Friday, 31 October 2008

Paraphrasing Oates

So, this whole NaNoWriMo thing…I’m simultaneously apprehensive about it in a will I survive with my remaining wits intact? kind of way, yet sanguine about my ability to win the challenge. I mean, clearly it’s possible, but it should also be probable if I can better organise myself, submit to rigorous self-discipline, put off procrastinating*, and stop worrying about the aesthetic state of myself and the house.

IF. (For those of you who aren’t rebus fans, that’s one big ‘if’.)

On the bright side, I’ve already implemented one of those conditions. I ceased to care what I looked like some time ago, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that the house will never feature in Home Beautiful magazine, so the prospect of thirty days of no showers and an unchecked mess that swallows large items of furniture, doesn’t faze me.

Today being (gulp!) the last day of October, I will have to bid you all au revoir, but should you already have cleaned out your toe lint and reorganised your pantry and have nothing better to do, you can keep track of my progress (or mortifyingly woeful lack thereof) via the widget in my sidebar. Until December, then!

I am just staying inside, and may be some time.

*See what I did there? Don’t tell me Lonie Polony can’t make tautological jokes with the best of ’em.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

I shall be played by Janeane Garofalo

A scene from the movie of my life:

Magistrate: The accused, Lonie Polony, is charged with obscene exposure, offensive conduct, malicious damage of property, and affray.

It is alleged that on the first of December, 2008, the defendant ran from her home through the public streets, tearing off her clothes, screaming obscenities, and making lewd gestures at passers-by. She entered a greengrocer’s, whereupon she seized the display of capsicums and proceeded to hurl them violently to the pavement, shouting out that capsicums were grown in the nightsoil of the devil, and must be destroyed. The defendant was approached by members of the public who attempted to calm her ravings with soothing advice such as, “Cheer up, it’s not the end of the world,” but she responded with threats to insert several capsicums in each of their recta.

How do you plead?

Defence Lawyer: [stands] Not guilty, Your Honour, by reason of insanity.

Five weeks prior to the alleged incident, the defendant was a loving wife and mother to three small children, and a law-abiding member of the community. However, the pressures of running a household with sub-par skills, a steady decline in brain power, her husband’s impending four-week absence, and the looming prospect of returning to a lowly position at her place of employment, had, we can now see, taken a terrible toll on her mental health. Why else, if she were not clinically insane, would she make a snap decision to register for NaNoWriMo, when she clearly had neither the time nor the wit to handle such a challenge?

Over the course of the month of November, while her husband continued interstate and her children suffered under the increasing tyranny of her dissociative identity
‘Mean Mum’, the defendant’s mental state declined still further under the added stress of completing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days – a feat she has been unable to accomplish in all the years since deciding to write – and she became completely mentally incapacitated by full-blown psychosis.

Therefore, while the incidents of the day in question were certainly regrettable, my client should in no way be held responsible for them. [sits]

Magistrate: [sympathetically] Ah. Is her fragile mental state also the reason the defendant has chosen to dress in maternity clothes?

Defence Lawyer: Er…why not.

Magistrate: Very well. I hereby acquit the defendant of all charges!

Holy Unreachable Goals, Batman! What have I done?!

Bum Glove

It’s a sad day when one discovers one’s emergency underpants fit like a glove.

Is it also bad that my maternity shorts are the most comfortable choice in the drawer?

Friday, 24 October 2008

Literally

I sometimes write about how trying it is to mother my three young children but, since I’m sure it would bore to tears anyone who isn’t me, Mr. Lonie or our parents, I usually refrain from prattling on about what a (nearly) constant source of delight my little ones are.

Earlier this week I was attempting to make homemade paper kites (ostensibly as art and craft for Miss and Master Lonie, but secretly because I’ve never flown a kite and always wanted to) and becoming increasingly frustrated at how unexpectedly difficult it was. Hadn’t the darn sticks and string and paper listened to their grandparents? Hadn’t they watched sentimental nostalgia on television which taught us that little boys in short pants made their own kites, knocked together a billy cart and built a tree house all before lunchtime? WHY WERE THEY NOT COOPERATING?!

“Master Lonie!” I snapped as my two year-old badgered the baby with what was intended to be loving fraternal engagement. “How many times do I have to tell you not to annoy Neptune?”

Head tilted, he considered carefully and delivered his answer with a guileless smile.

“Umm…four?”

From my internal wellspring bubbled the pride and love to wash away my frown. For a moment, all was right with the world.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Dinner Debrief

What is it about being in a cooking and cleaning frenzy and asking them to run along because you’re just too busy right now, that makes them want to hang around, getting underfoot and pestering you with questions? Sometimes I wonder whether husbands are much use at all, after all the begetting is done.

