Who Says Family Holidays Can’t Be Fun?


It was that time of year again last weekend. The family holiday 2018 had spun back around with all the promise of a mammogram.

Admittedly, the word “holiday” is somewhat of an exaggeration.

The kids will attest to the fact that the word “holiday” is something of an exaggeration. This year – at the old man’s suggestion – our family fun was curtailed to a long weekend, with budget, time off work (he works for himself, from home) and our sanity, cited as his main reasons behind the decision. I imagine, however, that he may also have based the decision on the greater mathematical probability of the four of us walking away from this trip unscathed with only a 48hr window of dysfunction.

A distraction would keep us from straying into dangerous territories.

It was decided that an active holiday would be a better fit this year. We agreed that a distraction would keep us from straying into the dangerous territories of searching questions and judgments – the common ones being, how we ruined the kids’ childhood, which of them is our favorite, were they adopted, and how much we intend to leave them in the will? So, we booked a hotel in The Hunter Valley – a wine-tasting region, about two and a half hours from Sydney which was close enough to evacuate at short notice and removed any possibility of Kurt projectile vomiting on a flight full of unsuspecting travelers, as per Bali ’09.

Acclimatizing your kids to the “wine cures all problems” philosophy of life is one holiday choice.

I should point out that in acclimatizing our kids to the “wine cures all problems” philosophy of life,  I am not looking for a Parent of the Year award anytime soon. I should also mention that our kids are 21 and 24, respectively.

I had been elected to share a room with Kurt to give the four of us a better chance of sleep – because I snore and he never sleeps anyway – but within two minutes of us downing weapons for the night, he had migrated to the sofa bed and the old man was begging to come back into my bed. Apparently, NC was noisily updating a climate model  in her sleep.

The priority of any holiday has to be the hotel breakfast. 

Truth be told, the real priority of the two days had less to do with wine and much more to do with the hotel breakfast. The three of us have been on best behavior over the past few weeks, out of fear that the old man might pull the plug on such an extravagance and eating strategy had to be discussed furtively. However, it was discussed at length, down to the final detail of who would secrete the miniature croissants and Vegemite pots back into the room. Needless to say, Kurt was elected for this task, on the basis of his natural talent for testing the law.  And apart from cold bacon – the downside of strolling into breakfast five minutes before the buffet closed – breakfast was a resounding success.

Kurt was elected to steal extra croissants from the breakfast room, on the basis of his criminal record.

Indeed, we ate and drank well, which is what holidays are all about, even though dinners turned out to be almost as interesting as musical bedrooms what with NC being a vegetarian, my attempt at dairy-free (this week), the old man’s passion for burgers, and Kurt’s metabolism, which relies on a minimum of three bowls of Aldi’s Chocolate Pillows per day or it shuts down.

We have developed a newfound maturity as a family.

It turns out that we are developing a newfound maturity as a family, and a compromise was found. ie. we ignored the fact that NC is a vegetarian.




Why Are Men So Obsessed With Sport?

Photo by Morgan David de Lossy on Unsplash

The old man is that breed of men that needs to hit a ball at least once a day. He delights in telling anyone who can listen to him (without falling asleep) about his childhood spent in the family garage, throwing ball after ball against its back wall. And while the sporting promise of his youth didn’t translate into a career, that need of a fix – to either hit, kick or knock a ball of any shape – hasn’t dwindled with age.

Since he began to work from home and has more flexibility with his time, his obsession has returned; which puts a lot of pressure on his most obvious opponents. Admittedly, The Princess takes some of the pressure off me by collecting and returning the hundreds of air golf balls he whacks into the back hedge of the garden, and he has made a couple of friends that play tennis with him or accompany him on silent missions around the golf course. However, I’m the unlucky sod that picks up most of the slack.

For our recent anniversary celebration in Bowral, I picked a quaint hotel with a nine-hole golf course, because, a feminist, I wanted to demonstrate that the romantic weekend was about both of us before we trawled around the main focus of the two days to the town’s mecca of interior design shops. img_8680

With a forced smile on my face, I followed him around what was a beautiful, scenic, (and thankfully) short golf course on our first day. In arctic temperatures, I searched for balls, complimented good shots, sympathized with bad, whilst maintaining a smile on my face at all times, my eye firmly on the prize of the hotel bar at the end of our two hours of hell.

