Oh Goddess, the Horror!

As my mother said – reaching for a glass of red wine with a barely perceptible tremor of her hand – “I’ve never known a Christmas quite like it.”

Soon after the gift unwrapping, Magic Man, lurching around the lounge room in an excess of festive spirit, smashed my table lamp. The hand-blown glass table lamp I had travelled all the way to the wilds of darkest Springwood to purchase from IKEA. That table lamp.

“Oh well,” I told myself, trying to be philospophical as I swept the floor for stray shards, “Some people will lose loved ones these holidays. It’s only a THING.”

As it happens, only a very minor thing. Little did I know, the real horror was just around the corner.

First, a little background. Magic Man decided, back in October, that he dearly wanted a couple of scorpions for Christmas. His doting Grandmother was happy to oblige, and together they purchased a little glass tank in anticipation of the happy event. Regrettably, the Creepy Critters pet store in our town went out of business just before the school holidays – taking with it both the scorpions and, even more crucial, the live food they needed.

Plan B. Magic Man decided that a siamese fighting fish could live in the little glass tank just as happily and Miss Fish arrived on Christmas Eve.

For a brief, golden time, both Magic Man and Miss Fish were as happy as the proverbial weasels.

Early in the afternoon on Christmas Day just as everyone was relaxing, full of prawns and goodwill to all men, Elf Boy wandered into Magic Man’s room. We’ll never know what actually happened next, but allegedly Miss Fish became startled at the sight of Grandpa’s dog and took a frantic, suicidal leap into a nearby bucket of Lego. How the glass lid that covered about 85% of the tank’s surface became dislodged is still a mystery. Grandpa’s dog may strike fear into the hearts of fish, but he lacks opposable thumbs.

A frantic search through 50,000 bits of Lego ensued. Magic Man wailed “Siamese fighting fish can last out of water for up to five minutes. We’ve got to find her!”. But, even after we’d turned his whole room upside down, we couldn’t find so much as a scale of the late and much lamented Miss Fish.

Some say Grandpa’s declared-dangerous dog swallowed her whole. He’s got form, having terminated a couple of cats before his death-spree was curtailed.

I think Miss Fish was a magical Christmas fish, sent to torment me within a hairs-breadth of my ever precarious sanity. Smashed lamps, kamikaze fish and Aunt Irma, too.  Merry freaking Christmas!

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321 Responses

  1. And the bitter recriminations and accusations will flow on for years…oh joy. You have my sympathies for the fish and for what will follow.

    Plus side? I would think there’s enough humidity in the air for a fish to survive out of water for at least 24 hours, MM. You may yet find him gasping in the duplo.

    We had a horror free day but I do have my own shattered glass story to share at some point. *Shudder*.

    I will report in later.
    I just read the BOM warning for severe flooding. Apparently that system over Mackay & Gladstone is heading right for us.

    So I’m going out to do laps while we can still get there without needing a jet ski.

  2. Well, we’re back from the Wrestling Day sales with Miss Fish the Sequel a.k.a Violet… and a new tank with a lid that clicks shut firmly.

    Pray for us.

  3. When the Boss set up our fish tank, he lovingly built a sturdy wooden frame, and matching top with a hinged lid. (Why he didn’t whip up doors for the bedroom wardrobe at the same time is a complete mystery to me – a mystery I’m still swearing about.) He pimped out the tank with enough plants, castles, shells, bubble filters and rocks to keep any fish in luxury. He bought pellets, algae tablets and ph testers. Then he carefully selected a fish for each member of the family.

    About a month later, the middle kidlet announced that she could not find her fish, Bubbles. Sure enough, Bubbles was nowhere to be found. She couldn’t have jumped out of the tank, thanks to the heavy timber lid. She wasn’t hiding in the castle, or the hollow log. She wasn’t stuck in the filter a-la Nemo. She was just, well, not there any more.

    As this was obviously impossible, we concluded that Bubbles had discovered the secret to invisibility. Bubbles the Invisible Fish is the best pet we ever had.

    Ironically, the teen’s fish (Google) died two days after the Teen ran away. An Omen! I cried when I saw the fat black fishie floating upside down in the tank. The Boss cried when he tried to flush the corpse down the toilet and it got stuck – not surprising, really, as he had to unclog the thing and clean up the mess.

    No, he didn’t really cry. But he did swear a lot. Especially when he discovered that Google’s journey to the-place-where-good-fishies-go had been hindered by a handful of paving stones in the s-bend.

    Next time we get a bird.

    Correction. Next time we get a TOY bird. A battery powered one that won’t crap on the curtain rods.

    Actually, forget the pets. A Kenny Loggins CD would be much more fun:

    http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/

  4. While you’re over at hyperbole and a half, check out this post from Allie’s ‘Best Of’ list:

    http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/03/how-fish-almost-destroyed-my-childhood.html

    Oh, and did you know it’s Two Turtle Doves day? Great. Double the bird crap on the curtain rails. If anyone shows up with bloody turtle doves, I’m going to hide quietly behind the sofa until they go away.

  5. I think there’s a little fish trauma in everyone’s lives. If it’s not fish, it’s bloody guinea pigs. Guinea pigs NEVER die peacefully of natural causes. They’re always eaten by dogs, squeezed to death by over-eager kiddies, crushed under the corner of cages or rent into shreds by rapacious raptors.

    Actually, thinking about guinea pigs I’m feeling much better about the damn fish.

  6. http://www.dlea.com.au/christmas-pudding.html

    Can’t. Speak.
    Am on the couch, having eaten far too much whipped nougat coconut christmas pudding than is reasonable, and am only capable of watching box set DVDs.

  7. I know what you mean about those puddings, Quokka. I start to feel bloated after only four of them.

    Madam, re: guinea pigs – three words. Go Go Pets.

  8. Mmm… whipped nougat coconut christmas pudding.

    Unfortunately, the children like it, too. Still, it tastes just as good when you’re hiding in a cupboard.

    The Go-Go pet hasn’t seen the light of day since Elf Boy received a Dismember Me plush Zombie for Christmas. He dotes on every grey-green detachable piece of it, even clutching it when he sleeps.

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/geektoys/plush/ac4a/

  9. Merry whatevers, real people!
    You can keep the damned fish and scorpions! Shit… who are these strange ones you live with? But then, compared to a cat, they all make sense… apologies Catty.

  10. My strange ones are two boys, aged 9 and 6, Stafford. Aren’t they supposed to love creepy-crawly, ooey-gooey, mucky-yucky stuff?

    I’m not sure, having never been a small boy myself. In fact, for at least ten years of my young life I firmly believed that boys were the source of all contagion. Sure enough, if you get too close to a grown one, they CAN get you pregnant.

  11. No offense taken, Stafford. If I ever make sense, I’m not trying hard enough.

    Madam, are you implying that your boys are an infection caught through exposure to (or by) a germ-riddled gentleman? What a relief! I was worried that I was the only mother who thought like that. Fortunately, my kidlets fall into the ‘good bacteria’ category. Notice I didn’t mention the Teen….

  12. You and me both, Catty.

    I referred to my boys as “The Parasite” throughout both my pregnancies.

    Come to think of it, not much has changed.

  13. Could be worse, Madam. You could have had girls.

  14. Oh, I agree. I wouldn’t have known what to with a girl. All that pink, all those tantrums… from me, I mean. I hear girls can be tricky, too.

  15. It’s the merchandising that kills me. If Barbie is so bloody popular, why do I have to buy her friends?

  16. But Barbie doesn’t give me nightmares.
    Whereas those Bratz dolls belong in a Child’s Play sequel, where I’m sure they’d be wielding carving knives & stun guns.

  17. Is it just me, or do other mothers fear that those disembodied Bratz feet will sneak in during the night, and kick them to death?

  18. Luckily we don’t have any Bratz. We have Furbies instead. They don’t have shoes, but they do have eerie eyes like a ventriloquist’s dummy, and high-pitched, relentless little voice boxes that chatter on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, until you’d pour molten lead in your own ear just to make it stop.

    It’s been a long, wet holidays, so far.

  19. Still above the high tide mark there MM?
    We’ve been taking the dog for walkies by the water at high tide and here in Brisvegas it’s only just staying within it’s banks. Went out for a walk near the Bulimba ferry yesterday and saw a very happy white duck splashing about in the water where the ramp should be.

    The Bloke has disappeared to take his parents to lunch at Twin Towns (Is this the way to the country kitchen?) in lieu of Xmas. So I’ve got no excuse to spend 8 hours reclining on the sofa eating scorched peanuts and pistachio gelati whilst working our way through various DVDS/box sets.

    I love this time of year.
    Feel for the wet people though, have been listening to regional broadcasts on 612 ABC and FARK it sounds soggy and miserable over much of our mud strewn state.

  20. Mmm… pistachio gelati.

    It’s wet here. Very, very wet. I ventured into the chook yard just before – to refil their feeder and empty out the tarp that shelters their little chook bungalow – and sank ankle-deep into the chook slime. Chook slime is an odious and odiferous concoction of mud, chook poo, fermented laying mash and other vile unidentifiable manifestations. * Shudder *

    The children are half-crazed with confinement. We took them to one of those indoor playgrounds yesterday which would have qualified for inclusion in Dante’s purgatory if they’d had them in ancient Italia. The shrieks shattering off the grimy walls, the bone marrow quailing squeals, the pitter-patter of little feet multiplied by hundreds!

    If it keeps raining, we’ll probably go back tomorrow.

  21. It’s hot, dry and sunny here. I was dragged from my comfy chair halfway through Monty Python’s Holy Grail (and halfway through the choc-chip shortbread) to go to MiniGolf.

    When we got home, I was nagged into pruning the rose bushes in the front yard. The horror! All that fresh air…. sunshine…. being sociable to passing neighbours…. *shudder*

    Finally, I managed to sneak away on the pretext of bringing in the washing, and hid in the bedroom for a two hour nap. Heh, heh, heh, heh.

  22. Mini Golf?! I could have sworn that YOU swore that you’d never go to Mini Golf, Catty.

    See the depths of depravity that these wretched holidays have dragged us down to?

    Nice work on the nap, though. Mmmm… nap.

    We’ve been playing endless rounds of “Go Fish, Sucker”. It’s the same as “Go Fish”, but you have to sneer “Sucker” at the end if you don’t have the relevant card. The children made it up.

  23. I am SO stealing that. Sucker!

    Yes, you’re right. I’m not the Mini Golf type. And now all the family knows it. The Boss laughed so hard at my golfy ineptitude, I think he wet himself. Fortunately, the kidlets gave up on me by the second hole, and played on. So they missed my more embarrassing attempts.

    Today I’m taking the middle kidlet to the doctor. She developed a weird lump under the skin of her neck while playing outside. It’s growing rapidly – perhaps it’s an alien? Or maybe she ignored me when I said “Good night, don’t let the bedbugs bite, or burrow into your skull so they can lay their eggs in your brain,” as I tucked her in to bed.

    I’m pretty sure it’s not a vampire bite, as there are no marks or punctures in the skin above the lump – although there is an odd, painful sore about an inch away (it looks like an oil splatter burn blister).

    The Boss thinks it might be a spider bite, or a mutant chicken pock. The littlest kidlet thinks she’s growing an extra head. The oldest kidlet says she’s turning into a witch, and it’s a witchy wart. We have a book running – fancy a wager? Not a money wager, a chocolate one. So far, the pool stands at a freddo frog, two mini flakes, a strawberry cream, and a tin of scorched macadamias.

    Quokka would know what the lump is. I miss Quokka. You don’t think the Irish got her, do you?

  24. I’ll put five Bertie Beetles on a school sore. Which is ironic, considering, in the words of Alice Cooper, “School’s out for summer!”.

    I think Quokka might be on a sugar-high, or in a diabetic coma. She’s been steadily eating lollies since Christmas Eve. Either that, or she might have been swept away in flood-waters. Or perhaps a bull-shark escaped the river, swam up her storm water drain and gave her a severe mangling. Dear Dog, no! Quokka, talk to us! Squeeze my hand if you can hear me…

  25. I’m here.
    Just hanging out with Uncle Blokesy on his time off.
    And if I spend too much time at the computer he accuses me of being addicted to it.
    So shh….this facade isn’t easy to keep up.
    He’ll be in cairns next week, flood and cholera levels permitting, so all will be back to normal.

  26. Phew! You had us worried there for a bit, Quokka. A Bloke overdose isn’t nearly as dangerous as the dire perils we had imagined for you. We’re glad we won’t be seeing you as the innocent vicitm in a Darwin Awards classic.

    Madam, your Bertie Beetles are safe. The blistery lump was a sandfly bite. Kidlet had an allergic reaction, and it got infected. The lumps nearby are swollen glands, thanks to the infection getting into her blood stream. So nobody won the pool. Yay! I get my strawberry cream back! Hello darling. Did you miss me? Liiiiiiiiiiiiick! (again).

  27. Cairns, hey? I’d get him vaccinated for cholera and typhoid before he goes, and start him on the anti-malarials. Oh, and give him iodine tablets so he can decontaminate his drinking water. I’m assuming you’ll have ample supplies of all the necessary pharmaceuticals in your zombie onslaught preparedness kit, Quokka.

    We had a lovely trip into the hinterland today, to have lunch with friends at Obi-Obi. As far as the boys were concerned, it was going to be a dead loss – grown-ups sitting around yacking; only a 3 yr old and 18 mth old, both GIRLS to play with – until they found leeches. Happy as weasels? They were writhing with delight, scrambling around collecting as many leeches as they could. That was until the leeches got stuck in. A few twinges from their spiky mouthparts and they came running, screaming to be de-leeched. Happy days.

  28. What? You mean they DIDN’T attach the leeches to the girls? How uncharacteristically chivalrous of them!

    How are your plans for tomorrow night? We plan on staying in the pool until the cool change hits – there’s a top of 40ºC expected. That is, if the ducks let us in. One of the kidlets tried to go swimming today, and was unceremoniously chased away by a marauding horde of feathered fiends. It was not only undignified, it was hugely amusing.

    If I’m lucky, they’ll do it again tomorrow. Only this time, I’ll have the video camera with me. Australia’s Funniest Home Videos, here I come!

  29. Hehehe. Forecast is for hot and sunny conditions, with a high chance of marauding duck onslaught.

    My plans for New Year’s are simple, Catty. I’m going to polish off the Darrel Lea whipped nougat Christmas pudding and then retire early to bed with a book while my Mother forces everyone else to watch the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. I’ll probably by asleep by 9. I’m only up at midnight if one of the kids needs head injury obs.

    40 freaking degrees?! You’ll need to put ice cubes in there as well, I reckon. Happy New Year!

  30. Happy New Year indeed. The middle kidlet has awoken with chicken pox. She had them six years ago, so she should not have them again.

    The oldest kidlet also had them six years ago. He slept all afternoon yesterday, had a fever overnight, and has awoken with a sore throat. So he will probably have spots by this evening.

    The youngest kidlet had been immunised, and shouldn’t have ever got them.

    And I have three new pox – the first batch have pretty much healed up, so I don’t know if this is a relapse or a new infestation.

    I shall have to refer to this disease as Zombie Pox, as it should be dead and buried, but is instead shuffling it’s pustulent way through my family.

    Are poxy kidlets allowed in the pool? I shall have to investigate. I wonder if ducks can be pocked? I hope not. I don’t want them to get pocked. Um….. you know what I mean.

    I am a little bewildered, Madam. To ‘polish off’ the Darrell Lea nougat pudding – does that imply that you had already started it, and intend to finish it? Because I don’t understand how anyone can NOT eat the whole thing in one go. But your evening sounds marvellous. I think I shall join you. In spirit, that is – you wouldn’t enjoy it in person. I snore.

    Be kind to your boys. Military tattoo…. *ugh*

    Perhaps you can make it more interesting for them, by telling them the bagpipes are made of live cats. That will help minimise the whining that could ostensibly awaken you from your peaceful, nougatty slumber.

    And now, I shall go find the Boss. He went drinking last night, and I don’t know where he is. Serves me right for getting out the crock pot.

  31. Geez, Catty – this recurrent bout of chicken pox is the gift that just keeps giving, isn’t it?

    Maybe you can sell tickets: “Roll up and see the amazing blisters that never heal! Watch in horror as this tormented family reinfect one another with Perpetual Zombie Pox!! Touch no surfaces unless you want to be their next victim!!!”

    Makes me reconsider my $50-a-head investment in alleged chicken pox immunity. I remember being at the doctor’s, having forked out for the precious vial. The doctor drew the vaccine up into the syringe and Magic Man dived under the examining table and wouldn’t come out.
    Doctor “I can’t force him to have the injection.”
    Me “At 50 bucks, you damn well will. I’ll hold him down.”

    The Boss is probably asleep somewhere, with his head pillowed on a melting bag of party ice. Happy hunting!

  32. I have found the Boss. Correction, his dad found him, and dragged him home. Now he is asleep in the lounge room. He feels sick, and is convinced that he too has Zombie Pox. Maybe he does. But I think the carton of Coronas he drank last night might have something to do with it, too.

    How annoying. I like Corona, especially on a really hot day. It would have been nice if he’d kept me one. He says he did, but he can’t remember where he put it. I’m guessing he put it in his mouth. Pest.

    I paid the $50 for the littlest Kidlet’s vaccination, too. I want my money back.

    Hey, have you made any Zombie Cupcakes yet? I’m thinking of creating some Pox decorations for the next batch. Not today, though. If I turn the oven on in this heat, the kitchen will melt. Then everyone will think my interior decorator was Salvadore Dali – hey, that would be neat! Maybe I will bake, after all.

    Nah, bugger that. I’m going to go and buy cakes. Mmmmmm…. air conditioned shopping complex….

  33. Yeah, that Corona pox is a doozy. Does he have kebab-breath or tabbouleh in his pockets? Common side effects of Corona pox. He’ll show a marked tendency to siesta until he gets over it, too.

    Hmm, what could you use to make pox on a cupcake? They use pomegranate seeds for the vampire’s kiss ones, but they seem to run a bit…

    I’ve got it! Have you ever seen the green caviare inside a finger lime? Spots of lime green icing with a finger lime centre would look fantastic – then you’d really have zombie pox.

    We haven’t baked any zombie cupcakes yet because my kitchen is not my own until my parents go home… on Tuesday, I think. I pray it’s Tuesday. It can’t be Tuesday soon enough. Then we’re going to make the almost still-beating human heart ones. Did I mention how much I love that book? I really lurve that book.

