tonight I wanted takeaway Chinese food. And ordered honey prawns. That has to be a sign. Surely?
Those who have read the early posts on this site or simply just know the kind of humour and things from which I draw great amusement, know that Snarkywood and Go Fug Yourself are two of my most favourite things in the world. For me, a day without a fix of GFI is a sad day indeed.
But Snarkywood has a special place, simply because I was introduced to it first. There is something so reassuring - and fun - in knowing there are other women who get as much enjoyment from reading something about Plain Old Batshit Crazy Whitney (see also Downward spiral Britney, Celine Dion, Our Hate Will Go On and Nicole Kidman is so damn fat) as much as this.
Anyway, the other reason I love Snarkywood (even though the last few months they've been a bit hit and miss in regularity and lugh-out-loudness) is that one of the awesome chicks behind it is Amy (the one who gave us THOSE EYES. THOSE BIG DEAD EYES) and Amy is having a baby. As in, now. In fact she may have had it. This is very exciting and while she has (I think) got to the full overcooked zone, I'm like wishing to go out in sympathy. I know it won't happen because this kid is just kicking around inside to crack the 10pound mark and make sure a I REALLY notice it on the way out.
Anyway, good luck Amy and may my uterus follow your lead.
I just realised how bad that last comment was in regards to imagine me with dogs, in light of the fact I'm about to have another child.
OK- last night I didn't get to bed until 12.30pm because the addition of white-spot cure to the water then needed to be followed by faffing around the filter because apparently the carbon filter (which I only just got because the first pet shop person told me I didn't need it and this one said, 'oh no, its critical') kills the stuff killing the bad stuff - and then the filter carking it because it was so clogged with dead plant matter and God knows what else that I had to pull.it.apart. to make it work at all again.
Anyway, today Gus and Goldie died. I then got rid of Nemo as even though he/she wasn't dead, the other fish (the new ones who bought the white-spot with them but now look fabulous) were eating his/her scales and fins off him/her as it swam vertically around the tank.
Anyway, then I realised the filter wasn't really working properly again - so once again, more cleaning, more faffing around at 11.30 at.night.
Anyway, I guess I should be thankful for the relatively easy 18 months leading to the two weeks of painfulness, instigated by my own cleaning/nesting frenzy.
If this is the hassle with fish, imagine me with dogs.
no baby - just mucus, wind and muscular-skeletal pain - and not necessarily in that order...
Possible Baby Update: Or, Pity the Deckhands Who Clean Up That Mess
As I write, Kim may be going into labour on the Manly Ferry. Or not.
But if she is, I'm sure we all wish her a safe journey and a joyous return.
thought for the late evening
how can couscous taste so good?
Tonight's dinner - when I finally got home at 8 - was couscous, a lime juice/olive oil dressing, diced zucchini, capsicum, tomato and snow peas and mint and coriander, with a tin of Sirena tuna in pesto. Divine.
The boys had one of their top 5s - honey soy chicken wings w/ steamed rice and broccoli - with Mum and my Uncle (about the only sane one in her entire family - you know, the cool groovy uncle you grow up thinking is God - that one) so they were happy.
But couscous, oh divine multi-skilled couscous. I could eat you each and every single day.
when a half becomes a whole
As I indulged the minutae of life by watching the first instalment of the latest America's Next Top self-obsessed supertroll (I can't tell you how much I LOVE this show and all the hideousness it represents in remarkably shallow bitchy I've-come-from-a-hard-life-where-my-mom-didn't-buy-me-everything-I-wanted subculture of American women) you're gonna make me have to THINK???
What about the following options:
a) Two women, six kids. You work it out.
b) Tired, cranky and mildly obsessive. . . two women striking that work/life balance
c) Two women over thirty, six kids under ten. . . going mad since 1998.
d) Glamorouse: when well educated intelligent women go bad.
e) Glamorouse: when looking good means the clothes are clean.
f) Glamorouse: sleep deprived since 1998.
g) Glamorouse: when a good night out is really a good nights sleep.
just a starting point.
Forget what this baby's doing to your life, what's she going to do to our catchline?
I know this seems pretty bloody obvious now that we're somewhere between a few hours and five weeks from the birth of Kim's One For The Country, but very soon we're not going to be the tired, cranky and retail-deprived working mothers of five-and-a-half kids, are we?
I love that catchline, Kim. I really love it. It appeals to every writerly and PRflacky impulse in me. It makes me smile every time I read it, even now. It has charm. It has cadence. It has quirk. I really, really, really, really love it.
I've been in denial ever since you hit the six month mark and so put us past the five-and-a-half kids and well into the five-and-two-thirds. You see the problem, don't you? It just doesn't work.
Then came the five-and-three-quarter kids, then the five-and-eight-ninths... I've been trying to tamp down this panicky feeling but it's really taking me to - Kramer style - a baaaaaad place, Jerry.
Then you say to me today that judging by Felix's overdueness you've might have another five weeks to go and for a few minutes that five weeks actually felt like a long time.
But it's not, Kim. It's not.
If you run through to 42 weeks, and I'm rounding off here in all calculations, that still means you are putting us currently at five-and-nine-tenths children.
Tired, cranky and retail-deprived as we are, we need to talk.
I can see only one solution. You know where I'm going here, don't you?
You just have to hold it in, hon. Use those pelvic floor muscles like you've never used them before. Midwife says push, you say, hell no.
It's a good catchline, Kim. It would be a shame to lose it for a little thing like birth.
Sleep and white spot
The fish. They have white spot (thank you oh Internet, fount of all wisdom). I went to scoop Gus out today but then he swam away. I figure I should give him the benefit of the doubt.
Anyone who has any suggestions (as for the third day I am sure Chef will not do as I request and go to the fish shop for guidance/water treatments/life-saving-measures-for-the-fish) or experience in this regard feel free to share.
Sleep - apart from now waking to turn over and going to the toilet twice a night, regardless of fluid consumption in the, oh, TEN hours before going to bed - I am feeling much better this morning.
I raised the shelf location with Chef and he - naturally - thought that was where I wanted it. (the concept of spite is completely lost on this man.)
You all do realise that I really don't care where the shelf is (Chef is putting it up on the wall - ie BUILDING something for heavens sake, as if in a sane mind I wouldn'y just be sitting back marvelling at the miracle that is) so thank you all for indugling my need to just be a cranky tired teary pregnant woman.
Crankiness, teariness and how to basically piss me off...
A friend of mine with an 8 month old confided in me a few months back that she was ‘just so cranky all the time’. I told her it was time to cut herself some slack. She’d gone back to work when the baby was about 4 weeks own (they run their own business), they have two older children, no help from her husband’s family and the help from hers comes dripping in guilt and that “well, OK, but…” kinda sentiment.
Anyway, today, actually it started incrementally yesterday, the crankiness is setting in. I mean, incubus hasn’t even come out yet. But I’m cranky at the world, as you could probably tell from my post on Sunday night. So really the increments are now a good 48hours old.
I walked in tonight and Felix said almost instantly, "Mummy, are you feeling a bit sad?" How switched on to his mother's emotions is this child...
