Wednesday, February 29, 2012

9.54 And all is well....

The Squeeze remains unproposed to; and I'm going to bed.

Looks like he is free until the next leap year!


Today is February 29; A leap year.   It would be perfectly acceptable for me to get down on bended knee tonight while at our Village Gold Class movie (Safe House...  I do love Denzel) and propose.  Hell, they serve champagne so we could even celebrate with a glass of bubbly!
The trouble is, having been married several times; I understand that perhaps I’m just not cut out for the whole marriage thing.  If I think back on it, I believe this was due to my choice in past husbands as opposed to me being crap at wifely duties, but how do I know that I’ve improved in the picking department?  And then I have the conundrum of my “old fashioned girl” versus my “modern, intelligent woman” gene.  I like my name.  It would look fantastic on a book cover.  His is okay but it doesn’t ring my bell.  And if you're not going to take their name, why bother..?  
So with a definitive ‘no’ in my mind, I’m left to use the “I could propose...” line as a tool of torment only.   And I’m pretty good at torture so I’ve decided to just let him spend a percentage of the day in emotional turmoil and upheaval.  Given that he knows me so well; knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that I have absolutely no desire to marry, I guess you are wondering why he would even be in emotional turmoil.
Well it is because he knows me so damned well that he would experience a mild seesaw effect of sentiment.  Initially, his reaction would be to shrug nonchalantly, certain that I’m teasing.  Then, because he knows me so well, knows I’m apt to change my mind at a moment’s notice, a tumult of emotion will probably rise up and choke him.
Think I’ll send him a text to say: “if I propose tonight, at least I know they have bubbly in gold class!”
He he.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Quality over Quantity

Call me stupid, but I’ve always been an advocate of quality over quantity.  It was ingrained to me at a very young age by my mother who would espouse the adage ‘you get what you pay for!’
And let’s face it; it just makes more sense.  Those shoes you paid a bit more for will generally last longer; the hems don’t fall down on pants or dresses; the cloth is nicer so doesn’t pill or drapes better.  And most importantly, you can see quality – the cut is better.
This may sound like a lesson in fashion and finance, but it’s not.
This was the Squeeze’s weekend to have the kid.  Generally, he would get up and some ungodly hour on a Saturday morning and drive the 1.5 hours to velvet land; watch the kid play cricket while suffering through the tirade of what a lousy father he is and what he owes, what he can do, what she wants...  Then he would bring him back to our side of town.  We would get the Saturday afternoon and evening and all of Sunday prior to him loading the kid and paraphernalia into the car again and heading back to velvet land to drop him off to the Harridan and suffer through the tirade of what a lousy father he is.
This weekend, the Harridan decided that as there was a trivia night run by the velvet wearing cricket club, she would keep him home Saturday and the Squeeze could pick him up on Sunday so as to go to a boxing match with us.
All fine in theory...  But the reality is never quite as good. 
Firstly, in the morning, the kid tweaked his back on the way to cricket (don’t ask me how you can injure yourself on the drive there) but he was unable to play cricket.  This would be fine, but neither the Harridan nor the kid had the decency to text the Squeeze to tell him not to bother with the 3 hour return drive.  Why would she?  She had worked herself up into a frenzy over the tent and how the Squeeze is not paying her enough and she needed him to turn up to the cricket so she could belittle him (and regale me afterwards) with her misinformed list of entitlements.
Then they went to the trivia night; and came equal last (gee, there is a surprise...) 
The Squeeze had advised of a station and time for arrival on the Sunday morning because I can’t’ stand ‘disorganisation’ or ‘on the fly’.  I’m a project manager – my planning and time management skills are second to none.  Even if that wasn’t my profession, I was raised with serial killer precision.  My sister has a spreadsheet for everything!   I need my day structured and worked out.  10am, off to train at boxing.  11.30 am home to shower and dress.  1pm, grab kid from station.  1.30pm, attend boxing championships across town.
But add the Harridan into the mix and any organisation goes out the window.  There was no way known that she was going to let the Squeeze actually organise anything, so she shot off a series of text messages attempting to alter stations and arrival times; anything to ensure we had to drive further and guaranteeing that she was the one in control.
They are always worded the same; “if you don’t do what I say, it is because you are a pathetic father...”  Obviously, she is “keeper of the knowledge” and he is “Mr. Retardo” so she must control and explain and dictate the most simple of tasks.  This time, we must drive much further to pick the kid up at a station of her choice...  Why?  Because the kid had a sore back.
Weirdly, his sore back was obviously of a variety that meant he couldn't sit on a train for half an hour, but he could spend a couple of hours sitting at a soccer match later on in the evening.  Go figure...
So we spent 2 hours in a stinking hot car and by the time we finally had the kid, he is snarky because they have planned that he would go to a soccer match with Kid 2 at 4pm – and I’m adverse to this because I’m not driving across town, paying $70 to go to a boxing match and then having to leave at 3.30 so as the kid can go to the soccer; especially given the fact that thanks to the train debacle, we won’t even get there until 2.30.
The Squeeze, sensing my annoyance escalate and noticing the mulish set to my face, understands that when we get to the boxing, it matters not – I’m not leaving until the end.  I will stay there even if it kills me.  I will be the last man standing.  I didn’t arrange the soccer, they didn’t even bother to call and discuss soccer – it was planned and then pitched over the fence at us like a hand grenade.   
So the Squeeze elicits a choice from the kid – boxing with us or soccer with the brother.  There is no “both” happening here.  The kid chooses soccer and we drop him at Kid 2’s place while the clock continues to tick to the point where I almost feel like saying “let’s just go bloody home!”  We had been dicking around going from station to station and across town now for 2 hours!  The kid gets out and we head off to the boxing which was unbearably hot but fun.  Since we are late, it's standing room only and there are a whole bunch of tall people in the way!
The kid get’s in the door about 8pm and heads directly for the bedroom.  That was the extent of what I saw him for.  One car ride.  One walk through.  The Squeeze got to add to that a mix of “Hurry! Move it! Come on!” to him as I was leaving for work this morning and then a 20 minute drive to drop him at school.  Oh, and he got to iron the kid's school uniform that came scrunched up in his school bag; there isn't even a clean pair of undies bought...
Where in all that, was even one minute of ‘Quality’ time?  Given that, why the hell did I endure hours of stress as the witch mucked us around and sent dictator texts into the night, the never ending list of instructions!  Just once, I’d love to reply to one of her “make sure you charge his phone and make sure he goes to bed early.  He can’t be tired for school and the phone needs to be charged to coordinate our pick up!” (Sorry; I wrote that in English.  She actually used her normal “caveman” ‘wot u do fekun idot’ – which seriously makes me shudder)...  
Anyhow, I would seriously love to reply “please shove your advice sideways... up your arse...  with a pogo stick!  And learn English or do not text us!  I find your lack of English skills deplorable!”

