It is my son’s birthday this week. He’s one of those kids with a massive imagination. He doesn’t want a Play Station, I-Pod Touch or Wii like most kids his age. He’s mostly into animals, sports and loves playing imaginary games with little figurines. When he is playing his action figures you’d be mistaken for thinking that there are 15 other kids in the room with him, the noise is insane.
Leaving a job that you love in a place full of people that you love – is an even bigger one.
After much deliberation and a pretty serious list of pro’s and con’s, I came to the conclusion that since I am a proper grown-up now, or at least moonlighting as one – it was time to make the move onwards and upwards.
So I typed what felt like a break up letter (it’s not you, it’s me), otherwise known as my very official resignation and handed it in….then promptly shit my pants in the days that followed as it occurred to me that I was leaving my wolf-pack and heading off to play the unfamiliar role of quiet, unassuming new girl.
Mingara was and still is full of some of my favourite people and there wasn’t a single day where I went to work and I did not laugh to the point of no sound coming out, usually accompanied by some involuntary clapping.
To celebrate what a ride the last 3 years have been (and also because Lauren told me to) – I have decided to count down some of my favourite Mingara Moments and dedicate this very deep and meaningful blog to my Mingara work peeps. Besides, I like to have the last word.
Unbelievably – this was considered ‘work’. Dancing in a Flashmob was well and truly always on my bucket list!
When we suggested it as a project to form part of a campaign that we were working on and management smirked and approved it officially making dancing part of our job – we could not stop talking about how brilliant we were.
We enlisted the help of THE Nikki Webster of 2000 Olympics Opening Ceremony fame! Nikki did the choreography for us, did a fantastic job and was loads of fun …(although despite several requests would not let me wear a harness and be flown in to the performance…which was disappointing to say the least).
We recruited 120 Flashmobbers and couple of rehearsals later we invaded 2 beaches in 2 days – using random dance as our weapon!
My coordination and ability to retain choreography is somewhat challenged but thankfully when lost in the masses (hardly) anyone could tell. I had suggested that perhaps they should let me sink a few wines before each performance so that I could have rocked my own freestyle moves but apparently drinking before 11am is frowned upon …. at work events anyway.
I know it sounds odd and perhaps even a little bit lame that ‘meetings’ would make my favourite moments but when you’re sitting around a board room table with people that you actually like, it just becomes kind of like a dinner party without the food.
What I love the most is that my colleagues always accepted the immaturity and short attention span that comes with being me – they are an equal opportunity employer after all.
They were acutely aware that I will laugh at anything evenly mildly close to what sounds like a rude word even when it is used in a totally normal context (see http://wp.me/p29Ekp-1K if you’re unfamiliar with my disorder).
When in a meeting, any talk of “oral” presentations would result in me raising my eye brows and trying not to spit on the boardroom table as I fought back laughter.
As soon as a questionable word would leave their mouth, they would instinctively look down the long table toward me and simply say “you OK Jayne?” -the answer of course would be no, but I was usually laughing too hard to respond.
Even discussing a ‘Brazilian’ option as a menu suggestion proved challenging. Yes, yes I know it’s a country, but whoever says that they aren’t thinking of a bald Vajayjay when they hear it is a liar.
By the time I left, they were finding their own rude words to laugh at in what would have previously been a normal meeting. I’ve never been so proud. I think this means I have left a legacy.
The Key Ring
One of my team mates came back from a Thailand holiday with some souvenirs for us. Of course my special gift was a black wooden key ring….in the shape of male genitalia. Specifically – it was a black “dick and balls” on a key ring. Rude AND practical.
Funny? Yes…but it wasn’t enough to just giggle at it as it sat idle on my desk. This dick and balls was simply begging to be used in a more hilarious way.
One day when our fearless leader was out of his office, off being all General Managery I suspect, I couldn’t help but notice that he had left his gym bag in his office – unattended – with his car keys sitting neatly in the side pocket. Obviously this meant that I was forced to immediately attach the key ring to our General Manager’s keys and place them carefully back into his bag.
Just the thought of him driving along the freeway with dangling …umm… keys swinging from the ignition made me smile.
To my utter delight – it was not until 3 days later that he finally realized that he had genitals hanging from his key ring – even better was that the magic moment had come when he threw his keys onto the counter of the service station to pay for his fuel.
I could not have wished for a more hilarious discovery so it’s no surprise that it goes down as one of my all-time favourite Mingara moments.
