The ‘Once Only Refusal’


I have always been very independent, a person who hates ever feeling indebted to someone else. Perhaps it’s the cynical side of me that hates the idea of someone ‘giving’ me something for nothing, but I am just plain old uneasy with feeling like I ‘owe’ someone something.

It could be a small as a coffee, or an offer to pay for a meal, but something deep inside me gets an instant urge to ferociously resist the ‘offer of payment’. To me it is a genuine refusal. The act that follows, usually involves a bit of to and fro, a bit of ‘No, It’s on me!’, followed by ‘ No, you’re not paying’, No you paid last time’ and then  some dirty attempts at trying to push  a $20 note down someone’s bra. I usually win the battle by becoming the louder, more forceful participant at the counter, but occasionally I met with the ‘Once Only Refusal’.

What is the ‘Once only Refusal? Well, put simply, it is the participant who when met with an aggressive ‘offer of payment’ responds by pathetically refusing the gift just ‘once’ before giving in. These people are beginning to embarrass me. There are times when the ‘Once Only Refuser’ doesn’t even pretend to put up a half decent fight, there are times when I haven’t even finished my sentence before they have surrendered. Some I’m sure have pulled muscles as a result of stuffing their purses back into their handbags so quickly. Come on, at least pretend to put up a fight! Even if you have no intention of paying, pretend you were going to! Where’s your to and fro!

Then there are the friends who follow the ‘rounds’ system but allow you to shout every time. The ones who pretend they can’t remember who bought the last coffees. I don’t think so people, surely you realise something’s a miss when the last time you bought a coffee it was still only $1.50 for a latte!

Speaking of rounds, I’m sure it would be the same people who when drinking in proper rounds at a pub are the last scheduled round buyer of the night, but who are no-where to be seen when it is their shout. They then reward themselves with the little luxury of a ‘free’ night out.

As the president of ‘Once Only Refusal’ Town, my husband believes that this is not always a calculated attempt at getting freebies, he just says he can’t be bothered with the fakeness of the ‘to and fro’, and he is by nature a very generous person. But I am certain there are people out there who make it their life mission to ‘never put their hand in their pocket’.

I do believe the Aussie Term for these people is the ‘Tight Ass’.

P.s – I am on to you, you know who you are!


This is why I do it………….

This is why I do it…………………….

Today was my first day back in the classroom since going on Maternity Leave in December. My work email had been re-activated and was flooded with mostly spam and then a diamond in the rough, and email that unbeknown to me had been sent to me two days after the birth of my son….I have not edited this at all, and please be aware that Rosalita is Portugese and speaks English as a Second Language. The most amazing part of this story is that Roman is on the Autism Spectrum and I hadn’t spoken with him about my baby since at least October of the previous year. This is why we teach. This is why I leave my own children for the day. This is why we keep going back.  I didn’t realise at the time that Roman even understood that I was having a baby. These beautiful children are absorbing the world, without the world even noticing.

Sent: Thursday, 21 March 2013 9:36 AM
Subject: A baby boy!

Dear Mrs B

Congratulations on the arrival of SAMUEL! We are so happy for you and your family!
Just wanted to let you know something that Roman said over the weekend.
I was driving to the beach and out of the blue said “Mum do you still have Mrs B’s number because you have to call her, and then i said ” why ?” and his answer” the baby is hatching soon” and i said What you mean? He answered “the baby is coming on Tuesday Mum you have to call her! But how do you know? His answer “what number is Tuesday? I said the 19th,his reply “thats it Mum thats the day.
Yesterday i went to the parent interview with MR W and asked if he knew if you had the baby  because of what Roman said and he said that it did happen on Tuesday that they just had the email from you .I was “oh my God!” This morning we were still talking about it,he said  this is amazing you have to tell Mrs B!
Roman also mention many times that was going to be a boy, last year and this year he always said it’s a boy Mum! I send you and the baby all our love and
stay well and all the best .
By the way Roman is doing great with Mr W,
Love ,Rosalita

My Reply …………………………6 months too late!

Hi Rosalita and family

How are you? I hope you are keeping well. I have just gained access to my work email today, it had been frozen whilst I was on leave. I was just going through old mails and got your beautiful well wishes for Samuel. What A lovely surprise to open my email and read that!

It’s really funny actually, I had my first day back at work today, and I bumped into Roman at Morning Tea, I was so hoping I would. I was so amazed at how beautifully he spoke to me, he sounded so grown up and gave me the biggest hug. He has come such a long way! Rosalita, You must be just so proud of him, it was so great seeing him. I am so glad that he is having a great year, could not have asked for anything else.

Hope Paul, Isabella and the rest of the family are doing well.

P.s- You and Roman really inspired me last year, I enrolled back at uni and have started studying for my Masters In Special Education with a focus on Autism/ Aspergers. Despite having taught many children on the spectrum he has really left an imprint in my heart.

All the best
Mrs B

Looks Can Be deceiving…..

Forget Teenagers, are Pushy Pensioners the new rude?


