Thursday, 29 March 2012

Driving And Other Tragedies

Linking up an earlier post with My Home Truths for I Must Confess. A little late, but better late than never as they say.

I  Must Confess: I am a 41 year old P-Plater.

As I am now the mature (ie over the hill)  age of 41, you could be forgiven for assuming I am an experienced driver.  Wrong.  Embarrassingly, I am in fact, still a P-Plater. 

At age 16, when most adolescents are clamouring for independence and consequently a driver's licence as a means to that independence, it simply never even occurred to me.  Then again, it never occurred to me to have a crush on Jon Bon Jovi, like most girls my age either, so I guess I really was an odd one.

At age 21, it did somewhat belatedly dawn on me that perhaps I ought to get moving on it.  So I dutifully procrastinated for another two years before finally obtaining my learner's licence at age 23.  Then I began driving lessons.

Nervously, I approached the car in trepidation on my first lesson.  There she was.  The Instructor From Hell.  This woman would have scared Satan.  A miserable, hard faced bitch who proceeded to chain smoke throughout my lesson.

She would occasionally remove the cancer stick to snort with derision at my (lack of) driving skills. I turned left when she said right.  Right when she said left.  Went too fast.  Then, too slow.  Got muddled at roundabouts.  Terrified, changing lanes.

 Let's not even talk about reverse parking.  Even the most competent drivers struggle with this one.  Try doing it as a novice driver under Satan's supervision.  I lost count of how many times I hit the curb while she sat scornfully puffing cigarette smoke in my face.  I couldn't say anything.  I was too shy.  She was too scary.

Mrs Satan had no mercy however, and promptly booked my test, before I was ready, eager to be rid of me and my nervous driving. 


Uncaring, she booked it again.  Fail again.

"You're hopeless," she informed me bitterly, echoing the nagging voice in my head,  "you'll never pass."   At this stage, getting a driver's licence was the equivalent of sprouting wings from my back and flying.  Impossible. In my mind anyway. 

Third time.  With these helpful thoughts swirling in my head, it was just as Mrs Satan predicted. 

Epic Fail.

So humiliated was I by my hatrick of failures  I gave up and put it all firmly in the too hard basket, never to be spoken of again.  There it remained for a good 12 years.

Then, I started  seeing a counsellor during a particularly stressful period for our family, when Micky Blue Eyes had cancer (that's a whole other story).  She prodded me into action and I finally got my learner's licence again.

Micky Blue Eyes, obviously deciding that once you've beaten cancer, nothing is scary anymore, happily took me out for some lessons.  The 'happily' part was rather short lived.   After several arguments, nearly leading to divorce and an alarming incident where I hit the accelerator instead of the brake nearly smashing into our front gate and into the back of the old 1961 EK Holden that had been in Mick's family since it was brand new (sadly, now departed),  I once again booked an instructor.

Fortunately this one wasn't scary, even managing to smile and be encouraging.  I plodded along to lessons getting closer to sprouting my wings.  Then, I was also Up The Duff again.  Another tragedy struck.   I lost the baby at 19 weeks.  Suddenly,  driving didn't seem that important to me.(That's a whole other story).

Some months later, I managed to pull myself from an abyss of grief, and attempted my driving test.


Second try. I did it!  I finally sprouted wings!

 The first time I drove the car by myself, it nearly felt like it.  It was only a short trip to the local shops, but I came home, triumphant, beaming.  I pulled up and flew to the front door, exhilarated.  Then abruptly, I stopped, deflated, like a popped balloon. People your age have been driving for years, the nasty voice in my head informed me.  What a fool!  I felt small and pitiful.

I shouldn't have though.  Now  that I know I have Aspergers, it has caused me to re-assess lots of things.  Driving is one of them.  No wonder I struggled with it.  Lots of Aspie people do apparently.  It just took me longer to grasp it.  But I did.  Now I have officially sprouted wings and flown.  Something I need to remind myself whenever I am facing things I think I can't do or cope with.

