Day 4

Day 4.

 

Good afternoon.

 

Getting my blog post done a bit earlier than midnight today.

Three quotes have stood out for me today, and prompted my writing. Also the card that I drew before I started writing was another prod and I wanted to shove that bloody thing back in the box and pick something else. But here we are.

wp-1471837823539.jpg

The first one is : and it was different. Yes fly in fly (fifo) out was different for the guy in the photo and I. We have been married for 15 years this year, and for two and a bit of those we were a (fifo) family.  Meaning for 21 days a month he worked 700km’s away.  Before he started fifo we had never been apart for more than a couple of days.  Fly out day I would cry and I would lay low and take a day to be sad and then pull up my lace knickers and get on with the rest of the month until I could go and pick him up from the airport again.  Fly in day’s were my absolute favourite day of the month, it was like Christmas day when I was a kid, butterflies in my belly and nothing could upset me on fly in day (Well a late plane would). It would always work out that I could take the kids to school and then head straight to the airport, pick him up and we would have a lunch date and do school pick up together.  Every fly in day was like a first date, lots of talking and excitement at having him home again. I didn’t ever really get used to fifo, it was an acceptance that at the time it was what suited us and paid the bills.

The 11th December 2015, was the last day of fifo for us, we were fine with that. Eight months on and the next quote that stood out for me today: “anger is the bodyguard of sadness” is what we are working through.  FIFO changed both of us immensely when he was home it was great, romantic, perfectly happy family. When he was at work I just got on with life at home on my own, it made me incredibly independent and resourceful. He also changed in a lot of ways and over the two and a bit years he saw me grow and change into a woman that was embracing interests that I had a passion for but had never pursued (writing and studying). So where does the quote come in? cause all of this growth and pursing passions sounds so exciting. Well the hang over from being apart for so long, the massive changes that we went through has finally caught up with us.  It was fabulous to all be together again and know that there would be no more fly out days that we would all be in the one house again.  But the reality, is well reality. There are no more fly in day lunch dates, there are no more heightened romantic – distance makes the heart grow fonder moments.  No, there is what to cook for dinner, school drop off, juggling of shift work and trying to find a common ground for each of us. There is the awareness I need to have of, actually discussing all of the above and a million other decisions, instead of me just going ahead and making decisions on my own, because I am not here on my own anymore.  There is the acceptance for him that I have changed and have new interests and passions and with these new interests I also have changed and or broader opinions. And with all of this change comes the pain of change. Change that has caused anger because change, for people that are stuck in their ways and have a certain way of thinking how a relationship should be causes sadness that can’t be expressed and then comes out in anger.

The last quote for today is “live to the point of tears”. Last Monday he asked on a date. Initially I felt uncomfortable and wanted to say no. There have been many angry words and tears over the last few months. My sadness was coming out as a raging bitch of hell, who would have been comfortable as the wife of Satan.  It was a text message he sent me saying: “Hi Melinda, it’s Scott remember me? Well there’s a nice restaurant that I found and was wondering if you would check it out with me?” That had me crying happy and angry tears at the same time.   It’s a very mindful situation to be in when you are literally having a first date with your husband. Well this is how I approached it, the last few months have been horrendous and in my heart and mind we needed to start again. This quote is what I am vaguely following at the moment, and its has been refreshing and effing hard to show so much emotion about issues that we need to work out, instead of bottling everything up and then letting it explode all over the place.

 

End of day 4.

Well its only 1.44pm so not really end of day.

We had lunch together outside in the sun.

He has offered to do school pick up in the horrendous traffic.

The tattoo no one knew about.

30th November my last day of 30 days of blogging.

I really didn’t have faith in myself on 1st November that I would actually make the 30 days. I am so glad that I did though, it has been a fun but confronting and scary challenge for me. I have found it incredibly nerve wracking to post my writing on a public page and let others read it. I have had hundreds of likes on my page and I have gained 44 followers in one month of writing. I have had fun learning about blogging, I have read some really fabulous posts from other bloggers in the challenge, and I have revealed little bits about me On my last day of daily blogging, (maybe, I haven’t really decided if I will continue to blog daily, weekly, monthly or ever again) I thought I would tell a little, very personal story about me.

My poor heart is pounding out of my chest and my fingers are shaking and I keep missing the keys while I am writing this. There is maybe a handful of people that know about this and really only one other person that knows most of the story and I wasn’t going to tell anyone else until it was finished, but this seems like a good time and place.

Just over 1 year ago, I made contact with a lady and asked her to help me with something that she specialises in, we talked and communicated with each other for a few weeks mostly on Facebook. She set up everything that was needed and I went and spent 4 hours with her one afternoon. I hadn’t even told my husband about this appointment. He called me just to say hi and have a chat on the morning of my appointment and he knew straight away that something was going on with me. He was flying in the next day and me in my stupidity thought I would talk to him then. That didn’t happen and in my nervous chatter told him what was happening that day, he was shocked speechless and told me about one thousand times to text him or call him to let him know what was happening.

For me it was a surreal experience, I walked into where I had to meet the lady, I wasn’t nervous, or scared, and I had this weird calmness about me.