Ahhh it makes me smile just thinking about it...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Folks are Dumb...

I'm sitting in a hot car wasting my Sunday because the Harridan changed our plans as she wanted to keep the kid for a Saturday night gig. It's a win win for her as she gets to stuff us around as a bonus.

Letting him stretch his wings which is rare for her, she organised for him to catch a train and meet us at Box Hill station so as to come to the boxing with us. The Squeeze would then take him to school tomorrow.

I'm always wary of these changes as they are generally abortive organisational stuff ups. True to form, the time and station of choice has been shifted several times; this is her way to attempt to control everything; even if it is the utterly pointless exercise of trying to move just a station or two.

We got to Surrey Hills. The kid was no where to be seen. We got to Camberwell only to discover he missed the stop and is at Flinders Street.

WTF?? How hard is it to watch the fricking stations as they pass? Even better, she has somehow organised for us to leave boxing early and drop the kid across town to go to a soccer match with kid two.

I am sweltering. Thanks to that witch I am going to miss something I have been planning on doing for weeks; as I watch the window of opportunity diminishing with the wasted hours!

News. I won't be leaving the boxing early. Stuff the soccer.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tent. Maintenance. Give Me.

I thought for a moment, that I had lost my mojo.   And when I thought about it, the whole daughter/muppet extravaganza did knock me sideways.  I mean go figure!  Why aren’t I allowed to kill someone?  I joined a pistol club for crying out loud… And I’m a bloody good shot! 
Yet even as the girl started clawing her way to the top of the pile, I was wary.  It’s hard to just let your kids fall.  Still, like us all, she needs to find her own way.  So I had to stop stressing and let the girl understand where she needs to be and although I can help her get there; I can’t put her there.   She has to do that on her own.
This blog was created as a way for me to vent.  It was supposed to be a funny, light hearted way at looking at complex relationships.  I don’t believe that mine is any more multifarious than what the rest of humanity endures; but then again, I think that all relationships are damned difficult at times.  Step ones add a whole new level of complexity.
In between the girl copping a slap around and a rampage through her apartment and the Squeeze’s boy sending “I’m getting married and becoming a Muslim” texts in the middle of the night, I realised that the Harridan had been uncharacteristically quiet.
Obviously she rolled over this morning and came to the same conclusion so she abruptly set about rerunning past slights through her mind to attack the Squeeze with at the cricket.
And when you are on a roll, you don’t want to pause, that’s for sure.  So even when the kid hurt his back and decided he wouldn’t play cricket, the Harridan certainly didn’t send a “cricket cancelled” text to the Squeeze; choosing instead to sit there, waiting him, like some big… black… spider…
I have always figured that when reality hit her in the face and she saw that things are actually quite harsh in the real world; she would come gunning.   After all, I came along and ruined her perfect world of syphoning. 
So when the spider swung down on her web at cricket this morning, she began her diatribe.  Why isn’t he interested in the kid… in his school…?   Yes; this is the school she didn’t even speak to him about prior to moving him.  It is also the school that the Squeeze has contacted to ask that he receive all newsletters and notifications and arrange payment of fees. 
It is also the same school he has called the kid about on several evenings just to check on how he liked it.  The same school he has muttered about and I have shouted about when the Harridan couldn’t get him there on time for day 2.
From there it was a swift leap to “I’ve called the child support agency over the tent and they said you can’t do that; plus you are not paying me enough”.
The Squeeze, God bless him – told her to bring it.  She bought the tent, as warned and warned and warned again; and if she wanted to take him to the agency for maintenance, do it.
As for me…  I am interested to see what happens if she does.  Because she probably hasn’t worked out that I earn a fair amount more than the Squeeze, but that doesn’t count… there is no “double” income.  There is his.  There is mine.  And I have my own children to worry about. 
