29 August 2009

Taken to the Cleaners

If you follow this blog closely, then you may know that at the conclusion of their ten day visit, my father bought me a lovely bouquet of lilies. For the last week and a half, I have been enjoying their softly scented blooms. Then last night, as their blooms began to droop, I stripped the stalks of their petals to adorn our weekly candle-lit bath (the candles were more carefully arranged this week). The next morning, the tub was trimmed with a receding series of orange lines from the abundant pollen.

Later that morning, we took delivery of our new front loading washing machine – much to the apparent amusement of our cat:

When she finally tired of watching the clothes go 'round, she promptly urinated on our bed. Under normal circumstances, this would be a death sentence, but it quickly became evident that she was in severe distress, attempting to urinate in unusual locations without success nearly every five minutes for the next hour.

“Let's just monitor her for the next 48 hours.”

“My Poor Baby!” exclaimed her concerned 'father'...

...so, we're at the vet...

And the office is wall-papered with posters declaring the unique toxicity of lilies upon cats and how renal failure will lead to lethal consequences within 3-7 days.

“Based on everything you have told me, I diagnose an acute case of aseptic cystitis and recommend a course of muscle relaxants and pain killers, plus an additional injection of pain killers. And you should switch her to an exclusive diet of wet food - or ground kangaroo if she prefers it. Also, it would be a good idea if you relocated the clothes washer and possibly booked her into a weekly massage appointment accompanied by some acupuncture to re-align her feline chakras. However, if you'd like, we can do a blood test to check for lily poisoning, and if it is positive, we can put her on a 24-hr drip and monitor her slow but inevitable decline so that she dies with dignity – but I am pretty sure it is just aseptic cystitis brought on by all the recent upsets in her life.”

“Did you just charge me $166 to diagnose my cat with stress?”

“Well, yes.”

“How about you give ME an injection of pain killers and a prescription for muscle relaxants and keep the fucking cat.”

25 August 2009

The Flavours of Mexico Down Under

“So, are you going to blog about THIS?”

“Ouch. My Grandma reads this blog…Ouch…Your sister and your cousin read this blog…Ouch…They don’t want to read about THIS.”

“That’s what I said, but you blogged about THAT!”

“Yeah. Ouch. But THAT was funny. Ouch.”

“THIS is funny.”

“Not from my point of view. Ouch. Hand me another ice cube.”

“See what you get for taking matters into your own hands.”

“I was just helping. Owwwie. You’re lucky I wasn’t feeling more generous.”

“Next time, wash your hands after you dice Jalapenos.”

18 August 2009

Departure Taxes

I broke down when I walked through the door, returning from the airport, and smelled the reminder of this morning's coffee. PapaJon wasn't swaying in the kitchen eating grapes. MommaLinda wasn't knitting on the couch frowning over the Australian news (or lack there of). BadBoyLee wasn't hiding in the bedroom chatting online with his pretty girlfriend. The Cat is still hiding under the bed. The house feels empty, like a hunger pang.

I walked from room to room, sobbing and looking for clues that they had really been here, then cried harder when I saw the flowers in the kitchen, even harder when I spotted the Benefiber. I fired up the computer to get on to my blog and write something good and mushy to make myself feel better, but before I could switch the television over to the PC, I froze.

Channel One was rebroadcasting the Swans vs Geelong footy game we all went to on Saturday Night. We were sitting in the endzone 11 rows from the field - one row behind the cheering section that waves red and white flags whenever something meaningful happens. I stared at the screen until the Swans eventually attempted to score and the camera quickly panned around to our seats.

I could pick us out!

And then it was like we were all together again, right here in my living room hanging out and having so much fun that my sides still ache from laughter.

And from LOVE.

Until this....

07 August 2009

The Brazilian

Occasionally I am asked - usually by young girls with stars in their eyes - what is the secret to sustaining a twenty year marriage. Depending on my mood, I may stammer something about stubbornness or spite or maybe try to explain my theories on pheromones, neural plasticity, and chemical bonding. But, in truth, I am just as surprised as anyone at the longevity of my relationship and I often sit stunned with slack-jawed awe as I reflect on all of our travails and adventures.

If pressed further, I am forced to conclude that the simple reason for the success of our marriage is that we have fun together. Our type of fun is certainly not for everyone, but it suits us perfectly. We spend most of our time playing together, telling private jokes and sharing secrets.

For example, last night, I drew a hot perfumed bath and littered the bathroom with candles, dozens and dozens of them on every surface. It was breath-takingly romantic and we soaked away the cares of the week in luminous bliss.

