion is imminent.  You know what they say about Extra-terrestrial life forms?  Total queue jumpers.

Painefull Out

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Summertime Painefull

My feelings precisely
I’ve received several genetic gifts from my Dad – thin hair, ear wax and awful eyesight amongst them.  I know, what a catch?  I’m selling Father Painefull short with that list, he really is quite a handsome man (for the record, that’s another gift he’s given me, the opportunity to be mistaken for a handsome man, and if I wasn’t a woman that would be lovely*).  But chief among those blessings is a strict and overwhelming dislike of hot weather.

It’s an aversion matched only by Lance Armstrong’s disinclination for clean victories and Tina Fey & Amy Poehler’s inability to be anything but funny**.  That and my natural instinct to sleep all day and party all night (if you exchange the word ‘party’ with the phrase ‘re-watch the West Wing’) have led many to reach the only sensible conclusion available – I am a vampire.

There’s certainly a lot of hay to be made with that suspicion.  I’m so pale I practically glow in the dark, my personal ‘style’ can give the appearance that mirrors don’t allow me to see my own reflection on the way out the door, and I only ever play baseball during lightning storms (yep, that baseball thing is all I remember from my entire Twilight viewing experience).

On stunning 41 degree days such as was experienced in ye olde Sydney town (and by extension my own un-air-conditioned, shoddily carpeted rental crib at the Cliff) last week I almost wish I was a vampire.  If I was, the sensation I was about to burst into flames would have made slightly more sense.

How much do I hate the heat?  Let me count the ways.  Here are but some of the signs I am not made to live in such warmth:

I am a vampire
The jury remains out on this one.  This holiday period I managed to score a new personal best when I achieved sunburn at 7pm at night.

My standard life uniform involves jeans for every occasion
Even I must admit I’m pushing the boat out by sticking to them when it gets hot.  It’s heat, and not Mother Painefull’s traumatized sideways glance at my outfit choice, that brings me closest to wanting to own a rack full of dresses.

No one in my family owns a pool
Oh the inhumanity.  Each summer someone promises they’ll be in possession of a cool body of water the following festive season.  They lie.  My standards aren’t even particularly high when the mercury starts to rise - bug-infested, stagnant bodies of water start to look inviting pretty quickly.

It makes me question my commitment to tea drinking
If something shakes my addiction to English Breakfast, then you know it’s not quite right.

Like the American government on an annual basis, I enter total shutdown
Most of my conversations on hot days begin and end with “Don’t talk to me, I’m busy lying still.”  I can’t function.  A majority of my friends have a  photo somewhere from the first time they discovered me spread-eagled on the lounge room floor and refusing to speak in complete sentences for fear of breaking into a fresh sweat.  If I’m sweating and not getting fitter in the process then the world is officially an unfair place***.

One of said friends' photos of me

But never fear fair weather friends (mum, when you read this in a month you’ll see I’m referring to you in the plural now, because it makes me feel more special… so I’m counting you, and the portrait of you that hangs on the wall behind you in your office when you peruse this… that painting is just the gift that keeps on giving), some mild relief is at hand.  One of my besties, Fi, has just moved into an apartment block with a pool.  Which I now refer to as My Pool.  I’m officially like the French royal family pre cake eating fiasco – I have a summer palace.  Now the plan of attack is to simply wait this ‘thing’ (‘thing’ being Painefull for ‘season’) out from the confines of My Pool, emerging only to dowse myself in sunscreen once every hour.  It’s fool proof.

Painefull Out

* = Coming up… The Painefull Guide to Being Mistaken for a Dude
** = And soon… Why one of my closest friendships has been entirely defined over who’s the Tina, and who’s the Amy
*** = But after the break… Ridiculous statements by first world brats regarding what constitutes an unfair world