Diatribe of a Temporary Housewife

Friday, 31 July 2009

All my life, I believed that women who chose home duties as a vocation were somehow "letting the side down". But that was before I was made redundant from my stressful if underpaid advertising career, moved in with DF, and found myself temporarily living as a housewife in all but name.

According to reports such as this one on Sixty Minutes, being a housewife is the new black. Watching that story made me intimidated, and depressed. Domestic arts? Hell, I was a domestic sataness. I appreciate a basic level of cleanliness. I like to cook. But tupperware parties, padded hangers and time-release air fresheners are not me. Once the house was cleanish, I didn't know what to do with my days. And I don't know where they all went. If there is a Hell for housewives the first thing they'll say when you get there - and every day for the rest of eternity - is "What did you do all day?"

It was a huge comedown from the Harbour view office, after work cocktails and shopping to fill the enormous void in my life. We could have become a reality TV show, but the problem with that is you need a stable situation and a catchy title. When things go wrong, it can get messy - Kate Plus 8 is still fine, but Jon Plus 8 sounds like a bunch of people gathered in a toilet, probably for nefarious purposes.

Anyway, the experience is now over - I'm training to be a youth worker - and it's given me some empathy, if not a lot of sympathy, for those women who choose a life of baking, housekeeping and one day sales. I'm looking forward to working again, though.

I Only Steal Hearts

Sunday, 26 July 2009

If I may get personal for a moment...

...will you all please stop calling me a cradle snatcher?

My Darling Finacé (DF) is everything I've ever wanted in a man...and eighteen months younger than me. He graduated high school just one year after I did. Not an age gap that would count among adults, you would think...and yet I'm continually called a cradle snatcher. Because he is the guy and supposed to be older than me.

In Australia, grooms are on average 2.8 years older than brides in first marriages. The average age gap has declined over time, but still, in a majority of marriages the groom is older than the bride (taller, too). We equate age with power (in this context) so the guy is supposed to be older and more powerful. For all my jokes about being a woman in my thirties with a twenty-something lover, the truth is it's pretty grating, sexist and offensive.

Thanks! I feel better.

In Due Season: A Tribute To The Chaser

Friday, 17 July 2009

Like many of you, I was alarmed on Wednesday night to learn that The Chaser's War On Everything is coming to an end in two weeks. Did the evil forces of talkback radio get them in the end? Was it all over? Fear not. According to the show website, the truth is:

"As I've mentioned before, this series was always going to end at the end of July, and contain ten episodes. The ABC's decision to suspend the show had the effect of reducing that to eight (which means there will be a lot of stuff on the DVD!)

But yeah, at this stage, we feel like we've done our dash with the War On Everything, and that's what Chris was referring to – not necessarily future Chaser projects, but this particular show. For one thing, it's become increasingly difficult to film the stunts we like to include in Australia because the guys are more recognisable. But more broadly, it feels like time to try something new."

It would be a damn shame if it was the end for the Chaser. I understand the guys are getting older, and may be losing their taste for this sort of humour, but still... I can't help but feel a little proprietary and protective of the Chaser guys because I've been watching them since 2001, and I still do. According to Chas, that makes me something of a rarity, and many people who liked their early stuff hate them now. I hunted down their newspaper back when I lived in Newcastle and only one newsagent stocked it, and then not often. I've been to tapings at the ABC and their live show. I feel like I practically know them by now.

And if you're still wetting your knickers over the "Make a Realisitic Wish" sketch (They were. Not. Making fun of. Sick children. But the arbitrariness of charity) then I'm sorry to have to tell you've met them, or a few of them, and they're some of the nicest people I've ever met. Living in inner Sydney you see "noted people" (if you wouldn't call them celebrities) all the time - Alannah Hill and Kim Beazley in the last week alone in my case. I don't talk to them often (what could one possibly say to Kim Beazley that wouldn't sound like condolences?) but when I have, they're usually polite but distant. But Chas happily talked to me for some time after a show - signing autographs, posing for pictures, and generally just being an awesome guy in the middle of a very long national tour.

So sure, the Chaser guys may have wandered off course with their humour from time to time. But the alternative looked too much like the Glasshouse. We need them to point out the absurdity of our times, and I hope to see them back soon.


Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Recently I visited a large, well-known hardware chain where no plastic bags are provided to customers. It's part of their feel-good drive to help the environment. I wouldn't mind, except that the only way to reach the place on foot, or from the buses, was walk around three sides of the warehouse-like building and pick my way through a huge car park. I asked the sales assistant if this was hypocritical, but all I got was a surly look and a threat to not sell me really cheap light bulbs, so I let it go.

It's not like they were the nice, old fashioned flattering incandescent light bulbs either. All you can buy these days from many retailers is those awful energy saving things, which look like spare parts from the Tardis and give the whole room an awful greyish glow, as if you have the flu, but worse.

Yet this week, some of these same damn retailers who are nannying to us about the environment and what we can and can't buy are offering huge discounts on petrol if you spend sufficient sums at their condescending stores.

Can we stop this lunacy please? Driving a car and using green bags is environmentally useless. Worse than useless in fact, because it allows the driver to reduce their guilt and not look at making any real changes. But I'm not sure if we can blame the individual here - the Government deserves some blame for poor public transport, of course (though around where I live, with a continual stream of buses to the City, people still love their damn cars). But the main blame lies with these businesses - maintaining a car culture, wasting energy, stocking overpackaged products with high carbon footprints and god knows what environmental safety standards in manufacture - whilst they absolve themselves and their customers of all blame.

I'm depressing myself here. Let's strike a deal - you offer people incentives to get the train to the shops occasionally, let me have waterproof bags which I can re-use as bag liners and flattering light bulbs, and we'll all be happy.

In the meantime, I'm shopping at Aldi. But since they don't offer any plastic bags either, I'm bringing cling wrap to the store to wrap my purchases for the trip home.

This Blog Now Pre-Pay Only

Thursday, 2 July 2009

We've recently moved from an area of Sydney serviced by trains, to a neighbourhood that isn't. This has forced us onto the buses, coinciding with buses in the CBD going prepay only. As usually in NSW, cashless bus services are a great idea in theory, but on the ground it doesn't actually work. (When things get desperate, Troy McLure would call all his suprise witnesses again; the NSW government simply announces a new metro that will never be built).

Anyway, you're usually at the bus stop before you remember you can't buy a ticket on the bus anymore, so you check the list of nearby ticket vendors and set off to obtain one. The first shop you visit is out of the tickets you need. The second is inexplicably closed at 1pm on a weekday. The third seller don't sell no bus tickets and they never did. By now you're 2km away from the bus route, fractious and willing to buy an overpriced ticket valid for a much longer distance than you require, just because it's the only kind the "convenince store" you're fetched up at has left and you're too tired to search anymore.

It's not like prepay actually saves any time. Maybe for commuter services at peak hour, but during the day in Sydney there's at least one set of tourists on every bus who ask the driver questions, holding things up. Tourists I actually don't mind much; what really annoys me is locals who get off the bus through the front doors, holding up the boarding passengers, and who really should know better.

In fact you can probably gather I don't like the bus much, comapred to the train. Trains have been my primary mode of transport for the past two years, which has pleased me greatly; at any rate, I've not whinged about them much here, which is a good way to tell.
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