Poor Stevie

Archive of ‘j-man’ category

half baked

This afternoon I made tomato chilli jam.

It made me think about the sunny one bedroom apartment J-man and I lived in when we first moved to Sydney. It was on a busy road in Cammeray, across from an RSL and a modern apartment block called Modus. We would say ‘Modus’ in a robot voice.

Looking back, it’s funny to think how young we really were. I broke down over a plate of hash browns soon after moving in. J-man accidentally scraped a work car along the side of our garage, taking off some of the wood frame. We had a washing machine so old and awful we had to load buckets of water into it. Our borrowed couch was yellow and quickly faded and attracted weird oily stains. I wore terrible clothes to work and, so green and nervous, was sure I was going to get fired everyday.

It was also where we grew up. J-man decided to quit his desk job and start his own business in music management. I became tougher and made far fewer phone calls home. We became good cooks and Sydney adventurers. We came home to it excited and changed after J-man proposed. On the deck one morning we set a date to go overseas for six months and I rushed inside and called my boss’s secretary to make an appointment to quit my job.

On the weekends we would have breakfast at a cafe in the middle of a strip of shops a few blocks away. It was so cheap and served an amazing sweet and slightly chilli tomato sauce with bacon and eggs. It was the perfect start to a Saturday and a lovely, delicious routine.

One day we walked up the road to find the cafe had closed, with a sign on the door saying “Sorry. We won the lottery”.

Postscript: I accidentally left the stove on and burnt my jam while writing all this down. Serves me right for being such a sentimental baby.

 

90 days

For the past year we’ve been living with Danny DeVito.

That is how I shall refer to our former landlord – even though he doesn’t deserve that honour – because he is very short.

He owns the apartment block of four and the café in front of it, which is run by his daughter and son-in-law. At first Danny DeVito, who was probably in his 70s, seemed like he was going to be a lot of fun to have as a landlord and neighbour.

We would talk politics and current affairs in the courtyard. We’d heard he purposefully kept the rent lower than the market demanded and hadn’t given a tenant notice in the 25 years he’d owned the place. He insisted if we had any problems we could just knock on his door and he’d come over and fix whatever it was.  He built and lacquered a wooden table and put it in the courtyard soon after we’d started sharing Saturday afternoon beers with our neighbours. It was all very idyllic.

The first time I realised Danny DeVito was not our friend was when he angrily hollered at me during a very light shower on a humid day: “The carpet will get wet! Close the window now!”

Danny DeVito obviously believed the man of the house should take care of everything, so he would usually greet me with a smile while harassing J-man about some summary offence. Our bin had bin juice in it, J-man’s scooter was parked oddly, or our washing machine door was left open.

Danny DeVito had a recycling bin he liked to leave empty for unexplained reasons and once he discovered we’d put paper in it, fishing out a piece of torn up mail and presenting it to J-man as the smoking gun.

When we were in the USA for three weeks we’d given him permission for a tradesman to come in and get rid of termites we’d discovered.  When we returned we discovered Danny DeVito himself had installed new bathroom taps. In the process he’d obviously cleared out our bathroom cabinet because tampons, toilet paper and everything else I never meant for Danny DeVito to see were strewn around the shelves.

After that I received a lecture from Danny DeVito. Not for being a foul woman, but because he’d also discovered my bike had made small scuff marks just inside the front door. He complained it could cost him a lot of money to repair, despite me telling him I had always been able to remove those marks with a cloth.  J-man was told we should start to use Jiff because our kitchen drain was slightly brown.

Then late one afternoon six weeks ago, I opened a letter from the real estate agent giving us three months to move out. Even though we saw Danny DeVito every day, he hadn’t thought to tell us a young employee from the café needed somewhere to live. And maybe because of the bin juice, the open window, the wrongly placed envelope or the tea-stained drain, it had to be our unit.

We had broken Danny DeVito’s 25-year record.

in lieu of flowers

On Tuesday it was our second wedding anniversary.

