Shit Stuff Kids Really Say (That Won’t Go on Posters)

WordPress (god bless em) are really REALLY good at highlighting fabby new bloggers. Except that WordPress is really really NOT good at highlighting fabby new bloggers because I have never yet made it to Freshly Pressed.

Despite this, I am not bitter.

I read my way through the omnibus of this and that and the other that WordPress.com throws up for me daily. Mostly without sour grapes. Sometimes I do follow the bloggers on Freshly Pressed. This can be a mistake as I am obsessed with shoes and most people are not. Therefore usually I find most of my REALLY good (good in this context = mental and shoe obessed) other bloggers through Shoeperwoman and Denise.

However, and I move swiftly on, I am not averse to a bit of cute in the child department.

Coz my children are the epitome of cute. Oh yes.

To paraphrase my mother:

“Why else would you have children other that to (a) torment them (b) derive amusement from them”. 

So this here post was cute for about the thirty seconds that I read it aloud to my husband before he stopped me.

That” he said “is kid quote fakery. Kids don’t say that stuff. Kids say the kind of things that our kids say“.

Really?

I bloody well hope not.  A representative sample of the stuff that my kids say appears below. {Legend: Quotes from the Minx (age 4) appear in  blue. Quotes from the Noisy Boy (aged 8) appear in diva-esque purple}

Daddy when will your boss see me naked.”  <turns round and wriggles little bare bum around like one of those women on the Shopping Channel Pish Circle Pro thingies>

When I close my eyes they don’t work.

My heart hurts because you are yelling at me.

Mummy – I like you wearing leather. 

Looking my outfit up and down – Mum, I like what you are doing here.

Mummy why do you have hair on your bagina?

I’m not listening to you – you are only my dad.

I’m not listening to you – my ears hurt.

If I don’t look at you I can’t hear or see you.

Will I ever get a willy as big as yours daddy? (my husband paid me to write this)

Mummy – you wear very tall shoes. I like this.

Wittner Black Stiletto Gladiator Boots

“I have to return some videotapes” Surburban Psychos Part 1: The eBay Seller who Wouldn’t)

Friday nights should be peaceful times to lie belly down on the carpet and pretend to be looking for the green bits of the jigsaw puzzle the rest of the house is working on and briefly watch some TV before conking out.

For me brief TV watching these days means watching Snog Marry Avoid on the sofa one arm holding up a glass of wine, the other my head until I fall asleep to escape my guilty conscience.

This Friday I am multi-tasking by drinking wine, watching the foregoing and plundering eBay for a weekend purchase or two.

I need some work shoes. By work shoes, I mean plain black pumps, as nondescript and as classic as possible without making me feel like a door to door missionary.

I see and bid for these with very little time to go on the auction clock.

This seller has a feedback rating of 16 and it was a last minute bid. There is no time to check what people are saying about her or vice versa. I bid $15.99 max as is my habit when doing last minute bids.

Sometime on Saturday evening I notice that I have won the auction. I check the Listing to make sure that the seller doesn’t prefer Bank Deposit over PayPal for purchases under $10.  Nothing is said about payment on the page so I select PayPal, go through the usual umpteen screens before payment is confirmed. Then I forgot about it until I get the following email from the seller:

Hello Caveat Calcei,
 
Thank you foor payment and congratulations for such a cheap buy. Are you in the City CBD at all this week for me to give you the shoes?
 
Regards,
P_______
0410 xxx xxx

Strange – I think to myself, forgetting the Free Postage bit. Well, I could always do with a trip to the city and it saves postage for the seller.

So I reply:

Hi P

 
Yes – I was a bit taken aback that I wasn’t bidding against a cast of 100s (well at least 10 people) as is usually the case.
 
I work in [insert here suburb which is miles away from the City] but can possibly travel to the CBD on Thursday around lunchtime-ish. Which station are you closest to?

Sunday nights should be peaceful times when there are candles burning on table, music on the iDevice and perhaps a bit more brief TV watching before I head off for crisp clean new sheets and hopes of getting more than 6 hours sleep.

In the circumstances it was probably not the best idea to watch Nick Broomfield’s documentary on Aileen Wuornos

To escape the feeling that steel cockroaches are crawling all over me I check my email.
The shoe seller has sent me this message directly to my Hotmail address.
Hi Caveat Calcei,
 
Thursday will be fine. I am nearest to Wynyard station. How about 1pm?
 
