Retiring the Pradas.

A few months ago I went through the extremely frustrating process of buying a pair of matte black Ciccio RETROSUPERFUTURE glasses from an online reseller and then we moved and I completely forgot to get them kitted out with lenses.

Today I went to an optometrist near work on the recommendation of a friend and in the course of the check up, needed to have a photo taken … of the inside of my eyeball.

It was really interesting. The optometrist and I sat huddled around his monitor as he showed me all the different bits that make up the inside of eyeballs, mine in this case. There were all my eye veins! And a healthy looking long medical term for a red bit! We both decided the photos could be a little sharper, so the resolution was adjusted and I hopped back in front of the camera and for $50 I now have a crisp photo of both my eyes on file.

He then put some anaesthetic drops in and the eyeball and the eyelids went numb so he could put some kind of medieval torture tool in my eyes. ‘Try not to blink!’ he said, which made me frantically blink.

Afterwards he fixed my eye make up for me and told me my new frames were groovy and I went back to work, squinting even more than usual until I could feel my eyes again.

 

University of C

I am currently engaged in a discussion on Twitter with two of the teaching staff at Canberra Uni, where I spent the year 2001.

It would be strange to be a student nowadays, being able to Internet stalk your lecturers and find them engaging in a gentle online bromance with one another.

My time at Canberra Uni was defined by poor marks (not for want of trying), stringent budgeting (I lived on $50 a week in non-catered accommodation and smoked, and basically survived by sheer luck more than anything else) and a flasher who was said to wear nothing underneath his trench coat other than the bottom half of a pair of jeans that he had cut off and glued to his calves to give the impression he was fully dressed until the curtains went up, so to speak.

To get to the nearest shopping centre meant passing through the dense bushes where he was said to lurk, but a poor student with a penchant for pizza could easily be persuaded to take the risk for the $5 large pizza Pizza Hut lunch deals. My friend Dave and I used to go there and order takeaway under the name ‘Stella’ because it amused us to force the staff to unwittingly imitate Marlon Brando’s famous line from A Streetcar Named Desire.

I’m not going to lie to you: Belconnen is on the quiet side and the Internet was really slow in those days. You got amusement where you could find it.

Were I a student there now, I’m sure I’d just be Internet stalking Glen and Scott.

On The Hunt

I have mentioned this elsewhere, so why not here? I am currently job-hunting, everyone’s least favourite thing after moving house, raw ginger and dreams involving carnival clowns.

The fun part is imagining completely new careers. One I have come up with after B’s recent visit to emergency is Happy Person Who Brings Water and Sandwiches To People Being Triaged. There’s a real need for that. We sat in the waiting room for hours, and while Barry coughed painfully under his duck bill-shaped face mask, I spent time talking to an older man about 16th century etiquette and if it is polite to look into a tissue post using it (no, under no circumstance, we both agreed) and worrying about a woman who’d been bitten by something and was silently suffering, biting her lip as tears streamed down her face, unnoticed by her husband and son who were hypnotised by their iPhones.

The nursing staff were busy and medical triaging doesn’t include things like surprising people with sandwiches and actually quite delicious convenience store cold tuna salad, but I really think there is room for that role.

Were I to become a professional Happy Person Who Brings Water and Sandwiches To People Being Triaged, I would have counselled the man and his son about iPhone addiction and how their respective wife and mother was a bit of a stunner and they were lucky to have her and she’s in pain so hold her hand and stop looking so awkward about her tears.

I would’ve had a basket of books and old Who magazines to hand out to people and we could’ve discussed how I’ve recently become quite fond of Kim Kardashian.

I’d have sat with the multiple boyfriends with their respective pyjama-clad girlfriends and asked them why even when presenting with flu-like symptoms they looked so fashionable with their hair so clean. I look worse after a night of restful sleep, let alone under fluorescent lights in a waiting room where a man who’s been brought in by ambulance with breathing issues is arguing with nurses about whether he should have a cigarette or not.

I would be stern about some things: really, no smoking in the doorway means no smoking in the doorway; the triage room is no place to try and start loud discussions about celebrity sex offenders; don’t cry when you see my boyfriend in his duck bill-shaped face mask because that makes me feel bad for finding it mildly amusing (come on! It was even the perfect shade of cartoon duck bill yellow!).

I would be warm and loving to others, pulling those in need close to my matronly bosom and telling them it would all be okay just so long as they remembered it was gauche to look in a tissue after using it.

I would make a great Happy Person Who Brings Water and Sandwiches To People Being Triaged.

Girlwood

house1

On Saturday we met my parents in Wentworth Falls to pick up Delilah and Wuz. Delilah was delighted to see us, but she’s delighted by people in general, so I don’t think she would have minded either way if we took her home or not. Pats, a bone to chew and something stinky to role in? Delilah is happy.

