Derp and the Boxing Kangaroo

I love the Courier Mail – better known, to a whimsical friend, as the Curious Snail. There’s often sniggers to be had. Sure, most of the laughs come from misuse of the beleaguered apostrophe, abuse of grammar or complete clause failure than from any attempted comedic content. Still, a chuckle’s a chuckle, in these troubled times.

However, in commenting on poor literature you might think they’d be extra careful to get things spot on. And you’d be wrong. Behold, the link to the 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest:

“Think you’re writing is bad?” (as derped on the pre-dawn home page of the e-edition, 27/07/2011 – one can only hope they will have fixed it up by the time the normal world wakes up.)

Luckily, the derp link leads to some absolute gems. Like the first prize winner, a woman from Oshkosh, whose opening sentence reads, “Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories.” What a shame she didn’t take the opportunity to work the name of her home-town in somewhere.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/world/bulwer-lytton-fiction-contest-winner-named-take-a-butchers-at-some-bad-writing/story-e6freoox-1226102017932

Meanwhile, another link leads us to the tragic tale of Eddie, a red kangaroo who nearly killed a 94 year old woman in Charleville. She was hanging out her washing… has anyone else noticed, old ladies who are attacked and nearly killed are always hanging out their washing just prior to the assault. Bugger set-top boxes – if the Federal Government gave every woman over 80 a tumble dryer they’d slash assault rates to next to nothing and free up hospital beds, too.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/victim-pleads-for-life-of-eddie-the-boxing-roo/story-e6freon6-1226102333723

Anyway, just like most delinquents, turns out poor Eddie comes from a broken home and has been misunderstood. Hand-raised by wildlife carers, he was released into the wild only to break a hip. Unfit to fend for himself, he’s been living in captivity. The man “minding” Eddie – the evocatively named Darryl “Dobbo” Dobbin – claims he’s gentle and tame. Dobbo also reckoned he has no idea who left the gate open, allowing Eddie to escape.

Two things spring to mind. Firstly, for a disability support pensioner Eddie is fit enough to rip strips off an innocent laundry lady. Secondly, is it just me or does this story sound eerily familiar? I’m pretty sure the mother of that kid who tried to steal a bike, winding up bashed by the bike’s lawful owner for his trouble made identical comments about her son. Down to the doubt about whose fault it was that he was out at night, breaking into people’s houses to steal their bikes (allegedly).

Still, the Courier Mail could misspell their own masthead and I’d be back for more. They’re much more fun when they get it wrong than when they allegedly get it right.

210 Responses

  1. The opener for Mrs Oshkosh doesn’t leave a lot of room to ‘build from there’ does it!
    And lIke you, I see so many errors in they’re writng that I wonder if I should try for a job as a proof reader/editor. Problem is, I have trouble spotting my own, so maybe I should just shut up.

  2. Oh no, Stafford.

    Please don’t shut up.

    Because if you desist, where does that leave the rest of us? Faff on, brothers and sisters. Because every fraction of bandwidth we waste on our blather is a tiny shred of the Internet that can’t be used for terrorism, race hatred or the dissemination of Justin Beiber clips.

  3. Chuckle? Guffaw more like it! Thanks, I needed it!

    Newspapers ain’t what they used to be. I haven’t read the Curious Snail for years but I will be calling it that from now on.

    (Past favourites “The Herald Scum” and “The Toowoomba Chronic-Ill”)

    • A friend started a short-lived satirical publication called “The Port Phillip Bay Mercury” – in memory of the poisoned dolphins.

  4. I always feel good patting a porpoise. Must be the endolphins?

  5. If it doesn’t feel good, you’re not dugonging it right.

    Ah, Greybeard!

    Quokka and I were just – well, sometime since Saturn entered Capricorn, anyway – wondering whether you wanted to come to see HP 7.2 with us? Probably the afternoon of Saturday, August 20th?

  6. I don’t waste my time on bad puns. There’s just no porpoise.

    Bad stories, however, I have in abundance – if my collection of rejection letters is anything to go by. I shall have to mark this competition in my diary for next year. Hopefully by then we’ll be living in Kangaroo Flat. (Soon to be renamed Eddie, if Parks and Wildlife has their way.)

  7. Poor, misunderstood Eddie.

    If only Marsupial Services were involved early enough to make a difference. Maybe he can escape death row by going into some sort of diversionary programme.

    Personally, I blame the demise of the travelling boxing tent. Now our red heart is filled with unemployed, toey kangaroos, spoiling for a fight. And for some reason, nonagenarians hanging washing flip all their switches.

  8. Alas, Fifi was home last Wednesday when the urge for entertainment came upon her. But we went to see HP7.2 instead. Thoroughly enjoyed it, didn’t sniffle once. Honest.

    Shaping up to be a busy month or two. Mooloolooba (sp?) on Saturday for my niece to take her final vows & become an Ursuline. Don’t know how she can bear it. Fifi’s nephew is marrying his Boganella (formal uggs only & a guard of honour of revving hoons). We just had Xmas in July, #1 daughter turns an age I don’t want to think about & my new chain saw is on the way. Now where’s that ladder?

    I think you’re right about the nonagenarians. I’ll put up a photo if I can find it of a kangaroo standing under Fifi’s washing line in our pre-nup days. It never did try to attack us – too young perhaps? Admittedly one did a tail-stand-and-kick at #2 daughter (she of the golden curls & dimples). Fortunately it turned & ran before she could rip its head off & drink the blood.

  9. I was listening to a virologist on radio national this morning, talking about all the nasty new things that are arriving on the scene to take us out.
    I think the roos are simply taking inspiration from the fallout from the bat scratches here in chilly qld, and they’re practicing for the distribution of Mad Roo Disease.
    Obviously it will be timed to coincide with the end of the Mayan Calendar.
    Not that I’m prejudiced at all I’ve long believed the nation’s fascination with Skippy was destined to end in tears, and boils, and seizures from high fevers.

  10. I had cheesecake. I used Morgana’s cats instead of a spoon to eat it.

    Did I mention that I love Madam Morgana?

  11. Greybeard, you loo’ed at the end there when you should have la’ed.

    You’ve got a niece about to take the veil? That’s rarer than Hendra, these days. What hideous torment did you inflict on the poor lass in her youth to make her hide in a convent, FFS? Sorry, I meant to write, “What a blessing for your family. Our Lady watch over and protect you all.”

    Quokka, you’re brilliant!

    Mad Roo disease. Yes, of course. I’ve heard it makes you very jumpy. And causes abdominal bloating with failure of the dermis, causing the skin to fold in on itself. As for the effects on men… well, I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, but I’ve heard your balls swell to the size of a coin purse.

    Catty, that sounds delicious. But very,very wrong. 9 out of 10 nutritionists run screaming from this blog.

  12. Mmmmm…. screaming nutritionists….

  13. I wish I could scan and upload the slice of Swiss chocolate fudge cake I’m eating right now.

    I can feel it furring up my arteries and straining my pancreas but I’m too blissed out to care.

  14. No no no no no! If you think fat thoughts, your brain will send fat messages. You have to think skinny thoughts. Like, “This cake has calories. Feeding my metabolism more calories will be like throwing logs onto a fire – the more you throw on, the hotter the fire will burn. I need to keep the fire in my belly stoked with plenty of calories, so that it burns hotter. By eating this cake, I am speeding up my metabolism so that I will burn more energy and become thinner.”

    If you can make yourself believe this, you WILL become thin. If you can make other people believe this, you need to get a job in politics. Right now.

    • This is a brilliant rationalisation, simply brilliant! I’m going to start using it on myself right away. Thank you, Wise Catty.

  15. Hehehe.

    It’s an inspiring message, Catty – but I’ve got a hard sell on myself. I had trouble making myself believe that I wanted to get up this morning.

    Elf Boy is really testing my patience ATM. I think I told you about the Purple Spot Incident? Well, he woke up yesterday with the sniffles. I had to go to the dentist and then straight to an important meeting, so I gave him a pep talk and sent him to school. He was FINE. As you know, if you kept children home every time they’re a bit snotty, they’d live in a bubble for 20 years.

    Well, they rang me from sick bay before 9. Before 9! I was still in the GD dentist’s chair. I had to pick him up and drag him along to the meeting where he lasted all of 30 minutes before he started flopping around on my lap and wanting to go home. I took him home where there was still NOTHING WRONG WITH HIM.

    I’m beginning to feel like they don’t want him at school. Which dovetails nicely with his own agenda.

  16. My kidlets hate having to stay home sick. I make them stay in bed, with no TV or computer games. By 10:00 they’re begging me to take them to school. Even when they actually are sick.

    The phone call I dread the most is this one: “Your child has headlice. Get him and his filthy infestation out of our lovely clean school NOW.” Clean school? Where do you think he got nits in the first place? Stupid nits. Stupid school.

    • Catty, do as I do and save yourself a lot of trouble with one simple science fact – nits don’t like dirty hair.

      My kids don’t wash their hair until dirt and grease has turned them to brunettes, or Grandma is coming to visit.

      We haven’t had nits for years… but now I’ve typed the word a few times, my head’s itching.

      Stupid nits.

      • I’m on the Nit Squad at the daycare – they bring us in when they’re losing the war.

        So far, no callouts this year. And no nits on mine either, thankfully. I may have spoken too soon though …

  17. Morgana, as someone who has worked with small children allow me to fill you in on a secret – the parents who never answer their phones are the parents with the best adjusted, healthiest, most balanced children I’ve ever seen.
    the solution to your problem is to simply say ‘Sorry, but I’ll be out of contact range till 11.30am’.
    If you can get the little traunts to stay until morning tea, they’re fine for the rest of the day.
    The thing that kept my nieces at school, too, was the threat that if they were sick, they had to stay home and take Echinacea on the hour, every hour, until they felt better. Or chamomile, if it was a digestive upset.
    I suggest you procure some of each, pronto, and discover just how quickly Elf boy’s health improves.
    I also suggest that you talk to the school counselor and point out that the staff are teaching your boy to become a grifter and ask for strategies to counter it.
    Do excuse my absence,esp. you Catty, I know I’ve been AWOL.
    I’ve been working on the house plans – final touches to get the DA submitted – and doing some out of character type socializing, with other folk who’ve been trapped in the Higher Learning stalag and are now free to kick up their heels and enjoy life.
    Oh and Catty I second GB’s voice – you are a genius.
    I’m off to have breakfast and if they’ve got red velvet cake I’ll sample that for later. I expect to be a kilo lighter when I awaken tomorrow…

    • Good plan, Quokka.

      I’ll action it as soon as the little blighter goes back to school.

  18. Catty, it’s already been said, but I’ll say it again… (not an original thought in my head)… You’re BRILLIANT!!!!

    I feel so much better about the Tiramisu cake I just scoffed for pre-breakfast, while I wait for the bacon to thaw :)

    Madam, it’s your fault there was cake in the house to start with… At the time you were blissing out over your Swiss chocolate fudge cake, I started experiencing STRONG cravings for cake. So I went to Breadtop and bought…. CAKE!

    • Mmm… cake.

      I’ve done desserts for the week, though. What I’d really like now are some potato chips. Crunchy, salty, greasy chips. Burning calories with every handful!

    • … continuing on from my early morning Butterscotch Pudding Frenzy of last week (which Mayhem saw being Tweeted live), I follow up this week with the Jam Roll-a-thon. That’s three rolls and three more rolls (of fat). But now that I know the secret of “Think Yourself Thin” I will be able to put my head in another place while my body goes completely to pot. Why didn’t I think of this years ago?

      (That coffee was crap. The barista should be sacked … oh hang on, I am the barista).

      • Mmm… coffee and butterscotch pudding.

        I’m breakfasting on secret chocolates, handmade by the talented Catty. I’d prefer them after dinner, but if the kids find out about them, they’ll disappear faster than the Christmas Caramels.

  19. I have to say I’ve been suspicious of Elf Boy since Quokka claimed to have slipped him $5 to shoot me in the codpiece with that arrow. Worse, she claims to have promised him double that from NowhereBob. I feel as if there’s an angelic looking little hitboy out to get me.

  20. Well, Greybeard, as his agent here on earth, I have to say: (1) he’s selling himself short; (2) where’s my cut?

    You do well to be concerned, and your best defence may be to make a counter offer. I’m pretty sure if you let him see your mummy wrapping and maybe fondle a mace or two his thirst to spill your blood will abate.

    BTW, if you think he looks angelic when he’s aiming at you with a bow and arrow, though, you should see him tucked up on the couch, malingering. For reasons best known to himself he’s got his clothes on inside out and he’s tucked up under a doona, clutching his two-tailed rat doll.

    Curses, he’s melted me again.

  21. I’d just got to thinking awwww, how cute, when you got to the two-tailed rat doll. If you find him with a ‘full-figured doll’ with a grey beard, please don’t let him do anything, er, nasty to it. We’ll have you down for lunch & armory inspection, honest!

  22. Hehehe.

    My mum’s a rampant crafter – she knits, she patchworks, she crochets, she works spells widdershins in churchyards tats lace.

    Now I know what challenge to set her – a full-figured, grey-bearded doll for Elf Boy! Something snuggly to cuddle up next to the rat and his dismember-me plush zombie.

    In the interests of anatomical accuracy, please post some jpgs of your good self, Greybeard stark….. no, on second thoughts, we’ll just use our imagination.

  23. I have to agree with Quokka, Madam. A good dose of castor oil on the hour, every hour will curtail only the most persistent malingering.

    Failing that, try bribery. Chocolate works. i.e, I promise myself a LOT of chocolate as a bribe to ignore the kidlets’ shenanigans.

    We’re off to Benalla for an exploratory visit tomorrow. I don’t think there’s much choice, really. We’re running out of towns, and the Boss has found a house he’s in love with. Correction, he announce that he could put up with the house. It’s the huge workman’s shed that he really loves.

  24. Hmmm… well, it doesn’t have the comedy potential of Kangaroo Flat, Catty, but you know what they say:

    “Man with a big shed does his drinking at home.”

    Have we googled the murder rate in Benalla? You don’t want to jump out of the CSI into the Law & Order.