I wish you paid me in cash because I now pay a fee on Paypal. Too late now though.
 
My mobile is 0411 xxx xxx. What is your mobile number?
 
Regards,
P_______
 
I have no idea why she decided to pick up my email address from Hotmail and contact me privately. Normally sellers contact me through the eBay Message Centre. Now I am starting to feel uncomfortable. Call me old fashioned but giving out my phone number to someone I don’t know who has my address is not on my list of safe, sane activities.
I reply:
Hi P_____

 
I did check your listing before paying as I would rather pay by bank deposit with the sale price is so low. I hate PayPal’s fees too.
 
Make sure that you put down that you accept bank deposits in future! Not every eBayer does and I have been told off a number of times by sellers for offering payment by bank deposit 😉
 
Best wishes
Caveat Calcei  
Now you know of course that it is all going to go to belly up in a bathful of week old chicken jelly and giblets don’t you?
Let me just put down the rest of the email correspondence and let you digest the next few emails:

Her:

I did not want bank deposit. Kind of preferred cash only. I may have mentioned it in the ad. Too late now, that’s in the past.

Is 1pm on Thursday near Wynyard good for you? What is your mobile number?

P_______

Me:

You can’t do cash on eBay unfortunately P___ – it’s against the rules. Gumtree will let you do that. Can I text you on Thursday morning?  

 
Many thanks
Caveat Calcei
Her:

Yes you can do “cash on delivery” if the Seller chooses that. The physical option to do that is on Ebay when setting up the sale of an item. Anyway, as last said, that is in the past.

Is there a reason you have not supplied your mobile number since I gave you mine? I would like to know the number that will be calling me.
Regards,
P______

About this time the army of steel cockroaches have been joined by the cold and overwhelming feeling that I should start checking my windows and doors. The only time I have ever felt like this before was when I was in a off licence in Glasgow minding my own business when two guys turned up to rob the place with axes.

Funnily enough for an online marketplace eBay doesn’t have a Psychotic Seller alert button. Nor does PayPal. I clicked on the PayPal Dispute Resolution Centre anyway. The only Dispute Resolution option that was anywhere close  (The Item Not Received Dispute Option).  Not being one to be sleekit about things I thought that I would put down for the record why P made me feel so uncomfortable.

Dear P_______

I am very uncomfortable about the way that you have chosen to contact me about the sale. The normal channel would be by eBay email not by direct email.

Also, the listing provides that you offer Free Postage. In fact, you have only given me the option to pick up from you at Wynyward Station. There are safety issues in doing that make me feel extremely uncomfortable particularly as you are also insisting on getting my mobile phone number as well.

Finally, I appreciate that there are fees involved in PayPal transactions. If you want to avoid these, you are probably best to avoid selling on eBay in future.

On the balance I’d prefer if you refund the purchase price. Then you can sell to someone else, elsewhere.

Kind regards

Caveat Calcei

The email above is one that sent before I went to bed. Probably not one of my better ideas since I slept pretty badly.

While I was sleeping the following emails were delivered.

To PayPal:

Hello Caveat Calcei,

You bought this Item on Friday night and it is now Sunday night. It was physically impossible for Australia Post to send you the item by today as it is a weekend so your classification of dispute is not categorised in the manner which it pertains to.

I accept you feel particular about how you use Ebay, but it is not your place to advise me on what to do or where to sell.

To keep this matter focussed on the sale only, I will refund your money of $8 to you and consider this matter closed.

Regards,

P_____

This to my personal email:

Sunday, 25 March, 2012, 11:05 PM

Hello Caveat Calci,

You have opened a dispute with ebay/Paypal saying I have not sent you the goods. Given that you bought them on Friday evening and it is Sunday evening there is no way you could have received them by post so your dispute will not work.

You have not asked me to mail you the product and you have now made it impossible for me to take the $8 from Paypal (the dispute you raised caused this to halt the payment).

Please stop this Ebay/Paypal complaint so that you can receive the shoes. Ebay rules clearly state that the seller is to be paid before they send the product.

This email is going to be shared with Ebay/Paypal and any necessary legal and statutory authorities regarding this matter if asked/required by me.

