Tag Archives: fun

It’s The Post About Nothing That Makes It Really Something

Unknown Cystic just wrote me a rather chastising comment bringing my attention to the fact that I had only written 3 posts this year.

Of course I made an un-spellable sound, something like pffftttttsshhh, and tossed my head as though the mere thought was absurd.

Then I logged onto my blog and began scrolling. Which, if you’re a regular reader here, you’ll know means that I didn’t even get one full swish on the Macbook mousepad in before I came to the end of my posts for 2012.

Because there were only 3 posts!!

I knew I had been neglectful of course, in fact I previously dedicated a whole post to my neglect, but I didn’t realize that I was four days from the 5th month of the year and only had three posts to show for it – meaning that I couldn’t even claim a post a month!

(A dismal failure in anyone’s world, but one that I was prepared to tell myself was acceptable.)

He told me to ‘just write about what’s happening in life’. So here I am, with nothing of value to say, but posting nonetheless.

I’ve been working on an article on Organic Chicken Farming for days. Days! It should have taken me about 2 hours at most. I cannot seem to make it come together. I have never farmed a chicken (organic or otherwise) so I know nothing about it. Of course this requires me to research it in-depth, and then write about it as if I know what I’m talking about. What fun! I hear you say.

My husband calls it the BS factor and says I have it. It’s one of the nicest compliments he’s given me this year. I’ll leave it to your imagination to decipher what the “BS” stands for.

So I’ve been toiling over this article – so much so that once its done my hourly rate will end up being less than I’d make working the drive-thru at McDonalds – I’m sure of it. But at least I’ll know all about how to farm chickens. One must always remember, the rewards are so much greater than what shows up in the bank account.

My sister interrupted my afternoon of floundering through figurative chickens and their coops, by sending me a copy of her resume and asking me to check for errors like spelling, grammar and these things: ; ‘ ” , . :. (that would be punctuation).

I started reading and her resume went something like this:

Degrees:

Administration

Business

Agriculture

Environmental Planning

Marketing

Law

Running the Country

Experience:

Administration

Corralling Bosses

Sorting Out Industrial Disputes

Solving Environmental Issues

Calming Down Psychotic Staff

Working with Big-Time Lawyers

Pacifying Angry Executives

Pretty Much Running The Country

The thing went on for about 15 pages and used intricate phrases I couldn’t even comprehend like, “….external stakeholders to ensure the organization meets its natural resource management outcomes…”

What the hell does that mean? What’s natural resource management and how does one measure the outcome?

All in all I ended up quite dizzy from the vast majority of complex information on the pages, and had to lie down for a spell. I rallied though and got myself through it, offering key support on the refinement of such an important document.

I contributed things like ‘this would look better with a comma’ and ‘there was a period missing there’ and my favorite, ‘if you switch these two words around, it will look much better.’

Vital stuff.

We all know when she applies for a job and gets it, who she’ll have to thank, don’t we? In typical family member fashion, I’m sure she wont be greasing my palms with my percentage of the salary increase though.

Just for kicks after I sent off my corrections, I pulled out my resume to review the past 20 years of my life. It went something like this:

Degrees:

None that count

Experience:

Rep for an (evil) Multi-National Pharmaceutical Company

Repped for an even more evil Big-Pharma Company

(got a company car and a business card and thought I’d hit the big time)

Moved to Ireland to drink beers with Will and Pamela at the Crown Bar

Moved to England (Cambridge) to drink beers with Wingnut at The Eagle Pub

Moved elsewhere in England (Near Oxford) to drink Tequila shots with Lucy and look after her children (a brilliant merge)

Moved to Denver, Colorado to elope with my (now) Husband

(seemed like a good idea at the time)

Started a business

Got pregnant and deathly ill and closed the business

Had a kid

Started another business

Sold it 2 years later for a very nice profit

(this was the pinnacle of my career, it’s all downhill from here)

Moved to Texas

Started to become green, Texas version of a hippie

Spent 2 years learning that Y’all means You all, and not some guy called “Yoll.”  (Y’all coming to dinner… Y’all welcome to use the pool, Y’all going on vacation. For a long time I thought I had just never met “Yoll.” but knew he was sitting pretty when it came to the invitation department. Seemed everyone, everywhere wanted him around!)