  25. Ooh, Catty, good plan.
    How could I have forgotten the miraculous healing power of fish oil?
    There you go Morgana, that’s something to add to your list of home-repellent remedies.
    MM, what are we doing with Harry Potter again?
    I’ve been off with the pixies this week and I’ve deleted a stack of emails that contained useful information which never quite made it to my diary.
    Catty, have fun in Benalla.
    What are the local industries?
    I was over at Nick Earls’ blog the other week (when I was bored and you guys were busy) giving him grief about doing a writer’s tour of Millicent, the Toilet Paper capital of Australia. I had to walk away to resist the temptation of asking if he’d be visiting the cheese factory and the wind farms nearby, too.

  26. I’m not sure what the local industries are, but when I Google-viewed the Benalla house, I noticed a massive factory building butting up to the back fence. A Google-map search revealed it’s the SP Ausnet depot. Nice, quiet neighbours. Unionised companies always are – they only work three days a month, don’t they?

    I’m also not sure if I like the sound of that “man with a big shed does his drinking at home” adage. I’d really much rather not have him around the kidlets when he’s sloshed. Did I tell you about last time he drank at home? He was teaching our young sons how to use a nail gun. It’s a miracle no passing motorists or neighbourhood cats were killed. It’s also a miracle that the Boss wasn’t killed when I found out.

    Off with the pixies, Quokka? Good work. We can always use a double agent in the faerie ranks. (Faeries are extremely rank.) Did you pick up any useful information we can use against them?

  27. Nup. They must have sprinkled me with memory dust because I can’t remember a thing I’ve done all week.
    I’m off to play with the leaf blower.
    Did I mention the Irish had a big party, mid week?
    It seems that Aisling and several of her girlfriends have returned from their wanderings, so they held an impromptu backpacker’s ball on Wednesday night.
    Vengeance will be mine, MINE!

  28. Mmm… cheese factory.

    SP Ausnet, Catty?

    Are you sure it’s not a well-camouflaged Benalla version of Pine Gap? Fertile ground there for the avid conspiracist, I’d reckon.

    Quokka, the state of play for HP 7.2 is: Greybeard’s not coming, because he and Fifi just went this week. You can have your choice of the evening of Friday the 19th, or the afternoon of Saturday the 20th of August. Since neither of us do evenings, it’ll be the Saturday, don’t you reckon?

    I’ve had a lovely day, baking scones for a friend, eating scones with a friend, napping after friend went home with a tummy full of scones.

    If there’s something better in this world than carbs, I don’t need to know about it.

  29. Carbs with cream.
    Duh, I looked in my diary on the 20th and all that information is there.
    Which means that when I checked I must have been looking at the wrong month in my diary.
    And I don’t even have study to blame for this lapse into dementia.
    So yes, Saturday afternoon of 20 August sounds good to me.
    Especially if there’s carbs.
    I’m off to do cleaning duty.
    Yesterday we did the garden, today we’ve got to do the house properly…which includes cooking meals out of all the fodder we bought off the hippies at the produce markets in West End yesterday.
    We’re collecting the 2 little flood cats from boarding school and relocating them into the cat pen, which will have to be moved into some far sector of my garden where my little brats will never, ever know that they are there.
    Cleaning.
    Why can’t it be someone else’s job?

  30. I H8 cleaning.

    Especially when my vacuum cleaner gives up. Sure, it was only $59 from Woolies, but I did hope to do the house more than twice before it chucked it in.

    I’ll be making a spectacle of myself at the Customer Service counter, as soon as I can be arsed.

    Excellent, Quokka. We’re good to go. I’ll bring some carbs +/- chocolate. Probably both.

  31. Thanks for the offer, but no need, MM, I’m not much of a cinema snacker.
    We used to like popcorn and choc tops but there’s something about watching the under 12 population consume EVERYTHING from the candy bar that they can hold in 3 hours that thoroughly dampens my appetite.

  32. I’ve raised the kids to believe that the candy bar at the cinema sells poison. Just buying tickets is enough of a dint in the household budget.

    I also had them believing that Kinder Surprises were poisoned – Magic Man called them “Poison Eggs” until he was 4 1/2, and that if you put $2 in the rides at shopping malls, every time you spun around they chopped one of your fingers off.

    Then my Mother took them out one day, treating them to popcorn and choc-tops, a whirl on the roundabout and Kinder Surprises.

    Thanks, Mum!

  33. Do any of you remember when JJJ had that competition for listeners to ring in and tell the worst lie their parents had ever told them when they were a child?
    The person who rang called in and said that his/her parents had them all convinced that when Mr. Whippy drove by with his music switched on, it meant that he’d run out of ice cream.
    Congratulations for putting your kids in the running for First Prize when they roll out that particular comp again in their teenage years.
    They will bless you for your creativity as off they romp with free tickets to splendour in the grass, with a free ecstasy tablet tossed in for extra points for winning the sympathy vote.
    You’ll make them proud one day, they’ll see.

  34. Splendour in the Grass ?!

    They were charging more than $1400 for tickets this year. You could buy a new kidney for that:

    My children will be able to credit me with the rich variety of their imaginations. And I expect them to reciprocate in kind, lulling me with a soothing blanket of hand-knitted fantasies as they drive me to the dumping point of a cut-rate nursing home, in my dotage.

  35. From what I’ve seen of splendor in the grass you wind up needing a new kidney afterwards. Not to mention what the grass does to your lungs, and your brain.
    Uncle Blokesy was most disappointed at the prohibitive cost that prevented our local ferals from attending and which meant that they instead spent their hard earned cash/dole cheques on impromptu parties which were still going on at 9am on Sunday morning, as we were sipping tea and coffee on our lovely sunny porch.
    The noise died off about 10am, until about 2 hours later when I put the leaf blower to work.
    Ah, that felt good.

  36. Leaf blowers. The gift that keeps on giving.

    I lived in a commune full of grass smoking hippies for a while. There was no splendour. Nor were there any kidneys worth donating – except possibly mine. It was one of the happiest times of my youth.

  37. I, too, have a soft spot for toking hippies.

    Apart from being related to several, I lived in the Northern Rivers region in NSW for many happy, blurry years.

    Stoners do much less harm than drunks – unless you count public psychedelic muralling as a crime, or offences against plain white tee-shirts.

    Having said that, though, the only people I’ve ever enjoyed as neighbours are largely absentees, only weekending every now and then – and often as not, just coming up to collect their caravan and take off. I wouldn’t mind a cemetery, either – as long as they restricted the sobbing and playing of “Wind Beneath My Wings” to normal business hours.

  38. I think the leaves that people were smoking 20 or 30 years ago probably were relatively harmless. The joy of living next door to two sets of flats for the last 17 years is that I’ve seen plenty of people with a dope habit end up getting kicked out because nobody can stand the sorts of personality problems and crazed delusions that their Super Leaf habit tends to gestate in their psyches.
    There’s also a fair few 50-60 year olds in our suburb who do some regular chuffing and it’s not fun trying to engage them in any kind of sensible conversation, either.

    I don’t think this generation really has the idea of choosing one drug over another. From what I saw on prac, and from what my colleagues and the staff at the local doctor’s surgery have said, when it comes to alcohol and the plethora of recreational drugs that’s out there, Gen Y tend to just say ‘Yes please, I’ll take it all.’

    Well, I’ve just finished making spinach, basil and sheep’s fetta pie.
    Which is about the only kind of greenery that I’m willing to put into my system, these days, although the Bloke is more adventurous – he’s developed a passion for super sour green boiled lollies that I found in the English sweet shop over in Perth.

    Sour sweets are surely an abomination unto God, and I don’t know what he or the under 20 population see in them, but there you have it.
    If it turns out that the mind control drugs are actually in the Sour Things, God help me, I’m living with a willing puppet of Satan.

  39. Shhh, Quokka, you’ll have the CIA down on us if you let on that we know about the MCD’s in our-say ollies-lay.

    Oddly, despite my less than adventurous nature when it comes to green things, I recently tried bok choy for the first time. I loved it! And I haven’t even been eating anything sour.

    Meanwhile, the ever-suggestible Boss has been inspired by your blog, Madam. He has begun downloading old Cheech and Chong movies. Thank you very bloody much. Huh.

  40. I love asian greens.
    When I was at high school I had a friend who’s mother was Malaysian and she cooked the best. food. ever.
    I’ve never tasted anything like it in any restaurant I’ve ever ventured into.
    MM, how’s your malingering child?
    Has the school hit upon the idea of sending him home with lots of tedious work to be handed in upon his return? The kind that you don’t help him with?

    Well, I just got word from Hogwarts, who, having ignored my first 3 emails/letters of the past month, finally decided to respond to the 4th by saying that they’ve decided after lengthy consideration that I’m eligible to graduate.
    With the proviso that it will take a fortnight to give me formal notification via snail mail, and even longer before my graduation certificate arrives.

    They’ve said that they’ll send me a transcript of my academic record and a letter advising I’ve graduated and am eligible for association memberships/ventures into higher learning, but made no reference to my complaints that they’ve failed to correct a number of errors on it.

    They also made no reference to my request that some other more senior and proficient office bungler be charged with the task of being my student adviser, being that the last two have failed to respond to my requests to fix things for the last 8 months.

    Instead they told me with great pleasure that they’d be handing my file back to Kylie, who was the one who managed to screw most of it up in the first place.

    *Sigh*.
    So I’m just going to cross my fingers and toes and hope that when all this paperwork does turn up, all is as it should be.

    Onto happier news, today is our 16th anniversary of owning our house.
    Despite the fact that it’s been 11 years since our house actually had a front door, I think we’ll be going out to celebrate. Other happy news is that the architect finally seems to have our drawings of the final stage of the renos (which includes 2 front doors, one for the house and one for my new office downstairs) ready to submit to council for planning approval.
    Our stinky neighbours will have heart failure when they see what we’ve got planned.

    The nice neighbours love our plans, so it’s good to know that aside from listening to another 9 weeks of construction noise next winter, there’s nothing in there that’s going to upset the decent human beings around here.

    Yay.

    Oh, and Vanessa and I went out to Whoop Whoop yesterday and collected the 2 flood cats from my friends’ cattery – where they were ever so well looked after. And they’ve settled down nicely in my portable cat enclosure, which we’ve relocated up in the back courtyard under the jasmine trellis. They’ve got a lovely view north over the clothesline, and lots of sun to enjoy, and behind them they’ve got the view over the pond, and the neighbours’ nut tree, where at least 5 brush turkeys roost each night. They’re in heaven. Probably 4 weeks till the builders have finished the vet’s surgery & cattery and then they’ll be off to the air conditioned comfort of her new building and the constant adoring ministrations of all her staff.

    So fingers crossed it doesn’t flood again for at least another quarter of a century – there’s been an unnatural enjoyment of winter in these parts, from what I’ve seen there’s a lot of people who won’t be relaxing through another wet season for a long time to come.

  41. Cautious congratulations Quokka, though on past performances I can’t imagine there won’t be at least one more stuff-up before you’re done with them. Also on moving faster than we are with the house thing. (Must. Make. Progress.) Gosh, how I envy you all your turkeys. You must be doing something right to be so blessed.
    It’s Fifi’s day off so I brought her breffus in bed – tea & bacon & tomato sangers. She’s still deeply suspicious though – don’t know why. I’ve spent years lulling her into a false sense of security.

  42. Just as Kylie has spent years lulling Quokka into a false sense of security. No way has that bitch finished with you yet, Quokka. Have you tried hitting her and swearing? It works with my Mac, and my car, so it should work with Kylie.

  43. I prefer my curses to inflict festering socially transmitted diseases, which nobody can pin on you in a court of law.
    Thank you sir Greybeard.
    I think I failed to respond to a tweet of yours in which you said that the doctor has got you all put back together again and you’re back in training for the ballet. Well done.
    You can also have these fracking birds back.
    Yesterday when I was in the pet store I had a moment’s excitement when the woman ahead of me in the queue asked ‘have you got any turkey necks?’ and the answer was ‘Sorry, we’re all out.’
    I tapped her on the shoulder and said that I had at least 7 to spare, but as they were all attached to the herd of brush turkeys that roam my back yard, she’d have to bring her own butterfly net if she wanted to snare them.
    Still, its given me ideas for a home-grown industry.
    All I need know is a drying oven, and a mirror, to entice them all inside.

  44. Provisional congrats, Quokka and salutations Greybeard and Catty. I apologise for the recent break in normal transmissions.

    My computer, flushed with its recent success in wheedling a new hard drive from Trevor the Sausage Maker, decided it required a new motherboard. I’ve always wondered why they call it a motherboard, and now I know – because when the damn thing fails, one of the words you say starts with “mother”.

    The last few days have also been enlivened by Elf Boy’s antics. Dropped at school on Tuesday, he promptly ran full pelt into a concrete pylon. Sick Bay rang me before 9, as I was on my way out the door:
    “Madam, this is sick bay at the school. I have Elf Boy here. He’s not sick…”
    “Yes, I know he’s not sick. I have no choice but to attend a meeting this morning and I ensured he was not sick before bringing him to school.”
    “… but he ran into a pole and has a huge egg on his head.”

    An emotionally charged silence then occurred on my end of the phone. I had been snatching a few moments to take… umm, coffee… with Mr Underbelly, before driving to town to endure another one of the Borg Queen’s seminars. I told them, “Keep ice on it, and keep him quiet. If he becomes drowsy, or vomits, than call an ambulance before you call me again. I’ll pick him up at 12:30.”
    “Yes, I’ll make sure to keep an eye on him. See you when you can get here.”

    I hung up on sick bay a bit panicked. Mr Underbelly very sweetly offered to go pick Elf Boy up and mind him for the morning. That would put the kibosh nicely on any further communications from sick bay, I thought, and serve them right as well – but probably just one sight of him and they’d put the whole school into lockdown. I managed to cancel the Borg Queen while still retaining the grocery money, and got to school in about 20 minutes.

    By which time they had returned Elf Boy to class with a few ice cubes wrapped in a Kleenex.

