Deck The Halls With … meh


It’s what, three weeks to Christmas and I haven’t done a single piece of shopping.  Not one piece!  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!


201 Responses

  1. The Bloke wants to take the Xmas tree to the coast. I’ve threatened to festoon it with storm troopers & aliens (think Ripley & Mars Attacks!) in order to help me get into the spirit of things. I think Khan Greybeard tweeted pix of a Cthulu Xmas ornament on their tree & that improved my outlook on the day considerably.
    Maybe next year.
    I raise your Meh & double it.

  2. My sole contribution to Christmas so far is the box of Christmas cards sitting on the table, waiting to be written in.

  3. Every time I hear a Christmas carol I want to throw up. Maybe I’ll get lightly run over by a car, and I can go to hospital for a nice, tinsel-free rest.

  4. The most enthusiasm I’ve felt for it thus far is the urge to shroud our water main in tinsel, and hang ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’ on it, just to piss the bitch off.

    • Well, she is certainly a Ho. I say go for it.

  5. Snap on the dirge-like or poppified carols. I hate them all. But I’m dragging the tree & ornaments up today and while Lyn & the wee evil one decorate it, I’ll wrap some presents. Not that we’ve got many. I don’t know why but this is the worst year ever for present-buying and general disinterest.

    PB has developed a fear of wind and rain and we had a good gale going the other day at nap time. Lyn was tucking her in and she was a bit nervous and said, “Granddad could stay, maybe?” So Lyn got me and I laid beside her mattress on a folded doona while she put her hand on my head and went to sleep. I had a stiff neck and a sore hip and was without doubt the happiest granddad anywhere.

  6. Oh, too cute. If I had tiny ones around, I could probably muster some enthusiasm. Maybe.

    • Just make sure you can talk about something else.
      The Bloke is looking forward to a Xmas day with his parents where they talk about nothing but their grandchildren (that they see every two years for about three days, and during which period everyone tries very, very hard to get away from them) and rub in his failure to pass on their DNA (I deserve a medal for that) and then if he can divert them from that, their only other topic of conversation will be their political obsessions & their xenophobia.
      Fun times.

  7. Our tree is up for the 12 days of Christmas. December 24th I will go and drag the bloody stupid thing out of the shed. January 5th I shall stuff it unceremoniously back into the shed. Yes, I know that means my tree will still be up when the Hot Cross Buns arrive at Coals, but I refuse to put my decorations up in bloody October.

    I must say, though, the Knox Westfield have outdone themselves. They’ve got massive gold baubles that slowly lift and lower over the balconies. I was mesmerised, watching the balls drop.

    • ” I was mesmerised, watching the balls drop.” Ah yes. I remember that.

    • There’s actually a really lovely tree-light display on the esplanade at Burleigh. So I’m hoping to persuade The Bloke we don’t need a tree at all if we just go down there every evening over Xmas & walk the dog up & down where we can see it. He can look at the tree & I can watch the waves curling in under the moonlight.
      Speaking of Xmas joy, Madame will be happy to hear that there are now Malteser Reindeers.
      Not sure if I posted that as our internet keeps crashing and losing posts, here at Toad Park.
      I can’t see the point in doing anything about it as we’ll probably move out in January and it’s good practice to get me acclimatised for what to expect from Telstra.

  8. Good old Knockers. I wish I was there, ball watching with you. Then I might get some damn shopping done.

  9. Who do I have to bribe to get them to drop one on NTO’s head?
    We’d be doing her a favour, really.
    She’d have to get a brain scan & they might find the toooma that’s compressing her frontal lobe.

  10. I doubt it’s a tumour. If it was a tumour it would be treatable.

  11. I don’t know about that. When MIL had her meningioma, the specialist couldn’t understand why she was still Woe is Me years later. He said she fell into the category of the 15% who don’t have brain damage from thei tooma and won’t end up being killed by it.
    Pointing that out to her just led to more ‘Woe is me.’
    You could see the bubble forming over his head wishing he could make her switch places with an actual nice human being that people are seriously going to miss.

  12. They might have taken out her tumour, but sadly there is no personality surgery available.

  13. Are you sure? Couldn’t we at least have a go at cutting into NTO’s head? I have a saw here and everything. It’s a bit rusty, but surely that won’t matter.

  14. She wheeled NTBF out into the front yard and handed him a drill today. He stood there for a long time looking confused as to what he was supposed to do with it, so I suppose he was probably thinking the same thing, Catty.
    I think she wanted him to drill her star pickets to the sleepers & someone far less demented than NTBF would probably stand there going ‘Eh?’ at that.

  15. I once heard about a serial killer who tortured his victims before killing them by drilling a hole in their foreheads and pouring bleach into their brains through the hole. Some form of lobotomy, I guess. Maybe NTBF was confused because he wasn’t sure which part of NTO’s forehead to drill.

  16. She already has at least one hole in her head so the diameter of it & the yawning emptiness within probably stupified him.
    Speaking of torture, I get to sit at home all day tomorrow waiting for the Optus tech to front up and explain why my internet keeps dropping out every 5 minutes despite the modem getting a Passable mark from their remote internet speed test thingy.
    If the world is plunged into darkness, it’s probably my fault.

  17. Nah, couldn’t be your fault. You’re far too adorable. I reckon the Glorious People’s Republic of China have probably hacked into Optus and taken all the Internetz away. Or (and this is far more likely) your phone line isn’t pretty enough, and your neighbour hacked it out of the ground so it won’t detract from the beauty she has wrought in her own yard.

  18. Tell NTO he’s come to see about relocating the water main. When he leaves, tell her, sadly, that it won’t be possible. Unless she demolishes her deck.

    • I like this plan so much I want to hug it and squeeze it and call it George.