And I figure she is focussing on how much she gets in her hand each month…  Choosing to forget about the school fees, the health insurance… the music that he pays.
And I’m pretty certain she’s forgotten about adding the rent she receives for renting out her house and then apartment…  But I sure as Hell haven’t.
This should get interesting…

Friday, February 24, 2012

Still Nothing

Yesterday the Squeeze pointed out that I sounded like I was writing a Seinfeld episode; about nothing.

I figured after we discussed the nut doctor visit I would have hours of blogging to fill my somewhat empty pages. There was however, too much television to interfere and when I started the conversation, it was only to find the the picture the doctor had drawn, detailing family and relationships had been screwed up and shoved in his pocket for a later viewing. It is still there. Y

Strangely enough, this nut doctor, just as the last doctor, easily picked up that she is a manipulative cow attempting to lob trouble at us and that he should note that he can't please everyone; so he should accept it and stop trying.

Frankly, I have no idea why he would even try to please her.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I am a Husk

I'm sitting outside in the sun having a break from the boredom of work drama which would appear never ending. The drama is made worse I suspect because being here is hardly my number one choice; but since I can't afford to just sit and write; I'm stuck here.

I didn't even come outside to sit and blog - in fact blogging via iPhone is something I try to avoid. I've been typing my entire adult life and can easily type as fast as I think (which has been known to get me into trouble); so I'm far too impatient to enjoy writing one letter at a time.

I decided to blog because my measly entries have been less than normal; in both size and frequency. I have no idea why but the last week or two have seen me with nothing to say!

Both the Squeeze and my father would laugh uproariously if I mentioned this malady to either of them but I almost feel empty of words.

It scares me that I am becoming a husk. Empty. Wordless.

Having said that, I'm sure I'll find something to say after the Squeeze and I have our discussion on 'what the nut doctor said this time'...

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Guitar Gently Weeps

If you click here you will have the perfect background music for this blog entry.
I guess you are wondering what’s with the Beatles…  (So am I, since I’m actually more of a Stones kind of gal)  But sparing me on is the fact that I’ve started learning the guitar.
I’ve only had two lessons, even though the Squeeze gave me a guitar well over a year ago.  I probably should have started sooner but the reality is I’ve always been kind of partial to the piano.  My whole tortured childhood was spent wanting a piano, to no avail.  My parents knew I wanted one; knew that I wished and prayed and would dash out at every birthday and Christmas, only to find the loungeroom empty.
The reality is that my parents would have loved to get me a piano but they bought up 5 children in a relatively small, 3 bedroom home. (More fool them)   There was no way a piano was going to squeeze its big ass though the door.
Time marches on and I still say every so often “I want a piano!”  Then I set about surfing the net to find one and then I realise that as an adult, my place is no bigger than my parents’ house was, so I’ve gone a full circle of “where the hell do I put it..?”
Then I look to the guitar; sitting in the corner…  Mocking me.
Why hadn’t I picked it up and tinkered..?  Well mostly it is about sheer unadulterated humiliation.  The Squeeze is pretty damned good with the guitar and often picks it up and plays (sometimes he will come to bed with it and serenade me!)
But how the Hell can I compete with that?  Real talent???
And it’s not like I don’t give him enough reasons to roll around the floor laughing at me (except during boxing where I’m always at the ready to spar).  He is always laughing at me and having him snigger while I’m attempting to strum, would seriously piss me off.  This in turn would end up with him wearing my guitar over the back of his head.
So I’m two lessons in and I suspect I should have stuck with a piano.
Why the song..? 
Because last night I was playing his Maton; and I’m pretty sure it was weeping…