  34. Hello all.
    Just checking in to say Happy New Year.
    And if you need any more leaches, they’ve set up residence under my hills hoist, and you are welcome to them all.

  35. The meringue ghosts were my fave, but only because I’m hopeless with toffee, and my glass shards caramelised. They looked more like wooden stakes. I had to do vampire coffins with chocolate icing, just so I didn’t waste the toffee.

    Yeah, I know – it wouldn’t have been wasted. Liiiiiiiiick!

  36. Oh, we’ve cross posted, Quokka. Your comment wasn’t there a minute ago. But your leech reference gives me a great idea – I could soak whole dates in pineapple syrup to make leeches, and decorate a lemon iced coconut slice with them! Mmmmm…. Leech squares….

  37. Mmm… toffee.

    I am in awe of the Day of the Dead cakes, but I don’t think I’m handy enough with an icing bag to give them a burl.

    Quokka! So glad that the bull sharks have spared you to us. I’ll let Magic Man and Elf Boy know about your leeches – they’ll be round like a shot. They haven’t even had the fun of sprinkling salt on one, yet. *Sigh* Ahh, to be young again and looking forward to dehydrating one’s first leech.

    Hmm. Do I sound a bit like Greybeard to anyone? Funny way to be ending 2010.

  38. I think this would look great on a family sized chocolate cake.

    There’s weird things happening at twitter with cross posts too. Bound to be zombies.

    Excusez moi, I think the bloke wants some company on the porch. He’s got a bet on that I can’t stay awake for the fireworks – the ones at 8.30pm.

    Yawn….

  39. We should get Havsy onto that family sized cake – seeing as he is a self proclaimed god of baked goods. One each should be enough.

    Enjoy your fireworks, Quokka. I’m stuck with three spotty kidlets (the oldest broke out in spots this afternoon, as predicted), and a hungover Boss. Joy, oh Joy, oh Joy.

    Maybe I’ll cheer them up with some Day of the Dead skulls. Or maybe I won’t. You’re right Madam, they do look hard. I think vodka in a bubble bath sounds much more sensible. Yes. Yes, that sounds like a plan. But I have no Tim Tams! Woe is me! Oh, well. This box of Lindt balls will just have to suffice. *sigh*

  40. Oh, dear. It looks like I’ll have to forgo the Lindt balls in favour of humble pie. The Boss DOES have chicken pox. Bugger.

    Well, that’s all of us now. 2011 is gonna be a good year for the Calamine lotion manufacturers.

  41. It COULD be zombies, or it could be aberrant wormholes making mockery of the space-time continuum.

    Scrub that last theory – it might mean my parents stay here forever. At least there’s a chance of dismemberment and brain eating, with zombies.

    It is a fab pattern, Quokka. It would look good on a onesie, for a baby, as well. Or as a bumper sticker on a mobility scooter.

    Chin up, Catty. He may be hungover AND have chicken pox. I’m sure you were right. Celebrate with a Lindt ball or two.

  42. I KNEW it was those bloody scientists, and their bloody bowling ball on the rubber sheet of reality. Bastards! But I didn’t know worms could chew holes in rubber sheets. Well, I’ve learned something new.

    I KNEW it was those bloody scientists, and their bloody bowling ball on the rubber sheet of reality. Bastards! But I didn’t know worms could chew holes in rubber sheets. Well, I’ve learned something new.

    I KNEW it was those bloody scientists, and their bloody bowling ball on…..

    (help, I’m stuck in a continuum loop!)

    But there’s a typo there, Madam. I’m sure you must have meant “a Lindt ball or two dozen”.

    Happy New year! As it says on my fridge, Let The Games Begin!

  43. “Boxes”. The word I carelessly omitted from that sentence was “boxes”, Catty. Get stuck in before your family come down with mumps or Lyme disease or kuru or something.

    The games have well and truly commenced here, I can assure you. The second fine-ish day we’ve had in months and Magic Man is hell-bent on revisiting Dante’s Pan-Demonium a.k.a Maze Mania. Still, never mind. If we hold out until this arvo it’ll probably be raining again.

  44. Ah, memories. One year, when I was a lad, the council forgot about our street, and the vacant lot next to our house became overgrown. The grass was almost two metres high, so we stomped it down in paths and made our own maze.

    Wonderful! For about a week, my mother couldn’t find me when she wanted to delegate any particularly odious servile labour. When she finally did discover my hidey-hole, she called the council. The maze was razed, and I returned to my enforced obsequiousness. *sigh*

  45. Nothing like long grass for childish fun, Catty: the blood-sucking ticks, the slumbering snakes, the concealed broken glass and used syringes. Happy memories indeed.

  46. And tadpoles. I loved tadpoles. I must have killed thousands of them.

  47. Speaking of killing tadpoles, Miss Fish II: the sequel has now lived with us for 6 days! That’s three times longer than Miss Fish I managed. Keep your fingers crossed, everyone, won’t you?

    • My fingers? Damn! And all this time I thought it was my legs.

  48. The great injustice of life is that your grandchildren will all build their own fish out of leggo and your own children will get to dodge the horror of the Underwater Pet Cemetery Fiascod.

    I think I’m developing bedsores from spending so much time on the couch.

  49. Wow, Quokka, those fish are amazing! But, although hugely impressed, I’m also convinced that some people have far too much time on their hands.

    That said, where can I get me one of those fishies?

    Tell you what, I’ll swap you some bedsore lotion for one.

    Oh, o.k. You got me. It IS only Calamine. Can I have the fishie anyway?

  50. Pawpaw ointment is great for bedsores. Of course, so is turning over from time to time or… deep breath, everyone… walking around a bit. Not that I’d really know from personal experience. I think I read it somewhere.

    I love those robot fish. With their dead-eyed, glassy stare it’s like they’re pre-dead. You couldn’t kill them! If they started floating upside down you could just change the batteries, turn them back over and start again – fabulous.

    I’d like to see how they handle unexpectedly landing in a bucket of Lego, though, before I committed to one.

    • ZOMBIE FISH! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!

      No, that wouldn’t work, would it.

      SWIM AWAY! SWIM AWAY!

  51. BTW, you know you’ve had too many rain days when your youngest announces, in the middle of your 6,213th game of Uno, that he wants to change his name to Nigel Picklebloom. Nigel Michael Chicken-chicken Picklebloom.

  52. “What’s your name, boy?”

    “Nigel Michael Chicken-chicken Picklebloom.”

    “How do you spell that?”

    “My mother helps me.”

  53. Hehehe.

    I think he’d be titled: The Honourable Nigel Michael Chicken-chicken Picklebloom. Or maybe His Grace, Nigel, Duke of Picklebloom.

    Sadly, though, the Picklebloom dynasty has come to an end. He reverted to his given name this afternoon. That’s the boring old name I gave him, I mean.

  54. What a pity. You could have bought him a title on eBay. Lord Nigel Michael Chicken-chicken Picklebloom has rather an aristocratic ring to it.

    I might ask for my own title for Christmas. Imagine: Countess Cat. Or is that taking it a little too far?

  55. You’d have to be a Countess, at least. Lady Catty is too close to ‘crazy cat lady’ for comfort.

    How about getting a big ring, and making everyone curtsey and kiss it? Then you could be Countess Catty Bling Ring.

    Excuse me, I may have spent too long in the bubble pool at the aquatic centre today.

  56. Actually, seeing as my existence bears more resemblance to a crazy cat lady’s than I care to mention, maybe Lady Catty would be more fitting.

    I thought of ‘Duchess’, but I think Disney already did that in Aristocats, and I’d probably get sued.

    Bubbles sound good, Madam. But the bathtub isn’t very appealing right now. The kidlets are in there, soaking in Pinetarsol, and it STINKS. Oh, well. Bubbles in a glass will have to suffice. With strawberries.

    Does that count as one of my five serves of fruit and veggies for the day? Silly me. Of course it does.

  57. hahaha Miss Fish and Magic Man…love the names!

    • You like those names? How does Nigel Michael Chicken-chicken Picklebloom grab you?

  58. I think its that time of the school holidays where the kiddies need to learn a few new songs.
    Have just suggested this one for JB, having popped in to twitter and noted that he’s eating pizza and opening the 4th bottle of champagne today.

  59. Here’s a good song. Be warned, the instrumental intro goes for a while before the lyrics start:

  60. Thanks so much, people.

    Elf Boy toddles into Grade 2 and is asked what he did on the holidays.
    Elf Boy: “I learnt a new song, Mrs. Whiteboard-Marker.”
    Mrs Wb-M: “Thats lovely, dear, why don’t you sing it for us all?”
    EB: “A wizard’s staff has a knob on the end, knob on the end, knob on the end. A wizard’s staff has a knob on the end – Eff you, I’m drunk!”
    Mrs Wb-M: “That’s enough, dear. Okay, everyone, heads down on the desk while I ring Social Services.”

  61. Oh, dear. Still, it’s got to be better than Hot Potato. ANYTHING is better than Hot Potato. Except possibly my father’s version of The Ashgrove.

    Now. I am hungry. Bring forth the Birthday Cake.

  62. did someone say cake?

  63. Yes. It is a mudcake from Michel’s Patisserie. The Boss paid an exorbitant amount of money for it. And I have eaten an exorbitant amount OF it.

  64. Did somebody say BIRTHDAY cake? Happy Birthday, Catty! Your avatar doesn’t look a day over 6.

    Or is it just a remaindered cake you’ve appropriated for your own noms?

  65. Thank you, Madam. It IS a happy birthday. I have cake. I have presents. I have a peppercorn chicken dinner, cooked by the Boss. I have kidlets to do the washing up. Happy, happy, joy, joy!

    In cat years, I would be … uh … about four? In people years, I am now 29…. ish. Again.

    I am getting very good at being 29ish. I have done it many, many times.

  66. Mmm… peppercorn chicken sounds good. Green peppercorns? I’m assuming it’s not cooked in a crock-pot, or the Boss wouldn’t be there.

    Happy 29th, spring chicken. Soon I’ll be 43 and you’ll have to email me at Shady Pines Retirement Hovel.

    I got a statistical breakdown thingo from the WordPress geeks. They reckon this blog was viewed about 13,000 times last year. People, we have to get lives!

  67. Happy birthday Catty.
    Have a great day.
    Mudcake and peppercorn chicken sounds awesome.

    Holy snapping duckshit,MM, the Bloke is right, I do have a problem. Trouble being it’s a fun problem.

    Um, nothing to report here.
    We’re still on the box set DVD marathon, and I’ve been steadily consuming darrell lea chocolate coated peanut brittle and today a rather large filling came out of a molar, no doubt loosened by the steady afray with the brittle.

    Perhaps I should stick to soft centres this year?

    Party on, Ms. Catty.

  68. Thank you, Quokka. I shall. And if you don’t want those peanut brittle fingers, Madam and I will be happy to polish them off for you.

    Madam Morgana, one should never admit to any age with a 4 followed by a 3. One should instead cling firmly to the belief that they are, oh, say, 29… ish?

    So if I’m 29ish, and you’re 29ish, then I guess we’re the same age. Which means there is to be no more talk of retirement villages, thank you. Gracious, next you’ll be suggesting lawn bowls!

    And I’m positive we didn’t manage all those 13000 views ourselves – surely it was your legion of silent, adoring fans? That’s my theory, anyway.

  69. I’m not sure which theory is more disquieting – cyber-addiction or a legion of silent lurkers. Drop us a line and say hi, silent lurkers. We won’t bite unless you’re dipped in chocolate.

    Oh bad luck, Quokka – hope it’s not too sore. I’d hate to think of you being eternally deprived of all that brittley goodness, though. How about putting the peanut britttle fingers in a ziploc bag, crushing them with a rolling pin and then licking up the dust? Failing that, forward them to Catty or myself. We’ll make sure they go to a good home.

    Well, Catty – you don’t want to try lawn bowls and I don’t want to Zumba. Nordic pole walking?

  70. I was thinking more along the lines of a walking holiday, in the USA. Do you think you could handle a leisurely stroll down Rodeo Drive? We’d stop at lots of shops for a little rest, I promise.

  71. Gee, Catty, I dunno. I mean, they’ve got handbags there, so that’s good… but how are they situated for diners, greasy spoons, fast food joints and the like?

    All that shopping burns up lots of calories. We’ll need to refuel.

  72. Absolutely. My sister’s been there – she sent me back some peanut butter M&M’s, as well as almond ones, and a bag of ‘candy’ lego pieces (that we had heaps of fun with, before we ate them). So I’m sure we’ll find something satisfactory. If not, we’ll just stuff those handbags with Krispy Kremes, yeah?

  73. Mmm… donuts. Do they have those caramel-filled ones with the caramel icing on top?

    Funny thing, when I typed that last sentence my teeth started to ache…

    Okay, Catty, we’re on for Rodeo Drive. Why do I keep thinking of “Pretty Woman” whenever I read that address? If they try and bounce you out of any boutiques I’ll put them in their place, don’t you worry.

  74. That’s o.k. I tart up all right when I make the effort. I won a glamour photography shoot once, and when when everyone saw the photos, they all said “that doesn’t look like you”. Apparently I haven’t been making the effort often enough.

    Yes, Krispy Kreme does have the caramel donuts. They also have a gorgeous chocolate ‘devils food’ one with glaze icing. And there are the kreme filled ones with chocolate icing – a bit like a profiterole, only bigger. And better. Then there’s the strawberry iced ones, and the cheesecake filled ones. And the ones with blueberries. And…

    Funny, that. My teeth are aching, too.

  75. So long as my dentist isn’t one of your stalkers – or mine – all is good. My holy molar just got bigger from clicking on the screen, I think.
    Rang the dentist to book myself in for repairs and they clicked on my file and insisted I’d never had a filling in the tooth with the hole in it. And suggested that if the crunchy thing I found in the chicken balti yesterday looked like tooth then perhaps I’d cracked a tooth.

    So there you go, it’s official, my dentist has just diagnosed dementia.
    Visit me in the psyche ward.

    And I’ve discovered a solution to the peanut brittle quandary – it’s called pralines & cream ice-cream from the new gelateria down at south bank. YUM!

    How’s those children, people?
    Got them locked up under the stairs and refusing to let them out until they’ve read all 7 chronicles of Harry Potter and can pass a pop quiz of your devising yet?

  76. I’m not sick of the kidlets yet. The Boss is on holidays, and he is forcing them to help him build the shed. Yay! No kidlets underfoot, AND the shed is half up!

    Quokka, if your dentist doesn’t remember the filling, isn’t HE the one with dementia?

    Incidentally, praline is made out of the same toffee as peanut brittle. So if you crush up your remaining brittle fingers, and mix them through a tub of Cadbury vanilla ice cream, you will save yourself a trip to the gelateria – and a trip to the dentist. Just as well. I hear he’s losing his mind.

  77. Maybe the poor dentist is just looking down the barrel of week 4 of the school holidays, himself.

    Quokka, if I had a cupboard under the stairs, I’d consider your thoughtful suggestion. No, actually, the kids aren’t so bad… it’s nice that Mum and Dad have gone home now, though. Oops, that sounded a bit mean. I’m just not used to living with them anymore! We’ve reached that reverse cycle of life stage where they come to stay, make a big mess, eat all my food and disrupt our routines – they’re like crotchety, grey, wrinkled teenagers.

    Catty, congratulations on the shed. Now, didn’t the wardrobe in the bedroom need something doing? Nah, scratch that – you don’t want them inside, under foot. Great tip on the icecream, thanks, which I shall apply forthwith. Our stupid gelati shop uses seasonal fruit in the gelati.

    Fruit – hah! Give me chocolate-coated peanut brittle anyday…. Hmm, scurvy causes tooth loss, and lack of fruit causes vitamin C deficiency. Do you think a chocolate orange would help?

  78. Leftover peanut brittle in this house?
    Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha…snort…not a chance in hell, Catty.

    Congratulations on the shed.
    I managed to shoo the Bloke out of doors and we got quite a bit done around the garden. Fence repaired, pool hose replaced, general tidy up…can’t compete with Monster Yuppy’s three trips to the Nudgee tip, although we’ve probably still got enough crap stored under the house to justify that…still, we got a bit done.
    And then we sat on the couch and watched DVDs.

    Watching DVDs is endlessly good entertainment as invariably one of us insists that we’ve never, ever, ever seen such and such a movie. So yesterday we watched ‘Down With Love’ for the third time and the bloke cackled at all the same lines that he did the last two times because he’s convinced he’s never seen it.

    The interesting thing about our developing dementia is that by the time we hit 80 we’ll have such totally different recollections of our experiences that nobody anywhere will ever believe that we hooked up at the tender ages of 23 & 25.

    MM…must introduce you to the local pizza place around here, which does lemon gelati balls encased in white chocolate, tartufo style.

  79. Mmm… lemon tartufo. Is the pizza any good? Perhaps this is a viable alternative to Ahmet’s for our next get-together. If I get to drop in at King Ahrim’s for a second course dessert of baclava, that is.

    Alzheimer’s can be a blessing. In a few years, when I re-read Janet Evanovich for the umpteenth time it’ll all be new to me. It’s important not to forget those on whom you’ve vowed eternal revenge, though. I keep a notebook up-to-date for that.

    I had to replace the lamp in the lounge room after it went for a Burton on Christmas day… does that count as a home improvement?

  80. I made my bed. Sort of. That’s about it for my home improvements today. Unless you count cleaning up the last of the sponge cake.

  81. Made your bed? Catty, you’re a domestic over-achiever.

    I took Magic Man fishing today. Four hours on Chamber’s Island and all he got was chased by a bull shark when he dived in after his hat. He was as happy as a weasel. Magic Man, that is. I’m not party to the bull shark’s feelings.

  82. Bull shark? Only one?
    don’t those things like to hang out in packs and pick on whatever goes by?
    Yikes. Magic Man is lucky he’s not in a hospital bed next to Zsa Zsa comparing prosthetic limbs.

    A friend of mine goes sailing in Moreton bay & late last year she and her husband were just off one of the islands (Green or Peel, I forget) when they noticed something feeding on a rather large and dead turtle. It was a 5m shark. They think it was a great white. They were quite close to shore & she reckons they won’t be diving in off the side of the boat after that one.