Just don't ever ask me to reverse park however.  Despite finally acing it in my test I've never attempted it again since.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Bad Hair Life

My hair is alarmingly grey. Presently, I desperately need to dye my hair and have decided on the D.I.Y version to save  a few dollars.  Micky Blue Eyes recently resigned from his job (recently as in six months ago) so this means I need to be thrifty and economical as opposed to the opulent, lavish lifestyle I used to lead.  Damn, there go the trips to Paris and designer clothes. Sighhhh...

Anyhow, I'm not sure why I even bother, over the years my hair has almost had a life of it's own.  First of all, it was interesting enough growing up being a 'Ranga' the scathing affectionate term for a red haired person.  This meant putting up with all the usual jibes like: "Red Head Match!" or "Carrots!" Or, my personal favourite: "Aw ya, red headed rat rooter!", as I was innocently minding my own business.  That, or they would gaze at my hair (when it was very long) with worshipful eyes, sigh and say: "Gee your hair's nice.  Pity it's not blonde."

On the flip side, occasionally some old dear would stop my brother and I to ooh and ah over our hair and announce: "People  pay a fortune to make their hair that colour you know." before slipping us the odd 20 cents.  Which was a fortune back then.  You could buy a whole bag of lollies with it.  Now you wouldn't even get a single black jelly bean.  

I've lost count of all the bad hairstyles I've had over the years.  I've gone from having very long, straight hair, long enough to sit on, as a girl. Then, quite long, with a daggy sort of a fringe (a bit like Agnetha from ABBA). Incidentally, why do Americans call a fringe 'bangs'?

Mullet Perm. I don't know why I'm smiling.

Then, I had the first of many truly hideous perms, including the woeful 'mullet-perm'. See above.  In my defence it was the 80's so I was suffering from a severe case of T.E.S (ie. Tragic Eighties Syndrome).  In my early 20' s I progressed to the spiral or 'poodle' perm when I was frequently mistaken for Nicole Kidman.  Oh okay, never. Not once. I still don't get it.  I mean, the resemblance was uncanny.
Nicole Kidman eat your heart out.

In my mid 20's I sported a preppy bob, and being the height of the X-Files craze I was frequently mistaken for Gillian Anderson.  Oh okay, only once, and the person was being totally sarcastic and me being typically Aspie, I didn't pick up on it.  So it was nice to have that illusion for a while.

At age 30, I sported a short blonde crop and a pregnancy I remained clueless about, but that's another story.   Yes, too many bad hairstyles and bad hair days to mention.

Blonde crop. Also pregnant and clueless. Noice.

The problem is I have absolutely no idea what to request at the hairdressers.  I totally blame this on some of the idiotic books I read as a girl. This time in the form of teen romances.  The heroine was usually a shy, nerdy sort of girl who gets dragged along the hairdressers by her more outgoing sister or bestie.  Once at the salon, the hairdresser takes one look at her and knows in a nano-second the perfect style and cut to transform her from nerd to fox instantly.  Suddenly revealing cheek bones she never knew she had and perfect almond shaped eyes.

Nerd-girl walks out of the salon a new person, gorgeous, confident and naturally she gets the guy. I kept on expecting a similar experience of being transformed from the tragic nerd I was to super chic.
Imagine my consternation when on one occasion, at around age 15, I was transformed into Leo Sayer with a singed scalp instead.

I was far too shy to say anything to the hairdresser who had blessed me with this beautiful look.  Instead, I actually paid them money for the indignation and scurried home, mortified.  My mum took one look and went ballistic, dragging me back and demanding they fix it.  They must have permanently damaged some brain cells with the perming solution however, as, years later I happily sported a do that wasn't entirely dissimilar.  I don't know what I was thinking.
To achieve this look simply channel Leo Sayer. Or not.

Some years after I had left a job, I met up with a former work colleague. By then, I had cut my hair short. Surprised, she commented "What happened to your curls?" I then told her that I  used to perm it. She clearly couldn't believe that I had actually paid money to have my hair look like that, replying "Oh, I thought it was natural." Nope. I did actually pay for bad hair. So, why pay for it, when I can acheive the same thing at home, with a cheap and nasty DIY dye job. I think I'll give the home perms a miss though. I am off to cling wrap my hair. Classy.

