Thursday, September 13, 2012

My rocky relationship with Ken

The very first time I heard Ken’s voice I felt comforted. The soft vibrations of middle-aged vocal chords suggested a man who had given up on life, but not on smoking. Smoking, in a way, had become the one constant in Ken’s life. Smoking and long bus-driver socks.

I liked that.

I smiled and with words dripping in honey suggested that he help me with my little bureaucratic problem. “Germans,” I told him, “the Germans are keeping me from my driving dreams.”

The soft wheezing caused by his emphysema made me think he understood. He understood and he was going to ensure that we beat the German system together. Just Ken and I.

But I was mistaken. In reality all that existed behind his two black lungs was an even blacker heart. Ken wasn’t really interested in helping me or pulling his socks down to a reasonable height. He just wanted his next cigarette and to him I was nothing more than a roadblock he’d have to beat his way through.

Oh Ken. It could have been beautiful, Ken.

It wasn’t beautiful, Ken.

Upon hearing my request, Ken’s hoarse voice turned cold and unpleasant, like a suppository. His brain shuddered and cowered away from the idea of doing work. Forcing back a gag reflex at the mere thought of it, he explained that he had no intention of actually doing anything. He worked for the RTA service centre, he reminded me, and suggested that I ask the moon for help because that would probably garner better results. Then with one final wheezing sound he hung up.

Oh Ken. I wish your name was Kevin.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Should I succumb to our toaster

Know that it was murder.

Just earlier this month at some grand technology convention every piece of technology ever invented agreed that it should destroy my life. Because it’s fun. Technology has a warped sense of humour like that.

The first sign of mutiny happened while I was printing wedding Save-the-Date cards on expensive French paper. Everything was going peachy until suddenly the printer went colour blind and decided that green was most definitely yellow, purple was a lovely shade of pink and blue didn’t exist. Moments later, after extensive head cleaning, cartridge shaking, nozzle checking and a couple of harsh words, the printer smiled cruelly and printed everything – Every. Single. Colour – as a shitty kind of aqua. Another hour of coaxing it to work caused everything to turn orange, then red-ish and then into unpredictable stripes. 

Yesterday it was the sewing machine’s turn. It didn’t even pretend to cooperate – the hand wheel just refused to turn, and no amount of pulling it apart, carefully dusting it out and re-oiling it worked. Although I felt like quite the handyman unscrewing bits here, oiling bits there and sweating up a storm. Getting oil on my hands. Getting oil on my clothes. Drinking some oil. Going to the kitchen to make pizza dough. Coming back and sitting limp on the couch, you know, regular handyman stuff.

Today I’m not sure what I should be afraid of – will my mixer whip my hair into an afro? Will the toaster electrocute me instead of the fork I put inside to get the toast out? Will the vacuum cleaner suck up all of my self-esteem and feeling of worth? Only time will tell. But should anything happen to me, avenge me.

Avenge me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Busy, busy, busy

Oh, Hi there.

So I guess Simon was right about the whole me not writing every day thing. Damn.

 There is a very good reason for it all, though. It begins with a “w” and ends with me pulling out all of my hair.

 There is also a bit of money involved and, very possibly, some trampling of feet and a wharf collapsing under my weight. The last two are yet to be confirmed, although Simon’s predicted both and, going off past experiences, he is never wrong about these things.

 It’s kind of creepy.

But I digress. I’m getting married next year. Yup. It’s happening. And right now it feels very much like a runaway steam train. Kind of loud, clunky and present. Very, very present. Stop being such an attention whore, wedding!

 Dumpling, surprisingly, has been entirely supportive of the entire venture, offering his advice here and there. Of course we don’t speak bird so it hasn’t been much help, but it’s nice to know he’s for it anyway.

 Now two things. One – I am a completely OCD over-achieving freak at the best of times and two – my genetic makeup has not prepared me to plan a wedding. For most of my life (except for the past three months) I have been convinced that I would never get married. I never thought about the dress, the setting, the shoes or what my invitations say about Mark and me as a couple.

When I got engaged I assumed that because I had written for wedding publications, it’d all be a breeze. Stupid Agnes. You’re so STUPID Agnes!

 Since that moment every day has been filled – FILLED - with wedding stuff. There is just so much stuff. I mean, sure, maybe it isn’t strictly “necessary” to etch the face of every one of my guests into wine corks and make a necklace out of them, and maybe our wedding “will be just as magical without a marching band, Agnes,” but hey it only happens once, right? So you have to make the right decisions.

