Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dear Susan,

Just heard the weather forecast for tomorrow 21st May 2011. Sunny with fresh nor, easterly winds and the chance of an apocalypse. Apparently some strange religious sect (from the deep south of America, where else) has predicted the end of the world tomorrow. I KNOW. IT'S ANDREA'S BIRTHDAY. WHAT A BUMMER.

Anyway this could be my last letter. So carry it with you to the end. These zealots have already put billboards up all over Melbourne warning THE END IS NIGH. Josie and Tallulah are going around adding a 'T' to the end thinking zealots can't spell.

The news is causing me no end of worry, although I have lived through about twelve END DAYS during my time here. But it's always the same. I never know what to do first (or last as the case may be). Do I finish the course of antibiotics which is making me nauseous or do I risk the pearly gates with swollen sinuses? It's enough to make you contemplate an overdose.

And what about you? I just worked out that tomorrow you will be on the 6th day of your 7 day beauty plan. Won't you feel cheated if you have to meet your maker as a 6 when you could at least aim for an 8.5?

May I suggest that you don't tell Adrian. He'll go on a crash diet of vitamin E, oysters, asparagus, powdered horn of white rhinocerous and loot chemist shops for Viagra. He'll rationalise that if he has to go, he's going to go happy.

Rosie Josie and Eloise are having trouble with the kids. None of them will clean their rooms,brush their teeth, do their homework. They don't see the point if it's all going to be over on Saturday. Mind you their rooms usually look as though the apocalypse has already happened, so nothing's changed.

I was going to invite everyone over for dinner tonight as sort of last supper thing. But then I thought that everyone would want his/her favourite, you know like the prisoners on death row.

I thought of the menu they'd want. Roast lamb, lobster tails, pasgetti, 'thish thingers,' lamb stew, and of course Bronwyn's small roast vegetable frittata with Greek salad and rocket on the side. I figure if I spend all day cooking the food to feed the five thousand I'll be too tired to get up in the morning and experience the blast off.

Will I get to see Oprah's last shows ever before I go?

The guy next door is trying to polish off five bottles of scotch he got for Christmas. I wonder if you have hangovers in Heaven.

I feel very cheated, because on Sunday I was going to clean my kitchen cupboards, strip the shower recess of that green stuff, see if I could find the bottom of my ironing basket, finish my novel, start my diet, learn Italian and get married. Now all that stuff will never get done.

I've noticed that few people seem to be taking the prophecy seriously. The wars are still going on all over the world, as though it mattered who won. The munitions plants haven't stopped production. Scientists go on trying to develop super robots to see if they can do any better than the humans were stuck with. We live as though the lifespan of the plaet is infinite. Maybe that's the only way we keep going. But I wonder, if we knew the the date and time of the earth's demise , would we be a bit more careful about the way we treat each other.

Any way, see you at the pearly gates on Sunday morning or at Miranda Fair on Monday, whichever comes first.

By the way, I've been meaning to tell you for a long time; I love you.



Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dear Susan,
Eloise just rang and apologised for the paddle pop stick photo frame she gave me for mother's day in 1981. I told her no apology was necessary but wondered what had prompted it so late in my mothering career.
Apparently her five little darlings had just given her this year's gifts. "What did you get" I asked. Well Jake gave her a paper plate. It had a frayed pink ribbon on the top and a drawing of 'the family' cut into a pseudo circle and stuck in the middle. Around the edge were pasted five multi coloured paper flower petals. Timothy gave her a jar of lollies well past their use by date. Arthur gave her a butter dish which he'd chipped before he got it home from the pre-school trash 'n' treasure stall. Dollcie gave her a macaroni necklace threaded on 24 carat red wool. Molly didn't give her anything because she doesn't know about this family ritual yet.
"WOW" I exuded, "so what was your big present?"
"Oh I guess it was the chipped butter dish" she answered after some deep thought.
In the blink of an eye I was transported back thirty years to my days of shell covered match boxes, puckered cross stitched gingham serviette (yes just the one) and coloured woollen pom pom (yes just the one).
I started reflecting on my four ages of motherhood. When was twenty five it was a very good year. It was a very good year because I experienced my first mother's day with Rosie. I guess I'd become a little obsessed by motherhood so Ivan tried to rekindle (or even just kindle ) my former sex symbol image. He plied me with roses, chocolates, champagne and expensive lingerie. Bless him. The roses gave me hay fever, the chocolates gave me a migraine and the champagne had me passed out after half a glass. As for the lingerie, I hadn't been a size eight for quite some time. Let's just say Ivan looked better in it than I did and that wasn't a real turn on for me.
When I was thirty five it was a very good year. It was a very good year for a mother with a ten year old, an eight year old and a five year old. As requested I sent an "unlabelled, empty, clean, baby food tin" to school. It was returned to me on Mothers' Day, covered in pegs which had been split in half and spray painted gold. The tin had been filled with plasticine and, joy of joys, a plastic rose. I also recieved the obligatory paddle pop stick photo frame and the worse than awful paddle pop stick jewel box. I never ever got the actual paddle pop. Ivan that year gave me an electric can opener. What can I say?
When I was forty five it was a very good year. It was a very good year for a mother with a twenty year old, an eighteen year old and a fifteen year old. That was the year I left a list on the fridge.
Chanel #5

They took the hint and bought me a remote control for the TV. I tried to explain that 'channel' contained two "N"s but by that time Ivan was firmly ensconced in the recliner rocker trying to find channel five. It could have been worse though. Denise the girl next door got a coat hanger covered in French knitted bread wrappers.
During those halcyon years between forty five and grandmotherhood my letter box was crammed full, every year a week before mothers' day with glossy brochures teasing me with delusions of happiness.
I lusted over the silk underwear, drooled over the imported chocolates, drew circles around the Italian leather hand bags and the cute little diamond stud earrings. I cut out pictures of perfume bottles and stuck them to the bathroom mirror. I'd say things like " My goodness, my old full length woollen coat is almost threadbare" and "I wonder where you could buy one of those angora jumpers that look like they would be very warm in winter." The words fell on dead sensory organs. I thought things would change when the girls grew up, became more mature, more sensitive, more attuned to the needs of those around them.

On the Saturday before Mothers' Day the three of them would go out in a pack and argue all morning about what to buy me. Rosie would want quantity, Josie would want quality and Eloise would just want to buy me a card and invest the change in the latest Regurgitator CD.

Any way last year it was a very good year. It was a very good year for a mother with three gorgeous daughters and nine amazing grandchildren. I told the girls exactly what I wanted. I asked for arch supports, something to wrap around my shoulders when I read in bed and some old classic DVDs like Casablanca, Mr Smith goes to Washington, The Killer Tomatoes. You know that old song "Don't Wish too Hard for What You Want........" Eloise gave me a pair of false eyelashes. She understandably thought that the arches I wanted lifted were my eyebrows. Josie bought me a beautiful Pashmina to wear over my shoulders, but after she'd borrowed it to wear to a concert, brunch and dinner, she decided it was just what she needed for the Melbourne weather and took it home with her. Rosie gave me a DVD of High School Musical 2 because the kids had a spare one.

They did however compile a DVD of photos of all my grandchildren. So on Mothers' Day night I put on my false eyelashes, wrapped one of Josie's old sarongs around my shoulders and turned on the pictures of my treasures. I can't remember a more perfect time.

Anyway I hope you have a great day on Mothers' Day and that someone gives you a gold sprayed macaroni necklace.