I got to meet lots of interesting people in my entertainment role at Mingara– and normally I wasn’t overly excited about any of the performers in particular as it was ‘just my job’ (plus some of them were really old – no offence Normie Rowe) …and besides, despite my earlier mentioned behaviour in meetings – I’m actually very professional. Well at least I was until my Nollsy-crush took over.
The first time I met him, I was simply surprised by how lovely and down to earth he was, he was really talented too which I totally hadn’t expected … and most importantly – really funny (funny immediately equates to hot).
The second time I met him, he told me that he had read my Blog review of his last concert and that he loved it. He thanked me for writing it and promptly gave me a hug. He thanked me for writing it and promptly gave me a hug. That’s not a typo I just really wanted to say it again.
Time stood still for the 2.5 seconds that he held me. It was exactly like a scene from the Notebook… except it wasn’t raining…or the year 1940.
Unfortunately, my professionalism took a dive at that moment and I was no longer able to converse with him ever again without twisting my hair around my finger and giggling like a 14 year-old groupie.
The last time I saw him was ironically my last night at work – talk about a high security risk! After his show – to celebrate my final night at work – Nollsy made me skull from his bottle of vodka in his dressing room….well he didn’t “make” me, but he encouraged me and since I’m a 14 year old groupie, it goes without saying that I’ll do whatever it takes for him to think I’m cool – although all of the hair twisting and giggling does make it difficult to give off the “I’m cool” vibe.
I’m not proud of the unladylike things that I have since said to my friends about Nollsy. I am waiting for them to present me with a high visibility fluro vest now that I have proved I could hold my own fixing roads and talking filth at smoko with the best of the bogan wolf-whistlers. If I didn’t resign I would have eventually been sacked for booking monthly Shannon Noll concerts…which would have had just one lone stalker in the audience…in her high visibility vest and a creepy grin. Awkward.
If you can spend your work day doing something that you love with people who constantly find ways to make you smile, then you are on a good thing!
Mingara – Thank you for looking after me.
Nollsy – Thank you for the music.
It was difficult to leave my happy place – but thankfully as I walked out on my final day, I took with me some pretty special friendships (and some stationery) which I’ll keep forever.<
It is my son’s birthday this week. He’s one of those kids with a massive imagination. He doesn’t want a Play Station, I-Pod Touch or Wii like most kids his age. He’s mostly into animals, sports and loves playing imaginary games with little figurines. When he is playing his action figures you’d be mistaken for thinking that there are 15 other kids in the room with him, the noise is insane. It’s just him, by himself – completely lost in his game.
We sometimes go to a really cute Café which has an unusually cool basket of toys – not the usual 2 pieces of Lego, a jigsaw puzzle missing just about every piece and a naked doll with hair resembling Amy Winehouse. It was here that he had seen and played with an Hulk figurine. He had never even seen the movie so I was surprised by his fascination with it, but he would actually ask to go to this café just to play with it. It’s worth noting here that neither of my kids (unfortunately) are café kids, I haven’t had a hot coffee in 8 years – so if they are asking to go to a café, it means one of two things – either the café has a half decent toy box or you get a free lizard with every latte.
So with his birthday approaching he of course asked me to buy him a Hulk figurine. No problem. Toys R Us, Big W, Target, K Mart and even some online shopping and still there was nothing even close to resembling it. I even asked Toys R Us where I could find one and they said they don’t stock them anymore as the Hulk was so, like, 5 years ago.
OK plan B – Diversion. What else did he want? Skateboard perhaps? No. How about a Basketball hoop? Nope. ipod Touch? Hmm…nup. Just the figurine is fine thanks mum.
You’re either going to laugh at this or judge me – I’m in the brace position ready for anything!
This morning on my way to work, I dropped my son off at school as I usually do. Then before I dropped my toddler at my mums …. I took a little detour.
I…umm…stopped to get a…err….coffee!?
I’m not proud of it. Well maybe I am a little. I stopped at the Café in question. I shamelessly used my toddler as a decoy, casually sitting him down with the basket of toys and ordering him a baby chino. Then yes, while he had his face in a marshmallow, I slipped our green friend into my handbag…BUT – hold on, hold on, stay with me… I had brought with me another toy from home which I replaced it with! So it’s less of a theft, and more an exchange?
I’m convincing myself that it levels things out? Doesn’t it?
Surely if I took a dollar coin from your desk and put another dollar coin on there at the same time it wouldn’t matter would it?
OK so there might be some holes in my theory.
Yes I could have asked the cafe if I could buy it, exchange it or take it – but if they had said no, then I’d be back in a bind. Remember the expression: “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission?” – Well what can I say? It speaks to me.
