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Showing posts with label A to Z Challenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label A to Z Challenge. Show all posts

Monday, April 14, 2014

L- is for Looking Out My Bedroom Window.

A to Z April Challenge

The weather was a bit wild and woolly on Saturday night. “Look!” I said to Scotto on Sunday morning. “It’s been raining!”

Overnight our property value had doubled with glorious water views unexpectedly thrown into the equation.

Unbeknownst to us, Cyclone Ita had paid a visit but fortunately our only casualty was a bread board blown into the sink in the kitchen.

Just like Mrs Mangel, I spend a considerable amount of time peeking through my bedroom blinds snooping on the comings and goings outside Chez Poinker.


On the weekend I stick my nose through the slats in order to discover how many teenagers have spent the night. The number of P plated cars parked out the front is a dead give-away.

Before there is even a single painful knock on the door I can spot the Foxtel salesman trudging up the path with a determined look on his dial. The soon to be thwarted salesman that is; outfoxed by an indisposed Pinky hiding in her bedroom, muffling her psychotic laughter and pretending no one is home.

I observe underhanded members of the public drive up beside the council bin opposite the house. They get out of the car solicitously checking no one is around to witness them throwing a huge bag of stinking prawn shells in the bin, unaware that Pinky Mangels is watching their every move.

One day as Scotto and I lay on the bed trawling the Internet on our laptops (that’s not a euphemism), we observed a criminal act going down right in front of our house.

A car pulled up containing a group of feral looking teenage boys (not actually related to Pinky for a change) and one of the boys climbed out carrying a dodgy plastic bag. 

He looked around discretely, clearly checking there were no eyewitnesses to whatever it was he was about to do.

“’Ello, ‘ello, ‘ello,” said Scotto putting on his best impersonation of a copper from The Bill. “What’s this joker up to then?”

The young ruffian walked towards the grassy river bed and deposited the mystery bag underneath a bush then coolly wandered back up to the car, jumped in and drove off with his Neanderthal beanie-wearing mates.

“Ermahgerd!” I squealed at Scotto. “That was highly suspicious, Scotto! What do you think that was about?”

“I don’t know,” replied my manly man husband. “But I’m going to check it out!”

“Nooooo!” I begged him, clinging to his ankles as he shuffled towards the bedroom door. “What if it’s a bomb and it blows up in your face?”

“It’s not a bomb, Pinky,” a transformed Jason Bourne avowed, “I’ll be back.” 

Gawking through the blinds in trepidation I watched my fearless hero wearing his macho gardening gloves (with the yellow tulips) swagger across the road and delicately retrieve the item of interest.

                                         Image Credit

It was spray paint… about $200 worth of fluorescent spray paint. It was too much paint for the purpose of the sickening habit of sniffing but enough to paint our entire suburb red, so to speak.

In true Mangel style we called the police who came and collected it.

All I can say to our neighbours is this...

The Poinkers are here to fight for truth, and justice, and the Australian way. We have your backs Australia.

I believe there's a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even that third glass of Chardy.

Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I'm...’ve stopped reading haven’t you?

Hello? Anyone there?


Linking up with Kirsty at My Home Truths 
and Emily at Laugh Link

I Must Confess

Saturday, April 12, 2014

K - is for Kissing Cousins.

                 Mum holding little baby brother Damo, (L-R) Sam, Kimmy and Pinky.

A to Z April Challenge

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Kissing cousin- noun

: a person and especially a relative who you know well enough to kiss in a formal way when you meet.

I have twenty (first) cousins altogether but I only keep regular contact with two of them; via Facebook mainly as we all live in different cities.

Back in my childhood, every second year Mum and Dad would pack up the Citroen and at three o’clock in the morning we’d be dragged out of bed for the road trip up to Cairns to visit the cousins. Even now when I’m forced to wake up at that ungodly hour I have flashbacks of those trips.

Mum would make us eat a bowl of Weet-Bix before we left which would invariably be regurgitated by my little sister Sam all over the back seat of the car as we drove over the Cardwell Ranges.

I’d be sitting in the back beside her, complaining for the remainder of the trip about the stench of vomit. Mum would incompetently endeavor to clean it up in the dawn light with a box of Kleenex; whatever remained after the poodle had licked it up anyway.

Dad was adamant we had to leave early to escape the North Queensland heat because there was no such thing as air-conditioned cars back then.

