Death From Above 2017.

In sci-fi movies whenever people have to travel long distances in space they ‘cryogenically freeze’ them and then just thaw them out when they get there. Like most sci-fi inventions, this technology has been spoken about as having real-life potential. And while I agree with its intention, I don’t agree with its application. We shouldn’t be developing it to send people into space to be eaten by aliens, we should be developing it so parents can travel further than the supermarket without wanting to fire themselves into the sun. Unfortunately we lack the ability to freeze our children on planes right now, but if any scientists are reading this I will fund your Kickstarter.

It’s been some time since I wrote a blog post, but I felt it necessary in the wake of what I’ve just been through. For those readers who don’t know me personally, I’ll bring you up to speed. I’ve got two of them now. Frankie is 2 and a half, and she now has a 4 month old baby sister, Nina. So what do you do when you’ve got a toddler and a baby in Australia? Well if you’re certifiably insane you take them to visit your in-laws in Canada.

On my THINGS I WOULD LEAST LIKE TO DO list, ‘be fired out of a civil war cannon naked into a field of Saguaro cacti’ and ‘be eaten alive by a Kodiak bear’ both come a distant second to ‘be locked in a giant sardine can in the sky with a screaming baby and toddler surrounded by people who want to stick my head on a spike’, but nevertheless that’s what I’ve gone and done.

And just to add fibreglass to the festering wound, a cold swept through our house in the week leading up to our departure. Sensing the existing proposition wasn’t challenging enough, my immune system decided to say ”here deal with this lol’ and went on its own holiday a day before the trip, meaning every single one of us was plague-ridden for the expedition.

To begin with, we had to wake both the kids up at 3am to get the airport in time for the flight. Which is a fantastic to way to start things off, as the old saying goes ‘always piss off a sleeping baby’. Including one domestic connecting flight, the total travel time was around twenty hours. The first flight was short and went off without a hitch thanks to Nina being a generally chill baby and the infamous toddler-hypnotising abilities of the iPad. It was to be the calm before the extinction event meteor strike.

The 14-hour flight from Brisbane to Vancouver is where the shit got real. I had packed a couple of books and in the days leading up to the flight loaded my phone with some music and games to keep myself entertained. What a fucking idiot, right? Who the fuck do I think I am? I literally used none of that shit, not even once. There was no ‘time to kill’. The entire flight was a marathon tag-team battle against a pint-sized team of indomitable terrors.

The first three or four hours weren’t that bad and eventually Frankie drifted off for a nap. Then, just as my wife decided she would take Nina up the other end of the plane to change her nappy, it happened. Frankie woke up, startled, looked around with a ‘where the fuck am I?’ expression, realised Mum wasn’t there, and then freaked the absolute fuck out. I’m talking just constant screaming. Like if someone replaced the siren of a firetruck with a howler monkey infected with the virus from 28 Days Later and ran it through Spinal Tap’s amplifier. Honestly at this point I really would have not minded if the plane had been shot down by a Russian militant and exploded in a ball of flames. After what felt like an eternity, but was probably more like 10 minutes, my wife returned to lend a hand. But the damage was done. The scars left on my soul cut deeper than when Atreyu’s horse sank in that swamp in The Neverending Story. I’m sure everyone within a 10-metre radius was already plotting to string us all up by our toes the second we dropped our guard. Three people in the aisle over were were holding torches and pitchforks. I’m not even sure how they got them on the plane.

The other thing to consider is just how much carry-on stuff you need to sustain the lives of two adults and two young children. We had three backpacks and a suitcase full of food, nappies, changes of clothes in case of poonamis, toys, colouring books, electronics etc. and by the midpoint of the flight our row was absolutely littered with crap. It looked like someone was filming an episode of Hoarders 30,000 feet in the sky. You’d be less likely to step on something navigating a Cambodian minefield in clown shoes. A family of raccoons eventually made their home under the seats. I named them Angry, Scratchy, Bitey and Steve. We were eventually rid of them when an unsuspecting hostess walked past with some bags of pretzels. I really underestimated Steve as he definitely did the most damage. She may never see out of that eye again.