Yes I could have just explained to him that I couldn’t find the figurine as they don’t make them anymore – but I want to give him what he wants on his special day (remember the movie “Jingle All The Way” where Arnold Schwarzenegger played a dad trying to get his son a “Turbo Man” action figure?) Well that’s me…. but this toy simply came without the packaging.
(I think the fact that I’m now comparing my life to an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie is punishment in itself – I’ve hit a new low).
Yes it could set the example that stealing is OK, but neither of my kids will ever know about it and technically it really is ”swapping”. hmmm OK I think I’ll just stick with the “neither of my kids will ever know” defense.
Yes I realise that I can’t take him to the café anymore because he’ll ask me where the Hulk figurine is. That’s OK. I will return to cafes with toy boxes full of naked dolls and chewed blocks – and that’s the price I pay.
Yes he’ll wonder why the toy is not in its original packaging but I’ve saved him the time untying all those stupid wire ties that come in kids toy packaging. I’m good like that.
When I told my mother why I was late dropping off my toddler to her this morning, she laughed nervously saying she wished I had never told her about my morning of crime. I could see that she was literally imagining herself as an accessory, on the stand in a court of law having to confess her knowledge of the crime. In response to her over dramatic “Jesus Jaynie, I can’t believe you did that”… I told her “I’m in the business of getting things done”.
Keep it together nanny, the reality is – I took something that was covered in germs, sticky chocolate fingers, baby drool and god knows what else – and I replaced it with a great new toy which has only ever been licked by only 2 kids.
You’re welcome Café!
Happy Birthday to a little man that I’d do anything for – even time!
I just hope the smell of Milton disinfectant solution on his new toy doesn’t give him a headache.
To my utter shock and complete disbelief my little blog was published on Mia Freedman’s Mamamia Website! I’m a bit of a fan of the site so I was a little bit excited to say the least, and have spent the last 2 weeks calling myself a “published” writer, feeling very important while flicking my hair back dramatically and ordering people around.
It is funny how rediscovering writing after all these years has inspired me to change my direction. I’ve found a creative outlet for myself that I love and have pressed my “reset button” giving me a new happy energy and excitment about whatever comes next! Plus, all things going well – in about 18 months from now I’ll be a qualified freelance Journalist! Hopefully I will also have some more published blogs and articles under my belt and still be loving every typed word of it.
To the people who have read and enjoyed my little blogs, thank you!
That’s it for me, I’m off to scream demands at my imaginary staff (flick hair…dramatic exit).
It’s Saturday night at 8.30pm and I’m tucked up in my bed.
Electric blanket? Check.
Cup of tea on my bedside table? Check.
10 years ago, this type of Saturday night behaviour would have only been acceptable if I had pulled an all-nighter the night before, and even then, there would have been an expectation to “back up”. It really doesn’t seem like that long ago, but I guess a lot can happen in 10 years.
There are a few mild differences that I’ve noticed between my life then and now;
My coffee tasted slightly different in the old days – it was HOT.
I used to just sit down, and eat my dinner– and not have to negotiate with anyone else to eat theirs.
I used to just mind my own “business” (literally) – as crazy as some of those nights were, there was never a need to wipe anyone else’s bum.
Silence was golden – now it means that something, somewhere in my house is about to be broken.
The feeling of euphoria that I used to feel when dancing upon a podium after 15 drinks, I now get when I hear my vacuum suck up a piece of lego.
Sleeping in was something that I took for granted in my previous nocturnal life with a motto of “party all night and sleep all day”. Now, on the rare chance that I get to go out and shake my groove thang, I find myself in a pit of regret by about 6am when my eyes are pried open by chubby 3 year old fingers, ready to endure the longest day of my life and pay for all of my sins.
I used to sing in the car at the top of my lungs, and I still do – although now it comes with complaints from the back seat about how bad my voice is (it just makes me stronger).
I used to climb a corporate ladder, and now I’m the CEO of my household – responsible for every little thing that happens, school, sports, parties, timetables, bath, bed, medicine and lunch boxes – it’s multi-tasking on steroids. Certificate IV of Motherhood.
I used to wander down to the beach with…. a towel – that’s it, one towel and maybe a book. Now, a day at the beach consists of 2 bags, 4 towels, a sun-tent, buckets, spades, wetsuits, surfboards and an endless supply of snacks. Reading a book is about as likely as being able to fold the sun-tent back into its original casing when we pack up to leave.
