I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ooh! Shiney! Look!

For a while now I've been at a big of a loss for what to blog about. Life is just bounding along, and I've got my good days and my bad days. I'm finding it hard to do a lot of things these days, and blogging just seems to be one of those which requires more emotional energy than I've got at present. I briefly considered writing about my latest tattoo (before remembering I haven't got one) and then I considered dabbling in a bit of poetry, (before remembering I am no good at it.) Eventually I turned to my facebook friends for inspiration...


Once I knew triplets were coming (or really, any human child at all), I knew my life would never be the same. My body wouldn't be the same (still lumpy, just in different places), my brain wouldn't function at quite as high a level (hellloooo...sieve brain!), and every frock I owned would be of the sensible variety. Privacy would go out the window, a 'night out' might entail McDonald's an a new Scooby Doo video, and life as we know it would be turned entirely upside down - not to mention any monetary compensation for my human suffering would not be forthcoming. What I didn't anticipate was how important it would be to learn the skill of diverting attention (theirs or anyone else's).

Being already able to think on my feet has been pretty advantageous when it comes to the distraction skill. So when the kids ask things like, "Mum, can I use the blender to make a fish milk shake? I think the dog will really love it!" I just use my lateral thinking skills and I divert their attention to say, "You want to give the dog a treat? Grab the cheese grater, then grab the block from the shelf above your head. Cheese is Teddy's favourite treat!" You would be amazed at how easy it is to distract your children from using electrical appliances. Hand them something shiny and sharp instead. Works every time!

I wish the skill of diversionary tactic worked on the other parents at school pick up time. Then those BWA (that's bitches, witches, and alcoholics to you) wouldn't notice so much that these days, I'm a bit of a mess. I seem to always be showing up at school with grotty clothes, messy hair and looking like I ran head first into a big purple knob, complete with dark eye circles. If my mother could see me, she'd have a few choice words to say about how I look at the moment. I'm dressing to match my mood, and believe me that's just not all that sunny and clean and happy. So I'm hoping the school parents are willing to forgive me until I get my act together. (and FYI I'm trying out a new gym tomorrow, one which is a little antidisestablishment [they believe in exercise *and* have normal sized clientele], so here's hoping those endorphins kick in and all will be looking up soon.)

In the meantime, though, it's back to distracting the kids...so when the kids hear me scream, "OH GOD! OH YES!" through the door of our bedroom, then ask me what the heck all the noise was about, I can hide my grin and say, "It's okay, kids...Your Dad, he's not the messiah, he just a very naughty boy!"

...and for those wondering about the words and phrases in italic, all of those were suggested by my friends enemies on facebook.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How I Love to Hate Thee Costco

Several months ago DH and I read about how Costco was finally coming to Australia, and to Melbourne in specific. For those living under a rock, Costo is this massive warehouse store where you can get everything from food to televisions to new tires to vitamins to other random crap. It's all in massive sizes (yes, you NEED 3 litres of mayonnaise) and supposedly it's quite inexpensive. Having grown up with the shopping mecca which is Costco, it was with some thrill and anticipation that DH and I waited for it's arrival.

The time has finally come and so we ventured down there about 4 weeks ago...and 1 hour, $600, and cartloads of crap we do not really need later, we decided we wouldn't go back unless we needed paper products again. Which, given the size of Costco products, would be one week past Armageddon. This past weekend, DH casually says, "I think we need to go to Costco... we need...stuff." Oh, okay then. Twist my arm, why doncha?

I only agreed to go if we took a list with us (a list which I knew we would promptly ignore... but I can pretend, right?) We asked the kids if they wanted to go, and two out of three yelled,'YES! Costco is the BEST SHOP EVER!!!". I think this is because the kids can ride in the Costco trolleys (whereas they no longer fit in normal supermarket ones) *and* because they are all collectively saving up to buy the 7 book boxed set of Harry Potter which they spied on our last trip there (FYI, it's $180!).

So we go, only to discover that they closed exactly two minutes before we arrived. The woman at the door felt sorry for us and told us we could go in for a few minutes but we had to hustle. So I took one trolley, DH took another and we set off in different directions. Literally, we were running down those aisles, chucking random shit in our trolley. It was like those old 'Supermarket Sweep' shows where you have to fill a trolley with the highest value of goods in the least amount of time. Anyone remember those shows?

Anyway, DH and I totally won our round. Less than 10 minutes and we spent over $300. On what, I'm not entirely sure. And therein lies the problem with Costco. Sure, you get stuff you need (hello, reams of toilet paper) but then you get all starry eyed over crap you most certainly DON'T need. I'm not convinced it's cheaper than just buying it at normal places (or especially, at ALDI)... but geez, they have totally cool crap in there. Unlike the American Costcos, you can't eat an entire meal via the samples in the aisle... but this is probably because this location is so jam-packed all the time, there is no room for those little toaster oven thingies yet.

