Sunday, 30 August 2009

It's Like A Party In My Mouth And All The Guests Are Chained Together...







Chewy crust breadrolls.

I'm going to miss you...

Some time ago *coff May coff* my dentist told me that I should see an orthodontist about possibly getting braces.

In my usual efficient manner I put it down as 'To Do Next Week' and it kept 'Jam Tomorrow, Jam Yesterday, But Never Ever Jam Today'-ing* down the list until a few weeks ago when I finally made the appointment.

Then this Thursday at 9:45am I went along for my first consultation.
It all started out fairly routine.
They took a few hilarious photos of my teeth and asked me a lot of questions including 'Do you ever grind your teeth in your sleep?' to which I replied 'I don't know, I'm asleep' which seemed a perfectly sensible answer to me but which exasperated the dental technician who was taking notes.
Yes I need braces.
Yes they'll need to stay on for two years.
Yes I should make an appointment.
And the next available appointment is... Oh we've had a cancellation, would you like to come back at 2pm?
Uh... I... guess so...?

So in the three hours between the end of the first appointment and the beginning of the second I had to go down to the bank to withdraw cash for my first payment**, get into a favourite café for my last steak sandwich for two years and give my teeth a vigorous scrubbing.

Because I would usually have a longer first consultation or possibly a follow up consultation before the procedure in normal circumstances I found out about a lot of the do's and don't's whilst my mouth was propped open and the orthodontist was messing about with glue and wire.
On the one hand it was good that everything came together so quickly because it gave me little time to dwell on or worry about things.
On the other hand I didn't have time to go on a last forbidden food orgy and will now have to wait two years to eat quite a few things...
Probably on mature reflection this is plus as well, I've had a few too many forbidden food orgies of late without anything to justify them.

I've had the braces on for three days and despite the logistics of learning to chew with the dang things on and all the extra tooth brushing, they're not that bad.
They were slightly uncomfortable to begin with but they feel exactly like I thought a mouth full of braces would feel and it already seems as if I've had them on forever.
My completely erratic grasp of temporal reality and the way my imagination interacts with it has allowed me to adapt to the feeling ridiculously quickly and apart from the part where I keep going around telling people 'I'm a Piranha' and gnashing my teeth at them it's business as usual.
It has however confirmed my suspicions that I should never get a tongue piercing, I have been messing with the dang things with my tongue ever since they were put on and I predict that I won't stop for approximately 24 months.

*For anyone who has never seen the 1985 version of Alice in Wonderland, which stars Sammy Davis Junior and Carol Channing among many others, and has no idea what I'm talking about I give you this.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Cynical Poetry Reading

Don't tell me what you once believed
And how ditching it has made you free
Because no one cares what you think now
And you'll ditch your new brain any how

Sunday, 16 August 2009

In The Shadow of My Supernumerary Pseudonym

Behold the signs of the apocalypse!

The scent of summer is in the air despite the fact we've not even officially left winter yet!

People who spell death defying as 'defdethying' because they've heard the term used in context but never stopped to actually consider what the word means let alone how it is spelled have not been struck by lightning!

And my junkmail has decided that my name is Norma!

It seems that Norma is missing out on a lot of opportunities.

She could be taking any number of courses right now: CSI technician, law enforcement, big city law, mortician...

She could be having her home loan consolidated, her finances rejiggered, her chakras realigned and - in the most gender ambiguous offer - TNT campanulate added to her rocket!

Ever since the anonymous spambot sold my details to the ad-superteam's list my junkmail has more than tripled and yet I can't get mad about it.

I've become quite attached to Norma.

I see her as a slightly flaky Lara Croft wannabe trying to cram as many experiences into her life as humanly possible without being overburdened with too much judgement or concerns about quality control.

In another reality Norma is a lab savvy law enforcement officer who routinely takes time off from lecturing at Harvord* University to travel clandestinely to Nigeria and rescue stranded princesses.
Depending on her preferences she may even have an opportunity to test out the TNT campanulate of her rocket.
And you know what, good on her, the world needs more people like that.

Hopefully the next time some crazy improbable opportunity comes up Norma will give me the courage to at least consider it and my life will be in some small way enriched.

But still you really shouldn't give your bank details to the European Lottery Commission, there are other people who need that money more than you do...

*Yes that is deliberate, guess where Norma was recently accepted to university!?

Saturday, 8 August 2009

I've Heard Wonderful Things About Eloping, I Even Made You A Brochure About It...


Bridal Expos.

Do not want.

My lovely mate Awesome is getting married in the not too distant future and myself and Eep of the embarrassing teenage adventures have been proclaimed bridesmaids.

