Saturday, April 1, 2017

Run To The Hills

I work outside now. I used to work inside, in aircon in front of a screen. And now I work in the full sun on a mountain in a physical job. And while there are many differences between indoor, passive and outdoor, active work, the one I didn't anticipate is how sweaty your undies get. Seriously, it's like I've weed myself every hot day. And the other day, after working in the full sun, with the temperature peaking at 37 degrees I physically couldn't roll my undies back up after peeing. They just say there, scrunched in a tightly wound ball below my knees. And it occurred to me that this is literally the extent of my issues with my job now. Sweaty undies. No more dreading Sunday evening, no more tight pit of the stomach when thinking about deadlines. No more sitting at a desk like a pale lump. And I've never been happier.

While Sydney’s astronomical house prices have proven a disaster for some, for us, it was the catalyst for the biggest and most amazing change we've ever experienced - moving to the mountains. We are serious westies now, we went west and just kept going west beyond the west you think of as “west”. Beyond Mt Druitt, beyond Penrith even. You will know I am a westie now if you've ever witnessed me trying not to swear in front of a child. Anyway, west is best, and let me tell you about. The short version is this: we bought a house with a yard, got pregnant as soon as we moved (after trying for ages), I got the job of my dreams, we made some of the best friends we've ever had, are close to family and live the most pleasing outdoor life surrounded by some of the most breathtaking landscapes you'll ever see. I grow my own artichokes for fuck’s sake. Nick saw what he thinks was the Penrith panther at the end of our street. My friends go canyoning after work. I DROPPED MY PHONE IN A CREEK TAKING A PHOTO OF A YABBY DURING A REGULAR DAY AT WORK AND IT’S AN IPHONE 7 SO IT WAS FINE!!!! Sorry, I got carried away. I don't know how better to emphasise that I hike down to creeks while at work and also that the iPhone 7 is amazing without that horrible muddle of underline, caps and bold. And now that I've written those sentences I feel like I can't stop at a short version and will have to give you a long version of why life is better up here... We basically pooed our pants with fear moving away from Sydney, but the things that make the mountains so amazing outweigh those poo pants ten to one.

Being outside: We went to a night time talk about the stars recently. Within five minutes of arriving we were surrounded by a fog so thick I thought I'd suddenly developed cataracts. It was the type of weather I like to describe as “murdery” because you could easily run someone over in your car, drive off and no one would be able to see you. Or sneak up and stab them, your identity cloaked in the fog. Either or. Not that I've thought about it much. Anyway, you couldn't see anything in this mist. The guy giving the talk ended up having to discuss the constellations in front of flapping sheets of A3 paper instead of the actual sky and he knew NOTHING about stars. I'm pretty sure, at some point, he said Alpha and Beta Centauri were the same thing. He also referred to a star, whose name he couldn't recall, as “this is, I don't know, some star, whatever”. Cut to us bailing from the talk. My mate Mat, who is a mountain veteran and knows the area like the back of his hand took us, in the dark, on a Tuesday, down into a canyon that was full of glow worms. The walls of the canyon were a sea of blue lights and when we couldn't see the night sky because of the fog, it looked like the heavens. Who does this shit mid-week?! We do now apparently.

The people: The mountains is both very gay and incredibly friendly. I went to a gay disco in Blackheath with a phenomenal drag queen Shirley Bassey and danced my heart out. There was no traffic on the way there and the men were gorgeous. Plus the song selection was ace.  Beyond the gay community, the people are amazingly kind. When Max and I had a car accident, three people came around to our house to check we were ok. With presents no less. Chocolates! Flowers! And beyond their kindness and gayness, everyone here is so trusting. So much so that when I had friends to dinner, and the local ice addict came to our door ranting and raving about the first prime minister living in the house down the street, one friend actually googled it to check. To his honest surprise, it turns out the first prime minister didn't live there, but bless him for giving the ol’ neighbourhood junkie the benefit of the doubt. Katoomba is pretty much like living in a scaled up, Aussie version of the town in Doc Hollywood. Which has been my dream ever since I saw the movie Doc Hollywood.

