Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I had another one of those weeks.

You think it is only possible to have ‘one of those days’?

Well I’m here to tell you it is possible to have ‘one of those weeks.” Oh sure there have been little moments of sunshine, mostly when I’ve had my head stuck under the pillow, groaning, “Thank God the day is over.”

Do you ever have those days when you silently wish you could go back to the days before you foolishly, with little regard for life or limb, decided to have children? Well I’ve I had one of those weeks, wondering what it would be like listening to an orchestral symphony at 6PM after a lovely dinner out. I can see myself sitting down with Mr Husband, over candlit dinner, discussing the string section. I see that image drifting somewhere overhead as I stand surrounded by three little people all crying and yelling and demanding that Mummy-Cinderella, cook, clean and mend clothes for them.

And it’s not just that I had to endure two weeks of school holidays. Actually, and I can say this, without worrying about jinxing myself, that I handled the school holidays extraordinarily well. I was how you say, mother of the moment. I played with my urchins, I read stories, made cupcakes and visited friends. My vodka intake was at a level one might associate with a recovering addict as opposed to a woman in crisis. All in all, a very good start, middle and end to the holidays. It was only, and damn myself for being so brazen to have even thought to have muttered these words to Mr Husband, “It’s my last Friday before school goes back on Monday, and look! I’ve survived! The kids are still alive! I’m still alive! We made it! Ha! I think I’m really getting a handle on this mothering gig!”

Because I should have known better.

I should know better than to tempt the Gods with such blatant display of humility or lack thereof.

For they do enjoy a good smiting. I bloody well know they love a good smiting.

I think it was when I heard the 'waterfall' noise coming from behind me that I felt the first longing to be anywhere else but here. Here that is, in my life.

I turned around from the table to look at Cuba in his highchair, sitting happily eating his avocado and pasta. By happily, I do of course mean he had smeared it with some degree of aptitude across his plastic high chair, in his hair and all over his body. I wondered not for the first time, why I even bothered with the pretence of using a bib at all.

And there was the waterfall sound again.

Had he dropped his drink of water on the floor?

No, there sat his little Thomas mug, filled with water.

So where was the waterfall...

And then I saw it, mustard coloured liquid pouring from out of the highchair.

It's funny how your brain tries to interpret information.

"Mustard liquid," I mused? "Mustard? But avocado is green"

I sat there dumfounded as more mustard liquid poured forth, splashing on the floor, on the kitchen wall, and neatly on my shoes.

I had, might I briefly mention just finished cleaning vomit off the carpet. Lola’s vomit. Miss I have been throwing up for three days was looking rather forlorn, sitting as she was, in a pile of puke. I took Lola in my arms, pulled her stained clothes up over her head and cleaned her up. Dressed her in her fifth outfit that morning, yes fifth, she had puked five times in a row since six o'clock that morning and then went to sort out the mess on the carpet.

I put Lola back on the couch, put cartoons on the television and set about doing the hundredth pile of washing for the week. Since Lola had started vomiting the washing machine had been on a twenty four hour cycle.

It's not that I mind getting up in the night to Lola, to strip her bedsheets, put on clean bedsheets, put her back into a clean nightdress and then get up and do it all over again two hours later. And then two hours after that. And then two hours later again. And it's not that I necessarily keep count of how many times I did it the night before last (four times) as I yell in frustrated manner at Mr Husband, “I am not COPING!”.

No, it's not that.

And it's not even that I'm so tired by morning that all I want to do is take large bowl of coffee and stick my head in it. Although it is that.

It's not that.

I looked at the mustard liquid running like river from the highchair and realised, this was no avocado puree. This was chronic diarrhea. Cuba, he was sick now too. Hard to know where to start when the diarrhea is on your shoes, on the wall, on the kitchen floor, all over the seat of the highchair, all over Cuba and all over his clothes. I indulged, in that millisecond of recognition that the mustard liquid poo was going to require yours truly to clean it up; I indulge in a very, very, long millisecond moment of why oh why did I pick motherhood instead of say, going back to uni and studying political science?
I indulged in the fantasy of not going to the chemist that day to buy folic acid, of not reading about ovulation and best times to have sex. I indulged in that moment of what if Richard and I had said instead of let's reproduce our own DNA, that we had pondered, why not Paris?