As we drove into Cairns at eight o’clock in the morning my excitement would reach fever pitch. Jewel and Cheryl, my older cousins were my idols. Kimmy, the younger cousin, hung around with my sister Sam, but I liked to hang out with the worldly-wise older girls in their sophisticated caravan in the backyard, milking them for classified information about sex, boys and other mysterious phenomena.

                                 Cheryl and Jewel circa 1968

Who do you suppose told me how babies are made?

And who scared the willies out of me by retelling the urban myth about the bloke on top of the car bouncing the head of the girl’s boyfriend?

Both girls were set a punishing regime of piano practice every day by their musician father and I remember sitting patiently waiting for them to finish so I could hang around again like a bad smell; in a way only the quintessential pesky younger cousin is able.

In my eyes both girls were so gifted, beautiful, artistically talented and stylish. I was besotted.

One afternoon back in the late sixties, sitting under their old Queenslander style house they introduced me to my all-time favourite song; the song I've told Scotto I want played at my funeral.

They’d take me for a walk up to the shop and buy me an ice-cream and allow me to hang out when their friends came over. Even the boys.

When they were older they’d return from holidays in the big smoke looking all glamorous with long, auburn-dyed cascading hair, sky high platform shoes and the kind of sparkly clothes little Pinky would salivate over.

They related stories of meeting celebrities when they were in the big smoke and I luxuriated in vicarious pleasure.

Imagine meeting the stars of Skippy in real life!

                   Cheryl holding baby Thaddeus with her daughter Emily.

Cheryl has remained my closest cousin over the last forty years and from fitness camps in the eighties to funerals, weddings and family visits in the nineties and naughties, our relationship has endured.

                              Pinky holding Hagar, Cheryl seated, Kimmy on right.
                           Not sure who owns the rest of the kids!

                                And she’s still beautiful!

Do you have a favourite cousin?

Friday, April 11, 2014

J - is for Just Visiting

Have you ever read The Giving Tree? It’s a beautiful story about unconditional love. The type of unconditional love a parent has for a child. I cry every single time I read it.

I went to lunch with the girls today to a restaurant called Jam Corner (which is another “J” word) and I was going to write about that but I haven’t been able to concentrate because of my darling nineteen year old son lying beside me playing what he describes as a fusion of hiphop, rap, reggae, R&B, dancehall, blues, jazz and soul on his phone whilst singing loudly and tunelessly in accompaniment.

But that’s okay… he’s my son.

“Can I borrow your phone for a sec?” he’d interrupt me. “I've run out of credit and need to text someone.” 

When I finally wrestled it back from him I noticed he’d made eight outgoing calls.

But that’s okay… he’s my son.

As soon as I rounded the corner and saw his ute in my driveway I thought how fortunate it was I’d had a big lunch and wondered if there’d be anything at all left in the fridge.

“Why don’t you buy food anymore Mum?” he grumbled, as he scoffed down my cherished golden rabbit Easter Egg. The one I’d been saving for Easter Sunday.

“Mainly it’s because you don’t actually live here anymore, Padraic!” I replied indignantly, watching as he wolfed down the prized rabbit in two bites.

But that’s okay he’s my son.

I could hear him rummaging around in the fridge five minutes later and a voice bellowed from the kitchen, “Is this chicken alright to eat?”

“It’s fine,” I sighed. “Go for it.”

“Smells funny,” he commented scornfully, tossing it back in disgust.

And it’s not just food. Our house acts as a giant warehouse full of towels, sheets, mattresses, Eskys, fold up chairs, buckets for bait, the odd external hard drive... all free for the taking. Nothing needs to be returned and rarely is.

But that’s okay. They’re my kids.

So for any mum out there reading this, please don’t fret when your kids grow up and move out. They never REALLY move out at all. 

Not until they've used up every scrap of sawdust anyway.

But as I said… it’s okay.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I - is for I of the Tiger!

Image Credit

A to Z April Challenge!

Yes I know, eye cheated. Oh well.

If you read my post about my son Hagar traipsing off to Thailand to celebrate his 21st birthday with his gorgeous girlfriend Meggles, then you know how uneasy I was about their safety. 

Short of laying down on the tarmac in front of the plane I did everything I could to thwart his adventures.

Well… the latest paparazzi snaps to emerge on Facebook reveal the quality of drinking water should have been the least of my concerns.