Work: I work at possibly the most magical place in the world. The view is phenomenal, birds follow you around and sit on your feet like you're a King Gee clad Snow White and the people who work there are the most filthy mouthed bunch of Wombles in the world and I couldn't love co-workers more without it being inappropriate. When I was on maternity leave Max and I were told we weren't allowed to attend a social event with a group of older bushwalkers because NO BABIES ALLOWED, and I was devastated. I drove out to work, sat at the lunch table (in my designated spot which my friends saved for me for a year) cried my heart out and my work mates literally lined up to hug me better. I hadn't worked there for a year, but they kept my spot warm and loved me fiercely when I needed it most. Just to give you some contrast, when I worked in the city I was once told, by someone I looked up to as a potential mentor, “don't go and slit your wrists, but no one likes you. Maybe you should change your personality? People don't care what you have to say, their eyes glaze over when you speak.” While, clearly, my personality is the it took me about a year to get over being ripped apart like this at work. So to show up to a job where I told them in the first fortnight of knowing them that I was pregnant, and would need to leave in seven months for a year and get the response “YAY!”, restored my faith in people. Also, the fact that I can now throw around botanical insults, like telling people that if they were in a plant family they'd be in Lamiaceae, or just pointing at an agapanthus and saying “that's you”, is sheer joy.

Everything else: living is cheaper, the air is cleaner, you can grind your own peanut butter at the co-op, my mum lives here, Tara Moss lives here, magic mushrooms grow here, sometimes it snows, you can grow cold climate pants, no one judges your kid if they're not wearing pants or choose their name daily and I can't think of the last time someone told me they were “busy” in response to the question “how are you?” If you disregard the lack of racial diversity, the low vaccination rate and the angry deli girl at Woolies, we're basically in utopia.

I suppose the point that I'm making here is that the mountains is the best place ever. And you can find your mountains too. If you are constantly whinging about the same stuff, either try and change it or shut up. Sydney is expensive, so go somewhere else. Your job is lame, do something you like. You hate your friends, stop talking to them. Just tell them you dropped your iPhone 6 in a creek.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Saddest Day Of My Life

I went for an ultrasound a few years ago because I had had a lot of trouble falling pregnant and was sure something would be wrong. I had a sneaking suspicion that I’d be one of those people who looks like a female on the outside but has man parts on the inside. Luckily for me the ultrasound tech was able to show me my left ovary, my right ovary and definitive proof that I was not infertile. Because there, in my uterus, was a fetus.

Nick and I started choosing names and talking about birth plans and waiting waiting waiting for the twelve weeks to be up so we could tell people. But I am the worst secret keeper in the world and just told all of my close friends anyway, pretty much immediately, behind Nick’s back (sorry Nick). We went for a dating scan and saw a little heartbeat. A small flicker in the middle of a blob and I cried one little tear. Excited weeks passed and I counted down the days. Until one day when something just felt… off.

Then I had the smallest amount of blood. I ignored it, googled it, only read the things that said there was definitely nothing wrong, ignored it some more and then felt like I HAD to go to the doctor as soon as it was too late in the day to go to the doctor. I rushed to the medical centre and waited patiently in the waiting room. I could see the doctor in her office. She was on her computer editing some word document. The time for my appointment came and went. And still the doctor was on her computer apparently trying to figure out how to spell some words she didn’t know. And I kept waiting. An hour and a half after my allocated time I was called into the room by the doctor who can’t spell. I was too scared to be mad. The doctor asked me what was wrong and I told her I was pregnant and scared I was miscarrying. She asked me if I had taken a pregnancy test, how did I know I was pregnant? I told her I had had an ultrasound and seen the heartbeat, I had taken a pregnancy test and was pregnant but I was scared I was losing it. She asked me what my birth plan was. Again, I tried to convey to her that I needed her help. I needed to know if my flickering blob was ok. She asked what hospital I was going to deliver at. I all but screamed at her that I needed her to help me because SOMETHING WAS WRONG. She referred me to the ultrasound clinic at RPA for the next day but told me I wasn’t miscarrying, it was normal to bleed.

I got to the clinic early, they gave me a random number from a pile and even though I was the first to arrive I got the number 8. This meant that when they opened in an hour they called numbers in order, starting with 1, so I would just have to wait. So I sat there, crying and waiting. It seemed like potentially miscarrying involves a lot of waiting around. Finally, two hours later, I was called in to see a midwife. She told me that if I was bleeding there was a 50% chance I was going to lose the baby. She wanted me to be prepared for that outcome, then she gave me some feedback forms to fill out. The feedback forms were about the treatment I would receive for my miscarriage and how effective those treatments were. I was shuffled into another room and waited another hour for my ultrasound.

