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Friday, June 22, 2018

Nineteen Days Sober

Imagine you're told you are never allowed to eat another baked potato with sour cream again for the rest of your life. 

Even better still, imagine you are told you aren't allowed to eat a baked potato with sour cream for the entire of the next week. 

Oh the hell with it, imagine you are told you can’t have a baked potato with sour cream until tomorrow.

I adore baked potatoes with sour cream but honestly, none of those scenarios would ruffle my fluff. I’d just eat chips instead.

I’m betting you wouldn’t be too phased either, would you?

Who really cares about dumb potatoes?

Now, change ‘potato with sour cream’ to ‘alcohol’.

The entire emotional and physical reaction to the scenario changes, don’t you think? Well, at least it did for me when I heard this analogy.

I suddenly experienced an epiphany that my intimate relationship with my dear friend, Winey McWine, has been playing far too big a role in my life.

It was clearly time to dump it. I needed to break up with alcohol.

I’m 19 days abstinent and feeling great.

That’s the longest I’ve gone without booze since my last pregnancy which was… let me see… oh yeah, twenty-one years ago.

For the last twenty-one years, I have definitely abused the safe drinking guidelines big time. I've never injured myself, missed work, neglected my children or animals but I've let my body down over and over by abusing it with ethanol.

So I've flicked it at last.

I noticed this morning that my eyes are clear and I’m hoping that soon they will be sparkly.

I’ve noticed that I’m not puffing as much on my hikes around the mountain.

By day five, I had an extra spring in my step and I felt much more chilled out.

By day nine, I began to sleep and dream normally. There was no waking up at 3 in the morning and grasping for my water bottle in a highly, agitated state of the dry horrors.

By day ten, I discovered my handwriting has improved. It looks like it did when I was sixteen.

That’s weird, huh? I always thought my handwriting was deteriorating because of arthritis but apparently not. What exactly was the alcohol doing to my brain to affect my handwriting? It’s terrifying to think about.

I’m looking forward to more positive things as the weeks and months go by.

The first night felt a bit weird but it became easier and easier as the days went by. I can only fancy what my long-suffering liver must be thinking at the moment? It must feel euphoric; like it’s finally been given a holiday after years of filtering a slow drip of toxic poison out of my blood.

I’ve discovered I love ginger beer poured in a tall glass of ice at lunch and sparkling apple juice is bloody delicious. Who knew? My kidneys must be rejoicing.

I wasted enough time on alcohol and frankly I’m sick of the guilt.

Nobody told me to stop. Something just clicked in my brain, at last.

Sorry alcohol, frankly you’ve become a bit boring and needy for my liking and I won’t be returning your calls.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

How Lunch Can Kill You

What’s snow white and hirsute, has eyes the colour of cold, blue steel and could cause you to die a lonely, gasping death if you have the dire misfortune of finding yourself locked in a room with it?

What can climb a flyscreen door in two seconds flat and remain spreadeagled near the ceiling like a deformed goblin? 

What can swing from the curtains with gay abandon; pull a lace doily from a table top shattering forty ceramic rabbits in the process then parkour from couch to couch, sinking its sharp claws into the fine upholstery as it goes?

Dearest reader, as you know, most of my stories begin with Scotto and I going to lunch and this story is no different.

There we were, casually sipping on our second glass of Chardonnay at the elegant and inexpensive Robina Tavern, when I suddenly said in a wistful tone, “Scotto… we should get a kitten.”

Scotto’s defences were down, his senses dulled by the dangerous elixir of cheap wine and quicker than you can say ‘There’s a Fancy Feast hairball on the carpet ’, Scotto was already scrolling through his phone in search of kittens for sale in the Robina vicinity.

You see, after the sudden demise of my beloved hare, Mixy, the house seemed empty, forsaken… desolate. But though our grieving was deeply profound, it was quite short; it was clearly time to move on.

Naturally, the pet gods were looking out for us and in a serendipitous twist of providence, there happened to be Rag Doll kittens for sale around the actual corner from the tavern.