Added bonus of the place is people watching, or more specifically trolley watching. Did you know how many people NEED 4 kilos of spinach, a set of tires, and a large cheery cheesecake? Quite a few, it seems. I'm also amazed at the people who go all the way in there to buy ONE towel. Or ONE enormous box of jelly beans. Or whatever. How do these people have the will power?! Yet more Costco entertainment is after you've checked out, watching people with fourteen kids go through 4 of those $14.99 pizzas at the 'cafe'. They also have this totally creepy looking chicken loaf thing, which every time I look up at the poster and think, "What the heck IS that thing?"

Maybe it's the American in me (wanting everything bigger and better), or the Israeli in me (wanting everything cheaper), but, damn, I just love that place.

Dear Costco, you're all fun and games until the guy hands me the receipt. And then you're no fun at all.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Don't Let Go

The spokes of my new $99 blue Sears bike gleam in the sunshine as they wobble back and forth. "Dad?" "Dad?! You're still holding on, right Dad?" I asked with a waver in my voice. "I don't want to fall off! I'm scared!" "I'm holding, I'm holding!" he pants, as he runs along behind me, one hand on the back of the bike and the other helping him keep his balance.

We went around Balboa Park that day, my Dad and I - me constantly shouting out for reassurance, him holding onto the back of that bike until either he, or I, fell off. At one point in the afternoon, I seemed to be getting a bit more confident, and yet again yelled, "Dad? Are you still there?" because in concentrating so hard on the road ahead, I couldn't really see him behind me, running along. "YES!" he shouted, "I'M STILL HOLDING ON!" ... but when I glanced over my shoulder, I realised he wasn't there. I was riding that bike all by myself. My Dad was actually a hundred feet or so behind me, smiling from ear to ear as I made my way down the path. Panicking, I immediately fell off and landed onto a metal grate buried in the grass. I scraped up my arm, and the front wheel of my new bike spun crazily at an odd angle.

My Dad came running to get me. "Michelley, why did you stop?" he asked me. "Because you weren't holding on and I got scared!" I cried. "But you didn't need me anymore," he said. "You could ride all by yourself." I just sat there, covered in grass stains and with my arm stinging from the scrape, and cried. "Enough," he said. "Come on, we'll try and try again until you get it right." So I stood up, shakily got on again, and set off - this time, making him promise he would hold on for the entire time.

He did hold on, but only for as long as it took for me to get my bearings. And then he let go, and I was (wobbily) riding that bike. All by myself. I was terrified of him letting go, and I was terrified of doing it on my own - but he knew that unless he eventually let go, I would never learn.

That story is actually a good analogy for how I have been feeling since my Dad left me on August 6 this year. Every day I go through the motions of getting up on my bike - the bike which is now my life, filled with a small business, and a home, and a husband and children. Every day, I'm afraid - not of falling down, but of how I will cope without my Dad hanging onto the back of that bicycle of mine. Some days, I ride and I ride and I think, "Hey, I'm doing this, and I'm doing it all on my own!" but then I'll see or hear something which reminds me of him, and I fall off. And I scrape my proverbial arm. And I cry, and I wish very hard that I didn't have to get up and try again.

But, I do. Because that's what my Dad would be telling me to do if he was here. That day in the park, he made me get up on that bike over and over and over again - no matter how much I cried, no matter how afraid I was, no matter how exhausted he became, no matter how much I begged him to quit and try another day. "Come on," he would say, "You can do this," and each day in my adult life, I remember those words - and those are the ones which help me get out of bed in the morning, and move forward.

When I came home from the US after his funeral, I found myself falling through the days. I would get up, full of plans and ideas... and then I would just sit. And cry. And sit. And achieve a whole lot of nothing. The next day was much the same. I would start out intending to get a bunch of stuff done, and then I just... wouldn't. Or couldn't. I consider myself a highly independent woman. I left home at 17, I've always marched to the beat of my own drummer, I've been proud of being "the strong one" and the one who just gets on with it rather than the one who sinks into drama and despair. And yet here I am, aged 33, wondering how the hell I'm supposed to keep going in life when my Dad isn't there to support me.

Don't get me wrong. My Mom and siblings are hugely supportive of me... but my Dad, well, he was the one getting me back up on that bike. He didn't have time for drama and dawdling, he certainly never had time for fear. He just...got on with it. He would be so frustrated with me, if he know how downright scared I was - and am - to get on with life without him. I didn't talk to my Dad every day, and the tyranny of distance meant I only saw him once in several months - but I still always knew he was there, hanging onto the back of my bike. And now, I have to overcome that fear of him not hanging on anymore. I have to just get up, push off, and ride out my life without him hanging on.

Truth be told, I'm completely terrified of doing exactly that. However, I have no choice in the matter. So every day, I'm need to be just a little bit less scared, and a little bit more brave, and I need to get on with it. Because, eventually one day, I won't fall off any more. And think of how proud of me he'll be then.

This post written for me, and for Scribbit, who is encouraging me to get back to blogging.