She got me all set up and I was lying face up on a massage table, staring at the ceiling that needed painting and a fan that needed cleaning. Just as I was starting to get a bit nervous, my phone beeped with a text, it was a girlfriend that I had called and asked her to meet me here in my freak out as I drove to the appointment. She was texting to say that she couldn’t make it – I was actually glad and was relieved to be doing this on my own. I felt incredibly rude texting while lying on the table and apologised to the lady, she laughed told me to do what I want, listen to music, text, call people whatever.

There is no way in the world that I could have talked, texted or listened to music, while this lady scratched away at my skin with her tattoo gun. YES. That is right I have a big ol’ tattoo across my left side. A big one. I thought long and hard and there was A LOT of Pinterest pictures involved in how I wanted it to look. It is the birth flowers of my husband, my two sons, my mum and my dad, I have 3 butterflies that represent me and my two sisters, I have a hidden tea cup (representing my friends), a stack of books (I love books, learning and a good story), and lady doing a tree pose in yoga (I love yoga) (kinda where’s wally style, you have to stare at the tattoo to find them).

 

20151208_094639-1

Let me tell you about the place I went to and the experience of getting a tatt.

The lady that did it was a kind, gentle and truly lovely lady, with great skill. She was COVERED head to toe in tatts (she really was, she had them on her face and she told me the first one she ever got was when she was 15 and it is on her bum). When I walked into this place, I nearly laughed out loud at the absurdity of me being in a place that was quiet obviously a biker tatt shop, seriously, the dude on the front counter had about 3 phones that he was using and only one of them looked legit, I am positive the rest were throw a ways. He was polite enough offered me a drink, seat, a smoke. (I mean it was hilarious, me the straighty one eighty school mum, that has never tried a cigarette, only drinks occasionally, has had the same guy since I was 18, and gets stressed if we don’t eat dinner by 6pm).

There was me in the shop, the same time I was getting prepped to get my HUGE tattoo, there was a football player on the table next to me getting a deer head tattooed on his foot. (This guy must have been a front rower because he was HUGE, and he yelled and cried out for the tattoo dude to stop every 5 minutes. He was there nearly as long as I was. At one point the tattoo dude, stopped what he was doing pointed at me with his tattoo gun, in my trance like state, staring at the ceiling and said “look at this petite, little, tiny, chick she hasn’t fuckin moved or stopped once, and you, you big brute are being a baby, man the fuck up.) There also seemed to be a constant stream of walk-ins, at one stage there was two eighteen year old girls came into to get best friend tattoos (that seems like bad karma to me).

I found it a bizarre experience, I was on my back most of the time and a one stage I was on my belly for a little while. I apologised profusely to the lady that I hadn’t been chatting to her. I was in the kind of daze where I literally just stared at the ceiling, my feet or glared at the baby footballers head, willing him to shut up. I was there for four hours straight, the scraping and scratching of the gun I found quiet soothing ( I was definitely in one of my darker places, and when I am feeling this way I seem to go a bit numb. This has increased since we have done fifo, I think I go a bit numb with emotions when my husband is away so much, because it is a bit of coping mechanism.) So to actually have no choice but to feel, felt like a release. The buzzing and vibrating over the bottom section of my ribs made me want to vomit and towards the end when she was shading and going over and over the same spot, I felt like I had really bad sunburn and someone was scratching the needles directly onto the burn. Just before she finished, the baby footballer limped passed me, gave me a high five and told me I was one tough chick. When she did finish, I felt high and quiet alert and my nerves seemed to be heightened, I could see how people get addicted to the feeling.

After I got the tat, I expected to have a feeling of wanting to show it off to everyone. But in fact I have almost guarded it and protected it and kept it very private. There is only a few people know that I have got it and that includes my husband and children. It is not finished yet, I still have to get the colour done, and I expect that it will be even more special to me when that is done.

2015-11-30 08.24.35

White Ribbon Day

 

All women live in safety free from all forms of men’s violence. – This is the vision for Originating in Canada in 1991, the all-male led initiative aims to end male violence against women. November 25 – White Ribbon day is the start of 16 Days of Activism to Stop Violence against Women, which ends on Human Rights Day (December 10). Awareness for this cause and primary prevention initiative involves education programs thru schools, workplaces and the broader community.

As a Mumma of two gorgeous boys I wanted to talk about this issue and what I am hopefully doing for future generations of women.

I am trying to give my boys a fabulous education, education is so important, in keeping minds open. I encourage team sports ( yes I am spending my 30’s at copious amount of cricket but that’s ok)

I have always taught my boys to use manners – (NOTHING happens in our house without please and thank you).

I am very honest with the boys – (sometimes to  a extreme, and I have always told them it hurts your heart most when you don’t tell the truth)

The boys have always been asked to help around the house and with Scott away working, it’s important that the boys pull their weight. I had this conversation at a coffee shop with another Mum a few weeks ago, I think she thinks I am running a slave camp.

The boy’s jobs are:

Make bed and clean room

Take out bins

Feed dog and chooks

Set table

ALWAYS put dirty washing in the washing basket (yes one of my sons has gone to school in a dirty uniform because he didn’t put it in the wash, and was having a particularly bad day and yelled to me “you’re the mother why can’t you pick it up”, hence going to school in a dirty uniform. He has never done that again.)

And helping out if asked.

Eg carrying groceries, opening the doors. etc

I am trying to show them that we all live here, we all need to help. Just because I am the Mumma, I am not a slave.

