The Torment of Charitable Avoidance

On my way into the supermarket today, I was stopped dead in my tracks by a near-naked fireman. Now I love a fireman as much as the next girl but something wasn’t quite right about this particular local superhero. He raised his hand high in the air and boomed hello to me across the arcade.

Assessing the folded-down yellow overalls and glossy naked chest – covered by no more than a set of shiny red suspenders – I eyed him warily. Ah ha… this was no fire fighter at all, but a cleverly constructed ruse. A chill ran through me. Stopping had been a big mistake.

“Wouldn’t you just love one of these sexy fireman calendars?” He asked flicking salaciously through the pages. Needless to say it was a tantalising glimpse of Mr January through to Mr December, all near naked with muscles bulging, brandishing the tools of their trade…. Oh my!

But there was something decidedly smarmy about this semi-nude faux fireman harking his wares – and in the space of five seconds I wanted to be as far away from him as possible. As I prepared to go forth with a cheery, have a nice day, the bare-chested bandit began to babble. Shifty-eyed, his focus darted left and right, clearly scouting out his next unsuspecting victim as he continued to speak – and by now he was seriously creeping me out.

Still I couldn’t move…

… No rope, no axe, I was being held captive by nothing more than my good, old-fashioned manners…

… and it was making me mad.

Silently seething – what was stopping me from just walking away? Darn those good manners, I thought. My conscience was clear. I give to charity, in addition to being inundated by an endless stream of raffle tickets, chocolate drives and bell ringing Santa’s. I didn’t need to buy an unwanted calendar from a sleezy faux-fireman. So when my oil-slicked tormentor finally drew breath I smiled through my ire to utter a surprisingly polite, ‘Sorry. Not today.”

Forced to ignore the fact that he was looking at me like I’d just smacked his puppy – making me feel like a total heel – I was seriously tempted to throw good manners to the wind and really let him have it. The cheek!

But good manners run deep and much to my regret I held it together to calmly walk away…

…. and it rankled me for the rest of the day.

There’s a limit – even on good manners – and next time I’ll be ready.

So beware all you smarmy faux-fireman.

Wrangle with this little blonde firecracker again and you’re gonna get seriously burned.

 

 Blonde on!

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Feeling the Beat

As a supporter of inter-generational sharing, I took it in my stride when a young man stopped alongside me at the traffic lights today. Even without his windows wound down the music playing from his subwoofer was clearly audible, cranked up to a teeth-shattering volume. Concerns about his long-term hearing aside, I took a moment to appreciate the Doof-Doof beat and spoken-rather-than-sung vocals being enjoyed by this fine, upstanding example of today’s youth.

When his music lulled and the air literally buzzed with silence, I decided to repay the favour by giving him a short sample of the sort of music the ‘middle-aged’ generation liked to enjoy. Cranking up my radio, I generously unleashed the splendid tones of Barbra Streisand’s greatest hits – so you can imagine my surprise when the young man’s face transformed into a mask of horror.

Realising the magic was probably being lost in translation, I locked eyes with the young man in the car next door and began to sing, clearly and deliberately enunciating each and every word.

When his eyes widened and his jaw fell slack I realised there was simply no avoiding it – I was going to have to pull out all the stops if the young man was going to fully appreciate this musical gold.

Becoming even more earnest, there’s no doubt my expression reflected all the heartfelt emotion I was trying to convey as I increased the volume of my fine vocal performance. Then in a final act of desperation, raised my hands in true Babs fashion, pressing my open palms skyward – all the while staring directly at the young fellow to ensure I had his full attention.

Much to my dismay, my short performance seemed to have little impact. Clearly not ready to embrace this impromptu form of inter-generational musical sharing, when the light turned green he took off to the renewed strains of his psychosis inducing Doof-Doof beats leaving me to trail in his wake with the thought that perhaps Engelbert Humperdinck might be more appropriate choice at the next set of lights – cue the CD, mama.

Blonde on!

Whose Line Is It?

The Lord of the Manor doth like to pre-empt what I am going to say and, as a vexing side effect, on occasion finishes my sentences. For those (far too frequent) times when I find myself tongue-tied, this is okay. But sometimes… sometimes… I do like to deliver my own punch line.

This morning I was trying to tell The Lord of the Manor about my calamity with the Apple Dictionary/Thesaurus. Sometimes…. sometimes… I need to clarify the spelling of a particular word or (more regularly) consult the thesaurus. However, there is one distinct, universally annoying flaw with the Apple Dictionary/Thesaurus.

“The American spelling,” The Lord of the Manor did ring in early as I tried to make my point.

“No, smarty pants,” I smugly twisted my pointy finger at him. “That’s not my biggest problem at all.”

When my sister and I were little, my Dad (who is also a punch line stealer, I might add) used to throw us some curly questions, like – When a candle melts, where does the wax go? What temperature is room temperature? And, whose feet did they measure to determined the Imperial Foot?

Another such conundrum he presented to me once, which I have never forgot, is… How do you look up a word in the dictionary if you don’t already know how to spell it? Of course, it’s not so difficult to stumble and tumble your way upon a word with a bound paper dictionary.

So you see, good reader, the problem with Apple Dictionary/Thesaurus is that it doesn’t pre-empt what I’m trying to spell – which can be really, really annoying.

But that is all by-the-by, because the point of all this rambling was not about the dictionary at all…… The point I am trying to make is…..