The room was dark and the ultrasound guy was young and nice. He moved the wand over my stomach, look confused, left, came back with another ultrasound person, performed an internal ultrasound instead and looked more confused. I could see the blob, but I could no longer see the flicker. I only saw flat lines where weeks before there had been little heartbeat lines. The ultrasound man looked at Nick and I and told us simply, “I’m sorry but there isn’t a heartbeat any more.” He looked so distressed, I actually apologised to him. Then he left and I called my parents, hysterical. They drove down to Sydney to bundle me up in blankets and whisk me away to the mountains to buy me books and feed me sushi and beer. It was a long weekend and it passed in a blur. I messaged my friends and told them I was no longer pregnant. Then we went home and again, waited. Waited for the final stage, the actual physical loss of my little blob.

At about midday on the Monday I started having cramps, and so began what no one really prepared me for - labour. I didn't realise that this crushing emotional loss would be accompanied by such physical pain. Having been through the labour of a live child and the labour of a miscarriage I can tell you both were equally painful, but the latter was shorter and I knew there would be no happy ending. After about twelve hours my little teeny tiny blob came out into the world. Like a little gummy bear in a sac the size of a golf ball. I was beyond horrified. No one told me that this would happen, and had no idea what to do now. So I wrapped it up in a piece of paper towel, put it in a ziplock bag and slept with it beside my bed. The same proximity Max would be to me, the night after he was born, more than a year later.

The next morning I was still at a loss as to what to do with my little ziplocked child, so I put him in the freezer and went back to work. I have never been sadder. People, of course, said the wrong things; at least you can get pregnant, everything happens for a reason, you'll get pregnant again and even worse, some people said nothing. And everyone else didn't know, so I just pretended to be the same as I was last week, even though I was irreparably changed. A few weeks later we buried the little blob under a fern in my mum’s garden and then we went bush. We camped in a river bed out past Broken Hill, we watched the sunset at Silverton, we saw shooting stars at Menindee. We came home and mourned for almost a year before I fell pregnant again. I thought I would LOL my way through this blog post, finding the bright side as I am so often wont to do, laughing about putting my baby in the freezer next to the toast. But I still count the months marking how old he'd be, and when I think of him safe and sound under the tree ferns I still ache the littlest bit.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Maz's One Step Guide To Getting Your Pre-baby Body Back

Step One: Don’t have a baby.

And if it is too late for step one and you happen to have had a baby, the bad news is that without extensive surgery you will never get your old body back. Like mine, it might look all together on the outside but on closer inspection it is just weird floppy sacks of flesh rolled up and smooshed into black jeans and a tshirt with a jacket thrown over the top for posterity. In the spirit of full disclosure for those of you who have similar blobby bodies/are pregnant/just wondering what a post baby body is like, here is a blow by blow of how my body’s changed since childbirth.

Toes: Still ok, mostly the same. A little neglected from months of not being able to cut their nails due to pregnancy bigness, but otherwise still fine, still very hairy.

Shins: Hairy, but only halfway up my shin so, like, little socks made of hair.

Bladder: Far less control than I used to have. Someone ran into me at basketball recently and I had my first experience of ever so slightly weeing myself. Not enough that it ran down my leg, but enough to make me promise to myself that I'd start doing those kegel exercises you're meant to do. Since then I have peed a small amount, numerous times while playing sport. And while I've got around to playing sport, I haven't got around to doing those other exercises.

Breasts: I now actually lift up my boobs to wash under them in the shower. They are like little boob flaps. Which is useful when I need to feed Max while he's in his baby carrier in Coles because I can now flop a boob into his face and continue buying my Danish feta cheese at the deli counter.
Also, this is related to boobs and I don't know how else to segue into it, but when I've looked up tips on expressing milk the suggestion is always to stimulate your nipples while you look at a picture of, or think about, your baby. Is it just me or does this sound weirdly like masturbation?! Masturbabe-tion more like. Again, people think I'm a creep for saying this. It's not me suggesting you masturbate your breasts to a picture of your baby, it’s all the lactation know it alls.

Nipples: bled for a while. I only found out they were actually bleeding when Max spewed blood on me. Which was slightly daunting, and then being the perpetual over-sharer that I am, I wanted to tell people but they don't want to hear about my blood nipples. Same goes for when Max had a crack in his anus. Why can’t I just have a good convo with people about my nips and my son’s anus? Come on guys, be supportive.