I want to show the boys that women do contribute and not just in doing house work. I have always worked since having had children (mostly part-time), but that is fine I want the boys to see and respect that women can work, or study, or be a stay at home Mumma. The boys are very fortunate that they have great, strong women role models in their life for all of the above. They have 3 of their Great-Grandmothers still alive, both of their Grandmothers, 4 aunties, and we have an abundance of wonderful female friends.

The boys have always been taught to always kiss the women in their life hello and goodbye, always tell these same women I love you before parting ways. (I may have used a scare tac-tic on another particular day when there had been a fiery argument and there was no lovin’ or kissin’ going on. I may have said, “what if one of us dies and never see each other again, we must always part-ways with a kiss and an I love you”. It worked even now at the drop off area of the high school I always get a kiss and an I love you, sometimes it is thru clenched teeth for both of us but always happens.) We always every single night, say goodnight and love you. I still tuck the boys in every single night, and every single night, they yell out – usually after I have made my cuppa tea and just want peace and quiet. Love you Mum, Love you Dad (yes even when he is not here), Love you Tom, Love you Jack, Love you Bully (the dog).

They have heard over the years their father tell me that, “I look beautiful today” or “you look pretty today babe”. YES they say it and it completely melts my heart. I always return the favour, my thing with them is to grab them by the face and say “I love your face”.

I have from the moment my boys were toddlers, been active in teaching my boys manners, respect, acceptance, and patience. (Bloody hell I sound like the perfect mother). Trust me when I say that there has definitely been some throw down, drag em out fights and arguments when absolutely none of the above have applied. HOWEVER when all is calm again and I try and educate them on being a good human. I TRY and get the point across that there will always be arguments here or there because, well their just will be. But don’t say mean things or cruel names because like Pearl Jam sang about “Once something is said it can’t be taken back”.

This role of Mumma to two boys, is a bloody tough gig, and it would be much easier and a lot less stressful to have free – range kids. BUT hopefully all of this hard work and being a conscious Mumma will pay off and there will be no need for White Ribbon day.

be kind

 

Every family needs a farmer

This picture was posted on Instagram this morning and it inspired this post.

IMG_3650

Early this year 80% of Queensland was declared in drought, with early stages of el Nino meaning drought breaking rain in winter and spring were highly unlikely.

One particular lady always says when I ask if the skies have blessed her property yet. – “We are one day closer to rain.”

I want to talk today about the stewards of the land that contributes to owning, caring and managing 61% of Australia’s land mass. Ninety four percent of these custodians actively use natural resource management. These people live through this el Nino phenomenon, as well floods and fires and are bonded together as communities because of these events that contribute to life on the land.

From what I have experienced as a soft city slicker, life on the land is as unforgiving as the weather and not for the faint hearted. These men and women that raise cattle, grow crops and provide nourishment for their city cousins have chosen this life and what a life.

I have visited this place when the air has been so dry and hot you would think you were baking in an oven, so much so that your lungs burn and I got sun burnt from hanging washing on the line for 5 minutes. Smashing lips together so that you don’t accidentally swallow 1 million flies, wind and red dust sting and burn your eyes if not wearing sunnies. The ground feels baked under your feet and the heat can be seen shimmering just above the ground.

Wind blowing through the 6 layers of clothes that I tried to wiggle into, while lying in the warmth of the bed with flannel sheets, two blankets and a doona, nose and eyes running from the freezing air. See soft city slicker – who is on the long road back to Brisbane after a maximum of 5 days. Despite my little whinge here, I truly treasure the time spent at the end of a dirt road, where the closest corner store is 45 minutes away and the local hospital is over an 1hr away.

Bushies are generous, open and welcoming they make anybody present feel like a close friend, big-hearted in always offering a meal or a drink. Wonderful funny and interesting conversation is always involved when hangin out with this lot. Picture a place where you know all of your neighbours, and these neighbours are kilometers away, but your friends with them. A place where on the day that the Bathurst 1000 is raced you channel the celebrity drivers speed and intensity and race around a fire that’s straight from the depths of hell and 20 of your neighbours and friends help you while it burns hot and ferocious and fire balls claim thousands of acres of your land. Where you buy 8 seater cars so that you can take turns in carpooling to school, swimming, grocery shopping, home from boarding school or Brisbane. A place where your neighbour will call in to drop off your mail, which usually consists of groceries and anything that can be ordered on the internet, and leave hours later after helping you pull a calf from its mother’s womb, or grabs a wine or beer and helps you do the rounds of your property checking water or feeding drought ravaged cattle or doesn’t leave until the roar of the tractor engine finally is music to your ears. A place where after a dust covered day’s work, you load the kids into the back of the 8 seater car and head to the biggest dam in the community where all your neighbours and friends are to share a beer, a swim , go for a ski. A location where mobile service is limited and when you come together with your friends, you actually talk and communicate with each and enjoy the visit.

When the flooding creek traps you on your own little island for days on end with no outside communication, dust covered boats are launched into the flood waters to check on neighbours and friends and make sure everyone is safe and feed. A place where parents are happy to drive hours for their kids to participate in sport and extra-curricular activities. Drive an hour, one Thursday night a month to reach the local book club where a good book, wine and more friends await, one night after having to deal with a cow in the side of your car.

