Sunday, November 27, 2011

You park, I'll queue...

The last time we went to something free in Perth, (I love free stuff if it isn't moldy), it was a Wild Fairyland Festival in Kings Park that invited an aggregation of children high on pixie dust and ready to party.  I have had a few crazy New Years Parties in my time but this was maniacal.  Toddlers waving wands frantically and boasting wings that doubled their body girth, it made for an interesting day and a commotion to navigate crowds. We abandoned the line for face painting left the park and headed towards the Swan River, approximately 3km away, and instead we waited 45 minutes for a free pony ride. The day ended with smiles; but bruises, sweat and frustration; from me. Larger crowds than boxing day sales.

Challenge number two;  Perth Zoo Family Day, and I am expecting large crowds.  (Fat Cat's Teddy Bear's Picnic is also on today, but I have had my eye on the zoo event for a while, so here we are.) I feel as though I am prepared for this particular event.  I aim to be there for opening, I will race to the front of the face painting line while my husband parks the car, I have washed and pressed my wrist and head sweat bands, so we are all ready to go; yes, I take family outings very seriously. We managed to find a park in the 50 spot car park, but we trip at the start line as we discover the pay machine is out of order and you are required to leave a note on your dashboard.  Not how I imagined the race, (I mean fun filled family day) to begin.  We stalked several people before borrowing a felt tip marker used purely for poster art, (5cm tip, what the %&$£, seriously this is all you have in you glove box?) and we leave a note for the blind ticket man to decipher with ease.

So perhaps I panicked, it has been know to happen once or twice.  "Mummy, I can see the monkeys", was very quickly followed by, "Quick, follow mummy, I am leading us to face painting!"  Seriously, I burnt 400 calories this morning to be greeted by an empty field, 2 smiling teenagers handing me a show bag and a chance at first place in which ever event we next wish to choose.  Wow.  Cool.  Quiet.  Did nobody else see the free family fun day sign that has been on the main street for the last 2 months.  (Did Fat Cat win again?)  I'd been wanting to challenge the crowds, this was a bit of a let down.

Priorities, first stop face painting and my princess requests a fairy.  We are at a zoo, I presume that she has been wanting this face paint since the Fairy Festival in early October so I do not contest.  My prince on the other hand, is a little harder to convince.  No matter how many lion roars I execute or gorrilla chest thumping hubby performs, (given the crowds are low so these are Oscar performances), my son is still convinced that body art is not his style so we progress.  But not before... "Do I look beautiful?" we reply with a yes to recieve, "yes I do look beautiful".  Perhaps this week we can work on how to accept complements graciously.

Off to the art.  The children make a face mask, with no queue, before a quick jump on the inflatable disney castle, then off to the sand art stall.  Fantastic.  Choose a picture, remove a sticker at a time and the child covers this in sand.  It felt a bit like a free for all at a stocktake sale, elbowing to get to certain colours, and that was just the parents. There are some very serious parents out there."Okay so now the outline is black, next colour should be red", child responds "I want blue".  Parent response, "Not now Bob, mummy is busy creating".  The end result was very effective, but was presumably achieved by parents descretion.  Personally I am happy with brown sky, pink grass, and blue dinosaur, each to there own.

Next family activity is to teach your children the skills to run away from home and join the circus at an early stage.  My son becomes proficient with the 'devil sticks', my husband puts on his best pole dancer face as he masters the hoola hoop, and my daughter attempts juggling with one ball and one eye closed.  Lucky for me, I do not think anyone acquired the skills to join the circus, looks like no one is abandonning me just yet.

Next a short quiet rest on our picnic rug to devour their free yogo and chocolate milk, and a spin on the choclate wheel to win a pair of Coke Cola sunglasses and back pack.  (They both actually one 6 glasses each, but persuaded attendant, that probably not appropriate for a toddler and a klutz.)

The stage show starts and features a man dressed for a Hawaiian holiday, that sounds like Iain Hewitson from 'Hueys Cooking' show, and tells cheesey jokes like he is drunk at a Christmas Party. His side kick is Super Dog.  Adversary to Fat Cat. Large mute fluffy dog with a red cape and no pants.  I am always a little surprisd that these characters created to entertain children don't adorn the basic undergarments known to be expected in todays society.  The children were shown a large bag of lolly pops at the beginnig of the show, so this managed to maintain their interest until the conclusion when they finally reaped their sugary reward for staying the duration.

Two hours seemed to be plenty and we took the children for a little rainforest walk and then to see the elephants.  I find them so interesting, I can be mesmerized by the grace and gentle nature of the elephant, swaying back and forth, they seem to have so much character and wisdom with their baggy saggy skin. I turn to share my amazement with the children who obviously prefer the miniture statue of an elephant.  Maybe we educate on another day?