So when Awesome told us she wanted to check out the Bridal Expo at the Exhibition Centre this weekend Eep and I pledged our attendance.
Not because we're that interested in Bridal Expos* but because we are going to support our friend dammit!

I knew I couldn't take a book because - as I was reliably informed throughout my childhood, most of my high school years and just last week - it is very rude to read when you're out with other people.
Even when they are being boring and you are perfectly capable of following the conversation and reading at the same time.
So I left my book and took my mp3 player instead.
Just in case.

And thank all that is good in this world that I did.

I knew the stalls would be a bit of a gauntlet but that's par for the course when you go to any kind of expo or even a school/university open day.
I knew that there would be a lot of giggling, excited, bouncing hugging women giggling and hugging and bouncing excitedly.

I was not prepared for "The Fashion Parade".

The "Fashion Parade" opened with a pair of instructors from a local dancing school giving a demonstration of how you could spice up your bridal waltz instead of doing the boring bog-standard side-to-side.
I don't know about you but in the event I get married I don't really want to mount my new husband's thigh in front of my grandmother at my reception.
Also if my imaginary husband was prepared to swivel and jiggle like that I'd be a little worried.
I am an easily embarrassed person and I don't think I'd dance with a swivelling jiggler let alone marry them.

After the thigh-grinders came a lounge singer with a pleasant but in no way impressive voice singing a variety of schmaltzy romantic songs handpicked from the RomComs of the last ten years.
At this point I took out my beloved mp3 player and embraced the beauty that is Alestorm, Arch Enemy and Emilie Simon**.

Now according to the organisers the natural progression is thigh-grinding dance, crooning and then... male strippers.
Just in case you want them at the wedding.
Or I guess the hens' night.
I kept the mp3 player in for this too.
My music was better than theirs, the stripping wasn't that alluring and none of the however many hundred women were drunk at midday so there was mostly polite applause instead of woo-ing and demands for the gentlemen to 'take it off'.

So, if you're following me so far.
So the next logical step is...

That's right! Junior ballet troop!
A bunch of 9 year old girls run out onto stage and start doing a cute little choreographed piece in pink tutus.
I hope they had a different changeroom from the strippers.
The mp3 player continued to perform admirably.

After this fascinating presentation on the evolution of the wedding plan they actually started showing wedding dresses and grooms... wear? You know, suits.
The fellows modelling the suits had very nice cheekbones but all the suits looked the same to me.
The choice seemed to be between light grey, black or deep navy. Some with pinstripes, most with vests but don't ask me about cuts because I haven't the foggiest.

The wedding dresses... well all I can say is that the strapless look must be 'in' right now because 95% of the dresses were strapless and basically a variation on one design with varying degrees of baubles attached.
We saw one dress that Awesome found interesting.
In an hour of 'fashion gazing' we saw one dress.

It was at this point Awesome decided we'd seen enough and weak with gratitude we dragged ourselves out of the auditorium and back into the light.
Due to the occasional uncharacteristic bout of girliness since the engagement I had been politely terrified that Awesome was gazing upon the spectacle before us with glee and shining eyes.
However this fear was put to rest when the first words out of her mouth once we were in the hallway were "Well that was a steaming pile of crap!"
Eep and I have never been so relieved in our lives.

The expo wasn't a complete bust. We got a few ideas of what Awesome could do if she wanted to and what she definitely never will and we met a lovely silver-haired rockabilly limo driver with a bitching pompadour and blue and black leather wingtip shoes, but we were all glad to get out of the place and hit the nearest pub for a restorative glass.

There's only so much of that sort of thing a person can take in one day and it turns out that Eep, Awesome and myself have a common low threshold which might explain why we've been friends for so long :-D

*Well I'm not, Eep of the embarrassing teenage adventures and her fella are building a house so the dreamy 'I is can have bouquet' mindset is slowly gaining strength.
**I like to mix it up a little and I found that her style was much more successful in assimilating and destroying the schmaltz. Despite the awesomeness of Alestorm and Arch Enemy I could still hear schmaltzing going on in the background.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Technological Technicality

Thursday evening we got a call from a local vet.
Not ours.
They said they had our dog which had been found wandering the streets and could we come and get it.

This triggered a confused freak out.
Our goofy-assed labrador has never even tried to get out of the backyard let alone wander all the way across town and hadn't she been in the backyard half an hour ago before people left the house?

We asked if she was OK.
The vet said 'She?'
It wasn't our goofy-assed labrador.
It was our twitchy maltese shih tzu who we had found another home for three years before when it became evident that living in a yard that had dogs in the three yards that bordered our own was eventually going to drive him delirious and possibly break his bark-box.