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Muppet Movie

The land of blog has been silent.
I haven’t exactly been on strike.  I didn’t take to my bed with a case of the vapours and decide that I couldn’t write anymore.  Nor did I have to suddenly whip out that ball gown and passport I have been saving in case I’m whisked off to Monaco with a tall, dark and handsome stranger...
No such luck. 
It’s not even that I didn’t want to blog; I did.   I even received an email a couple of days ago to say “hey… where is the blog..?”  But even that couldn’t rouse me.  I didn't blog for Valentine’s Day!  And you would think I would have; given that the Squeeze and I bought each other the exact same card (creepy really, sometimes it feels like I’m dating myself…)
Instead, I spent a week with so much stress pushing down on me that it was suffocating; and it was relentless.  As laughable as it sounds for someone like me, I have literally been at a loss for words.  Then I moved into this weird kind of internalising that suddenly made me sit up and understand that I’m totally powerless in some things.  Powerless!
The girl finally finished things with the Muppet; and finished it in style.  It cost.  In fact, it cost her a laptop, an iPhone, all her perfume and her Prada sunglasses – not to mention scratches and bruises… 
But I am powerless; and I am restricted.  I seriously wanted to grab my Louisville slugger and knock that bastard to hell and back.  Sheesh; touch my daughter and I want you dead; I want your family dead… I want your dog dead… I want your house burnt to the ground!!!  (In true Godfather fashion).  And to be honest, I wouldn't have minded tango-ing with the mother.  I think I could have taken her...  Come to think of it, the Muppet did call me an alcoholic 'mutt' - which the Squeeze found amusing, given that I was more offended by the mutt, as opposed to the alcoholic...

But every so often life tosses you an aide-mémoire and if you’re smart, then it plays on your mind and you realise that the things that have always been important, remain the same.  
When the Squeeze dumped me for a night and came back the next day, he said it was because of Wendi Deng. (yes, that sounds weird... It couldn't be just because he loved me...)  But Wendi had leapt across people to attack the guy who was about to throw a pie at Rupert Murdoch and the Squeeze knew that this is what I would do for him, or my children, or his children.
I come from a long line of “going to grab me a shovel and a bag of lime” types.  In fact, we often call ourselves Da Family.
But I can finally breathe a sigh.  The Muppet is gone.  And the girl is still standing, better than she ever did…
Here is your background music...  You need to get past the guys in red leg ins and listen to the lyrics… But this song is the perfect fit!   

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hillbilly Heaven

I'm stuck here, waiting. In Hillbilly Heaven - home of the Velvet Wearers. The Squeeze took the kid camping this weekend.

I suspect this was to escape a weekend of my parents and a bunch of women coming for lunch. This was fine with me. Escape is good. Boy bonding time, great. Me time excellent.

The weekend didn't work out exactly as planned; I awoke Saturday morning a shivering mess and although managed to cook breakfast, I couldn't eat and was vomiting and sweating within an hour after.

Too late to cancel the lunch and 'bag' party I had arranged. Hell, I'm still not sure how I made it through the day and in the end, they all knew just how damned sick I was. No way could I watch those bottles of champagne being guzzled without so much as a sip otherwise!

Goes to show how good the bags were. No winning personality from me yet she sold 600 bucks worth and I scored a couple of gorgeous bags that I couldn't get as excited over as I normally would.

Today, better, but still avoiding most things food or alcohol related. Even feeling like crap I answered the Squeeze's call when his car broke down.