Somehow, between intermittent moments of ‘I’ve had enough of this shit’ from one of the two of them over the next ten hours, I managed to watch John Wick on the in-flight TV screen. John Wick is a cool as shit movie about Neo from the Matrix hunting down Euron Greyjoy because he killed his dog. I know it sounds like a strange crossover but it really works. What doesn’t work however is Fist Fight, which despite an impressive cast, is so nauseatingly terrible I turned it off after twenty minutes. Honestly, I think that movie must have been directed by a shoe and shot by a wedding photographer. Even that’s generous because a wedding photographer can usually make people look like they give a shit for at least one take.

The home stretch of the flight was filled with mixed emotions. There was a galvanising sensation of accomplishment and relief as the little plane on the entertainment system crawled closer to the right of screen, but it was short lived. About two hours from landing, both kids went into complete meltdown. It was like sitting in a listening room at a hi-fi store with built-in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound that only played ‘Screaming Kids of Summer Vol.3’. They were understandably inconsolable. Hours upon hours of being stuck in a noisy tube had pushed them to the brink. I just felt utterly helpless. All we could do was ride it out until the plane landed or someone sitting nearby snapped and threw a molotov cocktail at us.

But, nevertheless, we made it. Came, saw, wanted to die, conquered. And here’s the really crazy bit. I’m only here for a couple of weeks. My wife is staying for a month. So she’ll be doing this all over again ON HER OWN. I cannot even fathom the thought. But if anyone can do it, she can. I won’t be surprised though if she packs a parachute and just nopes the fuck out of there somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.

This one easy trick that makes you look like a terrible parent in public.

This afternoon, on our way home to put Frankie down for a nap, we ducked into a cafe to grab some lunch. The place was packed, but luckily one table was free. We sat down and ordered. Trish then noticed Frankie had done a poo and whisked her off to the dunnies for a quick change in time for our food to arrive. No big deal.

Everything was going swimmingly from that point. The drinks were good, the food was good, life was good. Not even the love child of Nostradamus and a Bulgarian gypsy fortune teller could’ve seen the stick heading for the spokes of our proverbial wheel.

And then it happened. Frankie went red. Her face scrunched, grunting like a gold medal weightlifter deep in the clinch. All signs indicated she had another shit on deck. Already? How can that be? Well that can be because this was no ordinary poo, as all of a sudden, like the town crier announcing that the King was dead, Frankie stood up on her chair and screamed at the top of her lungs:

“POOOO! I POO! I POO! I POO! I POO! I POOOOOO!”

The sudden severity of the declaration she’d crapped her dacks caught us both by such surprise that we started pissing ourselves laughing. I mean what else can you do? The problem was that there was a reason she was so distressed. It was obviously a bit of a ‘bad poo’ that’d caused some serious devastation down there. I can only imagine it must’ve been something like the morning after I put way too much habanero sauce on my burrito.

To the onlookers in a packed-to-capacity cafe, their quiet Saturday arvo avo smash and chai lattes were suddenly disrupted by a screaming, crying toddler in complete meltdown. Being laughed at by her parents to the somewhat discordant soundtrack of “I POO! I POO! I POOOOOOOO!”

I felt like I was in a panopticon. A perimeter of judging eyes staring me down. Like a skinhead wandering through a tour group at Anne Frank’s house. The woman opposite us looked at me with a sneer as potent as the time her son Pythagoras brought home a friend who went to public school.

There was only one thing to do at this point, really.

“I’ll go fix up the bill.”

And so this is Christmas.

Hello Internet,

I hope you’re all having a fantastic Christmas Eve, I truly do.

As for me, well, I’m covered in vomit. My clothes are covered in vomit. The carpet is covered in vomit. And the bed is covered in vomit.

No, I haven’t returned home plastered after an advertising Xmas shindig, far from it. That would be a rather fantastic situation compared to the gravity of reality.

You see, Frankie has suddenly developed a violent case of Christmas Eve Gastro.