I mean really, surrounded by all that poo, what would you do?

Other than of course, start an action plan as to either 1. How to deal with it. Or 2. How most effectively to run away.

Don’t ask me why, but in that moment of playing with concept of just getting up, opening back door and walking out, I stared at the yellow splashes of diarrhea on my sneakers. It occurred to me, I should at the very least, clean this first. So I delicately took to the mustard crap on my converse trainer. It was a bit, I surmised, like dabbing with a linen napkin a stray spot of gravy under your lip when someone has thrown an entire lemon meringue pie in your face.

I am, I confess an industrial spray and wipe girl.

It's not that I am much of a cleaner by nature. I leave that task to Mr Husband. But when I am in the mood, or when I am required to clean, as in the case of mustard liquid poo, which I might note, seemed to have spread quicker across the kitchen floor than the Ebola virus. But during such times that disinfecting and sanitation is required, well then and only then do I like to indulge in a bit of spray action.

I was I think, perhaps that day, I was the domestic version of Lara Croft circa Angelina Jolie.

Instead of gun, I had spray and wipe sprayer.

Instead of sexy leather pant suit outfit I had industrial vomit protector tee-shirt and jeans.

Instead of trying not to gag over dead terrorist slaughtered by assassin, I had to try not to gag over liquid poo stench.

I was woman of action.

And as this woman of action sprayed and wiped and cleaned, I could hear the dulcet tones of Lola throwing up again, this time all over the couch. I wiped the last splash of poo off the skirting board and sat back on my knees.

Lara Croft, honestly her job was easy.

The nice thing about sick children, as opposed to say just whinging annoying children, is that you are called to action. And when you are in Laura Croft action mode, you don’t have time or the inclination to yell at your children to stop crying and whinging. No, a room covered in poo, and a child drenched in it, is enough for you to move past initial feelings of desertion and stimulate the Mother-gland. The gland that says, “Stay, help the little people out. Give them a hand.” And the other gland, the getmethefuckoutofhere gland, is suppressed which means the accompanying feeling of wanting to strangle the little people is momentarily suppressed also.

And so, poor Cuba, I picked his poo soaked bum out of the highchair and contemplated taking him outside in the rain and applying the garden hose to him. And perhaps if the Mother-gland where not in full chemical response mode, I might have. I just might have. Instead, Mummy-cinderella moped, cleaned, washed, wiped, sat in a corner and tearfully wished she had another life, stripped, changed, washed, detergented, sprayed and wiped, cleaned, moped, cried for so long she had red eyes, cleaned, washed, collapsed in heap, wiped, stripped more sheets, moped, cleaned, cried some more, wished for fairy godmother, wished not to be Mummy-cinderella, cleaned, moped and washed.

For six days.

And then the sun came out. And the house stopped smelling like a sanatorium in World War I. And finally, Mummy-Cinderella put down her broom, stopped texted messaging her Husband about living in the Ebola Ward of Hollywood film script. Mummy-Cinderella dusted off her glass slippers. It meant that she was going to be able to go to the ball afterall. So she called the babysitter and let her know that the kids were well enough to be looked after and could she still come and babysit? So while she waited for the fairygomother to arrive she put on her best frock, and blew the dust off her make up bag and got about the serious business of disguising the bags under her eyes and applying eye drops to her red tear stained eyeballs.
The babysitter fairygodmother arrived and Mummy-Cinderella and her Prince Charming went to the local ball (read: pub) to meet all the other people in the kingdom who hadn’t been contaminated by the Ebola virus. And Mummy-Cinderella so excited to be free of the shackles and demands of the drudgery of her life and so intoxicated by the freedom and wearing a bit of lippy, she accidently drank her body weight in champagne.