Lord of the Manor: “Don’t always finish your sentences?”

*Sigh….. That’s right, Dear. Don’t always finish my sentences.

Blonde on!

Polarised Views

While on a shopping expedition with his Grandparents last weekend, my 13-year old took a serious liking to a pair of sunglasses. When he couldn’t persuade them to part with $40, he pounced on me the moment I arrived to pick him up.

“They are really good, Mum. They have rubber on the arms, so comfy and polarised lenses. Can I get them? Please? I’ll use my own money.”

I pointed out $40 was a lot of money to spend on glasses for a 13-year old, especially a week away from winter. On top of which, it’s not his birthday or even remotely close to Christmas and he hasn’t done anything worthy of a reward.

After a relentless weekend of nagging, I had dealt with every argument he could think of and stood my ground, but was thoroughly exhausted and sick of the discussion. I hoped with Monday would come the end of the battle, but as soon as he clamoured into the car after school, the nagging started again.

“Did I mention they have polarised lenses?” He asked.

Yes, I moaned disinterestedly.

“And I did a Google search and compared to some, these ones are really cheap. Some sunglasses are worth over $150. Some cost more than $300.”

Yes, I know… I lamented. Doesn’t mean I’m prepared to spend $40 on sunglasses for you.

“And…… I read people who squint a lot, because they don’t wear sunglasses, get wrinkles. When did you start wearing sunglasses cause you know you have…..”

Yes, thank you. I cut him off short, batting away the finger being pointed at my eye. Show me the picture of these magnificent glasses, I finally relented, thinking ahead to his birthday. They’re $50 bucks!!!! I cried. What happened to $40?

“They’re 20% off,” he huffed.

No! I stated bluntly. We’re not buying you any sunglasses and I don’t want to be nagged about it again. I’d reached the end of my tether.

He folded his arms and I knew I’d won; an very weary victory.

Then a little voice piped up from the far back seat. “When we were out shopping with Nanny, I found this camping chair I really liked. It was only $80 bucks… Can I get it? Please Mum. I’ll use my own money.”

**** Smacked forehead****

Blonde on!

Little Birdie

“Ahhh,” I sighed stretching my arms wide. The Lord of the Manor and I had been sitting across the table from each other without speaking for a good fifteen minutes.

** His attention didn’t waver from his laptop.

“Wa-ahhhhhhh,” I sighed louder shifting from side-to-side in an even bigger stretch.

** Still nothing from across the table.

“Ba-caw,” I imitated a little bird softly.

** Nothing. Not even a flicker.

“Ba-caw-caw,” I increased the volume and waved my wings a touch.

** The Lord of the Manor sat transfixed by his screen. His eyelashes didn’t even flutter.

“Baaaa-look-up-here,” I tweeted louder, flapping harder.

** Still nothing.

“Look-up-here, look-up-here,” I hollered gesturing wildly and shaking my head.

** Without batting an eye or even cracking a smile the Lord of the Manor intoned utterly deadpan, “I know what you’re doing.”

“What am I doing?” I goaded him, trying not to laugh.

** “It’s not going to work,” he added, determinedly expressionless.

“Why not?” I demanded, grinning manically.

** Finally cracking a smile, he shook his head.“Dufus……”

Ah ha! Got him.

Yep, just another normal Sunday morning at our house.

Blonde on!

Stir-Fried

When the Lord of the Manor found me in the kitchen surrounded by raw ingredients he stopped dead in his tracks. “Are you doing something scary?” He asked, appraising the scene from a notably safe distance.

I looked at him over the top of the recipe. “Maybe.” Then squaring my shoulders, “Yes. Yes, I am.”

He took one large step back. “Do you need help?”

If his back tracking wasn’t obvious enough, his tone left me in no doubt he wanted nothing to do with this. But where’s the fun in that?

“Yes,” I replied sensing a rare opportunity, “I do need your help.” If this escapade ended in hell and high water his assistance would assign us both equal blame.

His voice disappearing with fear, “What do you need me to do?”

“We’re going to stir fry this chicken,” I declared. “Using your jet burner.”

“Okay……” he drawled, a slow smile replacing his hesitation, a wary excitement filling his eyes. The jet burner makes a very big flame. It could literally launch a rocket. A big boy toy.

“Slice chicken, coat in flour, fry then add sauce,” I read. “Simple!”

I forgave his derisive snort. No. No… it was totally justified. Simple and I do not co-exist in the kitchen – EVER!

I can over-whip meringue, burn shortbread, bake flat cakes and generally stuff-up the most basic recipes. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve rumbled with the Kenwood, come to blows with the rolling pin and hurled the wooden spoon, but it’s a lot. Baking is by no means my favourite pastime.

Now, I tried my best to stuff this up, dear reader, I really did. There’s nothing funny about success, but the jet burner brought the wok up to an incredibly high temp and the chicken was fried to perfection within seconds; tender and juicy. I didn’t set off the smoke alarm – a usual sign I’m stir-frying – not once. The kids didn’t even complain when I set their dinner down in front of them.

“Why do you look so glum?” The Lord of the Manor asked. “Dinner was delicious.”

“That’s the problem,” I muttered darkly. “How am I going to finish my blog now? And worse, this completely ruins my reputation for being useless in the kitchen.”

“There. There,” he soothed. “You’ll always be useless in the kitchen to me.”

Perfect.

Blonde on!