Hair: While shiny and thick during pregnancy, a few months after birth my hair started to fall out. At first it was just a few extra hairs here and there. Then it was a small handful. Then, suddenly, I had enough that I could have spun it into wool and made myself a jumper. The height of hair loss came on the day of the Annual Josephans’ Chocolate Cake Competition. I capitalized that like it was a thing, but I’d never heard of it before I entered it and just wanted to make it sound like it was prestigious. Truth of the matter is that I saw someone’s article on Mamamia about all the things they thought they would do while on maternity leave and didn't. I got ultra-competitive and decided that I would achieve all the things they failed at, making me a better mother and human, and winning out over a stranger who didn’t realise they were in a competition with me. In the end, the joke was on me. As I entered the judging room to deliver my cake I realised that these were next level cakes, they looked like they were created by pastry chefs with years of experience. Mine literally looked like a packet cake made by a seven year old. I realised my error too late and was turning to leave and eat my cake alone at home in peace, when one of the women took it from me. I never even got to taste my cake, and definitely didn't win, but on the way out I dusted basically every cake I passed with a good sprinkling of my loose hair. Sucked in better cakes.

The bright side though is this, while my description sounds like my body is practically falling apart, I'm proud of it for doing what it was meant to do. I mean, it grew a tiny penis for fuck’s sake. (With a tiny human, who I quite like, attached to it.)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Shut Your Mouth When You're Talking To Me

Let’s get a little sciencey. Well, psychology actually, but close enough. There is this thing called the Dunning-Kruger effect. You may not have heard of it, but I guarantee you will know someone who is a good example of it. Basically Dunning and Kruger did a study on ignorance and found that a lot of people suffer what's called “illusory superiority”. Basically, the ignorant will often mistakenly assess their abilities to be much higher than they are, so they think they are clever as and doing an amazing job when they are, in fact, dimmer than the inside of an asshole and often, failing quite miserably. In a nutshell, the stupid are too stupid to realised they’re stupid. My favourite part about this unfounded belief in their own intelligence is that it is paired with an arrogance, so the idiots of the world are very likely to broadcast their ignorance to us, the geniuses. On the flip side you have said geniuses (that’s you and I) who slightly underestimate their abilities and, unlike the group previously mentioned, assume everyone else is of a similar level of high intelligence. So basically any time you think you are right about something, you are either completely right or SO wrong and no one has the heart to tell you. Over the years I have heard some amazingly incorrect assertions from these fools in all areas of my life, from fast food restaurants to university, and have been collecting them like precious gemstones, pulling them out to look at them when I'm not feeling great about myself. 

The McDOH!nalds Moron: I worked at McDonalds when I was 15 and while I had very little knowledge of tax law (I failed to get a tax file number for a year and was subsequently taxed half my earnings until I did) I knew more than this Dunning-Kruger affected nong. Tax time rolled around and we were told our group certificates were pinned to the notice board and to collect them at our leisure. As I went to find my own, so I could claim back the literally 50% I had allowed myself to be taxed (I got $2000 back that year, which I wisely spent on one shouldered Suprè tops and Fast and the Furious movie marathons) the girl beside me exclaimed “A certificate!! Oh my gawwwd, I knew I'd been working hard, and I finally have a certificate to show for it. I can't wait to tell my mum!” What sort of certificate she thought maccas offered you annually for just doing your job (and quite poorly in her case) I will never know. But I like to warm the hands of my mind on the image of her tenderly hanging it on her family’s fridge.

The Beautiful and The Damned: I had a really awesome friend who I worked with a while back. He had the dreamiest green eyes and all the girls loved him. And never has the demeaningly said “you're lucky you're so pretty” rang more true. One day, after another friend had taken a pregnancy test he approached me looking super quizzical and asked “Mazzy, do pregnancy tests say who the father is?” I am chuckling so hard even writing this, I just need a moment to catch my breath. 

That's better, sorry about that. I can't help but imagine that in his mind pregnancy tests were like magic eight balls and after you took one a random man’s name bobbed into focus on the little screen. 

