A visit to IT…

So for some reason my phone staged a sit-in this week and refuse to receive text messages. (I only realised this was the case after a day of feeling joyously happy that all the stars had aligned and there were no crises happening. That feeling soon evaporated once I realised crises were happening, it was just that I didn’t know about them. In this case, ignorance was not necessarily bliss.)

In order to solve the problem, I had to visit the IT department.

Now, to all my dear friends who work in IT and break every stereotype – I apologise. But here is a list of what I witnessed on my IT jaunt:

  • Figurines. Yes, desks were loaded up with little superhero/anime/cartoon figurines, the kind that Picasso might have collected a few years ago.
  • Weird hobbies. One person was engaged in colouring in and cutting out small paper figures. Presumably they do this while they are on the phone, ostensibly solving your terribly urgent technology crisis, which certainly explains a few things.
  • Lots of sneakers. Everyone was wearing sneakers, including women who were also wearing dresses.
  • Fast food. Loads of empty and in-use Macdonald’s bags.
  • A discussion about superheros. While I was waiting, I actually overheard some of them talking about Spiderman.
  • A cool Asian guy with a funky haircut and tattoos. It’s actually true that every IT department has one, it must be part of the KPIs.
  • A skinny old guy with a long beard, big glasses and stone-wash jeans. Again, a KPI successfully met.

So that was my visit to the IT floor, kind of like a real-life version of the Big Bang Theory. And of course there was one last event which truly told me I was in IT-land. After three people had inspected my phone, tried numerous remedies, decided the problem was beyond everyone’s expertise and outsourced it to the  “next level up” which might take some time, I was warned – you know what actually solved the problem? Taking out the battery and putting it back in again.

Gotta love IT.

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Italian Adventures III – Verona

In fair Verona where we lay our scene…Soul Sister and I did venture.

We had planned to just do a day trip, but at the last minute decided to stay the night and explore this beautiful and famous city.

So what did I remember most about Verona?

Was it Juliet’s balcony, where lovers throughout the ages have celebrated the supposed inspiration for the world’s most famous play?

Or the statue of Juliet, supposed to bring good fortune to those who touch her breast? (This is why there’s a man’s hand in this picture grabbing the poor statue in such an indelicate fashion. It’s a bit off, if you ask me).

Or perhaps it was the medieval Castlevecchio?

I did enjoy seeing all of these beautiful sites. But I have to admit what I remember most about Verona is a distressing side-effect of travel that is not often talked about – constipation!

Clearly my diet in Italy was somewhat different to what it usually is (I don’t usually eat endless croissants, pasta, pizza, gelato and risotto). Whatever the cause, I was in a fair amount of pain in Verona! In the end I decided I had to get something from the chemist – only, none of the staff could speak any English AT ALL. There are some things that can be translated across languages using a mix of words and actions. Constipation is not one of those things. I chickened out and bought some useless box of tablets for something I didn’t have and we just kept going. Fortunately that afternoon we came across markets selling fresh fruit salad and I cut down on the carbs for a few days and my system adjusted.

However it’s a word of warning to all you potential travelers out there! There is such a thing as too much pasta in Italy 🙂

The secrets we keep

So I witnessed something odd last night.

I was sitting on the couch, watching TV as Souljourneyboy made some tea and toast.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw him grab the toast as it popped up – and then put it in the freezer.

As you can imagine, I was somewhat perplexed.

I said, “Did you just put your toast in the freezer?”

Somewhat sheepishly, Souljourneyboy replied, “Ah, yes. I wondered if you’d notice that.”

I replied, “Can I ask why?”

He answered, “Well, I either like toast really hot, or really, really cold.”

“Have you always done that? Like, since we’ve been married?”

“Yes, I’ve always done it, you just didn’t know about it,” he told me.

Well, there you go. I was gobsmacked – not just by the rather random act of freezing hot toast (I mean, who does that?) but more by the fact that Souljourneyboy has managed to keep this peculiar little secret all this time.

We don’t have many secrets (as far as I know). Souljourneyboy and I have known each other since we were in Year 6 together.  My first memory of him is when I walked through the door of the school classroom and he whacked me in the face. He had been rubbing his sneakers on the carpet to create static, and was trying to give other kids electric shocks (fortunately he’s grown out of this now).

I also have a distinct memory of my then-good-friend teasing me mercilessly because I had talked to Souljourneyboy in the classroom.

“Woo hoo!” she cried. “You love him. You’re going to MARRY him.”

I am not!” I yelled, outraged.

Anyhow, I digress.