And now, here I sit. Awaiting his taxi to get here... And hoping the velvet bug passes me over

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Stress. Thy name is “Children”

This week I’ve had to stress over my oldest son who is in hospital two states away, undergoing tests and still uncertain as to the problem.  Admittedly, I’m a tad panicky that I’m not there.  I’ve had a lot of experience in ‘health’.  I take no prisoners, won’t be fobbed off and ask a million questions.  Lucky, his gal is smart and riding roughshod over them.
Then I have my daughter who I have stressed over for the last year or so. 
The stress hasn’t been in regard to her per se; she has her head screwed on right (finally) in regards to most things.  Has her career path, an apartment, most things settled.  There is only one area of her life that makes me shudder – the Muppet.
Strangely, this beautiful, smart girl has allowed herself to falter in her choice of desired partner; who I might add, is known throughout the family as “the Muppet”.  Before I begin, I should clarify that I’ve never been a blind mother, nor blinded by motherly love.  I never thought my kids were better than anyone else; never assumed when they got into trouble that it was someone else’s fault or that they were misled.  How could I?  How can you breed smart, strong humans and then blame someone for misleading them?  I have taken responsibility for their failings and read them the riot act when those failings had them heading mock II with their hair on fire – for disaster or heartache.  But we can’t control it all.
Having said that, I feel I can say without bias that the Muppet is hitting above his pay grade.  The girl is smarter than he is, better looking than he is, taller than he is, more mature than he (although he is five years older), a Geelong fan to his Collingwood fanaticism and has a career path.
The problem is that I suspect he knows this.  His boy/man brainless way of combating it is to systematically eradicate her self esteem.  It’s an old trick really; strip their self esteem, remove their family and friends who stop coming around because they can’t stand to see someone they love being treated like hell; and then they are trapped in this abusive relationship.  Now he can really go to town; show the real ‘muppet’, and she won’t leave because she ‘knows’ that she is a worthless piece of crap who would be nothing without him.  How does she know it?  He told her of course; told her in a million ways over the course of a year.
Of course the fool hadn’t counted on me.  Sorry Muppet; I don’t go quietly into the night.  There is no getting rid of ME.  And if the girl is smarter than he, then I could wipe the floor with him.  Mostly, I smile and be polite, all the while picturing myself using my new found right hook on his arrogant face! 
When all is said and done, adult children must make their own mistakes and decisions and all I can do is remind her that I love her and that she is better than the life she has chosen.  Well that and do things like have a plasma and surround sound at the ready for when she finally wakes up and kicks his muppet arse to the kerb; since that is the only thing he has bought to the party.
Last night, the stress over the girl and boy both just flew out the window for several blissful hours.
It came about ten thirty when the little bell on the Squeeze’s phone signalled the arrival of a text message.  The shocked “what the…???!!!” And a slightly elevated, bordering on hysterical voice as he bound out of bed made me prick my ears up.  Why did he leap out of bed?  Because as a parent, you can’t read such messages and take them with inaction such as lying down; it doesn’t matter that you are totally powerless to act, you can at least ‘react’.
What was the message?  It was a text from 23 year old Boy 2 telling his father that he had proposed to his girlfriend.  He went on to say that she hadn’t said yes as yet.  For her to say yes, he would have to convert to Islam and become a Muslim.  She is Somalian, Muslim and her family would not allow her to marry a non Muslim.
I shouldn’t laugh, but Hell; I can’t wait to hear the Harridan reaction to that…

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

As Tears Go By

Moods, writing, hell, just about every single slither of my life can be aligned to music.  There has never been one major moment that doesn’t have some song flying around inside my head to add to or evoke the memory. 
Today’s blog has nothing to do with the Rolling Stones (or Maryanne Faithful); but if I think about time passing, this is the song that floats to the surface of my mind.  Unlike the Squeeze as a music lover, I’m big on the lyric as well as the music.  Both must grab me. 
As Tears Go By certainly fits the bill and as it happens, today’s blog.  Jagger’s melancholy lyrics, even though written as a twenty one year old; for me at least, seem like a metaphor for being old or time passing – So it get’s the gig as your selected background music and can be found by clicking here.
Why am I talking about time passing? Well the Squeeze and I have now spent about 2.5 years together; maybe more.  We’ve lived together for over a year – and yet this idiot still doesn’t seem to be able to get it into his primped, curly, moodle-headed brain, that organization is the key to life! 
Without it, we are doomed!  Like the kid is doomed to a life of Harridan style inability to be on time; will absolutely not hurry, even while we are freaking out and stressing that we are going to be late.
So this week, prior to the weekends kidly visit, the Squeeze and I need to sit and document a few house rules for our side of the world.  Hell, knock yourself out over in velvet land.  Toss apple cores where you will, be late, don’t shower – but in our land, things work differently…
I can’t imagine that this will be fun.  Not the sorting out what “rules” make the list with the Squeeze (probably the most difficult part of the task...), nor the enforcing of them.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Eye of the Tiger