Did You Get High Before School?: I did history in high school and fell in love with ancient Egypt. So much so that I actually went to Egypt in my early 20s. Did you know that the Sphinx looks directly at a KFC? Amazing. Anyway, one day we were learning about how, upon entering the afterlife in Egyptian folklore, your heart was weighed against the feather of truth. If it weighed less than the feather you could pass into heaven but if your heart was heavier you were damned to spend eternity in hell. Upon learning this one girl in my class, very correctly commented “but in real life your heart would always weigh more than a feather.” Yes. Thank you for that insightful comment. But wait, does that mean that people in ancient Egypt didn’t have human bodies with crocodile heads? And what is this “metaphor” word I’m always hearing echoing around the halls? Could you clear that up for me too, oh wise one?

The UniBLERGHsity Student: Ok, I ran out of clever names for this one so it sort of sounds like something you’d read in a Mad Magazine parody of Revenge of the Nerds, but shut up. I did a subject at uni called “the history of genocide” because I was just into studying really upbeat stuff at uni. In our second lecture after we had combed through all the actions which constitute genocide; mass murder, sterilization, forced removal of children etc. a girl in the back of the lecture theatre put up her hand and told the lecturer “I think you'll find genocide isn't always a bad thing.”
Unfortunately, he stopped her before she could continue and consequently the rest of my life I will be burdened with the desire to know what justification she had for genocide. And I'll never know if she was incredibly racist or just extremely optimistic. 

I apologise if you are one of the people in these anecdotes, because I know I’m friends with some of you on facebook, but I’m hoping that you were distracted by something shiny at about the point where I used the word “science” in the opening paragraph. And full disclosure here, I know I’ve just been a massive bitch to these poor idiots, but I thought that someone lived in the pylons of the Harbour bridge until I was in my mid twenties, and until around the same time also believed that trees made wind. So at least I’m kind of a dumb bitch too.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


“How much of my hair has my baby eaten?” is a thought I have about four times every day, because once I saw a documentary about a girl who had to have a sausage made of hair removed from her intestine because she was always chewing the end of her ponytail. My hair sheds like a mofo and always ends up wrapped around Max’s hands and feet and in his mouth. I've even had friends tell me they've found my hair in their socks or wrapped around their penises, it sheds that much and spreads that far. This hair issue made me realise that while I’m a good mum, I’m not a great mum. Don't get me wrong, I change Max when he’s dirty, feed him when he’s hungry and cuddle him constantly, but I have done some things which I definitely lose parenting points for. For example, I didn’t realise I wasn’t meant to eat soft serve while I was pregnant and ate it more than I ever have for the nine months he was in my belly. Since then I've been making a bunch of poor parent choices, sometimes they are born of ignorance, sometimes I've just consciously made a decision that favours me over Max. I like to call this style of scary parenting “scarenting”. Scarenting decisions can range from mild (letting your three month old baby watch True Blood) to major (giving your baby to a strange man to hold while you go to the toilet in a shopping mall). Some scarenting choices I've made in the last few months are as follows.

Mild: Sometimes I don’t soothe Max when he cries because he just looks so hilarious when he is really getting his scream on. Like a furious little beetroot. 

Iffy: When he decides to cry in an enclosed public place, like a waiting room, my go to response is to look apologisingly at the people around me and offer “Would anyone like a baby? He's barely used!” Har har har. The other day I said it in a lift and a lady who I swear to god looked like the witch in Hansel and Gretel responded very seriously “I would take him”. I bet you would scary lady. I stopped talking and just looked at the lift door, desperately willing it to open before my child was abducted.

Not great: I was playing tennis (because I'm a MUM now) and another player's little girls were patting Max. Which was fine by me until their dad offered me a great bit of “advice”. 
“Did you know no one had peanut allergies until vaccines were invented? I don't think it's right to put something so artificial as a vaccine into my young children’s bodies.” 
Aaaaaaaaarrrrggghh. I didn't know how to politely snatch Max away from his, surely disease ridden, children. So I let them keep patting him. And just so you know antivax man, if you don't want artificial substances entering your kids bodies, here are some natural things which might enter their systems: measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, diphtheria, smallpox. And FYI I'd rather my child have an allergy than be DEAD thank you very much. 

Pretty bad: I moved out of our marital bed and into the spare room with Max for a few weeks when Nick went back to work, because I am a very considerate wife and it also meant I could watch netflix all night. Meanwhile our cat Jenny moved into our room to keep Nick company. A week later when Nick went to change the doona cover he discovered that Jenny had actually done a poo in my side of the bed and he had been sleeping next to it all week. I was out, so he sent me a picture, FURIOUS. Then to make matters worse he went to send a picture of Max to his parents but accidentally sent the poo picture, meaning that he then had to explain to two of the cleanest people I’ve ever met why the cat had pooed in the bed. This was not, strictly, a parenting faux pas but definitely not the best housewifery ever. 