Wuz on the other hand was very happy to be home, regardless of it being a strange home that was not the one she left. She spent hours sitting in a silent huff in one of the cupboards, avoiding Delilah’s maniacal rampaging, before emerging with a very loud meow, like, ‘Guys! I’m here. Now, where’s my food and my litter and pats?’. She slept the first night in between our heads, purring contentedly.

house3

We’ve done most of the unpacking and everything seems to have it’s place and I love the new house. It’s my first proper grownup house. When Barry suggested having a housewarming, I didn’t cringe in fear, imagining guests falling into the kitty litter or suffocating on mould.

house4

The new neighbourhood will take some getting used to. It’s definitely less dog-friendly. Unlike Newtown where we could barely move without someone wanting to talk about Delilah, Earlwood seems more a suburb where people have backyard dogs and the backyard is where the dog stays. I have seen one other dog being walked in the week since we moved.

We’re close to a few interesting strips of shops which Barry has already explored and reported back on. I’m more like a cat, I approach moves and new neighbourhoods with caution, generally distrusting them until proven wrong. I discussed this with a psychologist once, how most moves I’ve made have been fuelled by something bad, so I find them very hard to deal with, emotionally. This move was driven by good things, but it’s happening during a stressful time in my life and I can’t enjoy it yet.

When the sun sets, I feel sad, but I don’t know why.

house2

2014 has been difficult, especially after 2013, which was a complete breeze, but when I look at my life it’s never felt more worth it.

 

In the forests / And in the dark places

We moved on Tuesday and it was definitely the worst move I’ve ever done.

It was pouring, the removalists couldn’t start until 2pm, they took our stuff to the wrong address, the GoGet car we booked was dented, the new house hadn’t been cleaned by the previous occupants, I had a panic attack, we ate a lot of jelly beans.

We are in now and slowly feeling better. As B said yesterday, this month has been a tsunami of shit. Deciding to move, losing the house we’d paid a rental deposit on, B being hospitalised, me having good and not-so-good news from my endocrinologist, and in the midst of it all, I have resigned from the place I’ve been employed for the last six years.

Last night we sat in bed with pizza and Futurama and made each other laugh and I realised I have the best little team in my life now. I have caring and very generous sisters and brothers-in-law and parents who back my choices and gun for me to do well and a partner who can make me see things logically and feel safe and a dog and a cat who are soft and cuddly.

On top of that, I have friends who remind me that when circumstances make me feel useless, I’m not and that’s what I really needed this week. I needed reminding of all the things I’ve conquered over the last ten years and exactly what it is about me that means I can tackle those things.

I’ve moved past the teenage dreams we all have of being special, standing in a spotlight, but I know the negative aspects of the last 12 months don’t define me, are transient or are other people’s projections.

Just Call Me Miles Gloriosus

I learnt a lesson the very hard way: do not be a braggart before a lease is signed.

Last Monday B had a giant fever and went to bed looking like he’d been in a sauna.

On Wednesday he was at home, sick, when the real estate agent left a number of messages for me to call him urgently, because the owner of the house we were supposed to move into next week had taken the house off the market.

I had an hour to get to Earlwood to inspect another (way more expensive) rental which B couldn’t get out of bed to come and see with me.

On Wednesday night, B staggered out and asked me to take him to hospital, which led to six or seven hours in the ER while he was tested for everything and pneumonia.

We gave notice on our current house and complained about the mould. The owner came around and was lovely about it all and the final inspection will be fine, but we’re now at the ‘between Tuesday and Wednesday next week we need to move, have a bond clean and a final inspection and get B well and get the animals back from Mum and Dad’s’ stage of the game.

It’s been a really difficult few weeks, as evidenced by the state of my skin, which looks like that of a particularly oily 14-year-old, but there are some silver linings:

- Mum and Dad very kindly took Delilah and Wuz to the farm so we have one less thing to worry about which we pack up. “Delilah” has been writing us emails on their progress and adventures;

- The new rental is the loveliest rental I’ve ever lived in. It has dark floorboards throughout, a new kitchen and a bathroom with a bath (!!!), there are built ins in all of the bedrooms and a backyard for the animals. It’s close to the train station and a huge dog park and in a suburb we’ve never lived in before;

- I bought is a new dinner set (the Fossil set in graphite and the Jett cuddle mugs in jade, canary and midnight blue) which means we’ll have something new and lovely to celebrate with;

- both sets of siblings have very kindly offered to help out, which makes me want to squeeze them all, good families are good.

The next update might be from our amazing new house!

Slide!

Our house is dank and it’s depressing and it is far too small for one man and one woman and one lady cat and one lady dog and all of the slugs that come out of somewhere and eat the cat’s food at night and whoa, did you just have nightmares because that is my reality.

For weeks we have been miserable. For months we have felt sick. Maybe it’s just the time of year or maybe it’s the drifts of mould that softly rain down on us as we sleep, slowly poisoning us.

On Wednesday I quietly lost it. I curled up in bed with the lights off and stopped having words and when Barry came to check that I was alright all I could manage was ‘I CANNOT LIVE HERE ANYMORE!’.