The concept of Hagar becoming Fancy Feast for a couple of ravenous tigers never occurred to me. 

And the notion he and Meggles may choose to hurtle through the jungle at a great height never even entered my head.

Meanwhile, on the other hand things have been quite dull and boring here at the Poinker Ranch.

This is the type of mind-numbing conversation I had with daughter Lulu, when she was sitting on the couch biding her time before going to work.

I was off to the shops and because of the Chihuahua’s propensity to pick a fight with the German Shepherd out in the backyard, I needed to make sure my inattentive seventeen year old daughter locked the little dogs inside the house before she left.

And if you suspect I nicked this routine from a certain 70s comedy troupe you’re wrong. Sometimes life really does imitate art.

Pinky: Lulu! I’m going to the shop. Can you please make sure you leave Celine and Pablo in the house when you go out?

Lulu (playing with her phone absent-mindedly repeats back instructions):

Lock dogs out if I go out.

Pinky: No. Don’t let them out if you go out… unless I’m back first.

Lulu (still preoccupied with phone): What?

Pinky: The dogs!

Lulu: So… don’t let the dogs in until you come back.

Pinky: No! I might not come back!

Lulu (vaguely processing information): So…. when you come back, I let the dogs in.

Pinky: Lulu, stay here and keep the dogs in when you’re about to go out!

Lulu (dreamily): Or you come home.

Pinky: This isn’t difficult Lulu. Focus. I’m going out and I want the dogs kept inside if you go out.

Lulu: Right.

Pinky (dubiously): Right. I’ll be off then.

Crickets chirrup in the distance.

Lulu: So I don’t have to do anything except let them out when they need to go.

Pinky: Yes… unless you’re going out.

Lulu: Maybe I’d better stay here until you get back.

Pinky: I think that’s a very good idea dear.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H- is for How I Interviewed Myself One Day


A to Z April Challenge

Shamefully, sometimes when I read other people’s blogs I am enveloped in a warm and treacherous cloud of jealousy. 

“I’m not commenting on that post!” I’ll think. “It’s too clever, too funny, too much… better than moi.”

When I see a post with scores of comments I’m often consumed with envy. 

When I come across an interview a blogger has written about another blogger I occasionally feel green with envy. As green as a green eyed, green snake in green grass with its horrible eyes bulging in resentment.

Why? Why? Why? Why doesn’t anyone ever interview me?

So I’ve done exactly what any bitter, unpleasant blogger would do and interviewed myself. Or rather my arch nemesis Magenta has interviewed me. Please enjoy.

Magenta: For those of you that have never come across her site, Pinky Poinker writes a blog here..

I thought we might connect with Pinky today and find out what really goes on behind her silly writings and trivial meanderings.

So firstly Pinky, the question on everyone’s lips, what is the secret to your youthful appearance?

Pinky: (Throaty laugh) Hahaha! Why thank you Magenta! Ummm… I’d have to say 5% genetics, 5% Photoshopping and 89% preserved in wine.

Magenta: That’s only 99% Pinky.

Pinky: Is it? Okay then… another 5% preserved in wine.

Magenta: But that’s…. never mind. So Pinky can you tell us what motivated you to start writing a blog?

Pinky: Revenge. I wanted to get my teenagers back for all the dreadful things they were doing to me. Public shaming you might say.

Magenta: That’s very acrimonious Pinky. Has there been any fallout from your exposes and revealing stories?

Pinky: Well, they did unfriend me on Facebook… but they still turn up for spaghetti bol every week so they can’t be that upset.

Magenta: Now they’re grown up Pinky, where do you see your blog going in the future?

Pinky: Cats, I thought. There really aren’t enough cat pictures out there on the Internet. Or perhaps I could write about menopause and how it makes you sweat a lot and become a bit weird.

Magenta: I think those ideas may have already been covered at length, Pinky. What about your passions? What are your passions?

Pinky: Well… I do tend to get very passionate about the unanswered questions in our world. For example; when is it appropriate to use a semi colon or a colon? And what does a colonoscopy have to do with it?

Magenta: Where and when do you do your fabulous writing?

Pinky: Generally speaking, I sit on the couch downstairs every afternoon, write my post and edit it meticulously three or four times. Then I go for a pensive walk along the river analysing what I’ve written. Then I come home and delete what I wrote; scream at Scotto that I couldn’t write a decent blog post to save my life, Scotto gets me a wine and promises to do a nice little graphic for me, then I tap out my literary work of genius based on inspiration from what’s on the six o’clock news or Deal or No Deal.

