Sunday, January 08, 2006

Playing Catch-Up

This has turned out to be a rather long and rambling post, which I guess is what happens when you absent yourself from Blogania for 3 weeks. Grab a glass of wine and make yourselves comfy.


Spent at the in-lawses at their vineyard. Was supposed to be Monkey Boy and I, Monkey Boy's younger sister and the olds. Found out when we got their that it was also going to be Grandma and Grandpop, Cousin M and Auntie H & Uncle R. None of whom I've previously met.

Kweznuz Lunch consisted of the usual round of baby-related questions and "amusing" remarks about what we're letting ourselves in for, followed up by Grandpop (harmless and somewhat doddering 82 year old cutie having had too much vino), bailing me up and telling me his life story several times and often going off on tangents. Twice he told me that he hadnt seen Monkey Boy in 55 years. Everyone else was apologising and trying to look sorry for me but I'm sure they were all secretly amused. Rumour has it that I passed muster. I'm SO pleased. Ahem.

Unfortunately, Kweznuz coincided with the beginning of the THIRD TRIMESTER which brought with it emotional fragility, heartburn and reflux, an incredibly large and unwieldy belly, constantly sore back and ligaments and constant tiredness. I cried because MIL gave me a Bunnykins bowl for Spudly. I spent about an hour wandering around the gardens after Christmas Eve dinner dry retching constantly. I got almost no sleep. Yet somewhow, I still managed to have a good time. Go figure.


Our cute little Norty Tortie, Muffin, disappeared about two weeks before I found out I was pregnant. Nothing unusual. She's an Adventure Kitty, often fond of pissing off for weeks at a time and then casually sauntering in through the kitchen, demanding food, sleeping for a weekend and then buggering off again. This time, she didnt come back. I'd given her up for either dead or moved in with some other family she could mooch off.

Until the day after Boxing Day, that is. 25 weeks after we last saw her, she comes hurtling in through the back door at breakfast time with the rest of the feral herd. Incredibly skinny, rather ratty looking, with a massive swelling on one side of her face. But alive, and home. Best Kweznuz present ever.

Of course, there's no such thing as a free lunch, and as far as Muffin is concerned, there is no such thing as a free 6 month holiday either. That swelling has thus far cost us $200 to have lanced and drained, and then lanced and drained again 5 days later under a general anaesthetic because they didnt get it all the first time. She now has a lovely satellite dish on her head and a drainage tube sticking out of her head. She hates us and wonders why the hell she came home.

We, on the other hand, can now pick up Cable TV: 28 channels, nothin' but cats.


We stayed home. We watched the incredibly wasteful and excessive fireworks from Sydney Harbour on the teev (okay, they were pretty and sparkly, but surely we could find something better to do with $4million?), played Canasta (which I lost, as I always do) and went to sleep at 12.30. Hardcore!


Every year the same thing happens. I get to August and start complaining about how I cant stand the cold for a minute longer and let's move to Geraldton where its lovely all year round, and where the hell is summer, bring on summer, I want it to be warm, yay summer. Then summer gets here and we end up with days of 42.5 degrees (108.5F) which happen to coincide with the day we are driving into the city to do our shopping in a giant TIN SHED and I want to die. I'm pleased and amazed that I managed to get through it without any massive swelling of my extremities, but for the next few days I declined to do anything that didnt involve my bed and an airconditioner and the cricket on the telly. Obviously I survived, but I'd still like to move to Geraldton please.


Hmmm... where to start. Well, needless to say there has been no change whatsoever in the House of the Perpetually Retarded. Mother is still hobbling around on the walking frame, downing codeine tablets like there's no tomorrow and refusing to get any medical attention. Dad is still off with the pixies, and it seems as though that's a pleasant enough place to be as far as he's concerned. My concern, however, is with his increasing weight loss, which my mother (when prompted) will acknowledge with "I thought he's lost a little weight, but he's eating fine." Hmmm, sorry, but 10 kilos is not a little, and having a tin of Spam for Christmas Lunch is NOT EATING FINE!

Oh, and another thing... their air-conditioner broke, ooooh, about two months ago. Mother says "I dont know what to do. Dad cant fix it. I suppose I'll have to ring somebody." Two months later, when its 42.5 degrees, its still not fixed. Dad is obviously not coping with the stifling temperature in their timber frame asbestos clad house and she's still saying "The air-conditioner is still not working. I dont know what I'm going to do. I suppose I'll have to ring somebody."

See a pattern here, anyone? That's right, ma, its BROKEN. Its not going to FIX ITSELF. Just like your hip. Just like dad's dementia. Just like the gall stones you've been ignoring for 30 years.

Anyway, I have extricated myself from the situation. I went out and got her enough cash to last for at least a month, and she knows (well, I told her, at least) that I wont be taking dad to his next specialist appointment this month. (What's the bet that she still rings up a couple of days before and asks if I'm coming down to take dad to his appointment, and then whines about how she cant possibly get there blah blah blah?) I have no reason to have to go down to see them, so I'm not going to. On one hand, I can make myself feel incredibly guilty for abandoning the olds when they need help, but on the other, you cant make people accept help when they dont want it. All it has done to me is make me feel even more like shit when I go and see them, and who needs that, especially 11 weeks away from giving birth? Not I.