  19. And the fence.

  20. The Bloke is kind of enjoying it just because if you know anything about building, it all looks so very, very bad.
    He has taken to referring to it as ‘NTO’s Cluster-Fart’ (He doesn’t say fart but it works, for purposes of substitution.
    As ghastly as it is, people who don’t know anything about construction seem to like it.
    The Chicken Lady up the back thinks that the boarding house looks lovely.
    The house that they’ve purchased is another appallingly built cluster-fart, but as long as people like her who have lots of money are willing to admire it, there’s a chance that someone reasonable will buy it as a family home, when NTO pops a disc doing something silly.
    She spent three days last week doing the Quasimodi silly walk, after trying to hoist something ridiculously heavy off the chippies’ ute, because they wouldn’t move it in a timely manner. She did it as the Bloke was walking past, which is what she does. She likes to call out ‘Oh yoohoo X could you just give me a hand.’
    And stupid people stop to help her.
    The Bloke has developed some unfortunate hearing loss so that he can’t her her whining over the bees in her nasturtiums.
    So hopefully she’s learned her lesson about thinking he might stop & help her if she ends up pinned to the ground by a terracotta bird bath.

  21. I don’t think terracotta is heavy enough to pin her down for long. Do Bunnings make anything in a lead-lined reinforced concrete birdbath?

  22. You’d need more than that. You’d need a lead-lined reinforced concrete coffin. Buried at the crossroads at midnight. With a mushroom ring around it. Even then I wouldn’t trust her not to stop passers-by so they can give her a hand…. or a brain.

    • LOL. You have a point, Catty. The next time they open up the Telstra pit down the road I’ll ask what they charge for making slum lords disappear.
      I’m sure it’s a profitable sideline, around here.
      The Bloke has been muttering ‘Why the hell can’t she obsess over the other neighbours the way she goes after us? We just aren’t that interesting.’
      He does have a point.
      I think it sends her crazy that she can’t see in here – she’s set herself up so she’s got eyries and turrets and peepholes all over that property (I think it’s why she likes to scale the roof – voyeurism) – and she just finds it utterly unacceptable that she can’t see in here.
      Obviously she’s worked out that the water mains is the issue.
      If only they would cut it off, we’d have to beg to borrow her hose, and ablute in the street.

      • Don’t forget garlic and holy water!

      • Aren’t there laws against street-abluting?

  23. Mmm … braaaaaaainnnnnnz.

  24. I’ve just ordered this for the Teenie for Christmas:

  25. That’s awesome! I might get one for Gigantor.

  26. Heeheheehee.
    Suck on that, Subway.
    Nice one, Catty.

  27. Right, I’ve bought two Christmas presents. Totally on a roll. Aim to finish by Thursday. Pray for me.

  28. Well done. And don’t buy them online, is my advice.
    I bought bonds knickers & they promised overnight delivery. It took nearly two weeks. I think they got stuck in the bottom of the parcel depot, because of all the unnecessary packaging.
    A dozen cotton G-strings and a clip-on coat-hanger for every single one.
    That’ll teach me not to be so lazy about going in to Target’s underwear sales.

  29. You could always get these:

    They have a great range at Best & Less. Beige AND white!

  30. I’m saving that as head-wear if I ever have to go into the public bar at Palm Beach.

  31. Vintage is pretty funny, and isn’t sissy a bit harsh?

  32. I like the Juicy Grape.
    I might send some to Princess Butt Wax to console her for the Australia Post enforced RTS of the parcels that her wax supplier is sending me.

  33. I hope she’s calling her new place House of Wax.

  34. It’ll be the house of board wax, because Prince BW is now in walking distance of the surf, so he can take his board out. And then when he gets in, he can stumble home via the pub.
    Hours and hours and hours where he’s inaccessible via mobile phone, and she gets to deal with the baby teething, on her own.
    I’m sure it’ll do wonders for their marriage.

  35. To be honest, sending our princes off to surf/golf/fish/drink so that they’re not underfoot demanding dinner/sex/silence while we are busy dealing with screaming, teething babies actually does help the marriage.

    • Look, I’d like to say something in defense of men.

  36. This is why Disney has it wrong, you really don’t want to marry a prince. You want a lowly commoner that will never question his status as a dish pig.

    • Oink. No wait – there’s a dishwasher! I’m a happy piggy.

  37. “…. and the princess lived in her own castle with her own money and ruled the people herself. And she lived happily ever after.”

  38. It’s much easier on your own. I discovered I wasn’t well suited to rule by consensus.

  39. My commands – with the man & the dog at least – are usually over-ruled by the cats.
    At least I know my place.
    Cat servant.
    That is all.

  40. Everyone’s place is to be a cat servant. That is, unless you are prey.

  41. Occasionally they muddle the two up.

  42. We slept in this morning. After being toddler prey since Monday afternoon. Seriously, she’s perfected a deep, growly voice and is now a bear. “Coming to eat you up!” I love that with mobiles you can record this sort of thing.

    Anyway, today we’re off to Ikea. What a treat! I might live-tweet the experience as Spanner has his Adventures in Japan. Won’t be that funny though – more “let me out, please!”

  43. Do that thing where you make puns out of the product names. And best wishes for getting out alive.

  44. Ikea? You really are having some bad luck lately, aren’t you Greybeard. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  45. I’ve been putting off the Ikea trip for ages. I know exactly what I need for the new house & I just can’t bear the thought of going in there. The Bloke is in such a state of denial that no matter how many times we zoom past the sign that says ‘Ikea Exit Here’ he insists that it doesn’t exist. I’d think he was dementing if it couldn’t be rightly attributed to trauma & a deep existential need to blot it out.

  46. If Ikea ever do mail order, they will probably increase their sales tenfold. I went once, about 9 years ago. Never again!!!

  47. Dear god yes. I’m already thinking of ways that I can avoid Ikea indefinitely.
    I need one of those fold out kitchen step-ladders for my pantry, and I want to take it down to the coast soon, as the smoke alarms are proving to be touchy. But I might get one from Bunnings instead.
    At least they don’t try to make it difficult to get the hell out of there, like the Swedes do.

  48. Good news, we got out with sanity intact. Or at least with no further damage. Bad news, we’re going back when I’ve put the roof racks back on. But that’s partly to get a glass display case for the fossils, a swivel chair and stuff so I don’t mind. Honest. I just wish Lyn hadn’t spent so much time looking from me to the case, then back to me, then the case.

  49. Quite.
    She would’ve saved a lot of time by taking a measuring tape, that way there’d be none of this eyeing you off against it to gauge whether you’ll fit.