Did you note the 'walked in' part - that's because after the driver's seat in the car being broken for a good 6 months, Chef finally arranged to get it fixed today (after it really really broke last week so that when you accelerated the front of the seat flung backwards as if you were going warp speed) and getting it fixed today means your wife who is 37.5 weeks pregnant walks home from the bus stop that involves a b.i.g. hill. Getting it fixed today (as opposed to arranging it last week for Monday) means that I now don't have the car tomorrow on the O.N.E. day of the week I have the car so do not have to endure up to 2 hours of sitting on a bus with stinky farting seat hogging men and stinky Supre dressed skanky hoes that frequent bus services on the northern beaches (these are the same bastards and bitches that still don't offer a seat to a pregnant woman, let along a heavily I'm-about-to-drop-and-really-hope-my-waters-breaking-splashes-up-your-leg pregnant woman). Tomorrow was also the 50th birthday celebratory drinks gathering of a friend which I could actually go as I.would.have.the.car. - but now of course can't go as its the other side of town and just not feasible in.my.condition.
The other aspect of the 'walked in' is that yes, Chef could have come and picked me up in Mum's car, but the fussing about that, the filibustering about it was just not something I needed. I am going to GET it tomorrow morning anyway as now, despite the fact I.p.r.o.m.i.s.e.d. the boys I would drop them at holiday camp (aka vacation care) Mum will now do it as I w.o.n.'.t have the car.
I think you can sense my frustration that a) why wasn't this done MONTHS ago and b) why was it done TODAY not yesterday, so it had minimal impact on everyone as opposed to MAXIMUM negative impact on me?
Then there was the request to clean up for me today. So as I walked in tonight, the house resembled an army (albeit of 3) of ants frantically trying to clean up before I walked in. The question remains - what the FUCK have you been doing on your TWO DAYS OFF - one with the boys at HOLIDAY CAMP - that has been so critical you couldn't clean up the dining room table, vacuum and do some washing???
Putting Ikea shelving up in the wrong location, that's what. With I think the most God-awful wall brakets he could find at the hardware shop, there are now four massive, UGLY brakets on the wall in.the.wrong.spot.
The next question is - why not do the things I asked if he would be able to do (which he said he would but didn't) and do something that requires two people and cock-it-up???
That sort of summates the crankiness - there is another source but that would dooce me big time so I'm just swallowing that one.
The teariness just came from nowhere as I walked home and then some more as I disappeared up the bedroom as Felix dropped an entire bowl of pasta (a dinner there was no way I could eat but was made anyway despite there being a fridge full of meat, vegies and other far more nutritious options that if someone hadn't been sitting on their fat arse all day and mounting shelves in the wrong spot could have cooked) onto the floor.
Ode to ikea
My sister-in-law and her hubbie reckon Ikea is Swedish for fucking pain in the arse. I can not begin to explain just how far at the other end of the spectrum I am teetering.
As someone who is fiercely houseproud (and yet, live in a permanent state of grime, gunge and general disarray) Ikea in my world is Swedish for heaven on earth. Except the building it yourself part, but hell, isn't that why you get married?
So, the current inventory in our house of Ikea products:
- Lounge (which I washed on the weekend - cushion covers in the machine, arms on lounge by hand - then dragged bases out onto back veranda to dry)
- Lots of Ivar shelving, which I'm bored of as we've had it for about 9 years and is about to be relegated to the garage for storing camping gear and Vacola jars.
- two expedite shelving units - one in boys room, one in process of being mounting on wall in new home office location (but in the wrong place. . .another post in itself)
- wardrobe in baby's room
- bedside tables in our room (again v. bored with them as they're 9yrs old and are of wire basket/uni student variety)
- two long tall units for storing CDs/DVDs/xbox games
- Grundtal metal shelving in kitchen, and laundry inlcuding spice rack, magnetic knife bar, paper dispenser
- Bedding and cushions on 'daybed' in baby's room
- hanging clothes storage in boys room and baby's room
- storage boxes for home office, boys toys and baby's room
- dining room chairs (inherited, don't go with anything in house, not very comfortable but cheap - ie free - and there's 8 of them)
- bath mats and other sundry household items like plastic containers, chopping boards, spice jars etc.
So you see, without Ikea we would still be completely furnished with mismatched hand-me-downs and stuck in a uni-student realm all the while having kids and supposedly living the middle class dream...
Sure, I want a house packed with $12,000 lounges from Poliform, dining tables from Dattner, and funky 'pieces' from Space or other groovy funky look-how-successful we are kinda shops, but it just ain't going to happen. So happy Swedish land we are.
The Challenge for Kim:
Dear Miss Kim, BlogPartner Extraordinaire.
As you get closer and closer to popping, as your belly grows and your brain shrinks, as you become more and more focused on the small things in life with yet another small thing about to enter yours, I have a Challenge of Utmost UNimportance for you sweetie.
This week, our challenge is to find the silliest possible places to promote our blog. No limits to entries in the Challenge, and no holds barred. The only condition is it can't lead to being 'outed' (dooced) at work.
On Sunday we call a halt and ask a lovely reader to select the silliest promotion.
I've kicked off the Challenge with this:
But I'm sure you can do better!
On a lighter note
Gus and Goldie are not dead. Yet. Gus still has an unnerving habit of lying listlessley on the bottom of the tank, on his side but then springs to life when food is served. I'm guessing that as the bacteria level returns to something a bit more acceptable and pre-Kim-is-nesting, they may pick up.
and some things I'm exultant about:
- Chef winning the tender for the new cafe. We are officially partners in a business that Chef will manage and be head chef for. This is life-changing moment stuff. Seeing him so excited about something it quite exilerating.
- Spring rain
- My OggaBoy talking more and more, showing far greater interest and commitment in various development milestones like dress-ups, reading, writing, and counting. Today he wanted to write Felix's name and did a capital F and an e all.by.himself. before needing/wanting help.
- My OggaBoy putting on his own shoes AND starting to do buttons up. This is in miracle territory for me. So proud. So very very proud.
- That our family is about to become five. Sure it's going to be an absolute shit-fight. Sure there's going to be years of daycare fees, dreadful sleep, hair-pulling frustration, but really, in my heart of hearts, all I ever wanted in terms of success was to have a big happy family, and this is one more tick against the list of "when I grow ups..."
- Watching - with complete and utter wonderment - Felix learn. How remarkable the human brain can be.
5 questions that keep me awake or occupy my brain in moments of quiet
1. Why, when we can look to countries like the US who have an entire working-poor underclass do we have a government who wants to introduce policies that will entrench socially and morally reprehensible systems on parts of our community we should be helping, not punishing?
2. Why, when we can look to countries like the US who are living with a government, a media and public agenda being driven by the conservative religious right are we doing so little to ensure the same insidious power imbalance doesn't happen here? I'm talking Howard's commitment to overhauling media ownership laws that will allow cross media ownership and relinquish foreign/local ownership quotas? I'm talking Brendan Nelson giving oxygen to movements who in their heart of hearts think creationist theories should be taught in the science classroom, not the religious studies one.