To celebrate I bought J-man a cactus pot and called it Grant against his will (Joel’s will that is. The cactus pot has no will, actually). This family of cactii could symbolise many things about being married for two years.

Observe:

– I am the perky red-headed cactus and J-man is the manly yellow-headed cactus. The prickly green cactus is life poking us in the butts.

– Just as a cactus needs little water, our love needs little … water?

– We have been married so long that neither of us bothers doing anything about our respective whiskers. Man, check out my spiky body spikes!

– If there was a drought (of love) you could break us open and still find water (love).

– We both like to tickle each other’s areoles.

– We will have little prickly babies or alternatively, a really tall, fat son.

OK, so everything above looks like it’s been translated from Mandarin by a two-year-old. I bought J-man a cactii pot because when we walked past the shop selling the cactii pot a little while ago, he said he wanted the cactii pot. You wanna know what love is? That’s it. Listening to your husband when he says he wants a cactii pot and then buying a cactiii pot for him later.

Also we needed a sibling for Admiral Fitzwallace, who was named during the peak of our West Wing viewing.

Love you my little Opuntia (Joel. You can’t feel love for a cactus, actually).

home improvement

I’m really starting to make like big bird and nest. I’m pretty sure J-man, the little cookie monster, is thrilled.

Recently, I decided to get creative by stealing someone else’s great idea of making a suitcase table. Because it was so much fun – not to mention being really great for our marriage – I have decided to share the process with you:

Step one: Go to Surry Hills markets and buy an overpriced vintage suitcase from a hipster conman. Feel empty, betrayed and bitter for the rest of the day.

Step two: Tell your husband to high-tail it to Bunnings and pick you up some table legs, some lacquer and some T-nuts. Set aside T-nuts for personal use.

Step three: Stain the legs on your white kitchen floor. Lean the freshly stained legs up against your white wall. You won’t regret it and, I swear, your landlord will love the new “bespoke” detail on his precious property.

Step four: Tell your husband to re-do your nails. And do it now, baldy!

Step five: Ask your husband to take a photo of you posing Charlie’s Angels-style with your new power drill in your messy kitchen. He won’t mind!

Step six: Drill some holes in that suitcase. Try not to let your mind wander to whether the Romans or whoever used asbestos to make their suitcases.

Step seven: Tell your husband to figure out what the hell to do with T-nuts. He, of all people, should know how to handle those babies with care.

Step eight: Don’t get angry at your selfish husband when the T-nut strategy goes balls up. He really is a good man deep inside and you can forgive him once he returns to Bunnings with his man tail between his legs to get plates and screws instead.

Step nine: Allow your husband to take over the drilling once in a while. It’s good for his sense of manhood.

Step ten: When he starts doing annoying things, like being reasonable and telling you to be careful, start swearing and calling him names until he storms out and says “I’m going to the gym”. Continue drilling and muttering under your breath.

Step eleven: When it becomes clear this really is a two person job, use your cutesy puppy voice to ask him to stay and help, promising you’ll never call him a “pain in the arse” or a “little poo” again. He’ll obey because he knows what’s good for him.

Step twelve: Admire your finished product! You have worked so, so hard to make this perfect. To celebrate, go and sink one of your husband’s expensive beers. You know the ones – the precious American ales he saves up for and stores away for special occasions. He’ll be totally cool with it, I promise!

VIP

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but J-man is kind of a big deal. In colder weather and in the ocean he is just a medium deal.

On an unrelated note J-man works in the music industry, meaning he sometimes gets tickets to gigs and takes me as his guest. And ladies, if you’re not going to marry for love you should definitely marry for clean toilets at music festivals. I will leave the guessing about why I married J-man up to you.

Recently we went to Splendour in the Grass together, like a BOSS(es).

On the night before we left for Splendour, J-man wasn’t giving too much away about the Wicked camper van we hired. I understood why when I – with what I believe is a fairly justified and reasonable stance against rape – saw this pretty rapeish slogan on the back of the vehicle we would be spending the next five days of our lives in:

It was an uneventful trip interstate and, surprisingly, it didn’t involve getting pulled over and cavity searched to within an inch of our lives.