    OK, I know they’re teacher’s aides, not triage nurses. If they were triage nurses they’d be at the hospital, being denied their correct wages by Queensland Health. But how the hell is sending the child to class with a cool tissue “keeping a watchful eye on him”?

  45. Sounds like our school nurse. Last year, one of the kidlets vomited in class. He was sent to sick bay, where the nurse told him to lie down. Then she went home.

    When I got to the school at pickup time, there was no sign of him. Talk about panic! The office called him over the loudspeakers, the other kidlets checked the art/music/computer rooms, and I went to his classroom. I couldn’t get the teacher’s attention – she was passionately devouring a hamburger, and was not responding to frantic banging on the locked door.

    We found the kidlet asleep in the sick bay almost half an hour later. He’d been there since lunch time, and nobody had thought to call me. Typical. Nits, they call me. Malingering, they call me. Vomiting, they run away.

  46. Yes, they cover all that on our first day at teacher’s college.
    Just don’t tell them I told you or I’ll have to move to Columbia and change my name.

  47. There’s a part two.

    He seemed fine the rest of Tuesday – in fact, in the afternoon he was well enough to scamper around the back yard pretending to be a rabbit while Magic Man shot at him with suction cup arrows. So I packed him off to school on Wednesday, and even took him to karate training that afternoon.

    He had to rest a few times during karate, and as we were leaving he said:
    “I’ve got a headache, and it’s getting worser and worser.”

    “That’s no good, sweetheart.” I replied, “Can you see okay?”

    “No. Everything’s jumping in and then back out, like in the cartoons. And I can see two of everything. Except when there’s two things, I see four.”

    I tried not to sigh on the outside, knowing this would mean a trip to the Base Hospital. What to do with Magic Man? I took Elf Boy home, fed him a quick soft-boiled egg, packed a meat and salad roll and change of clothes for Magic Man. I called a dear friend, who offered to mind MM overnight and take him to school with her boy the next morning. As you may know, this is one of the two hospitals recently singled out in the Curious Snail for “ramping” (code for ignoring) A&E patients until they can bypass Emergency, straight to the Mortuary. We both knew I wouldn’t be home any time soon.

    Back to the dojo to pull MM out of training early, dump him with Friend In Need and off to the hospital go EB and I, to wait.

    Elf Boy was seen by a nurse quite quickly, who confirmed my view that we were staring down the barrel of a CT scan – but the department was so crowded we were sent back out into the foyer to await the doctor. At all times we were surrounded by people screaming, people vomiting and one poor deranged soul who kept accusing the staff of drugging her – if they had done, they’d woefully underestimated the dose, IMO. She kept shouting “This is not a hospital! This is not a hospital!” in between bouts of wrestling the nursing staff.

    One pair of the several teams of police prowling the corridors – adding to the melee and general sense of mayhem and teetering on the brink, agreed.

    “She’s right.” He said to his partner, hand resting on his Taser, “This isn’t a hospital.”

    Just before midnight, EB was perking up, just in time to be reviewed by the consultant. Home for toasted muffins and a sleep in.

    I wonder what excitement today will throw me?

    • That sounds pretty nasty. I hope poor Elf Boy is back to plotting my demise soon. Do tell tell him I’m cleaning the rust off the bear trap. I wouldn’t want him to pick up an infection.

  48. Wow. I refreshed the Blunty and that was just scary. Catty mentioned that I had rat recipes & I offered to share them without seeing each others posts. Talk about Great Minds. Or something.

    • Definitely something. Cue Twighlight Zone theme music…..

  49. Oh, doesn’t that shit you? ALL children do it. Pale, limp, vomiting… but put them in an A&E for six hours, and they will magically get better the moment a doctor calls their name. Then two days later, you have to take them to a GP for medication to treat whatever icky virus the child picked up in the A&E waiting room. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you! GP’s and pharmacists are making a killing out of this little scam. It wouldn’t surprise me if they’ve slipped kiddie mind control drugs in the coke dispensed from those stupid vending machines. There would have to be. That’s the only way they can get away with charging so much for a piddly little can of sugar, water and bubbles.

  50. Well I suppose we give the hospital kudos for deciding he needed his head examined. Although I suspect they would have done better to have the matter tended to by a different type of head doctor.
    A friend of mine has hit upon the brilliant idea of sending her malingering child to Resilience training every Saturday afternoon. No fresh air, no fun with his friends, no blowing up aliens in 3D on the Wee machine, no wandering about the house throwing his underwear at mother’s new husband. Nup. The two best hours of Saturday, stuck in a room with a bunch of whining malingerers and a spotted head shrinker.
    I think she’s a genius.
    I’d suggest enlisting Elf Boy in some sort of violent Ball Sports type activity – say, basketball or whatever you call Baseball for Girls, where he will have many, many opportunities to develop the acuity of his peripheral vision and sharpen up his reflexes, thus honing his skills at avoiding moving objects – which should, you’d think, reduce his likelihood of hitting stationary ones.

    I’d also suggest hiding your medical textbooks as I for one suspect him of reading and memorizing all the nasty symptoms listed under Blunt Trauma injury.

    Why not?
    I did.

  51. How about Lacrosse?
    My cousin in Perth tells stories of how my father – being 20 years his senior – took him and his brother off to the local Lacrosse club when they both turned 10, and would squire them to every match.
    Perhaps I should also mention that by age 22, Dad had lost most of his teeth.
    Still, Noel and Frank maintained that it Built Character.

  52. Character?

    The child’s problem is that he has too much character, of a egregiously self-willed nature, untrammelled by the wishes of society or indeed his own dear Mumma.

    Perhaps if I ceased reading to him, dulled his burgeoning intellect by acquiring a Playstation for the living room and a Nintendo DS for his back pocket, and reduced the variety and nutritional quality of his meals, he’d become more tractable.

    Meh… I like him this way. Not every woman can nurture a seven year criminal genius with a Botticelli face.

  53. I am feeling decidedly jinxed today. The school called at 11, as the youngest kidlet is sick. He is too, poor love. I offered him a chocolate chip biscuit, and he went all pale before quietly muttering, “No thank you, mummy.”

    Then the teen called from the high school welfare centre, to announce she needed help and didn’t know where else to turn. I was wondering if it was teen pregnancy, or if she had just run out of ciggies, but then she told me she had nits. Do you have any idea how hard it was not to burst out laughing?

    No, not because she has nits – that’s never pleasant – but because it seemed, well, ludicrous that she would turn to mummy in a panic over something so small.

    Sadly, I was not able to rush over and cure her nits. I’m too busy trying to keep the littlest kidlet’s temperature down, and his breakfast in.

    So much for grocery shopping this week. Oh, well. The less I spend on food, the more I’ll have for shoes.

  54. Hehehe.

    That’s beautiful, Catty. Here we are imagining her getting high on some greasy youth’s supply, or dandling Satan’s dongle, and the poor dear has got nits.

    Remember those old deodorant commercials?

    Looks like she can’t get by without her Mum.

  55. Hehehe.
    Good one Catty.
    I guess now is when she learns to stay clear of nit carrying feral dope peddlers via Natural Consequences – or at least to save money from each month’s Running Away Pension to keep herself well stocked in Banlice.
    Dammit, now I’m itchy.

  56. I feel nitty
    Oh so nitty
    I feel nitty and shitty an’ a fright
    It’s a pity
    I’m not some other girl tonight
    I feel swarming
    Oh so swarming
    It’s alarming how swarming I feel
    And so nitty
    That I hardly can believe it’s real
    See the nitty girl in that mirror there?
    Who can that infested girl be?
    Such a nitty face
    Such a nitty dress
    Such a nitty smile
    Such a nitty me!

    • I was imagining you spinning around in a swinging salsa frock as you sang that, Greybeard.

      I think it’s time to knock off the cold and flu tablets.

  57. Um, probably not a good idea to sing it near the victim. I’ll just be going now, OK?

  58. Oh, I fully intend to sing it near the teen. But not when her friends are around. Apparently four of them also have nits, and pointed the blame finger squarely at the teen. She is copping some full-on Facebook flak, and is feeling a little miserable. Well, I’m not bloody well cuddling her better. I’m allergic to nits.

    Thanks for the spark of brilliance, Greybeard. I shall warm up my vocal chords in preparation for my next teen encounter – which probably will be when she runs out of ciggies.

  59. Can’t the sharehouse teens form a daisy chain and sit on the milk crates that constitute their lounge room furniture, picking the nits off one another?

    Tell them that mutual grooming will help cement relationships in their troupe.

    Just be careful that they don’t fling any poo at you. They can be very territorial.

  60. Times have changed.
    Milk crates, bean bags and cinder block furniture are no more.
    Today’s share house teens sit on furniture from Ikea, donated by doting wealthy baby boomer parents and grandparents, and they brew cappucinos from coffee machines that cost a week’s wages. (the baby boomer’s wages, not the teens).
    If they throw anything at you it will be olive pits, or their cocktail glasses.

    I know this because as you’ve heard me say before, there are two sets of flats adjacent to Casa Quokka. And the only members of Gen Y who don’t have designer furniture are those whose parents live in the northern hemisphere, and who would rather get their furniture at minimum cost from lifeline, and spend their hard earned cash on tabs of speed and acid.

  61. Hehehe… olive pits.

    Hey, Q, I re-watched HP 7.1 last weekend. Only a dozen or so sleeps until our movie arvo. Will we do South Bank again?

    Gorgeous grey drizzly day, here on the Coast. Unfortunately, I put my hand up to line edit a friend’s novel, so I can’t crawl under my doona with some pulp fiction and a hot chocolate.

    Soon, my pretty, soon…

  62. That was noble of you, MM.
    I suspect we’ll have to take our chances with HP7.2 but if it’s available, I’d vote for the cinemas at Balmoral. I think the seats are more comfortable and better suited to hobbits, and there’s less infestation of feral children – sourced daily by the vulture street train station and coming from places so far afield as Woodridge, Ipswich and Helensvale.
    The children who venture into Bulimba tend to arrive via 4WD and they tend to shush their unwelcome slummy cousins, which saves me much in the way of trouble, AVOs and unsightly snarl lines around the jowls and eyes.
    I can fetch you from the city cat if that suits you…oh and I went past the key shop on Tuesday and I’m sure she’s got new stock..(.heh heh…that’ll snare her)

    If you’re up for this I will reward you with a diverting trip past the Rock & Roll deli & bakery (which serves red onion and sweet potato loaves and other delicious delicacies) en route home. I can always drop you off at the West End city cat so you can be fetched from the other side of the river if it’s easier.

    Of course, South Bank has the markets, with fudge stall, Unethical Chocolate Shop and the churros stand, but walking through those crowds often makes me long for one of Greybeard’s impaling implements.

  63. Oooh, no. You know how I hate people. For some reason – senility and distraction spring to mind, for starters – I forgot it was a Saturday.

    Balmoral is fine by me. And since there’s not as much parking drama, I could probably just drive in. In fact, would you like me to give you a lift, for a change? You could then navigate me to the R&R. I haven’t been there in yonks – from the write-ups they keep pulling in the Curious Snail, they’re still going strong.

    Half-way through this manuscript. Not waving, but drowning. I may not make it out alive…

  64. That could work, or else, not being capable of giving directions, perhaps we could leave your car here and take the C4, which squeezes into lovely little parking spaces that your car may not.

    I can’t even get the Snail Page to load, lately, thanks to all the stupid new pop ups and adds they’ve got going. The SMH is headed down the same path. Unfortunately it’s set as the ‘home’ page for the MAC. I may have to venture into settings and work out how to toss the SMH onto the scrap heap and reset it for the ABC news site, which, hallelujah, is advertising free.

    Think you’ll come down here for the writers festival?

  65. Sounds like a plan.

    Re BWF, I’d like to, if I can work a fit around school, and karate, and cricket training – and now Magic Man has decided to throw himself into a school Rugby Union competition, just to complicate matters.

    I haven’t seen the program yet, though.

    What looks unmissable?

  66. The queue in the toilet block, and, by noon on Saturday, the smell.

  67. Fudge? Did somebody mention fudge?

  68. I have no fear of the BWF toilets.

    I spent Wednesday evening in Nam(bour Base Hospital).

  69. I just took the littlest kidlet to a birthday party at the roller skating rink. I’ll be taking the oldest to a lasertag birthday party later this afternoon. I discovered yesterday that the two parties are for siblings. “Wow, that’s one brave mother” thinks I.

    But….

    The mother has recently had surgery on her collapsed lung, AND there are two other siblings with parties between the skating and the lasertag. Also, the family lives three suburbs away (due to an unfortunate housing incident) and they rely on public transport.

    I have slipped the poor woman a block of chocolate with the suicide hotline number written on the packet. If I’d realised earlier, I’d have made her some of Quokka’s vanilla/valium chip muffins.

  70. Oh. My. God.

    Well, that puts my “horror” week nicely into perspective. I’m going to go and take the clothes off the line and enjoy breathing, deeply and pain-free. And bless the fact that we can watch “Avatar: the Last Airbender” in our pyjamas tonight, while eating macaroni and cheese, rather than be off to the fourth in a string of birthday parties.

    At least we know one thing. She’ll be too tired and ill to ever have sex again in this lifetime, so there’ll never be a number 5.

  71. Oh, she has five. Her teen brought his mates to all the parties. Surprisingly, this was a good thing – she has one of those teens that other mums mutter darkly about wanting to kidnap and keep in a shed…. kind, cheerful, hardworking, good with kids…. I think he’s an alien.

  72. No, that’s my Magic Man. And how he got his name, rather than his dexterity with top hats and rabbits.

    But I have this theory.

    As, in physics, for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction – for every golden, helpful child you birth, there must come forth demon spawn.

    Ask our good friend and sometime correspondent, Greybeard, to tell you all about Elf Boy.

