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Thursday, July 30, 2015

my one-night stand with insomnia

It’s 12 a.m. and some other brightly lit numbers that I can’t read without my glasses on. Why didn’t I get Lasik back when people got Lasik? I only slept for two hours before my cough woke me up to have that regret. 

Another regret. Moving out of the country and telling people we’d only be gone two years almost five years ago. Does that make me a liar? Or an accidental liver? Not the organ but the other kind that isn’t a word.

Nobody wears Uggs out of their house in Australia. Not one body. I realized this when I wore mine out of my house when I first moved here and my new friend became a best friend when she reprimanded me with a raised eyebrow and a comment section.

She also taught me you can have ‘fashion trainers’ (sneakers) or regular ‘trainers’ (still sneakers) but you should never call a ‘jumper’ a ‘sweater.’

If I was at a dinner party and went to the bathroom, would anyone be alarmed if I never came back? Why isn’t anyone alarmed? It has been almost five years. Prom girls have babies in toilets. Snakes live in them.

My $8 supermarket mascara is $18 dollars here. When it goes on sale at Woolies for $16, I celebrate the savings and buy two.

I can’t sleep while my husband can do nothing else. I want to lean over his face and steal his dreams but my cough won’t let me. Maybe I have walking pneumonia even though I’m lying down. He doesn’t seem to care.

My ebay account here greets me with ‘G’day, Tiffany.’ I refuse to donate my Seven for Mankind bootleg jeans, because they were once so very expensive, but I will package them up and send them to you for just enough money to buy half a tube of Very Black.

Some people, my husband, think Facebook is a waste of time. I think not being on Facebook is a waste of time because can you imagine the amount of emails and phone calls it would take to find out who got Lasik or a new job or wrote a book or read a book or booked a holiday or if it rained or snowed or stopped raining or snowing all together and that kittens are cute without it? We all have to think of more creative birthday greetings though.

My family moved into a new house in October, ie. summer, only to find out it leaks when it rains. It rains a lot in the winter. It is now winter. G’day, winter.   

People don’t tip on this side of the planet. We once had this lovely brunch at this café in Auckland and were compelled to leave some gold coins. This made our waiter chase us out to the car. He thought the tip we left on the table was forgotten money. We had to convince him with more words than necessary that it was on purpose and his to keep. And why.

I used to feel strange about not tipping and then I went to my first hair appointment. I left 20% happier than normal. And no one chased me to the car.

My American children know everything Australia. You can ask them anything about the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, rugby league vs. rugby union, Rabbit Proof Fence, the early settlers, Anzac Day, Prime Minister Toe-Knee-Ab-Butt (you have to point to the body parts when you say it), hot cross buns, metres, and mateship. But if you have a question about America, keep walking.

We live on a peninsula with water on three sides so there is one main street that runs through our neighborhood. We are on that thing exactly too many times a day. For our commute to school or bread or fruit or a glue stick. You cannot walk down that street without seeing every single person you know. This is where the mascara comes in.

The President of the United States was on television last month. My then seven-year old recognized him immediately: “Barack Obama!”

Me: “Do you know who he is?”

Seven did, “The President.”

“That’s right!” I was thrilled.

Until he added, “Of Australia.”

Less thrilled. “Well. He’s not the president of Australia...”

Seven nodded and adjusted his answer, “I know. He’s the President of the United States.”

“Yes!” said me.

“Of Australia!” said him, louder and wrong-er.

I worry about this night’s sleep, those five gyres of ocean garbage, if my cough is wet or dry, my pilot spec, what to make for dinner and then I remember we are going to another family’s house for dinner so I stop that one.

I think everyone should live out of the country. Because it is scary and amazing and you don’t have to tip, but also because you find people you didn’t know you were missing. I now have a collection. A collection I can no longer live without so when I move back to America three years ago, like I told everyone I would, I will somehow have to smuggle some very attractive, not middle-aged kidnapped ladies through customs.

I can’t decide if it’s my cough medicine or my cough that is keeping me awake so I vow to do neither again, and then mucus flies out of my face so I take another swig. I fall asleep right before my husband wakes me up for the day and tells me I have mascara smeared under my eyes.