When we arrived at Splendour, we chose a terrible camping spot we had to stick with because Ted Bundy the Wicked van couldn’t get up a slope with its three horse power engine. Obviously one of those horses was busy eating, the other was really a donkey and the last one was already dog food.

So we dealt with it, set up camp and did a lot of this:

That night we went side of stage. Did you hear that? Side of stage. I don’t know if you know, but that means the side of the stage. The actual stage. You know the stage where only famous people and their concubines are allowed? Yeah, we were there. On the side, that is. The side of the stage:

That there is the back of Kanye West. It turns out that while the side of stage (repeat side of stage) gives you a great behind-the-scenes view, including his poor dancers doing costume changes in front of leering roadies, you do spend a lot of time looking at people’s butts. But still! Famous butts! I felt pretty smug being allowed side of stage and signed a bunch of babes’ boobs without them even asking. Hey, just living the motto of the Wicked van, man.

And then J-man went and stole my thunder:

 

 

the hangover two

Yeah, so where were we? Oh, yeah. That’s right – me being all lame in Las Vegas.

I can assure you, that lameness continued during our second day in Vegas. Unlike everyone else in that crazy city with their fake boosies, Flinstone houses and sparkly fanny packs, I hate spending money. I’m a cautious person. Just now I scolded J-man for washing the hand-held blender while it was still plugged in and told him to cook the chicken through. You have to be so careful when it comes to electricity and chicken.

So J-man had to convince me to re-marry him before Elvis Christ. Over lunch that day he talked me into a $200 wedding package at Graceland Wedding Chapel, the very same place Jon Bon Jovi Christ married his wife in 1989.

On my real wedding day, I spent the morning painting my nails, doing my hair and sweating. On the morning of my second wedding day, I walked with my love through Red Rock Canyon. It was truly one of the most beautiful national parks we visited. It’s just like the America I imagined – magnificent and slightly eery, with plenty of places to hastily bury bodies to the sound of duelling banjos in the background.

red rock

Later that night, we went back to our seedy motel room and got gussied up. Just after night fell, a stretch limo picked us up and drove us up the strip to the chapel. J-man had never been in a limo before and was pressing all the buttons and marvelling at the television screens tuned to AV and the (empty) in-car bar. Oh J-man, what a novice. I, on the other hand, was once taken to a Justin Timberlake concert in a stretch hummer with a bunch of strangers who plied me with alcohol in the name of building professional relationships (I never heard from them again, like most people who have a) talked to me and b) seen me dance while mouthing the words to Sexy Back).

When we went inside the chapel, Elvis was not in the building. The two blonde receptionists, complete with teased hair, entertained us by showing us photos of Hamish and Andy’s wedding at the very same chapel. We all agreed it was strange that Andy would marry Hamish, when he had steak at home.

They pinned a rose on J-man’s shirt and handed me a bouquet and then a very sweaty Elvis appeared. It was a Tuesday night and it was clear Elvis would have preferred to be at home gently stroking his shag pile carpet. He quickly ushered us into the chapel, gave us a little run down, before walking me down the aisle; something I didn’t let my own dad do in the name of being an Independent Woman (the rock I’m rockin’, I bought it).

I walked down the aisle to Only Fools Rush In, exchanged Elvis-themed vows with J-man (“I promise never to step on your blue suede shoes”) and hammed it up for the cameras:

elvis3

elvis1

elvis2

Photies by Graceland Wedding Chapel.

When I look back at the photos, it’s clear I’m kind of getting over it towards the end and probably, judging from my bloated face, jonesing for some curly fries. But I remember leaving the chapel feeling absolutely euphoric. I was happy that we capped off our American adventure with something completely frivolous and crazy. And dudes, I may make fun of J-man all the time, but I would totally marry him a third time.

orlando magic

I’ve been without internet, so please forgive the huge gap between nail-biting life updates. You see, I’m only just now transcribing these words from stone tablets. And this loin cloth is kind of chafing. And I’ve only just figured out how to make fire by scratching stone with the bones of a dragon. J-man is away for the night clubbing baby bears to death to provide us with meat and fur coats for the winter. So I’m doing what any other prehistoric babe would do, I’m hanging out in our new cave tonight and I’ll probably watch a movie starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Oh boy, that’s bam bam right there.

