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  • jdettmann

On The Tiles

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Here’s my awful ugly new desk chair, rehearsing its look for next Book Week, when it plans to go as Doris the Desk Chair Fairy

We’ve had Book Week, and now there doesn’t seem much else to look forward to until next Book Week. For my non-Australian readers (and WordPress would have me believe there are one or two of you in Papua New Guinea and Denmark), Book Week is a week when kids get to go to school dressed as their favourite book character. All through primary school it was hands-down my favourite day of the year.

To celebrate Book Week this year, I wrote a big chunk of Book and I exercised all my self-control to let May Blossom do her own thing for her costume. I’m reasonably easygoing about what my kids dress up as for things like Halloween and dress-up parties – usually at least one kid goes as some sort of cat — but I did have to take myself to one side and have a serious chat bout how I’m no longer the kid and I’m not the one dressing up and my child is her own person and thus should be permitted to have her own thoughts and feelings about books. Operation Don’t Be A Book Week Dictator went pretty successfully. I only made a few suggestions about Hermione Granger, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Heidi, which were all overruled in favour of someone called Lydia The Reading Fairy.

May Blossom is a fan of a series called the Rainbow Magic books. There are umpty-gasquillion of them and they are all nearly identical except for the fairy-protagonist. There’s Phoebe the Fashion Fairy, Melissa the Sports Fairy, Harriet the Hamster Fairy, Nora the Netflix Fairy, Abigail the Attitude Fairy, Ella the Eyeroll Fairy, Betty the Brother-hating Fairy. Some of those may be forthcoming titles.

She’s no fool, my May Blossom. What she did was pick the fairy whose outfit as depicted on the cover she liked the most. Lydia the Reading Fairy wears purple leggings, a pink jumper with a white blouse underneath, red shoes and a cool trilby hat. So I just bought it all for her Target and Big W and thus her spring wardropbe is taken care off. I suppose that’s what I was used to do too: just pick a character whose style I was into. I was just more into dirndls and jodhpurs than she is.

While at Target I also bought some lip liner because suddenly I’ve noticed there is no way of knowing where my lips start and my face ends. It’s a recent development in Things That Are Happening To My Face and I suspect the culprit might be the Ageing Process.

Basically lip liner is like those little bumps on the side of the road to remind you to get back over into your lane when you drift over. Actually, it’s more like the pencil line you rule down the centre of the desk at school to celebrate being in year 5 and having a forty centimetre ruler, and which stops you deskmate making elbow incursions, or blowing their eraser rubbings onto your side. Basically it keeps things, in this case lipstick, where it is supposed to be, so bright lip colours don’t go wandering off down the tiny wrinkly tributaries around my mouth.

Before investing $2.99 in a lip liner I went online and learned there are lots of things you can inject into your face to make your lips more defined and less vague but until I can reliably get the whole family to the doctor for flu shots I don’t think I should be allowed to inject things into my face.

Also I fear injecting things might make me look even weirder. At least with age related changes you have a template to follow: your parents. They don’t inject things into their faces. (Wasps stings excepted.) I know what lies ahead. It’s familiar and it’s not at all bad.

In other news of things I can see from my desk, which is the only place I am these days, work fails to continue apace on the house next door. No builder has been seen for weeks. There is talk in the street that there is a change of builders afoot. Certainly no one has been keen to remove the loose stacks of tiles teetering on the top of the half-tiled roof.

When H asked the owner to move them she said would he mind contacting the builder about it because she was at work.

“I am also at work,” he said.

“But I am at work too,” she said.

This went on for a bit, and then H pulled his trump card: “We are all at work,’ he said “but some of us are both at work and not the owners of the house with the teetering piles of roof tiles.’

The tiles remain. The high winds that had us worried that we and all the people who walk up and down the street would be have our arms or heads terracotta-ed off as we went about our business have subsided now. Hopefully the tiles will be moved, one way or another.

That is the problem with sitting at a desk all day writing a book: there’s a very high risk of becoming an annoying, cranky neighbour with a possibly overinflated sense of the danger posed by loose roof tiles.

The other risk of desk-sitting is back pain. I have a fairly useless back at the best of times, and it has not been pleased with all the sitting and typing. It hasn’t helped that I have been using as my desk chair a very beautiful mid-century teak dining chair that belonged to my grandmother. It has no back support whatsoever and a back can’t be held up by stylishness alone.

So last week I took myself off to get a proper chair. An ugly horrible chair with lumbar support. I started at the proper expensive desk chair shop, with the plan of finding out what I needed and then going to OfficeWorks and buying something similar of dubious quality for a fraction of the price, for that is how I roll.

But when I got to OfficeWorks I discovered that either the magical thinking of everyone who has ever tried to shop there has suddenly been successful, or it’s been demolished, for instead of an OfficeWorks I found a rubble-filled hole in the ground.

I went back to the proper shop and bought an ex-demo chair that is fine. It’s very comfortable and my back is liking it and fortunately it’s mostly covered by my arse so I can’t see how ugly it is.

Tune in again next week or the week after for more about my back and my neighbours’ roof. If you can wait that long.

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