    Um, re: pizza -I wouldn’t eat in.
    Come to think of it, I don’t think Neo is open for lunch.
    We only ever do takeaway and I usually get in before dusk when the Undead emerge from their crypts and start looking for dirty needles and spare change to offer their dealers. Neo is opposite the local meth clinic, and sits beside the nightowl, the TAB, the bottlo, and the laundromat…need I paint a picture of what happens down there after dark or is that combination enough?

    I’ve been meaning to check when various restaurants start back in January. There’s a few places in Oxford Street (bulimba) that do pizza, as an alternative to Ahmets, and there’s always the Ouzeri, by the lizard in West End. We had an awesome mezzes platter there one night before Xmas. I know JB got the burgers excited about a trip to the Ouzeri a while ago & then discovered too late it was closed so I’d have to check on that one. I’ll try to hunt out the menu.

    When do you think you’ll be in town, MM?

    Catty, I made my bed properly for the first time in about 2 weeks. Then I did all the other crap I’d been ignoring. Must say I prefer feet up in front of the telly. Oh, and I checked my email & saw your Xmas wishes – thanks muchly – but gmail in it’s infinite capriciousness wouldn’t let me respond. Then it wouldn’t let me load the SMH news site and then it started beeping like a dalek.

    Maybe I should call Janet’s computer geek and remind him about the goblin infestation in the IMAC…

    The sofa is calling my name…

  83. http://www.yourrestaurants.com.au/guide/ouzeri/
    Surprise, google doesn’t like me so can’t find a menu but here’s some user reviews.

    One of those lurking techno types might have better luck finding the menu/website than me.

  84. Magic Man did get a graze on his leg but I think that was from the concrete pylon, more than the shark. I appreciate your horror – even Elf Boy was worried. “Tell him he must never go fishing without a string on his hat to keep it on, Mumma.” he proclaimed, with a very serious look on his little face. MM was having flashbacks last night and I tried to calm him by saying, “Settle down, sweetheart. At least it wasn’t a great white.” He rolled his eyes and said “Bull sharks are worse than great whites – they like the taste of human flesh. Great whites think you’re vile and spit you out.”

    Oh. Lucky I didn’t know that yesterday on Chamber’s.

    I should be back in the Big Smoke towards the end on January. Any day better for you city folk?

    I certainly don’t need pizza for lunch, you just swayed me with your siren’s talk of tartufo. Strangely I can’t find an Ouzeri menu either… Ahmet’s, anyone?

    Hoping for a quieter day, today. No-one’s allowed near any body of water larger than the dog’s bowl.

  85. Why, oh why, doesn’t somebody tell the Japanese that sharks are part of the whale family? I don’t think they are, but I’m sure the Japanese would be keen to do some scientific research. The first thing they would discover is that flake is much, much yummier than minky. And the great whites would probably discover that Japanese scientists are much, much yummier than tourists. Swallow, whitey, swallow!

  86. What the Japanese whaling ships really need is a close encounter with the Kraken, minus Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom to rescue them.

    Your boy has an impressive knowledge of sharks, MM.
    Every time I mutter about wanting to move to Perth someone cries ‘Sharks!’ and I try to point out that we’ve probably got more sharks, of the aggressive We Will Eat You For Fun variety, right here in Moreton bay and our stretch of coastline than they’ve got out there off WA.

    I don’t think I’d be doing the 20km swim to Rottnest every year given that they do have tiger sharks, great whites etc swimming about over there, but so long as you stay out of the water at feeding time they aren’t likely to hassle you.

    Funny about the shark paranoia, given you’ve got a better chance of being maimed or killed in a car accident or – lately – in flood waters. I think 10 people have died since November here in Qld flood waters & I thought that figure was 40 for the last year. Amazes me that people still choose to drive through flood waters and ignore the ‘Road Closed’ signs. I reckon they should replace all the ‘Road Flooded Do Not Cross’ signs with a giant picture of a shark biting a human and say ‘Sharks sighted here’ and I bet you nobody would be willing to get so much as a toe or a tyre wet.

    MM, you work out a date & we can work around it.
    Ahmet’s is lovely and as it’s near the cinemas if there’s something good on we can all slink off to the movies after lunch. Surely your kids will be sick of the sight of you by the end of January, or have I got that one backwards?

  87. Hehehe. Krakken. I wonder if grilled Krakken tentacles would taste good? You’d have to marinate them for a while, I reckon.

    You think he’s good on sharks, you should hear him on ants. Last night he told that Havester ants grow their own wheat and bake their own bread. They don’t even have those bench-top machines to do it in!

    Mmm… slink off to the movies after lunch.

    I think the tiring of one another is mutual, Quokka, although I have the edge. The alternative to hanging with me is going back to school.

  88. There’s always Christian youth camp.

  89. Christian Youth Camp, school. Christian Youth Camp, school. Gee, that’s a tough one.

  90. Hehehe. Christian Youth Camp. Magic Man might be alright, until they got to Genesis. I told you that in Grade 2 his RE teacher said “Who was the first man?” and MM replied “Homo erectus!” didn’t I?

    If Elf Boy tried to walk through the doors of CYC, the ground would shake, there’d be a strong stench of brimstone and the Horsemen of the Apocalypse would saddle up. I love him dearly, but he ain’t holy.

  91. Oh, Christian Youth Camp would do him the world of good. All that wholesome living, all that caring and sharing, all those lovely sing-songs around the environmentally correct campfire…

    Just tell him not to drink the (Holy) water. It burns! It burns!

  92. I can just imagine the Christian Youth Campers around the campfire:

    “See how the marshmallows crisp and melt and then burst into flames, dripping molten, gooey rivers of regret onto the hot coals, children? That’s what happens to a sinner’s soul in Hell!”

    “Yay!”

  93. Atheism in the young is never a problem, there’s nothing more that Christians love than having a young soul to draw into the light.

    I still have all those GD fracking songs stuck in my head, on a loop, too.

    There’s always music camp and swim camp.
    Ducked down to the pool at Somerville the other day and as usual there was a line up of yummy mummies unloading their children for swim stroke improvement. The kids all looked surly and half asleep and the mums all looked like they were off for a day of cocktails at the races.

  94. We had one of those mums in our playgroup. The rest of us were mostly dressed in trakky daks and hyped up on Prozac. But far from intimidating us, she turned out to be one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. Sadly, I think she was more exception than rule.

  95. Mmm… Prozac.

    I couldn’t be bothered going to the races but as another wet week drizzles on I could murder a cocktail. Who’s for a Russian Slushie? I’ll just blend a bottle of Stolichnaya with a tub of pink grapefruit sorbet and serve.

    Sadly, I’m all out of cocktail umbrellas. I think the faeries took them, for obvious reasons.

  96. Ah, MM, that’s what I meant to say.
    Ahmets at Bulimba does lovely cocktails.
    You definitely don’t want to drive home afterwards.

    Meh.
    So far today I’ve been cracked back together by the osteopath, eaten a KFC fillet burger for lunch, discovered dog vomit all over the living room furniture, and sat on my glasses and broken the stem. Which means that harry potter will have to continue his adventures without me as my computer reading glasses don’t cut it as book reading glasses.

    I think its time to write this day off as a dead loss of bad decisions & go watch a few episodes of Inspector Rex.

    Catty, I think the term that’s been coined for that kind of mother was based on the Brittney Spears look and its called ‘Slummy Mummy’.

    Not that it applies to anyone here, of course.
    But if it does, can somebody pass the vodka?

  97. Here you are, Quokka. I had to garnish it with a gherkin and a cocktail onion because I ran out of maraschino cherries.

    Yeah, I’d reckon I’m slummy. Certainly not yummy, unless someone drips syrup all over me.

    Mmm… cocktails. Did I mention I was all in favour of Ahmet’s? Because I’m all in favour of Ahmet’s. Stuff the tartufo.

  98. I tried dribbling syrup all over myself once. A word to the wise: Never use syrup on satin sheets, never EVER add whipped cream if you have a pillow topped mattress, and always ask your playmate what their preferred flavour is BEFORE emptying the whole bottle on yourself.

    Actually, scratch that. A word to the wise isn’t necessary. It’s us stupid ones who need the advice. *blushes sheepishly*

    Now. Pass me the Stoli’s. Hold the onion. Hold the grapefruit. Hold the glass – just tip it straight in. Hey, where did we put that dwarf we hired for this?

  99. I thought we were giving up dwarf shots for the New Year, Catty. Here, try slurping Stoli from the navel of this pliable Columbian youth. His name is Alejandro but you can call him Al – it’s hard to make that huffing ‘h’ sound out of a Spanish ‘j’ with your mouth full of vodka.

  100. Havock’s only 5″6.
    That being so, why do we need a dwarf?

  101. A good idea in theory, but Havsy’s notoriously unreliable. Knowing him, he’d skive off with the vodka, cheeky bugger.

  102. Do we REALLY want to slurp vodka out of Havsy’s navel, ladies?

    At least we know where Alejandro’s been… chained up in my shed, next to the chook food.

  103. PS: As I just blathered over at Catty’s, how about the first weekend in February for the Ahmet’s lunch? Then we can catch Mayhem before she buggers off to Melbourne.

  104. Re: Havsy’s navel – If I were single, I’d go there. He has a sort of… je ne sais quoi. But Al sounds nice, too. Next to the chook food, you say? So he’s used to being hen pecked then. Good-oh.

    And hurry up with your lunch scheduling. I’m getting antsy about being left out. Again. Bah humbug.

  105. There’s always a certain magnetism about a man who would have no difficulty killing you with his bare hands. Or so I’ve heard. Not that I have any personal experience of dark, dangerous men, you understand.

    Hen-pecked. Hehehe.

    Don’t worry, Catty, you wouldn’t have liked lunch at Ahmet’s anyway. Eaten one baclava dipped in a cocktail, you’ve eaten them all.

    (Psst, Quokka – better not mention the movie afterwards)

  106. Movie? Movie? Did someone say Movie? That’s it. I’m going for a bubble bath, and I’m taking my Stoli’s with me. O.k, it’s Madam’s Stoli’s, but she won’t be needing it at the Movies… did I say Bah Humbug already?

  107. If it makes you feel better, Catty, I’ve got a summer cold. Either that or I’ve developed an allergy to the mould which is growing on… well, everything really, with all this rain.

    And guess what? It’s raining again. Just as well it’s not raining men. Men tend to clog the gutters.

  108. I’ve got a useful one that unclogs them.
    And if he could only manage to get the FKN marsh frog choir out of them, along with the leaves, I’d be a happy and well rested woman.

    Rain. Frogs. Swamp on a hill. Leaches.
    I’m off to look for the EXIT sign. There’s got to be one around here somewhere.

    Oh, and Mayhem’s finally making the move? Good one.
    Twitter is being an absolute shitter these last few days.
    Its doing that thing it does where it’s not showing people’s posts until hours after they’ve tweeted, so impossible to make sense of any conversations much less join in.

    Still waiting for the technerd to phone me back and arrange to fix the computer and it’s glitches.

    BTW ladies I went off to the icecream shop in West End today to sate my gelati lust & came home with a tub of lemon sorbet & raspberry/rose water sorbet. YUM!

  109. The Boss cleaned out our gutters yesterday. It was 34ºC, and he got heatstroke. So he had to have many, many beers to rehydrate himself, poor dear.

    I never bother with computer geeks – hitting the computer and swearing works just as well, and there are no callout fees involved.

    You could always move to Melbourne, Quokka. No frogs. I miss frogs. And paw paws. And brunch. *Sigh*. Have some baklava for me, yeah? Tell you what, I’ll send up a photo, and you can prop it up in front of a long black and the biggest, chocolatey-est thing on the menu. That way, I’ll be there in spirit. Physically, however, I will be sulking in a corner with Tim Tams and biting anyone who comes near.

  110. Mmm… raspberry Turkish delight sorbet.

    A long black, Catty? Surely you’d prefer the vodka-est cocktail they’ve got on the drinks menu? Tell you what, I’ll go ahead and order one for you. And, to make it look like your photo is really enjoying itself, I’ll take sips of it until it’s all gone, too. No, don’t thank me. That’s the kind of friend I am.

    Quokka, how about if you sprinkle blood on the marsh frogs, thereby encouraging the leeches to attack them? No, not your own blood – the local butcher should be able to oblige. If you see any scrub turkeys, sprinkle them too.

    I bet you don’t miss scrub turkeys, Catty.

  111. When it comes to sacrifices you can’t beat humans and there’s always the Irish next door. After their plaintive calls home to Mam earlier in the week begging for money to pay this month’s rent, suddenly they had sufficient funds to return to their Big Nights Out. They’re probably dumb enough to post news of all their fun on facebook so hopefully Mam is computer savvy and will figure out she’s been grifted.

    The owls, the blue crane, and the crows have all been busy pecking off the marsh frogs, but from the chorus in the valley, conditions are just ideal for breeding so I think the birds just can’t keep up. My osteopath lives out near that foresty bit of Carina/Camp Hill and he said that the frogs have been driving them nuts out there, too. I checked with Chaz if they’ve got frogs in Perth and he said no but grumbled about the noise that the possums make.

    Possums? Pssht. We have a bunch of them that nest in the lilly pillies alongside the west of the house and I don’t mind the little critters. They do like to sit on the electrical wires connecting to the house & they get into the golden cane by the porch and exchange insults with the cats but as the cat max mesh keeps them out, that gets dull after a while. Generally they trundle off about 9pm to find more interactive entertainment. If it comes to a choice between A. Frogs, brush turkeys, crickets, backpackers and possums and B. Possums & the town that’s still stuck in 1974, thanks, I’ll take Door Number 2.

    Not getting much rain here in Brisbane, MM, just life sucking humidity.

    Not that I’m envying Melbourne conditions.
    I don’t think I could cope with 4 seasons in one day, Catty, and its a never ending source of wonder that so many Melbourne people can and do.

    I’m not sure there is anything chocolatey on the menu at Ahmets. I think they do a mixed platter of desserts to share (Greybeard’s ears will start burning as I write this, just wait, he’ll be here any moment) so will that do?

    If Mayhem is moving to Melbourne then you two will be able to catch up regularly, and I’m sure she’ll shoo a few of the CBG boys out from under their rocks and away from their X boxes and into the cafes. So that might make up for some of the social deprivations here in Brisbane.

    Hmm…was that the right turn of phrase there?
    Fark it’s humid.
    I’m melting.
    As usual, I’ll be back to check up on you when it’s safe to leave the air con. The breezeway where I’ve got my computer nook is a nasty stifling little place to be when there’s no actual breezes. I’d forgotten about the stillness and humidity of the wet season when I designed that. Oh well.

    So what’s happening today, ladies?
    I’m guessing Catty, you’re hiding from the heat, and Madame, what’s on today’s agenda? Maze Mania or fishing with the sharks?
    Looks soggy up your way. I can hear the cursing from here.

  112. It sure is soggy, Quokka. Particularly in my bedroom carpet, around where I foolishly left my window open overnight. With the low temps and saturated humidity, I reckon it’ll be dry come March.

    In honour of my cold, we’re doing nothing today. Magic Man and Elf Boy will be at each others’ throats before 9. Oh, if only we had a backyard full of leeches for entertainment! Could you be a dear and pop some in a Postpack for me, please?

    I want to make some zombie cupcakes for Magic Man’s birthday:

    http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/504571/lily-vanilli-s-blood-stained-brain-cupcakes

    The brains look good but I’m too lazy to make cherry syrup. Do you think I could use raspberry topping, if I strained out the pips? Or maybe leave the pips in and say it’s Alzheimer’s brains. That would work well if the cakes didn’t rise…

  113. Madam, you can get writing gels in the baking section at Coles. The red one would be perfect for this project. Or if you would prefer something that actually tastes like food, try a tube of Cottee’s Writing Jam (available next to the jam jars).

    It’s not quite as hot today, Quokka, thanks to a few overnight rainstorms. I don’t know about the forecast for this afternoon, but as you say, this stupid city has four seasons in one day, so it will either be snowing, or cooking. My plans involve cleaning, mending and sorting the kids’ uniforms for school – the FKN wardrobe fairy has been in there, peed on everything, and stolen several buttons. Plus, she’s cut holes in all the jacket sleeves, tightened the waistbands on all the shorts, and shortened all the long sleeves on the winter polos.

    I HATE that bitch. If I ever find her, I’m going to stuff my entire mending pile down her throat.

  114. Writing jam? What a fabulous idea that until now I’ve never heard of – thanks, Catty.

    Speaking of school uniforms, Big W don’t seem to be stocking Stubbies school shorts anymore. What’s with that? Those things are indestructible, I love them. Now I’ll have to buy some stupid homebrand that will probably dissolve after a few washes. Bite me, Big W.

    Do your kids have those special school polos that allegedly have Teflon in them to reduce staining? We do, and they suck up stains like a paper towel that’s been on the wagon for months. They’re remarkably resistant to washing, too, so even if you soak them in a concentration of Napisan so strong you could stand a spoon up in it, they stay as grubby as if the kiddies have been frolicking through a garbage dump.

    I hate school uniforms. Don’t even get me started on school lunches.

  115. Oh, yes. We have those shorts at the school’s uniform shop. I can’t afford them. I’ve just been to Target, thanks to the stinking wardrobe faerie having hidden the oldest kidlet’s shorts. I’ve searched EVERYWHERE. (Rotten bitch. I hate her SO MUCH!). Target’s $15 Stubbies are marked down. They have two styles, one marked down to $10, the other marked down to $8.

    Guess which style I bought?

  116. Hello, $8 shorts. Guess who’s off to Target tomorrow? Thanks for the hot shopping tip, Catty.

    Well, the backyard is so flooded that the frog pond is confluent with a huge puddle that stretches to the base of the slide. The chooks have spent most of the day perched on top of the feeder, looking at me balefully as though I made it rain. The kids are fashioning snorkels out of Blutac and bamboo. If you don’t hear from me again, send the police divers.

    Actually, send police divers anyway. Those wetsuits are a bit like gift-wrapping, aren’t they?

  117. Don’t put off the trip to Target too long. The sale ends Wednesday. And although they had plenty of Stubbies, but you know how it is – they’ll be sold out of the one size that you want.

    Also, KMart has school shoes for $8. Again, don’t put it off too long, as those things sell out really fast.

    With prices like these, you should have enough left over for some heavy duty scissors. You know, the ones that can cut through neoprene wetsuits.