Save my seat at the dinner party.

Our Darling Street in front of Woolie's
WITH our chalk birthday greeting to our friend Ava captured in front by Google Maps.
Thank you, Google Maps.



Thursday, April 10, 2014

the colbert series

It started as a way to deal with me hijacking the television. I needed to watch Letterman from the night before. My six-year old needed to draw. It was fun and adorable and priceless. Unless your name is Sarah Jessica Parker then so many apologies.

Then it became something my seven-year old just did. 'Is that Justin Bieber? Yes! Can you pause that, Mom?' You know I could and did.

And then it became that thing my eight-year old had no interest in continuing whatsoever. 'Hey, Sting is on.' 'Who?' 'Sting?' 'I don't know what that is.' So I paid him. High one figures. He was thrilled.

I'm not saying Colbert is definitely getting a book. But he might.


the letterman series. |  Sarah Jessica Parker + David Letterman

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

the story of my wife

I didn’t know I was missing one. I didn’t even know I needed one. All I know is once I had one I never wanted to be without one.

A wife: (n) a female spouse; and/or Meg Mason.

one awesome beach house.

Our Australian friends were in between homes. Like crated calves with no developed connective tissue, they had outgrown their teeny tiny and needed a bigger place to unfold their stiff baby cow limbs. They found just the house but also found that it wouldn’t be ready for weeks right after they rented out their old itty bitty. They were desperate. We were not but always liked the idea of living with these people. You have one amazing beach house experience with the Masons, you need another. This was our another. We pounced on the opportunity and opened our door, our guest room, our garage, our boys’ room and one shelf of our refrigerator to them.

Meg opened my windows.

From the moment this family of four stepped in our house, it was breezy and awesome. Here is my theory why. They weren’t our house guests. The only expectation anyone in the history of everyone has of house guests is that they have a good time and flush the toilet. My wife and her people came in with a need for fresh air, a pop-up commune mentality, and, gasp, a meal roster.

Being a wife slash anything has moments of hardness. Being a wife slash mother is nothing but exhausting. Not because it’s my most favorite thing in the world to be or he’s so handsome I can hardly look at him or they are ridiculously and redundantly cute. Being a wife slash mother is exhausting for one reason only:  Dinner.

Just typing dinner makes me hate dinner. 

To be clear, I don't hate eating dinner or the beautiful time I get to spend with my family as we consume it. It's all the everything that has to come before those ten delicious minutes. The thinking and planning and buying and prepping and cooking and flambéing and serving. Every single night. Always and so forth. For as long as everyone eats. Makes me want to lie down and take a nap.  

THAT is not the case when you have a wife with a meal roster.

When you have a wife with a meal roster, every other night she does all the thinking and planning and buying and prepping and cooking and flambéing and serving while you don’t do any of those words. She feeds you and your family while you don’t. Which means, you could actually lie down and take a nap. But, the win-win version of catch-22, you will no longer want a nap because you’re not exhausted from making dinner every single night and always and so forth. Dinner, even on your every other other night, is just no longer exhausting even if this paragraph is.

I didn't even mind typing dinner right then.

The point is. I am not telling anyone how to live their life or saying those Sister Wives are doing it right, but, single family dwellers, you need to scoop up another family and live with them because those Sister Wives are soooo doing it right -- except for that one man married to a bunch of ladies 'no thank you' arrangement. 

For three and a half perfect weeks, my boys had sisters. My husband had another silver fox to check his phone next to. And I had a wife. Someone who opened the windows and made me dinner and watched my shows and took my kids to and from school and let me eat her licorice and swept the floor and washed my husband’s morning daily egg pan ONE THOUSAND TIMES (still sorry, Meg) and emptied the dishwasher and bought two avocados every time she went to the store because one was never enough and flushed the toilets and it was awesome. 

Backpacks-clipped-together-and-walk-to-school awesome. 

an Australian chain gang.

And then my wife left me and it was not awesome at all. 

The opposite of awesome.

Ugh. Dinner. 

And then.

I found out the Byrnes are getting new carpet. They move in on Sunday.

My second wife: (n) another female spouse; and/or Nikki Byrne.