3. Why do we constantly re-elect a government that is so hell bent on the bottom line it has forgotten that bottom line is only reached by people. With lives.
4. Why do governments fail to see that money spent now - on infrastructure, on a quality education system for ALL, on a quality healthcare system for ALL - is not only money saved in the future, but a sense of community, a sense of pride, a sense of hey-we're-not-in-this-for-ourselves-but-for-each-other, and that those things are what make people feel safe, not ad campaigns about being "alert not alarmed".
5. Why are we so reticent/afraid to tackle the big questions and make the hard decisions?
Much of this is just the standard internal monologue I have with myself at any given time of the day. I figure its good to get it out before baby brain returns well and truly.
It also comes from a growing sense of unease I have about the good things in Australia being lost to the bad things from everywhere else as we have a government committed to us being one of the big guns in the world, when we simply don't have the population size (nor should we, the environmental impact of such would be horrendous on what is an incredibly fragile and already abused realm of ecosystems that is the Australian continent) nor the geography to sustain such a creation.
It comes from just proof-reading amost 40,000 words on the history of Australia in relation to other world events, and realising (well more having it reiterated) just how dreadful human beings can be to each other on any given day and write it off in the interest of economics or the betterment of the world.
It comes from meeting up with some great friends today for lunch and us just limping from conversations focusing on pedophilia, refugees, cancer, divorce, politics, child birth (I was there afterall) and other profound things - including the Swans' win of course.
And I guess it comes from being about to bring another sprogget into this world which seems so much more focused on the me and less and less caring about the us.
37 weeks brought with it some interesting curve balls. Firstly, there was the spontaneous vomiting on Wednesday night. Thankfully, the 24hr gastro number didn't trigger labour as any bout of such can apparently do.
I am also measuring 39cm. As one of my trusty midwives said, 'you feed 'em well'. Indeed.
As Felix was 9pd8 (4.3kg), if I had been more entreprenurially financially minded I would have had a betting ring going to see if this time round we could crack the 4.5kg mark. I should take this opportunity to dispell the size/pain ratio rumours as well. Oscar was 4pd4 (1.9kg) and the pain of pushing both the blighters out was commesurate.
This one still gets a good internal drum solo up and running as well. The kicks to the bladder are particularly enjoyable and make me praise the invention of maternity surfboards each and every day.
Felix asked me the other day why I was wearing nappies and as I tried to explain it in as simplistic terms possible, Chef wandered by singing 'Tena Lady'. The subsequent line of questioning from the FlixaBoy has only been matched by tonights probing as to what a hicky is, after I noticed a mark on his neck and Chef asked him if he had a hicky. I'm not kidding.
I now have to fully wake up to roll over and get so many tightenings it bores even me. Bores as in there ain't much joy in having your stomach pull so tight you can't really draw breath. Still, I am increasing excited as to whether its a boy or a girl, and am now officially counting down the days of work I have left. Funny how the third time around, all of that guilt I used to have about sleeping during the day with the other two has fled the building. I can see it now. Drop boys at school, come home, go.back.to.bed. If there is an upside to the consistent breeding Chef and I seem committed to, its having a decent enough age gap between the offspring that at least the others are out of the house a few days of the week at that place they call school.
Can everyone please bookmark this entry so when I bitch and moan about how tired I am, how no-one helps me, how I get home and do exercise and cleaning, as I'm so cheap I don't want to have to buy a whole new wardrobe when I go back to work in 18 weeks and will even voluntarily undertake physical activity to do so, you can fling this back in my face and tell me to go back to bed.
Oh, and my belly-button popped out today. Does that mean its cooked?
Behold the best holiday ever...
Firstly let me say I am still confounded by just how much I enjoyed the whole camping experience. I belive this is what made it for me:
- a great spot - South West Rocks:
- GREAT friends. The hellishly horrible time that would have happened had it just been us would have been a good six months of happy pills right there. We went with our legend American friends, The Doyles. Every single one of us (including the kids) cracked it at some stage during the week (except Oscar). All of us forgave each other. All of us can now laugh about it. Good friends.
- Two families = five kids= constant companions and entertainment for my own children which then = more time for me to read papers uninterrupted. Heaven.
- Bedding. God Bless the moonmats I say. In the 16 weeks of pregnancy I had then endured, the sciatica was driving me insane. Sleeping on those magical mats - so thin and yet so comfortable - was the first relief I had since my body went, 'wow, another incubus, lets partay!'
The mats, combined with our woollen overlay, all safely ensconced inside a doona cover, and then our doona for warmth was a very strong competitor for the comfort of our actual king-size bed.
- A fridge. That's right, we were camping, but we hired a proper fridge. This meant there was ice cream, yoghurt and milk always available. Anyone in the know knows that these three foods are
critical for a happy child.
- Ensuite sites. That's right again. We had our own toilet, shower and sink in a cute little wooden shed at the back of our site. No planter warts, no foot rot from the weirdos that normally go camping give you, and the peace and quiet of your own toilet. Fabulous.
- Gear. Two families = almost two of everything to cook on and with.
- New stuff. Anyone who half knows me knows that anything new makes me almost giddy with delight. Our new three room, spacious and secure tent made me so houseproud it just confirmed the big nerdy geek I am.
So really, the secret of camping is to not go alone, take heaps of stuff, and basically recreate home but with grass and dirt and ants. There's something liberating about not caring how dirty your kids hands are as they tuck into dinner. There's also something working in a parents favour with all that fresh air - kids sleep. And sleep well.
I want to write a book called "Travel With Children: Are You Fucking Insane?"
They look so normal here, don't they?
They're so happy, and affectionate, and adorable. I swear if I hadn't given birth to them I'd have to immediately adopt.
This picture is not normal, it's extraordinary and why? Because it was taken at the END of the day trip to the Blue Mountains and despite being together in the car and being dragged to several destinations of largely adult interest and being asked to give up a promised walk to a waterfall when we realised how steep was the slope down, and how heavy would be the parental carrying task going back up; despite all this, they smile.
So why do I use this picture under this post's very negative heading?
As they say, it's the exception that proves the rule and The Rule Is That Holidays With Children Are More Work-Better Scenery.
And why do I post this today? Because today I have again succumbed to the annual need to have something to get me through the last dire three months of the year: I have booked the January holiday beach house.
And, crikey, as I tremble at the thought of yet another delusionally optimistic leap into the land of More Work-Better Scenery, I am going to hold this picture close to my heart. If they can smile after giving up the waterfall, the least I can do is send off the cheque for the deposit on their beach holiday.
I'm not sure what is going on this evening but obviously Bec and I have been hit with the 'thank God its Friday' stick and are posting pics thick and fast.
So in keeping with today's theme of keeping it visual, behold the clean fish tank. I am so convinced Gus, the Siamese Fighting Fish, and Goldie, the big gold fish (the other one is Nemo because it has a dodgy fin and lost a bit of its tail when the boys got over exuberant with the magnetic glass cleaner and caught his tail in it) are about to cark it I poked Gus tonight with my finger. Now I figure if the proper PH water doesn't get em, scaring the crap out of them will.