If you no longer want the shoes, then please say so if that is what this is all about.
Regards,
Pauline

Then this morning:

Please see I went through dispute resolution. Please have your $8 back and consider the matter closed. 

Remembering Aileen Wuornos’ dead fish eyes I thought that the best response was a simple:

Thank you.

Brrr.

Reckon I should stock up on some more metal heels?

No More Furniture Farts and Cockroach Alarm Clocks

Vintage Fully Fashioned Seamed Stockings by eBay Seller leglines. Red patent leather stilettos by Innovare

Last night my husband and I went to bed last night about 10 pm. This morning I woke up at 5.30 am. On the dot.

There was no reason for me to wake up. I was tired. I have had a busy, stressful week. I ran 3.1 km from my daughter’s kindergarten to work yesterday morning. Then yesterday afternoon, I ran 3.1 km back to my daughter’s kindergarten from work. The legs are a bit sore.

At around 5.30 am every morning our next door neighbour goes for a cigarette and a bowel movement in his downstairs lav.  This stops everyone in his house having to smell and hear him. We are not so lucky.

5.35 am Lights on. I wake up and start feeling around the bed for my husband. I find my husband’s nose and squeeze in a half awake, disorientated and slightly infantile manner.

Aaargh”  screams my husband “what are your doing?”

Checking you are alive” I say.

You’re nuts” he says affectionately.

Cue a deep scraping noise that could conceivably be the sound of deep bowel elimination. I hide my head under my pillow.

It’s ok” says my husband “that’s only the sound of furniture scraping along the floor not the sound of more bowel action”.

Oh good and now I really feel like going back to sleep.

From about the end of January until the beginning of April we all seem to sleep very badly in here.

My dreams are easily interrupted with visitations of unpleasant visitors. We have a ghost who I normally chastise for this.  There was, however, nothing mistakable about the scaly sliding scraping and flopping thing working its way up and down my vertebrae a while back.

Eyes open, sitting bolt upright, flicking right and left like an old lady you’d ignore at a bus stop.

COCKROACH?!!!” I eep.

Don’t be silly” says my husband while whacking the beetle with a heavy object, several times.

I have to shower. Change the sheets. Have a cup of tea.

Then I sit upright on my pillows, sheet tucked under my breasts like a 70s sitcom starlet.

No sleeping now. Not without copious amounts of alcohol.

It’s now 6.00 am. The decent coffee place doesn’t open until 7 am.

The Chop

The Janet Leigh Look Good While Being Murdered Horribly Crop

I have this theory that somewhere in our style imaginations we all try to aspire to our favourite film characters and celebrities.

Who do we aspire to be?

I have always really admired [mutters under breath] :

_i_to_i_ B_c_h_m

Yes well – she does wear some spectacular shoes.

For a number of months now my husband has been complaining about my hair.

It looks okay from the front” he would tell me “but from the back it looks flat and weird“,

I can’t see the back of my head.

Figuring out what my hair looks like from behind is a bit like wondering what my behind looks like from behind. A fairly fruitless exercise in self-observation.

So I decided upon a cunning plan and purchased one of those little handbag sized hair style magazines yesterday.

A gauntlet of glossy paper I throw down in front of my husband after we’d bought the ingredients for our favourite Scottish soup.

Ok – I have heard now for many months what you do not like about my hair. Now it is time to help me choose a hairstyle that you will like“.

With this I sat back with no small amount of self-satisfied rectitude and waited for the choices to be made for me by someone else.

These are the top five hairstyles chosen by my husband:

For a man who previously was a long hair only obsessive I am most impressed with the array of short edgy cuts that he chose.

When John mentioned that one crop was an Elizabeth Taylor crop, I probed a wee bit further.

“Who do you see when you see these these photos?”

This is who he saw (can you match up the celebrity/character with the crops above?):

The Emma Watson "Rosemary's Baby" Gamine Crop

The Tilda Swinton Bowie-esque Androgynous Crop

The Sharleen Spiteri Glaswegian/Italian Siren Crop - inner CD sleeve art - White on Blonde

 

The Impossibly Huge Eyes Elizabeth Taylor Siren Crop

And this is how I ended up looking.