  50. And now I’m remembering the undertaker scene from Back To The Future III. “Well, the odds are running 2 to 1 against you. Might as well be prepared.”

  51. Ha, I’d forgotten that. I meant to watch all of those again during the anniversary reruns but I got busy or forgot.
    This is why I love apple TV & netflix, instant video store gratification without the grief of the traffic & running into any of my obnoxious neighbours bickering in the aisles.

  52. I rather liked the experience of wandering up and down the aisles, looking for something fun to watch, arguing about what sort of movie we needed, and laughing at the cinema prices they put on the lame selection of lollies. Yet another Gen X experience that my Kidlets will never have. *sigh* I feel so old.

  53. I’m sure you’ll fit, GB. IKEA shelves are usually adjustable.

  54. It’s probably time to make some bad puns about ‘back on the shelf’ and ‘shelf life’ but thanks to another night of helicopters & yipping cattle dogs, you’re off the hook from me, for now at least, GB.
    I got sick of getting things from the DVD store because invariably you’d get them home and they’d be scratched, dirty and would jam. I’d take the thing back, have an earnest conversation with the 40yro manager, who would say ‘That’s rough, here, try this one.’ and would then put the ruined DVD back on the shelves.
    So I don’t have much sympathy for the demise of the stores around here.
    If that’s how they treat their customers, they deserve everything that companies like netflix can throw at them.


    Got a red suit, GB?

    Meanwhile, Quokka, you go and have a nap. I insist.

    Oh Madam, how did your shopping trip go? You’re still alive, so I’m assuming you said “Screw it” and sensibly spent the day slothing on the couch instead.

  56. Oh, if only. Still, I went in early and got out early, I think that was sensible. By the time I left at around 10:30, cars were circling for parks like hungry sharks.

    And now, the wrapping!

    Q, move over. I’m coming for a nap, too.

  57. Zzzzzz……zzzzzzz……zzzzzzz

    • Zzzzz Catty? Aren’t your wee ones home for the holidays yet? No more Zzzzz for you!

  58. The Teenie is home, but he has an XBox Live membership so I don’t see him much any more. The other two aren’t finished yet. Soon, soon…. Don’t worry, I have just made a trip to Dan Murphy’s for Stoli and Sangria, so everything should be just fine.

  59. Do they make a pre-mixed vodka and sangria? Hello, dinner.

  60. I’m eating lemon curd with a spoon out of the jar, and I plan to wash it down with an Afghan.
    It’s far too hot for proper food.

  61. “Too hot” you say? It’s 13 outside and a bit wet so I made a big cushion and blanket house between two chairs. She’s had the bears and Goldilocks over to visit (they get on quite well when she’s off the porridge, i.e. sober). There were people in the coffee shop this morning with beanies and scarves. I like this town. My online present shopping is flooding in, in plenty of time. Ordered two lab coats and bought some iron-on transfer printer paper. Jen gets an Osgood ID card, UNIT-badged coat, safety glasses and a bow tie. If you watch Doctor Who, it will make sense. Son in Law gets a Master Brewer coat with his “Slaughterhouse Brewery” logo on the pocket and back. And the Sylvanians are here.

  62. Sylvanians? BUNNIES!!!

    Sorry. I like bunnies.

    • Yup. The Cottontail family and a caravan. But I’m worried that Lyn might want to play with them first.

  63. Wake me when the Transylvanians arrive. I have no use for bunnies, but some bloodthirsty assassins, now that would be handy.

  64. What are bunnies going to do with a caravan? Go to Byron Bay for a surf?

    I thought they lived in burrows.

  65. Fifi isn’t alone. I’ve been tempted to sneak into MK’s room and play with MK’s Sylvanian caravan many times.

  66. I like the shop, with all the dear little products.

    If men who like My Little Pony are Bronys, what are grown women who like Sylvanian Families – Sylvaniacs?

  67. Guilty. I’ve even been known to make little outfits for them.

  68. Oooh – what are their dimensions? I could knit them some teeny little jumpers.

  69. They might prefer racy underwear.
    I know they look cute when they’re little but they all turn into sex-crazed little harlots when they grow up.
    That’s why they couldn’t use them in films like Toy Story. The Sylvanian bunny would’ve been pole dancing to a Nicki Minaj song.

  70. At least they don’t have marathon sex orgies to the death like Antechinus.

  71. True. That would be a Miley Cyrus video.

  72. Or Schoolies Week.

  73. Or O-week.
    Remind me when that rocks around to advise Niece that she needs to stay Elsewhere. I’m not cut out for babysitting anybody’s partying teen.

  74. Was she finishing this year? If so, congratulations – you’ve already missed it.

  75. Yeah she’s finished school, been to schoolies, and is taking a gap year to go work as a camp counsellor. Think Addams Family Movie 2.
    She says she’s coming up for O-week at Griffith gold coast campus though, so that she can look around.
    I’m ambivalent about the current trend of Gap Years.
    I took one, unintentionally, after I didn’t get into my first choice & I got propelled by my family into something I really, really didn’t want to do. (High School teaching, SHUDDER!) I lasted about 6 weeks, drank heavily & twitched all the way through it before finally succumbing to nervous collapse, deferring & slinking off gratefully into typing school.
    That three months of learning to type, and working for the rest of the year till I went back to uni still has to be the best thing I’ve ever done.
    I guess I just don’t understand why you’d need a gap year if you know what you want to do & you’ve got the marks to get into it.
    They get three months to go surfing & get stoned between the end of school & when uni starts up, I don’t understand how leaving school can generate such incredible exhaustion that they need a year on the sofa afterwards to recover.
    And it’s not like uni is taxing – four subjects, and they only need to rock up to tutorials because of the voluntary attendance requirements for lectures thanks to everything being on film & accessible via the internet. Uni is fun. Lots of fun. So much fun that I’d never leave if they didn’t make me graduate & eff off.
    I guess the positive is that if they go back to it a year later they are a bit more mature & possibly more motivated by money rather than teenage angst.
    I’m getting old.
    In some kids who are a bit lost I can really see the value of a gap year. With this one, I’m not sure what the point is. Aside from that they live near a really good surf beach.
    Oh yeah Duh. Go back to sleep, Q.

