I think myself lucky all the time that I have the opportunity to go from living in one of the biggest, busiest, creative and multi-cultured cities in the world, back to my roots of farm life in the country, where things are quiet, peaceful and plentiful on bugs, bobcats and wine.
Here are some discomforts I’ve been getting into lately:
1. A frog jumped on my head in my sleep
I’m not kidding. First night back in my childhood bedroom, a slimy flipping grey frog hopped right across my noggin. Well it wasn’t that slimy because it had to cross the vast landscapes of carpet to get from the bathroom and onto my head, and they get a bit furry doing that.
These little frogs are common summer bathroom buddies at our place in Mudgee, but they normally just sit there watching you brush your teeth. I don’t mind them, I just mind when they scare the living day lights out of me in my sleep. And I guess I’m a little distressed by the fact we think they come inside through the toilet.
2. I helped my dad attach a bucket to the bobcat
‘Bobby’, as Dad calls it, needed a new bucket. Turns out the old bucket just wasn’t diggin’ like it used to. This kind of dirty-hands-causing nonsense is the kind of stuff I would have stuck my nose up at a year or two ago. But my ol’ Da needed my help, and I figured it sounded like such a boring and unpleasant task that it was probably going to be really good for me.
I’m now happy to say that if you ever need to change your Bobby’s bucket, you can call on your ol’ pal in confidence to stand around and vaguely direct you on what needs to be done with some imprecise suggestions on how to do it.
3. I’m working in hospitality
As soon as I walked in to my first shift I knew it was going to test me. The last time I served people food and drinks for cash was about eight years ago. And I’ve got to say, since then I’ve become quite accustomed to dilly-dallying about on the drinker’s side of the bar. Suddenly throwing in my Friday and Saturday nights to help others have a good time without me is honestly not what I saw myself doing at 28. But it’s disciplinary for me. And importantly, it’s giving me a renewed appreciation for the industry and the people who, over the years, have provided me with much joy.
But I will never forget which side of the bar I really belong on. Never.
4. I picked buckets and buckets of grapes
It was a hot and dry summer day, full of spiders and spider webs and spider eggs and spider legs. Those hairy little bulbous-butt freaks were everywhere. So as I scavenged through the vine to find juicy grapes, I was not only trying to avoid snipping my fingers off with secateurs, but was actively dodging spider webs to the face and crawly legs on the skin. We had buckets to fill, and quotas to meet, as the Australian sun shone straight through the hole in the ozone layer to crackle our skin. The one thing that kept our spirits high was the knowledge that these grapes weren’t going to the factory to be turned into wine to then be turned into profit to then be turned into tax money to then be given to the government to then be put into the hands of some fat bastard who sips on a more expensive wine anyway. The sweet nectar of these grapes was being brewed at home for personal consumption. Dad makes his own wine annually. Legend.
5. I swim in the dam
I’ve always looked at this muddy hole of liquid in my backyard as a total and utter fest pit. Apart from when I was a small child and didn’t know any better, I had no interest in swimming in murky water oblivious to what lies beneath.
My dog on the other hand, flipping loves it. She’s always beating around in there; which I wholeheartedly support because let me tell you, she needs the exercise. I like to make her swim off her kibble by continuously throwing sticks to the deepest part of the water, which she keenly retrieves. But when I tried to make things a little more exciting for her by throwing in her favourite toy, the bloody thing sunk along with the poor dog’s heart.
As a mother who would do anything her baby, I literally had no choice but to strip into my underwear and search the muddy damn floor with my feet until I eventually found the squeaky toy for my overweight dog.