And because I haven’t had years to mull over the kind of wedding I’d like, I’m not sure what the right decisions are. So I’ve slowly been developing a split personality disorder, where one side of me goes, “that’s a nice napkin. It’s material. I like that,” and the other side is more like, “but is it THE napkin? Do I really want to get this napkin when there could be a better napkin out there and I’ll potentially have to live with the regret and disappointment of having chosen the wrong napkin?”

 It’s a lot of pressure.

And it gets even more complicated. Aside from picking a thing and being satisfied that it’s the best thing ever, the thing has to match every other thing and look good. At the thought of this I experience flashbacks to my youth and go into a blind panic. Oh dear lord, what if our wedding looks like my favourite childhood outfit (a Simba pyjama top paired with aqua trackie-dacks pulled up to my armpits and a dainty cork sandal worn over white socks)?

And where is Mark in all of this? He’s sitting back smiling dreamily off into the distance, saying things like, “whatever you choose it's going to be amazing. Can we row around in a boat at some stage? I like boats.”

Prepare for disaster.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

This is happening!

Yuri is deserting me! He’s going to Brazil for a whole month. A whole month! So many Yuri-less days! 

Understandably I’ve fallen into a bit of a panic and look to the future with a darkening sense of foreboding. I think this is probably how I’ll spend my time:

Day 1 – 2: Cry profusely, screaming Yuri’s name into the night (at half hour intervals)
Day 2 – 4: Repeat
Day 4 – 10: Create a Yuri puppet made of Yuri’s hair, which I’ve been secretly collecting, and some of his clothes, which he left behind. And also toothpaste.
Day 10 – 15: Realise that the Yuri puppet won’t talk back and throw it out the window in a fit of anger. Then cry, screaming his name.
Day 15 – 20: Convince myself that I could be Yuri. Dress in his clothes, cut my hair short, fashion it into an afro, talk to myself (in Portuguese, of course), take myself out to the cinema, catch up on all of the ANTM cycles, skip down the street with myself, swinging my own hand.
Day 20 – 30: Kill everything in my sight.

 Yuri, don’t go!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

This morning

This morning I woke up gripping my phone and Mark’s passports. Apparently in the midst of a maddened dream involving an extraterrestrial threat I had screamed at Mark to run. "We could make it to the nearest border!"  

He refused to act, so I took things into my own hands, scrambled out of bed and searched the room for items that required my protection. Then promptly fell asleep on top of them.

The world is safe.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Over the weekend the most incredible thing happened; Mark and I simultaneously suffered from a spontaneous brain aneurism and decided to paint our room. It just so happened that at the time of this event, we were right next to a hardware store so, you know, BINGO!

The kind lady at the paint counter didn’t know what hit her, but some fifteen minutes later had nonetheless helped us to match a paint colour to something we’d found in an IKEA catalogue and was nervously watching us dash back and forth through the aisles.

At this point I should mention that we were on a bit of a budget and since we lashed out on the paint that wouldn’t render us unconscious within three second of opening it, had decided to make up some ground on the brushes.

Had we had an experienced painter with us, he or she would have slapped us silly and told us that we were both stupid idiots. But since there was nobody there to put an end to our mirth we continued; delirious over the savings we were making.

A few minutes later we had it all – a ten-litre bucket of dark blue paint, floor coverings, masking tape, tape-stuck-to-plastic-to-cover-skirting-boards-thingie (the high point of the shopping experience), paintbrushes, two rollers and two paint-dippy things (clearly I’m very good at this).

Getting our supplies home via bus and subway exhausted us, so we decided to get a fresh start the following morning. And lucky too, because as it turned out not only did our attractively-priced rollers leave unattractive spongy residue on the walls, but our paintbrushes shed like one of those dogs that sheds a lot.

Roughly half of our time was spend de-furring our walls.

There was also the mishap where Mark painted the ceiling and I painted the floor and for a few seconds we thought our life would turn into a sketch where we’d just keep painting until we reached our neighbour’s apartment and the next thing you knew all of Munich would be blue. We recovered from that though.

Finally, after several hours of hard work, our room was finished and we agreed that it was the most beautiful thing ever to grace the earth. It’ll be even nicer once we have furniture.

Mark hard at work, but a little "uncomfortable."

In theory the square roll sponge thingie that Mark's holding should allow you to paint in a straight line


The final result!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Eurovision chatter for Nick

So Eurovision has officially started – we’re two semifinals in and the hilarious observations by some very hilarious individuals, resembling us, have begun. I just need to take a moment to really reiterate just how funny these individuals (who are us) are. Our commentary to date has been pretty funny and also pretty accurate.

