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.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Because After The Storm

...there are rainbows. And since I am trying very hard to be all positive and up beat and "rah rah sis boom bah, we'll pay our mortgage la la la" about things, here are 5 things which are making me smile this week (but scroll down and read the "things which are annoying me" post first):

1. DD had a shower and then decided to get onto the toilet... and when she was done, she stood up, grinned, and said, "I don't have any undies to pull up! Well, that's handy!" and then laughed..and her sibs and I (who were in the room next to her) heard it and started to laugh like hyenas. Such enthusiasm over such a small thing, and her comedic timing was just brilliant. So now we've been walking around for a couple of days saying, "Well, that's handy!" about nearly everything. "Kids, dinner is ready!" "Well, that's handy!" "Oh no, I shrunk my new shirt in the wash," "Well, that's handy!" and so on, ad infinitum.

2. DH's new haircut looks completely amazing, and the goatee he is growing to match it looks equally good. Never thought I'd think so, but fat Jewish men in their 50's can be totally smokin' hot. (And to be fair, he's lost a fair amount of weight so he's not really fat anymore.)

3. I finally, finally worked out the right combination of doors closed and open to heat our house. It's freezing cold in Melbourne, and while our house is heated, it's an open-plan style of home. Which means that some parts are always hot, and some parts are arctic. I finally worked out how to close the right doors so that it's just toasty warm in almost every part of the downstairs (other than the toilets...damn.) Doesn't sound like a big deal but I am ALWAYS cold, so for me to say, "Gee, it's kinda hot in here, we need to turn the heat down!" is unusual and cause for celebration.

4. I'm going to the US in 3 weeks - and while we don't have the money, and I can't afford the time off of work, and I'm not happy about the reason for my trip - I am so excited just to get a hug from my Mom, and have a coffee with my sister, and lay on my niece's bed and listen to her teenage stories, and read my other niece a story, and have my nephew teach me some game on his iTouch which we will then become obsessed about, and go on a mini-vay kay trip with my childhood bestie..and and and and! OMG OMG, I'm like, totally, going to Elllll- Aaaayyyy, dudes!

5. My new favourite snack: Some thin rice crackers spread with a bit of cream cheese and a scrape of sundried tomato pesto. If I close my eyes I can even pretend it's mildly healthy. And while something like food shouldn't be making me happy, I've been trying to find a quick, scrummy, mostly healthy and easy snack for ages and ages. So YAY for easily prepared and easily eaten snacks.

Rainbows, people, rainbows. I keep looking for them, and mostly finding them..but I know that will get harder as time goes on.

Things Which Are Annoying Me

A short list of things which are irritating me this week, for your reading pleasure:

1. I went to the interview, I got the job, then they didn't call to tell me when to come in and start working as they were meant to. What part of, 'If I don't start raking in some money soon, we will all be sleeping in our car and eating Vegemite on saltines" did they not understand? (But, on the plus side: my 2nd application netted me an interview tomorrow. So if that one comes up good, we'll be saved from the Vegemite, thank god, because Vegemite is just gross.)

2. Having a boy look. DH needs to complete some paperwork in order to shove a giant rocket up the ass of his former employer, because they treated him like crap and they need to be brought to justice. Said paperwork has a time limit by which he can complete it...a time limit which ends tomorrow. He needed a specific document in order to complete the paperwork. He spent THREE days looking for said piece of paper, tearing the house apart and supposedly turning over every rock. I walked in the house, looked in a box sitting at the front door, and found it inside of 10 seconds. The very SAME box he says he emptied out. What is it about men having a 'boy look' for things?!

3. I had a 2 week break from the gym and training since the kids were home, and I just find it very hard to get it done while they are underfoot. I went back to the gym this week, but then at training felt as though I was wading through molasses, very low energy and finding it hard to keep up. Losing fitness that quickly just sucks, because it makes me feel horrible about myself. Argh. Plus I don't think we can actually afford training any more, but the idea of having to give it up for financial reasons makes me want to cry. (Does crying burn calories?)

4. I am incapable of making decent pop overs. I'm going to try AGAIN this week, but geez! I'm a pastry chef, this should totally be easy for me to do. What IS it about those damn things? I saw a packet of frozen ones at ALDI this week... and considered buying them and passing them off as my own. Yes, I've stooped that low. (For my Aus friends: popovers=Yorkshire puds.)