A great day that ended with DimSum in Northbridge, (Perth's China town), full bellies and some quality family time.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nice heels AND a trip to Bali

Flossing is good for you.  I flossed out a tooth.  Good for me?  Not really. I almost feel as though I have cursed myself.  My husband and I had just mentioned 24 hours prior that we should probably find a dentist.  (Personally, I took this as seriously as a request for a plumber or mechanic.)  I was not really expecting to have to hunt down a professional after an innocent conversation.  Remind me not to mention proctologist or gynaecologist anytime soon!

So now, by default of flossing too much, I have managed to floss out a tooth.  Why yes I have been working out, thank you for asking.  But apparently it had nothing to do with my muscle capacity and the force or frequency of my floss, and yes I did ask.

My new dentist is from Ukraine, she is 'youngish', and she was wearing a stunning pair of dark green pumps.  She was lovely.  And I am glad.  I have a feeling I will be purchasing a 9 night 10 day holiday in Bali for her; all inclusive meals, drinks, oh and extra motor sports water activity.  This will all come to her in the next 12 months.  So I am glad I like her, because it was quite a gift for a friend. She may even get a white t-shirt with a screen print of my face with animated speech bubble saying "I charge too much for dentistry and all I got was this lousy shirt". To all of my friends, please do not take offence of not receiving a holiday also, perhaps you should have chosen dentistry?  Presumably this holiday will all be possible for her after my 4 fillings are removed, and replaced, I have a good clean, oh and the five crowns?  Hmmmm.  Any chance the crown comes decorated with valuable gems?  I only have one head, what do I need 5 for?

So I presume that you now have an image of me going to bed every night with a big stick of fairy floss in hand and a bottle of 2L Coke Cola, or Pepsi, (no product placement intended, I am not sponsored). This does not happen. I was questioned by my dentist about an addiction to sugary drinks.  When I replied to my fizzy drink intake, "Oh dear, I drink a lot of mineral water" (her response appeared to be silence, then "does not count", followed by a look of 'are you sure you are not blond?')   I spoil myself with a can of 'energy drink' once a week, and that is my only downfall.  Surely this is not the culprit?

So now my new 'friend' informs me that there will only be a painful pinch during the procedure.  The nerve endings in that particular tooth are dead so I should not feel too much apart from that constant pinch.  "Constant pinch, constant pinch,  constant pinch, constant pinch, constant pinch"......  So can you guess what is going through my mind at this precise time?  Did I turn off the bathroom light?  No!  Surprisingly I am pondering on the constant pinch.  Yup.  Two children, 9 pound 11 and 9 pound  13, and no,  I am not a hippopotamus, but  a human female, that considers herself to be a superhero, who can sustain the pain of  'a constant pinch', BUT I do not appreciate dental work, blood tests, or a 'constant pinch'!  So since there are no nerve endings in that one particular tooth, let's not give any pain relief.  Oh hang on a second, I appear to be the only one laughing.  Not a joke?   Hhhhmmmmmm.  Bluntly, "so I know we have only just met, but will you do numbing gel at least?" I pleaded.  She then informs me that she personally hates the feeling of being numb, and has a high pain threshold, she apologises for presuming.  I accept her apology, tell her that I personally hate dentists, (request she does not take that personally), and tell her I have no problem with drooling when I talk for the next 2 hours, so numb away!  Her response, dentists aren't so bad I could be a proctologist.  So true, and if that was the case, I would probably still be asking her to numb it up!

It amazes me how easy it is to communicate with two hands in your mouth.  She also bruises easily, plays active sports, enjoys heating pork buns in the microwave as a quick snack, needs to practise her Ukrainian, and I am guessing that she has a new dental assistant.  How do I know this last fact? Because my mouth was sucked up 10 times with a mini motored mouth vacuum cleaner.  And the water spray in my mouth created a volcano spilling effect that resulted in her wiping me down like I'd just participated in a night of university $1 spirits concluding with a wet t-shirt competition, patting my face and surrounds down with her thick kleenex tissue.  I would not demand that much patting with a tissue again unless paying for a facial.  Pretty sure MBF did not cover this service.

Why do I think that the dental assistant was new?  Firstly is conduct; a patient probably does not want to hear you say... "It's not working is it?  Should I get you something else?  What do you need?  Because that is not working is it?" Ummm helllooooo!!!!!!  I am attached to this mouth, just because my eye's are closed, it does not mean I am asleep.  (Actually, I am pretty relaxed here with my feet up and no children around.)  Not quite a full body massage, but the 'numbing' has kicked in so it is a desperate version of 'me time'.

