Thursday, October 18, 2007

Best Laid Plans

What I didn’t know was that Bali was not to be mine, either. I understand the need to be heard. I seriously do. I understand that the less we are heard, the louder the noise we need to make. If you’ve ever lived in my neighbourhood and been forced to overhear a fight between my mother and myself, you will know this to be true. Shouting Loud and Gesticulating Wildly is my name translated into English. But I draw the line at blowing up people in order to have your voice heard. I know people who do this must be completely powerless and desperate. I know they are hopped up on the belief that a bomb blast will set them free. And weirdly, through my horribly middle-class every-point-of-view-is-valid eyes, I can empathise with the bombers. But not nearly as much as I empathise with the victims of these blasts. The Balinese waiters whose families no longer have parents. The football dudes having a drink who left the Sari club without their legs or their best mates. The mother whose toddler came home in a body bag. No voice needs to be heard that badly.

So my dad calls and tells me Bali has just been placed on the “high danger risk, do not visit” list by the Australian government. I laugh this off. “I’m sure most countries are on that list, dad. Israel and South Africa must definitely be and you travel there all the time”. I check the list online. No, just Bali and Zimbabwe. I add the two million and first tick in my Book of Times My Dad is Right and I Am Wrong. And just as I’m closing the book, another call from Dad. “Just thought you should know there’s a bird flu epidemic on Bali. Not that I’m telling you not to go, but basically everything you might eat if you were to go would stand a good chance of being fatally poisonous. How are the kids?”

And so I do something decidedly dull. I cancel our trip to Bali. If R and I didn’t have kids, we would take the chance. But we’re Responsible Parents now. The thought of my kids having to see one of those cloying pictures they use of smiling dead people in the newspaper is enough to put me off going. No Bali for us. No tropical sunsets, warm breezes and mild irritable bowel syndrome from eating street food. And no refund on the hotel deposit either.

But Cathy, lovely, wonderful Cathy, is at our service, so where else can we go that is inexpensive, warm, exotic with idolatrous locals? Three minutes on E-Bay tells us. Glorious Phuket! For only $150 total, we get a week in a four star hotel. Amazing! Take this offer up quickly or your kids will grow up and kick you out of the house before you ever get to wear a swimming costume again.

And we do. And all is not lost. And yes, a friend warns me there are old European men holding hands with fifteen-year-old Thai girls in Phuket but the optimist in me assumes those girls are really 25 and just have the beautiful Thai skin which makes them look younger. So we pack the bags. No baby bottles. No nappies. No organic snacks or wet-wipes or a change of clothes in case of ‘accidents’. We are adults. We will be travelling like normal people do. We will suppress our desire to lie on the floor kicking our legs in the air and screaming if the hostess tells us the chicken is finished and we’ll have to have fish. We are entering a tantrum free zone and it feels erotic.

But just as I'm about to pack the Kama Sutra, a call from Cathy. Darling Nanny-Bot made from all good Nanny parts Cathy. “I’m really sorry. My dad is unwell. I’m not going to be able to look after your kids”.

She is totally reasonable and within her rights. She has a sick father. I reassure her that we will be fine. If we don’t get to go away, there will always be another holiday. In another three years time. And I bid farewell to lovely Cathy.

And before I can help it, I am joining my kids on the floor and my feet are in the air kicking and I am shouting at R “WHY CAN’T I HAVE MY CATHY-DOLL? I WANT MY CATHY DOLL!”

And my husband sends me to my room.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

So you think you can tell, heaven from hell?

Witness the pendulum swinging.

Our first holiday as a couple in three years. I’ve been planning it for ten months. Requirements: inexpensive, warm, preferably exotic but anything where the locals worship idols will do. Did I say inexpensive? I meant Cheap. Because since having three kids, I’ve realised that no matter how much money either myself (not much) or R (a little more) makes, there will never be enough.

Bali, it is decided. We can use frequent flyers from the days when we used to be. And we’ll attend one of those horrifying timeshare presentations in exchange for free accommodation. This is what we do, because we are desperate to have an entire night’s sleep. Apart from being woken every few hours by children who in turn wake each other, we have the delightful situation of living through our neighbour’s renovation. They start drilling and tapping on my head at 7AM every morning, and stop only when I have finally decided to give up trying to go back to sleep. And they do it on Saturday morning too. Apparently it’s not only legal, it’s a guaranteed way of ensuring insanity in any Jews within a hundred mile vicinity. Day of rest, people. Day of rest.