    Mmmmm… late Christmas presents… wrapped in neoprene…

  118. Scissors, you say? I thought I might use my teeth, but you make a good point – scissors would be faster.

    Catty, was it you who was telling me that Kmart had been taken over by Bunnings, or did I dream it? I must say, I didn’t notice much difference last time I was there. And, unlike Bunnnings, I was able to find assistance swiftly without trudging from one end of the store to the other.

  119. It was me that mentioned the Bunnings takeover. There isn’t a great deal of change, except that instead of 20 different brands of crap per shelf, they have about 5 different brands of crap – in bulk. You will see this most noticeably in the underwear department, where an entire rack will be filled with a single brand of underwear, all the same colours, all in packs of three, all the same price. They still, however, refuse to put price tags on the Bonds undies. This is because anyone who sees the price will refuse to buy the bloody things. Eighteen bucks for a pair of ugly cotton knickers? You must be bloody joking!

  120. Really? That’s insane. I could buy a whole outfit for $18 and get change… thanks, Lifeline. We’re a commando family so I haven’t been impacted by the cost of pants. Are they any better than the no-name chinese grundies, or are you just paying $15.50 so the elastic strip with “Bonds” on it can peek out over the top of your strides?

    All in all, a reduction in choice is a good thing, I reckon. I get confused enough in shopping centres as it is.

    Hey, Catty – I was trawling through Etsy yesterday and spied this little treasure, which made me think of you:

    http://tinyurl.com/24ueub4

    Other than the despicable faery theme, where do we start – and then where do we stop – picking apart this jaw-droppingly awful car-crash of a creation?

    For the love of humanity, why the cupcakes?

  121. Cupcakes? A clue! They’re faerie cakes! Perhaps if I scatter a few poisoned faerie cakes around, the faeries will eat them and die! Yay! Dead faerie bodies to jump up and down on!

    And now, the obvious place to start trashing would be the price. $65 US? The woman is obviously on drugs. You can tell by her name. Mary Polkadothill? Seriously?

    You’re right about Bonds. Now that they’ve moved their factories offshore, they ARE cheap Chinese grundies. There’s a pair on my mending pile at the moment, thanks to the fancy Bonds waistband separating from the crap knit shorts during the second wash. I’d toss them, but I paid $5 (from a heavily discounted throw-out table), and the oldest kidlet was stoked to have a pair of brand name reggies for once – he’d never forgive me.

    You’re also right about $18 buying a whole outfit. We, too, are guided in our sartorial preferences by whatever other people have donated to the local op-shops. That $18 would go a looooong way! It’s not just clothes, either. Last week, I bought the middle kidlet a Barbie bus for $1 – those things are worth over $100, and she hasn’t looked at another toy since. (So much for all those fancy Christmas presents. *sigh*). Sure, some of the smaller accessories are missing, but the party lights and music on the pool still work. Yes, that’s right. A pool. It folds down from the side of the bus. What were the designers thinking? I’ve said it before, some people have too much time on their hands.

  122. I’ll send you down a few of the brain cakes, Catty. Would you like them pre-poisoned or would you prefer to contaminate them yourself?

    I never wanted Ken, but by crikey I wish I had a life-size version of that Barbie bus.

    Still, my whole backyard has turned into a pool, so I’ve got that, I suppose. If the water level comes up another three inches Elf Boy will also have an indoor pool… where his room used to be! Not to worry, the boys’ fort is up on stumps, we can stay there for a while. We’ve been going mental with three bedrooms at our disposal, it should be interesting to see how we go in two square metres.

  123. Catty, maybe they can throw Barbie under the bus and call the game ‘roadkill’.

    Meanwhile, I can tell you what the manufacturers were thinking, they were thinking that the girls of Australia should all grow up expecting to have their own pink barbie bus with a fold down pool by the time they’re gainfully employed and your $1 barbie bus is part of the Great Consumer Addiction plan that marketing uses to convince us from an early age that we need lots and lots of expensive THINGS.

    From what I saw in my house in the October school holidays, they’re marketing plan is working brilliantly.

    Oh, slush, MM.
    Casa Quokka is essentially a waterfall but at least I’m not in the woeful position of being on flat ground near sea level. I’m betting the rain is here till St. Patrick’s Day, too.

    Well, I’m continuing my program of new year’s repairs.
    Today I’m off to get my glasses fixed, and then to the dentist. The Bloke is off to Cairns for three days so if I can muster up the motivation, I might make the most of his absence to start spring cleaning the kitchen.

    Big Fun.
    Its a bad habit that Dad started when I was a child and the rain started after Xmas day leading me to say ‘I’m bored, there’s nothing to do.’

    Being stupid enough to make that mistake every time a low pressure system blew in during January, I’m now firmly conditioned to believe that the best way to cope with prolonged slush is to pull all the tupperware out of the pantry, evict the weavils, and scour the stains off the shelves.

    So, what’s this date for Ahmet’s, you think?

  124. Funny you should mention fixing glasses, Quokka – we just got back from the optometrists, Elf Boy having popped a lens through sheer excitement when ‘Dex Hamilton’ came on ABC3.

    Re Ahmet’s: I’m thinking first weekend in February, how does that strike everyone? I’m assuming any day will suit the cardboard-cut-out-cocktail-swilling effigy of Catty.

    Well, you’re a better woman than me, Quokka. Instead of cleaning out the Tupperware cupboard I’m taking a trashy book to the recliner. Oh, and there may be potato chips.

  125. Chips? Did someone say chips? Pass the salsa!

  126. I haven’t got any salsa but I could whip up some guacomole. I find that the healthy fats in the avocado make an interesting contrast with the toxic saturated fats in the chips.

    And avocado’s a vegetable, right?

    Nutrition: I’m all over it.

  127. I got distracted by some messy business in the garden – plugging up soggy holes near my bedroom windo which have become the equivalent of Make Out Point for our local frog population. Three sacks of rocks from Bunnings later… and hopefully when Froggy turns up to woo the frogchicks tonite, he’ll be in for an unpleasant and gritty surprise.

    Well, I’ve been to the dentist who can find nothing wrong with my teeth, so as I found the bit of what looked to be tooth in one of my home made curries, loaded with toovar and lentils, he says it must be a chunk of someone else’s tooth, knocked out in the lentil fields of the Punjab. Thanks for that, Mr. Holistic Dentist.

    So I stopped in at Coles to celebrate, got lime & black pepper chips and sweet potato dip, and I too am headed for the couch.

  128. Oh and yes to that weekend, just let me know which day.

  129. No guacamole for me. Avocados have a plant version of lactose that does terrible things to my plumbing. Also, a small avocado has at least 400 calories. As that’s about equivalent to dark chocolate, I’ll pass on the chips and head for the Old Gold scorched almonds, thanks. Just drop them here, in my vodka glass.

    Quokka, I once read a newspaper article about building a frog garden. It said the best thing for a frog garden is to fill holes with rocks, and make sure the area is damp, with lots of greenery. Sounds like you’ve just built your croaky little friends a permanent home. Perhaps you should buy a flamingo? They like to eat frogs. Possibly because frogs are low in calories, and don’t contain lactose.

  130. Oh, yes! Get a flamingo. It would make your lawn look fabulous. Whatever you do, don’t get a peacock – they scream like children being murdered. Alllegedly. Not that I’ve heard any children being murdered, of course. Fantasised about it, yes…

    How about the Sunday, Quokka? On the off-chance that the Friday is fine and cricket can proceed. I have a very glamorous headshot of Catty who will be attending, too. Does anyone have a camera that will talk to a computer?

    Our friend Greybeard has been conspicuous by his absence. Should we email him, do you reckon? I’m hoping Mayhem will be able to make it before she shimmies off to Melbourne, too.

  131. I’m worried about Greybeard. Wasn’t he working in Toowoomba? Or am I a year or two behind the times?

  132. No, he’s here in Brisbane, and I think he’s above the high tide mark. He & his Mrs. have both had a virus, though.

    I’ll check up on him on twitter, which seems to be working better today after a week of capricious behaviour.
    Someone tweeted the local flood maps there, and it looks like Janet will be worried about tomorrow’s high tide mark, she’s in West End near the river and I know monster has been sandbagging over in New Farm so he must be in a low spot too. We’re 34m above sea level so unless the leaches get big enough and plentiful enough to ferry me off to the swamp, we should be fine.

    That sunday works for me.
    Catty, I used those rough edged garden pebbles and they’ve worked a treat. Had to do something as the dog was wading through the puddle to sneak around the side and shit under cover on the patio. he’s been trailing mud all over the tiles, the beds, and the lounge. So that’s the frog and the dog, sorted.

    Although I did sleep at the other end of the house last night, just to make sure I was a long way away from the marsh frog chorus.

    OK.
    I’m watching the radar to see if I’m likely to get hailed on if I go out to do laps. Shall check in later.

    MM, I heard the Maroochy river broke it’s banks.
    You still above the high water mark, I hope?

  133. I just got a birthday present in the mail… (sings)…
    happy, happy, joy, joy
    happy, happy, joy, joy
    happy, happy, happy, happy, joy!

    I love you, Madam.

    My stomach loves you, Madam.

    (insert happy, happy, joy, joy, dance here)

    Guess what I’m having for breakfast? Birthday noms!

    I really, really love you, Madam.

  134. We’re still a couple of inches away from being inundated, and luckily we’re nowhere near the Maroochy river. The funny thing about our place is that I don’t know where the water is coming from.

    Well, derr, it’s been raining like billy-oh, obviously. But the water that’s rising around our place is just rainwater that can’t drain away because it’s landing on top of googlelitres of previous rainfall.

    It would be quite interesting, scientifically, if it wasn’t a bit scary. Poor little Elf Boy is so worried he’s off his food and keeps trying to convince me to move to a new, higher house. On the way to the shops the other day he was saying “See – House for sale, house for sale! There are plenty of houses we could move to.”

    Good luck and best wishes to all New Farmites and all others in low-lying areas!

  135. The local council website should have flood maps available that shows where the water is likely to come up.

    The BCC website is down but brisbane ones are available on twitter.

    Janet has bailed out to stay with a friend at Teneriffe (knob hill at New Farm) and says she’ll be OK. My place was the back up plan for her bail out but it sounds like she’s sorted.

    I’ve been out stocking up on food and kitty litter just in case the roads get cut. I remember it took a while for the 74 floods to go down.

    Suspect we might have a few wet people hiding out here while it’s not safe to be in lower lying areas. I’m off to restore order around here. Thank Christ I had the sense to clean out the cat pens yesterday, those critters are in dry storage until this is over.

    Catty, I think Greybeard is thinking about moving to higher ground – he thinks they’ll be OK according to the flood map but he’s not taking any chances.

    Stay dry, folks.

  136. Greybeard might want to revise his new house plans to include nice high stumps. Although floodwater would work well with a moat.

    We’ve had a short break in the rain up here so the water’s gone down a bit. There are still guppys from the pond swimming in the back lawn, but – fingers crossed – it looks like we’ll be okay.

    Poor Janet! I hope your house gets through without much damage, lovey. Stay safe.

  137. Thanks.
    We should be fine, we’re at 30+m above sea level and we’re pretty much as high as Torbrek, up on Dornoch Tce.

    Today has been a whirlwind, I’ve been out stocking up on kitty litter, cat food, and human food, and this afternoon I went down and helped a friend (vet nurse at my clinic) evacuate all 8 of her cats. Just as well I turned Casa Quokka into one enormous cat cage.

    Her pets are all downstairs, sealed in the dungeon, being as quiet and good as mice. My lot are out the back patio in the cat enclosure out there, bellowing with indignation at losing the run of their house, and I’m preparing for human evacuees. (vet nurse, her daughter and possibly the vet & her family).

    Just as well the Bloke is in Cairns as there won’t be any room for him here. He’s due to fly back in tomorrow evening but I’m betting they’ll have closed the airport by then so I’m hoping he stays where he is for the next few days.

    He’s ever so impressed that I crawled around all over the roof and cleaned out the gutters. So long as he doesn’t think I’ll be doing it again…

  138. You climbed on the roof and cleaned out the gutters, Quokka? Watch out – you’ll be unstopping toilets next. Actually, if you’re going to host that many people you should probably practise your toilet unblocking…

    Very scary. Up here, we’ve received Elf Boy’s “birthday miracle” – it stopped raining overnight and most of the water has finally drained away. It came close, though. I wonder if I can get the place jacked up a bit before the next weather event. I’ve got a feeling that’s not possible when you’re on a concrete slab.

    Congratulations, Quokka! With 11 cats in residence, you’ve officially become a crazy cat lady! Expect a telegram from the Queen, or to get the urge to wear polyester Osti frocks, or something…

  139. Mustard yellow, olive green and rust orange checked lino, and stacks of old newspapers in the corners, reaching to the ceiling are essential. As are a tattered pair of men’s moccies, and a pilled cardie. Then Quokka will be a Crazy Cat Lady.

    Quokka, you can buy the grey, frazzled perm wigs on eBay. I’m only suggesting this because if you try asking your hairdresser to do it to your real hair, he’ll have a fit of the vapours.

    Actually, being a Crazy Cat Lady could work to your advantage, Quokka. If you hide a little catnip (and a couple of mice) under the gutter leaves every few metres, then throw all 11 cats onto the roof, they will have your gutters cleared in half an hour, flat.

    My family all appear to be safe, thank God. Some friends haven’t been so blessed – a couple lost their homes, and one lost her mum. So it is a great relief that you’re all surviving. Madam, you are now one-up on King Canute. Phew!

  140. Catty, you know someone whose Mum died in the floods? That’s horrible. My sympathies to the family and friends.

    We actually have sunshine – sunshine! Dunno what to do with it, though. We’re still lurking inside, about to play round 10,047 of Uno.

    Quokka, if you want frizzled grey hair I’ll see what I can whip up from a fraying school jumper, some Steelo pads and a hot glue gun.

  141. Catty that’s awful.
    I don’t know what to say to that.
    I think there’ll be a bit more of it, though.

    No humans here yet, they were evacuating the vet’s surgery yesterday and had plans to stay a few doors up the hill on the first night so they could be in sight of it.

    The 8 extra cats are being saintly.
    Mine are being abominable, might swap them over for the really good ones and see if Vanessa notices.

    All good here, just watching the horror unfold on TV.
    The Bloke got in late last night so it’s nice to have him home again.

    Glad you’re safe and dry MM.
    How’s your parents? Above the high water mark?

  142. I’m very glad the Bloke’s back, Quokka. He may be called on to do manly things with flotsam and sludge that you, on the whole, would prefer to avoid.

    Funny you should mention my parents, though. They’re well above flood level, but got blacked out… so they’ve rejoined us up here. On arrival, my cousin thoughtfully messaged that their power was back on! Still, with the general chaos down there they’re probably better off up here for a bit.

    It’s just so hard to get your head around… we usually live in our lovely, cushy, climate-controlled and convenient little ‘first world’ bubble – but ‘civilisation’ is such a fragile veneer. I’m very glad my family and friends are safe – and hope you all stay that way!

    On a lighter note, took Magic Man fishing again today. He hooked a little catfish that made sure to barb him ’till he bled as he was trying to release it. And he got caught (on camera) in action by some Channel 7 fishing show. So, all you Channel 7 fishing show enthusiasts, look out for the kid in the straw hat and blue shirt, fishing off Chamber’s Island.

  143. Speak not of channel 7, for I have had my fill of FKN channel 7 reporters these last few days. Somehow Koshy made it through the floodwaters to Kangaroo Point and Mel made it down to Fairfield but thankfully since then there’s blockades on every corner and the combined efforts of the cops and the army boys seems to be working to keep them the hell out.

    On the topic of fish, did you hear that the local butcher at Goodna saw a bull shark swimming down the main street at the peak of the floods?

    Every time I see a news item with some goose paddling through the flood waters on a surf board or a boogie board I just roll my eyes and think ‘Sewerage and bull sharks, nice combo, boys, Surf’s Up.’

    Lost touch with my vet nurse friend for a few days due to technology failure here. Mobile phones dropped out for a while and land lines were very dodgy, so police asked us not to make unnecessary calls and to keep necessary calls very brief.

    So my friend stayed the first night with a neighbour a few doors up & after that she stayed with another friend nearby.

    Amazingly we didn’t lose power and if it were not for the fact that you can’t move 500m away from our house due to the presence of road blocks, cops and army guys, its life as per usual here at Casa Quokka.

    You wouldn’t know that just down the road in two directions it’s like a scene from Doomsday.

    Vanessa’s house (my vet nurse friend) was one of the first to go under, down at Fairfield, and the water went over the roof. My vet lives on the corso down at Yeronga and she was a bit luckier, some water through the ground floor but everything upstairs was OK. They lost everything in the garden & the pool is full of shit (and you know I mean that literally, hello Hep B & Staph).

    The vet clinic down at Yeronga had a lot of water downstairs but upstairs is OK and they think they’ll be back in business by the end of the week, so long as they can get an electrician in.

    So, big relief to know that the vet and all her staff are OK.
    They’re like family to us. Bit of a worry when you’re a suburb away from loved ones and you can’t contact them.

    Spent a good chunk of today cleaning out Cat Pens, hindered somewhat by the lethargizing effects of Aunt Irma, and was just putting all the bedding back for my 8 little visitors when Vanessa rang to check on them. Was able to report that after 2 days they’d forgotten who she was and were quite happy here.

    Well, until I decided to clean out their pen today. Apparently they don’t approve of cleaning operations and who can blame them?

    How’s your evacuees going MM?
    Catty I don’t even know what’s going on in your part of the world, apart from that there’s floods in Victoria.

    Not much to report here.
    Can’t leave the suburb, have been baking and freezing food for when I do see various muddy friends again.

    The Bloke has been working from home as some genius installed their main server in the basement level of the office building – yes, down on the river – so they’ve had to reroute through the other offices interstate. He’s off to Cairns again tomorrow so it’ll just be me and Aunt Irma.

    So, folks, what news?

  144. Quokka, I’m very pleased (and relieved) to hear that you and the Casa are fine – Aunt Irma and The Attack of the Killer Morning Show notwithstanding. Glad your friends weren’t hit worse and TG everyone’s okay.

    The police actually charged some fools who were trying to ride lilos from Ipswich to South Bank * eye roll *. There should be more of it – and looters should be hung, drawn and quartered.