  76. I had to go to LK’s graduation ceremony last night. Huh. When we finished primary school, we had a plate of Arnott’s assorted and a plastic cup of cordial on the last afternoon, right before they handed us our report cards and kicked our prepubescent butts out the door. There was certainly no ‘graduation’, thank goodness! It was held in a theatre, no less. Three hours of song and dance routines, blowing smoke up each others’ arses, giant trophies for all the pushy kids, a speech by the local MP…. I’ve never seen so much wank for so little achievement.

    If that’s any indication of what graduating from high school is like, I’d need a year to recover too. As it is, I could easily nap until Thursday. It was exhausting!

  77. You had biscuits and cordial? Luxury!

    • One packet of biscuits and one bottle of cordial between the lot of us. And we were grateful.

  78. I may* be a cranky old fart but yeah. A niece put up photos of her son’s “graduation” from Ducky Day Care. He was wearing a mortar board hat with a rubber duck on top. Methinks it’s all for the look-at-me parents, staff and pollies, not the kids. Also makes a bit of a mockery of actual meaningful graduations.

  79. Really? Oh, dear. We really are all doomed, aren’t we?

  80. I might have gone to my Uni graduation if I’d been allowed to wear a duck on my head.

  81. Sigh. The GrandEvil has devoured enough breakfast to fuel a lumberjack, put bears on one of the speakers, selected her outfit, chased me around, conversed with a magpie and much much more. It’s exhausting just watching her, not that that’s an option. We’re off to the library now. Wish me luck.

    • Yeah it’s weird. All part of the helicopter parenting I suppose.

  82. In other news, only 11 days of terror until the Big Day. How’s everyone travelling?

    • I read ‘travelling’ as ‘unravelling’ so you can interpret that however you want.

      • Par for the curse. I was going to correct that to “course”, but curse actually works quite well.

  83. Not too bad here. More boxes of presents arriving so we may make it. You lot?

  84. Ugh. Don’t ask. I have 27 rice coo… uh, surprise gifts to wrap and post. If I don’t get it done by Wednesday, I will have to express post them all. And I STILL haven’t written a single Christmas card. I have, however, purchased a carton of condensed milk cans, so when I find time (HAH!) I will be able to make many, many caramels. Mmmm….

    • Mmm … caramels.

    • Catty all of my mail to Toad Park is now being redirected to my new PO box at Burleigh. Don’t express post mine just because I have left this so late. I will only check the PO box once a week till we move so any rushing on your part will be a wasted effort anyway. At least with a box & the redirection my mail should be safe from the ganja bus & NTO’s insatiable curiosity.

  85. Most shopping done. Now the posting. I’m planning to wrap on Christmas Eve. May the Weeping Angels have mercy on my soul/

  86. I would have to plan the wrapping for 18th November for it to be done by Christmas eve. I am that disorganised.

  87. I can’t stop thinking about your $400 calculator. Should we organise a Kickstarter?

  88. We might want to save that for February. I think that’s when the Boss’s care team are going to make their next attempt to kick him out onto the dole queue.

    • I will have a kitchen by then so you can just run away & stay with me. Leave them my PO box number for emergencies, I’m sure we’d get around to checking that by Easter. They’ll send Lindt bunnies if they want to lure you back, surely?

  89. Sigh. Stupid welfare cuts.

  90. We’re still looking around for houses. TBH I really want to stay here. Really, really want to stay here. Mainly because the mere thought of packing up our huge mountains of crap gives me panic attacks.

  91. Oh, I know what you mean. I hope never to move again.

    • I can’t wait to move. But I’m starting to think I might pay someone to pack it all up & do it for me.

  92. I’d have to hire someone with a backhoe and a skip.

    • LOL good plan Catty. See if you can get a 241 deal that includes me.

  93. Well the move to Melbourne still gives me literal nightmares. As in “it’s the last day, the house is full of junk and we’ve no way to shift it”. But by all accounts it was a relatively trouble-free and painless move – I’ve heard of much worse. So…

    * We packed a lot of our own stuff that wasn’t breakable – clothes, books, tools, CDs and so on and that was OK except the box that disappeared. That saved us quite a bit.
    * Some really special stuff we took down in the car and stored at D#2’s house and that was all OK.
    * The company sent a packer to do crockery, paintings, TV etc that needed an expert touch and he was great. That cost but all of that survived.
    * The loss and damage was all in the “shove in the container” phase. One box with my new leatherman and other computer stuff disappeared. But we had 600 items and there’s no way on the day you can watch the movers scraping your walls and dropping your gear *and* check every item is there.

    In theory you can sell back the boxes to a moving company but I’ve never done it. CBB and they give you nix. The busted ones have gone in the recycling and there are scores of collapsed solid ones, some full of packing paper, under the house. Maybe someone who’s moving will do us a huge favour and take them off our hands some day (looks casually but hopefully at Catty)?

  94. I would love to take them off your hands, GB, but there’s one small problem. We have run out of the folding stuff, so we can’t afford them. If, however, you would take a batch of caramel fudge as payment….?

    • Catty! They’re freebies and Lyn would love you for getting rid of them. It really would be a favour as they take up heaps of space in my man cave.

  95. I’ll take some fudge. What do you want to swap?

    • TGP?

      • No! I do love fudge, but I love snuggles even more. Anyway, Catty needs another kidlet like she needs … well, another kidlet.

  96. So that suggestion was doubly evil? I’m on a roll!

    Anyhoo, for all my gloating it’s heading for 38 here today and 41 tomorrow. I put the evaporative cooler on this morning and we’ll see if it copes, i.e. if we cope.

    Also, brother in law (the Joh-loving one) is unlikely to last past Xmas. Palliative care is being very successful, no pain at all and all his kids have been to say goodbye so I guess it’s going as well as can be expected? Cancer sucks.

  97. Oh, that’s awful. Still, no pain is good. Give Lynne a big hug from me. And good luck with the heatwave – do try to keep yourself nice.

  98. You are a darling, GB. Thank you. I shall be in touch to arrange picking them up when it is possible to venture out without dissolving.

    I may be MIA for the next 48 hours, as I am about to get in the pool and I don’t plan on getting out again for some time.