So, The Holiday Plans. I realise that the only way it will be vaguely pleasant is if I am completely confident that the children are well looked after. I realise that asking my parents or my in-laws to move in is such a preposterously absurd idea that it belongs on an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I realise that hiring a live in is not going to meet the Cheap requirement. But, as responsible as little O is, she is only two and a half and cannot be expected to look after her younger siblings without adult supervision. And so, I phone the Nanny Agency. This is a place where rich people get to ask for whatever their nanny-requiring heart’s desire. A live-in-sole-charge-with-a-nursing-degree? No prob. A-housekeeper-granny-who-can-cook-pizza-from-scratch-while-changing-nappies? We have ten of those. As long as you pay. And pay plenty. Some for the nanny, some for the agency, some for the government, some for the sheer joy of being able to make a wish and have it granted.

But I am good at pretending so I put on my best Rich Voice and ask for someone game enough to look after three kids under three. And a slightly belligerent dog who used to be cute but then grew an extra long snout and a bobbly bit in the middle that makes her look like a deformed cat crossed with a sewer rat. (No one believes me that the cat-rat cross is this season’s Shpoodle). And, without blinking, they send me Cathy. Glorious Cathy. She is fifty but has the energy of a teenager, she is friendly but firm. She has an incredibly glamorous CV. She worked for Russell Simmons and interviewed with Russell Crowe. She comes from country Queensland but has lived in the Queen’s Country, England. She is responsible but fun, affectionate and intelligent. And she will be ours. Oh yes, for the cost of a small car, she will spend the entire week devoted to our kids. She will cook them meals shaped like boats and giraffes, she will teach them to paint, she will toilet train them, she will have them speaking fluent French while doing the dishes by the time we return. In years to come, they will thank me. Merci, Maman. By selflessly bringing Cathy into our lives and going to Bali, you enriched us in ways we can never be grateful enough for. You are indeed a fantastic mother. Please, allow us to support you for the rest of your life. Will a villa in San Tropez do?

Yes, Cathy was beautiful and perfectly shaped. I should have known by that mere fact that she was never to be mine...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Is it my stop yet?

Oh dear neglected blog. How often I have thought of you. How little time I have. How much is that doggy in the window?

Having three children under two is threatening to kill me. Or make me mentally ill. I suspect I am being throttled by the gods. Either that or my shower is broken.

I have no time. No energy. No, je ne regret riene.

I am also trying to balance three writing jobs (a feature film, a TV show, a documentary) and one producing job (the documentary). I told you I was mentally ill. But think how fucked up the people who employ me must be.

If you have a small, neatly wrapped pocket of time to give me, please do. I need nothing more. Languid, lay-about time. Let's-go-to-a-movie time. Time to read irrelevant articles about this summer's hair secrets. Time to phone my cousins. Time to eat slowly and not worry about dishes. Time to write for the heart not just the pocket.

And now, dishes, three nappies, two phonecalls to return and one exhausted, confused, mildly insane motherwoman to put to bed.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Songs to Throttle a Cat to

While driving in my horribly unsexy wagon with three children in the back, I happened to listen to the words of the song they were playing on the radio. It's called "Promiscuous Girl". They should just call the song "Let's Fuck". It would be subtler. The verses could go "I want to fuck you. You want to fuck me". Then the chorus could snap in with the incredibly complex "Let's Fuck".

Oh God. When did I get so old?

On matters sexual;

While R and I were discussing how hairy R's bumhole is (he is a descendant of Romany gypsies after all), he proclaimed, "I am ideally placed to use a bidet". We were both delighted at the prospect. Hairy bumholes are notorious collectors of little twirled up pieces of toilet paper. The lovely shoots of water on a bidet are the antidotes. If anyone knows of a charity who donates bidets to the hairy of bum, drop me a line. R also collects lots of little creatures in his belly button lint. Which spurred him on to the idea of creating a gourmet chocolate, churned entirely in the belly buttons of young hirsute men. Belly Lindt Chocolate.

This is the calibre of discussion two severely sleep deprived people engage in.

R and I were randomly discussing whether either of us had ever been caught masturbating by our parents as teenagers. I had to admit that my father once walked in while I was mid tonk. I was wearing a sundress, kneeling on all fours trying out a new position. (Young creative minds must be put to use, you know). ‘Twas as I found the right angle for much self pleasuring that my dear Pappa walked in, gasped “Oh God” and walked out again, shouting ‘sorry’ all the way down the stairs. Soon after this I immigrated. From now on, when people ask if it was the crime that drove me out of South Africa, I will have to admit that it was not. It was the thought of my father seeing my arse in the air as I brought myself to orgasm that did it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

And now for a community notice...