I used to laugh at my mother – now I am her (albeit without Crocs).
Grocery shopping was just another job to do which I barely gave any thought to, but now, if I do manage to do it on my own I find myself wandering aimlessly down the aisles, gliding slowly along the back of the trolley, loving every minute of the limited time that I am alone – I am essentially ”hiding” in a supermarket.
In my other life, I was selfish with my time and it was delightful! I spent my work days and nights in the busy city loving every bit of its hustle and bustle. Weekends were spent at the beach reading a book, a dip in the salt water to cure a hangover, long breakfasts reading newspapers, shopping in inner city boutiques, dinner parties, dancing, laughing and catching more cabs than Carrie Bradshaw.
I vaguely even remember the luxury of being “bored”.
It is a distant memory and a world away from what my life is like now, yet I’m happier than I ever was before. The 2 little boys that I donate my every breath and ounce of my energy to are the best company I could have ever imagined and I don’t want to miss a moment of them.
I loved my old life…..but even with it’s hot coffee, it had nothing on this one.
Winter. You either love it or you hate it.
Personally, I’m not a fan. Be it the bitter winds that cut right through me, the mornings where I need to be physically removed from the comfort of my warm bed or the miserable rain that promises to ruin any plans for outdoor fun. It’s depressing, cold and quite frankly, it’s as boring as hell.
Instead of losing myself in an indoor state of depression for 3 months, I have decided to be positive and attempt find something good about Winter. Anything!
As boring as it is to be trapped indoors, let it be said that there is no cuter sight than my 2 little boys in their toasty warm flannelette PJ’s. A rare day of indoor activity surrounded by intense cuteness, blankets and mess everywhere while we make cubby houses out of lounge cushions, and watch DVD’s all cuddled up together with the fire on makes me love Winter just a little bit..….for about 5 hours until cuddles turn into wrestles and cabin fever sets in. There’s nothing adorable about little boys wearing headbands, doing leaping kicks off lounges and waiving swords around channeling Ninja Turtles.
Exercise Excuses come thick and fast in winter -1) it’s raining 2) it’s freezing 3) it LOOKS like rain or 4) I’d rather stay home and eat chips. I do find that one of the hardest parts of exercising is finding plausible excuses not to, so big thanks Winter (you’re alright).
Another Winter Bonus – I don’t have to shave my legs as they are hidden under tracksuit pants (or is that just me)? Yes I know what you’re thinking “wow, her partner is so lucky”. Free Winter Tip: The added hair or “coat” also helps keep you warm. You’re welcome.
The Electric Blanket –is quite possibly my very favourite thing about winter. There is nothing better than getting into a warm bed that’s been roasting just for you (until you fall asleep with it still on and wake up in a pool of sweat, cooked medium to well done and can smell chicken).
I do however, have a bonus free tip for any kids reading this – electric blankets are invaluable when you have deemed it too cold to go to school. As a child, I would spend a few minutes pressing my forehead onto my electric blanket (the mental image of myself doing this still makes me laugh)…. then I’d wander out to mum saying how awful I felt, she’d go straight for the forehead feel and gasp at how high my temperature was and promptly send me back to bed. Easy. Seriously kids, if you don’t have an electric blanket, put it on your birthday list today and before you know it, you’ll be spending your winter days at home watching Tom & Jerry Marathons while your friends are in a cold classroom doing Algebra!
Before I finish up, heed this warning. Winter can be a dangerous time of year. With this cool change also comes chips, warm milky drinks, chocolate, cheese and red wine, these items are also known as “excess calories”. This “winter hibernation” diet coupled with the exercise excuses listed above can be a devastating combination when the season is over and Spring hits us in the bloated face, expecting us to expose our now insulated body in a maxi dress or a worse – a pair of shorts. My emergency advice for this predicament is to get yourself a tan, and fast. Everybody knows that brown fat is better than white fat.
Oh, and shave your legs.
DISCLAIMER: To my overseas friends – before you roll your eyes about my cold weather moaning – yes yes I know that an “Australian winter” is nothing on your “real” winter, but it’s still miserable to me OK!?
I’m usually a pretty happy person who finds even the most normal of observations amusing. Strangely, at the moment not even my mother using the word “moist” on Mother’s Day to describe a cake seemed to have any effect.
