m i a o w


Category: General (Page 2 of 18)


M is in denial about the size of his feet. Always has been as far as I’ve known him, but yesterday it reached greater proportions ;o) We went on one of our jaunts into town, having run out of sandpaper and realised, belatedly, that there must be better implements than a scourer to remove old paint from window glass. So we hit Bunnings ugh and got all that, and then headed to the supermarket. It wasn’t the one we usually go to – and I had quite a religious experience (for someone who wasn’t baptised and speaks in tongues after too much gin).

Everything I mentioned that we needed to buy miraculously turned up in the next aisle that we entered. Again and again. This was a wonderful thing, because the last few times I’ve been shopping (M has wisely stayed in the car) it has taken me 15 minutes to find the rice, and ten solid minutes to locate the tinfoil (with the intent of baking all the fish I haven’t been catching). So this beam of supermarket luck made M and I quite perky – we looked at towels, sheets, bathmats, and finally… thongs. M has had a pair of sandals that he has worn every day since February and about three weeks ago, they began to disintegrate around him. I spotted these thongs for $1.50 and suggested that we get him a pair. M looked undecided. I pulled out a pair of size 12-13’s. He looked horrified.
“I can’t wear them! No one wears thongs that big! They just look stupid.”
I sighed. “But you’ve got size 12 feet. These are your size.”
He shook his head mutely.
I tried again. “M, you are six foot two – the size of your feet is appropriate for your height. You would look ridiculous with tiny ballet feet. Hello? [waving the thongs frantically as the aisle clears around us] M? You need to face the reality of your shoe size? Hello? What about these ones? See? They’re blue.”
M looks stubborn. Reaches for a pair of green 10-11’s.
“I’ll get these ones.”
“They won’t fit you.”
“I’m not wearing those other ones. They’re just stupidly big. I don’t want to flap around in stupidly big thongs.”
“They won’t fit you.”
I mentally tap my foot. M puts the green thongs into the basket. I shake my head.
We get home, feed the cats, put the shopping away, do a bit more work on the windows, get bitten by swarms of mosquitos and call it a day.
I place the green thongs on the floor. A symbol of the hopefulness of Generation X (M makes it into Generation X by one year.)
“OK. Try them on.” I wait.
M rips off their plastic tie and wiggles his toes into the left one. It’s immediately clear that it is not going to just slip on. He wiggles his toes harder. I bite my tongue. He grabs the thong and wedges his foot between the two bits of rubber. His foot looks anguished. His heel is over the back of the thong and on the floor. I shake my head. M looks crestfallen. I take my moment (as it has, after all, been handed to me on a platter). I speak slowly and clearly.
“M. You. Have. Big. Feet. Big Feet Are Good. You must stop denying your foot size. We are going to go back to the supermarket another day and get you thongs that will actually fit you. Big Feet are Good. They are in proportion to the rest of you.”
M looks humbled. Then I can see a thought flitting across his face. I already know what it’s going to be.
“It must be because I have an unfeasibly large – ”
“Shut up.”

The Valuation

Midnight last night found M outside up a ladder puttying windows by the beam of a floodlight, and me inside, right arm fused to the vacumn cleaner as it sucked down every little bug from the ceiling of nine rooms. Nine rooms. Then I had to do the floor and paint all the bits that needed it – which I had never noticed until I began looking at the house in the way I thought a valuer might look. Closely. At 1am I moved on to cleaning the bathroom and M came inside. By 1.30am we both admitted that we could no longer continue and carked it, in our unusually clean bedroom. Five hours later we were up and at it again. I painted five window frames, carefully avoiding the glass (some of them don’t have have glass, which made it easier). M tidied up all the crud outside the house, by pushing it all underneath the house and then fixed bits and pieces, whippersnipped and generally was a cleaning demon. Meanwhile my right arm became fused to the mop for two hours. Finally, after we had scrambled into some clothes that didn’t scream “Everything about this house is totally DIY”, the valuers turned up.

