Last night I was keen to get to my karate lesson - the orange belt and its star studded, arse-kickin' glory is nearly within my clammy grasp - and thought that everything was set. Love Chunks had got home from a long day at work; Sapphire was drooped over the arm of the sofa, too tired to come; and I'd left them a huge pot of my delicious pumpkin soup. Milly was fed; the dishwasher doing its dazzling duties and I was cutting quite a swathe in my freshly-ironed white Gi.
Several minutes later, I paid my five bucks, reached into the carry bag to pull out my membership card and sparring gear only to find that I brought my knitting along instead. Both bags were expertly made by my sewing goddess mother and I'd confused the two. So, while my Nin Tai ninja buddies were busy doing some butt-kickin' bunkai, Mawashi Geris and a few Oi Tsukis to scare off any pensioners stripping nearby, I was contemplating just how I could incorporate a few mean rows of purl and cast-off knits on size four needles before giving up and going home.
This born-blonde boneheaded behaviour got me thinking. Surely there are a few things I've learned so far this year? I mean apart from avoid any public speaking invitations, seeing a rescreening of 'Hey Hey It's Esther Blueberger' or eating muesli with a blocked nose? It turns out I've also learned that:
- Gum nuts wash surprisingly well when hidden in the pocket of a pair of school culottes, but gum leaves and tree sap (also referred to as 'amber' by our daughter Sapphire) are a different matter altogether
- Fake tan looks fake. And the human ankle - even if untouched by Garnier Golden Glow or equivalent somehow soaks up also nearby fake tan, and remains a fluoro-orange colour for weeks and weeks.
- Dogs don’t like natural yoghurt. Or baked beans. Stale bread rolls are objects to bury in a deep hole, not chew, and fish oil for canine arthritis does not improve their breath one iota.
- A pale bathroom floor attracts more pubic hair, towel fluff and lint than Chewbacca applying Head'n'Shoulders during his acid rave dance-a-thon.
- You should never ever drink a Farmers Union Feel Good Iced Coffee if it’s even one second beyond the use-by date. Unless you actually prefer your teeth without enamel.
- According to our (almost) nine year old, blue Slush Puppies are the sixth food group.
- Having long nails is a let down. People complain of being scratched when you only mean to touch them and yucky gunk collects underneath them (the nails, not the scratchee).
- Crockery sets are always sold in odd numbers at second-hand shops – threes, fives, sevens. Our wine glasses - survivors of 21sts, engagement gifts, wedding presents and K-Mart trips, also end up in odd numbers.
- Channel Nine are a bunch of heartless stinky bottom burps for not televising the latest series of Survivor which my karate sensei, Damien, tells me is the best one ever.
- Dog poo outlasts chewing gum and super glue for sickening staying power when it comes to scraping it off the bottom of a brand new pair of sneakers.
- Sandpits contain invisible magnetic properties for any person under the age of ten, especially when wearing a clean school uniform or their best clothes. In fact anything with socks, pockets and cuffs.
- No matter how they are talked up by the chef, labelled or presented, sausages for dinner are still utter crap and better flung out onto the footpath where they belong.
- One white tissue, inadvertently included in a dark washing load, has the ability to spread itself to at least 30 times its original size when distributing its white waste over woolly socks, polar fleece jackets and my nice black tops.
- Dog farts don’t blast out the windows; nine year old daughters’ do. And they are always inordinately proud of this.
- Here in Oz, divorcing a celebrity not only gives you more money but also guarantees fame, a slot on ‘Dancing with the Stars’, undeserved advertising work and a ghost-written magazine column. Having talent, a secure love life and intelligence does not.
- Kids still love being taught how to finger knit, plant broad beans and make Anzac biscuits.
- The nicest smell is that of your own home, when you’ve just opened the door after being away. Unless you’ve just burnt the toast or left an uncleaned tin of tuna in your fliptop bin.
- Your nine year old can beat you in every single game of Cluedo.
- This same child can out-read, out-count and out-write every other child her age in class but still cries when she drops her ice block onto the ground.
- Your maternal love is strongest when the nearly nine year old is fast asleep, unmoving and completely silent.
- Your love for your husband is strongest when he is holding you, massaging your migraine-racked temples and offering to empty your sick bucket.
And yet I still can't figure out which way to turn the key in order to open our back door, how to make a decent milk froth from our coffee machine or see any joy in gardening. So much to learn, so little time.