5. I got stiffed on a cake this week. The client was frustrating from the get-go (last count of emails: 37 and counting). Her deposit bounced back, she kept changing her mind, and I had to make the decision to tell her I wasn't going to make her cake for her...by 2pm Friday I had no money, no confirmation of anything, and she was not contactable. From a business point of view, it was absolutely the right decision. Personally, though, it kinda made me feel like shit. I hate having to disappoint people, even when they disappoint me first.

Go on, make me feel better - what's annoying YOU this week?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pwffht! Pwffht! Pwffht!

(the sound of the chopper blades... or the sound which heralds a new post about Helicopter Mum.)

Earlier this week my trio went off to school camp for 3 days. I don't remember my American childhood being punctuated by these events, so for explanation purposes: it's a field trip, usually 2-3 days, which kids at Australian schools go to. Usually it's related to their field of study for that term. So in the case of my kids, because "gold" was the topic - they and the Grade 4's headed off for 3 days to Ballarat, a town famous for being a major destination during the Victorian Gold Rush and Sovereign Hill (replica gold rush town).

Helicopter Mum was in full flight over this trip - a trip which has been in the planning for several months. A trip which involved plenty of capable teachers acting as chaperones. A trip which every kid was counting the days to, a trip which was just bursting with excitement and adventure. So first it was the complaint that we didn't get given the phone number of their accommodation (no idea why we would need to call in the first place... but that's me). Then it was the declaration that HM's other daughter was having 'separation anxiety issues' about her sister going away for 2 nights. Uuum, hello, didn't ALL of us want to be only children at some point? I'm thinking separation anxiety is a euphemism for "bloody thrilled about it." Then it was the assertion that said little sister had nightmares the night before camp, due to earlier separation anxiety issues... which is just too ridiculous for me to comment on. Then there were the myriad little worries - will she eat enough? be warm enough? be cold enough? remember to tie her shoes? be able to sleep in a bunk bed? remember she left behind a neurotic mother?

And on and on and on and on and on and on it went. I understand that there are parents out there who are more protective of their kids - who want to wrap them in cotton wool and store them under glass rather than allow them some freedom. I would even understand the endless worrying if this kid was heading off on some youth group camp staffed by pimple-faced sixteen year olds. (Okay, I lied. I can't think of ANY time that amount of worry is warranted.) But this was a school activity, in a totally closed environment, supervised by teachers. Every single child on every single minute of every single day was accounted for. Helicopter Mum really just suffers from extreme anxiety - which I truly think is a mental health issue for her - but it's the kids who are dealing with the fallout of her own issues. Her kids can barely walk two feet without her hovering, questioning, worrying, nagging, or just plain robbing them of the joy of being children. At least one of her kids has already started to exhibit the same behaviours - which to me is worth a lot more worry time.

The rest of us parents just hang around and observe this, with as much internal eye-rolling and "is she for real?" as we can get away with...and to her face we just try and alleviate her worries and be comforting. Secretly, though, we're all taking bets on how long it is before her hen-pecked, suffocated, cloistered children take up with the wrong crowd and end up pregnant at age 15 because their Mum was too stressed out to explain to them about what sex is.

*eye roll*

Thursday, July 15, 2010

You Reaps What You Sows

This past week DH and I were empty nesters for three days as the trio went on school camp. Three days and two nights with no kids in the house... the first time that has ever happened since they were born 9 years ago. The house was so quiet, and so clean..and so terribly, terribly boring. Originally DH and I had planned to take ourselves away for those 3 days, but finance and life meant that we nixed that idea a while ago. Plan B was to go away just overnight, but then in light of recent events that too got nixed.

On Monday, while I prepared for my job interview and he sent out job applications (what an exciting life we lead...) I had the brilliant plan to take my own advice. One of my favourite coping mechanisms (as previously blogged about) is to take a micro-mini vacation. I decided it ws high time I took my own advice on what to do when life just gets to be too much. Thus decided, DH and I used the lovely wotif.com to book an el cheapo night at a CBD hotel and we headed off a few hours later.

It ended up being one of the best decisions we've made - because we decided that, for 24 hours, we were not going to worry. We were not going to fret about money, about jobs, about kids, about anything. We were just going to have fun and be indulgent and worry about NOTHING...other than the very important task of giving DH a make-over, one which he needed in both a physical and mental sense.

So we started at the barber shop, where he shaved off his 50 year old comb-over. A HUGE event as he was very, um, attached to that thing. And it's the same barber shop who gave him his first haircut at 6 months old, so there's a certain cosmic fabulousness to it. When then ate copius amounts of lollies from a newly-discovered lolly shop, had a completely delicious meal at Sahara (which neither of us has heard of, we stumbled upon it) and then saw a stupid movie at the Halfpipe cinema. The next day we indulged in retail therapy, which was a necessity, having thrown out a vast majority of the contents of DH's closet only moments before leaving the house. So we got him new jeans, boots, business shirts, polo shirts...and so on. Basically we made him a new man from top to bottom.