Then I entered manic-Julia phase. I made a spread sheet of requirements. I trawled Domain compulsively, like a teenager would RedTube, I rang real estate agents with my best grownup voice. Over and over I said, ‘And will the owner consider pets?’

Yesterday I happened upon a nice looking house. Floorboards, a lovely little sunroom, a shower that looked like a time travelling porn set, a kitchen with actual bench space, a lovely backyard … A FISH TANK IN THE WALL. Best of all, no mould in sight and a little note that said ‘Pet friendly!’. I called up to enquire and things sounded so perfect we had trouble sleeping.

We inspected the place at 12:30 this afternoon and were approved by 1:30pm, Delilah and The Wuz included.

Our fur children will have a sunny backyard and we will have a sunny bedroom.

Less than 48 hours ago we made the decision to start looking. Even I’m impressed with the turnaround.

Now I’m trawling Ikea for lovely things to put in my lovely house because this is going to be our happy place.

It Can Still Gloam Inside

Last night after work I went to Coles to buy the makings of dinner.

I was hoping to go through the self-serve checkouts. Despite being very indignant about their invention to begin with (having spent many years as a checkout chick myself), I now much prefer them, especially after work, when I don’t feel like talking to anyone. Instead I was drafted to the register of an actual person, an older woman, easily in her late 60s.

She studied the things I was buying, easily concluding I was making spaghetti bolognaise. ‘Oh!’ she exclaimed, please with herself for recognising my intended meal, and by what came next. ‘This looks like my recipe!’.

I felt terrible, because money is tight right now, and I’d purposely selected the cheapest way to cook it. I’d forgone things like bay leaves and wine and a good parmesan for the very basics. I felt terrible because she was far too old to be standing for long shifts and what happened in her life that she still needed the income?

She passed me the bags and I stared at her nails, well maintained, painted a light pearl pink and I wished her a good night and meant it and already she was focussing on the next person over my shoulder.

Turn & Face the Strain

In 2005 I wrote a thesis about the ways in which feminist authors used science fiction as a means to test theories of community that weren’t based on patriarchy, or which had overcome patriarchy.

It was awarded the highest mark available, my supervisor praised the final product and then I slipped away from academia, into six or seven years of routine boredom, depression and, at times, horror.

I have never reached my potential, except maybe here, online, for my own amusement and to build and stay safe in communities where less consequence exists when it comes to failure. No-one will punish me for failing to update this space for months at a time, for falling back on pictures and hurried sentences, for re-hashing old stories with new spin.

In 2005, I pushed myself. I quit smoking and took up French theorists. I challenged, correctly or not, the assumptions of feminism made by those much more experienced than myself and I believed I had a right to do so. I occupied a space by choice and felt I belonged there.

At some point after I started believing the lie I told myself and everyone else that so long as I kept my mind occupied, mostly with books, it didn’t matter if wasn’t pushing myself anymore.

Doing that led to new routines, routines that could be defended for short periods of time.

I can’t do that anymore.

Could She Be … The Most Naughtiest Girl In The World?

Yesterday we took Delilah to Sydney Park to meet up with some friends and their respective dogs. Here we have from left to right, Tats and his boy Rupert, Jonathon and his boy Robbie and B with The Naughtiest Dog in the World, Delilah. Despite how it looks, B has not also become a father.

delilah3

Over the weekend, Delilah ate half the back cover of my copy of ‘The Book of Basketball’, which to be fair is one of the most casually sexist books I’ve ever read and I felt like tearing the cover off myself.

The following morning she chewed up a pen and exploded ink everywhere and walked around looking like the police had taken her paw prints for their files (they should, she’s trouble).

At the park, she faked being a delightful puppy for as long as she could, but there’s one thing she is never able to resist, and that’s mud. We looked away for two seconds and turned around to find this:

delilah1

Oh Delilah.

Here she is being carried across a grated bridge, which she is too scared to walk across. Look how quickly her bravado disappeared:

delilah2

We stopped for coffee at the Sydney Park café, which is always an experience as dogs mill around mostly unattended while their owners are distracted, impatiently waiting for a caffeine fix.

My attention was drawn to a short woman, cheerfully puffing away on a cigarette and chatting to every dog or owner who walked by. Her dog was a giant Rottweiler named Satan, who she incessantly called whenever he left her side for a moment.

The pair eventually came walking past us and she stopped to give Delilah kisses and discuss her cuteness. Delilah and Satan circled one another and for a split second I was distracted and looked away, when all of a sudden there was squealing and cries of ‘Delilah!’ and I turned back, expecting to see Satan running off with Delilah clenched in his giant jaws.

Instead, there was poor Satan standing there while Delilah vigorously humped his face which she had mounted and clamped onto.

“Look at her! Dominating Satan, the big, scary Rottie!” Satan’s owner laughed.

That’s out little girl, and we wouldn’t trade her for any other dog (unless she eats any more pens).