  73. Thread hijack here, because Aunt Irma is lurking and I need some perspective.
    I have just found out that my vet has been overcharging me by $20 for my (rescue) cat’s medication, bringing the monthly cost of his antipsychotics up from the RRP of $51.70 to $72.
    I discovered this when in social conversation with another vet, who said ‘Oh, she must be charging you a prescribing fee. Most vets wouldn’t do that with a cat that requires lifetime or long term medication.’
    One of the bimbos at her surgery (and obviously I do not mean Vanessa, who is the Rain Man of all vet nurses & is not culpable here) after spending 5 minutes trying to convince me there was no surcharge, until I told her flat out that another vet had told me the RRP so I knew damned well that she was lying – then backflipped and in snotty tones told me that it’s practice policy to add this surcharge to all medications, no exceptions.
    She was then unable to tell me why this surcharge hadn’t been appearing on my itemized account.

    Uncle Blokesy and I are most seriously displeased.
    I feel an extra wave of fury for all the people in the community who’ve been flooded and are struggling, and are in a much worse position than me to pay for invisible surcharges.

    Level of fury over this one – and at being repeatedly lied to about it – is at 10/10.
    It’s taken me an entire day to feel like I’m calm enough to speak to her without indulging in an extremely pissy exchange, telling the vet what a *&^%$ grifter I think she is, and I’ve decided on the calmer measure of simply ringing around other vets within a 5km radius and asking them what their policy is on such – and if it seems reasonable, if they’d like four new patients.

    What is the level of pissed-offedness that you mob think is appropriate to the situatio? – bearing in mind that they’ve lied to me every time I’ve questioned my account, over the last 6 years .

  74. I think you’ve hit on the right answer yourself, Quokka.

    Take your – not inconsiderable – business elsewhere. And when you have, and are sure you’re happy with your new vet, send a lovely, long, vitriolic letter to the old one, telling him/her exactly what you think of them. Make sure to highlight that you’re not angry about practice policy per se, just about being lied to and taken for a fool, lo these many years.

    That’s $240… think about it, a quarter of a thousand dollars… that they’ve pretty much siphoned straight from your Lindt chocolate and sushi fund, annually.

    Hell, I don’t pay that much for both of my flesh children’s actual medication in a year. Granted, they’re not (yet) on anything on a regular basis, but still….

    And that’s just the rip-off surcharge!

    You can still be friends with Vanessa. In fact, I’m sure she’ll feel better when she knows her boss isn’t taking you for a monthly ride.

  75. $20 a script? Crikey! If they’re doing that to all of their patients, they are probably making enough sneaky $$$ to put a child through private school, or fund a cocaine habit.

    I agree with Madam that your solution is best, Quokka. Yes, find a new vet. Is it worth asking Vanessa for advice on which vet to go to? Or would that possibly sour the friendship? If it were me, I would also be researching whether it’s legal for the vet to charge what they like, because if they’re not, a letter to the ACCC may help protect other uninformed patients. Not that the ACCC cares much, but if they don’t respond you can always try a different acronym – like ACA. Not as highbrow as ACCC, but at least you’ll get to be on TV.

    Don’t forget, you can always take the low road, too. Burn down the surgery, make a vet voodoo doll, borrow Elf Boy and send him in with a sack full of scrub turkeys…..

  76. I think you might mean the AVA, Catty, but you make a good point.

    And you’re brilliant. Of course, the low road! I can’t imagine why I didn’t think of our usual answer, i.e. the black arts and wrecking midnight vengeance.

    Must have been under-caffeinated, this a.m.

  77. Thanks. I’ve had time to calm down and ring around some vets to ask WTF is going on that the price of the cat’s medication has suddenly gone up so much.
    There was general consensus that the manufacturer had a dramatic price hike earlier in the year.
    Then I found one surgery where the vet offered to call me back and talk about it. She gave me a detailed explanation of what is happening with the manufacturer, what the prescribing fees are about (by law) and why there is so much variation in what different practices charge for it. After 20 minutes on the phone with her I was incredibly impressed with her efficiency and her willingness to explain what’s going on. (i.e. Why couldn’t my vet be bothered doing that?)

    After listening to her explanation about the prescribing fees I feel much better about accepting that they’re an unpalatable but realistic part of the process – they are regulated, per se, so the person that told me about the prescribing fees being waived was, apparently, out of order.

    So now I’m pissed off with myself for getting unnecessarily pissed off (credit to Aunt Irma for making me jumpy and for the universe feeding me incorrect information), but what’s annoying me even more is that I had to phone another vet to get a proper explanation for this, after my own vet’s nurse just gave me sanctimonious attitude about it on Saturday and gave me no information beyond ‘This is what the fees are and this is practice policy’.

    So essentially, I’ve been over-reacting.
    However, and if I’d spoken to the very helpful (local competition) vet instead of the sanctimonious vet nurse, I’d have had better information and wouldn’t have become so furious.

    I’m glad I had the meltdown at home rather than being in the embarrassing position of saying to the vet or her staff exactly what I’d been thinking.

    So now I don’t feel like I’ve got much cause for being cross, other than the vet nurse giving me sanctimonious attitude, and feeling annoyed that every member of staff in there seems to charge me a different price for the fracking expensive medication. All of which are mild complaints compared to what I initially thought.

    But yes, apparently it is the manufacturer’s fault for introducing a truly whacking price hike, and that has dominoed the cost and the prescribing fee as well.

    My stars said that I’d be edgy and inclined to over-react, so I think I might just put myself into isolation and take a lot of Vitamin B and flaxseed oil until Aunt Irma farks off.

    Thanks for the support, guys.
    Ooh, I’m glad I had that ring-around this morning, though.
    Hopefully I’ve learned my lesson about not following a lead until I’ve had the chance to check if it’s reliable, or if it’s information that’s out of date.

  78. Think you’re right to be angry Q. I sure as hell would be. And it would be nice to do a little more than take your business elsewhere – like publicising this ripoff.

    But above all this has reminded me – Don’t Annoy Catty. I had a chilling vision of Elf Boy, his Botticellian features marred only by the three streaks of blood and ashes across each cheek, pursuing a screaming vet through the night. Mutilated doll in one hand, tiny bow & suction-tipped arrow in the other and directing his blood-crazed hunting turkeys with those cool military-style hand signals. And I thought the laxatives were bad . . .

  79. Oops – cross posting with a posting that wasn’t so cross. More of an industry ripoff than individual. No need for black arts & midnight vengeance (though I really like that phrase).

  80. The AVA would also be a good idea, if they don’t close ranks. Doctors and dentists tend to form a human shield (out of deceased patients) to protect each other from legal action. I, for one, would be reluctant to start a dispute with someone draped in dead puppies.

    The ACCC are supposed to deal with price gouging, but I think that RRP’s aren’t legally enforceable. ACA would be much more fun – how much business will gougy-vet lose when ACA’s hidden cameras show the nation how much money they’re being suckered out of?

    Another low-road option would be to bake a stack of cupcakes, and ice them with nasty messages about the vet. You can then stand outside the surgery and hand them out to potential customers as they go in. Nothing like word-in-mouth advertising!

    • Oooh, now I’ve cross posted too. That’ll teach me to go for coffee halfway through typing a post.

      I’m glad the dust has settled, Quokka, although I’m not glad that you’re still going to have to pay squillions for kitty drugs. Stupid drug manufacturers deserve an enema with something sharp and fetid. (My mother’s homemade breadsticks come to mind).

      Oh, and Greybeard, don’t fret. You are safe from my petty vengeance. Unless you suddenly announce that you’re really a faerie, in which case all bets are off.

  81. Hehehe.

    Cross posting or not, there is much to love here. Greybeard, gorgeous yet terrifying image. Next we meet, let me tell you about the Night Feeling and Night Drumming. Unless you prefer your sleep undisturbed by flashbacks and girlish screaming (your own, I mean). Catty, “human shield of deceased patients”… fabulous stuff.

    What I don’t love is the thought of Quokka, cranky and at odds with the Universe. I suspect you’ve let your serum theobromine and trash fiction levels fall to dangerous lows, young lady. Swiftly, eat some chocolate while lying on the futon and reading something silly, until you feel better.

    Mmm… chocolate on the couch.

  82. Sigh.
    Thanks for scurrying around to offer support.
    Apparently the cheaper fee for the drug in January was the vet’s sympathy vote – she dispensed sans dispensing fee, as a one of, for the pity factor – and good on her. She’s the one I got the lengthy explanation from. She explained that it was just ill fortune that immediately after this, Big Pharma introduced their hike rise, leaving us all to bear the impact of the hike in the medication price and the subsequent hike in prescription/supervision price. I’m impressed that she explained it was not my vet’s fault, just unfortunate timing and circumstances.

    Still not sure what to do about the snotty vet nurse, though.
    She’s been consistently charging me more for the meds than the other staff.
    I’ve complained 3 times about this, and twice last Saturday morning – initially to the other staff member who said she’d pass on the message to Snot Girl.
    When I went in later to pick up my supplies, Snot Girl acted like nothing had ever happened and just charged me her usual mark up over the other staff’s prices. When I questioned it she said no, she was right. When I told her I was upset about the price increase and the cost of the prescription fee she told me there was no prescription fee, that was the standard price of the medication.
    I then told her that I knew what the cost fee was, and I knew the prescription fee, because another vet had told me, she then backflipped and said that yes there was a prescription fee but it was attached to the price of the medication and that was that. And she knew that she’d been charging me the correct amount because she was doing exactly what she’d been trained to do.

    I then told her that it wasn’t what the other girls had been charging me and she announced in snotty tones that she would check with the vet and refund me the money if it turned out she was wrong, but she knew she was right.
    Bitch.

    I don’t usually query a fee or cause trouble (yes yes GB I know you’ll have trouble believing that) but if I do, the girls usually give me the product and tell me they’ll check with the vet and charge me later, when they’ve confirmed.

    I suppose as their number 1 Gold customer they think I’m entitled to this kind of service. The thing that pisses me off is that Snot Girl clearly thinks I’m to be treated with the same lack of concern she’d offer the impoverished.

    So all that’s really happened is that a staff member has given me attitude, on a day when I really didn’t need it.

    I said as much to the phone query vet and she said in worried tones that I needed to report this to my vet because if one of her staff had upset a customer enough to drive her to ring around looking for a different vet the next working day – she’d want to know about it.

    I am just really loathe to complain about a staff member because of personality clash.
    I know many people don’t warm to my directness, whereas the ‘fake shiny smily’ personalities that turn sanctimonious when crossed (exhibit A, snot girl) are the button presser for me. Clearly, the vet likes snot girl, otherwise she wouldn’t be working there, and she wouldn’t have the cockiness to feed me attitude.

  83. Hmmm… I can see what you mean, and also appreciate that having kicked up one kerfuffle, you are loathe to start up a fresh ruckus.

    However, The Helpful Vet with the Good Phone Manner is presumably commenting from a vet’s perspective. This is why employers hire mystery shoppers, and a Current Affair is still in business. No amount of rapport at interview or in the staff room shows the boss what their underlings are really like, providing service to the hapless general public when no-one’s watching.

    Are you going to stick with your current vet, or give the Very Helpful Vet a burl? I’d say, if you’re not making the change, make a mental note and give Snot Girl another chance. Everyone has bad days and maybe you’ve struck her in an off year, or something. Next time she’s bitchy, though, be prepared to pounce like a premenstrual mongoose on a wayward cobra.

    However, if you decide to go elsewhere, send the vet a calm letter saying, “I thought you might like to know why we’ll no longer be coming to see you… ” and then explain your side of the interaction.

    Whatever you do, it’s unlikely that one complaint will result in her being fired, condemned to a life of prostitution, or working in a poodle-clipping parlour, or something. But it sounds like she needs an attitude adjustment and perhaps a little update on basic customer service.

  84. Personality clashes aside, I’d be opting for the Nice Vet and sending a letter to Snot Girl’s boss to explain why. One lost customer isn’t going to change anything, but it may lead to other staff members being questioned about Snot Girl’s basket-side manner, and possibly even an audit to see if she’s been systematically overcharging. Maybe she has a special account for the excess – did I mention kids in private schools and cocaine addictions?

    Meanwhile, I not only echo Madam’s advice about supine confection consumption, I intend to follow it myself right now.

  85. Crap, I walked away and my comment disappeared.
    Forgive the cliff notes version as I’m under orders to walk the dog before the wind freezes both of us into icicles and sends us soaring off to Ipswich.
    I’m giving myself some more time to cool down, and earlier I rang a Cat Friend and asked for her advice.
    She too thinks that I need to speak to the vet and tell her that I’m accustomed to more gracious service from Snot Girl and that I think she needs to train this particular girl not to argue with the customers but to say ‘Perhaps it’s best for you to talk about this with the vet,’ rather than to offer her own insights into the matter, and for her to then do what the rest of the staff do, and say ‘Here, take the product, you can pop down and pay for it next week.’
    Which, according to my Cat Breeder Friend, is one of the accepted privileges of being a Gold Class client – and which snot girl should know and understand if she’s to be a valuable employee.

    Snot girl said that she would check with the vet and get back to me, so I’ll wait and see what comes of that. The other girls in there know exactly how pissed off I was so the vet will just have to weigh up whether it’s worth letting snot girl win this one, or if it’s better value at the end of the day to keep giving me a few dollars discount off the cat’s medication.

    I’ll probably give the vet the chance to redeem herself but as I don’t want snot girl alone in a dark room with my cats, I’ve been making enquiries about alternative boarding arrangements. And I might start going to Nice Vet to buy some products that I normally get from my usual vet, and I might think about the option of having two vets on the go, trialing the new vet for less serious issues, initially, which is how I made the transition last time.

  86. Sorted.
    I wrote the vet a brief email outlining the issues that I’d had with Snot Girl and how much it had upset and angered me, and I very mildly suggested that she give Snot Girl some guidance on how to follow through with the kind of customer service that I’m accustomed to experience, in there.

    Not sure how often the vet checks her email but at least now she’ll know that I don’t appreciate spending my Saturday afternoons getting attitude from her staff. I suggested customer service training, mostly because the phrase ‘tell her to pull her head out of her arse’ – while utterly appropriate to the situation, never reads well in an email.

  87. Nice work, Q.

    However, IMO, “tell her to pull her head out of her arse” reads beautifully in any format.

    Now, for some supine confectionery consumption.

    Cheers!