Note Gus just sitting on the bottom on the left hand side. And note Goldie inside the fake log. In the 17 months we've had them, the goldfish have never ever been in the log. About four times in the last two days I've seen both the goldfish in there, at.the.same.time. I can almost hear the toilet flushing in anticipation.
Here by request (mostly his) The Gorgeous Boy
The Gorgeous Boy, formerly known as Mighty Mouth, particularly during his breastfeeding period.
Hovering over my shoulder almost heavily enough (but not quite) to count as a massage, he has been anxiously watching the other pics go up and asking:
"Where's my photo, mummy?"
"It's coming, sweetheart."
"Is that my photo? That's not my photo, mum."
"No, hon, not yet."
"What aboooooouuuutt.... What about you do MY photo next, mummy?"
"Yes, gorgeous, you're next.
"Is it my turn now?"
"Yes, baby, yours will be next."
Sadly, the imperatives of domestic life being what they are, the GB is now in bedtime mode and won't get to see his pic up on screen until the morning... Nighty-night, Gorgeous Boy.
The source of this weeks obscene levels of maternal pride
Felix looking oh-so-serious with his Honour Award. The tie had looked a lot better until he kept rolling it up into a ball on the way to school in the car due to nerves. When we talked about what he was most anxious about, he replied, "you two being there on time."
How well this child knows us.
I have just been inducted into the world of Tamagotchi.
Literally this week.
I bought them on e-bay so I'm only one small step up from you oh miss-hand-me-down-accepter-Bec.
Felix's broke on the first morning - ie the battery died. It let us know by starting this high pitched whirring noise at around 5.10am. This is not an unusual waking time for me as Oscar is an early god forsaken riser, but I haven't seen Chef almost fall out of the bed when he realised just how awake he was at 5.15 since I actually did push him out of bed in a desperate attempt to stop the snoring when we'd been going out for about a minute, and we were sleeping in his single bed in his uni dorm, sleeping being the optional word as it was at that age and that point of the relationship where we could, and did, have sex between 4 and 6 times a night. It was a dramatic re-enactment of 'there were ten in the bed' and I would have peed myself laughing had he not been so angry and hurt that I actually had pushed.him.out.of.the.bed.
Oscar's just beeps and beeps and beeps.
I am yet to recall anything so hideous from my own childhood that performed the role of i.r.r.i.t.a.n.t. to my parents as much as these absolute cons do to us. Anyone? Anyone?
The Pea Princess Gives Me A Virtual Grandchild
Yeah, she's our brown-eyed girl. The chain around her neck is attached to The Tamogotchi, my first virtual grandchild judging by the way it comes to me for care and feeding when the Pea Princess is otherwise occupied. Tamo, whose other names I can't remember since it has to be re-christened every time it curls up and dies, was a hand-me-down from the Pea Princess' best friend. Am I evil for not buying the Tamogotchi? Was I right to resist when it has given her so much joy now to have one? Do all new grandmothers go through these doubts?
I cooked risotto tonight. Just a basic one with some finely sliced button mushrooms and flat leaf parsley. Relatively gently on the recovering stomach.
I knew Felix wouldn't eat it because well, he doesn't eat food (except pasta but even then its bolognaise or with oil and broccoli and that's it) that is, well, all mixed together. It rules out a lot - any form of soup, any casserole, any risotto. But Oscar is my good eater in the I-eat-anything-anytime kinda good eater. But no, he rejected it as well.
So as I tucked in (it was lovely, if I might say so myself) the boys ate their requested dinner. Peanut butter sandwiches. And thanked me for making 'such a delicious sandwich'.
Just cos I'm Evil, don't mean I can't be pensive...
For all her bad press, the Evil Twin is still edible in her dressing gown and pjs.
Post #200 - Spring makes me so happy
Oranges and blossom time. Suddenly, my yard smells great and I never have a shortage of fruit for the daily four pieces to be sent to childcare!
Felix took this shot earlier today. I have clothes on and its from a little bit of distance. Be grateful.
hey hey hey
it's school holidays!
Oscar's current obsession is dressing up and cross referencing as many superheros/characters as possible. Today we're going a bit Robin, a bit Captain Hook.
Today, as I worked from home with a child who had come down with what I had yesterday and was setting himself the challenge of seeing just how many times he could watch Spy Kids 3 back-to-back, the cleaner came.
I believe 'the cleaner' is largely responsible for saving our marriage, as many of my cranky harridan moments related to domestic oblivion issues. They still do but there is much to be said for knowing someone will come through your house once a week with a ruthless eye and duster to reduce said crankiness.
Anyway, I just mopped the bathroom floors. Again. After 'the cleaner' had done them maybe 6 hours ago. Not just mopped, there was some caustic spraying involved, a bit more I-kill-everything liquid in the mop water and then the mop with the scourer on the edge, just to really.get.it.clean.
Then, because I was on a roll, I redid the kitchen floor as well.
This is on top of yesterday's effort which involved going with Chef to Ikea to buy bedding for the day-bed ensemble I wanted in the nursery. I figure as I didn't have to go to all the effort to create the room I can now do the pretty things like cushions and linen. But of course there was the temperature and issue of gastro as to why I was home in the first place.
The weekend saw me completely overhaul the fishtank too - we're talking even replacing the gravel. Sure, the original three fish that were in the tank, that we've had for over 18 months, now look like they are gasping their last breaths (btw - the new fish are just lovin it...so maybe there's some bullying going on, or maybe the water is now at the proper ph as I got a special tablet thingy so the original inhabitants aren't coping without the manic fluctuations in acidity or alkalinity they're used to) but man, the tank looks awesome.
You see, tomorrow is officially 37 weeks and I believe this is what is called the home stretch. Of course, if it follows Felix's lead, I've got another five weeks. I can't imagine how clean this house is going to be if the incubus takes that long to join the fold on the outside.
Don't answer the door, the Epilady's knocking
Further to I Know It's Spring Because... and Small Things... comes the surest sign of spring of all: Depilation Duty.
Oh dear, ladies.
Up goes the thermostat and out go the delightfully camouflaging opaque tights, knee-length boots, jeans and work pants. And then - oh deary deary me - the real terror begins.
Here's a typical scene, tell me if it sounds familiar:
You're in the change room of a store, and you're thrilled to little bits that you have found time to shop for summer clothes without.the.children. Step inside, hang up those beautifully patterned cotton possibilities, and pause a moment to admire the rampant femininity that awaits your body... You step out of your jeans... You pull on the skirt... It feels great and you turn to the mirror and
OHMIGOD WHATARE THOSE?
The moment is ruined and you don't even have a child handy to blame.
Jutting out beneath your lovely skirt are the most hideously pale, pudgy and hairy legs in the known universe. Beyond here, there must truly be dragons.
Sparing a moment only to envy those few
- earthmothers and/or
- aged and bald gentlewomen and/or
- genuinely blonde chicks
who for one reason or another just don't get moments of envy like this, you sadly put the skirt back on the hanger, knowing you cannot make another clothing decision until you have D.E.P.I.L.A.T.E.D.