  99. Oh, I wish I was with you – office Christmas party tonight, pray for my soul.

  100. I think I’d rather be at the office xmas party here in the drizzly 26C comfort of SEQ than be in Melbourne at the moment. Sorry MM but you’ll have to dip into our patented box of excuses (‘I have to go. My child just rang & said the babysitter has been bitten by a scorpion. I knew it was a mistake to give him that scorpion before Xmas, I do hope it hasn’t run out of venom.’) while I allocate my spare stores of sympathy to the heat afflicted southerners.
    Nasty news about the nasty relative, let’s just hope the medics are smart enough to keep him so bombed up on drugs that he can’t think of anything horrible to say on his deathbed.
    i.e. ‘Luke, I know I said I was your father but actually it turns out I’m not. Your real father is..hicc..cough…gurgle…beeeeeeeeeep.’
    I do actually know someone whose mother saved that up as a deathbed confession so nup, I’m not kidding around.

  101. Well, I suppose the best we can say of her is that she was very good at keeping a secret.

  102. Well done that soggy Catty. The cooler is doing quite well here, thanks to the low humidity. The Grandevil has been paddling in a laundry basket sort of thing full of cold water and playing in the sand & water table, eating frozen fruitblocks and generally being happy.

    We were worried that BiL would say something untoward but he’s behaving well. He’s been running down his kids and grandkids for years behind their backs, after which we praise them and awkwardness ensues. Which they’ll never know with any luck. And there was worse. But the goodbyes were nice as far as I know. Secrets are supposedly bad but I’m quite content to have them remember him as a better man than he was.

  103. That’s why they lay on the booze at the wakes, Greggles.

  104. I’m hoping that my last words are, “I hid the million dollars in the….”

  105. LOL.

  106. Mmm … million dollars.

  107. So…. hot….

  108. Greybeard tweeted around 1pm that their power went out. Then he tweeted ‘running out of battery’.
    And he was never seen or heard of again.

  109. We survived! Turns out possum fur makes great insulation…

    I was worried because we’re having niece’s family, Jen plus Sandy’s lot over this afternoon for an extended lunner and drinks and the forecast is 39. But it’s Melbourne innit? Tomorrow will be 21 and the cool change should hit right about the time the guests arrive. I’d better lay a fire just to be sure. Tex is touring and his family is in hippie-land so no huge Xmas gathering this year, which I much prefer. You don’t get to really talk to people when there’s about 30 of them wandering around and it’s much nicer to have a few smaller, spread-out gatherings. Helps that we left the nasty ones back in Qld too. Snerk. Hairy GBS arrives on Tuesday for a week too!

  110. Well that sounds like a good time to be had by all. Fingers crossed for the cool change.

    Catty, are you still with us, love? Or have you wilted.

  111. Hurrah! I’m knackered but happy. Ate, drank, talked and teased etc from 2 – 7:30pm. The possum woke up when the change came through and wandered over for a snack. Youngest grand-niece fed him (first time she’d done it) and was mightily pleased. The kids read comics, played the piano and put a Star Wars robot into a video with me in which it blasted me with lightning. Nice.

    Um, Catty? Are you there dear? It’s much cooler now, honest.

    • Yes, our ringtail came out for a scurry when the cool change hit, too. He’s grown a lot. We wouldn’t have recognised him if he hadn’t stopped scurrying long enough to say hello.

  112. Ugh. That heat was revolting. And we get to do it all again in a couple of days. Joy!

  113. I really hope it’s not like that for Christmas, for you. That is my Christmas wish.

  114. Thank you, sweetie. It’s supposed to be mid-30’s on Thursday and Friday. Not as bad or as long as this last spell, which makes it far more bearable. It also means I had better get my cooking done Wednesday, when it’s only 29ºC. I don’t have to do much, just the Christmas cake, caramels, Irish cream and two batches of shortbread. Which reminds me, I’d better get some blueberries tomorrow for the cake.

    I have mailed you a parcel – you might want to tell TGP not to bother opening it for you. Purple really isn’t his colour. He’s more of an aqua man.

    • I think he’s more of a Green Arrow.

  115. Last day of work for 11 days! So excited I couldn’t even sleep in this morning!!

    Oooh, parcel. Has yours arrived yet, Catty?

    How’s the heat today?

  116. Woohoo! Happy holidays MM.
    Speaking of parcels, I got yours from the post office box yesterday at dawn so Mwah and thank you Catty, Love.
    I had a long post at your blog which I lost when the reception failed at Casa Caramello. Weird that it’s OK with my blog but it smurfs itself with yours.
    Anyway, back in Brisney Land & I’m thinking I’ll hang out here for the next few days as the Bloke has his ‘I have to visit my parents’ grumps & if I stay here & he stays down there then he can work that out of his system without the usual process of taking it out on me.
    And I have missed my netflix.
    So yeah, we are on for Boxing Day, MM, thanks to the toxic levels of nastiness oozing forth from his parents.
    They expect him to provide them with a hot roast meal on Xmas day, one that hasn’t been cooked in their kitchen, and as we don’t have an oven at Stockland, it means he’ll have to cook it here.
    I pointed out that if we were in Perth & we went round to my 82yro cousin Noel’s for Xmas day he would greet us at the door with his own home-made yo-yos and a steaming tray of freshly baked (from scratch) sausage rolls.
    Somehow pointing out my FIL’s combined levels of domestic ineptitude & entitlement didn’t go down terribly well.
    I’m staying here.
    Tell me what you want to do. I vote for cups of tea, giggling at NTO’s letter boxes & eating chocolate, which I will provide. Just let me know what time suits you.

  117. Merry Christmas everyone!

  118. Yep. Hope you all had/are having a lovely day. We survived another one. Lyn has declared that we’re doing b-all tomorrow and who am i to disagree?

    • Merry Christmas, Greybeard! Give Fifi a big hug from us, will you?