But all it takes is one little misstep to drastically alter the mood of the evening!

Twenty minutes later - after I put out the small fire in the bathroom - and after I had recovered from the peals of gut wrenching laughter that gripped my mid-section - and after Kevin stopped running up and down the hallway yelling "Ow! My Balls!" - but not until I got permission to relate this anecdote to my blogging audience - I tenderly, yet sardonically, performed the sort of ministrations that bond lovers together.

And make for great stories to tell his boss at the next company Christmas party.

01 August 2009

T minus 7 Days and Counting

I just watched a Qantas jet drift across clear blue morning skies and, depspite the fact that I have been making plans for 5 months, I suddenly feel entirely unprepared!

So here are some random thoughts to get YOU ready, in the hopes that will make ME feel ready.


Weather is unpredictable - thin layers are your best friend. Days have been mild - mid 60's. The sun is bloody hot, even on cool days, but a chill settles in at dusk. Scarves work miracles in this city, and seem to be standard issue and certainly most fashionable. The footy game is at night and will require getting rugged up. Hats are good, especially on sunny walks. I recommend undershirt, long sleeve shirt, thin sweater, topped with a light jacket for ultimate versatility and responsiveness.

We have a pool/spa, and if you are the sort who feels obligated to swim in foreign seas, then don't forget to bring your swimmers and your heart medication, and possibly a shark suit.

Comfortable foot wear is essential as there will be a LOT of walking. I hope you have been practicing.

Bring at least one suave ensemble for a nice dinner or Thursday Night Pub Crawl.


Australia is 220v with a different plug interface with a racially insensitive nick name. We have 1 plug adapter, but could probably use another - they can be bought at the airport for about $12. Most things with rechargeable batteries will run here - check the power supply to make sure it is 110-240v. (Lee, can you check Mom and Dad's stuff for them? They probably won't be able to read it...)


Do you all have your ETA's??

It is a long hard flight. Wear loose comfortable clothes and avoid seams wherever possible. Going commando is advisable, unless you suffer from leaky sphincters. Carry as little with you as really necessary - but eye drops are a god send if you plan on watching 14 hours of in-flight entertainment. A full size pillow is a wonderful luxury on the plane, especially if you are particular about pillows. (Ours are pretty crap and we may not have enough either). I find that raising your arm rests during the flight creates more space and eliminates hard surfaces that cause bruising.

Reserving an aisle seat and a window seat will sometimes net you an empty middle seat, but since there are three of you travelling, one of you might get stuck in the middle. Aisle seats are great if you like to get up and down a lot - which is highly advisable. If you do get stuck in a middle seat, try to get one between two asian girls, as they don't take up as much space as Norwegian men, although they do tend to snore. There are often enitre empty rows towards the back of the plane, so be sure to flirt with the sky waitresses and scope out alternative seating arrangements as soon as the cabin doors are closed. Real estate is the biggest in-flight luxury and there is a mad scramble to claim empty spaces as soon as the seat belt light is switched off.

Exit rows may have more leg room, but the seats have serious disadvantages. They are usually in front of the galley or the toilet, so you get a lot of people milling around sticking their but in your face (and farting, if it is someone like Kevin). The ride is smoother towards the front of the plane, and the section over the wing is the strongest part of the aircraft. I like to sit just in front of the exit row over the wing, reasoning that if the plane rips in half on take off, I should be able to climb out fairly easily.


When you get off the plane, you will pass through immigration to the baggage claim area. Grab a free luggage cart then start crashing it into large sleepy families wandering in a cranky daze, because fifteen flights from 11 different countries all landed at the exact same time. Collect your luggage and get into the wrong line to enter customs. Hand your customs declaration form to the friendly unintelligible employee standing near the turnstiles, who may or may not mark it with a high lighter, but most certainly will direct you to another line.

Be sure to claim any food on your customs card. You may bring in 250 cigarettes, 2.25 L of alcohol (preferably Vodka, and maybe a bottle of Kahlua), and 2 large cans of tomatillos. Sorry, no carne asada or pickled eggs. Also, make sure your shoes are not dirty. And don't bring any heroin or Australian Flags.

I will try to be waiting for you after customs, but there are four different gates and no way for me to know which gate you will exit, and the exit area is mad-house cluster-fuck of screaming children, hugging travellers, and runaway luggage. If I am not standing right there, proceed directly out of the terminal through the nearest exit. In front of you will be a very large parking garage. At the corner of this garage is a cafe next to some benches and some sort of public art that Kevin said was meant to be boomerangs, but I couldn't see it. Meet me there for hugs and kisses.