Magenta: What do you do when you develop writer’s block?

Pinky: (Shrugs) I look at funny dog memes on Facebook.

Magenta: What’s your favourite post you’ve written?

Pinky: The one about the day I split up with Jon Hamm. It was difficult at the time but I got through it in the end. The link!

Magenta: Who are your favourite bloggers Pinky?

Pinky: Magenta! I could never name my favourite bloggers because by naming a few you are dissing the rest and I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Just sayin’. Not that anyone has ever hurt my feelings. Much. 

Magenta: What has been the most important thing your blogging career has taught you thus far Pinky?

Pinky: My poems aren’t very popular… at all. Ever. None of them.

Magenta: Okay to conclude the interview I’m going to say a word and I’d like you to respond with one word or phrase…

Magenta: Fun                      Pinky: Factory

Magenta: Shopping            Pinky: Trolley

Magenta: Fashion              Pinky: Magazine

Magenta: Wine                  Pinky: Rack

Magenta: Life                     Pinky: Line

Magenta: Holiday               Pinky: Inn

Magenta (sighing): Book    Pinky: Case

Magenta: Movie                  Pinky: World

Magenta: I think you misunderstand Pinky. When I say the word you are supposed to respond with something poignant, not just a word that goes with the word.

Pinky: Really! Is that so? I’m sorry, but if you don’t like my answers I’m bringing this interview to a close. Now!

Pinky overturns the coffee table, stomps out of the room and slams the door on her way out.

Linking up with Grace at With Some Grace

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for Getting Pinky to Stay Awake

 Pablo the Chihuahua and his older sister Celine the Mini-Foxy, hate it when Pinky has a Nana Nap in the school holidays.

It interferes with their interaction time.

     Oh no! Pinky's not getting ready for another nap is                 she? What? Is it every bloody day then?

I'm telling you Pinky! Too many naps aren't good for your health. It's just a blood sugar drop after lunch that's making you tired. Stop being an old woman Pinky.

   Come on Pinky! You need to go out and get some fresh air                         and sunshine! I'm begging you.

    How about you throw my dinosaur toy for me? That's fun!

Excuse me Pablo but I think that's MY dinosaur toy thank you                                         very much.

Look! Here's your bag Pinky. Why don't you go for a drive to                       the shops? You could buy something nice!

Or you could read some magazines! Look! It's the Women's                                  Weekly... your favourite!

   It's no good Pablo... she's got that sleepy look about her.                                           We're in for a session.

        Might as well just lay down and wait it out. Sooo boooring!


         You're right Celine. I think Pinky's starting to snore.

                         She's out like a light. Silly old bat.

I'll just lay on her stomach so if she wakes up I'll be the first to                                            know.

              Think I might catch a few Zs myself actually.


Monday, April 7, 2014

F- is for Favourite. Do you have a favourite kid?

A to Z April Challenge

Take a good look at the face in the photograph above. 

This is a face that launched a thousand words… or roughly 200 000 if I’m being precise.

My son, Hagar the Horrible, was the impetus driving the commencement of the Pinky Poinker blog.

Despite bitter accusations by his brothers and sister, Hagar is not my favourite child. 

I must confess, like every mother I don’t have a favourite. Sure, sometimes I like one more than I like the others but it’s an interchangeable thing largely dependent on who happens to be giving me the least grief at the time.

I must admit I’ve always had a soft spot for little Hagar though. Arriving smack bang in the middle of five kids within six and a half years can’t have been easy.

I’d like to say it was a teenage thing with Hagar but from about the age of four he endeavoured to find trouble wherever he could.


And finally  Risking his life!    (Bonus fun video!)

… ah the list goes on and on.

But there hasn’t been too much written about young Hagar lately and the reason is he seems to have grown up a bit. 

After a shaky start; leaving in the middle of grade twelve then dropping out of his apprenticeship after only eighteen months, he’s now in his third year of a dual apprenticeship with even better prospects. He just informed me he’s been nominated again for Apprentice of the Year out of several hundred candidates.

It seems my boy is now a man.

A very sensible young man, who floored me this afternoon by handing over the money for his car registration which is due when he’s away overseas next week. Since when has Hagar thought past his next pay packet? 