Which meant the next morning when she woke up and realised she had turned into a pumpkin, she had the worst hangover in the history of Mummy-Cinderella’s life. Whilst her kids had finally stopped vomitting, she had just started.
But fortunately, little Lola, who was by that stage, well versed in throwing up, brought Mummy a puke bowl, and told her, “It’s alright Mummy. You’ll feel better soon.”

And with that, she stroked Mummy-Cinderella’s forehead and gave her a kiss to feel better.

And Mummy-Cinderella realised, hangovers were probably never quite so sweet as when your three year old is there to offer kisses and a her dolls tea set, to puke into.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Men, what are they good for... absolutely... (just joking dear..)

I was going to spend this post pursuing the mysteries of the male mind. Mostly I’d been inspired to delve into these strange, foreign waters because Mr Husband had yet again, neatly, and with seemingly little effort, completely baffled, perplex and astounded me. I wondered why, as I got out of the shower, that instead of finding all the kids dressed, I should find Mr Husband rooting around in the kitchen drawers, emptying out the entire contents and swearing profusely.
Towel gripped around my chest, I wandered past, and made no comment.

I have learnt to make no comment.

Years of living with Mr Husband has taught me, to make, no comment.

Even if the whole house had been tipped upside down, one makes ‘comment’ at ones own risk, and usually to ones own detriment. The inner processes of the male mind, I have come to conclude, can only ever really make sense to the male mind.

I passed the girls room to see Lola half dressed, Ella still in her pj’s and Cuba wandering around in a nappy. And as I whipped a couple of drips of water from my forehead, I heard another profanity drift up the corridor from the kitchen and perhaps a wrench or something equally heavy drop onto the floor.
Again, I refrained from making comment – aloud.

I towel dried my hair and decided once I was dressed I would take over the task of getting the children dressed. Clearly some sort of electrical/mechanical/carpentry emergency had befallen Mr Husband which was the reason he himself had not got them dressed. As I pulled on my jeans, he came into our bedroom, opened his wardrobe and started digging around. He pulled out his tool box (yes he keeps it in his wardrobe, sadly not for some kinky reason, but rather due to the restrictive storage requirements we endure. One of the less savoury aspects of living in the worlds smallest Sydney Terrace.)
Curiosity got the better of me.

What could he, I wondered, possibly be looking for?

Me, “Um… Are you looking for stockings for Lola to wear?”

Husband, not amused, “No, I am not looking for stockings. Do you think you would find stockings in a tool box?”

I raised my eyebrows, well who was I to know what men kept hidden, lurking in their tool boxes?

He irritably growled, “I am looking for a wrench!”

Me, “Oh right. And finding this wrench is more important than say, getting the kids dressed?”

Well look I couldn’t help it could I?

I mean I’d ask him to do one thing, to help me get the kids dressed while I had a shower. Instead what do I find him doing? Buggering around in his tool box, making a bloody mess and the kids still aren’t dressed. I mean. Hello? Even a saint would be hard pressed not to snap.

Mr Husband, “If you must know,” he said in that supercilious way that people do who are about to impart knowledge to someone who is intellectually challenged. “If you must know, I am looking for a wrench to do up Lola’s dress.”

I sniffed.

And I was the intellectually challenged one?

“Her dress?”

“Yes, if you must know, her zipper is stuck and I need a wrench to pull it up.”

“So you’ve spent the last 20 minutes looking for a wrench, turning the house upside down in order to do up Lola’s dress?”


“Well why didn’t you just get her a different dress to put on? We have three children to get dressed and out the door Richard and you are buggering around with tool boxes. We don’t have time for this.”

“She LIKES that dress.”

I sighed.

Sometimes one just has to wonder.