Allow me to update you on our evolution:

– We moved into a new place and it is more amazing than I could have imagined. Our old place was a one bedder, but was kind of like a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and laundry all in the one room, which made toilet breaks really quite awkward. Now I can close the door on J-man while he plays Call of Duty 2 or Sparkly Unicorn Smack Down, or whatever it is he does, and pretend that we never really got married.

– That reminds me. We celebrated our first wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago. J-man was in America for work and, as a little man treat, took himself on a road trip to his favourite brewery, leaving me at home. How quaint! The night before we turned one, I had a dream that I was having Shaq’s baby. It was one of those completely convincing dreams that I could not shake when I woke up. Every so often I would figure out the time difference to see whether it was an appropriate hour to ring Joel and tell him I’d gotten busy with an NBA great and I was leaving him and taking the Dick Smith peanut butter with me.

– J-man is now the proud owner of a really manly red scooter. When he perched on the seat for the first time, I told him he looked exactly like Audrey Hepburn. It was a really great buy on his part. Does he have a licence? No. Do we have somewhere to store it? No.  Did he run the major purchase by me, the treasurer of this exclusive club? No. I guess that’s what you have to love about him. He’s spontaneous, good looking and probably the most annoying person I know. To get him back, I set up a reading nook in the corner that he previously vetoed.  What’s that old saying? Oh yeah, revenge tastes like a big ol’ plate of cold barf.

like i love you

Sometimes people ask me why did you marry J-man? Sure, he lets me eat food off his plate, buys me flowers twice in one week and strokes my head while telling baby animal stories when I can’t sleep. But just now? He made me soak his white t-shirt after he’d spilt homemade pizza sauce on it while making my dinner. It’s a lot for me to deal with when I’m trying to watch TV.

So it’s just as well he has the world’s stupidest sense of humour:

lunchbox

The reason this makes me laugh is not so much the fact that I can imagine J-man, who insists he’s some kind of professional, will leave it somewhere after a really important meeting. It’s mostly because it reminds me a lot of what I was like as an eight-year-old neighbourhood roughian. This is the kind of stuff I used to write on my wooden ruler. Once I sent an invitation to a picnic to a boy in the street with instructions to: “eat my shorts”. This is the same boy to whom I sent an anonymous Valentine’s Day card bearing the greeting “You Tickle My Fancy and I Fancy Your Tickle”, not fully understanding the glaringly creepy sexual overtones. I hate myself, I really do. It’s lucky I even found someone to marry.

PS. Just FYI, I’ve been meaning to BRB lately, but I’ve been trying to sort out the backend of my life. You may think I finally booked that appointment with the backend doctor, but I really mean “backend” as in, “offline”, life. We need to find a house! LOL.

high five: the most romantic moments

We’ve been home now for 11 days. I have spent the last few of those 11 days unexpectedly trying to get me a job. So, understandably, I have not been in the most romantic of moods. After you spend all day trying to sell yourself to strangers (on paper, that is), the last thing you feel like doing is getting weird and lovey dovey with your husband. Unless, of course, he pulls an excellent job opportunity out of his pocket and later reveals his generous super package.

So, all poor old J-man can do at the moment is read this here blog and remember the days when we were flushed with cash and in love.  From the bottom of my now cold, dead heart I bring you my five most romantic moments overseas:

lock

This is a neat tradition you see all over Europe. People put their initials on padlocks, lock ’em to bridges or railings and throw the key in the water. How cheesy and disgusting. I would never do that.

