Spontaneity gets in the way of friends’ good intentions

Week Two of Fionnula and Frankie's Christmas countdown series. Catch up on the first week here

WHEN two friends in their 30s realise their lives are going nowhere, they initiate a strange challenge to transform their lives by Christmas Day. Can they do it?

Over 10 weeks, we'll find out as this column charts the highs and lows of Fi and Frankie's hilarious quest.


WELL, I've let the whole team down. Frankie, Lynnie, myself, even Cath from Cath-ene, who I think drops her eaves on our conversations. I'll get straight out with it ... I didn't join the gym.

There were three obstacles. Firstly, Silhouettes Gym is in Shepherd St, northside. Everyone knows how I feel about crossing the bridge. It's a different world over there.

Then I couldn't find my Lorna Jane running shorts. I searched for them everywhere. So I jumped online to check when Amart All Sports was closing, and one thing led to another, and before you knew it I was on Facebook staring at pictures of Greg's new girlfriend.

Well, that was the end of the gym, but I'm happy to report that he's now in a relationship with a woman with bad hair.

I mean, it's on your head. I might not be a supermodel, but comparatively, I do have better hair. I showed the picture to the girls at work and they all agreed.

Kathlene even went to Brumby's and got us a pull-a-part for afternoon tea to celebrate.

So I was a bit miffed this morning that Frankie and Lynnie didn't seem as excited about my Facebook find. Frankie said something about comparisons being unhealthy, and Lynnie just sort of vagued out.

When I had a go at Frankie about it, she almost burst into tears. The upshot is that this week I've been challenged to join the gym and de-friend Greg.


WHEN Fi set me the challenge of helping someone in need, I took it seriously.

Being in the entertainment industry, I've spent a lot of time pitching myself and my ideas to network executives, senior producers - anyone with an email really - so it was probably high time my energy was channelled to help others.

But I may have gone about it the wrong way. I was having a cup of tea on the swinging chair on the back veranda when mum came flying out with The Morning Bulletin. "Oh Frankie," she said, "just look at these adorable puppies."

"No mum," I said, knowing from the tone of her voice that there was some tragedy involved. "I don't want to see anything sad."

"Oh, look at the one in the middle," she persisted. "They're destined for death row."

"Show me." I'd given in, and there, smiling back at me, was the cutest little black and white kelpie cross I'd ever seen. "Mum, can I borrow your car?" I said. "I need to go to the IGA."

"Well, if you are going," she replied, "can you get me some dishwasher tablets and small washed potatoes?"

I drove straight to the Northside Vet Clinic, and returned home with the dog from the middle of page 9, who I'd already named Poppy.

She was very anxious, and it wasn't long before we were both curled up and whining in the middle of the lounge room floor

What had I just done? What sort of commitment had I made?

How could I continue being footloose and fancy free, taking off on a whim here or there to Bali when I had a dependant?

How could I spontaneously head on a Hong Kong shopping spree now that I had a constant companion? Could I ever go overseas again? The reality of my situation sank in, and, disconcertingly, mum and dad weren't much support.

"It'd be okay if she were a 10-year-old poodle or something," mum offered. "I could keep her here with Glen and Gladys, no problem."

"But she's not, mum," I blubbered. "She's a kelpie that likes rounding up cattle."

"Well, why would you get a cattle dog, lovie?" dad chimed in unhelpfully. "You haven't got a job and you don't know where you might end up. What if you're living in a unit in Sydney in two months? What will you do then?"

It's funny how one life crisis can simultaneously bring up all the others.

Why did I rush in and get Poppy without thinking it through? Why don't I have a full-time job and a house that I'm paying off? Why am I feeling out of control again?

I was just trying to meet Fi's challenge and help someone in need. When I flagged the idea of returning Poppy, mum looked me in the eye and said: "So, what, would you just give your child back, too?"


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YES, I showed her the paper, but how was I to know she'd dash over there on a mercy mission? I can't take responsibility for her actions. She's 32.

She has to learn the hard way. I think owning a pet, particularly a dog, is a wonderful experience. I'd have Poppy here if I could - I think she's just adorable - but I've got two elderly labradoodles and it's not fair on them to have a puppy continually trying to round them up.

Look, I do feel for Frankie and love her kind heart, but she brought this on herself, like a lot of problems she's facing.

As for Fionnula, well, it's plain ridiculous to be on that Facebook. Who cares if that ex of hers has another girlfriend?

Who cares what he does anymore? Fionnula needs to focus on being happy with herself. I've suggested she write a goodbye letter to that man and then tear it up.

Be done with it. Move on. With regards to the gym, well, only she can get on top of her northside phobia.

I've set Frankie her challenge for this week. It's to join a club or a group or something - anything to get her out of the house.

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