I STILL have bad hair, without the perms. Sigh.

Linking up with Kirsty from My Home Truths for I Must Confess.

I'm also linking up with Cathy from The Camera Chronicles for Flashback Friday, after deciding I haven't embarrassed myself quite enough.

Do you have a 'Bad Hair Life'? Or do you love your locks?  

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Great Chocolate Box Dilemma

Presently, there is huge box full of chocolates residing in our house.  We are meant to sell them.  All parents will be familiar with this phenomenon.  Fund Raising.  Ugh.  As this particular box is from our youngest son's kindy where we already pay an alarming sum of  money for him to attend, the fact that we are also expected to fund raise for them is particularly galling.

The box was handed to me as I left from picking Master 3 up on Tuesday, with the words "Do your best."   What they don't realise is that this is the equivalent of handing Amy Winehouse a giant box of heroin with the same parting words.  A not especially brilliant idea, considering what happened to that poor woman.  Death by chocolate, however, is a distinct  possibility for me.

It's true.  My name is Vanessa.  And I am a chocoholic.  With a huge box of chocolates in the house.  Which I have to resist.  Or sell.  Fast.   Especially before they cost me a fortune.

You see, in addition to being a raging chocoholic myself, I have also succeeded in causing my children to become chocoholics too.  Classy.

Some mothers manage to keep their addiction to themselves, furtively sneaking the Kit Kat from their handbag when the little ones aren't looking.  How on Earth do they manage this?  My addiction is so all-consuming that this is entirely impossible for me.

Plus, my boys seem to have an internal radar for sensing any chocolate or junk food for miles.  Particularly since we only live in a small house.  There are only so many hiding places.  They have figured them all out, being way smarter than I ever will be. 

With their combined intellect, stubbornness and intense drive for junk food in triplicate, they are a force to be reckoned with.  Delightedly aware of the fact that I am so incredibly weak willed that whenever we pass the corner shop on the way back from school, all they have to do is say, "Mum, can we get something at the shop? Pleeeeease?"  and I will give in, secretly coveting a chocolate treat for myself.   So I am in deep trouble with a whole box in the house.

But, how do I sell them?  I don't go to paid work.  Micky Blue Eyes works from home.  I do not wish to go door knocking.  I just don't. 

The only time I ever did, massive, menacing dogs bounded out to front fences barking furiously, scaring the bejesus out of me and permanently terrorising Master 10, who now has an intense fear of dogs.  Or, small, fluffy dogs pattered out to front fences yapping, irritating me beyond belief.

People took an aeon to answer their doors, clearly irritated.  Then, demanded to know what we were selling the chocolates for, and looked dubious when I told them.    All the good chocolates were sold in the first street, leaving only the less desirable ones, which people tutted over disapprovingly before reluctantly choosing one or rejecting them altogether.   So we only sold half the box after all that effort! (ie.  30 minutes tops, in the 3 shortest streets near us)

I definitely do not know what to do about The Great Chocolate Box Dilemma.  I guess what I am really saying is, would you like to buy some chocolate?  Please?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Too Much Testosterone

I must confess I don't really drive very much, which was today's I Must Confess topic prompt. So, instead I am confessing that I am totally over so many 'boy' things. They may very well be 'girl' things too. Just bear with me while I totally generalise, okay?

There is too much testosterone in our house.  A bevy of boisterous boys.  Oh okay, only three.  I'm not that mad.  I do not wish for a soccer team.  Although I'm pretty sure we could have produced one if we'd kept on going.   Always full of boundless energy.  Well, except when they are lazing in front of the TV.

Master 10 sits in his favourite recliner directly in front of the television and frequently hollers for a cup of tea.  Yes, he drinks tea.  At least he does say please.   Masters 8 and 3 will loll on the lounge and I will have a moments reprieve while they are engrossed in the TV, before they inevitably start arguing over Lego or Master 8's current obsession 'Trashies'.  Don't ask.