The Squeeze and I beat the hell out of a bag at boxing tonight.  I find it astounding how hard we push ourselves and each other.  We slam into it, sweat drips on to the floorboards around us and there is the distinct echo of an odd grunt or groan.
At times, it is a little dangerous.  A little danger occured tonight when the Squeeze's glove actually touched the tip of my nose...  He seemed to think that had it connected fully, I'd have been lying on the floor, staring at the ceiling and not seeing anything. 
I think it would have hurt like a bitch, I'd have seen red and probably shouted.  He would have ran and I'd have hunted him down like a killing machine, through the equipment and then punched him out.  I'm still awaiting the day when we can get into the ring and spar a little...  Please God, let that day come soon... 
When we got home, it took about two hours for my arms to stop feeling jittery, but I’m convinced that the idea of 'exercise equals happy endorphins', is spot on.  We are smiling from the moment we get there until we wearily get in the front door; and even then we are still pretty damned smug.
It’s not all ‘eye of the tiger’ I have to say.  Some of the time I pause to watch the super fit in awe at how fast they move.  Some of them really do have that butterfly/bee thing going on.  Sometimes we pause to discuss what colour t-shirt we should be buying; general consensus so far is grey.  Why?
Well this is our thinking…  If you wear white or black, people can see that your hair is dripping wet with sweat; they can probably even see rivulets rolling down the face and neck; but if we wear grey, they can see just how much we sweated and how hard we worked (some of the grey t-shirts in there are 80% dripping).  And I guess this is important because compared to the ninety precent of hard, buff, speedy fighters that frequent our gym, we are old.  And fat.
And we do work hard.  Damned hard.  Then we came home to the normality of dinner, tidying up, an episode of Revenge (I’m all for revenge although maybe she is taking it a little too far).  Then the kid called to report on day two of school. 
I didn’t hear much I have to say.  I tuned out after “what the…   Why were you late???”  It is tune out or say something scathing in the background.  And when all is said and done, really, what is the point?  The Moodle won't call her and tell her to get her lazy arse out of bed and get that kid showered and to school on time.  So why would I even bother?
Day 2 of a new school and she can’t get the kid to school before the bell.   
What hope does this kid have? 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Brave New World

As I wake up to a life in the brave new world of self-publishing, I have contradictory emotions.  The ‘snobby’ writer part of me that has me rolling my eyes at the very idea of self-publishing (combined with the holier than thou comments that leave my lips) and the revelation that although it is different, maybe it isn’t about admitting defeat, as I first believed.
It is by no means easy.  I kid you not; I have worked my arse off.  It isn’t just a matter of uploading a book, throwing yourself on the sofa and pouring a glass of champagne because you’re there.  Hell, not even close.
I have spent a couple of months sitting on the beach and watching the tides; searching out the rips.  The life guard standing at the flags is the Squeeze who has sent me a million websites on self-published authors and how they got there.
There was no way was I going to stick my toe in the water until I knew where the sharks were lurking…  And there is a whole world of preparation you must do prior to approaching the water’s edge.  Finding the wetsuit that fits; or in this case, the ePublisher.  Trying on the floaties – how you market it.  Slapping on the sunscreen – attending to the documentation that means you get taxed 5% as opposed to 30%.  It was a never ending surf patrol really.
And now I’m done.  I’m up there.  I’m out there, in the world.  What did I learn..?
Well I learned the negatives.   Self-publishing means you don’t have the luxury of working with an editor so your work goes live after edits and reedits, but by no one other than you; and let’s face it, we often don’t see our own mistakes (in many things).
I also learnt that you can upload it, but if no one knows who you are or where you are, then it will sit for a month without anyone buying it.  Well your family will buy it, but that doesn’t count; they have to!  They even have to go in and leave you good reviews, even if most of them haven't bothered to read it.
But there were positives on this curve of learning also.  I did my own artwork for the cover; and liked it.  It represented the story exactly; and who else could design a cover to represent the story, other than the writer?  Had I been picked up by a publisher, there wasn’t a hope in hell I’d have had any say in the cover or a million other things.
The marketing side of it I covered this weekend – and don’t think that won’t be an evolution process.  I’ve been twittering my head off; weird really since I don’t quite get Twitter and don’t actually see the point in it but we do what we must!  And if I move forward on Twitter, then I can selfishly keep my Facebook account separate.  Unlike the rest of the world, I don’t count “friends” on Facebook.  I cull.  I cull a lot.  I’ve got it locked down tight and restricted to real friends and family; only.
But then I saw a comment go by on twitter about putting your book up for free for a weekend and that the publicity, the free downloads – sometimes helps with the sales.  I’m testing that this weekend.  So far, it is sitting on 460 downloads for the weekend.  This is about 450 more than I have had in the whole time it has been up…
When I had a quick look yesterday and saw 330 people had downloaded it, I restarted explorer; there must be a mistake.  Then I restarted the router and the laptop – and by then, it was 337 – and it kept creeping up.
Yeah, yeah, it’s free.  Who cares, it was never about the money anyhow.  It's never been about the money.
And it has moved the Squeeze that one step closer to getting something up; even he has begun to lose that ‘holier than thou’ mindset…
The world has changed.  Changed for us all.   Changed for the publisher that didn’t bother to get back to me for over a year and the agent who sent me a “dear author” letter – like I wasn’t worth the time it took to actually look up my name.
The wheel has turned and it will be interesting to see where it goes.

