Monday, November 30, 2009

Mother nature

Dear Mother Nature,

I am sure you are very lovely, really, I am - after all everyone talks about you so very much. But not me. I have some bones to pick with you. Here are just a few.

Firstly, what is it with insects? Why did you design people to be scared of spiders, but spiders and other bugs to be deeply bothered by rain? Bothered enough that they have to come running into my house at the first sign of a tiny, shimmering drop? Why do black, furry, shiny and crunchy insects alike all enjoy my house and my food so much? Surely you could have saved all that bother and time and just made them people.

Speaking of the weather - you really should be a bit more organised. Most females would provide a little more structure - rain should start after 6 pm so that the washing can be got off the line in time. Hail and other life-stalling phenomenon (floods, tempests, hordes of locusts) should be rostered for Saturday morning - preferably just before women all around the world are going to start the housework, or even just before dinner would suffice - and, while I think about it, roster them again on Monday mornings making a lovely late start to work justifiable.

On a good note, designing cats to be self-cleaning and lick their own fur was a stroke of genius, but I am a bit worried that instead of designing them to digest it, you engineered them to vomit it back up on the most expensive rug they can find. Stomach acid doesn't go well with carpet. It makes me doubt your credentials a little.

But what about kids? Before you designed them did you bother to ask any mother of teenagers if they would prefer being pregnant for two years if it meant that their progeny left home and were independent at oh, let's say, 13? Especially if they could catch their own groceries and eat raw food? It was good enough for elephants. I'd swap - you should have asked me and I'm pissed that you didn't.

And men. What's doing there? Why did you design men so that they feel an urge to defecate every time there is work to be done? And for that matter, couldn't you have designed their poo tube to close properly when they were finished using it? And why did you design this trait to start so young? While I'm at it why couldn't you have designed them to find their own bloody socks? What's going on - are you really a woman? I can't believe another woman would do anything so cruel.

And, while we are on the subject, what about women? You didn't even get that right. What's all this crap about having to nurture, motherly instinct, caring, sharing and compassion, blah, blah blah? Surely we would have been better off to be more man-like (but not the poo-tube defect), detached with a deep inability to respond to anyone's needs other than our own? Life would be more emotionally efficient that way. We could all just get on with it. And for God's sake, why didn't you design fat to be deposited on boobs, not hips - and while I am on the subject of bodies, what's with the hair thing?

So, there you have it. There's something a bit suspicious going on here. I'd like to see your credentials and I demand that you pull up your socks (and, just an aside, if you can't find them I seriously suggest that you consider a name change - you may have fooled most, but you haven't fooled me for a second).

Yours disrespectfully,


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Some things your mother won't tell you about getting old...

My mother is negligent. To this day, she has never warned me of the pitfalls of aging. Of course, some of it is obvious - you get wrinklier, a little saggier. I know about the aching bones, the difficulties getting up from the chair, and the forgetting of important things - like the difference between an oven and a refrigerator - in fact anyone within a 20 metre radius of someone "getting on" knows these things. We know that our hearing will go, that our bones will hollow out and that, eventually, our urinary tract will give in to the slightest temptation to pee, whether asked or not.

BUT, what I didn't know about, and wasn't warned about, is the hair! Random hair, popping up in all sorts of places where it hasn't hitherto appeared - hair that for all intents and purposes looks like it belongs to someone else, or something else! (a wild boar comes immediately to mind).

I am luckier than most I guess, having blonde hairs, although they are fairly prolific. Thankfully, I am a woman, and my marginally lower testosterone levels mean that I am not as bad as my brother who looks like a relative of the polar bear. But in the few years since I turned 40 I have apparently been working on growing what can only be described as a whiskery white moustache. When I use the work bathroom, the neon lights shine down upon the twinkling galaxy that was once an ordinary upper lip, the wispy antennae lighting up the darkness. I am sure these hairs store enough solar energy that if the lights go out I am guaranteed not to lose my way. And, lately I am sure that I can feel a faint tickle when I talk or eat as the hairs waft together gently in the breeze. Ugh!

I have tried hair removal creams, only to be left with a festering rash for several weeks - alerting even the most casual observers to the danger zone - mmm, cracked and spotty upper lip, or a few hairs? The hairs won a reprieve. I recently tried "threading" - which involved me rubbing twisted cotton up and down my face while contorting my mouth into extremely dangerous positions, watching in the mirror for strips of skin being flailed from my face - well as much as I could between the tears pouring out of my eyes. It was relatively successful - no rash - but I was so worried about the wind changing direction and freezing my face that I haven't been seeking my sewing basket. And like most other parts of my body (with the exception of my eyebrows), there is no way that anything resembling hot wax is going anywhere near it.