Started Writing with some Focus

Moved to Australia

Decided it was a great idea to study 4 degrees at once

Current Day:

Realized my sister is 8 years younger than me and has achieved more than I will in the next 40 years!

As you can see, if its good times and fascinating stories you’re after, I’m your girl. But if it’s an educated woman with a brain, my sister might be a little more up your alley.

Still, we can’t all be smart, who would all the men marry?  Who would fulfill the black sheep roles?

Every role is important, lets face it, we all really value that our trash collector comes every Wednesday. He is a vital part of our world, he is not unimportant!

I’ll leave you with that deep thought.

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You Say Tomato

You see allies, I see language barriers

My husband is American and I am Australian. Though one may be deceived into thinking this union is uncomplicated by social and language barriers, one would be very, very, wrong.

Despite both countries being English-speaking, we use many different phrases that mean very different things, and it has created more than a few unnecessary arguments between us.

Until last year, I was always the one considered weird and strange. I lived in the USA, and thus had to acclimate to the American way of things. I had to change the way I spoke and the phrases and slang I used, ensuring my American counterparts could understand me and that I would retain my sanity.

More recently, we moved our family to my home of Australia and it has provided me with many hours of entertainment watching my husband struggle with the language barrier, as I did in my first years in America.

Early on in his business he noted clients made reference to a guy, ‘Colorado Bob,’ and wondered who this other American was that frequented the same circles, seemed to always be around but was never actually spotted, and surprisingly, came from the very same state he did.

One fine day the realization hit that they were in fact, talking about him! Australians in their typical fashion, had decided to give him a nickname. The culture here is that you’ll get a nickname soon enough, whether you like or want a nickname is of no real consequence. You are given it – and this will be your new name forever and a day – so there’s no use arguing the point.

Given he moved from Colorado his nickname was prefaced by the state, and because no one could ever remember his actual name, ‘Bob’ became his new first name, and thus ‘Colorado Bob’ was born. He’s now gotten so used to it when doing business he will often say, “tell ‘em Colorado Bob came by!”

Now talk to me about integration and tell me it cant be done.

Other common nicknames you will find here are Shazza for Sharon, anyone with red hair may be nicknamed “Blue”(because that makes so much sense), or if they aren’t liked they often use the term “Ranga.” Incidentally, if someone calls you a bastard, it’s almost certainly a term of endearment – except when it’s not, and it’s assumed at the time you should know the difference – we’re fair and reasonable like that.

Far from us to be exclusionary, nicknames are not just reserved for people.

Afternoon is arvo, McDonald’s is Maccas, Acca Dacca is AC/DC (the band), anklebiter refers to a child, servo is service (gas)  station, and though not a nickname, I have to mention one of my favorites – the ever-whimsical ‘fairy floss’ – replacing the very ordinary and obvious ‘cotton candy’.

Cotton candy

Cotton candy may make logical sense, but fairy floss is so much more creative and everyone knows that Australians don’t make sense. (Image via Wikipedia)

We call the kitchen counter a bench here. I cannot tell you the countless times I have told hubby, “The keys/purse/water bottle etc. are on the bench.” Inevitably, I will find him outside in the garden searching on and around the bench for the offending missing item, when it is to be found lying quietly, and very obviously on our ‘counter’.

Last night we had a babysitter arrive. Hubby was talking with her as I was getting ready, and asked her what she’d been doing.

“I’ve been flat chat,” she said.

“Oh, I haven’t heard of that place…Flat Chat… is that where you work?” he responded.

She graciously suppressed her laughter, as she explained to him that the term means ‘busy.’ (Why say a simple word like ‘busy’ when you can jazz it up a little and call it ‘flat chat?’)

He has come home on more than one occasion looking confused and perplexed while trying to recount for me a conversation he had that day, so that I might possibly be able to ‘translate’ for him and he would know what the hell actually went on – while he was smiling and nodding like a bobble-head-doll – his go-to response to nearly everything that confuses him.