I went in to see Lola, found her half naked waiting for her dress to find a wrench. We had a quick discussion about the zip needing replacing and we found her another dress. Then I dressed Cuba and by that stage Ella had pretty much finished dressing herself. Now there was just the small matter of the upside down kitchen drawers to address. I yelled out to Mr Husband to see if he could make us some coffee…

“I can’t.” he yelled back, “I’m getting myself dressed! I can’t do everything you know!”

And so, I was going to discuss this issue today. You know, thrash it out, throw around some theories, take a stab in the dark and see if we couldn’t brain storm and work out at least to some degree, the way the male mind operates.
But that’s not what I’m going to ponder today.

No, instead I’m going to ponder something quite different.
Today I ponder social standing. I ponder social groups. I ponder social tribes. And I ponder that even as a 37 year old woman, how it can be that social tribes are just as relevant now as they were when I was a fifteen year old school girl. And the interesting element is, that very rarely as a 37 year old woman, do I have the opportunity to change tribe, to intermix with a different tribe, to experience the exclusion, the elitism, the isolation of the tribal mind/gang. But how fascinating it is when one does.

Let’s take Mrs Suburban Mum, that’s me, living Mrs Suburban Life, that’s me too, and before I get too depressed about how depressing all this suburban living is, let’s cut to the chase. When you take Mrs Suburbia (I want to write Mrs Normal, but really what is normal anyway?) and you put her in a tattoo shop in Crown St Surry Hills well Mrs Suburbia comes hard up against Mr I’m Not One of You and Mr I Wouldn’t be caught Dead Living your humdrum Boring Handbag Life.

Not that the guy with all the facial piercings actually said that to me, but I knew, I knew from the way he looked down his nose at me and demanded in a less than favourable way, “What do you want?”, that he wasn’t really all that thrilled to see me.
And I think, well I know, I was feeling suitably intimidated by the whole experience.

I guess the thing is, you can tell right from the outset that I’m not a tattoed lady. I don’t have half sleeves of beautiful flowers winding their way down my arms (although I do fantasise about it). And I don’t have any tatts you can see from a quick once over of my exposed skin. But let’s face it, he’s not picking up on what tatts he can or can’t see. He’s reading a whole other range of sub-cultural information. As soon as I walked into that shop he was sizing me up. Was I one of them? Or was I an intruder? Had I wondered into someone elses tribe? And if so, would he accept or reject me?

It’s not just that I wasn’t in dressed in leather from head to foot. And it wasn’t just that I didn’t have piercings to the same degree he did. I knew, that at any airport he’d be considered a security risk. That much metal, you just knew he was used to being stripped searched everytime he caught a plane from Sydney to Melbourne.

But he’d gauged my tribal suitability and found me lacking. Whether it was my clothes that gave me away or the way I spoke or perhaps the way I smiled a lot. I was taught to smile to be polite. I’ve subsequently come to understand it’s much better to scowl in tattoo shops, or if not scowl, then at least perfect the look of total disinterest. Smiling. Well smiling is for mugs. Or yuppies. And frankly, they are not predisposed to serving either. Particually yuppies.

Normally, being spoken to as thought I were a Leper with open sores, would put me off, well let’s be honest, reduce me to tears. But I’d been through this distain before. I was rather used to the tattoo professional looking down their tattoed nose at me. The first time I’d been into a tattoo studio I’d taken my then one year old baby Lola with me. Mostly because I just needed to nip in, make the appointment and nip out. You know, as one might who is nipping into say hairdressing salon to make a time to get your hair trimmed.

But make no mistake tattoo studios are no hair salons.

They are not out to win the Tony and Guy Best Customer Service award.

They are not out to win friends and influence people.

In fact, they are hardly there to speak with you at all. Preferably, if you could, they’d rather you not interrupt them full stop. After all, they are busy people dealing with people they like. And they don’t like you. They don’t like non tribe sorts. Non tribe sorts need not apply, need not pass go and need not hang out with one year old daughter at front counter.