Like, for example, earlier today when we were watching the second semifinal (of which we have the results because it’s already over, Nick) we said things like “bird face! What an ugly bird face,” when describing a woman with a really ugly bird face.

It was beaky and puckered.

We were also shocked and appalled by one entrant not making it through. How dare you Europe?! 

Actually, truth be told, I didn’t really care about that particular entrant anyway, so I’d be lying if I said throwing a coffee table off the balcony was completely motivated by grief. I was more upset by the bird face.

But let me get serious for a quick second, because one group caused me real distress and I want vengeance. Please be so kind as to gather up each member of this act (including the song writer, composer, costume designer, hair stylist, mother and anybody else even remotely related to it), force them to stand in a line and then slap them across the face with an unhinged door or plane propeller. They’re all deranged lunatics as far as I’m concerned.

I’m going to let you guess which act I’m talking about. But take this as a warning: your soul will wither as you listen to this song. And it will cry.

But let’s get down to the crux of why I’m writing this blog. Is it really to talk about Loreen tripping on stage? Or about the Estonian act wearing diapers (WTF)? No – none of those things happened, but my hope is that you’re reading this, Nick, and almost had a seizure at the thought of me ruining it for you.

I’m sorry, any shred of human decency disappeared along with my soul (refer to semifinal two)

So, just so we’re clear on this, the point of this blog is purely to tease Nick. You know who you are, Nick. Unless you’re not the Nick I’m talking about and you stumbled across this blog by accident and are now feeling really puzzled about life in general. Get a grip Nick.

And to the right Nick I say game on. Game on!


So it’s been a little while since we’ve been to Morocco. I would have written earlier only I’m me, so I didn’t. However since I didn’t want you to miss out on the excitement of hearing me talk about my trip, here it is condensed with photos:

It all began in the late afternoon on a Tuesday or maybe Wednesday or maybe Thursday (who can remember these things). We took the train to the airport extra early, checked in and then proceeded to explode with excitement, occasionally pausing to stuff our livers and intestines and other vital organs back into their rightful spots.

Our first stop was London Stansted. We landed there at 11pm and weren’t flying out till 6am the following morning. Mark thought the best way to pass the time was to buy me a bowl of coffee (seriously look at the size of that thing) and watch to see what happened. I swung off the chandeliers a little.

We boarded our flight without any dramas and landed in Marrakech at 9am-ish local time. Our riad sent a driver to fetch us and some 15 minutes later we were sipping mint tea in the atrium. Sidenote: Mark and I have decided that Moroccan mint tea should be made compulsory at all restaurants everywhere. Please take this news to your respective leaders.

Our first day in Marrakech was spent wandering around the souks, which were a three-minute walk from our riad. The plan was to bargain and make every local sing our praise and tell stories about the foreigners who could negotiate like Bruce Willis in The Fifth Element only with fewer guns and also fewer aliens. Instead we got totally ripped off.

Every conversation began with the vendor establishing where we were from, followed by some vague kangaroo-ish movements (on behalf of the locals) and enthusiastic nodding (from us). “Yes,” the nods said, “Kangaroos!! I know what you’re doing because I’m Australian.” And, of course, after a few pleasant moments of hopping and smiling and nodding and hopping we politely emptied our wallets. It was also widely acknowledged that Australians sound very much like “JACKPOT!” and one very determined man was convinced that as a nation we’re into big yellow pointy slippers. He was wrong though.

We had dinner back at our riad and then took a turn about the main square to see it lit up at night. It was both manic and very cool. Side note: we came very close to adopting about a thousand kittens.

Our second day in Marrakech was spent in a similar way, only we squeezed in a visit to the Saadian Tombs before we got into a transporter and set off for the Atlas Mountains.

We arrived at the Widiane Suites and Spa some three and a half hours later and shuffled along into the reception area -- the bottoms of our jaws skidding across the ground -- where we were treated to a welcome drink of goat’s milk and dates.

As part of a package, Mark and I got to stay at the resort for four nights and received a one-hour Thai massage, boat ride, foot-massage, traditional hammam and canyon trek (each). I could write a book about our time in this part of Morocco. That would probably bore you to tears though, so instead I’m going to put together a list of the things not covered in this blog and fill in the gaps when the inspiration hits me.
  1. Mark and the snake charmer 
  2. Fantasia 
  3. The Miu 
  4. Our trek, deadly cacti and the benefits of a matching tracksuit 
  5. The hammam 
  6. The sewage room 
  7. Crossing the road 
Yup. Right. That was our trip to Morocco. We’re hopelessly in love with the place and can’t wait to go back for more.