    I almost feel ashamed to admit it, but things are pretty much back to normal around here – no flood damage, supermarkets reasonably well stocked, fuel in the bowsers. I think the ‘Rents are toddling back to the Big Sludge on Tuesday.

    Friends on the next street had water in the house though, to the exent of having to rip up the carpets, so it was close. We were very, very, lucky.

    I don’t think Catty’s anywhere near Euchuca (is that how you spell it?), but then again she’s MIA. Catty, Catty! Are you okay? Should we send you a snorkel?

  145. Addendum:

    Speaking of idiots, this genius got into trouble riding a sex toy through flood waters.

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/river-rescue-as-sex-toy-ditches-rider-20110117-19sra.html?from=brisbanetimes_ft

  146. Hey everyone! Good to see you’re o.k.

    Although we’re in a reclaimed swamp, the water on the street never got past ankle deep. So we’re fine. Phew! We’re in SE Melbourne, and it appears to be the Bendigo region that’s being washed away. Places like Echuca (gesundheit!) are still underwater. Thank goodness Bendigo is the sex toy capital of the state – at least they’ll still have transport.

    It’s about to start raining again, and as it’s going to be an all-weeker, I’ll be keeping the kidlets’ gumboots close at hand. Just in case. We had been on a holiday drive up to SkyHigh in the Dandenong Ranges, and saw a number of homes for sale in Ferny Creek. Tempting. Until you see the blackened tree trunks from the 2009 bushfires.

    Just to make things interesting, the Boss pulled my clothes drier apart. It’s in bits on the kitchen table, and he went back to work today. He reckons it’s going to be there a while. Oh, Joy. I tried to get him to put up some undercover clothes line over the holidays, but he didn’t get around to it. So Aunt Irma and I now face a day of swearing at wet clothes. Fun for all the family!

    The Morning Show team did a piece on how Facebook and Twitter were spreading rumours and lies. They specifically mentioned that bull shark story, and said it was rubbish. They also said the stories about the Suncorp Stadium fire were lies. How odd! I saw the photos in the newspaper, and it looked like a fire to me. They then said the stories about unreported deceased were crap, and that we should rely on the official death toll. Huh. I’ve spoken to Lockyer Valley residents – There are more deceased, but they haven’t been added to the list because their families can’t get to the morgue to identify them. I’m thinking the Morning Show must be produced by the same company as No Idea.

  147. All good here. Stopped by Janet’s on Friday night with some food, very muddy and smelly! She’s a trouper though, and with the help of an army of volunteers (including some Army and some Burgers), she and hubby have moved back in, sans children and electricity. She told me on twitter that the flood has done wonders for their sex life. Silver Lining!

    Quokka, I gave Janet your message about food stocks, she said she’ll probably give you a call. Greybeard has popped in to twitter a couple of times, I think he and Fifi have been pretty flat out with their clean up. Moko is back to work today, Mrs Moko had a bit of a health scare during the drama, but is okay.

    Their are rumblings at CBG about a boozy get together. Pop in and register your interest.

  148. Meh.
    Hello all. I’m a little dopey from being kept awake a few nights lately so forgive me for not feeling terribly communicative.

    There was a huge crash in the cat pen last night and I’ve discovered that part of the bridge/hammock structure where the cats sleep actually collapsed under the weight of them all. Pandemonium erupted as they all sought to break out of the pen, one creative feline coming very close to doing so.

    So I’m trying to get the cat enclosure people around to fix it, for the comfort of my guests.
    The Bloke is back in Cairns for work and even if he was here, our drill doesn’t bore through brickwork. Phones are still playing up around here so it’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out.

    Mayhem, good to hear everyone is OK and above the high water mark.

    catty, that sounds like it came awfully close – hopefully you’ll get some of our sunshine, soon.
    I heard the shark story direct from the Mayor of Ipswich on radio, he said that the man who saw them was a personal friend and not prone to making things up.

    Bit lethargic today.

    The treasured little teenagers in the big house two doors down decided to have a huge and noisy party that combined two adjoining houses, the other night.
    Hundreds of teenagers turned up, they turned the stereo up to top volume, knowing damned well that they were safe from the cops turning up to tell them to shut TF up – even if one of us did call the cops, which of course nobody had the heart to.

    They tipped over the bins in the street – which hadn’t been collected due to the flood crisis – and thought this was hilarious. They left a line of empty bottles at the bottom of my driveway and another neighbour’s, plainly thinking it was a clever trap that would FK our tyres when we backed over them. Because, you know, it’s not like we’d need to get out the next day to help those of our friends who’ve lost everything in the big wet this week.

    Everyone else in the street is doing what they can for flooded friends and family and of course a lot of them are very stressed and worried.
    People have got muddy evacuees staying with them, or else they’re cooking or caring for people’s stressed children or pets, or they’re tired from doing sludge work.

    Little shits. I’d mutter & say bad things about Gen Y, but in this case, this is what you get when you allow a social worker and a solicitor to smoke dope and breed.

    I thought the parents had gone away but The Bloke assured me that he’d seen Mrs. Social Worker out there mowing the lawn for the event earlier that day and as for her idiot husband, well, I need wonder no more about what idiot at a teenager’s party would crank up the volume on the Best Hits of the Beach Boys.

    At least that mystery is solved.

    Oh well folks, I’m off to do chores, cook, herd cats, and maybe sneak in a nap later to restore my humor.

    have fun, all. And Morgana – good luck amusing your sludge evacuees, till they depart. One more sleep…

  149. Oh, Catty! I’d weep in sympathy for you, but you don’t need to be trying to mop up any more fluids. I still remember the pain of being dryer-less in a downpour. Here’s an idea to cut down on the wet laundry – just swathe the children in Glad wrap for the week. They’ll sweat so much they’ll be kind of self-cleaning, too.

    Glad to hear you’re fine, Mayhem. Poor Janet and Grebeard, though. Still, as long as people are okay the rest can be pressure-cleaned/repaired/replaced.

    Maybe we shouldn’t be in too much of a hurry to clean up, though. Somebody told me there might be a cyclone around Australia Day…

  150. Hmmm… gladwrap, hey? Good idea. Maybe Quokka can use some to make a hammock for the cats.

    Poor Greybeard. Did the Precious survive?

  151. From what twitter will allow me to see of GB, it sounds like books were damaged and the brush turkey is back in business sorting out the mess. And yes, as its just the beginning of the wet season, I’m not confident that the flooded are out of the woods yet. After the 1893 floods, didn’t it all happen again 3 weeks later?

    Well.
    The cat enclosure people are underwater somewhere in Yeronga, so I had to get creative with structural repairs and figure out WTF needed to be done to restore order down there.

    A trip to mitre ten for brackets and screws, followed by a trip to the building site 4 doors down, with the replacement bracket, my best Middle Aged Damsel in Distress look, and my sad tale of woe about the vet’s 8 evacuated cats, drew an instant response from the young tradies down there. One youngster came straight up here with his drill gun and restored order to the cat pen.

    Doubtful that he believed there were 8 cats in there, although the bulging mishapen cat igloo with a head and an arse poking out, one ginger and one black tabby, might have leant some credibility to my story.

    I rewarded them with a snaplock bag of banana blueberry muffins, part of the stash I’ve been freezing and stockpiling for the supply drop I’ve got planned later in the week.

    Bloody marvelous.
    Sorted.
    On with the day, if only I could remember what I’m meant to be doing…

  152. Looks like the faeries are at it again and our posts crossed, Quokka. Having read parts i and ii together, I have to say – not a bad day’s work. When in distress, seduce a tradie with sad eyes and baked goods.

    Now, I’m pretty sure you were supposed to be lounging on the couch with Blake’s Seven or equivalent and whatever chocolate you have to hand. Lord knows, that’s what I’d be doing if I had a chance. Instead, I must be off to join a three-generational game of Lego Pyramids.

    *sigh*

    I think I’ll just have a few aspirin now. I’m pretty sure a headache’s inevitable.

  153. I know what you’re supposed to be doing, Quokka. You’re supposed to be studying. Now, how many saplings are there in front of the Boarding House? (No cheating by looking out the window!)

    Good work getting the tradies out to fix your cat enclosure. Do you think they’d pop over and fix my clothes drier? I hung the clothes out during a spate of sunshine. By the time I got to the back door, it was raining. I ran to drag everything off the line. I’d just stepped into the house when the rain stopped and the sun came out. I said a rude word. Then I hung the washing out again. It started spitting when I was halfway through. So I stuck the whole damp lot in the basket and dumped it on the Boss’s side of the bed.

    That should help. Especially seeing as he can’t sleep on the couch. I’ll be there. And I’ll be sleeping there every night until the drier is fixed.

    Ever since I brought the damp clothes back in, the freaking Weather Faerie has been playing peekaboo, alternating between sun and rain every five or ten minutes. Bitch. If I catch her, she’s cat meat.

    Or, if I want to be really nasty, I’ll send her over to Madam Morgana’s house and force her to play Lego Pyramids. Mwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaaa!

    (Poor Madam. Yes, aspirin will help. But Tim Tams would be better. In a bubble bath. With vodka. But you knew that.)

  154. Here’s a plan. If you just dress the children in garbage bags – whether or not its raining – you’ll never have mountains of laundry again.

    They just wear a bag for a few days straight. When it’s too grubby to wipe clean – or too tattered – just cut it off and replace. For the fashion conscious, they come in black, dark green and safety orange. The orange gardening ones are especially durable. I’d recommend you put the boys in those.

  155. Drier’s fixed.

    *Insert “just as bloody well” face here. I couldn’t find an emoticon for it.*

  156. ~~
    *

    or maybe

    ><
    =

    ?

  157. I like the first one. The second one is more like the Boss’s face when he got home from work and saw the wet washing all over his doona. Heh, heh, heh, heh.

  158. He should have felt right at home. My ex – ex being the operative word – was a demon for leaving wet towels on the bed.

    He never could convince me that it was better than leaving them on the floor. So I left him standing in the rain.

  159. I was lucky. The Boss’s wet towel training was done by his brother’s girlfriend, before I met him. The boys shared a flat, and when the girlfriend moved in, she took the Boss’s towel off the rail and hung up her own towel. She dropped his on the floor. Every day. So he ALWAYS had a wet towel. He is now somewhat fastidious about hanging his towel properly, so it dries.

    Now, if I could just work out a way to get him to put his smelly socks in the washing (instead of the lounge room floor), we’ll be set.

  160. It doesn’t really matter where you leave your socks, though, does it?

    The sock monster will get them – anytime, anywhere.

    School readiness checklist: uniforms – check; shoes – check; bags – check; lunch boxes – check… Now, what have I forgotten?

    Holy crap, I’d better pick up their book boxes! Would it be too slummy to not bother about covering their books this year?

  161. My MIL sent The Bloke out in the world lacking any useful domestic skills, I don’t think he had ever made his own bed or done a dish until he left the Apple Isle to study at UQ.

    He lived in a doss house full of architecture boys, one of whom was and is a marvelous cook, so Tim would do enormous cookups and on Saturday afternoons they’d take all the dishes down into the back yard, shove them into an old abandoned bath tub, and hose them out. Sundays they’d go down, get the dishes, bring them back into the house and wash them with dish washing liquid and hot water, assuming these items were available. It took them hours. Naturally they ate a lot of pizza and toast.

    I never quite escaped the anal-neurotic cleaning procedures that my medical family instilled in me so I was less than impressed when the Bloke stayed over and brought his domestic inertia with him.

    Luckily I had a cat who worshiped the ground he walked on but who shared my sense of fastidiousness re: order and hygiene.
    Soon after I started seeing him she developed an abscess which required her to be shaved from neck to tail so that drains could be installed to funnel the pus out of the infection she developed that Australia day weekend…we went down to pick her up from the vet and she wouldn’t let him leave her side. That was the day she started sleeping on his pillow. Luckily he lived with worse things than cat pus so he found it endearing.

    The vet, who adored Kitty, just looked at me and said ‘Quokka, that cat knows something. he’s a keeper.’

    The Bloke was a great believer in using bathroom floors as drying racks up until his first sleepover. Kitty followed him into the bathroom, noted that he’d dropped his clothes on the floor, and went and pissed all over them.

    He was furious up until I told him that if the cat hadn’t thought of it first, it would’ve been me.

    I haven’t seen him drop so much as a sock or a hand towel on the floor in 23 years.

  162. Hmm, I never thought of pissing all over anything they leave on the floor, Quokka.

    Still, since I’m the one who does all the laundry, it would be a bit counter-productive.

    You’ve got to love a man who won’t let cat pus slow him down. He’s a great loss to the grosser branches of science. Tell him it’s never too late to study gastroenterology.

    Why is the heat and humidity exponentially harder to bear when you’re anticipating Aunt Irma’s arrival? Still, since I’ve got no mud to shovel today, I can’t complain.

  163. Why didn’t I think of that?

  164. Not all ventures into creativity work out so well.
    It took me fifteen minutes yesterday am to discover how to open the new packaging on the FKN tampons I bought in the Zombie flood apocalypse.

    This morning, feeling a little less brain dead, I looked at the box and discovered there were instructions.

    Who reads instructions when Aunt Irma is sucking your brain dead?

    Morgana, isn’t this humidity FOUL?
    And I have a pool and AC to hide in.

    My flood evacuees are doing well.
    Vet nurse friend turned up to visit them yesterday about 2.30 and caught them looking like they were on holidays at club med. Luckily the pen in the garage is probably the coolest spot in the house – brick wall stays cool all day, as does the concrete slab. Which is good as the news from the vet isn’t good, they think the cattery might have to be torn down.

    Good news is that my vet nurse friend has found a place to live for the next 2 months and it’s near her daughter’s school & after school care. Which is great as I’m pretty sure her house (rental) will be one of the last to emerge from the sludge and it’ll probably go under again with the king tide on Friday.

    Oh well, on with the day.
    How’s the school holiday entertainment going, peoples?
    How long before they all go back, now?

  165. I, for one, am not looking forward to the start of term. It will mean:

    * getting up early, (*shudder*)

    * screaming for an hour (GET DRESSED! MAKE YOUR BED! BRUSH YOUR TEETH! NO I DON’T KNOW WHERE YOUR OTHER SOCK IS! WHOSE BREAKFAST IS THIS ON THE FLOOR!?! NO YOU CAN’T TAKE THE XBOX TO SCHOOL! WHY AREN’T YOU DRESSED YET! HUUUUUURRRRRRYYYYY UUUUUUUUPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!),

    * making lunches (I don’t want a sandwich, mum. I’ll just have two pink cupcakes. And a banana. Ewww, that banana has a single miniscule brown mark on the otherwise perfect yellow skin! Yuk! Just give me cupcakes, then.)

    * frantic completion of the homework they swore they didn’t have,

    * locating library books (how on earth did it get behind the toilet again?),

    * school uniform stain removal (can’t blame the wardrobe faerie for lunch break mud fights, unfortunately),

    * fighting the toorak tractors for a space in the drop-off zone (their idea of drop-off is to stroll their kid to the classroom and then chat to the other yummy mummies about coffee klatches and pilates classes for half an hour),

    * stern reprimands from teachers about hastily scribbled homework, stained uniforms, non-nutritious lunches and urinated-on library books,

    * valium and vodka by 9:15am.

    Do I have to send them back?

  166. Quokka, you haven’t really experienced the full brunt of the heat and humidity until you’ve dallied in the mud flats of Chamber’s Island while your eldest fishes. Which I have just spent three hours doing. Advantages of going early in the day: (1) change of tide; (2) gets the GD fishing out of the way.

    This afternoon’s agenda will be paying Ramses’s Pyramid in front of the fan and desperately praying for a storm. Not another flood, please, just enough to alleviate the humidity would be lovely.

    Ah, back to school. Of all the uniform hassles, undone homework and general mayhem this will entail, the most painful for me is the damn lunchboxes. I swear I could cram a McDonald’s Happy Meal in there and it would come back uneaten, underneath the wrapper from some other kid’s LCM.

    Maybe they’d suck on nutrient tubes, like astronauts?

  167. Not a hope, Madam. I’d suggest packing nothing but LCM bars, but guaranteed the bars would come home uneaten. Opened, but uneaten.

  168. As someone who has been on the opening end of children’s lunch boxes, I can guarantee you that you could put a couple of these in there http://www.allpoolsolutions.com.au/images/l_016.jpg
    – and it would go unnoticed by the small owner of the lunch box.

    Another reason why it’s just as well I don’t have children.
    By lunch time, neither teachers nor DOCS staff have anything left of a sense of humour.

    MM, from the looks of the radar you may just get your wish.

    I’ve just had a play date with Janet, amazingly her children left her without requiring stitches or microsurgery.
    I must be losing my touch.
    I’m off to have a siesta in the climate controlled environment around my TV.

    When are we doing this gathering, now?
    My twitter is being horribly capricious & I can’t figure out what they’re up to over there.
    Mayhem, we know you’re lurking.
    You might have to fill us luddites in.

  169. I’m going to get some of these:

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/61200101/felt-food-wheat-bread-sandwich-and-chips

    If I wash them at the end of term, they should last all year. And to the casual observer, it resembles a healthy lunch!

    I’m sitting here in 120% humidity. The sky has been encouragingly grey for hours. What do you want to bet that the storm will pass us by again, just like yesterday?

    My suggestion for the lunch was the first weekend in February, probably the Sunday. As for how anyone else feels about that, I’m completely in the dark. Lunch, anyone?

    Excuse me, please. I just won Ramses’s Pyramid and I want to take a lap of honour riding on the back of my golden scorpion.

  170. Ladies don’t lurk…. we hover!

    Madam, you’ve apparently missed the drama over at twitter with Mrs Moko being hospitalised. Originally they thought stroke, however that’s now looking unlikely, and it’s stabbing in the dark time.

    Anyhoo the upshot is that Moko is in town for a few evenings, and it was suggested that this may be an opportune time for post-flood drinkies. There was some talk of popping up to Redcliffe for said drinkies, so as to include the inestimable Humpybong. Said suggestion has been nixed for now, by the Mr Moko, who has suggested a Sunday gathering somewhat closer to the CBD. (Mrs Moko is in Prince Charles Hospital). Sunday afternoon has been floated, but so far, an unreasonable number of people have loved one’s birthday commitments (I got mine out of the way tonight).

    So at this point, it may be Sunday, but we’re not sure, and if it is, we don’t know where or what time.