The young lady at the front desk looked as though I had just asked her to swallow a python. I could see the extensive tattoo work she’d had done on her arms and chest before the ragged, black tee-shirt covered the rest. She sat across from me, sullen and moody with her dark eye-shadow and black eyeliner, her eyes glistened with contempt.

Her rich, red lips curled up with distain, “You want a tattoo?”

I like the idea of breaking the ice. When one tribe meets another I always think a bit of humour is needed to help grease the wheels, you know, help massage the situation.

I gave her my most delightful smile (note: was blissfully unaware that smiles were the kiss of death). I jiggled the baby perched on my hip, “No the tattoo is for my daughter Lola, it’s her first one.”

Seems my tribal, ice-breaking joke went down like The Titanic. Her face remained impassive and possibly (although even now I wonder if it was in fact physically possible) more contemptuous than she’d been five minutes earlier. I was about to give up trying to charm her into liking me when I heard a rather rawkus laugh coming from the office behind her.

And out he came, the biggest bikie dude I’ve ever seen, with his big, big dog.

And as he laughed, he told me his dog was called Lola too…

There is nothing like a baby and dog to take the frosty chill from the air. And soon Miss-I-Eat-Spiders-for-Breakfast was all smiles and we booked my appointment in for the following week.

But the next time I went in for a tattoo I was ready. I was prepared for the what-rock-did-you-crawl-out-from-under-look. This time I was ready for the, we-don’t-serve-people-like-you scathing look of contempt. And so when the gentleman in question told me that they didn’t tattoo the back of necks I rather felt that it was his special way of telling me I wasn’t going to get into this nightclub. That there was a “Private Function” going on in there tonight, or that if I wasn’t on the guest list, I wasn’t getting in. So I left that tattoo studio and I went off to have a think of another place I could get my cherry blossom neck tattoo done. But at the same time, I did have to wonder, if getting a tattoo was a service, then what had happened to customer service?
You see, as I stood there, feeling exposed and naked, irrespective of all the middle class suburban clothing I wore. I realised, I didn’t need him to like me, I didn’t need him to be my friend, the truth was, I knew if I had five minutes with him, I’d have charmed my way into his hardened little tattooed heart. But I knew I wanted something from him. I wanted a service from him. He didn’t need to like or respect me, and frankly I didn’t need to like or respect him, but I didn’t understand what had happened to the basic civilities of being decent to each other?

I pondered on my walk home. How Mr I’ve got every piercing ever documented in my face, would go meeting up with say the Paddington Mother’s set. I often find the Paddington mother’s set just as intimidating as the Tattooed Dudes.

The thing I have found endlessly fascinating about the Mothers Tribe is that they, like any tribe can be as exclusive and cliquey and mean as any other sub-cultural group. Not all of them mind you. But some of them. There is something about middle class women who have become mothers, that can be insanely critical, rude and exclusive. It is an extension of tribe, that is, either you are part of their mothers tribe or you are not. I know some mothers from the Inner West who see the Eastern Suburb mothers as superficial, highbrow and profusely inane. I even know some Eastern Suburbs mothers who also see Eastern Suburb mothers the same way. But even in amongst the subsets of these groups – and let’s be clear it’s not just about who has money and who doesn’t. Inner West mothers have their fair share of Volvo driving, million dollar Sydney terraces as well, it’s not just the Paddington mother’s who are flashing the cash. I think I was initially surprised to find this meaness in mothers, this exclusivity in mothers, because, well, they are mothers. Aren’t all mothers supposed to be nurturing? Kind? Thoughtful? Aren’t we all out there teaching our children to be accepting, to be honest, to be inclusive? But there it was, staring me in the face, as I read article after article, and heard comment after comment, we mothers seem predisposed to tearing shreds off other mother’s choices. The, I work and send my child to childcare mother against the I have a nanny so I can work because I’d never put my child in childcare, versus the I stay at home and raise my children myself so that no-one else raises my child. The complexities of mothering, the complexities of the backstabbing of mothering, can be profoundly disturbing. It is I have a found a pathology all unto itself. It’s starts with the choice of birthing, moves on to breastfeeding and then continues I suspect until your little darlings have long since gone to university, or started up their own tattoo studio. The question I want to ask is why? Why do mothers do it to each other? Why when we are all so desperate for support are we all so damn critical of each others efforts?