We became best friends in Year 10, started “going out” in Year 11 and got married at 21. We’ve been together more than half our lives. There’s not a lot we don’t know about each other – or so I thought. I tried to think of things Souljourneyboy didn’t know about me. You know, quirky things.

Some of them are obvious – like the fact I often wake up screaming about imaginary spiders in the room – but some are more subtle. Like – my enjoyment of trashy romance novels (no, he knows that). Or – my irrational dislike of clusters (it’s not quite trypophobia, but I just don’t like clusters – pumpkin seeds, for examples. They make me feel icky. Anyway I remembered I had told him that, and he thought I was crazy).

Well I couldn’t think of anything. But there must be something – after all, you can never REALLY know EVERYTHING about another person, can you? And that’s probably a good thing. (Still, I won’t be letting him make my toast for me.

Actually, I think I have just thought of something. When I’m driving, I don’t really consider a merge successful unless I avoid bumping my tyres on any reflectors.

So there you go. I suppose we do all have our secrets after all.

Holiday Horribilis

So the first week of holidays is done and dusted. I don’t know what fabulous family activities anyone else got up to, but I thought I’d share some of the “highlights” of our week.

Tuesday

After a crazy day at work (which involved me giving an impromptu press conference in a field), I come home to Little Miss throwing up. The fun continues when Picasso starts as well, and I’m up half the night with buckets and towels.

Wednesday

Little Miss stays home from preschool, Picasso spends eight hours lying on his bean bag trying not to throw up and Souljourneyboy is sick with a virus.

Thursday

General sickness abounds, with Picasso having recovered just enough to be cranky and irritable with all the world and everyone in it. We look back longingly at the bean bag days.

Friday

Half an hour after dinner, Picasso starts looking green, then throws up repeatedly all over the floor.

At 2am, Bookworm wakes us up saying he can’t breathe. I take him to the hospital, where he starts throwing up too. This seems to make him feel better; apparently the not-breathing was some kind of panicky reaction to being so sick. As Bookworm engages me in a long and complicated discussion on the public health system and income tax brackets, the unthinkable happens.

I start to feel nauseous.

I ignore it. I tell myself it’ a psychosomatic reaction to being in the hospital and having just watched Bookworm throw up. I cling to this wishful thinking as I drive home from the hospital and put Bookworm to bed with a bucket and lie down. Five minutes later I’m rushing to find a bucket of my own. Suddenly recall how, when Picasso was sick the other night, I lovingly stroked his forehead and said, “I wish I was sick instead of you”. WHY DID I SAY THAT? What was I thinking??? I take it back!!! It’s not that I want my kids to be sick, but as every family knows, there is nothing worse than the Mum getting sick.

Saturday

Pretty much Indescribable Horror.

Sunday

Indescribable Horror Part II. When I finally start to recover, I lash out on half a sao and a thimble-full of lemonade.

Monday

So I’m starting to feel better today, but about as weak as a kitten.

Our first week of holidays was not, shall we say, ideal. But there were some upsides – the weight loss, for one thing. And the kindness of my children. Little Miss made me numerous “get well” cards and paintings, while Bookworm and Picasso rushed to fetch lemonade and sao biscuits and blankets and anything else I said I needed. Another upside – Souljourneyboy’s uncomplaining dedication to taking care of us all on the weekend of horror. That’s the thing about marriage – we’ve seen each other at our worst – physically, emotionally, spiritually – and we’re both still here. That’s pretty cool.

One other thing happened on the weekend – my grandmother passed away. She was nearly 92, she slipped away peacefully, and I believe she has gone to her true home now. I was sad, of course, but there’s no other way I would rather go, having lived a full and complete life, knowing I leave a loving family behind me. It kind of puts everything else in perspective, including weeks like the one we’ve just had.

So on we charge into the week ahead – fingers crossed it does not include anything to do with buckets!

Diary of a Teenage Girl Part II

More trials and tribulations of a teenage Souljourneygirl. Will she speak to Boy1? Will she ever stop crying? Find out below…

9-12-91. Monday.

It’s the first day of hols! I MUST lose weight! (NOTE: Souljourneygirl was probably about 50kg at the time)

Slight check in love life. (NOTE: the term ‘love life’ is used somewhat loosely)

I don’t know whether or not I love Boy1 anymore! I think it’s that I was in love with my Boy1, and not the reality of Boy1. I turned him into the perfect fantasy guy! But I still don’t know him!