And as for the Squeeze; isn’t this what partnership is all about?  He watches my back.  I watch his.  He sends me anything he thinks I should enter; I do the same.  If either of us made it, the other would be beside themselves with happiness (and probably spending the first royalty check).
Yes.  That is how it should be.  Perhaps the stars were not aligned with husband number three, but if nothing else, he had support down pat.  I never lived the 'arctic' Squeeze life.
He has often said if he had to dedicate a book to the Harridan, the dedication would read “not one day…”   Which I assume means that not one day, did she support him.  Pity she didn’t as he really is extremely talented and a far better writer than I am.  He once told me about his collecting a prize for a competition (in fact I think if was runner up for the Vogel or something equally as cool).  He hovered behind a curtain, nervously awaiting his name to be called. 
What he should have felt at that moment was a jittery, surreal excitement.  Instead, what he felt was a wave of Harridan's projected thoughts; standing somewhere behind him.  Not an altruistic bone in her body.  Not wiping at the tears with pride as it should be; no, she stood, just this hulking figure, emitting a single self-absorbed chant:  “what about me… what about me…. When is it MY TIME!”
His words had scared me at the time; such a picture it had evoked.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fat City

In full on boxing mode, we watched an old Jeff Bridges movie called Fat City.  You know it is old when Jeff looks like he is in his early twenties; and a skinny early twenties at that; wearing nothing more than boxing gloves and these weird 1970's boxing trunks that looked like modern day women’s netball knickers.
You are probably wondering why I am blogging about an old movie…
Well aside from the boxing theme, it had Stacy Keach in it; also looking pretty young.   He was living with/seeing this utter harridan of a woman who was perpetually drunk and had the worst nasally voice on the planet – and she just; did.. not.. shut.. up.
At one point, Keach, a drunk, pleads with his old trainer to take him back; take him in, help him.  He turns to the trainer and tells him that he is living with a drunk, a veritable shrew.  He says “so help me, every time she opens her mouth, I think I'm going to go crazy!!!  She never shuts up…”
And that was it.  The Squeeze gave me a look and then nearly choked to death on his spleen he laughed so hard.  Bastard.

Friday, February 3, 2012

What do you mean Budget..?

This week I was forced to face the ugly truth.  The Squeeze and I have both, somehow managed to slink right into a weird kind of spending frenzy. 
I mean if you can find the time to sit and think about it, in between ebaying and tossing money at kids hand over fist, it’s pretty easy to see the black and white, unvarnished truth.  One year ago, we were living in separate houses; paying rent, bills… living – and we were managing. 
Now we have combined houses; we have basically managed to halve just about all outgoings; and yet our incomes would appear to go no further.  In fact, I believe mine is shrinking!
So I decided to have the “budget discussion” with the Squeeze last night.  I was on a roll really, because this slotted in right between “from here on in, I think we should set the dining table, turn off the television and put music on for all meals” and “I believe we need to discuss and document the “rules of the house”. 
In fact, the house rules with the kid was originally his idea however, as is his want to do, it is a voiced idea that goes no further.  As if just voicing the idea makes him an understanding hero type of guy, as opposed to the do-nothing kind of guy that he really is.
But the reality is that if we are to continue as a couple, then he is spot on.  We need to formulate rules and sit the kid down on his next visit and put it on the table.  This should work in several ways; relieve my stress levels that tend to go through the roof when faced with the mess/smell; lower the stress of the Squeeze who won’t have me telling him to tell the kid to put the apple core in the bin; or pick up the wet towel from the floor; and improve the kid’s hygiene level that will probably help him feel good about himself and maybe help him to acquire a few friends.
We agreed that we would have to discuss prior, but that it is important to let him know that he can do what he likes at mummy’s; but our house has certain rules and a level of hygiene that I’d like to maintain.
Then I moved in to “we need to do a budget”.  I freely admit that I don’t think about it most of the time and I spend willy nilly without thought; but I’m not stupid; I can be ruthless when I want to be – and moving forward with the idea of buying a house, calls upon my ruthlessness.
Although the Squeeze thought the budget sounded like a plausible idea, I knew immediately that I’d have to create a calendar invite and put it in stone; and even then he will attempt to wheedle out of it.  Although understands, in an abstract sort of way that it is a requirement, he doesn’t think he is a problem; in fact, he looked astounded when I mentioned that he spends money like he earns a lot more than he actually does. 
At his quizzical look, I reminded him that he has a repeated habit of an inability to say no and not keeping his mouth shut.  For example, his little suggestion the other weekend that if he found a cheap flat screen television, he would buy it for the kid was an absolute doosey.   As I said last night, and if you buy a television for the Harridan’s house, you’d best keep the damned thing – you’d need it for your new place!!!  Moron.  Doesn’t he get that kids take the “off hand” remark as being in stone?  The Kid didn’t hear “if I found a cheap flat screen...”; he heard “I’m getting you a flat screen!!!!”
Hell, he has probably already rearranged the lounge room!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Too Busy; Too Tired.