Major: I don’t think this is too bad, but from the looks I’ve been getting from everyone when I ask this question, it is a major no-no for me to even be thinking in the privacy of my head. You know how you find your partner attractive and that’s why you have a baby with them? And you know how sometimes babies look exactly like one parent? Max is like a tiny clone of nick (which is rude because I spent all that time growing him, both when he was in my belly and when he was out of it, literally all the food he’s ever eaten has come from me, he could at least look a bit like me. Boo.) So how is it that you can have a child who looks EXACTLY like the person you are attracted to, but you’re not attracted to the child?! I’m talking about when he’s older, obviously not now when he’s a baby - I'm not some sort of creep. My mum suggested that maybe it was the age difference. And pretty much everyone else just looked at me, disgusted. But I reckon you guys can suck it because, think about it, it's a valid point. 

So I'm not Mum Of The Year, and I may have spent a lot of time explaining to people why Max’s arms are covered in bruises (they're hickeys ok? He sucks his arm until he gives himself hickeys, what can I do?) but as Nick told me when we brought him home from hospital “our only job is to keep him alive.” And, as I find every one of the ten times I check he's still breathing during the night, I'm doing alright at that!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Entreprenah or Yeah?

I had a facebook friend once who got 30+ likes on approximately three statuses in a row and then started posting (seriously) about how he was going to try stand up comedy. There was nothing I wanted more than for him to actually do it. I would have absolutely gone to that show. Because he was for sure going to flop and the only thing I like better than seeing someone who’s really good at comedy is seeing someone who is REALLY bad. Look, I think I am hilarious, my sense of humour is exactly my taste in funny, but I’m pretty sure that if I got up on stage and started telling stories about my cat* no one would be laughing. Call it schadenfreude, call it shade, maybe I’m just really mean, but you can’t say that one hundred percent of the time you want everyone around you to succeed at their stupid dreams. And maybe it’s because people don’t know that their dreams are stupid that they pursue them. So here’s my stupid dream: to be a billionaire entrepreneur. And I need your help. Come on, you’ve been reading this blog for free forever now, you owe me one. So help a sister out and let me know if these inventions I’ve invented are stupid or completely viable (my hunch is it’s the latter). But let’s just keep these between us because I’ve read that you can’t patent things you’ve spoken publicly about.

Explained in four words: The selfie lover’s nightmare
Key Demographic: this one is for those people whose friends are obsessed with the perfect selfie
The pitch: If you have a friend who is just way too obsessed with the perfect photo of themselves and spend more time looking at their own image than Narcissus, this may help them remedy this personality flaw, or at minimum, really piss them off. This is more a service than an invention, and it may or may not have illegal elements to it but I’m sure we can find a way around those if you choose to help me finance this little goldmine idea. What we will do is take a really bad photo of them (provided by you) and have it printed on all new doonas, pillowcases, plates, mugs, bowls etc. then while the selfie-lover is out we will break into their house and switch all their stuff so they can’t escape the terrible photo of themselves.

Gat Girdles
Explained in four words: A girdle for cats
Key demographic: Cats
The pitch: Do you have a fat cat that people are always being mean about? My cat Jenny has struggled with some weight issues, which I know has got her down at times. The cat girdle would be made of spanx material and faux fur in a variety of colours allowing your cat to slim down in minutes (after only minimal yowling and scratching). No more saggy baggy moggy tummy!

Superstretch Smalls
Explained in four words: Really stretchy little undies
Key demographic: People with private parts who like to go away on holiday
The pitch: Does packing your undies take up HEAPS of space in your going away bag? I like to pack at least one pair of undies for each day I’m away and this can be quite space consuming. So I propose we find the stretchiest material available and make really tiny undies out of it, approximately the size of a matchbox. They’d stretch out to fit you when you went to put them on because of this theoretical super-stretchy material. Then you can pack all you undies in your pocket and you're ready to roll.

Explained in four words: See mailed gift reactions
Key demographic: People who regularly post gifts in the mail
The pitch: Are you really good at sending gifts in the mail? But then do you feel let down by not being able to see the recipient’s reaction (because of course the best part of giving a gift is the kudos you receive for being such a good friend)? Stampcam is a really, really small camera which lives in the stamp you affix to your gift and allows you to watch the joy which results from you being such an awesome friend via your phone. I haven’t figured out the logistics yet, but hello, genius.