Possibly my favorite incident was him telling me he had been sent to see a man ‘Bernard’ about some work. Anyone that knows Australian’s, know we often talk fast and run our words together. This resulted in my husband hearing the man in question’s name as ‘Bertie’.

To be fair, though we would pronounce ‘Bernard’ as ‘Ber-ned‘, in the USA it would be pronounced ‘Ber-Naarrd’. So he could not have possibly correlated the two in such a fast exchange. He apparently asked the referring guy the man’s name twice, he was so unsure of what was said. He didn’t want to ask a third time and risk looking like a moron, so he didn’t.

‘Bertie’ it would be.

He walked to the appropriate department and asked for ‘Bertie’,’ as he explained to me later, “I mumbled the name, hoping they would understand what I meant, because I really wasn’t sure Bertie was correct either.”

Having them realize his confusion and be gracious about it was not going to happen in this lifetime. These are Australian men, ‘paying out’ on someone (laughing at them) is somewhat of a national pastime, and the new American guy would not be exempt from their mockery.

Bertie,” the guy said in a ‘Ernie and Bert’ style voice. “You’re looking for Bertie? Hey guys, Ernie here is looking for Bertie!” Laughter ensued all round when it was made clear who he was searching for, and how it all went so wrong. It was of course all in good fun, and to this day whenever he walks into this particular place of business someone always says in their best ‘Sesame Street’ voice, “Hi Bert!”

I can only imagine his pleasure.

My personal enjoyment has come from the term ‘serviette’ instead of ‘napkin’, which refers instead, to a lady’s sanitary item. This has understandably resulted in my husband getting more than a few odd looks, when he asks for one in a restaurant. (Though I will concede the times, they-are-a-changing, and more people are using this term in the cities.) His issues have come about primarily in our country town more often than the cities, where they are a little more forward and with-the-times.

I didn’t tell him for the first few weeks, it was just too much fun to watch.

Once I caved and confessed the actual meaning and thus the reason for the odd and distasteful looks he was receiving, the term ‘serviette’ became his new best friend. As a result, I imagine there are a lot less waiters on their breaks talking about the weird American dude and his penchant for ladies personal items to be supplied with his dinner. Sadly though, it’s not nearly as much fun for me.

His integration to this country became solidified, a few weeks ago at a local poker game in a pub.

Some guy called across the table and asked what part of Ireland he was from. He told me he hesitated at first – vaguely unsure of himself – before responding that he was not in fact from Ireland, but from the USA (a fact that would be obvious the moment he opened his mouth almost an hour before when the game started).

It was clear to me as he retold this story, that the guy was just being an ass.

“I waited a few minutes for the next hand to be dealt out” he continued.  “Then I cheerfully turned to the same guy and said, “So what part of New Zealand are YOU from?” The crowd broke up into gales of laughter and I was slapped on the back more than a few times.”

(Calling an Australian a New Zealander is akin to calling an American a Canadian or vice-versa. In other words, it’s not too appreciated at best, and insulting at worst. You can imagine how it was intended for our fellow poker player. Touch’e was the comment that came to mind.)

I looked at him in that moment with a kind of awe. “You’ve done it,” I said, “you’ve successfully become a real Australian in less than 2 years, all on your own! You’re like some kind of phenomenon.”

Call me crazy, but knowing what mineral we mine the most of, who the prime minister was in 1943 and how long our dingo fence is, shouldn’t be on the citizenship test. I don’t know the answer to these questions and I’m as ‘dinky-di-true-blue’ (Australian) as they come.

The test should instead be a melding of theory – Can you read and write English? Can you recite the lyrics word-for-word of Jimmy Barnes “Working Class Man?” – And the practical.

The practical can be a scenario just like this one. Pick up on the social cues and give as good as you get. If you fail, you are sent back home immediately, because if you weren’t, you would drown a slow and torturous social death, in the aftermath of your social confusion anyway.

We’re thoughtful like that.

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