So, what’s the best thing about having the first weekend in five at home? Well, it starts with lunch, albeit a late one, on Friday arvo with old friends (OK they’re not old, but you know where I’m comin’ from) and new.
My mate (no names, cos I don’t know if he or they would be comfortable with me using them), his new girlfriend and his son (whom I last saw as a babe in arms at a wedding) who is three and particularly inquisitive, all came to town for a catch-up.
We went to a restaurant around the corner from my place … it’s called Kamel and it’s a good place because the food is always good. Middle Eastern in the main (and the mains too for that matter) and the prices are reasonable.
We had the courtyard to ourselves (always a good thing) and the bloke who runs it, as he was delivering the menus, asked me: “You still living over the back?” “Yep,” I said. “Oh I just wondered because we’ve moved,” he said.
I reckon I spent a lot of time chatting to the youngster and I can’t remember recently enjoying it more. I know I thought to myself the next day that it was a pity that I wasn’t as relaxed or knowledgeable with my own kids … not that I ignored them … and they’ve grown into fine young men … it was just that I always seemed to be working or whatever. We played with phone cameras, bits of bark, I explained about how he should go to a nursery and buy some seeds and start growing leaves (he doesn’t particularly like eating green leaves) … we did a lot and talked a lot of stuff. Even to grabbing various scented leaves from gardens and sussing out the smells. I felt almost dad-like. It was a good feeling.
All too soon the troops were on their way and I was on my couch, pondering the idea of whether I should attend a work function at the local pub.
Although I had two glasses of wine with lunch, a quiet night at home was in order … and anyway, I’m not a fan in any way of the pub nearest to my house. Last time I was in there on a Sunday night for a couple of quiet glasses of wine on the way home from dinner, it was nine bucks a glass for the house wine, which was just OK. Jesus wept. Little wonder the joint thrives on wannabes wanting to be … seen, perhaps with their favourite footballer or whatever.
That was a long-winded way of saying that I stayed at home.
Any anyway, Saturday was to be a day of the great housework extravaganza, given that I hadn’t cleaned anything other than my teeth for the past five weeks. (OK, that’s not entirely true, I did shower every day.)
I did, however, have a bottle of chardonnay (Kelpie Bridge) and a couple of beers just to keep the faith.
Needless to say, that helped me wake on Saturday with a slightly more fuzzed feeling than I was intending.
Three cups of tea, some Twittering, some Facebook checks and email checks and then I marched into the bathroom, armed with cloths, sponges and scourers of all types, disinfectant, glass cleaner, spot cleaner and a huge desire to get the job done. Shouldn’t take long, I thought, after all it’s not the biggest bathroom the world has seen.
An hour and 45 minutes later, sweat pissing from my brow (any most other places best left unsaid), the bathroom was in better nick than me.
I scrubbed the vanity top, cleaned the mirror, cleaned walls, I used an old toothbrush to scrub around the base of the taps, scrubbed the bath to within an inch of its life, same for the dunny … and then, on hands an knees (this is not going anywhere rude), with a scourer I scrubbed the tiled floor.
I also managed to wash everything I own (that needed washing anyway) and did a dishwasher load as well and put the clothes and dishes anyway ... in separate places, of course.
One last cup of tea, a chat on the phone to the ex and mother of my children, and I was done … like a dinner.
Speaking of dinner, I grabbed a quick shower and made a bolt for the South Melbourne Market to buy same. While I was there I had a call from a friend who wanted to catch up for a drink.
Who says no to a friend? Not this little black duck, and anyway, it had been too long between drinks for us.
I offered to cook dinner, which was a good thing. I opted for a mainly vegetable pasta dish that would later do the trick.
I also stocked up on plenty of fresh flowers for the house. The tuber roses are ruling the roost at the moment. I can just about smell them from anywhere in the house.
The couch won the afternoon battle of “should I vacuum, should I not?” and I even managed a nana nap, which held me in good stead for a stint at the stove with a couple of beers, then far too many glasses of wine … there was rose and sparkling shiraz … and the usual attempts to solve everyone’s personal woes (OK, woes is a bit strong) and several of the world’s major dilemmas.
It’s a tough gig and it got the better of us, so we retired to the safety of Lina’s Wine Bar for a few that turned into quite a few. For someone who was intending to do nothing for the weekend, it was quite a busy time one way and another. It’s always good to see the girl’s behind the bar at Lina’s, good souls one and all.
Dunno what time we left (it was dark), but Sunday morning was also fuzzier than planned, again not the ideal preparation for the rest of the cleaning.
What to do?
Nothing won … by the length of the straight. Just a snack or four during the day (when I was hungry) and plenty of water until it was beer o’clock, which was soon followed by pinot noir o’clock. A very fine brew it was … a 2008 Storm Bridge from the Yarra Valley.
Finally, I got through a whole day, talked to no one (I did chat quickly to son Liam, who was busy getting set for a cyclone that night … last week it was cyclone Mick hitting Vanuatu … by putting up the shutters and getting lots of food, water, grog and cigs to tide him over. He said they were expecting winds up to 200 clicks), did nothing except eat and drink … and loved it, which all helped to make Monday morning a little fuzzier than planned. Are you picking up a theme here?
If there is a worse experience than the Monday morning alarm, then I don’t wanna know about it.
But by the time I was erect (OK, that’s just upright and out of bed) and quietly dealing with a huge cup of tea, I decided that I was in a good place on a lot of levels. I’d been reading some Tweets and following Deepak Chopra (I’m still searching for someone called six-pack but can’t find anyone yet) and he always (well most times) seems to come up with something good. Whatever it was at the weekend, it worked for me. Like I said, I was in a good place.
When I got off the tram on the way to the office, my space was good … with the exception of those inconsiderate bastards on bikes who don’t give a rodent’s rectum about pedestrians, but that’s a story for another day … and I wandered along singing early Elvis to myself (the iPod was a full tilt as it usually is in the mornings. Rock’n’roll is good for the soul) when an Italian man on the footbridge over the Yarra motioned to me to stop. I dragged out the earplugs to see what was up. “Aren’t you cold, look at you?” he asked with an almost quizzical half-smiling look of alarm on his face (he was wearing a hefty parka, I guess because it was about 13-14 degrees). “Nah,” I said (I was wearing a bluer singlet, my usual office uniform), “It’s a beautiful day. In fact, every days is a beautiful day,” I said, smiling hard back at him.
Shit, I was in a good place, eh?
ME IN A NUTSHELL
- G’day, I’m Michael and I have two fantastic grown-up kids. I’m a jeans and singlet/T-shirt, cowboy boot, tattoos sort of fella, who knows a bit about this and sometimes a lot about that. I'll have a crack at most things, although having a relationship? ... well that ship has sailed. I'm past my use-by date anyway, so I'm gonna make it all about me and surviving life as I know it ... or make it.