Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Christmas must be approaching.

This week the local train stations were piping out Jingle Bells over their loudspeakers, we've been "cordially" invited to the Australian Consulate Christmas Party, and Jemilla was chosen to play Mary in our church nativity play.

The kids have also been offered what seems to them an enormous amount of money to participate in a carols performance next month. They have been dreaming about the the various Barbies and baseball gear they will buy with their respective payments, but yesterday was their first actual carols practice, and it may have put a dampener on their spirits.

We were given the address of the industrial warehouse in which the practice was scheduled, so we left home with plenty of time to catch the bus and three trains to get us to the destination suburb. We walked for a few blocks and were relieved to find the building marked as we expected. However, when we were ushered inside the ground floor we discovered the lift was not working, so we would have to climb the stairs to get to the studio room.

And what floor was that on? I hear you asking.

The answer, dear readers, is the twenty-second floor.

It's easy for you to read that line. The twenty-second floor. It takes less than three seconds to read it aloud. Look, I can type it in a fast way too: 22nd floor.

Well, it certainly took us a long enough to climb them all!

Thank goodness I left Tirzah home with Craig. I shudder to think of having to carry, prod and cajole her up twenty-two flights of stairs. And these were not luxury red-carpeted, gold banistered stars either, let me tell you. They were dark, dusty, and in various states of disrepair. If I wasn't puffing and panting like a steam train, I'm sure I would have taken more notice of certain odours as well. I even took a photo or two to prove to you how awful they were, as well as providing a legitimate excuse to stop for a rest.

Jemilla and Keegan were real troopers ... eg, "Come on, Mummy, only seventeen more to go!" I'm sure we shed a layer of clothing every six flights or so. I started wondering if perhaps I had read the address wrong because there was no one else in sight. The building seemed totally deserted. I started recalling vivid scenes from nail-biting movies and books I had read. What on earth was I thinking to bring two children to this seedy location. The scene was only missing a scary soundtrack and some rats scurrying about, or maybe a syringe or two lying around. My stomach was in knots.

Well, finally we stumbled with our red faces and sweaty clumps of hair through a pair of dusty swinging doors on Level Twenty-Two. And there we were relieved to find some other carols participants. They had just arrived on a freight elevator, as they thought no one in their right mind would ever climb up that many stairs.

The rest of the afternoon after my brutal exercise session on the Seedy Stairmaster5000 was an anti-climax. The children spent around two hours in practice for the carols event. The teacher, although skilled musically, obviously lacked experience working with this age group. It was excruciating for me as a mother and teacher to sit on the sidelines and listen to his directions without being able to intervene.

This was the secret to the parents' survival as spectators-only. Lollies. And lots of them.

Keegan told me that his highlight of the day was repeatedly sliding along the lacquered studio floor on his knees. Jemilla's favourite thing, naturally, was the packet of Jelly Bellies she managed to salvage before the parents devoured it.

One of the agents approached me and asked if the children would be able to return on the following day for another practice, as the group's progress with the songs was slower than they had anticipated. I made some excuse about Keegan needing to go to his cricket lesson. What I neglected to mention was that I would no doubt be spending the following day in agony on the couch as I massaged out the cramps in my aching legs from needlessly climbing twenty-two flights of stairs.


  1. I have been laughing so hard...

    I hope the jellybeans were worth it, and I guess you took the freight elevator back down!

  2. Oh Renee,
    That is just so funny (from this side of the world!) You poor thing - I feel your pain (I get the same results after soccer each week), but what a great story!

  3. Oh dear. What an experience.But as you lived to tell the tale you ALL must be reasonably fit!
    Bob East,there's a challenge for you.
    I shall, asap, check the buildings in Perth CBD to understand the height of 22 storeys...

  4. Love the blog! Great posting! I wish I had to climb 22 flights and had something interesting to write about! ; )

    (I'd become a "follower" if I could, and it didn't sound slightly cultish . . . )