Taking in the view of Florence from Piazza Michelangelo. To get to the top of this hill in Florence, you’re forced to walk past tiny shops with strings of fresh vegetables hanging on the door frames, buzzing wine bars and lovely Italian villas. As I trudged up the hill, I wasn’t expecting that much. It’s a view of a city, I thought, I could care less. Give me Real Housewives of Beverly Hills over this crapola any day. But, as it turned out, it’s not just any view. It’s a beautiful view on top of a lovely hill, where there are stalls to buy wine and warm chestnuts, people having their wedding photos taken and young couples huddling together on the steps. An autumn breeze blew lots of lovely aromas around and I just felt so content, happy and lucky to have such a wonderful J-man to share all of this with. A wonderful J-man who didn’t mind when I forgot that most Italians can speak English and blurted out: “Look! That boy matched his socks and undies! What colour are your undies today?!”

Taking the ferry in Venice. J-man, the vulgar romantic that he is, was planning to surprise me with a gondola ride. I pried his secret plans out of him with meticulous skill and then firmly told him no, I wasn’t interested. See, the thing is, gondola rides can cost more than 100 euro. Plus, if you want your rowing man to sing, you gotta pay even bigger bucks. At the time I felt like the grinch who stole my own marriage, but I’m glad we didn’t fork out a kidney and a half for foul touristy dross. Instead, we hopped on a public ferry that took us from our place, near the train station, around to San Marco in about 20 minutes. A lot of tourists had done the same thing, but there were also some genuine Venitian businessmen and families just going about their business and taking the ferry around the city. Plus, Venice is just beautiful and it’s hard not to get all wussy about it. When we got to San Marco, we walked around the square together and happily talked about our future. Gag, I know.

Going to Disneyland.  Throughout our trip, I was hoping that we would have enough money to visit Disneyland when we finally ended up in LA. I went to Tokyo Disneyland on a school trip, but J-man has never been and, you guys, he is the cutest when he’s excited. I would pay $80 just to see THAT. We went in mid-December and it was the perfect time of year to go, with every ride somehow Christmasafied. We started the day slowly, with the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and the Storybook Land Canal Boats. I could see J-man was kind of bummed. This stuff’s for lame, idiot kids, I could hear him thinking. That was until I took him on the kablamo awesome that is Space Mountain. It blew his mind. Of course, we did the Mad Tea Party, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and even It’s A Small World (CHRISTMAS!) My favourite was the Haunted Mansion, which was revamped in the style of Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas (CHRISTMAS!) for Christmas. But, the best part of the day was when the sun went down and we sipped the famous Disneyland hot chocolate and watched the Christmas parade. It was nice to feel carefree and be swept up in the magic. Barf.

Hanging out in the Malasaña district, Madrid. Spain’s capital was the last stop on our four month trip around Europe and we were exhausted, dirty, a little bit sick and really over each other. Instead of visiting churches, museums and taking walking tours, we decided to take a little break. A little Spanish break, how quaint! So we saw lots of movies, including The Town (hello, Ben Affleck, touch me?), ate until our bellies hurt, drank Sangria, went to crazy food markets and slept in a lot. We spent a lot of time in Malasaña, just wandering around, checking out shops and cafes. One of my favourite moments was devouring an incredible red velvet cupcake in a deserted playground while it drizzled. Life is good, dudes. Vom.

Locking the shit out of our love on the Pont des Arts in Paris. OK, so we carved our initials into a padlock, attached it to the bridge and threw the keys into the water. Gross, right? Our last night in Paris was the only romantic night we actually planned, but it was so much more amazing than I could have hoped. We had dinner at the McDonald’s near the Louvre, in the hopes of having a Royal with Cheese (no such thing, apparently). I remember I was worried about something and J-man worked his usual magic and talked me down from the top of the (figurative) Eiffel Tower over a serve of cold fries. When we left the Louvre to head to the bridge, it was drizzling and, huddling under umbrellas, we happened to catch the sparkling light show on the tower. Then we did the deed on the bridge (edit: some readers have mistaken this for actually doing the actual deed on the bridge. I actually mean this is the point at which we attached the love lock to the bridge). Afterwards we went to a little, empty bar and sipped on mulled wine, sitting on purple velvet chairs. A little part of me will always be in that bar in Paris (lame).