Can you believe it? It seemed like fate. We were meant to have a Rag Doll kitten and nothing would stand in our way. We speedily skulled the dregs of our glasses and hastened to the Hyundai in search of fluffy adorableness.

…After we left the breeder’s house with the carry basket and a handful of instructions regarding vaccinations, worming and other financially draining mandates, the wine inevitably began to wear off.

All the way up the mountain, cat perched on my lap; I sneezed, rubbed my inflamed, streaming eyes and wheezed like a three pack a day smoker ascending her tenth flight of stairs.

I suddenly remembered I am allergic to cats.

That’s why our sixteen year old cat at home, lives outside on the patio in exile.

“Are you having kitten-buyer’s remorse, Pinky?” asked Scotto as he maneuvered up the curving road while watching me out of the corner of his eye to make sure I wasn’t turning blue.

“No,” I whistled through my closed up airways. “S’okay. If I don’t make it home can you tell the kids I love them?”

It’s been a month now and he (Hansel) still hasn’t killed me yet via an extreme asthma attack. I say yet because some nights I've had to stand outside in the freezing cold to get my breath back.

But I can get used to living with a constantly itching hard palate, red swollen eyes and an inflamed nose. It’s not a big deal.

However, I’ve finally learned a lesson.

No more wine lunches.

We go to breakfast now instead.

Hansel protesting at the vet
Hansel climbing the curtains
Hansel laptop-blocking me
Hansel getting his brother and sister in trouble
Hansel taunting Pablo and Celine
Hansel being cute
Hansel loving his brother

Saturday, June 2, 2018

When is a Petting Zoo not a Petting Zoo?

We went to a ‘petting zoo’ one recent Sunday for Scotto’s birthday.

When I say it was for Scotto’s birthday, it was my ‘birthday surprise’ for him which as you know was really a ‘birthday surprise’ for me, even though it wasn’t my birthday and it wasn’t surprising to me at all because I was the one who planned it.

I’d anticipated spending the morning cuddling curly-tailed piglets and bottle feeding lambs and then afterwards, shout Scotto a lovely lunch by the pond.

However, a series of unfortunate events prevented this selfless, sentimental gesture coming to fruition.

Firstly, the night before, we'd watched the royal wedding with great gusto and a few too many toasts to the newlyweds took place over the evening.

Secondly, we’d enjoyed an Indian meal earlier in the day on Saturday, and in my usual showy-off style, I’d ordered an extra-hot Vindaloo curry and eaten the bulk of it despite my eyeballs melting.

“It’s not hot at all!” I remember skiting to Scotto. “Try some you big sook!”

He just ignored me and sensibly ate his mild Lamb Korma, not to be tempted by my seductive goading.

At midday on Sunday, as we hobbled around the alleged petting zoo, the Vindaloo began its thundering journey through my lower bowels with decided retribution.

My stomach began to growl louder than the dingoes eyeing off the Japanese tourists’ children. 

There were a lot of Japanese tourists there because I’d been tricked by the advertising. It wasn’t really a petting zoo at all… it was a tacky theme park running under the umbrella of all the other horrendous theme parks on the Gold Coast. It cost $30 per person admission and the only animal you were allowed to pet were some very uninspiring guinea pigs.

I could buy fifteen guinea pigs for thirty dollars if I wanted.

But guess what! The adults weren’t even allowed to pet the guinea pigs.

Apparently it was only for the kids.

Only. for. the. kids.


Anyway, back to my stomach.

The spice induced stomach cramps were akin to third stage, childbirth labour. A fine sheen of sweat spread over my forehead. The streams of perspiration dripped all the way into my armpits and I didn’t know if I was going to vomit or explode from the opposite end so we were mandated to leave immediately. 

That was half an hour after we arrived.

I don’t know why they charge thirty bucks admission. We saw some chickens… I can see them at home. We saw some koalas… big whoopee. We saw some kangaroos… I see them dead on the side of the road every day.

When people advertise a petting zoo they should deliver baby animals to pet.

I think I might start my own bloody petting zoo.

What do you think?