    Hope this clears it up for you, and Quokka, with me and the boss both being in the office, you’re probably more plugged in to twitter than I am at the moment. That being the case, if a decision is made that I need to know about, please DM me. (You know the one, where Havock-style they announce drinkies at X in 2 hours…). A DM will get through to me on my phone.

  171. I gathered Mrs. Moko was ill. Not good.
    I’ll see what I can see, thanks for the heads up.

    Twitter floats between being 2 minutes, 2 hours, or 10 hours behind for me. I was waiting for the tech nerd to fix my computer after Xmas hols, and then God sent the flood zombie apocalypse. So who knows where my tech nerd saviour is?

    The only way I can see anyone’s tweets is to click on their avatar, so I’m missing most conversations until hours later.

    Sunday, hey?
    OK. I’ll keep my ears up.

  172. Thanks, Mayhem, I was totally out of the loop. What a shocker – please pass on my best wishes next time you see Moko.

    Sunday night is about the biggest school night there is… the night before The First Day Back, so I won’t be able to join you. Have a fabulous time, say hi from me and don’t forget to post incriminating photos!

    All Burger drinks aside, Mayhem – how about our lunch? I was thinking first weekend in February, before you head to Melbourne.

    BTW, I wouldn’t tell Catty you float. She might think you’re a faery and annihilate you.

  173. First weekend in Feb sounds fine for lunch. You do realise that the Melbourne trip in Feb is just a recce?? We’ll have to do it again before I pack up for good late March/Early April.

  174. FAERIE? WHERE! I’LL KILL THE STINKING LITTL….

    Hang on a minute. Did Mayhem just say she got her birthday commitments out of the way last night?

    Was that your birthday, Mayhem? Or someone elses?

    (I’m seeing a golden cake opportunity here – as opposed to a golden scorpion).

    Hey, Madam Morgana, if they do drinks without you, feel free to join me in the sulking corner. There’ll be room if I scooch over a bit. And scrape out all the empty vodka bottles.

  175. Yes, it sounds like Moko had a scary time of it in the floods, with Mrs. Moko being quite unwell & in need of steady contact with the medics, and they got cut off. I think he’s out Fernvale way, isn’t he, Ms. Mayhem?

    That weekend in February is good for me, MM.

    Fark I hope it’s cooler today.
    Aunt Irma and this humidity just don’t mix.
    You’re a good soul, Morgana, tell your kids from me if they wanted to go fishing in this heat I’d be giving them a length of dental floss and pointing the way to Miss Violet’s tank & that would be that.

    Janet made the mistake of bringing her kids over for lunch & a swim yesterday. After a nice long soak in the tub to get the pool chemicals off, her kids were wriggling and keen to escape to watch Sleeping Beauty in the room that’s been vacated by my long grown nieces.

    So as they were dashing away, with Janet saying ‘Are you dry?’ and them saying ‘Yes, yes’, I did what I’d always done with my girls & yelled out ‘Wait up! have you dried between your toes and your bum crack?’

    Judging from the way they all spun around, jaws dropping, and stared in astonishment, I gather this isn’t a phrase that they’re accustomed to.

    Had to explain to Janet that despite appearances she needs to remember there’s an old aboriginal woman inside of me trying hard to get out.

    On the plus side I’ve saved them from a lifetime of tinea, as well as all those they’ll chide in the change rooms at the school & community pool till the fun of that phrase wears off.

  176. Hehehe. Good story, Quokka. But it raises an alarming thought – can you get tinea in your bum crack? That would add a very unpleasant edge to the current humidity crisis.

    We finally got a piddling little storm after 9 last night. Not good enough, Thor. I expect a downpour by 4 at the latest today, or there’ll be trouble.

    Thanks for the offer of a place to sulk, Catty. I’ll bring some caviare log. It’s a delicious combination of pate, cream cheese and caviare. Calories, what calories?

    Okay, well that’s the three of us for lunch at least, then. Mayhem, I don’t anticipate a problem with a repeat performance. In fact, to make sure we’ve got it right we might have to farewell you three times!

    I think I’m reaping some karmic reward, today. I offered to take the kids to Maze Mania and they declined. So many library books, so little time…

  177. Yes, and please don’t ask me how I know this.

    Right, well I checked with the locals (that being JB) who says that Ahmet’s is open again so that’s good.

    So we just need to find Greybeard and see how they’re coping.
    I can’t get a lot of sense out of twitter but I think they might have shifted to rental accommodation.

    I’ll email him later in the day.

    We got that storm last night, had to rescue my cats from the pen on the back patio and they actually behaved themselves inside all night, rather than running around bitching ‘Someone’s sleeping in my downstairs pen and I WANT THEM OUT OF THERE NOW!’ So it has cooled down substantially here today.

    Not sure that I’ll get my washing dry though, so I’ll be joining catty shaking fists at the weather fairy, if that’s the case.

    If your kids have a hankering for exotic maze experiences, there’s always the flooded streets of Brisbane.
    A friend of mine has her 14yro nephew coming to stay for a week and she’s threatening to take him to Goodna and hand him a shovel next Wednesday. She and her hubby tried to get there on the weekend, but got turned back.

    I think they need to send in the bulldozers out there, not the shovel brigade.

    Oh well. Back to the chores.

  178. Eeeew. We were going to have mushrooms tonight but I just can’t go near any fungus right now.

    Thanks for the groundwork, Quokka. I’m sorry to hear that Greybeard and Fifi have been forced to up stumps for a while, but I suppose its a good thing that this happened before they started building the new place. They might choose to incorporate some Louisiana bayou features in the plan… not the alligators, the tall stumps I mean.

    You know, that could be a useful “Rebuilding Brisbane” exercise. Float tourists around the canals of Brisvenice and at the end of the trip they get to participate in a special, real reality, six-hour mud shovelling. Finish off with beer, prawns and a tetanus injection and it’d be a winner. Can-do, over to you.

  179. I think they’ve got the bayou bit covered.

    I’m waiting for Monster Yuppy to package the mud and start selling it as a rejuvenating facial treatment. Its got everything from Strep, Staph, Hep and that other thing I can’t remember, much less spell – hell, Botulism can’t hold a candle to it.

    We just need some celebrities to test it out on.
    I vote we start with Koshy.

  180. Seconded.

  181. Oh Quokka, why weren’t you available to mind mine when they were still impressionable? They’d be even more scarred – if possible. We’re pretty much fine, power back on today but no HW. House still stinks summat chronic and not sure which furniture will survive but hope to move in by Sunday????

    Lessons for new house – no gyprock, chipboard or craftwood. Good old-fashioned wood.

    This is an excerpt from a reply to Quokka:

    Look, I don’t know how to tell you this. And I know you won’t be happy but here goes. My son-in-law put Colin’s adventures on his Home Brewing blog, then another brewer took it to channel 9 and, well, now there’s a Colin Mudd for PM movement (CMudd for short). And he’s already been on ch 9 in Melbourne. Looks like there might be a Turkey-led recovery.

    So, looks like Turkeys might enjoy a new popularity?

  182. Show me the youtube evidence, Mud Man, or I simply won’t believe you. Besides, I have louder and more annoying problems than turkeys at the mo – striped marsh frogs. Right outside my bedroom window. Tomorrow I think I’ll go up the back and fill the pond with chlorine (as an anti mosquito precaution of course) and in about five more frog clicks I’m heading out there with the pitch fork.

    The other thing you might want to stay clear of is cement.
    Being porous, the concrete slab in my grandparent’s house sucked in enough toxic sludge in the 74 floods to stink up their house for the next five years. Just when you thought it was safe to unplug your nostrils, the rainy season would hit and the stench would come back again.

    Which is why, when we were house hunting, I made sure we bought on top of a very big hill.

    I don’t know how any of you flood zombies are going to live with the stench. Dog help you.

    Good luck moving back in.
    OK.
    It’s feeding time at the zoo.
    Later, folks.

  183. http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/floods/8199742/brush-turkey-cleans-up-brisbane-street

    Will this do? heh heh heh

  184. Inspiring news, perhaps I can auction my flock off on e-bay.

    I think Monster is organizing drinks next Thursday evening over at the Brekky Creek, if you’re interested. Not sure if I’ll make it.

    What about Ahmet’s, Greybeard?
    Let me see if I’ve got it.

    First weekend of Feb.
    Sunday 6th Feb
    Lunch
    Oxford St Bulimba.

    2 x quokka
    1 x morgana
    1 x mayhem

    Who else?

  185. You could invite the Colinator. He could probably use a good feed after all that hard work.

  186. Who would have thought that scrub turkeys could use their power for good?

    Glad to hear its not worse, Greybeard. And on the smell front, I believe the stench of singed turkey feathers will distract olfaction from everything else. Honestly.

    Well, Quokka, the glamour photo of Catty will also be attending – but we probably don’t need to book. I was thinking of leaning her on the drinks menu.

    I didn’t get any answers to the “am I slummy for not covering the children’s school books?” poll so I’m not covering the bastards. At the rate I’m going, they’ll be lucky to get their names scrawled on them in crayon.

  187. You’re a saint, Madam. My kidlets will be lucky if I buy them a crayon to scrawl their own names on their books. I might not even bother with the crayon – I think there’s some old fingerpaint in the back of the craft cupboard. They can use that.

  188. One box down, one to go. I had nearly enough name labels left from last year to do all of Elf Boy’s books. How do they expect him to fill 15 exercise books in the course of Grade 2? I don’t think he knows that many words yet.

    Meanwhile, I don’t know how to thwart the sock faery. They might have to start school with their feet wrapped in greaseproof paper.

    Would that trigger a DOCS review, do you think?

  189. Yes.
    What you need is bubble wrap.
    All the private school kids are wearing it this season.

  190. Probably. Try cutting the fingers off some old gloves, and calling them ‘hobo anklet toe-socks’.

    Unless your boys are in a public school. In which case, send them with commando feet – I guarantee, nobody will notice until it’s state government accreditation inspection time. And as that only happens every three years, you’ve got plenty of time to find socks on sale.

    If you can hold out until March, you’ll find Coles will be throwing out their school socks at a pittance. I stocked up last year, when they marked their 5-packs of school socks down to $4.

    Just as well I’m into bargain hunting. The Teen has given me a massive back-to-school list. I’m up for a $thousand odd in fees, textbooks, stationery, uniforms, excursions, camps, bus tickets etc.

    Apparently I’m still responsible for all that crap. A neighbour reckons that when his teenage girl pulled the same stunt a decade ago, the relevant authorities called him to demand that he pay for her crap. He told them that his girl refused to live at home, so it was well within his rights to refuse to fund her tanty. They told him it wasn’t within his rights, as he was still legally responsible for her. He told them to go proverbial themselves. His daughter was home, repentant and compliant, two months later.

    I wish I had the guts to do that.

  191. Bubble wrap would be cool. They’d sound like a bowl of rice bubbles as they walked around – snap, crackle, pop!

    Catty, you’re getting this list three days before school goes back? I’d advise her and the relevant authorities, as necessary, that you have a minimum twenty-one (21) working days turn-around. The walk to school in plain clothes (or a garbage bag, as required), carrying a slate, some chalk and an apple for the teacher will do her a world of good.

    Still, it must be reassuring to know that you’re not the only one who’s had to go through this sort of hormone-driven crapulence. The neighbour is still sane, right?

  192. No.

  193. He’s a bloke. Women are made of stronger stuff. Besides, I bet he never has a bubble bath. You have secret weapons!

  194. Well, if you want to relocate her and dunk her in a nearby mud pit, say, Fairfield or Yeronga, you could claim that she’s a flood victim and the school will provide for all she needs.

    There’s plenty of choice for mud pits down the hill in either direction from me. However, with my specialized knowledge of local real estate, may I recommend Cansdale Street?
    The sewerage treatment plant down there at Yeronga went under and when it emerged it coated all the surrounding homes in a 6 inch oozing layer of it’s byproducts.

    Being serious for a minute, I’ve watched a few friends tearing their hair out as they’ve tried to keep a teen at school and stop them whirling into a downward spiral of parties, booze, drugs, bad boys and single motherhood. And every passing year seems to bring a new struggle, for them.

    So I reckon anything you can do to encourage her to stay at school & focus on doing something positive with her life, is money well spent.
    I know that mostly we just gather here for comic relief, but have you found a good support group & a counselor that can help you get through this?

    One of my oldest girlfriends has been through this and she’s a mine of information for books and resources, so if you want I can ask her if she can refer you somewhere. She lives in Brisvenice (the floods missed her by about 4 inches) but hails from Melbourne so she’d have some useful contacts down there. Works for MICAH, here, which is the social work/charity branch of the local St. Mary’s church that the pope, in his wisdom, kicked out of our digs down the road.

    I’m quite interested in how families communicate (being as that’s a set of skills that was never passed on from my own family) & that might be where I head with post-grad studies if I ever finish this GD degree, so I’ve got a stack of titles on my bookshelves, so if you want advice about good books on relationships & communication, feel free to ask.

    OK. More caffeine, and then I swim.
    Cat (mine) awoke us at 3.30am, complaining loudly about the injustice of not being allowed to slink off through the trap door in the porch and go socialize with the 8 evacuees in the dungeon below.

    Bloody cat.
    Its going to be a long day.

  195. What Quokka said.

    Or, you could start your own website: Mothers Against Teenage Tantrums… no, you don’t want to be a MATT, people would just walk all over you. How about: Parents United To Demonise Our Wayward Nippers – PUT DOWN. Hey, I like it!

    I really think you should do your best to find all the answers, Catty – so you can tell me. It’s only three years until Magic Man is a teenager. That’s only just over a thousand days! Aargh, I feel faint… where did I put that vodka?

    Catty, look in the mirror and tell yourself “I’m doing a good job”. Then give yourself a hug from me.

  196. Thanks, everyone, for the positive vibes (and hugs). Aunt Irma’s screwing with my head this week.

    I do have a couple of positive thinking self-help books, but any suggestions for useful books or organisations will be gratefully accepted. In the meantime, I shall keep chanting the affirmations in my two books, while swilling vodka in the bubble bath. No valium in the bath, though – those little suckers are like olives. Once they hit the water, I can never find them amongst the bubbles.

    The Teen’s last visit was not quite as painful as it could have been. She found a poverty bag, and trolled from one end of the house to the other, filling the bag with everything she ‘needed’. Including my midlife crisis boots. (Not that I ever wear them – bloody stilettos! – but that’s not the point). The only reason I let her do this was that it was keeping her busy. And while she was busy, she wasn’t picking on the kidlets. When the poverty bag was full, I lured her into the car with a whole bag of Chupa Chups, and drove her to the bus station.

    Then I went home to celebrate having gotten through a two hour visit from the Teen without a single kidlet crying. I celebrated with a Walnut Log.

    Mmmmm….. Calories…..

  197. Back again. All power to Ms Cat! And I’m stealing the “Brisvenice” – never liked Brisvegas. As for Ahmets, Fifi sounds willing (like she’s ever hard to persuade with food &/or alcohol) so we’re in, thanks muchly.

    Back to Fifi, I once compared her to the female of a certain species of insect which eats the male when he comes a-courting unless he presents her with a nice juicy fly. Not a praying mantis but I can’t remember what? Anyway, apparently it wasn’t a good analogy & I bore the bruises for quite some time.

    And our older daughter has just broken up with her long term partner. Can’t say it’s all his fault by any means but truly more stressful than the flood. Kids ARE more of a worry than “stuff”! Who knew?

  198. I love calories! Every single hip-swelling one of them.

    Black widow spider? Fabulous arachnid. I’d be so proud to be compared to her I’d iron it on a t-shirt.

    Commiserations, Greybeard. At least you know – since you’re temporarily homeless – that she won’t be moving in with you.

    Now, everyone, join me in a celebration conga line:
    Last day of the holidays – hey!
    Last day of the holidays – hey!

  199. Consider me part of this conga line, MM.

    Excellent news Sir GB.
    Not about the wounded child of course, but I wonder if it’s something that can or should be patched up in counseling? We all hit rough spots. Is this the architect?
    Do they have kids?

    Catty, my advice would be to find a counselor that you click with and go from there. Places like relationships Australia & ARAFMI & the Triple P parenting progrma usually have courses on communication, conflict resolution and relationship building and they often have support groups that you can join.
    Nothing really compares to talking to someone who’s struggling with the same issues, it gets you out of that funk of feeling like you’re going it alone.
    When you get a group together, the ideas that get bounced around when everyone pools their wisdom, experience, and advice from their various counselors – well, its amazing.

    I’d suggest reading some general stuff on conflict resolution and communication -some of these titles are directed at married couples but the skills are the same.

    * How to talk so kids will listen & listen so kids will talk: Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
    (wrote another one called Siblings Without Rivalry that might be worth a look at)

    * Is anyone listening? Repairing broken lines in couples communication: Sandra Michaelson (out of print but available 2nd hand on Amazon, and worth it as it’s a good one)

    * The High Conflict Couple – Alan Fruzzetti

    There’s another one that I’ve been meaning to get, haven’t read it but my support group says it’s great & has changed how they do things in their relationships – I think it’s
    ‘I don’t have to make everything all better.’
    Will check on that.

  200. http://books.google.com.au/books?id=PfqxsbKEySwC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Gary+Lundberg&source=bl&ots=29LvkHQb7q&sig=olZ1faAHViEQ86SEJWvXXzvK-N0&hl=en&ei=Qkg7TdakAYLQcZ3llIUH&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCcQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Hopefully that link will work.
    Gary & Joy Lundberg: ‘I don’t have to make everything all better’ – don’t be fooled by the title into thinking it’s mush, it’s got a lot of practical skills geared towards changing the dynamics of a troubled relationship.
    Excerpts online if you want to go look. And an entire chapter devoted to dealing with teens.

    The other site that may be worth looking at is Beverly Engel’s – she’s written lots of books for people who’ve grown up in abusive/neglectful homes and has written some wonderful stuff about looking at your own wounds and creating positive change within your life.

    Anyway, hope that helps.
    If not there’s always the sewerage plant relocation option.
    Hugs, xox

  201. Thanks, Quokka. I’ve made note of those, and will do a spot of Googling as soon as MM’s conga line passes the computer. (Hey!)

    The good news is, we get to do this conga line again on the 3rd of Feb. My lot go back on Friday the 4th.