I thought that potentially being called "Jo with the mo" was bad - that is until I found a pig bristle growing out of my neck, and a hair that is long enough to be plaited if it had partners, growing randomly from my shoulder. What the...? And that isn't even mentioning the fact that pubic hair does not appear to be immune from the gravitational pull of the earth, and a growing awareness that it is not only men who get nipple hair. I'll save those beauties for another blog.

So there you have it. You have been warned - but most likely not by your mothers. Hopefully (sorry dear readership of none) it's not just me!

Everyone's a critic

My husband just came in (as predicted - no lunches and no coffee) and I shared what I had written. "You sound like you want to jump off a cliff," he said.

Sleep in

I've been able to sleep in this morning. Well, actually not really. As usual the sun streams in our window, blazing behind the cracks in the dreadful, transparent vertical blinds (I mean, why bother?), blinding us with its ferocity at 4.50am. Yes, that's right, 4.50am. At the same time the trucks start their journeys on the highway not far from us. Their rumblings join the chorus of birds - crows, mynahs and squawking lorikeets, that start singing the praises of the day at the first glimpse of sun - about 4.30.

Still, its 6.11 and I am still in bed, obviously glued to my computer and typing this blog post. The house is still creaky quiet - the young men are still in bed, where they would quite happily stay ensconced until 12 or 1 pm while the day idled away. My husband is downstairs rustling and bustling, as I lie here hoping that he has decided to make my day by attending to lunches and breakfast. Soon I will wander downstairs pretending as if I have just woken up, instead of lying here wishing the day away before it even begins, in the hope that he has made me a pot of coffee instead of the usual cup of instant.

As of today we have been married for 18 years and one day. So I know this won't happen. Instead he will be up here soon, having finished watching the sports news, annoyed that I am on the computer, checking that I am getting up to make lunches. But the dishes will be done, and the clothes ironed. The normal whirlwind of a day will commence. Last nights crisis - a faulty and sparking light switch - will have to be resolved, washing and cleaning duties will need to be attended to, young men will need to be fed, dressed, organised and dropped off, my daily phd guilt/procrastination/work cycle will begin, and life will go on.

But for now I am enjoying the rustling, chirping, and even the rumbling, as life goes on without me - just for a minute.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Does doing a daily check of my visitor counter on a blog page that I haven't told anyone about make me a masochist? Is the visitor counter more or less masochistic than doing a PhD?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Living with three teenage boys

I have three creatures living in my house. They share my DNA, but I can't understand how I could possibly be related to these other-worldly beings.

Firstly, they smell bad. Very bad. I have always had an aversion to BO - more so than most people who just get crinkly nosed and mildly put-off by the stench of sweaty armpits. It stems from the time that I was teased for being smelly. I don't know if those bullies were being honest or cruel, but to this day I never leave the house without perfume or deodorant in my handbag and have at least two showers a day. It is, therefore, impossible for me to understand how my teenage boys can go two or three days without a shower. They lounge and lope around, their pimples festering, lank, oily hair dragging in their eyes, shrouded in an atomic cloud of BO that oozes from every pore. It's only teenagers that can take a break from doing nothing, and the break is just to grunt, eat and sleep. It seems as if its just too much effort to drag themselves out of the primordial soup.

Secondly, I never liked teenage boys, even when I was a teenage girl. I just couldn't understand them - they were obsessed with sex, girls and food. It took some years for me to realise that this didn't change with age and maturity, the intensity just varied over time.

Besides these things, there are many other things that I have given up hope of ever understanding. How can they sleep comfortably when before they get in to bed they have to restructure the rubbish pile on it in order to make a primate-like cocoon to sleep in? Even more perplexing - how do they make it to the bed in the first place? It's a miracle reminiscent of Jesus walking on water. How do they breathe in a room that hasn't had the windows or curtains open for that long that the mechanisms have long since rusted and where, nightly, you hear the new cockroaches singing and dancing because they have reached the cockroach Holy Land?

What distorts their mind to think that a floor is a rubbish bin, that schoolwork is for dummies, and that everyone around them is wrong, stupid and in their servitude? How can they function when they are permanently bi-polar - snappy, surly and snarly at anything vaguely resembling authority, yet engaging, and funny with their friends and charming to girls? How can they navigate to some far away event without using a map, yet can't manage to locate a laundry basket? How can they have the right to vote when they don't know how to pick up a towel or find a pair of socks? How do they have the energy to drive up the road to buy junk food, but not to make a sandwich?

I don't know if these questions can ever be answered. Maybe the best I can hope for is a sudden maturity spike or hope that I don't have a nervous breakdown before they decide to leave the parental nest. I suppose there is another alternative - this morning after my shower I just dropped my towel on the floor, and when they asked me where their lunches were I just grunted. I must say, it felt slightly liberating...