We ended our day with a trip to IKEA (because who doesn't love all things cheap and colourful?) and a stop at the mall (to pick up some bits not found in the CBD) and then the totally necessary ice cream stop. A very full, fun, thrilling and mildly naughty 24 hours. We ended our day poorer, but with both of us feeling exceptionally cheerful and excited about all the new things which are sure to come our way. We came home to the same troubles, the same worries... but somehow, DH is walking taller (and it's not just the new boots), I am succeeding at smiling a bit more than I was, and we are determined that we'll get through this.

Truth is I have no idea what is coming around the corner for us - but I do know that our little escape from our lives reminded us that we can get through this, as a couple, and we will survive. I am of course hoping that good things and new jobs are around the corner (as is DH)... so keep the prayers and good wishes and whatever else coming our way. In the meantime, hands up for all those who believe in the healing power of lollies and love.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

There Shall Be Rainbows

...because rainbows are what you get after a storm, and this has been one heck of a stormy year.

This past Monday, my DH lost his job. Those who know me in real life would know that this isn't the first time it's happened. The last time, it very nearly destroyed my marriage and my home and my sanity. This time, he didn't see it coming... and this time, things will be different. Rather than sit around and wait for miracles, we've already started to put into place things which will make this round of financial and emotional hell a lot more manageable.

To that end, I've started to apply for some part-time jobs, and exactly 48 hours after starting this process, I've got an interview lined up. There is a part of me which feels kinda guilty about how seemingly easy it was - compared to what I know won't be nearly as easy for DH... but there's another part of me which feels vindicated. A very long time ago, I said one of my main purposes in re-training as a chef was that I'd always be able to find a job opportunity. The world will always need cooks - and with my training, I'll always be able to be one. I'll always have the security of knowing that no matter what, I have the skills to provide for my family...and that in itself is priceless. So it turns out that all the people who told me I was silly to be leaving a middle-management style of admin job... suck it. I was right. Eat that rainbow for breakfast, sweetheart.

My Dad told me that my job choice would eventually kill me - because let's face it, being an obese person around food all day is NOT exactly a great recipe (pun completely intended although not terribly witty of me). He was partially right, in that as soon as I became a chef I started to gain a lot of weight (hello butter and salt, how lovely to know you.) However, in the past 10 months I've lost somewhere in the region of 75 pounds. So...you know... rainbows. Thinner ones - but no less fabulous.

DH, for that matter, was smiling today - and he told me he is feeling positive about his prospects. He gave himself a day to be upset, woke up the next morning...and decided he needed to move forward and not dwell. Now he IS human (or at least, I think so...? But maybe all that sci-fi he's into has rubbed off) and so I think he has his dark moments, and maybe in a tiny little corner of his brain he's upset....but for his sake and mine, he's decided to channel that energy into finding a new position. He's working damn hard to find a new rainbow for himself - and let's face it, his wife needs the pot of gold at the end of it to pay the bills..

My kids... oh, my dear, sweet, understanding, fabulous kids. They knew that something was wrong when DH walked in the door only a few hours after he left for work. I had no choice but to explain (in kid friendly terms) what was happening - and I told them that DH would need loads and loads of love and affection. I even told them it was their official job to be sure that he had enough of it - and true to form, they're doing their best to ensure he never forgets that we are working through this together, as a family. They themselves are each a rainbow.

Truth be told, it's me who is having the hardest time making any rainbows... I'd really much rather scrunch myself into a little ball under my duvet and cry, and complain, and scream, and admit my worries, which are large and plentiful. But I don't have that luxury. There are cakes to be baked, husbands to hug, children to love, and a life to lead. And so, I will get up tomorrow..and the next day...and the next... and I'll make some rainbows.

It's been one heck of a crazy year. I lost my Dad, my son went haywire for a few months, the business has been in a major state of flux, and life has only really been smooth sailing for the past few weeks. And now, this bombshell has landed smack dab in the middle of my contented happiness. It sucks. HUGELY.

So while I am busy trying to make some rainbows, I'd like to ask only one thing: whoever or whatever it is up there that is in charge of storms? I'd really appreciate it if the storm passes quicker this time. Because the sooner we get to making rainbows, the better...and I don't know about you, but I'm not all that patient.