Living in a family where I am the only female naturally means I rarely ever have free reign over the remote control.  I will always be the last person to ever lay my hands on it.  Strangely, however, I am always the first person who is queried when it goes missing.

"Have you seen the remote?" Micky Blue Eyes will bark, eyes darting around the room. 
"No, " I reply, exasperated "When would I ever have it?  You just have to look for it."  So he does.

Now,  I'm not sure if this is the general male way of looking for things or only the males at our house, but his version involves standing in the middle of the room looking around vacantly, as if he expects the thing to come flying out to him by some sort of supernatural force of ESP or something, before announcing "I can't see it."

Of course you can't dear, you haven't moved anything, I think frustratedly.  Then his eyes will wander over to the couch, and, if I happen to be sitting there, rest suspiciously on me, until he says "Are you sitting on it?"

Well, call me stupid, but somehow, I imagine that if I had something remote control sized wedged underneath my (admittedly rather large) backside, I might reasonably be expected to notice it was there.
I sigh and get up reluctantly.  Minutes later it is retrieved, usually lodged down the side or back of Master 10's recliner.  Or his Throne, as it also known.

Being a mother of three boys, there are many things that I am completely over.  Searching for the remote is one just one of them.   There are many others.  Like these:

As promised, here is my list of all the 'boy' things I am over. For the purpose of this blog, I may be generalising a little. I'm sure there are lots of girls who like some of these things too. If not, then I'm assuming it would just be something else like Barbies, or beads or Bratz dolls or whatever it is girls like these days (frankly, I have no idea) that parents of girls would be over. I, however, in no particular order, am completely over the following:


Sorry J.K. Rowling, I know you are the biggest selling author of all time (at least I think so, I'm too lazy to actually check for sure) so, while completely in awe of you, I will not be reading your books. Ever. Yes, I know she's not losing any sleep over this, considering the gazillion or so of those things she's sold, but still, I must protest somehow.

I love reading. It's just that after being forced to watch endless TV screenings of the films (despite having the full DVD set, as well) I am truly over it.


There must be 700 gazillion Lego sets in existence, each containing 700 gazillion pieces. These sets are hideously expensive. Then, once you have forked over a fortune for them, you take them home, they require hours of patience to painstakingly put them together.

Following which, they will be played with for approximately ten minutes, before being smashed and all the pieces never found again. Plus, every parent of boys (and some Lego-minded girls) knows the pain of stepping on a piece of Lego. OUCH!


My father and husband are are totally soccer obsessed. Now my boys are fast becoming so too, especially Master 10. In the tradition of the old saying "if you can't beat em, join em" I have tried to drum up an interest . This worked well for my mother, who now sits up at ridiculous hours with my father, watching Man United play.

Not so well for me, however. My eyes glaze over after only ten seconds. By 20 seconds I am considering stabbing my own eyes repeatedly with pins, just to make it more interesting. How do people get themselves so worked up over this that they actually sob if their team loses the Grand Final?

Additionally, ever since my brief crush at age 12, on Wayne Pearce evaporated, even the promise of very fit men, in very tight shorts can't seem to entice me.


And all things science fiction. May the force be with you. The force of my foot, booting you to oblivion. Incidentally, while I am on this subject, some folks develop life-long fascinations with Star Wars, Star Trek etc and seem to think that this makes them dark, mysterious and intensely interesting individuals. It does not. This fascination is just as deeply disturbing and mind-numbingly boring to somebody else as my Carpenters obsession is to you. Just sayin'.


Spiderman, Batman, Iron Man etc. How many more movies can conceivably be churned out with these characters?

A lot it seems. There are new Spiderman and Batman films hitting the screens this year. Which means my boys will want to see them. As well as wanting every toy manufactured in conjunction with them too.