    Yeah, that’s right. They go back on a Friday. Victoria’s weird like that.

    Sorry about your daughter’s relationship troubles, Greybeard. Apparently the stress of the floods is causing a lot of breakups. Make sure you give her lots of hugs.

  202. The 4th of Feb? Oh, the humanity. At least it gives you longer than I’d thought to spend thousands on the teen’s back-to-school list.

    I don’t suppose you could do a deal to link expenditure with performance – or at least effort – somehow? No, didn’t think so.

    Oh well, back to the conga line. Is anyone thirsty yet? I could whip up some champagne slurpies.

  203. Count me in. Can we use Ballantyne choc-mint sticks as swizzle sticks? Pretty please?

  204. I think it would be alright if I use mango sorbet. I don’t think lemon would go well with choc-mint.

    We may have to conduct a series of scientific – hic! – experiments.

  205. Goodness, Victoria is a backward place.
    How very uncivilized.

    Where the hell did this weekend go?
    The only constructive thing I recall doing is I made a double batch of rum & raisin brownies for the flood afflicted. At the rate I’m eating them, they may not get any. And I’ll be over the limit when it comes time to fetch the Bloke.

    he’s over at kelvin grove, mucking mud out of a friend’s back yard. During the recent deluge, all the mud in the neighbour’s yard up the hill slid into their yard.

    I’m so pleased I found some mud for him to play in that doesn’t have any life-destroying limb-amputating bacteria in it.

    Now.
    I think this conga line needs tequila.
    ‘they’re going back to-mo-row…no kids in the lap pool…’ yeehah.

    Nearly bit someone’s 10 year old in the pool yesterday when they were duck diving under the line ropes in the lap training lanes.
    Don’t they know by the time we’ve reached middle age we’re blind and have very sharp teeth?

  206. Mmm… overproof brownies.

    Well, you’re ahead of me, Quokka. The only constructive thing I did this weekend was label the boys’ school stuff. It won’t stop them losing at least half of it by the second week back, but by crikey I’ve labelled the bastards.

    Okay, now we’ve got tequila let’s ditch the slurpies and have some margeritas. Or does anyone want to drink shots out of Alejandros’s navel?

  207. YESYESYESYESYESYESYES! I DO!

    (Can I stir it with the Ballantyne swizzle stick first, or will that make Al giggle too much?)

    And Quokka, it doesn’t matter if you did nothing else this weekend. When you make rum and raisin brownies, everything else fades into insignificance.

  208. Rum & raisin brownies? Hey, I was flood-afflicted – see, I still smell like mud. Can I have a brownie Aunty Q? Can I can I can I, please pretty please? (Hey I’m male. I’m used to begging)

  209. Give him the brownies quickly, Quokka. I can’t bear to see a grown man plead.

    No, scratch that last. I LOVE seeing grown men plead.

    Okay, better stop faffing and get the gremlins off to be edjamacated. Mental note: try to restrain maniacal peals of laughter until driving away from school with the windows wound up.

  210. Keep driving. Go to Quokka’s. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. DO collect rum and raisin brownies.

  211. Sure you can have brownies, so long as I don’t have to leave my Island home.
    If you turn up to West End for whatever they’re doing tonite with Big Naut (something, somewhere, involving food and drinks in West End at 7pm. Still fog-doggling about the venue, I think), you will be rewarded.
    Catty, unless you’ve completed that teleport machine in the back shed, you’ll have to make do with a virtual brownie.

    Now, I’m off to enjoy the pool, sans kiddies, before they invade it for swim class at 9am. So I’m off to follow the conga line….

    Kids go back to Schoo -oool…

  212. Virtual brownies: [r&r] [r&r] [r&r]

    My poor little Elf Boy had a very sad face when I left him in Grade 2 this morning. He tried to convince me he was sick, too, but he’s well out of practise. Not at all convincing. By the end of term he’ll be able to defraud a Professor of Medicine.

    Magic Man refused to let me come with him to Grade 5. This is the beginning of the Shunning, isn’t it? * sob *

  213. Grade 5 – yay! No readers! What a blessed relief.

    Grade 2 – boo! Readers move into chapter book territory. I may yet burn the school down.

  214. If I never saw another reader again in my life, I’d be a happy, happy woman.

    Oops, you know how they say, “Be careful what you wish for.”?

    I didn’t mean that I wanted to be struck blind, I’m just fed up with readers.

  215. Get Al to take over reader duty. I’m sure you’ve got him trained well enough to listen to readers and give a foot rub at the same time.

  216. I don’t think Alejandro can read… not English, anyway. Which is just as well. We wouldn’t want him learning too much about anti-slavery legislation, or terms and conditions of employment, now, would we?

    Anyway, no readers for the moment. Elf Boy has to bring five things which are important to him to school in a paper bag, though. I suggested a photo of his brother but he just gave me a look. Not a good look.

  217. Let’s see.

    A dismantlable zombie
    Grandma
    Lego
    Breast milk
    Cake

    Of course, the paper bag will be oozing by Little Lunch, but teachers have to learn from their mistakes too.

  218. Hehehe. You know him so well! The note said that if he couldn’t bring the thing in to school he could draw a picture of it.

    Elf Boy “And this is a picture of Mummy’s boobies because I used to love to breast feed and wish I’d never stopped.”

    Mrs Whiteboard-Marker “We might put that away just now, Elf Boy dear. Now, everybody do the Hokey Pokey while I look up the number for Child Services.”

  219. You put your left boob in,
    You put your left boob out,
    You put your left boob in,
    And you shake it all about….

  220. Ladies! Kindly remember that there are well brung-up gentlemen about. Oh dear, I think it’s me palpitations. Better lie down.

    No wait, found half a slab of Guinness that got slimed. Must disinfect it at once!

  221. No need, Greybeard. Alcohol is a disinfectant.

  222. But beer – even Guinness – isn’t strong enough to kill germs. That’s why vodka is better. Plus it doesn’t taste like malty flood water.

    Now, where were we? Oh yes, the Booby Pokey. Everyone! You put your right boob in…

  223. You put your whole rack in….

  224. Mmmm… rack.

    Why have I got a sudden craving for bbq pork spareribs?

  225. It must be all that talk of Bra Cowboys.

  226. Hmm.
    Did I just detect another storm in a C cup from our resident turkey breeder?

    I think our feathered celebrity should be encouraged to join in the fun.

    ‘You put your turkey in (the oven) you take your turkey out, you flip the turkey over and you baste it all about…
    you call the zombies over and you pass the bird around..

  227. I’m going to make a conscious effort to lift the tone around here.

    Excuse me while I go and prepare a post about Victorian novelists – or eat a packet of Tim Tams, either or.

  228. BTW, we are now actually living at home AND the hot water is back. A bit tepid but warming nicely. I was running a few litres now and then just to check but Fifi hit me and made me stop it.

    As for Q, I’ve calmed Colin down and assured him that we would eat the neighbours rather than him. They’d taste better anyway. Also Colin does the breeding himself – I merely train him attack various household objects. I think he must have had a bit of separation anxiety while we were away. He seems anxious to follow me around and pops his head in the back door. That may also be the leftover chips and calamari – who knows?

  229. Turkey and Tim Tams?

    Suddenly I don’t feel like cooking dinner any more.

  230. I never feel much like cooking dinner, Catty. I swear my heart was in it, the first five thousand times I slaved over a hot stove, churning out spag bog or whatever delightful mince dish I was featuring that evening. Now it’s all just meh on a plate.

  231. Hm.
    Neighbours roasting over hot coals, now there’s an Australia Day idea if ever I heard one.

    Glad you’re all settled in back at the mud shack, GB.
    As they say – There’s no place like loam.

  232. It helps if your neighbour is a turkey.

  233. I maybe could get into a human hangi.

    Boy, pass me my pit-digging shovel!

    Now, in celebration of Australia Day, I’m taking Magic Man to try and slaughter some of our fauna, i.e. fishing. Have a good one, People of Oz.

  234. Well? Where’s my fish?

  235. Sorry, Catty. The fishing resulted in: (1) small whiting, released without a kiss; (2) larger fish of unknown species, got off the hook leaving a tissue sample behind; (3) possible bull shark, snapped the rig.

    Magic Man was happy as a weasel. He just loves to stand there with his rod in his hand. He doesn’t get it from me, that’s for sure. I sat in the shade and read a book.

    How was everyone else’s Australia Day?

  236. I made two tiny quilts for the kidlets’ teddy bears. It took hours – mainly because I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. As far as the sewing went, they’re not very well made (understatement of the year), but the kidlets love them, and that’s what matters.

    I also found time to whip up a lasagne for dinner. That WAS well made. Seven layers! It was delicious.

    Was it a good book, Madam? I find that any book is a good book if you use Tim Tam packets as bookmarks.

  237. I was using pancakes as bookmarks. I should have waited to put the butter and syrup on them until I removed them from the book.

    You made teddy bear quilts, Catty? Congratulations, you’re now Mother of the Year. You can now rest on your laurels for several months, if not for the whole of 2011. Here are some laurels I prepared earlier:
    \\\\\\ //////

    How do you manage to get seven layers into your lasagna? I always run out of pan depth by four or five.

  238. I don’t usually notice it’s Australia day until the roulettes fly over (whee!) or the fireworks go off down at South Bank.

    Yesterday was different, because I turned up at the pool, all lathered up in SPF30, ready to do laps, and the pool was shut.

    So I – and others who’d forgotten – walked away muttering ‘FKN Australia Day’ and that was about as much attention as I paid to it.

    I miss the days when it was a long weekend and it was an opportunity for everyone to fark orf to the beach and be lazy. I think the rodent did us a disservice by making it compulsory to celebrate it on the actual day, to be honest I’ve just noticed that there’s a whole lot more flag waving bogan FKtards on the streets for Jan 26 these days and it just makes it unpleasant to go out. We always used to just quietly nick off to the dog beach at Redcliffe & have a burger, these days you can’t do that without running into some painted idiot who looks like they’re three IQ points away from pitchforks and book burning.

    The bloke disagrees, he likes the mid-week holiday, but he’s with me on the pitchfork crowd. We never used to see that before the rodent changed the day so I’m not sure what went wrong, but I don’t like it.

  239. A friend of mine calls it “Any Excuse for a Drink” Day, and its celebrants were out in force ’round these parts.

    Is it a sign of age when drunken bogans start to look prepubescent – or just a sign of the times?

  240. I blame global warming.

  241. It’s like the whole coast is having a hot flush, around here. I’ll be in good company when the blessed menopause hits.

    We’re aiming for cricket tomorrow. What’s the bet that this lovely spell of hot, dry weather will be broken by torrential rain five minutes after the coin toss? That’s the worst time, because we will have already hauled our arses to Tewantin and set everything up.

  242. The Boss keeps taking the kidlets into the pool when it’s raining. Silly boy – doesn’t he know that if they go swimming in when it rains, they’ll get all wet?

  243. Hehehe.

    If we didn’t go swimming in the rain, we’d never get to go.

    I’m swimming in the rain,
    Just swimming in the rain!
    What a glorious feeling
    I’m soggy again.

  244. So, how’s the lunchboxes coming along, Madam? You’ve made it to the end of the first week – any green sandwiches yet?

  245. Felt sandwiches don’t go green.
    Although over time they do start to molt and ball up.
    And gosh, would you look at the weather forecast, showers tonight, and I can see a big grey cloud about 2 hours north of me.

    Why don’t you toss the coin about 3pm, thus avoiding the drive and ensuring that my languishing hillside garden, having drained into the swamp below, gets some much needed tears from god?

  246. Which god?

  247. The God of Sandwiches is slumped on a loaf of sliced wholemeal somewhere, blotting his tears with rainbow greaseproof paper.

    The weekend before school started I made roast beef and salad sandwiches for lunch.
    “This sandwich is delicious!” Magic Man declared, having sucked one down without pausing for breath.
    “Fabulous!” I replied “Would you like that for school?”
    “Oh yes.” He lied.
    Sandwich came home with one bite taken out of it.

    Ditto for the chicken loaf. I sent Elf Boy off with a sausage roll that came back with only one bite taken out of it.

    One bite is almost worse than no bites at all. It’s like you’ve been tried and found wanting. Felt it shall be.

  248. I found the most delightful sandwiches at Go Lo once. They were made out of marshmallow slabs. Our local Go Lo closed down, otherwise I’d be tempted to put marshmallow sandwiches in the kidlets’ lunchboxes. Not that they’d eat them.

  249. This is the stuff to give the kids. Dinosaur Fossilized Slime:

    http://www.astronautfoods.com/InventoryD.asp?loc=100&item_no=132003&category=test&subcategory=

    And only $2.70 a serve!

  250. Kids don’t eat school lunches and wiser people than DOCS know this.
    Why do you think our parents generation stuck to home brand strawberry jam and vegemite past it’s use by date?

  251. Use-by date? Does Vegemite HAVE a use-by date? I thought it lasted forever, like plastic shopping bags and Joan Collins.

  252. They’ve FKD with the list of ingredients, too.
    When I was a kid the label read ‘Salt, Axle Grease.’
    Life was so much simpler then.

  253. Ah, salt and axle grease. Reminds me of the way my first boyfriend, Bad Boy Billy used to taste.

    Well, all you cyber cricket fans will be happy to know that the showers held off until after the Cyclones defeated the Jets by a rousing 20 to 5. Both teams scored higher than that, but you deduct five runs every time a batsman gets out. Admittedly sundries (wides and leg byes) probably exceeded actual runs by about 2 to 1, but nevertheless a resounding good time was had by all… or perhaps I should say most. The Jets coach was somewhat underwhelmed.

    Did you perishing hillside farmlet cop a much-needed sprinkling, Quokka? And how are all your feline refugees? I’m not telling Elf Boy about the kittens – he’s been agitating for one for more than a year.

  254. Well hi again folks. Y’know, I was up on the roof this morning, sawing limbs off the Jacaranda, when a funny thing happened. I fell off. Luckily my cat-like Pirate reflexes enabled me to grab the gutter off to my right. Sadly the gutter couldn’t support my Pirate build but at least I swung to the vertical and only broke my leg & probably popped the median cruciate ligament. Fifi is waiting till I’m completely recovered, then she’s going to kill me. Horribly. Looks like I might be missing any social gathering for the next few weeks unless they’re wheelchair accessible. Children can be so very, very cruel. And they nag. Hope you’re having a better weekend but then you probably deserve it.

  255. You whaaaaat?!!?? Oh, Greybeard, that is terrible! You poor love. Virtual healing hugs for you.

    (0) (0) (0) (0) (0)

    So, why is Fifi angry? Is it because she has to buy hyper-expensive post-flood grapes for your hospital bedside table? Is it because she now has to do all the mud mopping by herself? Or is it because she didn’t catch your stunt on camera, so she can’t send it in to Australia’s Funniest Home Videos?

  256. Tis said the Jacaranda tis a vindictive, spiteful tree.

    Poor Greybeard. Deepest sympathies and best wishes for a speedy recovery. And tell Fifi I’ll hold you down while she kills you.

    Would you like us to bring you to Ahmet’s in effigy? You could talk to the picture of Catty. I should warn you, though, that “propped on the cocktail menu” is already taken. You’ll have to lean on the serviettes.

  257. Catty, it’s all three. What hurts most is that she only gave me a 5.5 as I passed the window. I reckon 6.5 considering the degree of difficulty – though I did lose points on the landing.

    I’d love to go to Ahmet’s in effigy, thank you. Back in my teaching days I was once hung in effigy in the tuckshop. Very nice hangman’s noose and a well-enlarged photo back when such things were difficult. You know you’re doing a good job when they take so much trouble . . .

  258. Okay, email me a photo and we’ll take you along. At this rate we’ll have more virtual than actual diners!

    BTW, we WILL be talking about you behind your backs.

  259. Just turn the photos around when you do. I’ll just quietly read the cocktail menu, and Greybeard can draw stick men pictures on his cast.

  260. Nice try but if you hope to escape our jeers and mocking, you will have to try harder. I’ve already seen the video footage of you up on the roof in your cape, mask and wing suit and I know EXACTLY what really happened up there.

    Ahmet’s does indeed have ramp style disabled access and many, many tables with padded sofa style seats and cushions on which we can prop you up, the better to view your state of excruciating suffering. Also to save us bending when we write rude things on the cast.

    We can also provide a human screen for dear Fifi should she decide to smother you when you ask her to peel your grapes.

    Besides, I’ve already bought your condolence gift (pirate patch to go with the next little ‘accident’ your pet bird has in store for you) and Nbob has ordered a Disabled sticker for your car so you can park in the taxi rank right outside the restaurant.

    Aside from all this, they have an awesome cocktail menu, and I hear that painkillers are far more effective when sloshed down with a couple of cosmos and dirty harrys.

  261. Hmm…perhaps I should say something fitting for the occasion but aside from ‘ouch’ I believe your beloved wife has probably already covered everything I’d probably say to you anyway.

    So I’ll just say ‘What Fifi said,’….oh, and if you want I can give you the name of a tree lopper. Unless of course Fifi has already phoned the Bobbitt Branch, trunk and Root Lopper co.

  262. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Super Greybeard ! Scourge of evildoers, voider of warranties and staunch defender of scrub turkeys everywhere.

  263. All right.
    Those of you with legs, follow me.
    We need to discuss eating arrangements this sunday given that two of our number have succumbed to flood zombie type injuries.

    Janet has zombie fever and Greybeard as you all know has flood zombie related injuries and is living on codeine juice.

    Is this the only weekend that suits Ms Mayhem or could we put it off till the cries of ‘The Pain, The pain’ from our gutter swinging friend has dulled down to a defeated whimper?

    I’d be more sympathetic, but it’s not in my nature.
    Besides, if the CBG boys got wind of that they’d all jump off the roof if they thought it would get them a bit of TLC from the wimmenfolk.

  264. Truly, I wouldn’t know what to do with this “sympathy” of which you speak. Must be some strange foreign custom & probably nasty. Considering I haven’t seen the surgeon yet & I’m fairly immobile I think I’ll give Sunday a miss. I have emailed a photo to Madame M which may have you falling off your chairs as a replacement. Basically, as a fully qualified male, I would run a mile even in my present condition to avoid a decision but I’ll be happy with whatever happens. Time for me chemically assisted nap now. Wonder if I could wangle a sponge-bath . . . ?