  119. Happy Xmas all, I’m glad you survived it.
    The most effort that I went to yesterday was scrunching up balls of Xmas wrap & watching the cats chase after them. The Bloke & the Dog went south to cook his parents a roast lunch & I read a novel, napped, watched a movie, & went to bed.
    He stayed over at the coast house last night so I didn’t have the worry of him driving back through the enraged Xmas traffic.
    From the sounds of things, he & the dog are so content down there that it’s highly unlikely they’ll come home. I might have to text him a long & arduous To-Do list in hopes that he’ll decide it’s more restful here in Brisbane.
    It’s a lovely time of year here, as most of our obnoxious neighbours & their yipping cattle dogs eff off to parts unknown.
    Even NTO has been for the most, invisible. She’s removed all of her outdoor furniture from her deck so that she can hose it down every day. Normally she wheels NTBF/Bernie out onto the deck in his cap & his shades so he can leer at the passers-by, but he’s vanished, too. I assume he’s been bussed off to torment some of his relatives but the daily deck hosings do make me wonder if she’s trying to sanitise a crime scene.
    Thank Smurf that’s over for another year.

  120. Yes, I’m glad it’s over. The heatwave is over, too. Hurrah! There’s some lovely cool rain falling outside, and I fully intend to stay in bed until lunch time.

    I’m a bit worried about Morgana. I hope TGP hasn’t gone all Norman Bates on her. If she doesn’t surface soon, we may have to ring the authorities. Isn’t she due at yours today, Q? Please give her a big hug from me.

  121. That’s odd. I posted an answer yesterday & it’s vanished.
    iPad goblins.
    She’s fine, back home tonight.
    I’ll be heading back to Casa Caramello tomorrow so I’ll be back to one bar of mobile phone reception.
    Meh, and Meh.
    I wish we’d get some decent rain too, Catty. It’s clobbering the hippies at Woodford & the bayside suburbs right now but it’s just skirted around us.
    Looks like I’ll have to go out tonight & shift the sprinkler.
    How’s the air, Catty?
    I’ve been reading about those terrible fires.
    Heartbreaking, all those lovely houses, gone.

  122. It’s a distressing thing, but at least nobody died. We are too far away for the displaced wasps to swarm all over our trees, and we’ve had no smoke haze either.

    Now they’re moving into the charity phase of the fire. People are calling for donations to take to the afflicted, but they’re not doing so well. Last time there were a lot of opportunists who went around asking for things, but instead of delivering the stuff to the affected communities, they flogged it off at markets and kept the money. So people are leery about giving anything to collectors. There were even scammers claiming to have lost their houses so they could get government assistance, or worse, walking into banks and pretending to be homeowners in the area so they could get their hands on title deeds.

    They say scum floats to the top, and there’s always someone who is willing to profit from others’ suffering, but there seems to be so much scum these days it’s hard to see exactly what it’s floating on. Apathy, probably.

  123. Lovely storm last night, but my Fraser Island Apple tree looks a bit sick. It likes having the hose left on it a few times a week, Who would have thought something from Fraser Island would be so sensitive?

    I saw some footage last night and there’s just nothing left, poor people. I kept thinking even if you were insured and could rebuild, you’d still be surrounded by nothing but scorched earth. Poor, poor, people.

  124. Rebuilding will be a long process.
    Typically what happens after fires is that town planning set out a new batch of fire-proofing building codes, so they’ll have to pay for new plans & then click their heels waiting for approval. I’d say it’s highly unlikely they’ll be able to rebuild the way that things were. And then it’s a matter of access, and getting the tradies & the materials down there.
    We drove along that stretch of the Great Ocean Road 7-8 years ago, from Melbourne to the Coorong, so we recognised the smouldering ruins of those expensive holiday homes that the media keeps playing.
    Those ones will be insured & the owners won’t be shy of a quid anyway, but it’s the less-well heeled people that will really suffer.
    They’re worried about temperatures over the New Year, now, & that there’ll be even worse bush fires then.

  125. The Boss said he saw a TV program that estimated 90% of people in Victoria aren’t insured, not even their cars. It doesn’t surprise me. Insurance is one of the first things to go when the budget is tightened, and the cost of living has been spiralling furiously upwards for the last 8 years, thanks to our stupid politicians and stupid deregulation and stupid greed….. oh, dear. I’m ranting again, aren’t I?

  126. Insurance does cost an insane amount, though. It’s no wonder so many people try to fiddle it.

  127. The Bloke read that same statistic & said that most people weren’t insured ‘adequately’.
    We’d fit into that category.
    If you want kick-arse insurance you have to pay through the teeth for it.
    I guess our philosophy is that life is a gamble & if you come out of a disaster with the insurance covering 60-80% of what you’ve lost, it’s still better than starting again with nothing.

  128. Yup. We had no flood insurance at Chelmer, like most other people there. We foolishly bought the line about Wivenhoe stopping any future floods of that magnitude. Our fault, no one else’s. So that knocked between $200-250k off the price of the house when we sold it and put an end to building Sandy’s lovely design on the back half of the block. And that doesn’t take into account the actual flood losses. But I’ll take six floods over one fire. Much of what we had was safe in the attic or stacked high enough downstairs to survive and we had a dirty, smelly but more or less intact home to go back to. The losses of those poor people (insured or not) must be emotionally devastating. One of Sandy’s rental places burned down as did the house of a friend(?) in Chelmer.

    But the great thing was that no one died. And here we are, on the side of a nice high hill which won’t flood unless Noah comes back and is (we think) outside the bushfire zone. And we still cough up for insurance though it hurts more every year. But unlike many Boomers, we’d like to pass something to the kids, particularly Jen who doesn’t exactly save up on her DSP.

  129. Good on you, GB.
    Yes a fire would be devastating. At least with a flood or a storm you get some sort of warning. Fires just happen, out of the blue. They say that most marriages don’t survive a fire. So that’ll be the next thing that hits those poor sods.

  130. The mere thought scares the proverbial out of me. I think that’s why I like having so much crap. If it’s all densely packed in, it will burn slower. Hmmm… maybe that theory explains Mother’s cooking?

  131. Oh Lordy. Don’t talk about packing in. It reminds me, it’s time for me to start packing up, now that I’ve shifted all the furniture out of the guest room. Happy news, though. As we were driving back through Mudgeeraba yesterday I got a text from Hellstra saying that my modem is on it’s way. So assuming they aren’t lying through their teeth, I’ll have the internet on soon.
    Thus far I’ve had three different people tell me three different times to expect it.
    1. 6th Jan
    2. 2nd Jan
    3. It’ll get there some time in the new year.

