Thursday, May 7, 2009

Vermin and teeth

I opened the dishwasher this morning to empty it and found myself face to face with a very large cockroach, I think the correct expression here is that it gave me a nasty turn. I resisted the temptation to slam the door shut and pretend I hadn’t seen it and took some comfort from the perceived wisdom that it’s not the big ones you have to worry about. Sydney is famous for its cockroaches, which are a breed apart in terms of size and vigour. When we first lived here in 1991 we had friends who rented a terraced house in Paddington that suffered from a cockroach plague. The evening entertainment round at their place, consisted of sitting in the front hall with a rolled up newspaper, ready to whack each cockroach as it marched under the front door and across the threshold. Should this first line of defence fail they then had a number of cockroach baits scattered around the place, emblazoned with the cheery slogan “Cockroach Hotel. They check in but they never check out.”

I always felt vaguely superior as we’ve never had a real cockroach problem, though that is more by the grace of God rather than as a result of any high levels of cleanliness and hygiene. In fact in one rented flat we discovered, or rather my brother in law discovered by dint of finding a rodent behind sticking out of the cereal packet, that we had a fairly major rat problem. Simon, always up for a bit of a challenge, dealt with this by baiting interesting concoctions of food and leaving them around the kitchen. The rat thrived on its new diet whilst I refused to consume any food within the house for fear of getting a dose of rat poison. After an interesting period where I lost weight and the rat presumably gained, the situation was resolved eventually by the ‘remove a rodent’ man.

My new best friend at the moment is the orthodontist. I seem to spend more time at his surgery than anywhere else, generally clutching my chest as yet another exorbitantly expensive piece of dental work is proposed. Drama Queen No 1 in fact has just gone to bed, dosed up to the eyeballs on Panadol to counter the pain from having spacers put in to force her teeth apart so that her braces can go on next week. Meanwhile when I took Drama Queen no. 2 in for her check up last week, the orthodontist rather unwisely and certainly unfeelingly, casually mentioned that in addition to having to have braces, DQ2 would probably have to have four baby teeth taken out. It was just as well he had instruments in her mouth otherwise he and I might have been treated to some decidedly inappropriate language. As it was her eyes bulged alarmingly, and it was a toss up whether hysteria would break out in the lift or be postponed until we reached the car.

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