  88. I reckon there’s a fair to middling chance that Snot Girl will merely hit delete when she sees the email Quokka sent for her boss. Also, I’m sorry but I can’t agree about pulling her head out of her arse. At the moment, Snot Girl is merely stuck up. If she pulls her head out, Quokka will have to deal with a true shithead. Ick.

    Is there room for me on that chaise lounge, Madam? I have cake!

  89. Heh heh. Good one Catty.
    Sadly I am ill prepared for this confectionary consumption and chaise-lounging venture. I have however made a 10 litre pot of cauliflower (and cheese, to be added on heating) soup and a huge tray of spinach, fetta, and brown rice pie, and I’m happy to share, when you come down from your sugar high and need to stabilize your blood sugar with some nice wholesome 60s style hippy cooking.
    I suspect that the reason for my own volatility this week is due to 1. the Full Moon and Mars retrograde (so says Mystic Medusa) 2. the reckless lolly spree I went on this weekend.
    I figured I’d better cook the bloke some real food so that he doesn’t throw me out in the street to freeze with the rest of the mentally ill.
    I admit I have been a tad slack lately.
    Working myself into a snit over other people’s stupidity/rudeness/eagerness to start a fight is never a productive time.
    You’d think I’d learn not to take the bait and lose my temper.
    Sigh.
    More therapy, please.

  90. Hang on, did someone say cake? I’ve been a good boy ya know, cleaning bricks & stuff . . .

  91. Come on in, all you pre-diabetic hedonists. There’s always room for good friends on Madam’s chaise lounge.

    Quokka, you perch over there on that velvet ottoman, while you nibble your lentils.

    Retrograde, be blowed (Although Mystic is hilarious, I love her work). We sold 14 copies of our Zine on Sunday at the Community thingo (psst, anyone want to buy a Zine – for you, lovely lady and/or gentleman, only $5!). Everyone’s recovering from the latest lurgy, and despite a T20 demo followed by karate, on-one’s injured themselves (yet) this week (touch wood-grain laminate).

    In just a little while, Mum will take the kids to school and then herself off shopping, while I will lounge at home. My Underbelly’s popping in on his day off to… erm… re-seat my taps.

    Life is good.

  92. Our local mystic says that Mars is in the ‘other-people’ sector, so we all have to be careful to keep our tempers when other people prod us with a stick. It appears my mystic was half right. Quokka’s copping stick from Snot Girl, and it looks as if Madam’s going to get prodded. Me, I’m sitting here applauding Greybeard’s brick scrubbing. Good on you, Greybeard, that Oubliette can’t be easy to clean. Fancy popping in and doing my walls while you’re at it?

  93. yes, if there are secret shoppers, why not secret scrubbers and secret dusters to flit in and do your dirty work?

  94. Amen, sister.

    Have I had a moan yet, about my latest dud vacuum cleaner? I’m coming to the unpalatable conclusion that I’ll have to shell out and get a name-brand vac that actually sucks.

    The latest “bargain” from Woolies worked fabulously once, adequately the second time, and the third time I plugged it in, made a hell of a lot of noise while achieving less dirt suction than I could have on my hands and knees with a bendy straw.

    Okay, I wasn’t expecting the world for $59 – but $30 per desultory go-over of the hovel is a bit steep, surely?

    I took the damn thing back, and converted it to pasta, veges, cheese, washing powder, dog food and a block or so of chocolate. Now, that’s financial planning you can sink your teeth into.

  95. Yes, that is good financial planning, but it will probably do more to grot up your carpet than get it clean.

    I have an Electrolux that costs $99. I quite like it, although it doesn’t work too well when I forget to empty the stupid bag. Yeah, I know, how can I forget something that simple? But that’s what happens when you only vacuum once or twice a year….

    But seriously….

    It’s more like once every two years….

    Madam, if you want the best performance out of your vacuum, don’t put dirt in it. Seriously! You can buy these whacko little gadgets called Turbo Vac, or Turbo Filter, or Cyclonic Filter, it depends on the brand. They cost anywhere between $40 and $70, and attach to your vacuum’s hose. Very little dirt actually makes it to the vacuum bag, and because they have a clear collection cylinder you can see any Lego pieces you’ve accidentally sucked up. I love mine like I love my crock pot, they’re that good.

    Oh, damn. I just said Crock Pot. So much for that back rub I was hoping for tonight.

  96. In other news, there’s a poetry contest at Blunty. Re the GFC.

    • Thx, GB.

      I wasn’t ignoring you, I just cross-posted.

      And, my eyes are still a bit hazy….

  97. Really?

    My almost complete indifference to domestic cleanliness has left me unaware of these miraculous gadgets, until just now.

    Imagine not having to dig through all the hairballs, gecko carcasses and dried up bits of goodness-knows-what to find Lego Jack Sparrow’s little plastic codpiece, or whichever vital, minuscule toy has gone missing!

    I’m there.

    Catty, you’re a genius, and if you were within 200 km I’d come and rub your back. (_O_)… hmm, that was supposed to be a virtual big hug but it looks wrong…

  98. That sux, MM, unlike the product that was meant to fulfill that function.
    maybe you should push a store manager along the floor, open mouthed, and see if that does the job any better.

    Meh.
    I am heading out soon.
    Apparently the vet is annoyed with Vanessa and it’s her fault that I complained about the other staff member.
    The word is that she’s decided I was probably just in a bad mood that day and she’s going to ignore my email.
    So it looks like I was right in thinking that any complaint I made about the service in there wouldn’t be addressed satisfactorily.
    Given that I was in there raising my voice about the fact that the fracking clomicalm is now almost $30 more expensive than when I first started buying it 6 years ago, you’d think they’d all get the message that I’ve hit tipping point over the price of the fracking drugs.
    The fact that the vet doesn’t seem to understand that this is what’s upset me in the first place indicates to me that I should probably be transferring to a vet who DOES understand that a price increase of this scale is the reason why I had the bad day.
    Oi, I give up.
    The level of stupid is too much to fight or to try to reason with, and the fact that the vet’s sympathies lie with the girl who pissed me off by her officiousness tells me that she really doesn’t value my business.
    It’s seriously time to contemplate shifting to one of the vets who made sympathetic intelligent noises about the staggering price hike in the drug that my cat is hopelessly addicted to.
    A cat friend has suggested that I try to buy the medication online from America. I think this is an avenue worth pursuing, as the phone vet yesterday explained that as it’s such a good drug with no good competition and no generic, it means that the company has decided that they’ve got the vets and the pet owners over a barrel and they seem determined to screw as much money as they can out of it before the patent/license or whatever it’s called runs out and other companies can start producing a cheaper generic alternative.

    I’m heading out to see a movie with a friend, who has two large sheepdogs whose last lot of dental work cost her $900, and who is happy to bitch all day about the cost of vets -Which, in all seriousness, I do respect – and the racketeering of drug companies, which we do not.

  99. Perhaps you can get the meds online, Quokka… although you’d have to be careful, it’s hard to tell what is actually in a little tablet, whatever it says on the label. Trust me, I’m pretty sure my last lot of Mexican calmatives were actually out-of-date anabolic steroids. I’m edgy, and pumped. Pablo, I’m coming for you.

    But, meds aside, if I was you I’d give Good Phone Side Manner vet a go.

    If the people whose annual staff party AND Christmas holidays you currently fund, single-pawedly, don’t give a rat’s arse about your satisfaction and personal issues, how the hell can you be sure they actually care about your pet’s well-being?

    As consumers, our ultimate power is where we choose to spend our bucks.

  100. Yes, I was thinking the same thing about quality control, I don’t want the cat to start organizing dance parties and hankering for cocaine.

    I threw my hands up in despair at this latest bit of news on the vet saga, and then bat-slapped myself for resorting to emotion instead of logic – and my counseling notes.
    I went back over what little I retained from my last class on conflict resolution and recalled that different personalities respond differently to conflict and my vet and the snotty receptionist are both the ‘Ignore it and hope it will go away’ personalities.
    So I’m trying not to take it personally – initially I did stop and think ‘FK, am I that scary that she is unwilling to talk to me about this, or are my animals so very horrible that she’s ignoring me in the hopes that I never come back? Am I really that bad a communicator? Why are people not hearing me the first two times I complain?’
    And then I stopped and slapped myself and went back to what I’ve learned, rather than what’s programmed into me from my less than functional family.
    She’s an Avoider, and to a certain extent I’ve been guilty of that lately too, because in retrospect I realize I’ve been falling back on my childhood training of ‘I’ll count to three…’ – I realized that I have been waiting until the third time to make the same complaint, and by Three, I’m already furious and probably less than pleasant to deal with. And because I am generally pretty easy to deal with, the fact that I’ve said it fairly mildly on occasions one and two mean that the person on the other end of my firing line hasn’t even taken it in that I’m annoyed, until Three, when I’m seriously pissed.
    I think I need to stop at One, or Two, and tell the person I’m dealing with that I am really not satisfied with x and then, rather than saying ‘I’d like you to do y or z about it’ – look them in the eyes and say ‘What would you be willing to do to resolve this?’

    Let’s face it, if I’d done that with the pilates teacher the first time the toddlers roaming around her classroom pissed me off, I wouldn’t be sitting here with an almost functional iliolumbar ligament.

    I still think it’s time for a new vet, though.
    I don’t like unresolved conflict and it bugs the hell out me being around someone who sweeps issues under the rug and just hopes they won’t trip over it and land on their ass later.
    Those situations never end well, and I’ve stopped beating myself for being unable to resolve the conflict from both ends.
    I can only take responsibility for my end, and hopefully, learn from my mistakes.

  101. sorry, typo – should read ‘time for a new vet’.
    How do I edit, when I discover gibberish in my last post?

  102. You can’t… but I can.

    Allow me…

    voila!

  103. Right, now I’ve got the line editing out of the way…

    Yes, absolutely. Life’s too short to be interacting with – and, at the end of the day, relying on (possibly in high-stress situations) – people with whom you have problematic, uncomfortable interactions.

    Maybe it’s your shit, maybe it’s their’s, maybe it’s Mercury retrograde… doesn’t really matter. Net result is: it is not working for you to keep bashing yourself at their particular attitude-studded brick wall.

    Sure, they should probably have a good hard look at their customer service and conflict resolution ability – or lack thereof – but even when things were great between you all, you were never their life coach. Just their top-dollar paying, loyal and dependable client.

    At least you know Lady Vet Happy to Talk to You Like A Person will be open, honest and approachable. IMO, you’re already ahead.

  104. There is really only one thing that matters when choosing a vet: Does your cat like her?

  105. Yes.
    I’ve had lunch with a friend who did the torturous counseling skills subject with me a few years ago and I feel better. She has two sheepdogs and has worked her way through several vets, and has funded their divorces, their holidays to Spain, their children’s private school fees and the new BMW every year.
    She and her husband refer to all hikes in vet fees as ‘the BMW mark up’.
    She too thinks that my vet needs to Toughen Up Princess and I need to move on and find a vet who can talk about it when I have a problem.

    I just felt better about going online and reading everything the counseling experts have to say about how nothing ever gets resolved when you’re dealing with an avoider. The clincher is that she thinks I’m upset about something else or I’m following an agenda. My friend burst out laughing at this and said ‘How long has she known you and what kind of idiot is she if she thinks that you have agendas and you don’t speak your mind?’

    Anyway, I got a (form) letter from the vet today saying that my dog is due for his annual vaccination and health checkup and the vet and her staff are happy to talk to me at all times about any concerns I may have.
    At which I giggled, and filed it to show Uncle Blokesy when he got home – so he got a laugh out of it, too.

    Its a shame she can’t talk about it. She’s a truly lovely vet.
    Still, as my GF said, if that’s how little she values my money, think of how little she must value my pets. Its time to move on. I think I’ll be shuffling quietly off into the sunset without any more fanfare, Vanessa has enough BS to deal with in there – and besides, the vet has made it plain to me that if I complain, she won’t talk to me – she’ll kick Vanessa. I’d suspected as much when I wrote the email, but I’d hoped for better.
    And that, for me, is the absolute clincher.
    I’m not funding the lifestyle of a bully, no matter how good a vet she may be.

  106. Good. I’m sure your new vet will appreciate your custom much more highly. Now let’s all celebrate with a nice hot bubble bath and a tot of vodka. Note: I knew you’d find a satisfactory outcome, so I already used the bath. You might want to add a bit more hot water – I was in there a while.

    It was a good bath, and now I don’t feel quite so bad about missing out on my backrub. Yep. The Boss came home half cut. Stupid crock pot.

    Also, thanks GB for the heads up about the Blunty poetry stoush. I popped over there and dropped in my two cents worth just before dinner. Good fun.

  107. Yes, I agree with everything sheepdog lady said. She must be a genius!

    I was rushing around yesterday and didn’t have time to rhyme. I’ll have to go and check your stylings, Catty.

    Now, I’m off to my (Un)Employment Services Provider. Do you think I should drool slightly, rock in my chair and refuse to make eye contact? The problem is, I haven’t drooled since I was six months old. Maybe I can make artificial drool out of lemon juice and lube…

    No. That was too vile, even for me.

    I might just glug on some mascara and then smear it around. A lot.

    Meanwhile, I knew it wasn’t just me. Scrub turkeys are serial sex pests:
    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/animals/brisbanes-most-frustrating-fauna-20110809-1ikou.html

    We’re watching you, Colin!