So I wondered as I walked home, how if being a mother, you could still be eaten alive by other mothers, how Mr Tatted Up would cope in the same room as them? How would he cope with their looks of distain? How would he cope with their exclusion? How would he cope standing in the middle of their tribe?

Well clearly he would feel like crap. Paddington mothers are well known for their ability to use shock and awe techniques that would make the American Military quake in their boots. But the point I’m trying to get to is that I recognised early in the piece, that I was going to have to be made of tuffer stuff at my next visit. After Miss Spider Bite and Mr Tatt Man, I knew I’d have to pull out the big guns for the next visit into my cultural foray.

But before I get around to my last visit to the tattoo shop, this time Bourke St in Surry Hills. I would like to briefly return to a pilates class I went to yesterday. Now speaking of cultural twists and turns. I’ve always seen the place I do pilates as a bit of Barbie Village. That is, everyone looks like Barbie there. They are all toned and thin and have big boobs, or no boobs, the big boobed ones look like barbie and the no boob ones look like ballerinas, I mean really, everyone there is just gorgeous. Which as you can imagine is it’s own version of intimidating.


Well let me tell you, after a few months of trodding along to pilates class after pilates class, I don’t even notice the brunette and blonde barbies, I just do pilates. I don’t even notice how rake thin and drop dead gorgeous the girl is next to me, because really I’m busy staring down at my own gut wondering if I will EVER get rid of that last bit of baby belly.

But yesterday, well yesterday I went to class with a tattoo on my wrist. I’d hand drawn it on, to get used to the overall feel of it. No point getting it inked on your arm and hating it five minutes later. And I realised puffing away in my pilates class, that my tattoo (albiet a hand drawn one) gave me some form of protection. That is, whilst you think as a non tattooed person looking at heavily tatted people, that they are the vulnerable ones, the ones that everyone is staring at, in fact it works the other way around. I could see people staring at my wrist tatt (mostly I suspect because it was rather on the large size, I got a bit carried away and overscaled it). But I also realised that people judge you with a wrist tatt. Where they dare I say it, a little afraid? In awe? Perhaps having a wrist tatt made me more intimidating or less fluffy? I became less Mummsie with my drawn on wrist tatt. I was less Mrs Housewife and more Mrs Biker Mole. Haha. No not biker mole. But tougher. I seemed tougher. I felt tougher. And let’s face it, I’m no shrinking violet to start with, so perhaps tougher was the wrong word. And as I grunted to pull on the wrist straps completing the excercise that was designed to stretch my back muscles, I realised I felt impenetrable with my mandala painted on my wrist. I felt protected. Even the mean pilates instructor, (she’s blonde but she’s bitchy, you know, she aint taking no shite from anyone, and that’s on a good day). Well look, it might have been my imagination but even she seemed a little less bitchy and a bit more respectful towards me. Perhaps I thought, this is what the tattooed person gets? This level of protection? People don’t want to take potshots at people with tattooes, people don’t want to take issue with you. Maybe behind my long dark hair and charming smile, I was less charming, more mean? And for the first time, I think I understood part of the charm in having obviously seen tatts, it’s not just for the aesthetic value, you get something from society for it. And I think, I think it’s a sort of begrudging respect.

Well that was it then, I’m all for a bit of begrudging respect. God knows I don’t get much of it in my household. So the very next day I booked in to get my Buddhist Ohm symbol forever engrained on my wrist.

