Sunday, March 22, 2009

What's sleeping in your bedroom?

Monday 23rd March

Another beautiful day, the weather at the moment is just magical, hot and sunny during the day with a slight crispness creeping in during the evenings and early mornings. Given our usual run of luck, the onset of the holidays and the arrival of visitors from the UK in a couple of weeks means that with impeccable timing it will start to bucket down in tropical rainforest like deluges. Sydney Harbour looks stunning glittering away on a sunny morning, but on a wet, dank afternoon with a sullen grey sky and sea it can resemble Leith on a bad day.

It’s been an interesting week. I spent Thursday night working on a stall at a Bridal Expo as a favour to my fitness instructor who has set up his own company. He was hoping to persuade lots of brides that in order to look their best for the big day it might be a good idea to sign up for three months of fitness classes. Our stall was handily placed between a wedding cake stall, yum, yum and a wedding photographer so we had a constant flow of traffic. There is a definite art to launching yourself towards potential targets. You don’t want to say “Would you be interested in a fitness training club?” in tones that suggest, “and my goodness don’t you need it”. I was manning the stall with the instructor’s girlfriend who is a lithe, tanned, athletic looking, 23 year old. Simon unkindly suggested that perhaps we were intended as a before and after matching pair. I was intrigued by the rest of the stalls that included a naughty underwear stall, a teeth straightening outfit and more wedding celebrants than you could shake an engagement ring at. Good result from the whole thing though, who should be there at boot camp this morning, not a bride but the lady from the wedding cake stall!

On the topic of teeth we have just been on the annual visit to the orthodontist. Heavy sigh. Our American paediatric orthodontist used to send me a mother’s day card which I felt symbolised the fact we were destined to be linked together by bank debit for the rest of my life. We have had a few years of respite but now the edict has gone out, pay a fortune, in handy instalments or condemn Drama Queen no. 1 to functional but crooked teeth. It is one of those tricky ethical questions, once they have told you that you can save your child from looking like Baldrick, it is hard to say “well being called snaggletooth never killed anyone, did it?” with heartfelt conviction. Add into this mixture Drama Queen no.’s immediate reaction, which is that we are trying to ruin her life (by which she means prime teenage years) by refusing to countenance piercings on the grounds they are unnatural adornments to her body whilst at the same time forcing her into unsightly and repellent metal braces.

As I type our duvet is whizzing round in the washing machine. Our bedroom has become less of a personal sanctuary and more of a wildlife refuge. I woke up the other night because I could feel something crawling over me. As Simon was snoring away that eliminated him as a possibility so I flung on the light and revealed a giant cockroach which Simon dispatched. I would have dismissed it as an isolated incident apart from the fact I walked into the bedroom yesterday and disturbed an even bigger cockroach stretched out for a siesta on Simon’s pillow. However this morning we have moved into new territory, I never thought I would regard sharing a bedroom with cockroaches as an acceptable state of affairs but following my discovery of a huntsman spider in the corner of the room I feel like putting up a sign saying, ‘Come back cockroaches, all is forgiven”. For those in Britain, a huntsman spider, reassuringly known as the Australian Tarantula, is about the size of your hand, hairy, in fact even its legs are big enough to be hairy and whilst not dangerous not the kind of thing you want to have taking up residence in your bedroom. I recently told Simon the dubious statistic that the average person swallows a number of spiders in their sleep, this may be one of the great urban myths but I can safely say that if you attempted to swallow a huntsman in your sleep if you didn’t choke to death you would be rivalling the infamous 1986 Sun headline 'Freddie Starr ate my hamster'. As I am liberated woman, and was keen to put up a good show before my audience of Drama Queen no.3 and demonstrate that real women do not emit girly screams and run from spiders I attempted to catch the huntsman. It shot up to the cornice with an unnerving high leg movement. I considered leaving it there and hoping it went away but common sense prevailed and I realised if I came back and it had vanished the interesting question would be ‘where to?’ Images flickered across my brain of Simon and I lying rigid in bed night after night, head torches strapped to our brows, waiting to spring into action at the slightest touch of a furry leg. Overcome by my own bravery I got the mop and herded it into a large mug and slapped a plate on top. Given squashing it would involve a major redecoration job and wouldn’t do much for my already overstretched nerves I decided on a relocation policy and marched at least 200m down the street before releasing it onto a tree.

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