Explained in four words: People reserve your table
Key demographic: Parties of less people than the minimum party requirement to book a table at a busy Sydney restaurant. Ie. People who aren't that popular but still like food.
The pitch: Why is it that so many restaurants in Sydney require 5+ attendees before they can book a table for you? Otherwise you're required to just wait there for an indeterminate period of time like a schmuck. And who are these mysterious groups of five? Two married couples and a divorcee? A single dad and his four adult sons? For a small fee I would have someone go and wait in the table queue at your restaurant of choice and then call you when your table is ready. And you and your one friend can rush there ASAP and enjoy the fruits (and meats) of someone else’s labour.

Explained in four words: Make cash from autocorrect
Key demographic: People who want to advertise their wares
The pitch: Now it might take some convincing Apple to agree to this but I think this is a missed opportunity for advertisers. You know how your phone autocorrects words to other words? Like once my phone changed “let's go shoppingggggg” to “ape Finn nutty”. Maybe for a reduction in your monthly phone repayments you could opt to have advertising autocorrect. For example, you'd type “Let's go to the movies” but your phone would correct “movies” to Bedknobs and Broomsticks or whatever.

Chafe Bomb
Explained in four words: Instant chafed thigh relief
Key demographic: Anyone who is a few kilos overweight or whose thighs rub together when it gets warm and sticky
The pitch: The only people I’ve ever mentioned this to were incredibly fit and toned girls so they laughed in my face because they had never experienced how weird you look walking after you’ve chafed the inside of your thighs on a hot day. Chafe bomb will be a little like a bath bomb and a little like a water balloon filled with talcum powder. You take this small, purse-sized bomb, place it between your thighs, squeeze them together and pop it, releasing and distributing the soothing talcum powder within, relieving the pain of the chafe and allowing you to glide about for the rest of the day like you're on ice skates. Or like you would if you weren't so fat that your thighs chafed together.

So if you have a spare $10,000 you can buy any of these ideas from me. I can also do you a discount for multiple ideas. I started a Kickstarter page but you have to submit it for review and it's not that I was embarrassed but, no, wait, yep. I was embarrassed by all these ideas.

* When my cat Jenny wants dinner she gets really meow-y, so I ask her questions whose answers rhyme with the word meow, like “When do you want dinner Jenny?” “Neow” “What do you say when you hurt yourself?” “Ow” “How did the chicken cross the road?” “How?” See, I think that's comedy gold.

Monday, February 8, 2016


The day I had our baby was not the best day of my life. Are people kidding when they say that? It was the scariest day of my life, sure, definitely the goriest and most gruesome. It was a day I had to get stitches in my private parts while the obstetrician talked to me about Star Wars (way to instil confidence Vagina Doctor!) It was also a day that I may or may not have crapped myself (I will never know if I did, but that is okay) and it felt like someone put a firecracker up my nether regions and rendered me unable to walk without the gait of an aged cowboy. Nick summed up his experience with the old adage that watching the birth of our first child was “like watching your favourite pub burn down”, suffice to say neither of us particularly enjoyed childbirth. For sure it was sweet as a nut getting to see the person I’d been growing for nine months, but let’s be honest, all newborns look the same: like little squashed goblins wrapped up in that pink and blue hospital blanket. I didn’t realize that getting him out would be the easiest and least terrifying part of being a new parent; so I have chronicled the horrors of the first two weeks of parenthood that maybe you should consider before you decide whether or not you'd like to go and get a hysterectomy.

Minus One Day Old: December 29th
Nick’s anal Dad side was already in full swing when my waters broke and he yelled at me to quickly get out of bed and off the new carpet, so as not to ruin either of them. He ran to get an (old) towel for me to stand on so I wouldn’t do any damage to the floorboards either. BTW guys, your amniotic fluid keeps leaking throughout the whole of labour. Disgusting. Just disgusting.

Born: December 30th
While the hospital brought with it myriad new experiences and emotions (Nick actually got to milk me regularly while I was in recovery, a very interesting first for our marriage) the horror of what we had done to our lives only really hit me the night we got home.