Sometimes during the day, I manage to find just a little time while everyone else is buggering off upstairs for coffee, to sit and write my blog.  Not lately.  No.  Lately I have been running around mock II with my hair on fire so blogging is an ‘at home’ past time.
This would have worked so much better if by the time I got home tonight, I hadn’t have been half dead.  Wild horses wouldn’t have dragged me to boxing tonight.  And let’s face it; even with a bit of glove/challenge from the Squeeze, he wouldn’t have got me there.  Prodding with a stick wouldn’t have got me moving.
I’m one of those people that when the alarm goes off, it buzz’s once before I silence it and get out of bed to start the day.  Alternatively, the Squeeze is a lingerer.   If I lingered, I’d fall back into a deep sleep and wouldn’t wake up for anything.
This morning, I silenced the alarm but getting out of bed was like dragging up through mud, and the muzziness continued for at least a half hour; so obviously, I wasn’t going to be sitting up late blogging for too long!
And there I go, exhausted, but I start blogging and that turns into blathering.  Prattling on about nothing!  No wonder every so often the Squeeze says “would you shut up! Please!”  I freely admit I could talk under water with a mouthful of marbles…

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hair and Teeth

Today, the only thing not hurting on my body is my hair and teeth.   
Who the hell would have anticipated that while punching a bag; literally floating like a butterfly (or maybe a moth) and stinging like a bee – I would use so many damned muscle groups???  Who even knew that I had so many muscle groups?  And therein lies the problem I suspect. 
Many of my muscles have become withered…  Stone like; atrophied!  As the contentedness fat piled on, the muscles seemed to simultaneously put up their feet and give up the ghost.  And they are paying the price for that traitorous behaviour, because they are well and truly screaming today.
Am I going to boxing tonight with the Squeeze?  You bet your ass I am!  If I was missing a lung I’d crawl there on my hands and knees because we all know that if I miss one, I’ll hear about it until doomsday – and worse, he will be at equal visits with me again.  And at the moment, I can feel a tad superior that I went to boxing on a non-boxing night.
I have to admit that I quite like the competitiveness between us.  We both work that little bit harder.  Not just on boxing, but on writing as well.
Other than boxing and writing our world seems to have settled back into our normal routine.  I’m sceptical that the kid will get to see a psychologist as it awaits the outcome of the new school and completion of the first term.  I’m pretty positive that the Harridan will not address the hygiene issue because she can’t see anything wrong with it (don’t ask me what the hell that is about…) and the Squeeze got to mutter a tentative: “maybe we should have the kid this weekend…” at me prior to me shutting that down as swiftly as a guillotine!
Yes, for a second of two I felt guilt but at the end of the day, we just had him for a week and he was bored witless!  Yes… there needs to be father/son bonding; but there needs a bit of relationship time as well.  And for crying out loud, I need weekend time in between visits to clean the place!
And all of those things pale into consideration when the glaring issue that is the kid is not addressed.  We are not his friends and can’t replace his friends; he needs to spend some serious time with kids his own age.  Since myself and my friends had the good sense to breed early, or in some cases, not breed at all; then I just don’t have any kids I can whip on out!
And I think the Squeeze at least, knows and can acknowledge this; not that either of us has the answers…