  265. It would be lovely if Mayhem dropped in to speak for herself, but I gather this is not a “Last Chance to See” situation. She’s just wombling down to Melbourne to scope out job opportunities, and will be back in two? three? weeks before she takes the final plunge.

    Sorry to hear about Janet, though. Is it cholera or dengue or what? Get well soon, Janet.

  266. Am not really up to speed but she’s mentioned rats, fevers, sweats, and the brisbane city council.

    A nasty combination if ever I heard one & I’ll leave you all to speculate as to the nature of her disease.

  267. Hmm… Brisbane City Council, you say?

    I’m backing bubonic plague, but Lyme disease is also a possibility.

  268. Zombie Rat Plague!

    RUN SCREAMING IN TERROR!

    Oh. Sorry, Greybeard.

    BE CARRIED AWAY ON A STRETCHER, SCREAMING IN TERROR!

  269. We’ll need a roster for stretcher bearers to carry Greybeard, screaming in terror. I’m suggesting that Greybeard can concentrate on the terror-screaming, leaving the bearers with more wind for bearing.

    Quokka, would you care to join me on the first shift?

  270. Janet did mention that she was “fine, slapping my dead, rotting thigh” so I’m going for Z-virus. I bags not sitting next to her next time.

    The stretcher roster is kind in theory but I can’t help thinking that Quokka would drop me as a Z-decoy in a heartbeat. luckily I’ve modified the wheelchair (photos to follow) so you might be better off pushing me ahead of you to mow down the flood zombies with the multiple blades.

    Fifi is holding up well, especially since I got the small but piercing handbell. She smiles all the time. Sort of. She certainly shows her teeth a lot.

  271. Hey, if the cripple can’t operate a ride on lawn mower in the coming apocalypse, he’s no use to me. And there will be no stretcher bearing as long as he fits in a wheel barrow, which makes it easier to dump him on Colin’s mound.
    I’ll be handing him a stake, a lighter and a can of kero, and if he’s still alive when the zombies fall back, he can have a beer.

  272. Hey, Greybeard, did your library get washed away? I have a couple of Pratchett paperbacks that seem to have multiplied, if you want them.

    I like paperbacks. Especially ones with nice, soft paper.

  273. We lost a few hundred Catty – maybe a thousand – but very few of the most loved, thank ye kindly. They were either up in the attic or around at a friends place, high & dry. The copies of the times with the fears for the King of France (1791) and first reports of Trafalgar (1805) and the Mummy wrappings are all safe, and the latter were already stained (eeurgh). Most of the Pratchetts survived (love that man) and what didn’t can be replaced. Mostly (sob). I refuse to get worried about “stuff” when we’re all OK. Well, except for the acrobatics.

  274. Guys, Morgana’s right… I’m only away for a week this time, encompassing most of two weekends. (12th to 20th of Feb).

    Maybe we should be postponing this one ’til things settle down a bit? I really should be starting to get packed up. I need to go through the house with a felt tip or coloured stickers indicationg “Take to Melbourne”, Brat can have that” “Tip” and *shudder* “Garage Sale” (or EBay if I can work out how to use it).

    Ooohhh!! I’ve just had the best idea…. we can have a Burger Garage sale…. wouldn’t that be fun? Now you all just indicate your availability and I’ll schedule for the weekend that suits you best! (For mine it would be the weekend of the 12/13th of Feb 😉 .

  275. Seriously, maybe late Feb, early March would give us all time to get our ducks (or turkeys) in a row?

  276. Oh Lordy.
    We had such a foul time with the garage sale we had when we first bought Casa Quokka that the mere mention of those words sends us both into spasm.
    Tip: if you want to push the bloke over the edge, suck on a stick of wheat, pick your nose, and drawl, ‘Do you have any bric a brac?’

    We found that the seasoned junk hunters turned up at 4.30am, looked at the stack of 50’s furniture that had come with the house (deceased estate, from the blood stains in the mattresses I suspect the family murdered each other), offered 50 cents for the lot and then rolled their eyes and Farked Off.

    We are still scarred from seeing what crawled out of under so very many rocks & suspect that whoever it was that tried to break in a few months later was probably one of the subterranean rock dwellers.

    Never. Again.
    A friend said that a better alternative (to letting the rock dwellers know where you live, and what you might have worth stealing if they come back at night with a monkey wrench and a ladder) is to have a car boot sale at one of the markets.

    I’m in the throes of packing up the hoarded crap of ages and putting it into boxes and bags for lifeline, so thanks for the offer of exposure to the local wildlife but I think I’ll stick with that plan.

    So, this eating plan…do we postpone it, change it to breakfast, or what?

    Morgana was this a special trip to town for you or will you be here anyway? Because you know my philosophy, any excuse to eat out sounds good to me.

  277. Postpone away, my friends. We should have many tales of adventure, heartbreak and gangrenous flesh to share when we reconvene.

    Quokka, I’m coming down anyway for Chinese New Year and so Magic Man can visit his best-friend-in-the-world and attempt to mate Miss Fish – not personally, with a male siamese fighter. If you’d like to dine anyway, that would be fabulous.

    Oh, and count me out for the garage sale. We call that worthless crap that really should be taken to the tip “our furniture”.

  278. Sounds good.
    Ahmet’s then?
    I know you’ve been wanting that bit of baklava for some time now.

    I’d suggest a movie but unless things improve when they do the changes on Thursday, I can’t see much on.
    I think Ahmet’s is open from 12 – 2.30 on Sundays for lunch.

    If I make a booking, do you like tables with chairs (with actual backs to lean on) or the middle eastern cushiony sofa things that you can lie down and nap on?
    I realize given past conversations this may be a silly question…

  279. Oh, and it sounds like JB made a feeble attempt to organize a CBG gathering at some place in the Emporium, probably in Feb, just to fill everyone in.

    There didn’t seem to be a lot of interest but that may be because so many people have drifted off to the Lobes Free zone that is twitter.

  280. Hehehe. To avoid choking, perhaps real chairs? But I’ll be guided by you and am – as you know – always happy to recline. Ahmet’s at 12, then? Don’t worry about the movies, I agree that the programme is loaded with dreck. Plus it had sort of skipped my mind that I had to ferry the weasels home in reasonable time for school the next day. In addition, it will give Catty less to sulk about.

    As for the Burgers, we could always wander down again, maybe. Depending.

    How are you loving the saturation humidity today? I’m probably just imagining things, but there seems to be an odd expectant thrall in the air, as well. Perhaps I’ll go and tape up some windows…

  281. Tape?
    I had plans to break out the santa breath spray and paint ‘The End is Nigh’ on all of mine.

    The Bloke was rubbing his hands together because this week’s trip to FNQ for work has been put off and he’s hoping that certain disagreements about the rebuild of the hospital will be resolved by the fact that it won’t be there by this time next week. From the looks of the satellite photo, it’ll get blown all the way to Alice Springs.

    He does loathe renovations, its so much easier to start with a crater in the ground and work your way up from there.
    12 sounds good to me and if latecomers want to amble in later, that is fine by me.

    If you want to have a cocktail, you are most welcome to park at Casa Quokka & travel with us. My stomach is still in recovery from three meals out last week (death by preservatives) and the torture meted out by my pilates instructor last night.

    Not sure why they call it core strength but I suspect it’s because the exercises involved in acquiring it feel like someone has reached inside your abdomen and skewered your insides with an apple corer.

    So there’s no way I’ll be drinking anything other than water.

  282. Hehehe. “The End is Nigh”. That would make an awesome t-shirt slogan.

    Thank you for your kind offer but I’d best stay on the sober side myself, owing to the afore-alluded to trip back up the Bruce later in the afternoon. So it’s a carafe of Brisbane’s finest all round. Hmm… shall I bring the iodine tablets?

    Why not abandon Pilates and give Zumba a burl? A friend of mine is a Zumba instructor and her abs are so well defined they’ve got their own names.

  283. Sorry mayhem, only just saw your PS.
    I’m happy to do something late in Feb or early March but it may require some juggling.

    I’m planning to host a tupperware party for my flooded cat nurse friend, and to date me and the other vet staff have failed to narrow it down beyond ‘sometime in the last two weeks of February or in early march’.

    I’m good at herding cats, but herding the people who herd the cats may be entirely another matter. I’ll have to go with the weekend where most of us can make it.

    Not to worry though, you can all come here and eat chips and dip and fondle the latest bits of tupperware.

  284. O.k, I’m getting confused. Is this right?

    * Mayhem is wanting everyone to come to her place and run a garage sale while she’s in Melbourne.

    * Everywhere from Cairns to Bowen is about to be blown away by a cyclone.

    * Greybeard wants wheelchair access to get to reclining lounges.

    * Madam doesn’t want to recline in case Fabio shows up and lunges at her, choking her with his tongue.

    * Magic Man is doing obscene things with fish.

    * And there is now a t-shirt ‘specially designed for me. (I’m short-waisted. My End really is nigh. Not fun when I’ve been on the baked beans – my nose is too close to my butt).

    Oh, dear. it still doesn’t make sense. I need a bex and a good lie down.

  285. That’s pretty much it, with the added info of:
    * Girlclumsy’s iphone has exploded
    * Monster Yuppy and his wife are in mourning after losing their beloved cat to The Needle
    * Janet reckons she can’t join us because she’s planning a 15km bike ride.

    Oh, and if you don’t want to get caught in an elevator with Mrs. GB should it play the track ‘You can ring my bell’.

  286. for those of us too young, too old, or too addled to recall how it goes. Maybe we should get GB something less offensive than a bell.

    Maybe one of those things that duck hunters use to dupe the ducks into thinking they’re there to mate rather than shoot them.

    Havock would have a spare lying about the pondo, surely?

  287. Mmm… Tupperware. Hope I can make it!

    Speaking of “Ring my Bell”, I saw the clip for Paul Lekakis’s immortal classic “Boom Boom (Let’s go back to my room)” on Rage on the weekend. Funny stuff, particularly the lady with Farrah Fawcett hair, wearing lycra granny pants and a shirt tied at her waist. No evident sense of rhythm whatsoever. Couldn’t find the beat if you strapped her to a metronome.

    It should have been obvious even to the casual observer that Girlclumsy should never have allowed herself to be seduced over to Steve Job’s Dark Side. That lady needs one of those neoprene coated shockproof mobiles… the ones designed for tradies and coal miners.

  288. Maybe so, but there’s entertainment to be had watching the CBG boys rush to her aid to try to fix it.

    Like lemmings to the clifftop.

  289. Hmmm. I find this strangely interesting! A mating call you say? I might have a use for that even after I’m out of this verdammt chair.

    BTW I am busily putting rings on curtains & measuring things up & generally being as useful as possible. Oh the terror.

  290. Oh Quokka! I’ve just had an email from #2 daughter. Her hubby has arranged this: http://www.redbubble.com/people/bonj/t-shirts/6671404-1-colin-the-one-man-mud-army-dark
    You really have to have one, mmm?

  291. Fabulous design, Greybeard. But it doesn’t seem like sludge brown is one of the colour options. I’d also like to see it on a background of stained swamp camoflague.

  292. I’m waiting for the follow up to come out, i.e. the pop-art depiction of your fall from grace, with the caption ‘Colin pushed me’ beside the bubble scream and the SNAP of the cracked bone.

    On the back it should say ‘Why I don’t clean gutters’.

  293. Well, there you go. You don’t need a duck caller for Fifi, Greybeard. All you need to do is build a mound of leaf mulch when you’re in the mood. You should find plenty up on the roof, in the gutte…

    oh.

  294. Hang on a minute. What’s all this about Nat’s iPhone exploding? Never! I have an iPhone. I love my iPhone. It’s beautiful. Sleek and shiny, its touch screen is a marvel of modern technology. I can check the weather. I can take photos. I can do scientific calculations at the beach (it’s always nice to have sin and cos to go with my tan). I can even play games, like ‘Plants vs Zombies’. The only thing I haven’t been able to work out is how to actually call people with it.

  295. I will NEVER forgive that trigonometric pun, because I didn’t think of it. I will however steal it.

  296. You can keep cos and tan – just give me sin.

  297. Meh.
    I dreamed that I melted, died and found myself in hell.

    Then I woke up and realized I wasn’t dreaming.

    If I survive the chores I’m off to hide in the air conditioned cinema/oxford street cafes with a kindred sweltering spirit.

    Stay cool, peoples.

  298. I’m going to the freezer aisle at Woolies and am planning to stay there until it’s time to pick the weasels up from school.

    Do you think they’d mind if I brought a deck chair?

  299. We are off to the shopping centre to avail ourselves of the controlled climate within.

    I am taking a bag of gold coins with me. We are going to clean out the claw machine. Not because we need any of the crap in there, but because it will stop the kidlets bickering. For about three minutes.

    Meh. If it’s airconditioned, I can handle bickering. But I will wear my pointy-toe’d butt kicking shoes, just in case.

  300. There are people worse off than us, sweltering in the heat.
    Was driving home from air conditioned cinema and heard the slumlord next door on the radio, giving advice in her professional capacity to the folk in FNQ who are about to get blown to Uluru.

    Just as well none of her radio audience heard the screams next door when that torrent of water a few weeks ago flowed down the hill into the illegal flat they’d built on the ground level of Bog Hollow. Yup, she sure does have a grip on the concept of flowing water.

    I have a selection of neighbours who get themselves on the radio from time to time, dispensing advice as per their vocational choices, and every time I hear their voices I groan and think ‘Noooooooo….’
    Well, once again, The Lemming Queen has spoken.
    We are doomed, doomed, I tell you.

  301. Just watched the news and it seems Capn Bligh shares my sentiments.
    She made a rather testy remark about how the storm will start to hit hard about 7pm and people should understand that when the weather dweebs speak of it hitting at 10pm or afterwards, people should understand that they are referring to the eye of the storm, not the beginning of it.

  302. Catty, will your children NEVER go back to school? If you lived here, you’d be more than half-way through week 2 by now.

    Well, so far looks like FNQ has dodged a bullet. Unless you’re a palm tree, that is. I thought I’d wake this morning to scenes of mass destruction and carnage but no deaths so far, so that’s good.

    Of course, this means next time they have a huge alert and try to evacuate people they’ll tell them to stick it and plan barbies instead.

  303. I said as much to the Boss last night, Madam. Living in Townsville, Cairns, Ingham etc for so many years, I went through several cyclone scares. The thing about cyclones is they are totally unpredictable. Many of them bounce off the coast and hit lower down (usually in Home Hill/Ayr). Many more bounced off the coast and fizzled out into rain depressions. Lots of locals would have been complacent about Yasi for just this reason. And they’ll be complacent about the next cyclone.

    I was surprised so many people went to the evacuation centres, but I think it was more to do with the panic mentality that’s still hanging on after Brissie’s floods. Or maybe it was the free food, and a chance to get out of going to work.

    But they’re o.k for now, so there’s TWO reasons to celebrate. The other reason is….

    kids go back tomor-row! (hey!)
    kids go back tomor-row! (hey!)

    What are you waiting for! Get on the conga line! There’s a big bottle of Irish Cream in the fridge, we can grab it as we conga past.

    kids go back tomor-row! (hey!)
    kids go back tomor-row! (hey!)….

  304. Kids go back to-morrow! (*glug*)
    Kids go back to-morrow! (*glug*)

    Hang on, tomorrow is Friday. Whose genius idea was it to send them back to school on a Friday?

    Never mind, just pass me the Bailey’s again if you’d be so kind.

  305. That would be the state government. Typical Labor. When the Libs got in (November), they started reviewing and ditching everything Labor had done. Typical Libs. Anyway, they overturned the whole stupid concept of packing all the student free days in at the start of the year. But they didn’t do it until mid December, and by then it was too late to notify everyone of the changed starting date. See? They really ARE all idiots.

    I’m getting dizzy from all this conga-ing. Can we sit still and drink? *glug*

    I guess so.

  306. Mmm… sitting still and drinking. My second favourite thing in the world.

    I won’t tell you my first favourite thing. The costumes are a bit elaborate.

  307. Let me guess. Morris Dancing?

  308. I used to do Morris Dancing. Twirling and spinning and knocking sticks together. Stamping with one foot then the other. The Mini 1100K was the most fun. It was more agile than the 1500 wagon.

  309. Good one, Greybeard.

    No, Catty, it’s not Morris Dancing. But you could do it with someone CALLED Morris. But not Maurice – I can’t stand these new-fangled metrosexuals.

  310. So, if I understand you Madam, you aren’t keen on the Maurice Metro?

  311. Sounds like a French train. I’m pretty sure Madam would like the French bit, but I can’t say how she feels about trains.

  312. Not nearly as keen, Greybeard, as I am on the Triumph Stag.

    Trains have a fabulous rhythm, but they’re like boats – you’re stuck on them.

    Speaking of trains, though, did anyone see the French film “Subway”? I used to have such a HUGE crush on Christophe Lambert.

  313. Ah, and I wanted to *be* Jean Reno. The voice y’know. Just read a series of reviews of Luc Besson’s films that are out on Blu-Ray and realised I’d like to see some of them again, inc Subway, Nikita, Leon the Professional and even the Fifth Element.

  314. Wasn’t The Professional a fabulous film?

    * Sigh *

    I used to love sashaying off to some sleazy dive or other to watch art house movies. All I get to see now are talking animal flicks.

  315. If you want talking animals I have them to spare.
    Although you’d have to speak cat and their conversation is limited to ‘Let me in the house’ ‘feed me’ and ‘turn on the air con, bitch, or the dog gets it’.

    I’ve been trying to remember the Jean Reno film where he came back from the past as someone’s uncouth medieval ancestor. I’d only ever seen him in all those serious roles & was so impressed at the way he took to comedy.

    So, peoples, lunch on Sunday?
    GB I went through there the other day to have lunch with a girlfriend and they do indeed have a ramp/disabled access.

    They also had $15 lunch specials for weekdays, I think but I’m not sure that these apply to weekends, and I mention this because we had chicken & kofta burgers from that menu and both were rather delicious.

    So, GB, how much longer before they let you graduate to crutches? The friend I was out with on Wed spent 6 weeks on crutches, having broken her toes before Xmas, and she said if you’re smart you’ll stay in the wheelchair.

    OK folks I’m off to see if twitter is working today and to chase Monster to see if he’s joining us.

    have fun, kids.

  316. Mmm… kofta. Sunday can’t come soon enough.

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