M kept a fairly low profile, and I didn’t introduce him as then I would have had to say his name – which they then might have twigged as being the same name that was on the invoice that I’d faxed them – as the contractor who had done all the work. The valuers were an extremely nice couple – who had saved my arse a year ago when the bank threatened to kill the house deal over the small matter of my intent to pull down the carport. They wandered around the house. The woman said “I smell paint.” I shrugged bashfully, and explained that once I knew they were coming I’d run around an made some small repairs. I did not add that we’d actually been running around for twelve months. After peering at everything and discussing with me that they would have actually bought this house because it had so much potential – we walked them to the gate. They were happy. It was all fine. And if this doesn’t happen again for as long as I live, I will be happy too. I have had two cups of coffee this year – one today and one yesterday, and have become a strange mixture of flop and bursts of un-focused energy. Time for a nice lie down.

Thank god they never asked if the cooktop actually does anything other than look good – we’re still using our camp stove, but we hid it.

Flowers in the Winter

So I found The Tulips album in my favourite record shop – Second Spin in Balaclava – the shop that I can’t leave without spending chunks of money that would otherwise be spent on things like lunch, train fares and taxis. I had actually been looking for the release they put out themselves with the screen printed cover – but am happy to have found In The Honeycone just the same. My visit to Melbourne has been rather fraught, but is improving slowly. Have now officially caught up with both parents, my sister got ‘Player of the Match’ last night in netball and my brother…well he is in London, though for how much longer I’m not sure. His sad little text messages to me indicate that his time there might be almost up. Today I have my first free lunchtime with no committments and am trying to decide between Victoria Markets or heading to the mall and dousing myself with my latest favourite perfume that I can’t justify the purchase of. Thank god for tester bottles. Work is very full on – I am working now. Right now. Pretend this never happened.

Sleeping Rough

Friday night we had a lovely dinner at D & R’s house and M and I dossed down on the floor of their study for one of the best sleeps of our journey. We took D & R out to breakfast in the morning and got driven to the airport for our efforts πŸ˜‰
It was so nice to have someone with me on the plane!! We sat right up the front next to the door where everyone comes in, which was moderately exciting. Once we hit Brisbane we took the excellent airtrain to Brunswick Street Station and walked from there to M’s niece’s place. Our van was so delighted to see us that it started first go! It was good to be back under our own steam. We cruised Brisbane and I ooohed and ahhhed at all the gorgeous Queenslander houses [sigh] and then, after muddling our way for about an hour, we went to see i-Robot (mostly because M, in his frenzy of Melbourne culture, had seen every other film that was playing). I kind of liked the premise, and I liked the robots, but the script? Not great. The plot seemed to fall off the rails quite often.

After the film we headed back to Newfarm (getting lost numerous times and entrapped on the wrong side of the river by the evil positioning of the Storey Bridge) and found somewhere to eat. Having a few bucks spare to do this kind of thing is a novelty for us – and it was divine. However we didn’t really have enough spare cash to warrant paying for accomodation – particularly since we’d thrown a mattress and a few sleeping bags into the van before we’d left home. So at about 10:30pm, after a glass of red and a gelati, we parked out the front of M’s nieces place and tried sleeping in the van for the first time. I spent the night kind of molded around the wheel cavity and woke up at every noise, expecting;

  • to ohave to listen to a drunk weeing outside near where my head was
  • to be rammed by a passing car
  • for someone to break in and steal the van with us in it
  • for the police to bust us for sleeping in a vehicle
  • for M’s niece to knock on the door and ask why we hadn’t come to say hi

Suffice to say, I slept sporadically. We woke just after 6am, and M stretched. Suggested we might get going, and began to get out of his sleeping bag. There was the noise of a car pulling up behind us and M hit the floor with a soft whumping sound. Out of the last seven hours we’d just spent in the van, he’d chosen the exact same minute to sit up that a car with his niece in it had pulled up behind us. Luckily, from what M could see, his niece was in no condition to notice that there was a dead woolly mammoth parked out the front of her house, let alone a slightly shabby white van. We lay low for another half an hour and then got dressed. M wanted to wee into a bottle again, so I said that would be fine with me as long as I was in the front of the van at the time. After he’d finished exclaiming over the voluminous contents of his bladder, we set off to Wynnum for breakfast.

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