The Curse of the Electric Toothbrush

I recently purchased an electric toothbrush, yes my first ever. ‘Big deal!’ I hear you say.

You see, I’ve always been a bit of a traditionalist in the toothbrush stakes, happy to pay $3 for one every 3 months or bathroomso. But on the advice of my persistent dentist, I splashed out and purchased the device that has since brought me more pain than pleasure on many fronts.

Firstly, who knew these gadgets cost so much! I was only ever going to shell out for the standard shop brand (which turned out to be on SALE, (score!) for a total of $11, but holy cow….the leading brand was going for a whopping $54! But, who’s to say we should put a price on our health right, so we’ll move on.

Secondly, the thing physically makes my brain hurt. Is it supposed to do that? The whole vibrating and whirling sound on top of that makes me feel like an idiot. A mute idiot that usually draws a crowd of my two mesmerised toddlers followed by a swift jibe from my husband. And, at 6:30 am and 9pm at night, I’m pretty sure the whole neighbourhood can clock my hygiene habits. It just ain’t pleasant or discreet.

Finally and most importantly, it tests my patience. Yup! I thought this THING was meant to make the whole arduous task of cleaning ones teeth, just a little faster. Instead, I find myself willing the damn thing to speed up even more as I impatiently stand in front of the bathroom mirror with a vibrating vision of myself staring back, thinking of all the things I have to do.

I usually end up jamming the vibrating brush about my mouth, the same way I might with a regular toothbrush in the belief that I’m double timing the whole process, thus getting a better clean. Instead I end up frustrated, irritated and a little disorientated by the whole experience.

But, it has forced me to ponder just how impatient I can be at times (ok, most of the time). A simple morning and evening ritual has been my undoing. I can’t just stand there and let that THING do its job, I have to prompt it, poke it, push it on its way. I’ve got things to do, places to go, people to see.driving

If I’m honest, this is me a whole lot of the time; the need to be in control, the one doing the steering, the person making the plans and being organised and on time. And you know what, it’s tiring and not at all good for me (or my gums so I’ve recently discovered).

Patience is a virtue (as they say) because of the very fact that it is so hard to accept. It means letting go, giving in and slowing down. All the things I don’t inherently like doing. Some circumstances however, provide us with opportunities to learn to accept this virtue patience, and beat that heavy-weight Frustration, into submission.

Since having kids, I’ve been forced to let go as a matter of self-IMG_20151016_094531preservation really. You may as well leave your angry face on full time, if attempting to plan anything with kids. Twin toddlers especially are a sure fire recipe to test even that most patient of mothers.

I love my boys for so many reasons, one of which is the many (daily) ways they coax me (sometime literally kicking and screaming) into becoming a more easy-going, less anxious Mum. After all, they don’t give two hoots about what other people think.

They’ll happily strut around butt naked, shouting out some unintelligible command, waving a banana peel about the place, while I’m madly trying to get them into the car, on time, for what was meant to be a pleasant outing to go goodness knows where, to see goodness knows who.

And that’s the crux of it, isn’t it. If I wasn’t so worried about other things to do, other people to meet, other places to be, then maybe I could just let wavethese moments of frustration go and ride the wave of patience. If not for my own good, then for the good of those around me.

So on that note, I’m going to persevere with my electric toothbrush. I’ll accept that I don’t enjoy it, but maybe allow myself to become immersed in the intricate process so much, that all thoughts of people, places and things melt into thin air….or vibrate themselves out of my brain. Either way, I’m counting on having damn clean teeth.

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When The Irrational Rules

There are some moments in life that you just never, ever want to forget. Sure, obviously there’s the usual (birth of my children should probably be up there, wedding day, blah, blah, blah) but I’m talking about those moments when chance, spontaneity and the sheer joy of life just crash into one another and wipe out all rational thought and action.Happiness with smile

They are so special, you keep them locked in your own personal tiny treasure chest in a far corner of your mind and heart. But sometimes, often when you least expect it, they shine through, making you feel all tingly inside and a smile tries to fight its way across your face. You know the kind.

I was in my mid 20’s before I took my first trip abroad. Everything about the planning that went into this trip was rational and deliberate. I had saved, researched and even prepared myself emotionally (ironic really) to deal with any fear factors associated with flying and being in a foreign country on my own.plane

But once on my travels, it was my emotions that ruled. Maybe it was the heightened senses that come with being in a foreign country and the everyday ‘first-time’ experiences that made me ‘feel’ rather than ‘think’. And I did ‘feel’ wonderful.

One evening in London I caught up with a friend of mine who was living there. We hit the local pub; it just happened to be an antipodean pub. Well, you can imagine the scene; loud, obnoxious, very drunk Australians all dancing rather badly to some grungy band doing classic Aussie rock covers, with a pint of Foster’s in hand. Yeah, wasn’t quite the London ‘scene’ I had hoped for.

However, in that crazy crowd a quiet and unassuming Italian struck up a conversation with me. He was visiting a friend too and was back off to Italy the next day. I was so swept up in his accounts of Italy, the food, his local haunts (and let’s be honest, his accent) before I knew it, I’d given him my number and we’d arranged to meet up in Rome in a few weeks.

Yup, totally and utterly crazy I know. He so could have been a stalker (pretty sure that’s what my friend thought). It was rather irrational of me to start handing out my number to a random stranger, in a foreign country and yet, it felt liberating.

It was so ridiculous, at least, for someone like me. I’m that person that always buys sensible cotton briefs, rather than the lacy, matching sets because they’re cheaper and much more practical.