Anyway, I have something on my conscience. I tape ‘Dark Shadows’ on a Saturday night and Mum and Dad don’t know. I have done for 2 weeks. It’s good. I’m more interested in what will happen than in anything else. I just have to know! I wish I’d never taped it because now I’m hooked. I feel really bad, and I’m sorry, but not sorry enough to stop being hooked. It’s upsetting. I wonder if my children will ever read this! (NOTE: Souljourneygirl can’t bring herself to share the horror of these transgressions with the children).

I have just been wrapping up Christmas prese – (writing broken off).

Sorry! I am back – I never got to finish what I was going to say as I was wrapping up Christmas presents and we started wrapping Mum’s and Dad HADN’T EVEN CONSULTED ME in the choice! I just started crying! But I am not ashamed of tears (well, clearly).

Oh dear! I am so romantically-minded. I act out dramatic scenes all the time when no one is around!

OK, that’s all I can bear to share right now.

Isn’t it amazing I grew up to be a normal human being???

🙂

The Midnight Clan of Motherhood

It’s after midnight; the house is still. Poor Picasso and Little Miss are sick with a stomach bug and Souljourneyboy is coming down with it too. I’ve just cleaned up after Picasso twice in the last hour, given him a shower, changed his clothes and sheets and I’ve said I will stay up while he falls asleep.

Once more, I am part of the Midnight Clan of Motherhood.

It’s been a while  – I was a regular member a few years ago, when I was in the thick of breastfeeding and settling and sleep deprivation. I certainly don’t miss it; but I think there’s something wonderful in the universality of human experience – that at any given moment there are mothers (and fathers too – I shouldn’t be sexist) awake when everyone else sleeps, feeding their babies, cuddling them back to sleep, comforting them through sickness or sadness or bad dreams.

So here I am again, and I am reminded of a Judith Wright poem I always think of when my children are sick.

Lie quiet in the silence of my heart

I watching thee am turned into a cloud;

I guarding thee am spread upon the air.

Lie quietly; be covered by my love.

I will be rain to fall upon your earth;

I will be shade to hold the sun from you.

I am the garden beyond the burning wind,

I am the river among the blowing sand;

I am the song you hear before you sleep.

In being these, I lose myself in these.

I am the woman-statue of the fountain

out of whose metal breasts continually

starts a living water; I am a vase

shaped only for my hour of holding you.

This drought is but to turn me into a cloud.

This heat but casts my shadow cooler on you.

Turn to my breast your fever, and be still.

Picasso is asleep now. I stroked my hand over his forehead and down his nose, just like I did when he was a baby – it used to make him close his eyes. He is so big now.

And I am going back to bed. I pray that all you mothers (and fathers) out there who are still awake – feeding, comforting, settling – will get some sleep this night too.

xxx

Counting calories (sigh)

Like many women across the world today, I went into the new week today burdened by the knowledge of what I’d eaten on the weekend.

Still, Monday is always a fresh start, and I once again recommitted eagerly to my weight loss goal, promising myself that I would:

  • snack only on fruit
  • have lite tuna and weight watchers cottage cheese for lunch.

That plan lasted for about an hour, because this is what I found on the red table in our department:

As I looked upon the shiny, seductive packet of sinfulness, I calmly contemplated this question:

WHY DOES THE UNIVERSE EXIST PURELY TO THWART MY WEIGHT LOSS PLANS?

Before I knew it, I’d scarfed three down and my tuna and cottage cheese was looking less appealing by the second. I don’t know about anyone else, but once I’ve screwed up the morning’s eating plan, it’s so hard to get back on track the rest of the day. It’s like my brain goes, “oh well, you’ve had a couple of chocolate biscuits so therefore you may as well have a super-sized KFC meal for lunch, followed by chocolate cheesecake for afternoon tea because THAT MAKES PERFECT SENSE.

The other thing my brain does is selectively choose what calories it counts. The other day my Mum offered me a piece of lemon tart and my brain actually said: “oh well that’s OK because Mum’s given it to me.”

Really?? Why would anyone think that?

Another weird thing happens to me when I’m trying to diet; I suddenly have an urge to spend money. It’s so strange. It’s like I can be frugal OR I can be calorie-conscious, but not both at the same time. Clearly, being self-controlled in one area means I have to break out radically in another. It’s very annoying.

Well the day’s almost over now and while I did stick to my tuna and cottage cheese for lunch I also ate another three Tim Tams. The trade-off, I told myself, was that I had to be EXTRA GOOD tonight and basically just eat apple peel for dinner.

Only…Souljourneyboy rang and informed me we’re having homemade gourmet pizzas for dinner. YUM.

There’s always next Monday, right?