  108. Thanks, folks.
    Wow, that wildlife officer who suggested putting mesh under your mulch is delusional. I think I’ve told you guys (maybe not you, Catty, it might have been at a gathering) about the EPO telling me to lay chicken wire over my garden mulch and then drive it into the ground with tent pegs in order to keep the birds off my garden, and out of the electrical cables around the pond, the garden lights, and the pool equipment.
    There was a bird obsessively mounding in the yard behind us, thoughtfully stacking it’s pile of stinky decaying compost up against the 6 foot timber fence between us and his mound. He was determined to take my delectable garden and it’s lovely luscious mulch over the fence, stick by stick, and the shuffling and fluttering and raking was driving me nuts.
    I tried to bear with it and think ‘I can deal with this’ but then the weather changed and a low pressure system hit in. The temperatures dropped, the skies turned grey, eggs rotted, burst and stank, and the bird went completely psychotic.
    Apparently cyclones and lows freak them out because the drop in temperature makes it difficult for them to maintain their mound at correct Festering Heat required to spawn the Flock of Satan.
    So the bird started scratching at the chicken wire in a deranged frenzy of determination to get at the lucerne below. By the end of day 2 his feet were cut to ribbons and while he hadn’t managed to budge the chicken mesh, he had managed to short out the pool pump by scratching the *&^% out of the cords to the filter, which were supposedly protected by the chicken mesh.
    In despair I rang the EPO, who were concerned that the bird might contract septicaemia from his wounds, die, and be unable to bring forth the next generation of evil into the world.
    They seemed blithely unconcerned about the $600 quote I’d been given to replace the pool pump and entirely unable to offer suggestions about how to protect the next one. I think at some point in the process I even got some disapproving comment about how backyard pools are a death trap for baby chicks, at which point I made a waspish retort about how, then, it was probably a dumb idea for the parent bird to locate his nest equidistant between three of them.

    Finally they told me I should call Peter the Possum man and pay $170 for him to remove the bird to safety, and see that it got the required veterinary care as appropriate.
    I then got the neighbour’s permission to trap the bird, having explained the problem, and in the three days it took to trap the fracking thing I had to cope with a shirtload of abuse from people in his flats who liked the fact the bird was there and didn’t care that it was destroying my garden, my fence, and my electrical equipment. And who didn’t hold back in telling me what a bitch I was for putting mesh all over the garden that was destroying the bird’s feet.

    Finally the bird was removed.
    the next day I awakened early to clear the mound and it’s rotting, stinking contents and discovered there was already another bird on top of the mound and several contenders waiting in the wings to take his place when the Possum Man returned to remove him.

    by this stage we were out of pocket by nearly $800 and was going out of my mind. I rang the EPO again, and got someone who was willing to be helpful. He told me that the birds require 90% leaf canopy in order to select a mound site and all that I would need to do was trim the tree, and the birds would all wander off and slash and pillage elsewhere.

    The neighbour was content for us to trim his tree, the hippies watched complacently but made no protest, and the birds, while young males still roost in the nut tree, no longer attempt to mound beneath it.

    I can’t wait for the bobcat to roll through here next year and rip up the sad remnants of what was once a lovely cottage garden, and replace it with a set of sterile minimalist paved and tiled terraces full of rocks and trellises that the birds would need to be on steroids to disturb.

    Hm. Greybeard may be listening. Perhaps I shouldn’t be giving him ideas…
    especially since he’s bound to be the fiend responsible for making them commit unnatural acts upon chickens.

  109. Hey, leave poor Colin alone. Do you have any idea how hard it is to rape a chicken?

  110. “Do you have any idea how hard it is to rape a chicken?” Well personally, no. But I did read once that Larry Flint . . . nah, let’s not go there.

    Dear Quokka. I was wondering if, with your extensive contacts in the veterinary industry, you could point me towards a supplier of avian steroids and growth hormone? See, I’ve had a few ideas for Colin Mark II and I thought something about the size of a cassowary would be good. Only with more muscle. Hope you can help.

    It being Wednesday, tis Fifi’s day off. A simple repast of avocado on seedy bread covered with bacon & a little pepper to start with madam? Served en boudoir with chai? Certainly madam. And will there be anything else . . .

  111. Hehehe. So many reasons to love Quokka, but this chief amongst them: the woman hates scrub turkeys at least as much as, if not more than, I.

    The EPO lied, Q. It takes reo to dissuade them… you know, the blocky mesh they use to strengthen concrete? Somewhat difficult to incorporate in a tasteful poolside ambience, it’s true – unless you’re working with a “Vacation on Nahru” theme.

    Greybeard, as discussed somewhere, I’m pretty sure my cut-rate Mexican “Valium” is actually remaindered anabolic steroid. I’ll send you what’s left.
    Also, although I’m not sure of the applicability of the following, researchers in the Netherlands found that elderly men who consumed chocolate milk (skim milk + cocoa) 30 minutes after weights training gained more muscle than those prescribed steroids.

    Perhaps you could make Colin a ‘roid shake?

  112. Never mind Colin, I might try it myself. Mmm, chocolate-roid shake.

  113. Rio? Unless you’re going to sling it at them and then arc a concrete pump over the preferred mounding site, I doubt it’d faze the mongrel things.
    Nup.
    The only way to stop them is with lead.
    ooh. the mail. Who thinks that Kylie from Admin might have sent me my degree yet?
    I’m putting 100:1 odds on ‘No’.

  114. I win.
    Council sent me a parking permit, (ooh, shiny!) though, so any of you who want to visit me (sans broom and by the mortal means) can now park outside my house on a weekday for over 2 hours, without getting an $80 fine.
    Can my day get any more exciting?
    Hm.
    Perhaps it’s time to leave the house.
    I think I may have acquired brain damage from watching the larry crowne movie yesterday. I couldn’t focus on the plot because I kept getting distracted wondering WTF is wrong with Tom Hanks face that all the laugh lines have gone and he seems to be bloating in places where normal people droop and sag. Oh, and the hair dye. Yikes.
    Avoid.

  115. Hey, leave poor Tom Hanks alone. Do you have any idea how hard it is to rape a…. oops, wrong thread.

  116. Ooh, a parking permit! Let’s definitely do the” I come and pick you up and we take the Citroen to the movies” scenario, then. So I can use The Precious.

    It could be something you picked up over here, Quokka. Because I misread your post and then got really confused:
    “It’s probably cocaine bloat,” I thought, “But what is Tom Hanks doing in a movie about a notorious pornographer?

    Greybeard, go hard. But you do know, in order for it to work, you have to actually lift weights before hand? 5 x 10 reps of battleaxe biceps curls, followed by 30 shield presses…

    Catty – I think you’re thinking about Hugh Grant.

    Well, Magic Man survived his first round of rugby union yesterday. They creamed Bli-Bli and Pacific Paradise, leaving both opposition teams scoreless. I was quite relieved to note that they’re playing rugby-lite… no maul, no rucking.

    Note: I typed RUCKING. With an R.

  117. Yes, but we know that rucking isn’t really what those Ra Ra boys want to do to each other. Cite Exhibit A: Lobes.

  118. Ewwww, Lobes AND Hugh Grant? Well, that’s my bulimia diet off to a brilliant start – and I hadn’t even binged yet.

  119. Poor Catty – you too?

    I’m convinced I’m bulimic… sadly, I have yet to perfect the “purge” phase, though.

    As for Buggery Union, Q, please let’s not traipse down that yellow brick road. I haven’t come to terms with them tackling each other yet, let alone…

    Happy Day! Bus strike up here + gloomy overcast skies => writer’s group cancelled=> housework (such as it was) already completed => day off to laze around, ingesting carbs and pulp fiction.

    Sure, I have a cheesecake to make for Friday, but that’s its own reward, really.

  120. Mmmmm…. cheesecake….

    The secret to effective purging is to binge on something really yummy, so that you get to taste it twice. Stay away from chicken, though. That stuff is fowl the second time around.

  121. Hehehe.

    Fowl.

    I was just reading an article about red meat causing diabetes. All I ended up thinking was how much I’d really love a steak for lunch, instead of the salad sandwich on wholemeal I have planned.

  122. I’d like a stake, and a mallet to drive it straight through Aunt Irma’s heart.
    I think I’ll forego the cheesecake, though, I’m not a fan. Citrus tart, perhaps, and pecan pie – definitely.
    Meh.
    I’m trying to write applications to uni and I think I’ve lost the ability for intelligent thought. Time to give up and turn to those things that don’t require grey matter – like Fluff sucking and stacking the dishwasher.

    One of my classmates got her degree in the mail yesterday.
    I’m so envious. She was dealing with the efficient student adviser.
    And I’ve got Kylie.
    On second thoughts, I can see a use for a cheesecake – as a projectile.
    So if one of you wants to eat and then vomit, I’ll point the way.

  123. Mmm… pecan pie.

    Still, Q, at least your friend has shown it can be done. Otherwise, we might have all been thinking that they never actually give out degrees, you just have to keep doing subjects until Mr Devine rides in on his wrecking ball.

  124. I wonder if he’d let me drive one of those giant chewing machines that munch up brickwork the way that Irma inspires me to chew through Edinburgh Rock.
    where to start though…it’d have to be the toilet block. Those drains…ergh…they’ve been blocked beyond repair since at least 1942.

  125. http://www.watoday.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/petition-calls-for-bert-and-ernie-to-be-married-20110811-1iodu.html

    Do any of you know just how much sesame street I’ve experienced in this life and yet, I had No Clue?

  126. Huh. They’re already married. Separate beds, no kissing, no sex, and only one of them ever does any cleaning.

  127. I dunno. I think there’s something much more bizarre than mere gayness going down in Sesame Street.

    Remember when Ernie sang:
    “Rubber ducky, you’re the one,
    You make bath-time lots of fun…”?

    And Bert’s got a thing for pigeons:
    “People may smile, but I don’t mind.
    They’ll never understand the kind of fun I find.
    Doing the…unh… unh… pigeon!”

    I think they’re two bird fetishists, who split the bills to leave more money for seed and lures. That’s why Big Bird is a neurotic mess. He’s always freaking out and fluttering around. In fact, he’s so traumatised he’s got multiple personalities… Mr Snuffleupagus, anyone?

  128. Noooooooo!!! Ear worm!!!

    “Doin’ the uh uh pigeon” is going to be stuck in my head all day now.

  129. Well, for the last ten days my boys have been obsessed with something called “Party Anthem to Drive Mum Round The Twist”… or something like that.

    So I just whipped round the aisles at Woolies, unable to keep “shufflin’, shufflin’” out of my fevered brain.

    What’s with the shuffling craze, anyway?

    I associated shuffling with pee-stained tartan slippers on octogenarians, or how you move after a caeser when the epidural’s worn off.

    Not hip, dudes.

  130. You really don’t need to worry until they’ve learned to do the hustle…oh wait, that’s right – Elf boy has that one down pat.
    When they start doing this in the cereal aisle you know to blame the corrupting influence of Sesame Street, for sure.

  131. Thanks, Q.

    I could watch that clip all day. Who knew that cross-body arm in the air thingo was called the Travolta, for a start?

    Surely, The Travolta should be: sticking both arms straight out; making aeroplane noises for a bit; and then freezing until the alien mothership beams you off the dance-floor.

  132. Nah, Madam, you’re thinking of Michael Jackson.

  133. Actually, when you think about it, I think I was thinking about the opening number to The Sound of Music:

    Helicopter zooms in on the undulating Alpine peaks, and then, over a crest, dainty in a frock and apron combo…

    You know, they never answered the musical question, “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?”

    Catty, you’re our resident songwriter. Action a sequel, please.

  134. No song required. Just two words…. Gaffer Tape.

  135. “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” Not sure if a silver bullet or a stake through the heart would be best. I’d try both. Ah! In “The Hound of Music” (a Toadshow production from the 90′s?) Maria was a werewolf-governess at the castle of Baron von Frankentrapp. Great show btw. But that definitely makes it a silver bullet.

  136. You might need that silver bullet for Mayhem’s Mum.

  137. Ah, you see for this – and most of everything else on TV – we have the mute button. How’s your dancing legs since the op, GB? Managing stairs yet, or still in need of a winch or the Beam Me Up apparatus?

  138. Pfft! My surgeon was a marvel. I walked out of the hospital feeling fantastic. Of course that may have had something to do with the knee being pumped full of local anaesthetic and morphine – as he told me in the post-op check-up, a couple of weeks later. I never could dance but 48 hours later we had an hours walk round Chelmer with railway bridge stairs included. That’ll do me. Even been allowed up a ladder (under adult supervision). A lot of that is down to immense manliness of course. Fifi just can’t take it like me. You should have heard her whinge about our last baby. Poor little Hairy Greybeardson was only a smidge over 11 pounds but she did carry on . . .

  139. Mmm… morphine.

    11 pounds?! No wonder Hairy was your last. It’s a wonder she’s still talking to you, Sir Greybeard.

    Glad to hear your knee is back in tip-top shape. You’ll be needing it for the purposes of grovelling and begging forgiveness. What do you mean, you’ve done nothing wrong? You’re a man, “wrong” is your default setting.

    Had a lovely BBQ with my cousin and his wife, yesterday. Although the news that he’s soon to turn 50 made me feel older than GB’s mummy wrapping…

  140. Heh heh heh… de’fault’ setting…

    We’ll have no more talk about the ravages of time, thank you very much Madam. Besides, you’re the same age as I am, (thats 29ish), so we’re far from old yet. Have another vodka and try not to worry about it too much.

  141. Time?

    Phht.

    What is time, really, to a woman who has trouble remembering what day of the week it is, and has to count on her fingers to work out her son’s birth year…

  142. I thought everyone did that?

  143. And that’s why I love you, Catty.

    Is Mercury still retrograde? Because yesterday, part of my vege crisper that I was washing slipped off the draining rack and smashed on my tiles, and today various little niggles have nibbled at me.

    Perhaps it’s just Aunt Bloody Irma. A lunar cycle is 28 days, as I recall, but it feel like Irma pops around once a fortnight.

  144. Meh to all that, sista.
    At least we’ve had a spatter of rain here, today.
    I went forth into the garden with slashing equipment and had a therapeutic hack and purge of many dead things.
    Best to take it out on the greenery (which is more of a lifeless brownery) than the neighbours.

  145. I miss the glorious rain.

    All of this stupid sunshine makes you feel guilty if you hibernate on the couch trying to read your way through Council’s entire frivolous fiction collection.

    I’ve even gone so far as to vacuum the dust out of the fly-screens.

    Damn you August! Before this irksome month is out, I’ll have crocheted negligees for the chooks and alphabetised the Lego.

  146. Given the turkey problem, perhaps you should use steel wool and make them some chastity belts. And then set up a stall and sell them at the local markets…

  147. Hehehe.

    Madam Morgana’s Crocheted Chain Mail Chook Chastity Corsets.