3 Days Old: January 2nd
Within the first few hours of being alone with Max and not really knowing what I was supposed to do when he cried, I had the following thoughts:

“Can I return him to the hospital?”
“I have stitches in my downstairs and am scared to ever poo again. Why did nobody warn me about this? I'm mad at all the mums who didn't warn me about the scary first poo.”
“I definitely can NOT do this. How do the 16 year olds on 16 and Pregnant do it if I can’t? I am less capable than a Teen Mom.”
“How quick is the adoption process and do you get money for it?”
“My boobs hurt” at which point I punched myself in the sore boob out of frustration. It didn’t make my boob any less sore.

The crux of this freak out was that I have never had to take care of myself, and have always been looked after by everyone else; and I mean, for my whole life. My mum still peels my oranges for me and from the age of 15 I had a boyfriend who would share the great responsibility that is Maz, with my mum. Seriously, my first boyfriend cleaned my room for me and found ten forks. Another time I had my current and ex-boyfriends come to my house to repaint my bedroom. Cut to now and I married a man, who I constantly joke, can’t die because I don’t know where anything is located in my kitchen. So the weight of the idea that now I was not just in charge of myself, but also of someone else who can do nothing on their own was CRUSHING.

5 Days Old: January 4th
I had assumed that the minute I had a baby, I would have infinite patience for them. Turns out, this was not the case. At five days old Max cried for four straight hours and no matter what I did he wouldn’t shut up or go to sleep. It got to the point where I had to give him to Nick before I punched him. I conveyed this desire to Nick and he was beyond horrified. It’s not like I wanted to punch him in the face, just give him like, a little dead arm for being such a dick. Note: I told the nurse who comes to visit and check on him that I wanted to punch him and she said that was fine as long as I didn’t actually do it.

Seven Days Old: January 6th
Having a newborn is the most intense experience ever; you are literally just holding this other person all day, everyday. And I mean all day. It is not, as I imagined, watching real housewives of everywhere while my little angel cooed politely in the other room. I have to hold Max constantly; while I’m in the toilet, while he smells, when he is literally climbing up me to get to my ear and scream into it as loudly as he possibly can and all I really want to do drink a six pack of UDLs and run away (I've even planned my outfit for this, it involves a leather jacket and some sunnies, I call it my delinquent mum look). But do you know what helps temper this partly awful experience of clinging to a person while they void their bowels on you and vomit your own milk back onto the boob from whence it came? I am finally part of the group that knows everything in the world/is better than people who have not had unprotected sex and conceived a child: parents. Now that I too am a parent, I can finally give unsolicited advice to all and sundry whilst smiling smugly. Some of the great advice/wonderful stories I have been given/told and will be sure to perpetuate:

  • Teach your newborn to sleep all night by putting earplugs in and refusing to get up to them between 7pm and 7am. If they REALLY scream, get your husband to get up and give them some water
  • When teaching a baby to eat, just put food in its mouth and then hold its mouth shut until it swallows
  • Various accounts of babies being stillborn/dying in the womb - very appropriate and comforting stories to tell a pregnant woman
  • This is a burping cloth. In case you don't know what that is, you use it to burp your baby

Two Weeks Old: January 13th
In case I didn't convey it earlier, the aforementioned human holding is boring. Actually, newborns are really boring in general and anyone who disagrees is a liar or has incredibly low expectations of what constitutes entertainment. This means that you want to shirk the responsibility of them as often as possible and will hand them to anyone who will take them. That's when fathers are useful. Who's turn it is to hold the baby may also become one of the biggest points of contention in your marriage/possible grounds for divorce with said father. It is amazing how angry holding a baby all day can make you. Unfortunately for Nick he cops the brunt of this anger (although to be fair to me, he is at fault for the following):

  • He asked me to hold Max when it was his turn to hold Max and did chores instead of holding Max
  • After two hours of trying to get Max down and finally succeeding,  busting to pee, I rushed to the bathroom (the only one in our house) and was pipped at the post by Nick who slipped in before me
  • He had the audacity to say he was tired. NEVER SAY YOU’RE TIRED if your night’s sleep has consisted of eight solid hours vs mine which involves cleaning up both baby and cat spew in amongst my four hours of broken sleep

Six weeks on and Max’s belly button bit is still sitting, dried out, on my bedside table because I don't really know what I'm meant to do with it. Despite that, I feel like I've come to terms more with this whole parent thing. I've managed to have at least one conversation not about the baby, I've put something on other than pajamas, I've even started to find the things Max does slightly less than boring and Nick and I are not even divorced, so if you want some advice from someone who’s basically parent of the year now, hit me up!