IMG_1366.jpg

IMG_0910.jpg

Now I am only talking about 1 tiny community of the 134,000 farm businesses in Australia, 99 percent of which are family owned and operated, that supply 93% of Australian families food. I have shown a very small slice of the estimated 35,100 women who live on farms and work outside of the home, not to mention the 16,500 women that work exclusively next to their husbands.

I haven’t touched on the fact that farmers with a tertiary degree has increased 6 fold since 1981.

I also failed to talk about the stats that in farming communities there is such a great sense of community that 39% of people in the bush are volunteers compared to their city cousins at 19% and these figures don’t include non-registered volunteering.

While I have portrayed a community that supports each other and is connected, this is not the case in every community. Stats show that agriculture / farm workers are 1.6 times more likely to commit suicide and that there is a farmer every 4 days taking their own lives.

Six hours south west of Brisbane, in the shire of the Maranoa is a fabulous community of people who I have grown to love and respect over the past 11 years that my sister has lived there. I hope that I have shown a small part of their lives justice in this piece.

Instagram likes

 

Yesterday morning, I was on Facebook and found this great article that I blogged about later in the day. This morning I was on Instagram scrolling through stunning images of people on holiday, baby photos, breakfast photos, selfies, memes the list goes on. A little orange heart pops up to tell me that Luca Spaghetti like my photo. Seriously Luca Spaghetti, liked a photo I uploaded to Instagram I kid you not.

2015-11-16 19.33.50 (2)

I mean he has been read about in 10 million copies of Eat, Pray, Love by Lizzie Gilbert. Everyone knows Luca.

Luca the Italian tax accountant, the man that will never live anywhere but Rome so he can be near his Mumma (what a good Italian man), Luca the man that is still in love with his childhood sweetheart, the man that took Liz out for a cream puff after his soccer team was defeated one Sunday afternoon, the man that got Liz gilbert to eat newborn lamb intestines, the man that encouraged Liz to become a master of bel far niente, (the beauty of doing nothing). Luca the man that declared his favourite English word is Surrender.

Ok, ok, I may be going over the top a bit here with Luca liking one image on my Instagram account. I mean I didn’t get this excited when I had a photo of Brett Lee at the cricket.

2015-10-02 04.59.15

 

But seriously, in 2010 when Eat, Pray, Love was released, I read it 3 times in 3 days. I was like all of the other 10 million women that bought the book and made it an instant New York Times bestseller that stayed on the charts for over 200 weeks. I wanted to escape to Italy, practice yoga and meditating in an Ashram, Bali didn’t really appeal to me – but I would have made it work. At the time I was stuck in a big black hole, and the escape that Eat, Pray, Love provided me was priceless. I pre-ordered movie tickets and was in the opening session of the Julie Roberts movie (I love Julia Roberts but the book is always better). I attended a lecture by Elizabeth at the Brisbane Powerhouse, where she cursed like a sailor, inspired motivation comparable to her friend Oprah, was so incredibly authentic and fabulously funny and all the name of provoking people into embracing their own creativity. This woman is one funny, creative and down to earth chick, who is obviously a wonderful person, just going off her book and the people that welcomed her into their lives and loved her on her journey . Luca, Sofie, Giovanni, Richard from Texas, Ketut Liyer and Wayan all my absolute favourite people from the book. And I am still stoked that LUCA liked my post.

 

So thank you Luca, I feel very special. Xx

 

 

Learn something new everyday.

2015-11-04 18.59.13

“Blogging”, lets learn some interesting facts about blogging.

The word “Blog” is a combination of web and log.

Blogging was thought to have started in the early nineties, by an American college student. Initially blogs were a platform that people used as an online diary. That has expanded now and there are some people who are able to make a living out of blogging as professional bloggers. It is thought that some professional bloggers have up to four blog sites.

This seems to make sense as it is thought that in 1999 there were about 23 blogs and know there are about 1.3 billion. WordPress and BlogSpot are the most popular blog sites with about 40% of people preferring WordPress.

Views can increase up to 94% with the use of images on your blog.

Most people read blogs in the morning between 7.00am and 10.00am

People are thought to have more trust, connection, and perceive the business as healthy and thriving if they have a blog.

Approximately a third of bloggers are mums with children under 18.

Over 80% of blogs are written in English.

Blogging has made such an impact on mainstream media, that they acknowledged that blogging and social media is changing the face of news. Richard Sambrook, the director of the BBC Global News Division, spoke at Oxford Social Media Convention, saying that, citizen journalism is something that needs to be taken into account. That this new media is delivered with transparency and that is what builds trust with consumers. He went on to say that news has to be delivered accurately and fairly and that consumers need reliable source of where the information has come from. Journalists are no longer gatekeepers of information but are having to share it in a public space.

Have fun blogging everyone.

Fly out Friday

acceptance

Today was fly out day for us, the end of 7 days of R and R for my husband and back to work for 21 days. We have lived this routine for 2.5 years now. Some fly out days are tough, like crying and lots of emotion tough. Other fly out days aren’t as bad, still hard but, ahh you know its fly out day and we will get through. Today for me was an odd one, I was sad like emotional sad, but also ahh you know its fly out day. It was one of those r and r’s where we were disconnected and living in our own worlds and our own priorities of work, kids, sport, my husband wanting to do his thing on his days off and me just wanting to get through the week and everything that entails. Its ok to have R and R’s like this, it doesn’t happen all the time. But ahhhh you know when it does, I get to fly out day, and look back with some regret, that I didn’t try harder and some indifference, because well it is what it is. Not every time he is home is going to be a fairy tale of fabulous conversation, date days and undying love.