Now, for some time, my weapon of choice in the war against body hair terror has been the Epilady. The Braun Epilady, to be precise, which operates by spinning a small barrel of pinching tweezer heads around and around at high speed, thus ripping each individual hair out of your legs (I'm keeping this below the knees because the possibility of someone googling us with "Brazilian" "Epilady" "glamorous" makes my eyes water) and leaving you with a smoother and longer lasting finish than any other depilatory option.
The thing is, of course, that it hurts like all fuck and don't ever let anyone try to tell you otherwise. Ebay is full of "almost unused", "unwanted gift" and "should I sell it or give it to the United Nations as a deterrent?" Epilady sales listings. I'm tempted to get distracted by the sort of person who buys a second-hand machine operated leg threshing machine, but we'll leave that to the Brazilian S&M fetishists, shall we?
I'm into my fourth year of the Epilady now, and the best thing I can say about it is that the hair on my legs has definitely got sparser and finer. However, all this means is that I get extra-slack over winter when I can easily cover it up and at this time of year (Southern Hemisphere) I have to face the awful truth that:
six months of sparser, finer hair is still six fucking months of hair growth that.must.come.out before you can go back and snaffle that skirt.
This means the Epilady's knockin' baby, and she's not handing over a gift-with-purchase.
My personal tip to make it bearable is to pour a large glass of wine and invite the Epilady to join you while you sit next to the kids having their bath.
This approach gives you an anaesthetic (like a good epidural, top-ups are advisable), a distraction (what with talking to the kids and dodging splashes so you don't die of electrocution while still hairy), and a reminder that, after all, labour pains are worse... just.
The warm weather trepidation with which I approach the Epilady's knock proves Nietzsche was wrong. That which does not kill us does not, in this case, make us stronger. But it certainly makes us smoother.
(Glamorouse would love to know: do you depilate and what do you do?)
At 36 weeks and 4 days I am 39cm fundal height. For those not in the know, that means I'm officially whale-size.
Midwife cranky that I'm still working.
Suddenly, so am I...
But then reality kicks in and I know not working does not equal sitting on the lounge watching Dr Phil, and Oprah interspersed with home improvement shows and Sex in the City repeats - its washing, cleaning and not having people around me to take my mind off our lives changing irrevocably once more.
You know you got up early when...
You got up and realised the hissing noise inside your head was in fact a sudden rainshower outside your head so paddled out to line in fluffy slippers and grabbed the most critical clothing items from the clothes line and put them in the drier and set it for 80 minutes and it's just now gone 6.10am and the clothes drier has just stopped...
Today Felix got an honour award at school for reading. This is, in the land they call school, a big deal. Each class, two kids, once a term for a different area of learning. Then, in front of an entire school assembly, national anthem and all, they are called up to receive their award.
My boy. He is so big.
I was so proud he may well have designed a fool-proof plan for world peace.
What is it about little kids in school uniform? The tie, the shiny shoes, their obvious nervousness coupled with the knowledge something big and special was happening and it was about them.
The thing that caught most in my throat - seeing him stand, line up with the other kinder kids, and then walk straight and tall to the principal, look him in the eye while shaking his hand, accept his award and walk across to join the others. Looking so comfortable, so... ok with it all.
This can't be maternal pride, those words don't convey enough. They don't convey the breadth of the emotion at seeing this person you created, this person who sets their day so much by yours and what you do and say to them every single minute you are there. They don't convey the nervy exilerated wonderment as you see them, up there, on their own and doing whatever it is they are doing with confidence and commitment and without you - that bizarre joy of being so proud and yet so scared one day they won't set their day by you, that you won't be the centrifugal force of their world, that you may be the butt of their nasty ungratefulness on a blog for all to read. Bah, that I can live with. But man it felt good.
You know what made it even better? That on his award, it says "...for showing a love of language, reading and the wonder of books."
Last night I had so many tightenings, so much low abdomen period-like pain, I went to bed really thinking, 'good grief, 'this' could happen tonight'. Thankfully it all settled down, but the Braxton Hicks now roll around for at least one an hour, if not three of four. Plus, I think the kid is getting cramped and trying to stretch out in a straight line, as the pressure on my ribcage and lungs is such that sucking in big mouthfuls of air can make 'it' almost fit in either anger at the intrusion on its space or the massive rush of oxygen finally getting around my whole body.
In light of the fact that as of yesterday I officially have a month to go, and spurred on by Bec's delightful piece on the obsession we all have with our firstborn (and none of the 'god it's annoying' sentiment I would have laden it with) I thought I might jot down a few of the idiosyncracies of the existing Berry Boys before they are joined by yet another sibling...
- Oscar has THE worst circulation in the world. Permanently cold hands and feet. This is the child that could be buried under doonas, blankets, in flannelette pjs, with a singlet on and bed socks and still wake up as cold as an icicle.
- Felix came out at about 100 degrees, sweated as a newborn and still, in the height of winter, will come home from school, remove all clothing, don a delightful pair of navy polyester short shorts and happily get on with his life.
- Both of them are pathologically obsessed with the tone of my voice. I know this comes from the horror PND years when I was simply a harridan, a teary mess, a frighteningly angry mummy and someone to be approached with care. This still kills me. So if my tone is the slightest bit tense, cross, fed-up, frustrated, cranky or angry - they come at me with cuddles, from Oscar - kisses of apology, from Felix - "I love you Mummy" or "You're as beautiful as a swan, princess and a unicorn" (normally its just a swan and a princess).
- Both of them love order, structure and routine - I am so proud.
- Tonight, I made a Vietnamese shredded chicken salad w/ poached chicken, mint, coriander, basil, limejuice, fish sauce etc - and they gobbled it up. Once again, I am so proud.
- Their favourite food is ice cream with strawberry and chocolate topping. If Oscar had the choice, he'd choose chocolate, if Felix had the choice, he'd choose potato chips.
- Felix LOVES Transformers, The Suite Life (a show I believe should be banned for its lameness) and yesterday told me his favourite singer is Jesse whatshisname. The first request for a Tamagotchi also came my way. His favourite show is The Simpsons. He's been answering the phone, 'hello, Bart Simson (sic) speaking' for months.
- Oscar loves anything with karate and shooting in it. His favourite shows are Kim Possible and Lilo & Stitch. He also loves The Simpsons. He hates The Suite Life and I so understand.
- Oscar is early to bed, early to rise. Felix is late to bed, early to rise incase he misses out on anything and then tired and cranky all day.
- Felix loves building and creating things, playing with his super hero characters, building perfectly symetrical castles out of blocks and rockets out of lego. He will say, 'I just need some quiet time on my own'.
- Oscar loves pottering around, going for walks - anywhere, and having other people play/entertain with him. At the moment, the fixation is on balls of any size and shape.
- Oscar loves sleeping up at Grandmama's or at Nana and Grandpa's. Felix is a complete homebody and hates sleeping anywhere except his own bed. He was anxious about camping because he thought he'd a) be sleeping outside, b) with strangers and c) without any light. You can imagine his relief when we explained we, a family, would be sleeping in a tent, that he'd be closer to us that he is at home and that we were taking quite a supply of torches.
