Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tow Bar

We're planning a camping getaway to Yorkes and intending to take the hounds. We took a trip up to Wilmington in October - sans dogs - and could barely fit all the baby paraphernalia into the station wagon, despite my prodigious packing skills and use of the roof rack.

Knickers and I decided we would need to borrow her father's trailer; which meant we needed a tow bar.

This raised a higher level of excitement in me than the idea of a bit of steel bolted to a car chassis should reasonably elicit. Another sign of impending middle age I suppose. Moreover, the potential damage I could cause parallel parking - considering my propensity for low speed impacts - is a real concern.

But after ringing round I decided on a place at Richmond. It was going to take an hour to install, which meant a whole hour I would get to sit and read a book; on my own; during the day. This alone was worth the $280. Which will, incidentally, just about double the value of the car.

Then Knickers had to go and bake a cake.

'I'm hopping on the treadmill, would you please check it when the alarm goes, and take it out of the oven if it's cooked?'

Simple enough, but I had to go and complicate it. I had to use my initiative. I mean I can cook, it's not that difficult, so surely I can bake?

The alarm went and I skewered the cake. Hmm, still a little underdone, I'll give it another five minutes. (Now here you're probably thinking that I went on to burn it. Oh no, no sirree, not me) After five minutes I decided it was surely baked, so there was really no need to check it. Then some flash of memory triggered in the part of my brain that I really have to learn to ignore.

'You need to cool the cake Rob,' it flashed.

I considered this, and it made sense. I had a cooling rack and a hot cake. Made for each other like unicycles and trips to emergency.

I upended the cake tin a few inches above the rack and gave it a bit of a thump.


Viscous batter surrounded by a skin of cake cascaded onto the benchtop like so much roadkill.

Knickers was not impressed, and for my sins I had to take the Noodle with me to get the tow bar.

'An hour at Richmond? He'll go mental.'
'I don't care. Just get out of my house you cake killer.'

But we actually had a great time. The three of us - Noodle, Dog and I - set up camp in a little deli and shared a bikkie and a drink while watching a procession of tradies come through and purchase iced coffee and Villis' sausage rolls. Not exactly a bohemian ambiance but great fun. Especially watching Noodle introduce his Doggy to a gruff, bearded man and have him smile back and say hello and have an imginary cup of tea with a toy.

So anyway, we now have a tow bar and I look forward to the inevitable bruising it will bring to my shins.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Final Assignments

Despite sitting in front of the damn computer at the uni library for the last three days


Depleting my coin on increasingly more potent caffeine and energy drink


Telling my subconcious to focus more on teaching literacy

Rather than monsters and falling and poison

...and Isla Fisher

I find my assignments have still not written themselves

And I am again thinking that a brickie's labourer is probably the most satisfying job in the world.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

He Just Gives Them Away?

We have made the mistake of introducing the concept of Santa to the Noodle. One of his cousins was over the other day and had a toy car that Noodle wanted, really quite badly.

In order to placate his infantile tirade upon the eventual departure of cousin and car, Knickers told him that Santa might bring him one for Christmas.

You could see his mind ticking over.


'Yes, you can sit on his lap and tell him what you want and he will get if for you; provided you're a good boy.'

I'll paraphrase his response here - 'So, ignoring the whole being a good boy rubbish, what you're basically saying is that I sit on this bloke's lap, tell him I want a car, and then I get it?'

'Er, yes.'

'Brilliant. Done. Where is he then, c'mon, chop bloody chop.'

So we've been trying to explain ever since that he will get it on Christmas. Occasionally we add that he has to be good as well, but everyone silently acknowledges that this is a waste of breath.

Santa will be in real trouble if the Noodle does meet him and the jolly man fails to produce said car on the spot. His saving grace might be if Noodle repeats last year's performance; freaking out and legging it at the first sight of the man in red pyjamas.

Until then we will just have to deal with, 'I sit on Santa's lap. I get the presents.' forty times a day.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fame at Last

I am going to be a published poet.

Adelaide's Friendly Street Poets hold an annual competition for unpublished poets. They recruit an outside judge, of impeccable pedigree, to select three manuscripts from all (four of) the submissions and then the winners are published in the next installment of their New Poets series. This year my manuscript was one of the three winners and will be published next year in New Poets 14. Hopefully with its correct, singular, title - The Boy Full of Broken Promise.

Judging by the stellar career arcs of the previous thirty-nine winners it is a spring board to fame and fortune. Which is lucky, because several people I've told have asked me - after looking awkward and shifty for a few seconds - if this will help me get anything worthwhile published, or words to that effect.

Don't they get it's all about the love?

I'm still over the moon about it and the vast majority of people have been happy for me, though Knickers is very concerned about her parents reading some of them. I told my year 4 prac students and made them all promise to buy a copy. Bless 'em.

Got to go, my agent is on the phone; probably Hollywood trying to secure the movie rights again.

Like I'd sell out for less than a gold class cinema ticket.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Night with the Wild Bunch

I am five weeks in to a six week prac. I'm learning lots and enjoying it, but coming home absolutely jatzed every night.
Today was a day off due to the school closing, and how do you think I celebrated? That's right, cocaine and loose women.
That is what I like to call mulch and dripper irrigation systems. Yeh, I know, you can lead a horticulture but you can't make her think.

Actually Roger, my father-in-law, did most of the dripper installation. I just dug holes and shifted seven trailer loads of mulch. Lucky the local landscapers had their best men on today.
'Hi, I'm after a weed suppressing mulch that is cheap and longlasting, but mostly cheap.
'Right. Mulch. I want mulch.'
'Mumble mumble you're a stupid fucker.'
'I said any of those will do' (points at sky).
Surely there is a happy medium between over enthusiastic 'you're not leaving here without buying something' sales staff and those who are obviously deeply offended by your mere presence?
'Are they organic?'
''Cause I need organic for the rebate.'
'Blast your eyes pine chips I'll eat your liver.'

So we settled on pine chips then, dug in pavers as a border then planted some more seedlings with come cottage mulch, native fertiliser and compost. Roger tinkered around putting in the drippers while Knickers and I covered what had once been dirt, weeds and dying lawn with the mulch.

Meanwhile Daphne, my mother-in-law, had been looking after Pudden and running interference on Noodle - to stop him helping.

After eight hours of hard labour the new garden beds looked great. We thanked the inlaws profusely and celebrated with a well eared cuppa, then turned the drippers on. No drips, but a spreading puddle from somewhere deep under the middle of the new garden bed.

God why can't stuff just friggen work?

Couldn't face more digging tonight, so I watered the seedlings in with the watering can, (which I'd hoped never to have to use again) read a couple of stories to the Noodle, and collapsed on the couch - from where I've only just dragged myself.

Seriously thinking about going to bed now.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Spirit Fingers then I woke up naked and tied to a goat and the old bloke dressed in a harlequin outfit just kept saying 'no hablo inglese senor' or some shit. Last time I go to one of Todd McKenney's parties.