Many of us would be familiar with the phrase ‘Respect your Elders’. Well enough is enough, no more Mrs Nice Pants. Up until a few years ago, I was a strict follower of this Golden Rule. But as time unravels, and as I transition toward becoming someone elses ‘elder’ I obey this no longer.


You see this silver haired army has created their own version of the get out of jail free card, but amongst themselves it is affectionately known as the ‘Refusal to Wait in Line’ card. In Post offices, Airports, Shopping centres, Doctors surgeries and Toilets all over the world, ‘Elders’ are banding together to disobey International Queuing Conventions. It is power in numbers. Most of us have been a the receiving end of this card, and like me thought ‘ Awwww dear little thing, doesn’t know what’s happening and has gone to the front of the line, someone help them’. Mmm.. Dare I suggest that a large percentage of these happenings, these seemingly accidental oversights were in fact premeditated attempts to ‘push in’. As you may have already picked up from previous blogs and as my husband would tell you, I really hate waiting and am incredibly impatient. It really does evoke a fight or flight reaction where I could seriously injure people who push in.


You see my dad has blown the cover of this operation. On many occasions throughout my childhood I can remember him saying ‘I can’t wait to get old, you can do what you want and no one does a thing!, Who’s going to have a punch up with an old bugger like me?’ It wasn’t until waiting in line at a café the other day that I remembered this conversation with dad. It was true…they get away with everything under the guise of being ‘past it’. But Dad who has now excitedly joined this elite, well-travelled group of humans and is more than ‘with it’ is adamant that it is not just him that ‘plays dumb’.


Anyway, back to ‘Rude Old Lady’. I was in clear sight of the grey haired offender as she scuttled up to next to me (think little and old, set and blow dry, with dark glasses on, and yes I do believe the glasses were part of her plan). She even started a conversation with me about my children, at which point I thought ‘Oh, how sweet’. Until the attendant came and shouted ‘Who was next?’. Well you should’ve seen the speed and precision that followed as she bowled me over to unashamedly get to the counter There was not a feeble, scuttle insight!!!! What happened to the sweet old lady? Who was this Octogenarian Gladiator before me? From the moment she pushed in all eye contact had ceased. If she didn’t look, she couldn’t be held accountable, and really, as if I was going to be the one to alert everyone to the fact that I ‘knew’ that the 80 year old granny next to me she knew she wasn’t next. Everyone saw, everyone knew and everyone said nothing. Mission completed.




I get a funny feeling that that by the age of 80 you would seriously be thinking ‘I’ve been on earth for long enough to have earned the right to ignore all of the rules’. This also includes being the only person at Christmas dinner who is able to single handedly insult everyone and get away with it. Good one Nanny!


To be honest….this is one right of passage is one that I fully intend to take advantage of!


Moving The Goal Posts

Moving the Goalposts

When ‘alive and healthy’ was enough…..why do we go and move the goalposts?

Three years ago when I found out I was pregnant with my first son, we were full of wonder, excitement and anticipation. From the moment you realize you are bringing a life into the world, your mind races through a myriad of thoughts, some negative most of them positive. The obvious one- Will it be a boy or a girl? What will they look like? And the most important one, I hope they are healthy. For me, many months were spent worrying about the health of my unborn baby, I just wanted so much for this new person to be perfect, as do all parents. Unlike before, when you woke up, saw it was  to sleep for the rest of the day, You wake up every day, open your eyes and remember you are pregnant, and you feel a love and warmth that filters through to every inch of your body, for the first time in your life you are not alone.

At our twenty week scan, things took a turn for the worst. I noticed during the scan that the technician spent a little too long hovering in one area, a little too long on his tiny spine, a look of worry lingered too long on her face. I knew something wasn’t right, but she remained silent and it was forgotten about until I picked up the results the following day. I know I shouldn’t have but the ‘nosey’ bugger in me couldn’t resist it. I opened the envelope and read the report. All I could see was the words the ‘abnormality’ and deformity’. The world closed in on me, I couldn’t breathe, I read it again, and again, each time a little bit harder through the tears. I called my husband immediately, and being the optimist that he is, assured me everything would be okay. The pessimist in me, knew that it was not okay. I called my doctor immediately who then told me to come and see her as early as possible the very next day, I felt momentary relief knowing something was in motion, anything was better than just standing still. I remember going home and my husband calling a family friend of his who happened to be a doctor, I could tell from the conversation that it wasn’t good. My husband had never outwardly waivered in his strength and positivity, in the worst of times he was a tower, to see him doubt anything was a massive blow, It was the worst night I can ever remember. Google was our enemy as we looked at images of children born with Spina Bifida. Waking up the next day, I opened my eyes and for the first time since being pregnant and for the first time I wasn’t excited, Love and excitement no longer filtered, it had been replaced with an empty, sad poison For the first time in my pregnancy, I felt dread. How could I be excited.  I received an early phone call from my GP, cancelling our appointment and telling us to head straight to our capital city (1 hour ) away to see a specialist. This was the worst blow, it was obviously bad if we had to go into the city. The drive there was the longest I can remember. I felt nothing. I could feel my baby kicking me and for the first time, I didn’t want to answer back. I kept thinking, in an hour we will know the fate of our little baby. On the way I remember us deciding that we would find out the sex of our baby, just in case we came home without him.