- Neither of them will tolerate a bandaid, although Felix is marginally improved with the ones that have Yu-Gi-Oh! characters on them. Oscar may well have had a limb severed if a bandaid is administered.
- Both boys have had fingers slammed savegely in doors that have required surgery to rebuild the nail bed. By the end of recovery, you could smell Felix's bandage from the other end of the house and it sort of permeated your clothes like cigarette smoke from the pub does. Oscar's was as pristine as when it went on.
Wow, how therapeutic is this! How boring it must be to all of you!
The Pea Princess
So many blogs I've read are by women in their thirties, who have a young first child. And it's a no-brainer to sort out why these mum bloggers (or more often, mommybloggers) have multiplied.
Apart from the internet access, education levels and other resource matters, there's the glorious first child obsession that, if only it could be chemically synthesised and sent through a pipeline, could power the winter heating needs of a small Australian city.
Your first is your first is your first at everything. Your miracle, your lab rat, your test, your failure, your joy, your terror, your hope, your despair, your wonder.
Yet, while your first is all those things to you, the most amazing thing most of us find out about our first is that they are so little of you and so much of, well, them. This is what gets you gazing into their sleeping cot when you should be in your own bed. Who is this little person? How did you manage this creature from that bump. All the abstraction of pregnancy is overwhelmingly manifested in this individual.
They cut more than the cord when you gave birth; they set free a new human into the world when all along you thought you were just getting a baby.
I wish I'd had blogging when the Pea Princess was a baby. I was living in a new town, with a useless baby health nurse who couldn't understand how isolated I felt because all the other mothers she saw had grown up in the town and had ready-made mothers' groups.
Instead, I found an email group of pregnant women from around the world who were due to have their babies in March 1998, and eight years later some of us are still chatting online and while we've collectively had many more kids since, we still focus on those March babies who brought us together. That's the first baby bond.
Somewhere I have print-outs of the hundreds of posts I sent to the group in the first couple of years. It's the diary I should have kept and it's probably not too different in content from a lot of the mumblogs online today.
If our babies were just like us, it would be easy. We'd quickly work out how they felt, we'd easily understand what was important to them, we'd find it simple to anticipate their needs.
And if our babies were completely unlike us it would be easier, too. We'd know not to try to predict their motives, we wouldn't attempt understanding when we could just accept instead.
But our babies are such a set of similarities and contradictions. Just when I think I've nutted out the things that separate me from the Princess, she does or says something that is exactly what I did or said to my mother and I have to start all over again.
I so.don't.get.her.sock.issues. But I totally understand how she hates having tight necked shirts. I'm not at all surprised she likes capers, anchovies and garlic, but the aversion to avocado, tomato and onion still has me baffled.
I think this juggling of the me-not-me gets easier with other children in the house, no matter whether you've given birth to them or married their dad, or semi-adopted them because of your friendship bond with their parents, or see them weekly at playgroup, or won them in a raffle.
People say you shouldn't compare your children. People presumably mean you shouldn't selectively condemn or favour your children, otherwise people must just be dumb. If people are just dumb I say to hell with them because comparing my children is my favourite game in the whole world. I am, after all, the (bad) mother who brought you The Evil Twin.
On the serious side, comparing your children, constantly and creatively, gives you a handle on them as individuals. The Pea Princess used to just be called the Princess, back in the bad old days when we had screaming rows every winter morning because of her Sock Issues. But now we have other children who don't melt down when the seam at the end of the sock hits their toes, who reef their ankle socks to thigh height because they're TOO SHORT, who strangely enough have no interest in whether the flower patterns are twisted or straight. The other two have their own weirdnesses, they just don't include preferring to get chillblains rather than wear a sock that Doesn't Feel Good.
So now, because we can compare, we know she's not just A Princess, she's The Pea Princess, the real deal. Hide a pea under 17 goosedown mattresses and this kid will wake up needing intensive care.
And now, because I can compare, because I know the extent of her difference and I'm not chasing empathy that will never come, I can accept that I have birthed the Pea Princess and ignore her happily blue legs mid-winter.
I'm not sure where this has come to - blogwise - but I think it is something like this:
- I adore and obsess over my first just as much as I did in my first blog-less years, but I have less time to write about it
- After years of doubts, exhaustion and misery I can see that the babies who've come since have completed our family in a way that I could not have imagined when adoring and obsessing over just one
- Princesses do come with a user manual, you just have to make sure you've found the fairytale that fits.
How to make me cranky...
Get a Braxton Hicks.
Go to hospital.
Be of the front page of the paper "rushed" to hospital with preterm labour.
PULEESE. It's like those people who's baby arrives at 37 weeks and say its premature. No, 37 weeks is full term. Or those people who say they were in labour for 40 hours. No, that is preterm labour and then, those 12, 10 or how ever many hours when you can't talk through the contractions, when they make you spew, when your body is wracked by real pain - that is labour. Stop the martyrdom RIGHT THERE.
Sure you might be a princess, but a Braxton Hicks is a Braxton Hicks.
"Hello Spade, my name is Spade."
One month today
The incubus is due one month today.
I'm feeling a mix of excitement (I am so pleased we haven't found out if its a boy or girl) and realistic dread (about the crying, the sore boobs, establishing feeding, the sleep deprivation, the crying, the wobbly post-baby belly that takes me so long to .... well, I've never gotten rid of it really so, I guess I can put that worry in a bubble, the crying, the sleep deprivation, the crying, oh, the CRYING) stirred by a big crazy spoon of "I can't believe we're doing this again".
I must say I am feeling less 'stressed' about going back to baby land - in that I know all of those things I'm dreading will pass. This is a huge indication of progress as when you have kids close together like Oscar and Felix, you don't have time to recover and so the sense of completing fucking up your life is at times so oppressive, so suffocating, so depressing you don't ever think you'll surface.
At least now I look at the boys and know that it gets better and in fact, it gets fun.
Who would have thought.
Now just to get through the next three years with some semblance of sanity (thanks to undoubtedly lots of therapy and a return once more to my little white happy pills) . . .
I know I should be waiting until the weekend for the next update, but as of today, I can't walk more than about half a block without getting the worst tightenings and period like pains that I'm seriously of the mind, 'how the hell am i going to work for another 3.5 weeks?' ...and that's the first time such a thought has come into my head.
Bec's blog about the joy of a working scrolling wheel on her mouse at work got me thinking about small things that can bring great joy:
- the perfect green pen (I love green)
- a new notebook
- pulling the just baked cake out of the oven
- that first taste of a cold crisp white wine on the lips
- a childs kiss on your cheek. Those soft soft lips.
- waking up when your body tells you to, not out of habit, and not as a child shoves something under your nose that they want you to open or fix.
- snuggling on the lounge
- a childs cuddle - those arms tight around your neck, those legs tight around your waist.
- warm rays of sunshine on your face on a crisp winter's day.
A few weeks back one of the Sunday paper's mags ran a story about mothers and the choices they make. Granted, we're not reading these mags looking for potential Walkley Award winners or anything particularly enlightening, but it raised a very pointed point for me that has been my own niggling burr ever since.
When will we get it that it isn't about the choices we make but that there is the ability to actually make a choice in the first place.