I’m beginning to suspect a species of parasitic alien has invaded my son’s body.

When he first told me he was going to celebrate his forthcoming twenty-first birthday in Thailand, I panicked.

“So you want to kill your mother?” I screeched, harridan-style. 

“Don’t you know Thailand is officially the most dangerous destination for Aussie travellers! 

Do you want me to have a stroke worrying about you? 

Of all the places in the world you could have picked and you have to go there?


Anyway, as you can guess I lost that battle. No matter how many alarming printouts I left on his bed warning of the perils he might encounter he ignored me completely.

So… in the car on the way to dropping him at the airport this afternoon I armed myself with a plethora of travel advice and since he was trapped like a rat in a cage, he was forced to listen to my dire cautions.

“Don’t under any circumstances drink the water!” 
I implored. “And only drink from unopened bottles because your drink will get spiked. You like having two kidneys right?

If someone tries to sell you drugs in the street, RUN!

Don’t eat fish or meat… or salads… or ice. Don’t buy any food from street stalls.

You don’t want food poisoning. You know how you have sensitive bowels. Just eat McDonald’s for the week which should be safe enough.

Look out for pickpockets and fake policeman… and fake women. You can spot them a mile away, they have Adam’s Apples and nasal hair… the women, not the pickpockets.

Don’t walk alone at night and don’t go hiring any of those scooter things. Don’t go on any bikes or boats at all… or in any cars.

Have you bought medical insurance? WHAT????!!! Are you stupid?

Don’t go to one of those awful Full Moon parties or you’ll end up arrested and die alone in a Thai prison. 

Stay away from the elephants. No elephant riding on steep cliffs for you my boy!

Did I say don’t drink the water?

Okay. That’s it then.

Do you have your passport? Licence? Wallet? Phone?

Well… I suppose it’s goodbye… I hope I see you again… in one piece.

I love you darling Hagar… enjoy your birthday and have a wonderful time…even though your mother won’t be there to celebrate with you. 

Hope you don't miss me too much!"

Saturday, April 5, 2014

E is for Epiphany

A to Z April Challenge

N.B: I apologise that this post is not even remotely funny and I just want you to know I'm fully aware of it so please don't write it in the comments because my feelings will be hurt. I used up all my funniness showing off to my friends today and I don't have any left but I had to write a post because I'm on this bloody challenge.

I've only ever had one real epiphany in my life. 

About ten years ago it struck me as I lay in the dentist’s chair, high as a kite on nitrous oxide.

‘Happy Gas’, as it’s sometimes called is like sweet, exhilarating nectar from the gods to nervous dental patients. It doesn't lead to a hangover of any sort when delivered in moderate quantities but provides the same euphoria as two or three glasses of French champagne. 

You can still feel everything but you just don’t give a damn. The dentist could drill a hole in my head and I probably wouldn't notice.

Back in the Eighties, when I was working as a dental nurse we would offer it to all our patients. I recall a sister and brother about the age of ten, coming in one day for consecutive drill and fill appointments.

“Who wants to go first?” I asked when I walked into the waiting room. 

“Me!” shouted the boy, almost shoving his sister over in his eagerness. ‘Something’s going on here,’ thought wily nurse Pinky, no kid likes going to the dentist.

“Is that gas working yet?” asked the kindly Dr Mac. The boy lay twitching in the chair like an impatient junkie waiting for the smack to kick in.

“No, not yet,” he grinned slyly. It had been turned on to the usual level for children but Dr Mac turned it up a little smidgeon for Charlie Sheen Jnr.

“Working now?” Dr Mac queried again. The boy giggled senselessly and gave us the thumbs up.

We didn't hear another peep out of him. 

When I took him out to the waiting room to swap places with his sister I saw him grab her by the arm and whisper nefariously into her ear. She nodded in collusion.

‘What are they up to?’ I thought.

Again, Dr Mac asked little Lindsay L this time if the gas was working. 

No it wasn’t.

Apparently we must have been using extra weak gas that day… so it was cranked up a notch.

“It’s still not working, Dr Mac,” slurred Lindsay a few minutes later.

“Really?” asked Dr Mac. “Better turn it up a bit more then please, Pinky.”

I was a touch suspicious of this little ruse so I proceeded to eye ball Ms Lohan closely. Sure enough, within seconds her eyeballs started rolling back in her head with her eyelids flickering in a seizure like fashion and she was clearly having the time of her life.