An hour later, our lives returned to normal. Everything would be okay. Our nightmare had only lasted 24 hours. Sadly this was not the case for most who shared the waiting room that day. For most who waited with us in the diagnostic centre received bad news, this nightmare became reality for many of them. The realization that the perfect child inside was now somewhat ‘tarnished’, ‘defected’ or ‘abnormal’. What strength it would have taken to walk away and carry on with that knowledge in hand.

This scare remains a defining moment in my life. At one point I remember thinking’ please let everything be okay, I don’t care about anything else right now’.

Isn’t it funny how we then move the goal posts. Once we know things are okay, we push the boundaries again and start wanting for more. I hope he is clever. I hope he is good looking. I hope he is good at sport. As a teacher I hoped he didn’t suffer from a learning disability. Even up until he was delivered, I still feared the worst. The first thing I asked was ‘Is his back okay?’ Three years down the track I worry if his teeth will be straight, if he is developing properly, and then I remind myself of my early ambitions. I just hope he is alive. I look at my beautiful boy everyday, and am thankful he is here.

I wonder how different life would be if we had been like the others in the waiting room that day. Where are those parents? and what had become of their perfect babies. I so admire those who have been faced with this situation in a ‘real; capacity and have had the strength to move forward, whatever the future held.

It’s funny that I had even forgotten about this small time in my life until talking to a pregnant friend today. I looked at her today and the memories came flooding back. I remembered the hopes and aspirations a mother has for an unborn child, and then I thanked God that ‘he was okay’. And I’m sure her baby will be just ‘perfect’ as well.

I Hoard People

Today I was scrolling through my phone contacts and came across ‘Barry’. Who the hell is Barry? Not only did this Barry make it to an actual named position on my contacts list, but his importance in my life at one time or another even warranted some additional information, as on further inspection,  he was actually listed ‘Barry from the Eastend’.

 For a while now, I have felt the need to ‘hoard’ people. Some people hoard magazines or tupperware containers, some keyrings and old video collections (even though they no longer own a VCR) Me, I hoard people. For a long time now I have felt the need to remain in contact with every person I have ever made friends or acquaintance with, including many people from my teenage years. Actually, if I’m really honest…If I were to have met them again for the first time I would hate them. Maybe I don’t even like them now? But for some reason I feel the need to continue the friendship.

I guess I figure, ‘It’s only a phone call one every few months’. But no, I think I’ve had enough. I wonder would happen if I just didn’t call anymore? Maybe they too are sitting there thinking, ‘I wish this weirdo would just piss off and leave me alone, I’m not sure why she still rings me?’ Or maybe that is my paranoia speaking, see even in my imagination I have people speaking about me.

Yes some people have disappeared off the radar, but that is because they were better at the ‘ Yearly friend stocktake’ than I am. They have no shame in just ‘not contacting’ people once their relevance and usefulness has expired.  

What is this Yearly stocktake I speak of? Well it was actually my brother who introduced me to this idea. It’s exactly the same process as the Myer Stocktake sale, but it applies to people not products. Once a year he will actively ‘cull’ his friends. It is a ruthless act that I have been so envious of in the past. I would cringe at the thought of bumping into the ‘Culled’ friend and having to explain that I just didn’t think we were gaining anything from keeping this friendship thing going. As a ‘non-facebook user, it is not as easy as just deleting a friend. For me it would involve the conscious act of ignoring all contact and / or no longer initiating it. 

See my brother’s idea was actually a true testament to his honesty. He was sick and tired of people hanging around on Facebook and in real life, who offered little or nothing to the friendship, besides pissing everyone off with updates about their dinner or other other attention seeking topics. NEWSFLASH: No one else feels that your child is the ‘most beautiful thing they have ever seen’ In fact, many of us who are not related to your child are actually questioning the paternity, and secretly comparing it’s likeness to a cat.

I am sick of pretending to be impressed by your new gluten free, dairy free, taste free, commune inspired lifestyle that is unfortunately the complete opposite of mine.

 I am not excited by your homemade seats. I wish I could be, but see by the time you have purchased the materials to make your recycled products, it was cheaper to go to Ikea.  I really hate that you want everyone to respect your dog like it is a person. I love dogs too but if I had to kill you or your dog, it would be your dog and I can’t apologise for that. Worst of all, please don’t pretend to make future plans to see me just to fill in space on the text message. We both know it will not be happening, and I’m beginning to feel like the child with the imaginary friend for going along with it.

So maybe it is me who is the fraud. Maybe by remaining in contact or accepting these false gestures of friendship, I am being dishonest. When is it time to call it a day? I’ve realised that there is no shame in acknowledging that you no longer have anything in common. Maybe it is time for a Stocktake? But being a little on the cowardly side…I might ease myself into this with a ‘silent stocktake’.


NB- Barry was some man I had contacted a few times in regards to a holiday rental. His house was rubbish but I didn’t have the heart to tell him we didn’t want it. I kept his number in my phone so I would know it was him if he called, and I I’m ashamed to say if he had of, I would have ignored it.Imagefriends