I interrupt my self-imposed exile to give you some fantastic news. No, I'm not pregnant again. Thank the Goddess. My little O, the one they said may never walk, is walking! She's taken off and nothing can stop her. She's like a drunk energiser bunny and it's hard to catch her and she's making my life difficult in such a wonderful way!

And I'm working really hard and the children, all three, are doing so well. Apart from pooing in the bath and having episodes of gastro which are more like episodes of The Twilight Zone, they're settling in to the world.

And, by golly, I have to admit I'm, err, happy.

Don't tell the Goddess. She's sure to smight me.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Yidchick has left the Building

Oh friends, my humblest fumbliest apologies for leaving you hanging for so long. I survived the reunion. My headmaster was smaller than I remember. Everyone was bald. It was surprisingly lovely.

The sordid truth is that I have taken on a work project. This means that when I'm not feeding, burping, changing I'm writing writing writing. Which leaves no blog time.

I will be back. At some point. Hopefully richer, thinner and less superficial.

Until then...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

You are Cordially Invited...

Then strangely, I received an invitation to my school reunion. Why strange? Because my school was in Johannesburg, South Africa and the location for the reunion was Sydney, Australia. Twenty minutes from my house. Even stranger, 800 people had registered to attend. An entire ghetto of South African Jews.

By ghetto I mean group of white middle class people called Kevin and Rolene.

The headmaster, a frightening man who once called me an anarchist, was flying over to attend the event. Being an anarchist, I’ve never been to a reunion before. In the life I had before I became a rampant procreator, I wrote an episode of TV about a reunion. One of the characters was reluctant to go to hers because it drudged up memories of her past as a teenage strumpet. Another was nervous to see the teacher she’d had an affair with. A third was anxious she’d be seen as a non-achieving loser when compared to her high school nemesis, a teen-queen who had fulfilled her promise of being the girl most likely. Yes, it was a tad soapy and yes it was based on my own teenage experiences (except I was a wannabe strumpet rather than a bona-fide one. I kept dating decent guys who refused to take advantage of me no matter how much I encouraged them). The experience of writing the episode convinced me that no good could come from revisiting one’s past at a school reunion. School ended sixteen years ago for me. In another continent, in another life. Why would I want to meet up with people who knew me in the eighties, when I thought big hair was, like, bodacious?

But, bugger me with a broomstick, I couldn’t get myself to throw out the invitation. I stuck it on the side of my fridge and thought of a hundred reasons not to go.

Reason number one: I am very fat now. Having twins is no excuse. I’ve put on more weight since they were born than I did the whole pregnancy. Seriously.
Why reason number one is silly: I was no bikini model at high school. The bonus of always having been tubby is that no one expects you to be thin. I’m portly. Large. Chunky. Was in high school. (Which, now that I think of it, is maybe why my dates were all so ‘decent’ when it came to nookie).

Reason number two: I’m tired. It’s cold. There’s a Big Brother eviction on TV. Please leave me alone.
I don’t need to point out the reason why number two is lame.

Reason number three. The real reason: I’m unemployed. I haven’t worked in a year and a half. Yes, I’ve had three children in that time but a more focussed person would have been able to knock out a great script or two on the side, wouldn’t they? At school people expected me to do great things. I was an achiever. I had endless potential. I was going to be a doctor, a lawyer, a lawyer who doctors things. I was definitely going to be a published novelist. What no-one, least of all myself, expected was that I’d become a fat housewife who sits at home changing endless nappies and reading “What to Expect when You’re Expecting”. Particularly when the book I should be reading is “What to Expect when your Life gets Sucked from You by Three Sweet yet Vampiric Entities who Spew and Shit on You but for Whom you’d Lie in Front of a Train”.

People constantly ask me when I’m going to get back to work. The truth is, I don’t know. I don’t even know what work I’m going back to. Every TV gig I’ve ever had is so totally full-on full-time full-load that I can’t imagine how I would balance that with three small kidlings. Who would look after them? Plus, I can’t remember what I care about anymore. I think I used to be passionate about social injustice. Either that or chicken casserole recipes. I forget which.

So the invitation stared at me. And I practiced telling people that what I “am” is a stay-at-home mom. And in a moment of abandon I dared myself to RSVP and pay for my ticket.

And just like that, I flung myself like a flubberous lemming into the sea of my past.

Stay tuned to find out if I drowned. . .