I was determined however not to look like Eastern Suburbs housewife going in for tatt though. That much was certain. Although, and it has to be said, why did everything I pull out of my wardrobe make me feel identifiable as flagrant yuppie material? Even the all black wardrobe I selected still seemed destined to ex pose me as conservative middle class housewife instead of the Boho groovester I was really hoping to project. Even my boho outfits seemed ridiculously overstyled. God I was the queen of grunge in the 90’s – where the fuck were all my clothes that would blend me seamlessly into the tattoo culture lurking down on Crown St in surry hills. In the end I opted for black. Black top, navy jeans and black biker boots. And yet somehow, instead of biker I still looked too Country Road. Man, what had happened to me? I knew, I could fix this with eyeliner. Lots of it. And black eyeshadow. Ok, sure it was 10AM but if a bit of black eyeliner and eyeshadow would cut me some slack with the bitch at the tattoo counter, well I was prepared to weather the storm of funny looks at school drop off, with all the mummies wondering what had happened to jeans and sneakers mrs Mcardle, to gothed up, biker boots dark eyeliner mummy – I mean where the hell does she think she’s going at 10AM?

And frankly Mr Husband was rather surprised too…

“Where are you off to looking all dressed up?”

“Never you mind.” I said over my shoulder as I nipped out the front door.

I had no intention of revealing my clandestine appointment with Mr Tattoo.

No, far better for him to imagine affair with Gothic lover than guess my real mission.

You see, I cant talk to people before getting a tattoo. Mostly because I’m so impressionable. As soon as someone says they don’t like the idea, and Mr Husband is very vocal about not liking tatts. Then I find I don’t like them either. I show someone my latest butterfly tatt idea and they scowl and all of a sudden I think butterflys are naff too. You get the picdture. So I have to act on instinct. You know, just do it. Otherwise I find myself tormented and twisted in circles over whether I should or shouldn’t, all based on someone elses opinion.

But I did tell someone.

My other Tattoo Mummy. She’s my friend from a million years ago, my artistic, thoughtful, cool and groovy Mummy friend. I met Ms M a long, long time before there was any words as uncool as Mummy prefacing our names. I can send her a million ideas for tatts and she’s always open minded about them. Even when I went through my 1920’s fairy phase, she’s was still tactful. And she has a great eye. So I make sure I’m fairly confident about what it is I like (keeping in mind I sway like the wind based on opinions, design opinions that is, not political opinions or ethical opinions, design opinions!) and then I shoot her a picture, or a photo, or an email or a text or any of the plethora of media devices we have available to us, and she gives me her thoughtful artistic opinion. Ms M knew, but no-one else did. And there is something nice about being secretive about planned tattoo events. Makes one feel sixteen again, and young, and rash and reckless. And really, at thirty-seven going on ninety-seven, that feeling is GOLD.

I headed off to tattoo studio with my war mask on, my face painted ready to take the withering stares of contempt. And perhaps I had slathered just enough black eyeshadow onto my lids, or perhaps I’d picked just the right shade of red lippy, because instead of the How-about-you-go-get-fucked attitude, the gentleman behind the counter was rather charming. And even though all the tattoo artists said they were busy, he found one that could squeeze me in at 3.30 in the afternoon. And then he gave me a flirty little smile when I left and asked me to make sure to call if I was going to be running late. Well who knew if you made yourself look like Elvira a person got a bit of R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

So now I have my tattoo.

And rather than feeling the protective powers of intimidating wrist tattoo, all I’ve been feeling is the pain. Man, if I haven’t bumped and jostled and damn nigh hit the bloody thing a hundred times. The skin on the inside of ones wrist is constantly moving due to the rotation of the arm and hand. Which means the healing tattoo is constantly moving and cracking and scabbing and catching, on clothes, on children. Frankly it’s been pretty damn sore. And who knew, the day after getting tattoo done, two of my kids would go down with a filthy gastro bug, which would mean I’d be picking them up a hundred times over the next three days, more hugs and cuddles and knocks to the wrist than I’d normally sustain in a week!

The Day of the Triffids ain’t got nothing on The Day of the Endless Vomit.

But then, that’s another story.