Getting by however you can
Everyday Housewife Danyel Southwark shares her thoughts on the week past, as relayed by satirist Steve Braunias.
The story so far (12th instalment): ACT Party donor and Auckland mother-of-two Danyel Southwark is challenged when she learns her husband had an affair - and, worse, has lost all their money ...
I was sitting in the lounge with a glass of wine this morning when the intercom sounded at the security gates. I looked at the video monitor and saw a Chinese man in a casual jacket. I said, "Can I help you?"
"It's me, Don," he said.
"I've been here before. I'm friends with your husband. Can I come in?"
Well, I figured, it was something to do. Time doesn't exactly fly when you sit at home drinking and worrying how things are going to work out. I've cut down on a lot of overheads - got rid of the au pair and after-school tutor, the personal trainer and the massage therapist - but where does it end?
I opened the door, and that's when I recognised him.
"Oh. You're that Don."
"You've been in the news quite a lot recently."
"Well, come in."
We sat down, and I poured myself another glass.
He said, "Is your husband here?" Guy was downstairs in the au pair's old room. It's where he sleeps now. He spends most of the day there, too, but comes up for dinner so the girls don't suspect there's anything wrong.
"No. Can I help? What is it you want?"
"I understand you are involved with the ACT Party."
"I would like to make a political donation."
"Are you trying to collect the set?"
"You donate to National, you donate to Labour, you want to donate to ACT- who's next? The Conservatives?"
"Mr Craig is already a very wealthy man."
I poured a third glass, and lit a cigarette. I looked out the window. It was raining. There were fallen leaves covering the surface of the swimming pool; the cover had come loose in last month's storm.
I said, "How much?"
ACT leader Jamie Whyte came out swinging today at Colin Craig's tax policy for the Conservatives.
"Voters should steer clear of this man and his party," he said. "Politics shouldn't be a game for wealthy buffoons." Bizarre. Why is Whyte intent on attacking the party's core support?
I heard Guy shouting in the downstairs room this morning, and went down to tell him to keep it down.
He was sitting in bed watching the World Cup. He looked as though he hadn't shaved for a week. He shouted, "Suarez just bit someone! He actually bit someone!"
The girls came in. I saw Olive looking at an empty bottle of vodka by the bed.
McKenzie said, "What's wrong, Dad?"
He shouted, "Suarez just bit someone! He actually bit someone!"
I took the girls back upstairs and called Sky TV to cancel the sports channels. One less overhead to worry about.
I thought for a moment this morning that the National Party had distributed one of its leaflets wrapped around the Auckland newspaper, but slowly realised it was just another flattering story about the Government.
I enjoy the New Zealand Herald but now and then I want to read journalism, so I went online and came across a fascinating story in the Timaru Herald about a woman convicted of benefit fraud. She said she was just trying to get by. She's Cambodian. The story read, "When the paper knocked on her door, she was sitting on the floor eating her dinner - a few boiled eggs to go with her hot-air fried chicken wings and sauce, placed on top of newspaper which was spread out on the carpet." You've got to do what you can to survive.
It's the school holidays the week after next. We usually go to Fiji or Aitutaki in July. Not this year.
"We're going to have to settle for Tonga," I said.
"But Mum," said Olive, "I thought we didn't have any money and that's why Dad drinks all day in Bergitta's old room."
"Well," I said, "I came into a bit of money this week."
Diary of a Housewife, the creation of Steve Braunias, features the satirical musings of two contrasting Kiwi women, Aucklander Danyel Southwark and Wellingtonian Harriet Wakefield. firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter @SteveBraunias.
The Timaru Herald