I’m that person that studied English teaching because I knew it would provide a stable carer with a good Super, rather than follow my passion for writing or dance. I’m that person who plans everything so that very little is left to that fickle fiend, chance!

So, now you’re wondering if I followed through. Darn right I did! I met Paulo a couple of weeks later in Rome. I’d decided, to quit London and had spent the last two weeks travelling (no…eating my way) through Italy with a group of strangers.

We visited all the usual sights, but not long into the trip it was apparent, I’d left my rational brain elsewhere. I would happily converse with locals of all ages, despite that fact that I knew barely any Italian (Prego, I discovered had multiple uses). But damn I was giving it a good crack!DSCN6467

I ate pasta with cows bowels in Rome, performed on stage a traditional dance called the ‘Tarantula’ in Naples, to an audience of senior tourists, swam in the Tyrrhenian Sea off Sorrento in the middle of winter, and wound up getting kicked out of a salsa club in Florence, all without being under the influence of alcohol. Who would have thought?

Ok, so all this could have been on any young traveller’s agenda, I hear you say. Travel can make us do outlandish things, but this was me….the rational, play-by-the-rules, planner. These experiences were never on MY radar.

The final two days of my travels led me back to Rome and back to Paulo. I’d suggested we meet at the Spanish Steps. If you’ve seen Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, you’ll imagine the scene. Only joking, … if!

But, we did actually end up meeting in the centre of Rome and spent an afternoon wandering the streets, eating pasta, drinking Mojitos and chatting late into the night. That was it. But in that moment and in the weeks leading up to it, I felt free, liberated almost and just a little reckless. And it was in no small part down to the irrational decisions that led me there.

If I really think about it, this is the common thread that binds each of my special moments together, the part the irrational played in ruling out over the rational. Some might call it being spontaneous or even irresponsible, but I loooove the fact that in these moments, I threw caution to the wind, didn’t think about the specifics and just let myself get swept up in it.irrational rules

While I’m not about to suggest that we all just let loose and go crazy here people, I do wonder if we should, just a little more frequently, stop that bugger of a brain from thinking sensibly and just let ourselves be a little……. irrational. Who knows what may come of it, but it’s bound to shake things up a bit and I reckon that’s gotta be a good thing.

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A Glass of Nostalgia

  I love reminiscing about the past. I think my mum bred it into me as a child when she would describe for us the tales of hermemories adventurous youth; holiday’s spent on remote farms, island hideaways and neighbourhood shenanigans with Mr Pussam Pisser (that was her cat!)

In time, as my brothers and I grew up, we delighted in hearing the stories of our own childhood from her eyes and we’d spend evenings crying with laughter as we’d recall episodes from the seasons of our youth.

Seems harmless enough, but as I’ve gotten older it’s forced me to wonder, is there a danger in reminiscing? Is nostalgia a bad thing?

There once was a time when London was home for me. When the lure of a good book shop or coffee house saw me easily filling up a grey drab Saturday. When summers could simply be spent savouring the delights in more than one European country and the prospect of a warm run in londonweather was a treat worth celebrating with Pimms on the local Green.

There once was a time when all things that should have been foreign, did not seem so to me. The little corner shop run by Mr Abdallah sold products from every continent, men in their khamis chatted with a cigarette and coffee in hand while waiting outside the Halal butcher, the Polish bakery with its rainbow array of bakery treats behind class cabinets always drawing my eye and the Jamaican Jerk Chicken shop with its spicy smells and colourful characters, all made me feel at home.

Sometimes I feel like it was all a lifetime ago and someone else’s life at that (which is a worry in itself). When I’m drawn back to these memories, I’m swept up in a wave of nostalgia, yearning for those sensory experiences again, the way a child might pine for their snuggie.

There is no denying, life is drastically different now; smelly poos requiring removal (from all parts of the house!), splattered food scraps to pick off floors and walls, patience building toddler tantrums and playdates to be contained, work deadlines that seem to constantly reappear and weekends spent tag-teaming domestic and childcare duties. Did I mention poo! Yep, sensory experiences of another kind you could say.

I don’t mean to sound disenchanted with my life now, having a family brings with it the opportunity to make even more meaningful memories one could say. It is wonderful….. but in a very different way.

I find myself drifting off at times and remembering my previous ‘life’ and if I’m honest, I reeeeally want to go back. Back to the extra-ordinary, the cosmopolitan, the vibrant, the freedom. It is that availability of sensory experiences that only a certain place, at only a certain time can offer, which makes you feel alive.

My husband and I met in London, he was an illegal immigrant and I was a naive Aussie. Both of us were existing in a bubble of spontaneity, nervous excitement, wonder (and each of us share housing in pokey flats with more people than is acceptable by human rights standards). But what happened to us? To the people we were then?

We’ll often reminisce about these times ‘when we were young and beautiful’ he jokes, but it always leaves us feeling a little glum afterwards. Almost like (dare I say it out loud), life will never be that ‘good’ again.

But, then I’m pulled back into the now on a warm summers day, living by the beach, in sunny Queensland, in a house (not shared with others!) with three cheeky monkeys, always up for a cuddle….and life’s pretty darn sweet really.

It is all a matter of perspective and I’m slowly figuring out that while there is no harm in letting nostalgia drop by occasionally, it can be a bit like a good glass of wine; tempting and comforting, but overindulge andwine glass it’s sure to end with a hangover that just won’t budge.

My Mum taught me the value in sharing and reliving memories, but she never forgot to appreciate and enjoy the present. She’s a smart woman, happy to indulge in just the one glass. Me, I love wine too much to just stop at one, but then maybe herein lies my dilemma….. I’ll work on it.

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