I've been reading up a storm over the last twelve months. The most recent offering that wasnt connected with babies was Orwell's 1984. I've had this book sitting on my shelf for years, and I cant believe its taken me this long to pull it out and read it. Aside from finding it rather disturbing in its similarities to the current political climate in both Australia and the US (pretty much the same country these days, as far as I can tell) I also had an epiphany.

Both my mother and Fuckhead engage in Orwell's Doublethink. I never knew before how to articulate what it is they do exactly, with their manipulations and their incredibly complex mindgames. Now I know.

"Doublethink" is:

the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. ... To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed... (Orwell, 1984)

What an incredibly powerful tool. Rewrite history, and both realise you are doing so and denying to yourself the fact that you are doing so at the same time. How can anyone living with that sort of obsessive and all-pervasive behaviour stand a chance of not being driven mad by it? How on earth did I live with that for 19 years with my mother, and 4.5 years with Fuckhead, and come out of it with my sanity in tact (more or less)?

Fuckhead would make constant claims, both to me and to anyone else who would listen, that he would NEVER hit a woman. Usually just after he'd hit me. I'm positive he believed it himself. In addition, we would have conversations that would go round and round in circles, where he would start off making some ridiculous assertion (usually about how wonderful he was and how crap I was) to which I would respond, and the fighting would start. This happened almost every day. At some point in the conversation, he would deny ever having said what he'd said in the first place, twist what had been said and assert that I was the one who had made that claim in the first place and that it was just ridiculous. I swear there were so many times I thought I really would go mad.

My mother has a fondness for rewriting history. Rather than claim, like Fuckhead, that she never said things that she'd only just said, she would rewrite the script of her life. Accordingly, I had a perfectly normal and happy childhood, she didnt live with domestic violence, she absolutely NEVER took Thalidomide whilst pregnant with me, she was always happy to look after her mother in her declining years and NEVER complained about it, dad never showed any signs of losing his memory until he disappeared last year... Need I go on?

She has spent a lifetime behaving in this way. It has become so ingrained that she, like the members of Orwell's Party, believes her own deceptions. People have said to me that she rejects any help for her and dad out of fear, or wanting to maintain control over her own life. However, in the context of her life, this behaviour appears to me now for what it is: beyond all rationality or reason. I'm not sure what the psychiatrists of the world would call it but whatever its label is, it s clearly a very powerful psychological disorder. One I havent a hope of changing.

At long last, I GET IT. It wasnt my fault that I couldnt help Fuckhead. I wasnt weak for feeling like I was going mad. Its not my fault that I cant get through to my mother. There IS nothing I can do and I am not a bad person for walking away from trying.


New Study is finished! Check out the improvements:

Spudly's Room has vastly improved. The new floor goes in tomorrow when the in-laws come up to help, bless 'em.

Here's the lovely colour scheme. The ceiling idea was a test to cover up the crap plasterboard that we cant be bothered replacing. I think we'll keep it.

The floor, as you can see, needed work:

Those little termite bastards ate everything except the floor varnish.

And here's the new floor ready to go in. the boards came out of a local Primary School which was being demolished. I spent hours banging the nails out of them, which is not nearly as much fun as it sounds.

Ummm...yeh...I think thats it.

Renovating, Kweznus, hot weather, more renovating, kitties...

Oh! We have ducklings!

Thank you for your patience. Our normal programming will resume shortly.


  1. Cherice4:52 pm

    Yay for epiphanies!

    Those rooms are looking soooooo good. The house is positively sparkly and fresh. :)

  2. Thanks for the report, Panda. Sounds like you made it through with grace. And I loved your Doublethink epiphany. You're so right. I shudder to think what you've had to endure -- and that story with your parents right now must be so sad and so hard for you. I'm sorry. And congratulations on your third trimester!

  3. I loved the entire post. You crack me up, too (the satellite dish especially). And the rooms are startlingly marvelous! You've been so busy!

    By the way, do you know who the best-known Australian is in the U.S.? Steve Irwin. Yes, the Crocodile Hunter. I'm embarrassed for you guys.

  4. Glad to be filled in on all things Panda. You look smashing!

  5. Thanks for the catch up darling... looks like you are doing great on many fronts.

    The doublethink epiphany is so right on. Had a fuckhead of my own and he practiced the very same process of thinking and twisting. Fuckheads!

    Hurrah 3rd Trimester... less than 11 weeks to go! So excited for you and Monkey Boy.

  6. Hurrah!!! An actual to goodness real-live POST from Panda!!! YAAAY!

    Oh, boy... wherever to start... the kitty... sob... soo soo wonderful... makes me want to grab all my animals and hug them to bits! Which, in fact... I probably will do post haste.

    Your house... looks lovely! Love the colours. What about the bathroom?? I recall that being an area of particular distress in the past! Does it have walls again?? chuckle.

    YOU... YOU look absolutely glorious you TWAT! Where are the fat ankles and triple chins... GAH! Pregnant AND gorgeous... I knew I hated you for a reason.

    Your family? Siiighh... this is where I forget I hate you and just want to... to... do SOMETHING helpful... You are one tough cookie to have survived that horrible environment.

    Caribou smooches, sweety! MWAH!

  7. Cherice2:45 am

    Yay for epiphanies!

    Those rooms are looking soooooo good. The house is positively sparkly and fresh. :)


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