The following morning, he was awake three hours before me, and when I opened my eyes to a bouncing puppy on the end of our bed, eyes pleading to let him play golf again and forgo his much-anticipated first-day cushion-shopping, I gave in.

We met up again later that morning, to play tennis – a warm-up for a grueling afternoon tour of the local wineries – and a sport that I have come to enjoy since I’ve learned to ignore his scathing comments and tantrums from the other side of the net. Nevertheless, it took some control not to laugh in his face when he suggested a game of pool that night.

Is your partner obsessed with sport?

Middle-Aged Girls Night

Chocolate Fondant Cake/Lava cake
Chocolate Fondant Cake/Lava cake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yay, it’s finally the weekend!

If there’s one certainty in life about the weekend, it’s that the vast quantities of food and wine I consume over the next 48 hours will be substantially greater than the meagre volume I allow to pass through my lips on the other five days of the week.

The weekend brings a different mindset to party people.

Fuck the diet! Fuck the weekly alcohol allowance dictated by some pretentious medical association who stupidly believes that 13 units is enough to keep us women sane and happy.

This is the first weekend in a very long time that I haven’t had to brown-nose to clients on a Saturday, and so the potential for liver damage is close to suffocating me with excitement.

All concerns for my health fly out the window at the weekend and my approach to eating and drinking becomes distinctly libertarian, turning from caution to decadence. I can already taste the melting chocolate from my Chocolate Fondant dessert coursing down my throat.

OF COURSE I can party all night long with NC and her friends, silly! Hangovers are for losers.

Anyway, there’s always sodding Sunday to worry about that shit.

On the menu tonight is a very late birthday celebration with some girlfriends in the city, followed by a session of Karaoke. NC and some friends are also coming along to help keep us middle-aged party animals awake beyond 9pm.

‘Why Karoake?’ I hear you ask.

Because I’ve never done it, and because I still can. Because during some mad/sad moment when I was feeling that life was slipping me by, I forgot that I wasn’t eighteen and it suddenly seemed appealing and something I HAD to do – of course, I could blame Pinterest for allowing me to believe all those crappy inspirational pins about ‘only being as old as you feel’ and embracing life while you still can.

Nevertheless, I’ve been practicing all week. My defining Karaoke moment will be ‘I will survive’ by Gloria Gaynor, and don’t worry, I am sure that it will be video-ed.

This is all complete bravado bollocks, obviously. All of us middle-aged women are secretly petrified. 

Nights on the town are a little different these days and if truth be told, the fall-out to this evening was embarrassingly disastrous – only the ‘real’ women are still ‘in’.

I’m not sure when exactly we women lose our ‘party’ balls? When did we start drinking equal measures of water to wine, cutting out carbs and sharing desserts?

Oh, the shame of it!

When did we start worrying about how many Tannins are in the wine or if the cream on our Tarte Tatin will make us bloated? What happened to those nights when we weren’t afraid of enjoying ourselves, or making fools of ourselves  and were proud of bad hangovers?

When did I start worrying about how I will feel on Monday on Friday night?

Half my girlfriends are driving tonight. WTF!

When did we become so fucking sensible? Did the ‘Sensible Fairy’ visit one day, sprinkle us with ‘sensible’ dust and cut off our balls in the process?

At what point in my life did I start getting anxious about getting rat-arsed on a girls night?

I need someone to blame. Is it the kids fault, or that old devil called responsibility? Is it my deteriorating body or fear of premature death? I think the fear truly started from that first torturous 24 hour hangover (post kids) after a night drinking beer and chasers with my younger brother?

NO, tonight’s going to be different. I’m going to throw caution to the wind, let my hair down, party like it’s 1984 and show those teenagers how to really have some fun.

If I book the cab for 10.30pm, I should be in bed by 11, shouldn’t I?