Over the last couple of years, I have seen our relationship morph into different forms continuously. I am not sure if that is an acute observation, because emotions run so high when we are separated for 21 days a month and then try and cram all of that pent up emotion into 7 days or if I am just more observant of our relationship. Either way having a marriage while living the fifo lifestyle can be a roller coaster. I think for me the trick is to acceptance, this is the lifestyle we have for now and to accept the time we have together for what it is. Some days will be off the charts fabulous and other days not so much.

Be kind or be quiet on social media

be kind

This study period via Open Learning University, I am study engaging media through Curtin Uni. The main theme of this unit is participatory culture. I am fascinated to learning about this concept that we are currently living. We are a generation that has the most amazing advantage of having the ability to connect, communicate, contribute and participate in real time with people that are either our family, friends, the media, celebrities or complete strangers.

I love the fact that I can logon to my Facebook, Instagram or blog accounts and see what my friends and family are up to, and be able to comment or like their posts. On the other hand, I am also able to share my life with those that I want to connect with. This positive interaction on social media makes people feel good about themselves and encourages participation.

But, what happens when participants of social media take this connection too far, and feel the need to express unwanted opinions onto others that are sharing their lives and are then targeted with negative, hateful opinions or comments. I recently attended a lecture at the Brisbane Writers Festival by John Ronson where he spoke about his new book so you’ve been publicly shamed. He was fabulously entertaining and spoke about an incredible instance, when a woman wrote a thoughtless post on her own social media account and in turn, because of peoples aggressive comments, ruined her own life, via this participatory culture that we all live in.

Another example of these negative, hurtful, unwanted opinions is a lady that I heard about on the local radio station. This lady gave birth to a baby girl, and a few days later she is “mummy shamed”, on her social media. This shaming happened after a post showing her attending the grand final of rugby league football, supporting her husband who plays for a club in Brisbane, and leaving her baby girl at home with the baby’s grandmother.

Isn’t it interesting that simple manners, courtesy and respect for other humans seems to be forgotten or deemed irrelevant, when people are able to sit at a computer screen and spew their opinions and not to have to face the person that they are attacking.

As I was taught growing up “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”.

Eye opener

I totally judged today, because I don’t understand.girl

(DISCLAIMER) I am going to sound like a judgemental, snobby cow in this post, sorry if I offend anyone.

Today we had to go to our local police station to renew a licence and to the local court house to have some forms witnessed by a JP. What an eye opener, we walked into the Police station and up to the front desk, where there was a harassed looking mid-aged woman, who looked like she wanted to murder the person she was on the phone to, as she said through gritted teeth “it’s still not working” as she was slamming the mouse in her right hand on the desk. I didn’t realise how loud I had spoken when I said to my husband “I have never been in a Police station before”, he coughed out a half-hearted laugh and the murderous woman looked up at me with raised eye brows and bewildered look on her face.  I promptly retrieved my phone from my hand bag and proceeded to be completely anti-social. The front doors opened and in walks a man with the skin like leather, ratty dirty hair, smokers cough and hard look on his face. “You been fuckin’ looked after yet?” he says from behind us, as he looks at the lady on the phone. My husband replied in an equally hard voice and pointed to the lady, “she’s busy”, I stood with my head further in my phone.  The unfortunate lady behind the counter processed our forms after slamming the phone and asked if we wanted to pay for one or five years of the licence.  My husband and I replied at the same time, I said five (because I do not want to have to come back here in one year) and my husband said one year, because it was cheaper.  Old leather face behind us pipes up, and starts ranting how ridiculous the price of a licence is and that we are mad if we pay the five years, he was absolutely pushing the buttons of the reception lady. I was on repeat to the poor woman, five years we want to pay five years, just take the amount for the five years off the savings account.

I pretty much ran out of the Police station, away from leather face and another two men that had walked in while I am chanting five years to the receptionist, that looked like they had just got out of prison. Next we had to make our way to the court house to see the JP, where there was a line up out the door of people, waiting in line to be processed through security to get in to the building. I will not go into what this lot looked like cause I really will sound like a judgemental, snobby cow. Let’s just say that our local justice precinct is in a particularly low socio-economic area with a lot of crime, unemployment and violence.

As we were signing papers with the JP, a woman strides through the doors like she owns the building, in shoes that are flip-flopping off her feet, her top is falling off one shoulder (I’m pretty sure that particular top isn’t designed to do that) and a skirt that is dragging on the ground. She is communicating to the government employee behind the counter that; no she didn’t get to her court hearing yesterday, because she has shit to do on a Monday, and that today is a better day for her to go to court over her few outstanding warrants, and she is not sure why everyone has their knickers in a knot over her not being in court yesterday. My face obviously portrayed a WTF look because the JP, smashed his lips together in an effort not to burst out laughing at me.