On the one hand, I am happy to let them watch something that will keep them riveted for an hour or two, so that I can do something else. On the other hand, it provokes emulating behaviours. Especially in Master 3, who will revert to wanting to dress like Spiderman every time we leave the house, a habit we've only just nipped in the bud.

WWE WRESTLING: Fortunately, they seem to have lost interest in this one presently. Thankfully, as no one should ever have to endure watching this particular form of torture.

However, as you all know by now, I have my own brand of torture as retribution. My Carpenters obsession. And I will be turning it up LOUD.

 Linking up with Kirsty from My Home Truths for I Must Confess.
What are you completely 'over' at your house? Any of the above? Or is something else driving you crazy?

Saturday, 17 March 2012


"Darkness surrounds my loneliness.  Pervading my soul, it stirs my silent anguish."  I wrote those melodramatic words feverishly on a scrap of paper at around age 14 (there abouts) as I sobbed in my bedroom.  My favourite past time.  Nothing has changed at age 41. 

It seems at times there's nothing I like better than a good old sooky la la sobbing session.  Not to be confused with  Weepy, Mopey, Why Me?, Melodramatic Melt Down Mode, which I quite enjoy at times too.  Instead of silent tears of despair, this version involves racking, heaving sobs and sometimes howling like a banshee.  Occasionally items are thrown.

Especially when my husband has the audacity to inform me, in the midst of it all, that I should be jumping for joy.  In my defense I'd had a raging headache for 3 weeks straight ( I kid you not) and could not be held accountable for my actions.

Of course I would like to believe that I am just an extremely sensitive individual with deeper emotions than others.   Somebody who feels things intensely.  Instead of just the miserable, pitiful, wallowing, self-indulgent sook I really am.  After all I have a real reason to sook.

All my life I have never fit in with others.  Painfully shy, quiet and introverted, I would rather the ground open up and swallow me into a vortex than to have to answer a direct question or be the centre of attention for even a nano-second.

This probably explains somewhat why, when I heard Carpenters music for the first time at age 11, I was immediately drawn to Karen Carpenter's voice.  Rich, soothing, intimate.  Singing such unspeakably mournful lines like:

"I'll say Goodbye To Love, no one ever cared if I should live or die..."  OR

"Day after day, I must face a world of strangers, where I don't belong, I'm not that strong.."

This was EXACTLY how I felt.  As well as this, naturally:

"What I've got they used to call the blues, nothing is really wrong, feeling like I don't belong..."

In fact, I've never belonged.  In addition to crippling shyness, I am also an Aspie, an affectionate term for a person with Asperger's Syndrome.  I was not aware of this fact until age 40, just last year.  However, I've always been acutely aware that I am different from others.   Others love socialising for hours.   Others don't  love blissfully rocking backwards and forwards to Carpenters music for hours.  Instead they would possibly be more tempted to open a vein if they had to listen for even a second!

Sometimes it's hard and very disconcerting to realise that I am 41 and basically haven't matured beyond age 14.  And that I will always be different to others.  The quietest person in the room, no matter where I go.  In fact, if I had a dollar for everytime I've been informed of how quiet I am, I would be a very rich woman indeed.   It's funny how people think it is their duty to inform you of this, but somehow they never tell overly loud people to just shut the hell up.  But I digress.

Then, on top of all my wallowing, I end up feeling agonisingly guilty for feeling sorry for myself at all.  After all there are many people battling life threatening illnesses ( which I've experienced directly with family members) and I just can't seem to get it together, get over it, get on with it, get a job, or even socialise without feeling like I've been run over by a truck.  But, as Rudy Simone says in her book Aspergirls: Empowering Females With Asperger Syndrome "telling a person with Asperger's to just get on with it is like telling a person in a wheel chair to just take the stairs to get to the second floor" And I'm sure this applies to anyone suffering from depression, Aspie or not.

So I will allow myself to wallow.  A little bit anyway.  To have my frequent 'sook' sessions. I'll put on Karen, allow her to soothe me.  Then I will quietly get on with life the best I can.  As a quiet, shy, Aspergirl who needs a good sook as much as a good book.