This may sound lazy and like poor pet ownership, I know it's possible to reduce barking behaviour in dogs with proper and consistent training but we didn't really have the chance.
My brother and I were in Europe at the time.
My sister was in the last half of Year 12 and was at school all day and the library every evening.
My father was away all week for work.
My mother had just had foot surgery and had to keep her foot elevated at all times.
One of our neighbours had started pushing threatening letters into our letterbox, had filed complaints with the council about the barking and a few other imaginary infractions (the barking we'll cop to, he did do that, but all the rest of it was bull taffy), and according to the council employee who came around to explain the situation to us we had two weeks to reduce his barking or we would be fined by the council and the neighbour concerned would take us to court.
This lovely neighbour never actually signed any of their letters or confronted us face-to-face or let us know what their name was*.

So we found twitchy maltese shih tzu another home a bit further out of town with a young family on a larger property who had another dog to keep him company.
We visited him to make sure he was happy and being treated well, which he was.
And then at some point after that... we managed to completely lose all of the other family's contact details.
We couldn't even remember their name or the name of the suburb/town they lived in.
It was all useful fragments along the lines of 'I think they were about this far from us' and 'their name might have started with this letter... or maybe that one'.

But all these years later the twitchy maltese shih tzu still had our contact information on his microchip.
So the vet contacted us.
And when they told us that we could either pick him up or they would send him to the RSPCA we picked him up.
We didn't want to risk him being put down by accident or if his other family didn't find him and the RSPCA couldn't re-home him.
So three years after we'd last seen him we brought the twitchy maltese shih tzu home again.
We still had his little jacket and one of his collars.

Being a list-making, panicking weirdo I wrote up a 'found notice' for the local newspaper, typed up posters for the area he was found, started estimating the likelihood of finding his new family and researching obedience classes for if we couldn't find them and had to readjust him to our still dog-filled neighbourhood.

On Friday we tried to check with the RSPCA whether anybody had called up looking for a maltese shih tzu.
At first the person we spoke to thought we were looking for one and explained whilst they didn't have any in at the moment there was a lovely little terrier who was looking for a home.
We explained we already had a maltese shih tzu who used to be ours but wasn't any more and we thought that maybe somebody might have been looking for him...
They got confused and asked if we were trying to surrender him for adoption.
We said we weren't and started telling the story about the microchip.
We got passed to somebody else who actually got what we were talking about.
But nobody had called for him.

I reminded twitchy maltese shih tzu of the existence of 'sit' and 'stay'.
Goofy-assed labrador got a little excited and decided that twitchy maltese shih tzu was a spy sent to steal her food and started trying to ignore her 'sit' and 'stay' commands and bolted her food so quickly that she almost swallowed her tongue.
I reminded goofy-assed labrador of the existence of 'sit' and 'stay'.
She obeyed and then bolted her dog treat, giving twitchy maltese shih tzu a suspcious squinty look.
I started planning taking both of them to obedience classes and the logisitcs of parallel training and walking two dogs at once.
Twitchy maltese shih tzu was now nine years old so I also started compiling a list of things to run past the vet and any nutritional requirements he might have as an older dog.

Saturday morning we tried calling the RSPCA again, asked whether anybody was looking for a twitchy maltese shih tzu and they were!
Half an hour later twitchy maltese shih tzu's new family was in our yard making a huge fuss of the little nutter who was going completely mental with joy.
Turns out he'd managed to climb a new bit of lattice fencing they'd put in (and were now going to take straight out again) and gone for a trot across town.

So happy ending for everyone!
Twitchy maltese shih tzu went home to his new family who spoil him absolutely rotten.
New family was reunited with their little dog.
We filled out a 'change of information' form for the microchip and wrote down new family's details in about seven places around the house just in case.
Goofy-assed labrador stopped inhaling her food**.
I threw out my accumulated spreadsheets and badly calculated estimates.
And as far as we can tell the jerky neighbour must be one of the ones who have moved out in the intervening years because for the few nights twitchy maltese shih tzu was back and proclaiming this excitedly to all and sundry we received exactly zero threatening letters.

So that's what happened to me this week.
Sure, I could probably have summed this up in about a paragraph... but where would be the fun in that?

The moral of this story?
Um... Microchips work and you should always remember to fill out change of details forms when getting or re-homing a dog and not just take the other party's word for it that they'll remember to do so.

Also labradors are apparently a little paranoid, who knew.

*In another cranky resentful note: As soon as we'd found twitchy maltese shih tzu another home and our yard was silent it became apparent that our neighbourhood was full of yapping dogs and it might not have been our dog that had been bothering the jerky neighbour in the first place as soon the sweet little old lady down the road started receiving threatening notes in her letterbox too.
**She's still going to those obedience classes though