Mr. Lonie’s begetters arrived early – all the better to catch me sprinting naked from the shower to my bedroom – but fortunately the ones from whose loins I fruited turned up soon after to step into the breach and spare me from the awkward small talk that passes for conversation between the Inane Ones and arguably their least favourite child-in-law.

I was amused, but not surprised, to observe the in-laws eating curry and rice with a fork. Apparently they live in some bizarro ’50s White Australia (no doubt their idea of heaven) where spoons are for serving and dessert only. I considered setting their places with a knife and fork, but dismissed that idea because, as I have discussed previously, I’m a passive-aggressive soceraphobe. And though they did submit to eating curries that – quelle horreur! – contained no Keen’s Curry Powder or fruit chutney, they screwed up their faces and exclaimed in revulsion at the offer of mango lassi. That suited me and my lassi-friendly belly just fine.

The cake I was so worried about was dense and rich, with the hint of a crunchy crust I like so much. It would have been an absolute triumph if it was a chocolate mudcake, but alas it was a Genoise sponge. It was bloody awful, but to the in-laws’ credit, they ate every crumb I served them and said it was good.

Overall, the night wasn’t as bad as I’d feared, and I even told Mr. Lonie we should entertain more regularly, if only so our house gets a good clean now and then. In fact, his family is coming around next week, for his birthday dinner. They said they’d bring the cake.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Hosting a Successful Dinner Party

“First, make sure you agree to host dinner at your house, without really meaning to. It helps if your place is the smallest and shabbiest available venue. Don’t worry that your dining table only seats four – the surplus adults will be delighted by the novel experience of eating their dinner on the couch, at the coffee table.

Remember to invite your parents-in-law (again, without really intending to). It’s alright if you’re hosting an Indian food night; your father-in-law will, after seventy-odd years, suddenly decide that it’s okay to eat something other than English-style meat and potatoes. And your mother-in-law won’t criticise you, your house or the food. She’ll do all that behind your back where you needn’t hear it.

Decide to make a complicated and risky cake for the very first time. The results will be even more spectacular if you run out of time to do it the night before, and have to squeeze baking into a very busy morning.

Lastly, ensure all the cleaning and tidying is left so late it is only partially completed. Your guests will enjoy the homey ambience of your child-modified d├ęcor.”
I am sorely regretting telling Mr. Lonie we should entertain, and am experiencing the first hints of panic about tomorrow…

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Breaking News! Part Two

…But you’ve probably never lost track of time and almost been late to pick up your children at childcare because you were too busy making fun of someone else in your blog…

Breaking News!

Life with six kids is chaos!

Oh, Angelina, I can sympathise. I often wonder how you manage your millions of dollars, your luxury homes, your private jet and your retinue of domestic servants on top of six children.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The Middleman

I find it endlessly frustrating and disappointing that the images I see in my mind’s eye and the passages that sound so good in my head, never seem to translate properly to paper. Clearly, the tiny little person operating the gears and levers that power my typing fingers wears coke bottle glasses and is somewhat hard of hearing.

Monday, 13 October 2008

My Brain Is Like Recycled Toilet Paper

Let me explain:

Q. How do you recycle toilet paper?
A. Hang it up and beat the crap out of it.

It was once pristine, useful, full of promise, something adaptable to anyone’s needs. I chose to wipe it on the arse of apathy and laziness, after which it was screwed up by the hand of post-natal Alzheimer’s.

It was full of crap for a while, which I smeared generously around the walls of this little room in the Hotel Internet, but now it’s beaten, empty, shredded and useless except as the punch line to a bad joke.

Not that it was ever my aim in writing this, but over the last few weeks I’ve come to the disappointing (but not surprising) conclusion that no-one is going to offer me squillions of dollars for a newspaper column or book deal, and that if I want to accomplish anything I’ve vaguely listed under ‘life goals’*, something’s gotta give. Something like this blog.

Still, like any piece of bog roll – created, after all, to deal with crap – I’m not one to give up when a geyser of pointless, drivelling verbal diarrhoea is crying out for attention. So I’ll still be lingering here like a bad smell around a Chinese public squat toilet, but will have to dispense for the time being with the fulsome diatribes that I’m obstinately sure my (lovely and kind) eight readers and the occasional misled porn enthusiast enjoy so much. The new Lonie™ Polony will now be served in cocktail size, though I hope without less banger for your buck.

That is all. You may flush.†

*You may recall the career to which I once or twice professed to aspire, but which I’m now too embarrassed to mention because of my total lack of discernible progress. Plus, in case you’ve missed all the self-pitying whining, I’m now a rather busy mother of three.

†No, I no longer have any idea what I’m on about, either. Nine months on, I’m still hoping my distressing decrease in brain function is due to temporary baby brain, but I’m beginning to worry.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Home Remedies

One doesn’t parent a young family without picking up a few home remedies along the way. Here is one I discovered this morning, which I’d like to share with you.