So after a month of no posts, no ideas and zero mojo, I decided that rather than attempt to force funniness (it’s a word) for the purpose of blogging when I don’t feel so funny, I would instead think about the things in my world that are already funny, the things that can guarantee me a laugh or a smile at any given time of day. That thing is without doubt my brilliant friends. I’m so ridiculously lucky to have each of them with all of their uniqueness and hilariousness (again – it’s a word). They are there for me at every turn and I lovingly and laughingly dedicate this dump to all of my special friends!
I often joke that men have it better than women – we get period pain, pregnancy, child birth, waxing, the lion’s share of the crappy nappies, and the pressure to over groom ourselves like apes…and men get…well…..sports. The reality is, while we might get stuck with the Brazilian wax – we chicks run communication rings around men and as a result we create friendships that are beautiful, funny, supportive and loving and I’d choose that any day of the week over a punch in the arm in a rugby change room.
Here are 2 examples of how some of my special people make me giggle at the mere thought of them.
The Sea Gull has Landed – Belinda
When our babies were only about 8 months old, my best friend Belinda and I were sitting in a beautiful beach side park on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. As we sipped our coffees in the sunshine while our little babies babbled away on our picnic rugs, we looked every bit the picture of latte mums, however looks can be deceiving. As the seagulls edged in closer eying off our picnic food, Belinda said to me ….“that bird is so close I think I could catch it” …..before I even had time to absorb what she had said, there was a grown woman sitting next to me with a seagull grasped tightly in her hands. A bird in her hands! I still don’t know who was more surprised in that moment, Belinda, me, our babies or the bird, I’d suggest the bird had the edge judging by the look of panic in his beedy little eyes. I was laughing so hard that I’d stopped making any sound except the occasional gasp for air, and the involuntary clapping of my hands. Within a few seconds, she threw it upwards to release it as though it were a Dove and we both fell about the place with laughter. This bird lady has given me 22 years of relentless spontaneity, unwavering support and hilarious randomness (look it up).
My weekends in Brisbane to visit my “Moisy” always involve laughing, usually involve wine and there’s a guarantee of a hangover in there somewhere too. It’s all a part of the package. One particular visit, after a low key BBQ on her back deck, (and by BBQ I mean a sausage sandwich, an uneaten salad and 45 glasses of wine, and by wine, I mean bourbon). We talked, laughed and drank until day became night. It didn’t feel like we’d been out there for long when Moisy’s husband told us we’d need to keep it down as he was off to bed. We waved him goodnight with barely a break in our conversation.
Between the 2 of us when we retell this now infamous story, we can recall him possibly coming out 2 or 3 times to remind us to keep the volume down (and by 2 or 3, I mean 4 or 5), and each time we lowered our voices and quietly continued our never-ending conversation, but inevitably laughter would erupt and the volume would shoot up until suddenly in the midst of our party for 2, the lights suddenly went out –on the deck, out the back, in the house – everywhere. Pitch black (except for the glow of our cigarettes), not a sound could be heard with the exception of some slurred swear words as we tried to work out what was going on (it took much longer than it should have) – Moisy’s husband had turned the power off at the main. He had gotten out of his warm bed, walked across the wet lawn in the middle of the night to the power box and flipped the switch that he hoped would bring him silence. From then on he would refer to that night as the “Stone the Crows” night because of the 2 loud birds on the deck with their crow-like laughter and the occasional “faaarkk, faaarkk”.
The “Husband” referred to in the story is now the ex-husband. The power went out on him in the end, and the best thing that he gave us was that story. I’m pleased to report that Moisy now has a wonderful husband that is only too happy to lose some sleep to our wine time.
I have all types of friends. Some live overseas, some interstate, old friends that have remained close friends, new friends that have become close friends, some I talk to every day, some I talk to every 6 months, some are similar to me and some could not be more different. .
They are my family. They know me. There is no fooling them, there is no pretending I’m OK if I’m not – these are professionals we are dealing with here, they can spot a fake smile over a phone call. They don’t laugh at my jokes if they aren’t funny (harsh but fair), they won’t let me accept less than I deserve – from people or from life. They tell me that can do anything – and they actually believe that I can. They make me laugh until I can’t stand up. They tell me that it will always be OK in the end and really, how could it not be when I’m surrounded by total wonderfulness! (IT’S A WORD!).
Without sounding too much like the 5th Spice Girl, I’m all about Girl Power this week (side note: If I were, I’d be called ‘Inappropriate Spice’).
I have decided that there is a reason that women got dealt all of that tough stuff that I mentioned earlier and it’s simply because we have the gift of “girlfriends” to help us navigate, laugh, cry and drink our way through it all !
Friendship isn’t about being inseperable; it’s about being seperated and nothing changes