It’s quite genuinely a war zone over here. You can’t even imagine the horrors I have seen. Perhaps not quite a platoon of ANZACs fighting with dysentery on the Kokoda Trail, but it’s close.

We’ve gone through two loads of laundry already. Soon we’ll have nothing left to clothe her in but a hessian bag. Our entire house smells like Schoolies.

But despite the horrid cloud of sickness we must forge ahead. And while my amazing wife attempts to put the girl from ‘The Exorcist’ to sleep, I’ve been assembling a 50-page-of-instructions-long kitchen set for the Frankster to wake up to tomorrow morning.

When this will all hopefully be a distant memory.

The joys of parenthood.

Merry Christmas everyone.

(And now, a Glenfiddich Single Malt.)15713324_10153936837760044_249533276_n

A leprechaun who got caught in a forest fire.

So I know the posts have been few and far between lately, which means that I’ve also yet to update the readers on a major piece of news.

Frankie is going to be a big sister.

My wife is about half way through the pregnancy, and a few weeks ago we had our 12 week scan. This is when they offer those fandangled ‘3D scans’ that some people rave about. And I will personally attest, for any expecting parents out there reading this, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND getting a 3D scan. That is, if you would like to imagine that your child was designed by Wes Craven.

I mean, seriously, I can’t be the only one who thinks they looks like something out of a Japanese horror film. Either that or there are folks out there getting genuinely excited about picturing their unborn child as one of H.R Geiger’s rejected concepts for Alien.

A 3d scan of a baby                                  A hobbit recovering from a smelting accident

The obstetricians love it. They meander through the regular ultrasound, which I find to be the most interesting, before professing the modern wonders and technological marvels of the 3D scan while I sit there staring at a leprechaun who got caught in a forest fire.

It’s like watching one of those grainy conspiracy videos where they show doctors operating on something dragged out of a smouldering wreck at Area 51. Except it’s my child. Inside of my wife.

And, like always, some entrepreneurial spirit has delivered us even deeper into the realms of weird. Because now you can get a 3D-printed version of your fetus. Yes, that’s right, an actual physical 3D-printed fetus.

So now you don’t just get to watch a DVD of someone taking a flamethrower to Tyrion Lannister, you get to HOLD IT.

I mean, where are you even going to put this thing? On the coffee table? The mantlepiece?

“Honey, have you seen my car keys?”

“Did you check your jeans?”

“Yeah, not there.”

“Under the couch?”

“Nope. Oh wait, here they are. I left them by the fetus again.”

Maybe you could wear it on a chain, like Flava Flav. I mean, Ludacris wore a midget on his necklace in that one film clip so I suppose it’s not that great of a leap.

And then, how do you explain it to your child once their grown?

“Daddy, why is there a model of an emaciated Golem with third degree sun burn on your desk?”

“Well, darling, that’s you.”

Imagine the years of therapy after that. It’ll cost a fortune.

I’m sure one day we’ll get some incredible images in utero, but for now I’m just happy to know that my child is healthy and leave the rest to wonderment.

But, like everything in life, it’s horses for courses. If you’ve fallen in love with that blurry image of an elf that failed to escape a volcanic eruption, then who am I to argue?

Death from above.

I was never a cub scout. I grew up in the inner suburbs. A bona fide city slicker. So I never earned a badge for ‘lighting a fire with two twigs and a raspberry’ or ‘navigating by star light’. I’d never even seen stars until I was about seven. Didn’t know they were there. So, by nature, I’d never perfected the art of knot tying. Perfected isn’t even a suitable word, I hadn’t even flown let alone near the sun. I had Velcro shoes up until grade 5 because I couldn’t be fucked tying a shoelace, and once I figured that out it was more than I thought I’d ever need.

From what I understand there is a veritable smorgasbord of knot types in a variety of categories. If you’ve got a problem, there’s a knot for it. To me they all sound like MMA moves.

Joe Rogan: If you look closely Mike, you’ll see that he’s trying to transition from a Slippery Eight Loop into a Highwayman’s Hitch.

Mike Goldberg: He’s got it in deep, Joe.