I know I can’t judge, I don’t know their stories, and I’ve not walked a day in their shoes and all that. But holy hell, you know what leather face, if the price for five years is $150 then that’s what you pay no big deal, if you don’t have the money, only pay for one year. But don’t take it out on the lady on the front lines of the Police station, having deal with people like you throwing ridiculous points of view at her all day. To the lady that has shit to do on a Monday, if Monday doesn’t suit you to go to court, don’t do the friggin crime and stop wasting tax payers dollars on having to now reschedule to have your court date changed.

Boy in the green pyjamas

I spy you through the privacy shutters on the window. You’re curled up next to the woman that you love most in the world on a stark white, stiff, uncomfortable hospital bed. I watch as you whisper sweet things in the ear of the woman who draws strength from your presence. Your hand clutched in hers is an anchor that grounds the agitation and darkness that’s lurking in her eyes.

I’m caught by you for my spying when you look up and catch my eye. I want to apologise to you, I have interrupted a private moment. A moment of comfort you gave the lady when you soothed her concern over her breakfast and promised her warm milk with her corn flakes. This small gesture of routine changes the emotion in the room from dark and heavy to bright and carefree. The cartoons on the tv compete with the laughter in the room, while a race is on to see who can eat cornflakes the fastest. The hospital issued sandpaper – otherwise known as tissues, wipe my tears and running nose that have drawn attention from my co-workers, who role and shake their heads at me. “What the love in that room is overwhelming” I say. Again I am graced with more eye rolling and shaking heads.

I turn back to spy once more, the primal inner caveman in you is out in full force. The dynamics have changed with the introduction of a social worker and a Doctor to the scenario. The woman in pink flannel pyjamas is frantically trying to fix her appearance, you are a sentinel beside her. The doctor in his casual jeans and polo shirt looks as though he would rather be anywhere else in the world than in this room, and the social worker with her clipboard and list, red glasses and look of determination on her face looks ready to battle.

You obtain the upper hand, you have done this all before that much is very obvious, and your voice is like steel hard and unyielding. “I am a good boy, we help each other do everything and if we can’t do it the ladies from the church help us. I am a good boy at school and always do what my teacher tells me”. You take a big deep breath, your hands clenched at your sides.” Mum walks me to and from school every day, we eat dinner and breakfast at the table and our house is clean”.

Jesus, this is way too much, now I am openly crying next to the photocopier. Even my hard ass co-workers are showing emotion.

The lady in the red glasses strikes, “where is your family and why don’t they support you?” “ I left when I was a teenager because I wouldn’t let my step-father do unspeakable things to me”.

Ok I’m out, I tell my co-workers I am going for my break.

Once I finish my break, I walk past the room that held love, sadness and determination, to find the bed made with perfect hospital corners and sheets so tight that I could have bounced the change from my caramel latte off it.

I quickly scan the discharge notes to find out they have been given a referral for support and a cab voucher to make their way home together.

I wish I could have held that chubby little 7 year old face in my hands and told the boy in the green pyjamas, that he was a boy wise beyond his years, and that he should be very proud of himself.

Day One

Summer has officially started for me, even though in Australia summer officially starts on 1st December.

I originate from a dedicated cricket family, my grandfather founded the cricket club in his home town, and my Dad followed in his footsteps, he was a successful all round cricketer, in one game he took 6 wickets, and my Dad, is still faithful to the Australian game. I recall as a child having our television, locked to Kerry Packers Channel 9, to watch every 5 day test and every single one day game, the worst of all for me was the Boxing Day test in Melbourne.

For people who don’t know cricket, it can be an extremely slow game of 11 players essentially playing a bat and ball game, where the aim is to get the most amount of runs, while keeping as many of your wickets as you can, this can go on for 5 freaking days. I have memories of streams of tears flowing down my face in frustration on sweltering days, and being forced to hang out in our lounge room, to watch these tortuous games with men standing around in white clothes, hitting a red ball with a piece of wood that is shaped as a cricket bat. Sounds traumatic doesn’t it. Fast forward 20 years and with this devoted line of cricketers, I was forced into becoming a cricket tragic. I now have two boys who are so devoted to the game that when they play and win a game, the emotion displayed is the equivalent to winning the Ashes (this is the pinnacle in cricket for an Aussie). At the moment we spend about 6hrs training a week, and then 6 hrs every Saturday playing the game.

So why am I ranting about cricket? Because today “The Gabba” in Brisbane, hosted the first day of test cricket between Australia and New Zealand (yes a test that goes for 5 days), and I was there (AHHHHH). Believe me when I say that is a good AHHHH.

I am extremely fortunate to also have a dear friend who is also a cricket tragic – actually probably more than me (that’s saying a lot), so we spent the day at the cricket.