Newsflash to those women who think it is negligent to work after you've bred:
Most of us don't have a choice. Most of us need two incomes, not to drive a fancy car and wear branded clothes, but to simply eat and maybe give your kids some swimming lessons or other organised sporting and/or cultural outlet.
Newsflash to those women working who are bitter/jealous of those women who don't work:
The question and debate should not be about whether we work or stay at home (let alone the fact that as many of us have kids when we're older and a little higher up the corporate food chain so hours tend to become h.o.u.r.s) but if when that decision is made (or forced upon us) the result of it is not detrimental to:
- our mental health
- our marriage
- our children and their sense of wellbeing/security and comfort.
Anne Manne's new book Motherhood throws a whole new light on this - and she isn't berating women for going back to work, she is saying we need to really look at our society and what we put importance on to ensure our kids are on a path to strong positive outcomes.
why,Why,WHY is that so hard for the populace (and the policy makers) to get its (their) head around? But most importantly, why do women, like your 'friend' Bec, insist on undercutting their FRIENDS when all any of us are trying to do is our best?
And I remember why I got sick for two weeks.
Here I am in the office, surrounded by emptiness, coming up to the end (I hope) of another 13 hour day. I do three or four of these a week, including my home office time. Between now and Christmas I will be lucky to get two weekends off-duty.
And I love my job (I really do) and I need the money (god knows I need the money) but I can't help but be peeved that yet again my 'boss' went home at 5.00pm and I am still here, having started at 6.00am. Again. At least he's given up making snuffy noises when I arrive in the (city)office (as opposed to the home office) at 9.45am, after getting the kids fed and ready for the day.
You know what really pisses me off though? A friend of mine who stopped paid work some time ago with a generous redundancy payout, whose choice to spend time looking after her kids and making strange art I have never questioned, was really rude to me the other day when I said how many hours I spend at work (about 60 or 70, here and home).
Not rude as in "you shouldn't work so hard", or rude as in "you should spend more time with your kids" - these are both acceptable criticisms I direct at myself constantly and try to balance with home-based work and taking time-in-lieu during school holidays wherever possible.
No, she was rude as in (scoffing laugh) "You don't work that hard. Ha! As if!!"
It's been niggling away at me, that scoffing doubt. I don't quite know why it's bothered me so much but it has, and I keep telling people about it and I thought I may as well do a quick blog and see if I can excorcise the niggle while waiting for an email to arrive before I can go home.
So why did she say it like that? Does she think I was pretending, or showing off? It only came up as a casual response to something else.
Does she feel defensive because she's 'only' looking after her kids and making strange art? I've never expressed anything but sisterhood and envy (okay, maybe occasionally pointed envy, but I'm a guilt-wracked working mother, I can't be a saint every day too).
Is she just a bitch? No. Definitely not. She's kinda sweet and a bit wacky and I can't believe she'd have said it on purpose to hurt.
Was she pissed? Well, derr, of course she was: I don't keep sober friends.
Is it just me being guilt-wracked, unsaintly, self-doubting, obsessive and unkind?
Aaaaaaaah. Yes. That feels better.
Niggle exorcised. Essential email has arrived. I'm goin' HOME.
PS - did you see Britney and Heidi Klum gave birth to baby boys on the same day? Kim - over to you for snarky compare and contrast!
A big day for small things
Email sent to my GM today. We know each other well and he sent me a great reply, which I am NOT going to publish, but now I've re-read this I'm thinking: I've kept the office out of our blog, but am I bringing the blog into my office?
When I started working here almost two years ago my joy in my new job was ever-so-slightly marred by annoyance that the scrolling wheel on my mouse did not function.
As I used a scroll wheel frequently at home, it was a daily frustration to come into the office and attempt to move through my email with an inoperative wheel.
Many seconds were lost each day. Many wasteful keystrokes and dragging actions occurred. Many workmates' ears were burned with my futile invective.
Eventually the part of my tiny brain that manages mouse functions learned to Leave The Wheel Alone and a kind of grudging peace set in.
Today, suddenly and quite by accident, I found that the wheel now turns meaningfully, effortlessly and with a delightfully vertical sense of purpose.
I was so surprised I nearly fell off my chair, thereby almost replacing a wrist-based OHS issue with a much larger problem.
I believe this operability may have been due to an upgrade of software somewhere in our system. It's certainly not an upgrade in my mouse, which nurses the same coffee stains and desk fluff it's always had.
Despite this being the day I found out the [extreme church sect I can't name because of doocing potential] believe computers constitute a misuse of God's materials, I have to risk my eternal soul and pass on my thanks to whoever made the wheel turn.
Lesson: How to go from feeling like a woman to an object in one easy step...
I had forgotten about these.
How they don't really support your boobs except for a couple of millimetres and from leaking enough to feed a small African nation.
That they charge you in excess of $50 (FIFTY) dollars for the priviledge of wearing a bra that actually makes your boobs look even more like those of an indigenous person from a long lost hill tribe in Papua New Guinea...
That they may well make them in black and white, but will only EVER have your ginormous size in beige or worse... skin tone.
That they are so comfortable and you are so tired, you simply don't care.
Today I had a flex. For those not up on the world of Australia's public service, this is an upside. I don't actually take them that often (I come from the school of thought that the generally excellent employment conditions of the public service are there more as a safety net, not a right) and when I do, they have always been for an Oscar appointment/clinic visit/specialist appointment. Today's had been arranged for his dental clinic update, which they cancelled last week and Chef is tending to next.
So that's right, I had a day to.myself. Apart from feeling like I've been hit by a tonne of bricks as I had uni last night and you all know how late up I was, I made the most of this day by the above purchase.
My life is that pedestrian.
I also bought Felix three pairs of his favourite socks - the ankle ones with a red ring around the top. The ones we only had one pair of and that I almost had to wash every day if there was any hope of him wearing socks w/ sneakers and saving the world from the worst foot odour experience next to that Chef manufactures.
I bought Oscar a pair of long white socks to wear under his superlegs for sport days.
I bought the boys a Pamela Allen book as they just love her.
I wandered aimlessly then spent a squillion dollars on a car seat (which until yesterday I'd sort of forgotten we'd need) but saved a $100 as it was on sale and feel might chuffed with myself in the process. I breed big children and the concept of putting my offspring in a capsule is the equivalent of gross parental negligence. Its one of those ones that is reversible and plush. Seriously, the kid is going to have the best ride of anyone.
I sat in the sun, read the paper and had my Oporto Rappa lunch.
I am so easy to friggin' please.
Oscar's teacher said this morning why didn't I go and have a pedicure or something, but I'm just not that sort of chick. It would never occur to me on my day off to actually do something in that line of pampering. I may have got my hair cut, but then I would have got it coloured too, and then needed new shampoo and conditioner, and would not have walked out of the delightful company of my hairdresser Toby less that $300 down. I contemplated a movie, but sitting in one place for long periods of time is now pretty difficult. So aimless but moderately productive retail shopping was had.