    Did I tell you the idiocy of that one, Catty?
    I told them we aren’t living in the new house yet & it’s full of tradies. So can they send the modem to my PO box at Burleigh?
    It isn’t secure there. You need to be on site to sign for it.
    (Q lists conflicting dates at which Hellstra staff have said I must be at home to sign for it & says Not Going To Happen, I will not be there, can the painter sign for it?)
    Hellstra: No. You need to be there to sign for it otherwise it will be dropped off at the nearest post office & you will get a note in your letter box saying that you have to go pick it up.
    Q: yes, back to that, so if it’s going to get sent to the nearest post office anyway, why can’t you just arrange to send it to my PO Box at Burleigh?
    Circular conversation resumes with: ‘It isn’t secure.’
    Sweet Baby Cheeses, who makes up these cockamamy rules?
    Anyway. At least I’m one step closer to having the Interwebz on at Coastal Casa Q, so at least I’ll be able to talk to you guys while I’m soaking up the serenity.
    We were there for 5 hours yesterday arvo & we did not see a single neighbour. Not one.
    As opposed to when we were loading the van & a procession of NTO’s tenants wandered out on the street like scavenging roaches, and made a point of walking down our driveway & peering into the van.
    I will never understand WTF it is about this street that there are so many people who need to get right up in your business & invade your personal space.
    We just aren’t that interesting, truly.
    Thankfully the good people of Pleasantville seem to have figured that out.
    I’m on the downward roll of my escape cycle.
    Hasta luego.

  132. Just remember my golden rule of packing. If you haven’t unpacked a box within two years, you don;t need whatever it is and it can go straight to St Vinnies.

    Come to mention it, I have some donations to make….

  133. Oh, bugger. What’s the bet one (or more) of the tenants will have called NTO and told her about the van? She’s probably seething right now, wondering how to get home early and grill you for information.

    Still, at least you will have your modem soon. Assuming Telstra doesn’t leave it in a secure location like, perhaps, NTO’s letterbox. Seriously, telcos can be that stupid. When we transferred to Dodo, we didn’t get the first online invoice. I called them three days later and asked about it. They told me they had sent the bill to my old email address, which they themselves had deactivated. Um…? They told me I would have to formally request an extension for payment. I told them… no, I’ll let you work out for yourself what I told them. Hint: it wasn’t polite, and I may have used the word ‘Idiot’ a few times.

  134. At least you get bills from Dodo. I’ve heard from many people that if they have a direct debit on your account, they take however much they want whenever they feel like it.

  135. Yep. Invoices & internet banking, FTW.
    We’ve got Jim’s Mowing doing grass control until we move in & every fortnight she rings me to find out why I haven’t paid my bill & then she has to apologise because the Bloke has paid it, and she’s been confused by the different names.
    Every time it happens, I tell her to hyphenate our names so that she’s not so confused, or to just look at the invoice number, or to change it to just the Bloke’s name, but that just seems to add to her confusion.
    Perhaps she used to work for a TelCo before becoming her husband’s book-keeper?
    Toad Park shouldn’t get any more of our mail – I’ve had it all FWDd to the Burleigh PO box – and the modem is off to Pleasantville, so it’ll either end up at Robina, Mudgeeraba, or Burleigh post office. Robina has lots & lots of shops where I need to buy stuff, Mudgeeraba has the best pineapple tarts in the world & Burleigh has the Donut King, so it’s not such a bad deal, really.

  136. Dodo tried to get me to sign up for direct debit, but thanks to Morgana’s warning I knew better. Now they’re trying to trick me into it. I’m dodging them at every turn, but’s getting annoying. If it wasn’t for the unlimited downloads and a houseful of teenagers with an addiction to Youtube videos, I’d probably tell them to… well, you can imagine.

  137. Dodos have long necks. Your suggestion would probably be anatomically more manageable than for a mere human.
    I’m contemplating an Ikea trip.
    When do we think would be the quieter time to do that, this morning, or next week?

  138. IKEA!

    You should have taken me! It’s as if you don’t care.

  139. You read my mind.
    In the absence of sage advice from those wiser than I, I left it for another day.
    I hit the garden with the Rapid Take Down Round Up, instead.
    Here’s hoping NTO’s Chinese Elm suckers drank it all in, and they wake up on New Year’s day looking good & sick.
    So lovely to be able to poison the really nasty burrs & things on the footpath without NTO appearing & offering up the temptation of squirting it full in her face.
    Do you think it’d make a dint in her hat, or just bring her out in hives?

    • I wouldn’t risk it. NTO + Round Up might produce something akin to Godzilla the Slumlord.

  140. But Greybeard, she already IS Godzilla the Slumlord.

  141. Yup. The Chinese Elm suckers have greeted the new year looking greener and brighter than they did the day before, just proving my theory that they glyphosate is their equivalent of a cucumber face mask.
    I think I’ll have to inject them with blackberry killer.
    I’d slip some into her tea, but being akin to the Elms she probably mixes it with soda on the rocks every night as she’s tuning in to Antiques Roadshow.
    We’re off to the coast to see what the painters have achieved & so that we don’t have to spend New Year’s day listening to The Scritching.
    I had all our boxes outside in the courtyard, waiting for me to vacuum them off, so I brought them in to the house before she could sneak in & see them.
    The whole time I was out there, I could hear her breathing & shuffling quietly on the other side of the fence, listening in, no doubt hoping the Bloke would say something interesting. Just as well she couldn’t see the look on Miss Kitteh’s face when she arose & saw the boxes.
    She’s currently running around the house having hysterics.
    Smart cat, that.

  142. I meant to say, one of the nicest features of your new entertainment area out the back is the snoop-proof screen.

  143. Thank you!
    If she tracks us to the new house she’ll be bitten to shreds by snakes if she tries to snoop. Almost worth giving her our new address, and a cyclone-strength flash-light.

  144. Snakes? SNAKES? Oooh, is that the time? I really must be going. Sorry I won’t be moving in Q love, I have a… thing. A really important thing. Somewhere else. Where there are no snakes.