“Err, Dr Mac I think the gas might be up too high,” snapped Pinky the snitch, and Lindsay’s supply was replaced with oxygen so she missed out on her naughty thrill after all. It was duly noted on her patient card, she was put on a good behaviour bond and referred to rehab.

So… now you see how powerful the ‘lure of ecstasy by nitrous oxide is and how it was in this corrupted state my mind was unlocked and my epiphany, the answer to the meaning of life, came to me as I lay prone and languishing in the dentist’s chair.

I remember the profound insight suddenly gifted upon me; the arcane secret of what it means to be a human. I could reach out and touch the unfathomable purpose of civilisation. I was filled with unbridled elation and was desperate to leap out of the chair, run from the room and share my superior knowledge!


Now my dear, dear friends...I would most definitely impart this inscrutable answer to the riddle which vexes all of humankind with everyone… right this minute.

I promise I would.

If only I could remember the bloody thing.

I think it had something to do with Pinky not being as important as she thinks she is in the grand scheme of things.


Friday, April 4, 2014

D- is for Deserted Wife

Scotto has nicked off and left me.

Only for a week… but I’m very sad for many reasons.

Who’ll create the silly Photoshopped graphics for my blog now? My posts will have absolutely no appeal without those.

Who will preview my posts and censor the offensive material and bad grammar so rampant in my first drafts? Blogger will disown me.

Who will go down and smack the German Shepherd with a newspaper at two o’clock in the morning after his pointless and relentless barking has woken the entire neighbourhood? I'll be too scared.

Who will shake me awake at three in the morning because I ceased my loud snoring and then stopped breathing for at least a minute and he was worried I was dead. I might actually die.

Who will explain the bits in “Game of Thrones” when I’m watching it on the telly. 

“Who’s he?” I’ll ask to thin air.

“But I thought he was Jon Snow! Isn’t Jon Snow the bastard brother? Then who's he? Why do they all look so much alike?” 

But that last one doesn’t matter because I won’t be watching any telly this week.

Even though Scotto left me explicit instructions, both verbal and diagrammatic, on using the remote controls for both the upstairs and downstair’s TVs, I didn’t listen to a word he said because I was thinking about juggling monkeys... and now I won’t be able to figure out how to turn either televisions on. 

I’m very sad Scotto has deserted me.

(Insert photoshopped picture of Pinky in monkey costume juggling balls)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Complaining... How Can I Stop?

A to Z Challenge: C- Complaining.

One day many years ago, I sat beside another mother watching our kids play basketball. She’d almost been killed in a serious car accident on the highway, was still recovering and wearing a halo brace. That’s one of those appallingly uncomfortable looking braces with a metal ring circling the head, pins that run through the metal ring screwed into the skull and a frame connecting the ring to a plastic vest.

It prevents your head or neck moving after spinal surgery.

“It’s sooooo bloody hot and stuffy in this hall, don’t you think?” I whinged, and turned towards her noticing the sweat trickling from her almost shaved head, down her saturated neck into the oppressive plastic vest encompassing her torso.

She smiled at me but didn’t answer.

We watched silently as the boys dribbled the ball up and down the court.

“Gawd… those whistles are giving me a headache!” I was about to blurt out, merely to break the silence, when I suddenly bit my lip remembering who was sitting beside me.

“Could these seats be more uncomfortable…,” I moaned and was about to add, “my back’s killing me,” before I cut myself off abruptly.

During the next thirty minutes I was constantly forced to bite down hard on my tongue until it was spurting blood because every one of my ‘conversation starters’ was a grouse about one of my stupid little maladies.

This poor woman had been through hell and back and only wanted to watch her son, who had very nearly lost his mother, play a game of basketball. 

She didn't want to be forced to listen to an ungrateful, whiny woman kvetching bitterly about her imagined medical conditions.

The encounter made me recognise how much time I actually spend complaining… it was an epiphany of sorts.

But I still gripe all the time without even realising it.

The first thing I do on Monday morning is walk into the staff room, throw my bag on the table and grumble, “Is it Friday yet?”

At lunchtime, I’ll complain to another teacher on duty about how tired I am, how stressful the term has been, how the kids in the class seem tired and hard to settle and how much I hate doing duty on the oval in the boiling sun.