Also, in a dentistry office, how do you fill the silence?  My Ukrainian friend with the nice shoes left for an important phone call leaving me with her dental assistant.  15 seconds into an awkward silence.... "So how's your day?  You have two kids?  Any plans for the weekend?"   Hmmmm my apprentice friend, firstly, you may want to pause between proseccution questions because I pleaded for an overdose in pain relief about half an hour ago, so at the moment you do not want a response from me unless you don a rain coat.  Some how I managed "Day is bad, no plans, too many kids". Thank fully my bad mood is translated as, "Da is ba, na pla, ta ma ka!" Said with a mist spray.  Queue unqualified dental assistant, who nods and says "A ha", obviously the response they learn in dental college translated as, 'I have no idea what you just said'.
So long story short, (wishful thinking), in the last few weeks I have found a doctor my age, dentist my age and the lady that also runs my playgroup appears to be my age, oh and a physiotherapist, (in her spare time).  I am impressed with Perth and the young female dynamos, it is even a little encouraging.  Oh dear, is that motivation I feel in my belly.  Maybe this means I will start doing things soon?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dolly vs CHOGM

The end of October saw Perth host CHOGM. The Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting is a summit meeting of the heads of Government from all Commonwealth nations.  This meeting is held every two years and was even graced with the presence of Queen Elizabeth the 2nd, (as head of the Commonwealth).  All normality ceased and the dignitaries and royalty came with an entourage of police 'borrowed' from other Australian states.

If you ask me, the police staffing was a little melodramatic.  Roads were blocked and unblocked constantly over a seven day period.  There were police with white waving gloves dancing like Michael Jackson on standby at all traffic lights.  Snipers on roofs, and no doubt undercover agents everywhere talking into their wrists.

Perhaps I should of felt more proud or patriotic that this event was being held by Perth.  In my mind we are still on holiday, I presume that by 6 months I will be referring to 'residence' as 'home'.  For now, ummm "Congratulations?" Seriously it is a government meeting, (guess who is not into politics), not the Roman Empire.  Nevertheless, I will however revel in the bonuses.  CHOGM has definitely come with a slip stream of positives.
  • Every street was pristine, clean, all gardens manicured impeccably; it was fit for a queen.
  • Ferry rides are free.  (I had to explain to princess the difference between ferry and fairy; I think she was a little disappointed to go across the Swan River in a boat instead of a free ride on Tinker Bells back.)  I love a good bargain.  I am not a penny pincher, but I must admit that I have noticed that the dollar does not go that far here.  Cost of living on the west coast is definitely more expensive than the east coast of Australia. In retrospect, I am convinced that Milan was even cheaper.  It appears that Perth is similar to the living expense of Oslo, Norway.  Splendid!  Apparently Cottesloe Perth has the average house price of 2 million, the most expensive in Australia, have a feeling we will not be extending our property portfolio anytime soon!
  • Care for a free ride?
  • Another positive is if I get concussed, say by a fall or by walking into a pole, (if you know my coordination then you would be aware that this is very likely), then I would instantly be able to identify where I am.  How you ask?  With the helpful assistance of my Hollywood  "Perth" sign. Gigantic white letters letting all of our visitors know where they are.  I am even able to look out of my window and across the river to see the sign, this helps with any confusion after a few glasses of wine.  Flowers and hedges were even molded to spell Perth.  Surely all of these people saw the destination on their plane tickets?
  • Free BBQ.  Woo hoo!  We didn't actually go, it was supposedly a casual BBQ with the queen, come along, get a sausage on bread. We witnessed it from our apartment as we had our own BBQ with beloved family and no one trying to crowd surf over my head to touch the beloved crown. It's estimated that nearly 100,000 people turned up at Perth's foreshore to farewell Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh as they completed their Australian tour. We had one guest.  So perhaps I am not as popular as her highness. Apparently she did not eat a sausage, the queen does not eat in public; downing a sausage is not particularly regal I guess. Let it be known that I ate a sausage, and I was not afraid to squirt tomato and BBQ sauce over it! The Queen left Australia that afternoon, boarding a jet in Perth, luckily it was not a Qantas flight as its CEO Alan Joyce announced the carrier had grounded its entire fleet effective from that day. Can you imagine the Queen on a standby flight, napping on bench with cabin bag as a pillow???  Awkward...
  • There are more police out and about then members of the community, so presumably there is little chance of being pick pocketed on this particular weekend.  We witnessed what can only be described as the most peaceful protest on earth.  Up and down the mall, the police led and followed protesters by horse back.  It was all very civilised, apart from the horse poop left behind, shouldn't they have a poop bag for that?

Big horse....

Equals big poop...
CHOGM managed to book out the majority of Perth for the week period.  Between press and entourage, things were pretty busy.  Can you guess what attracted more hotel bookings?  Dolly Parton, yup, you bet your cowgirl booties!  How does one begin to describe an icon like Dolly Parton? Singer-songwriter, author, multi-instrumentalist, actress, philanthropist, businesswoman; this mighty talent’s list of credentials is worth every ounce of admiration she receives.  Oh, and by the way, she has really big boobies.  So huge in fact, that Perth was literally booked out the days surrounding her concert in an attempt to get a sighting of the booming bosoms.  Dolly verses the queen.  You decide.  Would you prefer the creator of a song about working 9 to 5, or a head on a coin who has never worked 9 to 5?
Ummmmm, we come for the music, honest???