JR: This is where his opponent should be looking for the Clove Hitch. His right arm is-

MG: OH MY GOD! DID YOU SEE THAT!

JR: WOOOOW! A Double Fisherman! That was insane!

MG: I did not see that coming, Joe!

They do have cool names, I’ll give them that.

So, anyway, here’s where I’m going with this. I don’t have a large repertoire of ‘knots’. I would be the last man you would want working on your boat. We’d lose at least two, maybe three sails per journey. Eventually we would run out of sails and be cast adrift in the middle of the ocean somewhere, forced to ration our supplies until we had no choice but to draw straws ’til there’s but one left standing. However, being that I’m a writer, it has been of no detriment to me in my thirty-two years on the planet.

Until now.

You see, now that I have a young child, I am inundated with nappies. Or diapers for you North Americans. As I’m sure most parents do, we have a nappy disposal bin in Frankie’s room. Basically, you tie a knot in the bottom of a bag, and then keep stuffing the used nappies into the bin until it’s full. Then, you cut that bag loose, which becomes the shit sausage I spoke about in a much earlier post, and you tie a knot in the bottom of the remaining plastic to form a new bag. And repeat.

For the most part, my below average shoelace-inspired knots had been doing just fine. Once the bin was full, I’d carry the shit sausage downstairs and toss it into the wheelie bin outside.

Now, being a male, I often procrastinate when it comes to household tasks. I like to let dishes ‘soak’. I’ll leave cleaning the barby ‘until I next have to use it’. You know the routine. So on this occasion, I decided to test the maximum load capacity of the nappy disposal bin aka I couldn’t be arsed taking the shit sausage downstairs.

Eventually, upon attempting to cram another turd trapper in, the nappy bin objected like Scotty being asked to engage Warp Drive 6 by Captain Pickard.

“She can’t do it Captain, she’s gonna blow!”

It was time to take out the shit sausage. And this was a big ‘un. There must’ve been…maybe 20 crap crumpets in there. It was a real anaconda. Something of folklore. Something Jeremy Wade would hunt down in remote parts of Bolivia on River Monsters. I cut it loose from the bin and lifted it in the air. The bag seemed to hold well. I was calm. Confident. I began walking downstairs, but about two steps down I felt a slight budge. A tectonic shift. Trouble was afoot, so I had no choice but to hasten my descent. But it was too late. Another unearthly rumbling. A movement at the gates.

And then it happened. A moment that lasted mere seconds yet felt like twenty lifetimes. Time stood still, as if the ripping of the bag was in fact the ripping of the space time continuum itself. I watched in terror as the mammoth tube of bum nuggets rained down on my lounge room like a carpet bombing run of colon cannonballs.

It was like that beautiful Sony Bravia commercial where they unleash all the coloured bouncy balls down the hill, except it was shit-filled nappies tumbling down a flight of stairs.

All I could do was stand there, stunned. A broken man surveying the damage in abject horror. It was like a crime scene. A war zone. It was like the morning after the Blitz. Casualties everywhere. The landscape unrecognisable.

What does one do when faced with such calamity? There was nothing to do but initiate the cleanup. To  begin the rebuild, and ensure we learn from such atrocities.

So yeah, I guess what I’m saying is make sure your nappy bin bag is tied really tight. REALLY tight.

 

 

 

These are a few of my favourite things.

 

It’s been a while since my last post, and given a lot has happened in that time it is difficult to pin down a particular topic to write about. Frankie is now 20 months old, and as you can imagine, is developing into quite the character. And after taking in the sights and sounds of planet Earth, she’s developed a taste for, what she considers to be, the finer things in life. Here is a breakdown of some of her favourite things.

 
Water – Yes, water. Good old H20. Water, or da-ta, was one of Frankie’s first words. When she sees a puddle, da-ta. When she sees a lake, more da-ta. She even has to have a water bottle with her in bed (otherwise known as nigh-nigh). She even cuddles it. Yes, she cuddles a water bottle. In fact, she likes water so much that it overshadows just about anything and everything else in existence. Recently we took her to the zoo, and as we approached the elephant enclosure, she excitedly yelled ‘DA-TA!’. Because somewhere in the habitat, you know, behind that gigantic majestic tusked beast, the largest land mammal on the face of the Earth, was a puddle of water. We might as well have taken her to look at the pothole down the road after a bout of rain and saved the price of admission. She would have had the time of her life.