When Scotto comes home and asks me how my day was my usual depressing response is, “Tiring and boring… same old same old.”

But here’s the thing, it’s not just me. A lot of people do it.

Why? Is it to fill a void in the dialogue; an icebreaker? Is it merely vacuous banter which no one really listens to anyway? Perhaps it’s just an innocuous way to get things off our chest.

Even our entrenched responses to the simple question, “How are you?” are riddled with misery.

“Fair to middling.”

“Can’t complain.” (Yes you can, you just complained about not being able to complain!)

“I’ve been worse.”

“Just happy to be above ground.”

“Upright and still breathing.”

“I’d be better if I won the lottery.”

“Worse than yesterday, but better than tomorrow.”

Anyway it’s all a moot point because tomorrow being a Friday and the last day of the school term, I know Pinky’s complaining will create sound waves rivaling that of an atomic bomb.

I can hear myself stomping belligerently into the staff room now…

“What the hell? How did this term fly by so quickly? I thought we still had a few weeks left! Now I’m going to have to turn my alarm off and waste every day for the next two weeks sleeping in, reading and watching stupid movies all day! I won’t have the stimulating challenge of holding my bladder for hours at a time! How will I survive the lonely day without twenty-six kids all asking me questions at the same time? And then there are those long lunches and coffees with the girls! That’s going to be a pain in the neck. Life is so unfair. I hate school holidays.”

Dear mums of school age children… you are soooo damn lucky!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B is for Bunnies: What the heck do they have to do with Easter?

A to Z Challenge: B

Have you wondered what’s really going on in a ten year old’s mind? I do... all the time when I stare back at twenty-six pairs of the sparkling eyes of my class, gazing at me in a seemingly focussed manner.

“Oh no! Here she goes again with one of her booooooring stories,” is most probably what they’re thinking. I do attempt to break up my monotonous drone by asking thought provoking questions though.

Take today for example…

We’d just finished making our cute little Easter Bunny baskets and as part of our curriculum were learning about the real Easter Story. You know… the one about J.C. and his journey to the cross.

We’d watched a lightweight animated version of the Easter Story on Youtube (nothing too grisly) and I paused it and turned the classroom lights on.

“So, can anyone tell me what bunnies and chocolate eggs have to do with the real Easter story of Jesus?” I asked and waited as they sat in meditative silence. At least I think it was meditative but they could very well have been thinking about what was going to go down at soccer training in the afternoon.

One cautious hand rose slowly into the air.

“Um… the cross Jesus carried was brown and so is chocolate?” suggested the faltering little voice.

“That’s true,” I acknowledged, “But that’s not the connection…anyone else have any ideas?”

A second timid hand went up.

“Was it because Jesus didn't like the taste of real eggs so he made everyone eat chocolate ones?”

‘Not unless Jesus had been on a holiday to South America, developed a taste for it and brought it back duty free,’ I thought to myself.

“Forget about the chocolate for a minute and think about the eggs and bunnies,” I persisted optimistically.

“People used to hunt rabbits where Jesus lived!” hollered someone at the back.

In my mind’s eye I pictured an olive grove in ancient Israel riddled with rabbits. Did they even have bunnies in Israel two thousand years ago?

“Jesus had a pet rabbit and he loved chocolate!” called another.

“Look,” I said, beginning to feel a little uneasy as to how this was playing out, “Stop thinking about the chocolate. Think about what a baby bunny and an egg might symbolise.”

A huge triumphant smile spread across the face of one wise little boy who actually knew what symbolise meant. ‘Success at last,’ I thought gleefully.

“The Easter Bunny is Jesus and the eggs are the despicables!”

“It’s actually disciples Cedric, not despicables,” I corrected, feeling a tad thwarted. “And even though that’s a great answer it’s not what I was thinking of.”

“Baby bunnies, little chicks… newly hatched eggs… what do they all have in common?” I pleaded like a drowning rat in cement-filled boots.

“I know what it all means Mrs Poinker!” declared my timely redeemer with the thrill of discovery in her voice.

“Yes? Yes what do you think it all means Velveteen?” 
I quavered in excitement.

“It was Easter time on the day Jesus died!”

At that point I gave up and explained the whole "New Life" concept which they all seemed to take in and ponder over... except for one bright little girl.

"So Mrs Poinker," she quizzed me. "What do the One Direction Easter Eggs have to do with it?"