Saturday is fabric shopping for blinds as those kinda stores scare me, I spoke to the blind making lady yesterday and she may well have been speaking Swahili. Something about widths and lengths - it was so hard to not forget to listen. So I need assistance on the weekend for such choices. Sure, the assistance of chef and two small boys in one of the last female bastions of upholstery is asking for trouble, but I figure I'll share the pain.
and I am still up. In fact, I only just got home as post uni a few of us from last semester's excellent class (as oppossed to the highly disappointing, filled with earnest, lame, old people who bang on about 'showing their age' as if its endearing class this semester) met up for dinner and a drink - at a pub, surrounded by uni students. What fun!
Anyway, tonight I presented a seminar and my biog piece was workshopped. This represents 60 per cent of my grade, and I'm going to say it right up front, the appalling lack of effort, commitment, enthusiasm and input I have put into it this semester has impressed even myself.
That said, it was SO nice to go out with normal people (not the freaksville of class) and finally lay into those that drive us nuts. In the words of Kamahl, why are people so unkind... because its petty and fun, that's why.
No, really, we penguins lurve to chat
Remember how I had some time at home just recently with the vile and vicious virus?
Friendly Indian Call Centre Operator: Hello, may I speak to Mrs L*?
Me: That's me.
FICCO: Hello Mrs L*, I'm calling on behalf of Pacific Telco and I would like to speak to you about -
Me: Not interested, thank you!
FICCO: - a special offer for -
Me: No, really not interested, thank you.
FICCO: - householders in your -
Me: Bye now.
FICCO: Hello, I'd like to speak to Mrs L* please.
Me: That's me.
FICCO: Mrs L*, I'm calling on behalf of ComTel Coms and -
Me: No thanks.
FICCO: - if I could just -
FICCO: Hello, I'd like to speak to Mrs L* please.
Me: Hang on, she's just here. handing over phone...
Evil Twin: Hellooooo?
FICCO: spiel for Telco, spiel, spiel.
ET: I jump on a trampoline.
FICCO: relentless spiel, spiel, spiel.
ET: On my birfday I have CHOColate CAKE!
FICCO: self-doubt creeping into relentless spiel, spiel, spiel.
ET: I go to school I play wiff Joss-u-ah I play wiff Cassie I throw a ball Doris reads books
ET: Here you go, Mum!
Thursday (no children at home)
FICCO: Hello, is that Mrs L*?
Me: No, sorry, this is a penguin.
FICCO: - ah - oh - um - is this 87654321?
Me: No, sorry, you called 12345678.
FICCO: And this is not Mrs L*?
Me: No, sorry, it's a penguin.
FICCO: Oh, I am sorry to have disturbed you - ah - er -
Me: Mrs Penguin?
FICCO: er -
Me: (suppressing juvenile glee) Hello?
FICCO: Hello, I'm calling on behalf of TelcomCocomCo and (lying) my name is Wayne Simpson (no it's not, it's probably Ranjeev, which is a perfectly good name, but our marketers are testing to see if stupid racist Australians will stop hanging up on us if we pretend to be English) is that Mrs L* please?
Me: No, it's a penguin. (And I'm not stupid and I'm not racist I'm just sick of these fucking calls)
FICCO Wayne: - oh - ah - I'm sorry, I'm confused.
Me: Mrs L* had to go out but she left us penguins here to answer the phone.
FICCO Wayne: Oh! I see, ha ha, that's very funny (hating stupid Australians more by the minute).
Me: Yes, we penguins lurve to chat. We can talk for hours. Shall we talk about telephones? Or fish? I can do both.
FICCO Wayne: Did I call 87654321?
Me: Yes, that's the Penguin Line. Tell me, is this call being recorded for training purposes?
FICCO Wayne: Oh no (shocked) let me assure you we would never invade your privacy by recording you without your permission.
Me: Really? Mrs L* will be very interested to hear that since you have NEVER asked her PERMISSION before putting her on your DATABASE - now GO A-WAY!
It is almost worth another dose of the vile and vicious to see if I can get our phone number listed against the name Penguin on an Indian telemarketing database:
FICCO: May I speak to Mrs Penguin please?
Me: Sorry, look, she was just here a minute ago but then I ate her. I'm a Polar Bear, can I help you?
Siblings of disappointment
I seem to be revisiting a few themes recently that have laid quiet of oh, a week or two, so it seems only reasonable to raise the ugly spectre of disappointing siblings once more.
There is, however, a point of difference this time around.
Just over 12 months ago my brother left his wife (of approximately 12 years marriage I do believe) with a 4 month old. He used well thought out phrases along the lines of not having loved her for quite some years but staying out of guilt etc etc etc.
It was as fascinating as it was heartbreaking to watch, mainly in relation to my mother's reaction. You see, she left my father a good 23 or so years ago because he was having an affair - something she had no idea about and indeed, had been of the mindset they were happy. The humiliation and sense of stupidity she.still.feels.today. about having no concept of what the reality actually was is raw, ugly, painful and colours her very existence. And here was her son, doing exactly.the.same.thing. to his wife.
You can imagine my fascination bordering on obsession then, with her remarkable tenancity to still be making excuses, concessions, exceptions and allowances for my brother and his actions. As she has done for his e.n.t.i.r.e. life. So I do find it quite hard to hold it against him as afterall, aren't we all the product of our upbringing? (First adopted child = golden child that can do no wrong. Second adopted child = devil spawn that must strive to make right the hellish world she reigned down on the world as a baby)
When this was all unfolding last year, he of course had baggage. Literally. In about a month after leaving his wife, he'd hooked up with another woman via this godforsaken land we call the Net, and moved in with her. Yeah, I know.
Mum - as any parent would I guess - offered to store his baggage. The only issue I have with this, is that she offered - without any discussion or vetting - our side of the garage. Call me petty, but as our house faces East and gets blinding baking sun in the afternoon, I quite liked being able to park our car in a garage so it wasn't 50 degrees whenever we got in it. Now call me stupid as for the.last.twelve.months. I have just let this ride. Sure, occasionally the wrath of Kim would rise, but what was I going to do? Where was it going to go?
So - I've raised this about twice throughout the pregnancy - that when the baby arrives I want to be able to park the car in the garage. I don't think this is unreasonable. So yesterday, I mentioned it once more - with a timeframe. The ensuing conversation was so boring in its predictability, I won't subject you to it - but needless to say, at one point I said to Mum if she felt uncomfortable raising this with my brother the next time she spoke to him, I would happily call him and ask him to get his FUCKING crap out of our garage by the end of the month. Of course I didn't say fucking, and I even kept a very light-hearted, even tone, but indulge me OK.
So get this - AB goes into the garage today and - yep, I know you clever readers would have guessed it - she has started moving all his stuff to her side of the garage. I'm collecting bets that she didn't even raise it with him. But you know what, if she's happy for her brand new Mazda to sit in the driveway and bake all summer long - all the power to her.
Q: Do you think all this rage is indicative of something? That maybe the incubus will be coming soon? That it's the pregnancy equivalent of the four horsemen of the apocalypse? That I should just endure the heartburn and eat the chocolate? That I should thumb my nose at the Salvos and drink during pregnancy?
Or perhaps this is just the cold hard ugly reality of late third trimester.