So what did our day involve? Oh where to start…..Weeeelll lets start at the beginning. Brisbane city council offers free transport to the game, from selected locations for anyone with a ticket to the cricket. So we took advantage of the council’s generosity and took an early bus, to the game. This is after mum duties, of getting our kids safely tucked away at school so we can go and enjoy our day, watching men in white, hit a red ball with a piece of wood. Our aim was to grab fabulous seats in the member’s area and more importantly be settled with a cup of coffee, watching the first ball of the game being bowled. We totally missed all of the above, because the bus took the longest way possible around the city to eventually arrive at the cricket grounds (Sounds like a bad start to the day doesn’t it.). Due to our unfortunate bus trip, we rushed, like almost ran into the stadium, to try and find seats and see what was happening in the game. Well, who should we run into, but one of the best fast bowlers and one of the most talked about Bollywood stars in the world – Brett Lee. What a sweet and generous man to indulge a couple of Mumma groupies in taking selfies with him and then shamelessly posting them on every social media site we are members of and tagging the hell out of them. What a fabulous start to the first day of a five day test, where at lunch we went and spoiled ourselves with a glass of champagne each, of course this is after visiting the coffee van lady. Only to find ourselves in the “man bar” as we called it. As we elegantly sipped gorgeous $19 sparkling wine, and scrutinised the crowed, only to find that we were the only women surrounded in a bar full of beer swilling men lined up out of the 18 + area waiting for a sausage sizzle, while listening to a live musician belt out songs from the 70’s, like Piano Man by Billy Joel, and I was educated on the fact that Madonna was not the first person to sing American pie.

After lunch we watched David Warner rack up his 13th test century and New Zealand struggle to keep the Aussies under control in the field.

We had to depart our member’s seats at tea (3.00pm) to catch the bus, the long way back to the car so that we could pick – up kids from school. Oh, but we will be back tomorrow, cannot wait to see what day 2 involves.

2015-11-05 14.19.12 20151105_101206

November 1

First blog post of November and I am nervous and a bit excited. See I have signed up for NaBloPoMo . NaBloPoMo is a 30 blog challenge. I have toyed with the idea of a blog for mmmm probably 12 months. I dipped my toe in the blogosphere in June with the posts Bikram, mountains and fly in fly out, Brazilian, Twenty-one days, and Cricket mum and quickly jumped back ten feet, from dipping said toe, because you know I didn’t get a million likes or comments. My confidence took a nose dive and I was way too scared to try again, because well obviously no one like my writing (no naïve and obviously no clue about blogging). So I am back, ready to roll up my sleeves and get my typing fingers tapping away, creating blogs posts for the next 30 days.

Don’t get me wrong, still worried that no one will read my blog posts, that everyone will read my blog posts, that no one will comment or like, that everyone will comment or like, that I may get negative comments, that I may get positive comments, am I writing in a style suitable for a blog, am I writing interesting content. Oh for god sakes, what a way to melt my brain……………….

My main aims for the next 30 days is to enjoy my writing and my build confidence. I have no plan for how I am going to find content for the next 30 blogs posts, I am thinking maybe experiences from that day, or things I love, things I hate, maybe include a quote and what that quote means to me, one day I may tackle just posting images.

So with all that being said “Happy November” and stay tuned for my next blog xx

Brazilian

Announcing my arrival I am asked to have a seat. Abbie my stunning beautician with model looks, perfectly styled hair and dressed in her pristine black uniform, greets me and directs me to the beauty room. She opens the door and I am engulfed with the most refreshing yet soothing fragrance. I have no idea what it is, I make a mental note to ask her, when I am not feeling so nervous. “Fabulous” she says, “ok strip down so everything is off your bottom half, there is a box of wipes for you to freshen up, lay down on the table, place the towel over you and I’ll be back”. With an elegant turn she is gone. I am left standing in the middle of this refreshingly, soothing fragranced room, stunned into silence. I knew that I would have to bare all, but hadn’t given it much thought until now and the wipes, oh dear lord how embarrassing. I do as I am instructed and lay on the beauty bed, contemplating how ridiculous I would look if I left this minute. Abbie glides back into the room in all of her stunning beauty. Checks a pot sitting on bench which I assume is the wax, comes over and whips the towel off, claps her hands and says “great let’s start, spread your legs and we will get rid of all this hair”. Oh. I. want. to. die. Me the woman who can count on one hand, how many people have been between my thighs! One husband, one obstetrician that I had for both boys, and one gp, who has done all my pap smears and know Abbie the beautiful beautician. “So have you had a Brazilian before?” “Yes, but never waxed”. “Oh” she says as she scrunches up her face “it always hurts the first time but after that you’ll be fine”. Fantastic. Abbie walks over twirling what looks like a  large paddle pop stick with pink wax on it. She applies the molten wax and it actually feels quiet pleasant and warm. I try to concentrate on the very white ceiling, while forcing myself to keep my legs open. Abbie is professional in her job, she lulls me into a false sense of security with her happy chatting. She rips the now hardened wax with hundreds of hairs attached, from the follicle on my vagina, I feel myself launch off the bed and I think that I may have also screeched “fuck”. She smiles and walks back over to the wax pot. I have decided Abbie the beautiful beautician, is fucking evil. Abbie continues her chatter, I continue to have to talk myself out of punching her in the vagina. This is after she informs me, that she has only ever had one Brazilian in Beauty College because they hurt too much.

At one point near the end of this ridiculousness, she swipes one very large patch of molten hell from top to bottom of my poor red, but now hairless lady parts. I actually start giggling uncontrollably with the thought that she has to rip that fucker off. She must be able to tell that by now I am in shock, because mid-giggle. Rip. Yep the beautiful evil beautician rips the wax off. I think my skin is on fucking fire. Then to my absolute horror, she pulls out a pair of tweezers. She assures me that we are nearly done and that she wants to make sure that I am completely hair free. I am now grunting in response. As my eyes burn holes in the ceiling, my cheeks also flame red at the mortification of this experience, my lady parts are sensitive and throbbing.