Hair by Coralie at Motorhead Hair D'Zyne 32 Ormonde Parade Hurstville NSW 2220 (02) 9580 3825

Like who? Do I know?  Not really.

Will I find out?

I hope so.

Meantime the freedom of shedding two years of dead protein symbolically and follically is AMAZING.

Tell me about your favourite ever hair cut? Send me a link to a photo too?

Spring smells like salt, soil, devil’s dung, leather and old stockings in cellophane

Spring green cherry tomato

When I started writing this post in September the spring had just sprung on Sydney.  We sowed some seeds to see where these might lead. We have not had much luck with seeds here.

While my husband and I lived in Glasgow we had an allotment in Queen’s Park in Glasgow’s South Side, about 10 minutes walk from our flat.

Allotments, for the uninitiated, look a bit like this:

Me in our allotment circa 1998-ish.

Throughout Glasgow, allotments give tenement flat dwelling folk the opportunity to have vegetable and flower gardens. Our allotment cost us ten quid a year.

Allotments are open and communal and unpretentious, some might even  say grotty. People build ramshackle greenhouses fashioned from waste and recycleable materials.

Allotments are hard to come by. We managed to acquire ours by piggybacking on the back of a friend who let us use half of her allotment. She and her boyfriend then went to the USA for work and left the entire allotment in our care. As a result we jumped the usual waiting list by  watering the Allotment Secretary’s plots after sundown and blatantly uplifting the most persistent weeds from his prize cucumbers.

The India Cookbook (in bag)

This queue jumping lead to more than a little resentment among the other gardeners.  The only person who was pleasant to us from the start was our next-plot neighbour – a football obsessed guy called Ali. Ali was second generation migrant to Scotland from Pakistan with 5 children ranging in age from 8 to 22. His children all lived at home and he worked at three jobs – as an accountant during the day, as a taxi driver in the evenings and as a waiter at Mother India at the weekend. He and his dad grew all the onions, spinach and coriander for Mother India at Queens Park Allotments. In return for watering his vegetables during the warmer months while he was taxi-ing, Ali would leave us little care packages of Indian food – saag aloo paneer, vegetable karahi, samosas and haddock curry with tomatoes.

Plein Sud Leather Shell Top and Third Millennium Caramel Leather Pencil Skirt via eBay.

You may not have realised this, but Glasgow is the official Curry Capital of Britain.When we moved to Sydney we left our allotment and the wealth of flavours to be enjoyed in Glasgow’s curry restaurants behind. I’ve never yet managed to find Indian food as delicious in Sydney as we enjoyed in Glasgow.

So we have learned to cook what we need for ourselves.  It’s all about the ingredients – particularly the strong, garlicky, dung-like smell of asafoetida

Asafoetida/Devil's Dung

and the diva-esque use of garlic.

There was the time that we made garlic naan bread with way, WAY too many bulbs of garlic. It was in the recipe though:

Very Garlic-ky Naan Bread Recipe

One of my favourite breakfasts is cold garlic naan bread with just about anything I can find of a savoury nature on on top. Even without my glasses my nose could  have found this cold naan at a thousand paces. That makes my nose and my mind happy.

Spring and the time for growing new things has now passed us by for another year.

The torrential rain in New South Wales over the last wee while should prepare the way for moist soil if all the nutrients don’t leach off into the sea.

I look forward to the smell of growing things in the way that I look forward to the smell of good quality paper when I read the children bedtime stories.

Sometimes smells seduce me to the extent that I have to keep returning to the olfactory source to get my fix.

The smell of Mother India curry is one such pull. The other is the scent of old cellophane on nylon and silk stockings.

Tuderose Stockings box

There is a vintage stocking seller on eBay whom I buy from very frequently. Every time I open an envelope from her I pause, hover my nose over the envelope and take a deep restorative breath.

In each breath I am reminded of my elegant grandmother. I used to think that cigarette smoke was the one invocation that would conjure up her memory.

Little did I know that the smell of cellophane on 60s stockings would do the same.

Pale Green Gianmarco Lorenzi Snakeskin Stilettos

So it is here that I will leave you, for only a short period of time, to reflect on the smell of fresh curry, leather and stockings in cellophane.

Or

The smell of anything that makes you feel happy and secure. Just breathe it in.