A Cure For Sleepfulness
Take one sleeping child which has crept unnoticed into your bed. While your husband attempts to reposition the child, have him smash its head into your skull.

Will also cure lack of headache.

If you’re really lucky, another time I’ll share my closely guarded remedy for slimness.

Hail To The Bus Driver!

Dear Mr. Bus Driver,

I want to thank you for the wonderful bus trip you gave us today. Catching the bus with three small children and an unwieldy pram is not always easy, so I was pleasantly surprised at the effort you made to ensure our ride was entertaining and enjoyable.

I must admit, when you first turned around and angrily accused my children and me of playing with the ‘Stop’ buttons, I was somewhat taken aback, and could only protest our innocence to you and the busload of passengers. Then it dawned on me (I can be rather slow sometimes) that you were performing for us an impromptu cabaret to make the time pass more quickly, a conclusion borne out by the discovery that you had cleverly rigged the Stop signal to sound every time the doors closed.

Even as I applauded this feat of mechanical ingenuity, you further astounded me with both your acting and safe driving skills when you entered into a mock shouting match with another passenger, while negotiating the busy streets.

However, it is for remaining in character as a grumpy sonofabitch even as I disembarked and thanked you politely, that you are to be congratulated above all. Bravo!

Yours Sincerely,

Lonie Polony

Monday, 6 October 2008

It's Not You, It's Me

Sit down, blog – we need to talk. I know I’ve been somewhat distant of late and you’ve probably been hurt and confused by that. The truth is – and you may have guessed it, no matter how little you want to believe it – I’ve been seeing other websites.

It started out as a bit of harmless fun, something to fill in those odd moments between housework and child-wrangling and bed when anything requiring time or greater-than-minimal brain power was out of the question.

My friendship with Blogspot Bingo started out innocently enough: we giggled together as I typed random words and phrases into the address bar, seeing how many of her acquaintance’s addresses we could guess. There were surprisingly many, as we discovered, but most of their blogs were defunct after only one entry. I began to suspect that BB was unacquainted with anyone not trite, unoriginal or incapable of sustained effort. There was something faintly sad about so many introductory posts, full of optimism and promises for blogging fulfilment to be had by all, which were also the final posts. BB was, as well, a jealous mistress, leaving entry after entry in my address bar and erasing details of my familiar friends in the hopes that I would forget them and dally only with her. I had no choice but to break it off.

Then came Google Image Labeller, the sly minx who, upon noticing my dissatisfaction with ineffectual image searches, whispered seductively in my ear that all would be made better. All she needed was my help – she was such a silly little thing, and I had such big, strong cerebral muscles – it would only take a minute.

“Just take a look at these pictures,” she simpered, “and tell me what you see. It’s all too much for little old me to make heads or tails of, and I’ll be ever so grateful…”

But as I soon discovered, GIL was perverted and selfish. Her pleasure came from watching me with others – morons, slow typers, she didn’t care who – and stubbornly refusing to release me from her unholy pairing until I’d debased myself by labelling pictures ‘boobs’, ‘guy’ or ‘thing’. And after witnessing me stoop so low, was she remorseful? No! I could hear her mocking laughter as she tossed me a few hundred points which were all as worthless as confederate cash. She took my time and my pride and gave me nothing in return. I left her to her slavish worshippers.

For a while there, you and I were happy together. We talked and laughed about anything and everything, reminiscent of those heady days when we first met. Then came The Crash, that cataclysmic event which thrust me back into the internet-deprived early nineties and forced me to reapportion time I’d formerly lavished on you. I discovered that I was more independent than I thought, that I could get along without you or any homepage wreckers on the side. The burden of maintaining a steady stream of tribute to satisfy your desperate demands, which had imperceptibly grown harder to bear over the last few months, dissolved away. So it was that, when we could see each other once again, my enthusiasm had waned. I felt I didn’t have time for you anymore, that perhaps I should concentrate on other things, like the novels that languish, weeping and hideously malformed, in some dark, cobwebbed corner of my Documents folder. But I cannot abandon you. It was you who lured me away from those very novels, with your promise of instant, guilt-free gratification without the hard work of plotting and character development. I loved you, in my self-absorbed way. But now, just as you were my distraction, my procrastination, you too are the obligation I run from, into the arms of Yahoo Answers.

She is the most seductive temptress of all, for she understands the human desire to declaim one’s opinion on anything and everything, to flock to others of the same mind, and derisively dismiss those who disagree. Oh, I know you’ll argue you do the same, but she delivers the anonymity of the drive-by shooting that you, with your obsession for building a reputation and fanbase, never could.

But never fear, love. I grow tired of YA’s lack of discernment, her provision of services to anyone – no matter how foolish or crazy – that requests them. I’ll come back to you soon enough and beg forgiveness for straying. It’s not you with the problem, it’s me. Everyone needs to sow their wild bytes.