    If I send some to the Queen, do you think I can get a “By Appointment to tack on, as well?

  148. Judging by what happens when Princess Anne brings her dogs to visit, some chain mail for the corgis and a ned kelly headpiece just could swing that.

  149. Just make some to fit a corgi & you’re in. Don’t take this the wrong way, but it might be faster to crochet little bikinis for the chooks rather than negligees. Could make your place a tourist attraction?

  150. Why, Q – what on earth happens when… ?

    No, forget I asked. I’ve got enough traumatic memories to repress as it is.

    GB, you can traipse merrily through the Big Smoke this week, without having to check compulsively over your shoulder. Your would-be Angelic Assassin is confined to the couch with bronchitis.

    Thank Gaia, Holy Patrick and all the Saints for ABC3.

  151. Ok, I’ll spare you the gory details.
    Um, Morgana, re: Harry Potter, I think it’s on it’s way out of the cinemas. I just rang Jared from cineplex who tells me that there’s only one screening this Saturday and it’s at 12.40 at the Hawthorne. Its in the big cinema, though – bonus.
    So long as you are at my place and ready to leave by 12.15pm all should work out well. How’s that going to work in with Mr. Mucous?

  152. Works for me, Quokka. How delightful that you have a tame monkey at the cineplex to answer all your advance screening queries! Great minds must truly think alike because I googled the draft program and came to the same conclusion. Whatever the state of Elf Boy’s tubes, I’ll be there – he can languish at Grandma’s. He’ll probably have bounced back well before then, though, with a nice strong course of broad-spectrum antibiotics.

    Catty… I blink, and blink, but still that damn bikinied bulldog swings across my retinas. I might have to go and watch True Blood, to scrub them clean.

  153. There weren’t any corgies in corsets, unfortunately, or chickens in chastity belts. (I looked). You’d better start crocheting, and get a video up on Youtube while there’s still a niche in the market.

  154. Hmm… I think our time would be better spent developing the bondage cupcake line.

    Do we have a name, yet?

    I’m thinking, “Spanking On The Cake”. Or maybe “Icing and Discipline”.

  155. Or “S and Mmmm”.

    Great. Now I’m hungry. Breakfast time! Spankakes, anyone?

  156. Hehehe. “S and Mmm” Spankakes.

    We could also do spankacotta. Cuff cakes. And cute little human ashtray profiteroles.

    But nothing in vanilla.

  157. O.k, I’ll bite. Why not vanilla?

  158. Here’s an explanation – with the disclaimer (children, if you’ve stumbled across a dusty cache, somewhere in cyberspace) that, of course, I haven’t actually done any of these things personally, I’m just very well read:

    “Vanilla” is what kinky sex people call stock-standard, hetero sex between two adults of opposite genders (allegedly).

    So we couldn’t make vanilla bondage cakes, unless we wanted to make ironic bondage cakes… and since I’m not even sure there’s a market for straight-forward bondage cakes…

    Damn. I just typed “cakes” once too often. Now I’ll have to go and bake some. Yes, they will be chocolate.

  159. Oh, you poor dear, having to go to all that effort. I shall bake some too, in sympathy. Not chocolate, though. Mine shall be banana, seeing as all this talk of sex is making me think ‘Wild Monkey’.

    I thought that stock standard hetero relations involved tame role playing with school (or nurse) uniforms, and superhero capes. Then there’s the missionary position – although I don’t see what’s tame about sticking a bone in your nose and your partner in a pot of boiling water.

  160. Banana cakes? Did you just win the Lotto, Catty?

    My take on the missionary position is that any time a woman has sex with a man, whether she’s flat on her back or swinging from the chandeliers, she’s in the missionary position.

    After all, she’s ministering to a primitive heathen and usually at some stage he ends up crying out “Oh God!”.

    Stethoscopes and capes optional.

  161. I can’t afford real banananas either. It’s a Green’s packet mix – we discovered (by accident) that the littlest kidlet really likes it, so I buy it for him now and then.

    Stethoscopes and capes are passé. After seeing several mankinis on TV of late, I have been experiencing a strange urge to see the Boss in lime green lycra.

  162. Ah, yes, I should have known this is what things would degenerate to if I leave you for the day. All this talk of the Wild Thing is turning my stomach, because I did my Tuesday Girls Day Out thing with a fellow ex inmate of Hogwarts, and we went off to see Jane Ayre. I think I attracted negative attention from the cinema goers for sniggering during one of the scenes of High Passion when Rochester insisted he wanted her for her Soul.
    That must’ve been the line that they used back there which dumb females failed to translate into ‘I want you naked in the hay and it bothers me not if the pigs have shat on it first.’
    Victorians.
    They SO needed therapy.
    Poor Jane, if only she’d had access to Oprah’s tips on How To Spot A Violent Crazy Man, and a good book or two on co-dependence, her life would have worked out sooooooo much better.
    It’s been at least 20 years since I read the book and I haven’t been able to look at it the same way since I read Jean Rhys’s prequel, ‘The Wide Sargasso Sea’ – please tell me that the reason Rochester lost his sight is because Antoinette took to him with a hot poker.
    Which brings me, in a round about way, back to S&M.
    Carry on.

  163. No, he lost his sight when his mad wife set fire to the mansion and he tried to rescue her from the attic.

    Mr Rochester… sigh… Timothy Dalton is such a honey…

  164. “Kathy!” “Heathcliffe!”

    Oops, wrong tearjerker/chickflick? Fifi is off to see Jane Eyre with a female friend. Fair enough too since she doesn’t (for some inexplicable reason) want to see Cowboys & Aliens with me.

  165. But we had a great time today. Went to Eumundi, bought books at Berkelouws. I dithered over a Getty Images book on Aviation which had a ripped spine and was $50 anyway. But it was beautiful and Fifi said buy it. When we got to the counter the guy was horrified and said someone must have dropped it to cause the damage. I’ve dropped lots of books and never had the spine separate like that and it had one of their shop covers over the damage so . . . ? Anyway he floored me by saying we could have it. Free. I guess we were buying a few others of some value but hey, it was very generous. Then we had salt & pepper calamari, aeoli & beer battered fries – with salad so it was quite healthy. Really. And affogatos with their own ice-cream & strong coffee. I like her days off in mid week. Saw so many places at the real estate that were tempting. Maybe a tree change to higher ground would be better?

  166. Excellent score, Greybeard. Free… Mmmm… Better than Timothy Dalton…

    No, scratch that. There’s little in this world better than Timothy Dalton. Unless, of course, one of you lot can score me a FREE Timothy Dalton?

    I thought not. *sigh*

  167. Catty, I can do you a man who’d like to do Timothy Dalton… but he wouldn’t be much good to you. You don’t need a hand with your decor at present, what with moving and all.

    As for the mankini, the only reason to put a man in lime-green spandex is if they’re having trapeze lessons at the high-security gaol. Or so that you may ping it over his kiwis.

    Greybeard, please do move to the hinterland. Then you could visit at least once a fortnight, and Elf Boy could get his eye in, for the cricket season. He’s been sick for the last few days, poor darling – telling everyone he has “brontochitis”. As for the free book – awesome! They are good, at Berks.

    I’m going to “Cowboys and Aliens” tonight! My clever Magic Man won tickets to the preview at a cricket do. See, kids aren’t all noise, dirt and sleepless nights. Mostly, but not all.

    Quokka, I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. When you failed to drop in during the day, I was imagining you in a black catsuit, slinking through the air-conditioning ducts at Hogwart’s with a vial of home-made Sarin gas and vengeance on your mind.

    Actually, I’m kind of disappointed you were only dallying with the Brontes.

  168. Nope, the Bloke has pointed out that nobody does any work in Ekka week so if it wasn’t here by Monday, no point hopping up and down till next week.
    For some reason it’s worked out that I’ve got several engagements on this week, so I’ll be AWOL tomorrow, too. Off to Margate to visit a friend who had twins a year ago and, amazingly, you will be shocked to hear, I haven’t seen her since. I have plans to take her a care package of sushi as apparently Japanese culture has failed to penetrate the Humpybong Passage. Meaning Big Bad Al has much to account for.

    Greybeard, if you do relocate to such a nefarious part of the world, I hope you’ll save room in the truck for a few extra turkeys. The 7 that spent the winter in happy harmony in our nut tree have all turned on each other and are chasing each other all over the neighbourhood. Once again they all seem intent on hunting their quarries onto the roads and under the wheels of passing 4WDs so clearly they’ve got enough wit to them to remember that this worked well for the Top Bird plans last summer.

    Catty, Timothy Dalton is all yours.
    I think the only male actor I could bear to have within shooting range of me is Richard E. Grant, and that’s after seeing him run rings around Denton & turn the show around so that Denton was the one squirming in the chair dodging awkward and personal questions.

  169. Hehehe.

    12 month old twins.

    I imagine you’ll still have an eyelid twitching by the time I catch up with you on Saturday, Q. But fish oil should ameliorate your mental anguish.

    Speaking of which, are we still trying to do the R&R as well as HP 7.2? Because, if so and if possible, I’m wondering if we can go on our way to Hawthorne? Mother has announced that I have to be back in East Ipswich no later than 4 p.m. to relieve her of the offspring, and I assume the film runs as long as all the others…

    I’m baby-sitting and baking, this morning. I expect Mike Brady to pop in at any time, although unfortunately Gladys is very late for work this morning, and when she gets here she’ll have some explaining to do about the state of the grunge under the fridge.

    Damn. I’d still rather be Jeannie.

  170. Indeed, and for those powers I’d even stoop to wearing pink pantaloons and saying ‘Master’ in sycophantic tones. Although that could scare people worse than usual…
    Yep, sure come over an hour or so earlier on Saturday and we will trundle along on our merry way.
    Pick a time and I’ll make sure I’m here and not engaged in other forms of merriment, like cleaning the gutters or hosing vomit out of the cat pen.

  171. I just went to our local markets and bought more crap to pack. Tell me I’m an idiot, and I won’t argue, but now I’m an idiot with leg warmers.

    I used to have Jeannie-pants. They were indian silk, (although we westerners call it ‘rayon’), and they were blodged all over with bright rainbow colours. Beautiful, soft, comfy, and made me the laughing stock of every public establishment I wore them to during my 20′s. Then, one sad day, the Teen’s father used them as a rag to wash his truck. I hated that bastard.

    Um, Quokka, you do know that cleaning gutters is hazardous to your health, don’t you? Why don’t you get Greybeard and Elf Boy to do it while you and Morgana go to the movies?

  172. You what?! Oh yeah, I’d get up a ladder with Elf Boy lurking below! He’d probably plant sharp stakes just where I’d land.

    Can’t people be buggers when it comes to others clothes. My mum never forgot getting a lovely piece of material as a girl only to find that while she was sick with scarlet fever, her dear mother had a made a dress for my aunt. The favourite daughter. Well, she might have died and it wouldn’t be any use to her then would it? Same sister did the cleaning rag thing with an outfit of my sister’s. Fifi’s mum just tossed my, er, Fifi’s favourite top/dress-if-you-were-daring in the rubbish. Cor it was nice. You could see right, er, nice patterns on it.

  173. Excellent, Q. Well, an hour earlier is 11:15, how does that sound? I’m happy to help muck out any pens that are going, though. Everything seems like fun when you’re gloriously child-free.

    Oh, Catty – I feel your pain. I made myself a lovely pair of harem pants from beautiful bronze-shot-with-green silky fabric. A drag queen in a sleazy dive burnt a cigarette hole in them. And I used to have some… well, not beautiful, but I liked them… punk t-shirts that had a habit of “disappearing in the wash”. Nice one Mum – it’s still a fascist regime!

    GB, it’s nice to see the verdant juices of spring are surging through your… prose. And thanks for the zombie squid-link – even though I’m even worse at Google + than I am at facebook.

  174. Mmmm… zombie squid… hey, what link?

  175. Heh heh.
    I hadn’t gotten around to opening that yet so thank you Khan Greybeard.
    MM, that sounds fine and dandy.
    Looks like we will be meeting with the builder at 9am on Saturday as he didn’t make it round here, so I should be civilized and ready to go.
    I’m off to Redcliffe on my sushi supply mercy mission.
    have fun, kids.

  176. Give the twins a big kiss on their dear, grubby little cheeks for me.

    I’m assuming they’re grubby. Hell, if I was their mother, I too would be grubby. Tear stains do tend to be sticky.

    See you then, civilized or feral, as you wish.

  177. The twins were perfectly clean and respectable until Ange got it into her head that I was qualified to feed them their banana and yoghurt…

  178. Banana?

    Whose twins are they, the Jolie-Depp pair?

    Since it might be my last chance to have a whinge about the cold, what with Spring coming and all, please allow me to say, “Crikey, it was freezing this morning!”

    And I omitted to provide a “Cowboys and Aliens” review.

    An odd mash-up of two dominant paradigms, it’s a pacy flick, with plenty for lovers of things that go bang and Wild Western homoeroticism. Worth the price of admission, just to admire Daniel Craig stalking about in a form-fitting pair of dusty pin-striped trousers that leave little to the imagination. And see if you can spot the scene stolen straight from Johnny Depp’s recent cracker of an animation, “Rango”.

  179. Yes, the Bloke awakened me with the news that it was 6C outside.
    My poor little flood cats. Anyway, hopefully the vet should be able to take them inside the next fortnight and provide them with a few more creature comforts than they’ve got on offer here.
    Still haven’t seen Rango but I do like the look of C&A. Would have gone to see it on show holiday but Uncle Blokesy was feeling poorly and took to the sofa for a nap with his cat.
    Looking forward to Harry Potter tomorrow.
    I like all these girly catch ups I’ve been having in the last week or two, makes me think I must be mad to want to do another 4 years of PT study and the Low Fun social life.

  180. Poor Bloke. Usually you get sick from going to the Ekka on People’s Day. It’s a bit Alannis Morissette ironic to be sick without the fun beforehand. Tell him get well soon from us all.

    As for HP 7.2, oh, yes. I’m quivering with excitement. Or it could be the residual chill in the air, but it’s more fun if it’s excitement.