Apples – Known as a pa-pool, apples are one of Frankie’s favourite things to eat. The only problem being that she rarely eats a whole pa-pool. And when combined with an innate pa-pool seeking sonar that allows her to detect the presence of any nearby pa-pools within a 10 metre radius, I’m constantly finding apples lying around the house with several suspicious chunks missing. I honestly don’t know where she keeps finding them, it’s like she’s discovered a passageway to a secret orchard in the back of a cupboard. Like Narnia, but it’s basically just apples. That would’ve made for a pretty shit book. C.S. Lewis’ legacy would hardly have been the same had he written ‘The Toddler, The Apple & The Wardrobe’. My wife took an apple to work the other day only to discover it had about three tiny bites taken out of it. If we didn’t have a daughter I’d think we had some kind of serious rodent problem.

Elmo – Since almost day dot, Elmo has been the God-Emperor. If Mum is no.1 in Frankie’s world then I would comfortably wager that Elmo is no.2. I imagine I’m probably somewhere around 7th. Maybe 8th, I dunno, but I’m definitely behind water and apples. Elmo, known as ‘Mo-mo’, was her first ever plush toy and the first TV show she showed any interest in. From the moment she wakes up, it’s immediately ‘Momo! Momo!’. And while that might seem an annoyance, it could be worse, because at least Elmo tries to teach you a thing or two instead of weirding you the fuck out. Have you seen some of the crazy kids shows going around? Combining sleep deprivation with Yo Gabba Gabba is enough to trigger an acid flashback. I always wanted to go to Burning Man, but after watching a few kids TV shows I don’t feel I’ve missed anything. There are a people who live in Goa on peyote plantations who’ve seen less shit than I’ve seen in the last 18 months.

Fist Bumps – We taught Frankie how to high five a long time ago, and once the novelty wore off it seemed natural to graduate to the fist bump. It was an immediate hit. So much so, that the high five was pretty much dead and buried from that day forth. Now we receive about a dozen fist bumps a day. And if she gives one person a fist bump, everyone in the room has to have one. She’s like a point guard entering the court for Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The girls at day care asked us why she kept ‘showing them her hand’, and we had to explain that she just wanted a fist bump. Frankie must’ve thought they were dicks for leaving her hanging all the time. It’s funny because she definitely sees it as a sign of acknowledgement. If you make her exactly what she wants to eat, you get a fist bump. When you leave the house, or arrive home, fist bump. Recently we bought her a farm playset and she said ‘Woooow!’ and ran over and gave us both fist bumps. It never gets old.

The Wiggles – Frankie definitely has a musical ear. She loves banging on the bongo drum and dancing around to music. Recently, she’s discovered The Wiggles and absolutely fucking loves them, much to my chagrin. That shit gets stuck in your head something shocking. Those pastel-skivvied bastards have permeated my skull and burrowed deep into the caverns of my mind. I have Wiggles songs playing in my head on repetitive loop 24/7. At Guantanamo Bay they play Metallica on repeat to drive detainees insane, I would happily volunteer to have ‘Enter Sandman’ burned into my brain because right now it’s Dorothy The Goddamn Dinosaur. I tell you what, someone needs to hurry up and drop an asteroid on that bitch and get it over with. But I do have to say that I definitely prefer The Wiggles’ early work, before the constant lineup changes started affecting their sound. You can really feel the hunger, literally, on tracks like ‘Hot Potato’, and let’s be honest, there’ll never be another ‘Big Red Car’ without Jeff in the band. Such a driving force behind their sound. And the fact they still play ‘Wake Up Jeff’ without him is just an insult.

Special mentions goes to: Blueberries, Old McDonald had a Farm, The Wheels on the Bus, The wobbly bridge at the park and tickle tortures.