Abbie comes over places a large, heated towel over me tells me that we are done and she will meet me out at the counter to pay. While I stand, at the counter paying an obscene amount of money to have my vajajay put through hell. I am cursing myself for wearing my pretty lace knickers that are now scratching my poor abused vagina, I have an overwhelming wish to go commando. I don’t register until I am in the car that Abbie the beautiful beautician, has booked me for a follow up Brazilian in one month. I will be cancelling and I do not care what the fragrance in the room was. I will associate that smell with beautiful evil beauticians and molten hell.

Twenty-one days

I contemplate our lifestyle as a Fly in– Fly out family and it isn’t about the money. I’m increasingly worried about Scott’s mounting frustration and tension with being away for twenty one days.

Twenty-one nights in a single bed that feels like a piece of concrete. I know he craves, our queen- size bed, with his big strong body curled around mine, holding me tight, not having to wake at 4.30am. No line-up for breakfast, lunch and dinner, his stomach turning at the sight of what is on offer. I can’t wait to sit down and savour a home cooked meal with him.

Twenty-one days of running along the fence line, because the gym overflows with the same people that he lines up for meals with.

Twenty-one times of blowing in the breathalyser, despite having no access to alcohol.

Twenty-one days a month 600kms away, to support us. Transported by a car, plane and bus to get to the 400- man camp that he stays in. The compound could be mistaken for a jail. I know that after a long and detailed process, the gas that is being extracted is only used for domestic use. To top it off, working in 50 degree heat and minus zero temperatures.

In this next swing, I will not spend Easter with my husband, he will miss our oldest boy’s cricket grand final and our youngest boy’s school recital.

The screen is black, the ring tone bleeps as I anxiously wait for Scott to hit connect. I mean, how ridiculous that I am anxious, he is my husband.

As FaceTime connects I see the green eyes and scruff that details a strong jaw. His face beams at me and I know that my face has an equally blinding smile; my eyes sparkle with tears I will not shed. “Hey beautiful, no crying,” he says. Oh god, my heart melts seeing his face and hearing his voice at the same time.

“Hi babe, so I need to interview you on fifo!”

“Yes dear, what do you want to know?” Scott sighs, sounding exasperated. He loathes talking about work and being away. Preferring to spend our time together hearing about home.

“Babe, before we start on this interview let me have a quick chat to the boys.” As I listen to Scott laugh and talk to our boys about school and cricket. I am eternally grateful for modern technology. Jack sits at our much- loved kitchen table, with his dad on FaceTime working through Year 8 maths homework.

Toms laughs as he talks to Scott. “Yes, mum’s doing the dishes!”

“I wish I was doing the dishes with you babe,” Scott yells through the computer screen. The dishes have always been our time at the end of the day to chat and catch up. Now text messages, phone calls and FaceTime are our way of catching up.

I grab the laptop and make my way to our bedroom, so we can chat without interference from the boys.

“So what do you hate about fifo?”

“Seriously, that’s your question?” His unconscious movement of running his hand over his short back and side’s haircut signalling signals his pent- up frustration. “You know the answer to that. It’s fucking shit.” Beautiful green eyes hardening, jaw tense and eyebrows drawn in so far they nearly touch. “It pisses me off that I don’t get to come home to you and the boy’s every day. I want to be home for Easter.” Swipes his hair again. “I am here working my ass off, dealing with idiots that couldn’t organise a piss- –up in a brewery. Working on a public holiday with no penalty rates. After twenty one days I hate the ass holes I work and live with. I did five hundred squats today. Five hundred times I had to squat down and tie off cable. Because some idiot ordered the wrong equipment and refuses to send it back. It’s bullshit. They want us to work harder and faster, with no additional tools and resources.” I scan over his chest and face as he sits rigid and tense on the single bed, as he swipes his hair.

“We got told, that there has been 9 suicides since Christmas, that’s nine blokes that who killed themselves. Fifo and everything that goes with it did that.” (My stomach sinks and I consider the poor men that got to that point, and the families left behind to deal with that devastation.)

Abandoning the questions I had prepared, we chat and catch up about home. Scott now lounges casually on the single bed and his smile reaches his eyes. It makes me think of last month when I picked him up at the airport.

He crossed the zebra crossing dragging his bag behind him at a furious pace, the backpack used as a carry -on slapped against his back, black cap pulled low down over his green eyes. I could see he had no intention of making eye contact with anyone until he reached me. He made sure to wear the black t-shirt that I love. It shows off just a peek of his tattoos, on the arms I adore. Dressed He was dressed in his low slung jeans that hang off his gorgeous ass perfectly. Scott reached our four- wheel drive that took us camping for that break and wrenched the door open. I just about jumped the seat to get to him, I had missed him the past three weeks.

Bringing me back to our conversation he laughs. “Mel, you need to go babe, I can hear the boys arguing.”

My whole body slouches in sadness, tears slip down my face at having to say goodbye. Scott’s eyes are full of love and with a beaming smile across his face. “Love you, babe,” he declares as he hits end. His image is frozen for a second on the screen while the connection drops out. As I stare at the image, I am the one left feeling frustrated and tense with Fly in and Fly out.