    On the subject of Higher Learning, my personal brain tends to be a bit full to study. But I have noticed that if it’s something you’re into it doesn’t really feel like hard work.

    Now, I apologise for this break in transmission but I must pack the chooks, fetch the eggs from the cats, pack some clothes for the dog and give the kids another walk before the big drive to the big smoke. See you tomorrow – happy architecting!

  181. Lovely to see you on Saturday MM and I’m glad we managed to squeeze in a sushi run on the way home. Forgot to suggest that a good home remedy for broncotisis is french onion soup, made from scratch with real beef stock and, for the sulfite intolerant, organic red wine. If you load it up with enough garlic and onions that’ll scare the nastiest winter bugs away. Not sure how you get it into a fussy child without anaesthetic and a drip but hey, that’s what you can use your languishing creativity for.
    Must work out dates for the school holidays and see if it coincides with the writers festival. i.e. Wed 7 September – sunday 11 September – or some other date when Khan Greybeard and Fifi will be free to sup on Turkish.

  182. Likewise, Q.

    And that sushi… too fabulous. As the children wolfed down their McDreadful and KFYuck I sat, nibbling contentedly on the best prawn rolls I have ever had.

    School holidays run from the 17th of September until the 2nd of October, and so far the only entry on our dance card is to check out the Torres Strait art at Southbank. So, choose yourself a day and we’ll see how Sir Greybeard feels about it. I’ll leave the kids with Grandmama, if he’s feeling nervous about Elf Boy AKA The Angelic Assassin.

    Sadly the children would never drink french onion soup. On the other hand, I love it, and happen to have some home-made stock in the freezer. I think I now know what’s for lunch.

    I wonder where dear Catty has scampered off to? Let’s hope she hasn’t been struck down with the brontochitis. Perhaps she just went on a bender with Mayhem and hasn’t yet surfaced from a monumental hangover.

  183. Helloooooo! I’ve been caught up with a few things, like trying to knit a scarf for my BIL’s birthday next week (My fingers hurt. He’s getting a Sanity voucher), and help the littlest kidlet with his school assignment, all while trying to find a new home. We’re still not sure where we’re going, although we have now added Mount Clear (near Ballarat) to our list of places to sus out.

    The biggest hurdle was working out how we were going to find the money to buy something before selling this place. The obvious solution would be to sell first, buy later, but where would we live? Or store our vast quantities of crap? But it appears we may have a solution. I’m about to go and ring a company that should be able to help us.

    I’ve not had that catch up with Mayhem yet. She’s been flat out with medical appointments and work, so we’ll hopefully see each other in a couple of weeks, when things are less hectic.

    Glad to see you ladies had a good time on the weekend. I’m insanely jealous. Unless you didn’t get fudge, in which case I’m not jealous at all. Did any interesting goss come up that I need to hear about? Spill!

    Oh, and I finally got around to checking my emails – thanks, Greybeard. Now all you need is a zombie rat recipe…. Mayhem’s Mum may be able to help with that.

  184. You spooky witch, Catty!

    We did try to get fudge, and were thwarted at every turn.

    Glad to hear you haven’t got the brontochitis, because it sucks dinosaur balls. Every time I hack up another cupful of pus, I wonder if my next gasp will be my last.

    No gossip, just general rants about how much we hate almost everybody else. Except you. And Greybeard – but still Colin.

    In one’s bitter advancing age, like-minded companions are a great solace.

    And you certainly didn’t miss anything at the cinema. Our first choice was seats in front of the most ghastly pair of yuppies who complained loudly and at length that someone as short as the pair of us had dared to sit in the row in front of them. So we moved across the aisle, where they’d redone the floor with that sticky stuff out of a cockroach motel. Every time we tried to change the position of our feet, there’d be a “slurp-scrick!” in protest.

    But the film and the company were both excellent.

    Mount Clear, Mount Clear… Clear as Mud, Clear and Present Danger? Nah, I got nuthin.

  185. Greetings and thank you for helping me avoid mold-removal-Monday. Hope the brontochitis will respond to alcohol & riotous living? And do bring the lads Madam. Maybe they could visit the Museum Of Horrors?

    This looks like an interesting time of year. We have the Great Bogan Wedding weekend after next, for which I was asked to be MC! Apart from a paralysing fear of public speaking at any time, the thought of that crowd of motorheads would scare the tripes out of me. What were they thinking?! Next month Fifi’s Ma is dragging her family up in a balloon. This cannot end well & I’m not risking my remaining ligaments in one of those unnatural devices. We’re hosting an Indonesian dinner about the same time too. Don’t ask me why – I think we’ve just worked through all the common national cuisines. One of the women at breakfast on Sunday had me really lusting! She had an Asus Transformer. Thin light Android tablet that plugs into its own keyboard to become a little laptop. Smooth! I think Fifi needs one. Yeah.

  186. MM I think it’s just Tuesdays I’m busy so perhaps we should confer with Greybeard re: turkish, or else maybe even breakfast at the Jetty, given that my last attempt to drag you all there failed to get results.

    Catty, you’re a mind reader – there was indeed a big Fail when it came to the hunting and gathering of fudge. We did find fudge dipping sauce in our travels but as all we had to dip in it was our movie tickets and a loaf of ciabatta, it didn’t seem like the best idea.
    Particularly as once we did get into the movies, we managed to find seats where our shoes stuck to the floor in a puddle of what we’re hoping was congealed fanta and made the most disgusting squelching noises every time we fidgeted (and I fidget a lot). Not something you can really get away with in a movie as full of meaningful silences as Harry Potter.

    Sounds like you’ve got a plan with the house move. I have no idea what it is but knowing you, it’ll be a good one.
    The thought of selling a house still gives me the shudders as for the last 10 years ours hasn’t had a front door. It used to have two, but then I decided that this would be the perfect spot to put a galley style kitchen and who needs a front door anyway? They just encourage cable tv salesmen and neighbours wanting to borrow cups of sugar and fracking jam jars. Oh, and visitors, expecting hospitality (fools, what do they take me for?)
    Anyway, every real estate agent who’s been through to value the place seems to think that prospective buyers will want a front door. The trouble was, having dispensed with the front door it’s taken me the better part of ten years to figure out where to put a new one. We’ll need to extend the porch & knock a hole in the dining room wall & raise the ceiling height, all of which is going to be very, very messy. And along the way it’s going to piss off an entire department full of town planners who will shake their heads at what we have planned for our 1950′s greek shitbox and say ‘but that doesn’t look like a queenslander.’
    Sigh. Goodbye Kylie, hello Town Planning. I’m looking forward to 6 months of in-fighting with BCC certifiers before they give us the green light to make our mess.

    Had a meeting with the builder on Sunday and it sounds like he might be able to do it in May – which is handy as I’m hoping we can move to Redcliffe again for the 2-3 months it takes to make this godawful mess, and that’s the low season in tourist rents, and the dry season here in winter.

    So…I’m having second thoughts about studying next year.
    Might just play here with you guys, and try to take up yoga again, in between fights with the town planners and listening to the neighbours whine about how if we build a block wall on the western boundary, their rats will have nowhere to run when they’re hungry and when the Irish piss up against it on weekends, the urine won’t drain away into our garden like it does with the current style of fencing in place.

    Right.
    It must be time for a cuppa.
    Where’s the fudge?

  187. How to MC a bogan wedding:

    1 – Write the bride and groom’s name on your arm. This is important – if you’re doing it right, you’ll be extremely drunk by the time the speeches start, and it could be embarrassing if you refer to the bride by the groom’s ex-girlfriend’s name – although, this is a bogan wedding, so the ex is probably a bridesmaid.

    2 – Fortify yourself beforehand, fully and frequently, at the bar.

    3 – stand up, if possible.

    4 – Try not to vomit on anyone, no matter how ridiculous their mullet may be. Yes, this includes the bride. You don’t want to ruin her new uggs with regurgitated VB and Pig In A Blanket, do you?

    5 – To get the guests’ attention, DO NOT bang on a glass. If they even have glasses – most of the guests should be drinking straight out of the bottle by now. Instead, scream out something along the lines of “Shart the fark arp yez carnts!”. Waving your arms around helps too, as long as you don’t smack anybody in the mouth. It might (o.k, WILL) lead to a brawl, and everyone knows the brawling isn’t supposed to start until just before the cake is cut.

    6 – Introduce the first speaker, taking care not to use any word greater than 2 syllables. Ensure to use the word ‘fark’ (or ‘farken’) every second or third word.

    7 – Repeat your opening line (Shart the fark arp etc) before introducing each speaker. Be prepared to remove the microphone from the speaker’s hand as soon as he/she starts sobbing/getting belligerent/recounting tales of prostitutes and illicit drugs (i.e, about 45 seconds).

    8 – Soothe your shattered nerves afterwards, fully and frequently, at the bar.

    9 – Post the video on Youtube BEFORE you sober up.

    10 – Never speak of it again.

    • I love it. It’s almost enough to persuade me to take the gig. No, no it isn’t, but i love it anyway.

  188. Catty – you’re a farken genius.

    Greybeard, you are right not to go up in a hot air balloon. You’d only set the whole damn thing on fire, or find it was afflicted with death-watch beetle, or collide with a flock of albatross, or something. You know what you’re like.

    Now that that’s settled, you can be the arbiter: what suits you better, brekkie at the Jetty or lunch at the Turks? Just nominate a school holiday day other than a Tuesday and we’re set.

    Quokka, you can easily while away a year faffing with us and brawling with the BCC and assorted neighbours. If any of them give you any trouble, refer to the dialogue recommended by Catty in step 5. above.

  189. Oh, I never thought of that. We absolutely must not allow Greybeard in a hot air balloon. Forget the albatross; if the Angelic Assassin can wrangle Colin into a trebuchet, that balloon’s a gonner. Now Greybeard, you did mention that you have a trebuchet, and that your Mother In Law will be in the balloon, yes? Do you see where I’m going with this? I’ll shut up now….

    No I won’t.

    Quokka, when you said you had no front door, I assumed you meant that there was a big gaping empty doorway where the door once was. I always wondered how you kept stray Mormons and confused Bogdwellers out. Don’t I feel like a right nong?

  190. Hehehe… turkey trebuchet. It would also be a fabulous name for a country/metal band.

    Catty, when Quokka says she has no front door, she means that entry to the house is via an enclosed patio, then an immaculate master bedroom, leading to a hallway and then on into the living areas. I’ve never had any problem with her delightful abode (other than the fact that it makes my house looks like an ill-kempt dog box), but I suppose some terminally boring… or chronically untidy… people might not want to have guests trailing through their bedroom in the first instance. Honestly, though, the view (and summer breezes) from the kitchen would surely compensate any squeamish visitor or potential purchaser.

    But as we all know, people are odd. And, by and large, annoying.

  191. I too would prefer that Greybeard stays clear of the flying wicker basket adventure tours. Mostly because their flight path goes directly over my roof, and I don’t want him tossing any more black feathered spawn of satan into the nut tree up the back.
    Catty, when we first purchased the Greek Shitbox it had two perfectly lovely french doors that led into a 5.5 x 4m space that the previous owners had used as a combined dining/living room. It really wasn’t big enough for that purpose and as the kitchen occupied a larger room at the back of the house, at some point I hit upon the idea of swapping the kitchen and the lounge room. Unfortunately that involved blocking off the french doors with a kitchen sink.
    I left them there for a few years and it confused the crap out of uninvited guests, who’d wander up the front stairs, land on the porch, see the glass doors, and then get this marvelous expression of Foiled and Perplexed as they realize there was no way in. For a while it gave me great satisfaction to shrug and make helpless faces at the Jehovah’s and the real estate agents and the cable TV salesmen and say ‘Sorry, front door’s out of order, you’ll have to come back in five years.’

    During our renovations of 2 winters ago, I had the builder install a fresh set of french doors leading off the porch into the bedroom. They have opaque glass, so when you open the door to Uninvited Door Knockers, they’re staring straight at the bed. The same look of perplexity crosses their face but these days it’s mixed with fear…understandable with the religious callers but inexplicable with the guy you’ve called to fix the oven and the Australia post delivery guy.
    I think it’s worth interviewing them all to pinpoint the events they’re flashing back to that cause this fear, because there’s probably an idea for a novel in it.

    Anyway. We’ve finally figured out where to put a front door, so it’s just a matter of getting it past council. We have to comply with the regulations for Small Lot Code and also we’re in a Character Residential Zone – and that one’s the killer. Last time we put a development application in (you can’t change the front of a building it CRZ without consulting council) we got a completely anal town planner who looked at the photo of our Greek Shit Box and whined ‘that doesn’t look like a queenslander’ and who then whined and bitched about how we should make it look like a queenslander.

    Which is akin to telling a stylist that you want Princess Bea to outshine Pippa Middleton’s arse at the next royal wedding, and you’re not allowed to cheat by plonking a laquered toilet seat atop her head.

    Onto other news, Kylie Slacker finally sent me what appears to be an accurate copy of my academic record, yesterday, with the official letter saying that when the college council can be bothered getting off their lazy arses to have their next meeting, they’ll send me my degree – in October, if I’m lucky, and assuming they don’t fall off their chairs drinking red wine and eating canapes on the day.

    * Shakes head, rolls eyes, wanders off.*

    Greybeard, what think you of this Food and Gathering idea for the school hols?
    So long as I get either bacon or hot chips, I’ll be happy.

  192. Oh I’m all for food & gathering and Fifi will be too. I’ll consult her (The Keeper of the Diary) but there’s bound to be heaps of days good for us. Maybe if Madam has the boys yez could pop over to Chelmer later for bevvies & bikkies? I will of course be shutting all the computers down & unplugging the net in that case. Speaking of the net, I’m trying to see what your house looks like from above on Google Earth Q. Which one was it again? (Chicks away!)

  193. Bacon, hot chips, Kylie’s head on a platter…. if we can make her head look like a Queenslander, maybe we can send it to the town planner. He might be more, uh, ‘amenable’ if he sees what happens to people who piss Quokka off. (So you might want to pick a different turkey chick drop zone, Greybeard.)

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