Shoeper Shoe Challenge 2011 – 12 : The Last Pair

Finally thank you all for staying with me to the very end of this year’s shoe challenge. I didn’t think that I would ever get the blog posts over the line:

105 of 105: Spring Green Snakeskin Stilettos – Gianmarco Lorenzi via eBay

Shoe Save 105 of 105 - Gianmarco Lorenzi Spring Green Stilettos

And the page turns

103 of 105 - Shoes gifted by @NomesMessenger - Outside the Supreme Court of Australia

A few weeks ago I travelled down to Canberra to see my very good friend Ally.

There were a lot of things on my mind at the time. On the top of the list of things on my mind was the need to spend some time on my own.

In my life I have spent very little time on my own. This is odd because I do actually enjoy my own company.

Canberra is very pleasant. The denizens of Canberra have, each and every one, mentioned to me that it is a big city hidden inside a country town.  There are trees on every street. The streets feel lazy, drowsy, relaxed. In the city centre, politicians and civil servants walk purposefully but softly from one large air conditioned building to another. Commuter cyclists wend their contented way along wide bike lanes on straight roads.

It’s a zen capital city.

For me to say that I spend little time on my own seems unfair when to do so means leaving my husband and children behind.

My husband stands at exactly the same spot to take a photo of the sunrise for me every single morning. Yet every morning the cloudscape is different like an extempore pancake recipe of light and moisture.

Trips away alone carry the promise of peace and calm but with a tinge of menace. Who knows what while  you are away? What will happen when you return?

As part of the process of moving forward sometimes shedding layers of skin and life is required. Sloughing off the old like a lizard with eczema. So off I went to see what I still looked like inside my own head.

When I started this blog I was a lawyer who wrote about shoes. Now what am I? A mother, a wife, a yoga teacher, a blogger and _____ ? And what? Somewhere through space and time I will be able to complete the blanks. Does this sound selfish? To paraphrase Oscar Wilde – you are only being selfish when you ask others to live as you want to live.

 As a commercial lawyer in Australia very little of my job involved stepping out of an office and conducting negotiations in the trenches. While I practised law in Scotland I was out in the field, so to speak, two or three times a week. Digging my atavistic little lawyer claws into the mortal enemy (ie  person who wasn’t paying for my time and devotion).  Yet what are you as a lawyer if you are not a gun for hire? If you venture too far from the coal face you forget what it is all about. As I did.
To remind myself what the law is really all about I visited the National Library of Australia to see Lindy Chamberlain’s personal papers. What I read and saw broke my heart. Surely lawyers are there to protect people, to prevent the state from taking advantage of the disadvantaged and the weak? That was my belief so many years ago but the roots of the plant of my my belief  in justice, once well tended, lubricated and protected by moist soil had and have nothing left to to hang on to.
So I let go and left it all behind. Between then and now I have also shed some other chains that I had been carrying around with me rather in the way that you carry around far FAR too much crud in your handbag.
I decided to have a wee Canberra sabbatical and nearly killed a plane on the way down. Clicking on board with metal heels seemed to cause some kind of malfunction in the air conditioning.
It was a very itty bitty plane. In fact, I fully expected that we all be asked to stick our arms out of the windows and wave them up and down all the way to Canberra.
 
I love flying alone.
Sometimes a garden grows best when it is left to find its own way up towards the light.

When Ally picked me up at the airport she wore this beautiful dress.I knew Ally before I started this blog.  Ally has a love of colour and a knack with a floral frock that makes me joyful just to look at her. I felt my heart sort of leapt when I saw her.

Happy Fabric via @ACTinglikeamama

What is it that we seek?” I asked her on the way back to her house “Acceptance, happiness – what?

There comes a point in every woman’s life when she wants to be something other than what everyone else wants her to be.

Not sure that I agree with this quote.  My view is accept people for what they are and allow them to become who they want to become.

Anne Galivan once said to me – “I understand your shoe collection” she said ‘your shoes say do not underestimate me. I am so much more than you think I am.

Luckily it seems that I have married someone who is prepared to be the me that my shoes tell me that I am.

Keep turning those pages…

Shoeper Shoe Challenge Shoe Saves

103 of 105  Lovely Spanish Shoes gifted by Miss Nomes Messenger

104 of 105   Gucci Steel Heeled Stilettos last worn here

One more shoe save to go…