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.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

Higher Ground

It’s happening.

The next stage of evolution has begun.

The quadruped is going bipedal.

A few weeks ago, Frankie began pulling herself up to stand at every given opportunity. Her jelly legs wobbling with the grace of those wacky inflatable flailing tube men that flounder above car yards run by guys with gold teeth and the moral compass of a FIFA Committee Member.

As each day goes by, her strength and confidence grow, leaving the wobbles in their wake. It’s like watching Hulk Hogan make one of those shaky returns from the dead, but over a four week period. And now, as long as there is somewhere to place her hands, she can cruise along the couch with the grace of an acrophobic atop the Eiffel Tower.

But now that she’s moved up a level, literally, nothing is sacred.

Remotes, cords, keys, wallets, phones, everything is in immediate peril.

Her modus operandi is to ‘take things out of things’. The floor is regularly littered with $7 worth of those organic bamboo nappy wipes that my wife insists on buying. You can really notice the difference, compared to the generic brands, in how they don’t irritate the sensitive carpet in the lounge room. Rather than constantly clean them up, I’ve given in to telling people that we’ve had the floors decorated in a de-constructed bamboo sheet to encourage positive Feng Shui.

My wallet is also a hot target, with debit and credit cards often violently dragged from their home, kicking and screaming, before being dumped at unmarked locations around the house for me to hurriedly find before I head off for work. Like a real life treasure hunt that decides whether I get to eat lunch or put petrol in the car that day.

Then there’s the bookshelf, which also houses DVD’s, known to Frankie as ‘The Goldmine’. Seeing titles such as Half Baked, Friday and How High strewn across the floor offers a humorous reminder of what we were doing with our lives the last time buying DVDs was actually a thing that people did. The house regularly looks like it’s been ransacked by an autistic group of bandits who place a high value on tissues, pens and Playstation Controllers. There are post-apocalyptic buildings in Fallout 4, that 200 years after a nuclear bomb has hit them, look more organised than our house.

While honing her hunter-gatherer skills, Frankie’s managed to develop a ‘snack sonar’. Mum’s handbag and the undercarriage of the pram are often raided for Cruskits and tiny tubs of cheese and carrot sticks leftover from a trip to the park. Her ability to seek out a dummy is similarly impressive. All of a sudden, I’ll turn around to discover she’s materialised one from thin air with some piece of alien technology she’s keeping hidden from the rest of us.

On a positive note, a lucrative opportunity may have opened up in the salvage industry, as she has an uncanny ability to find coins (and then attempt to eat them). She even managed to find a 500 Rupiah coin, most likely from a trip to Bali that we took about 4 years ago. Where in the hell she dredged that up from, I’ll have no idea. I’m thinking of taking her to the beach to use as a metal detector to find lost valuables. When she’s old enough to wear a snorkel, we’re going hunting for the sunken treasure of Nuestra de las Mercedes.

The baby gates are up, the wall sockets are plugged and the troops are dug in for the long haul. But somehow, I feel like we are inevitably fighting a losing battle. Just like the torn and chewed on page of once important notes I have just spotted on the floor next to me.

BONUS STORY : A couple of months ago, on Grand Final Day, I had my quintessential ‘Dad’ moment. If you’re not familiar with it, the AFL Grand Final is the Australian version of the Super Bowl. A huge ad that I wrote was premièring at half time. A big moment in any advertising creative’s life. I was at a friend’s house, perched on the couch in front of the TV with Frankie on my lap, waiting for it show, and then… all of a sudden…

Frankie projectile spewed all over me.

I raced over to the bathroom to clean up, only to hear everyone yell, “It’s on! It’s on!”

And I missed it.

Because I got spewed on.

You will never live that one down, Frankie.

It’s coming out at your 21st.