  145. We’ll get you a snake-suit, Catty. It’s like a dry-land stinger suit.

    • Does it look like the outfits Emma Peel used to wear? #Rowr

      • I’ll get my avengeance for that one,. GB.

  146. Hahaha.
    Catty, I feel so much safer there amongst the snakes than I do here in Vagus amongst The Freaks.
    Why, we went out today & left the front door unlocked for 90 minutes & I didn’t feel the vaguest sense of anxiety about it.
    On our third trip to Bunnings in as many days, today, I asked the Bloke (for the 3rd time) ‘Did you lock the front door?’
    Picture the Bloke, backing out of the driveway, deep in thought, looking puzzled, until we get to the duck pond at the top of the street, ‘No, I thought you did.’
    As he has the only set of keys & the door won’t lock without them, I’m not sure why he thought this.
    Short of shouting ‘Colloportus!’ and waving my hexing finger, I don’t know how he thought I’d be locking the door.
    Magic, perhaps?
    I debated having the ‘Turn around & fecking shut it then,’ argument, but I decided it wasn’t worth it.
    I figured the worst that would happen if we left the door unlocked was that Spray Tan Barbie might sneak in & steal his X-box, his television, & a kilo box of Quality Street chocolates that Woollies were throwing out for $3.45 yesterday.
    And that the dog, having bounced for an hour on Burleigh beach at 5am, and then sucked down a Tramadol, would doubtless snore through it.
    Since she doesn’t work Sundays & I would think she’s sleeping off the mother off all druggy hangovers from New Year’s, I decided we’d risk it.
    Besides, I’d eaten most of the orange & raspberry creams & better the remaining 800gm go on her arse than mine.
    The TV, the X-box, & the chocolates were all there when we got back 90 minutes later. By which point I’d forgotten all about the unlocked front door.
    The lock is broken & it needs fixing, but of course the day that the locksmith was there to change the locks & fix the broken ones, he & the Bloke put their heads together & decided there was no need to do any actual work, and anything that needed fixing, replacing or doing could wait for a day when I was there to shout at them, wave my hexing finger, kick their arses & make them actually do it.
    Anyway – my point is that you can’t do that around here.
    NTO would rocket straight through the door to add ratsac to our oatmeal, and if she wasn’t around, the junkies would be in here, stealing it.
    We drove around the suburb last night to admire what’s left of the Xmas lights, and to soak up the serenity, and I was amazed at how many women were out, that close to 9pm, jogging & walking on their own, plugged in to their noise-cancelling headphones. If you tried that in my block, you’d wind up strangled under a bridge, and that after being under a meth-head or a glue sniffer, beforehand.

  147. 1 Kilo boxes of Quality Street? Woollies you say? Excuse me, I’m just popping out for a few minutes….

  148. My mistake, they are 820gm. I just went to google them & found that they’d downsized their Xmas boxes this year. I didn’t even notice, & given the temptation to buy two boxes in the $3.45 sale, probably that’s not a bad thing.

  149. I went to the shops, and when I saw all the stupid SALE!!! signs my brain just said ‘nope’. So I turned around and came home again with nothing but a loaf of bread which it turned out I didn’t need, and a packet of mince to make into meatballs. Meatball spaghetti for dinner…. mmmm…. Doubly so as I made the sauce in the crockpot, so it was simmering for almost 24 hours and tastes like something you’d get at an Italian grandma’s house. I’ll have to remind the kidlets not to spill any on the floor, as I suspect it would strip the varnish right off the floorboards. Yep, it’s that good.

  150. Happy belated birthday to Catty! And many mwahs xxxooo

  151. Mmmm….meatball spaghetti…awesome! I’m coming round to your place for dinner, Catty.
    By some strange twist of fate I’ve just stocked up on ingredients to stuff into the crockpot & the low fat fryer.
    My plan runs to veggo kidney bean tacos and pumpkin & broccoli salad, though.
    We’ve had two days straight of eating cold stodge down at the coast house, & I think we need some vegetables.

  152. Speaking of vegetable, first day back at work and I’m ready to unleash my dragon already.

  153. We had Chinese takeaway for dinner last night. I picked most of the veggies out of the beef and black bean and piled them on my own plate. Nobody complained…. it must have been because it was my birthday, so they generously let me take the stuff I like. Yes. I’m sure that’s it.

    • And a belated harpy barfday from me too Catty. Noble of you to consume the nasty yucky veggies.

  154. Thank you Greybeard. I will be contacting you soon to arrange box collection. Is there any particular day that suits you better?

    • Sorry Catty but my reply from last night seems to have disappeared, i.e. not made it out of the phone.
      Being the gentleman of leisure what I am (Lyn is and always has been a Bad Lady) we’re pretty flexible. We have GE I on Monday afternoon – Tues night so Tues 2pm – 5pm is guaranteed, ditto Friday. But really we can be around any time.

  155. Shame you couldn’t have arranged it for Boxing Day, really.

    • Oh Madam. How could you?

  156. LOLZ.
    Carry on clowning.
    Catty if you go around on a GE1 day you should check that she’s not been playing with Poppy’s selection of GM viral test tubes.
    Don’t say I didn’t warn you, and ready the gastro buckets.
    She is strong in the way of the Gas-Strith, that one.

  157. Pfft. We’re all healthy here (lies, I’m on anti-b’s for That Thing That’s Going Around with the coughing etc., which went to my chest) and the wee one is too innocent. (more lies, she has a truly fiendish chuckle and is an excellent conspirator)

  158. i doubt anyone related to you can truly be called innocent, GB. Good value, yes – innocent, no.

  159. Infectious, Yes.

  160. Nooooo! I don’t want the plague! People might think I’m part of Neighbourhood Watch.

  161. Lyn is really quite unwell at the moment with coughing, coughing and more coughing, broken sleep etc. But I’m fine now – the buboes have largely gone down and apart from that unfortunate incident with the postman, no one has been infected for hours.

    • Poor Fifi. I’d give her a big hug, but, you know, contagion…

  162. To mix Python references: when they come for you with the cart, GB – run away!

    • (where’s my “like” button)

      • I know where mine is …

  163. I took Salt ‘N’ Pepa’s advice and Pushed It Real Good. Now it’s broken.

  164. Shoop.

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