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.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Complacent, Lazy or....??

Warning: I am writing this post while wearing a rather itchy and uncomfortable pair of grumpy pants. No, I don't know why that is, and no, I can't just take them off.

I am one of those people whose lives is really very wonderfully full. Boredome for me leads to all sorts of terrible behaviour, so I love that I am busy and occupied a lot of the time. The downside to this is that a bunch of little things just never get done (or get outright ignored) because it's easy to do that when you have a busy life. You know, things like calling up to get stuff fixed, or buying a new rubbish bin, or whatever - just life's myriad of detritous which falls into the "when I get a chance" bucket.

This week I learned the hard way how leaving things to get done "whenever" can actually mean you are living with a bad situation for far longer than you should.  The story (which I'll eventually get to...) also reminded me of how much us humans (more specifically us females) will put up with, in terms of pain and discomfort.

Yesterday I went to the physiotherapist because I've had a really painful hip for quite a while now. Painful of the losing sleep, crying out in pain, cursing a lot variety.  The crazy thing about this hip pain is, it only ever occurs at night, about 5-10 minutes after I have laid down to sleep. Once I eventually get to sleep, I'm kinda okay and when I wake up in the morning, the pain has miraculously disappeared. I feel NO pain all day. I also feel no pain while walking, none while exercising - only when I'm in bed does this thing rear it's ugly head. You can see how this situation easily falls into the "yeah, whatever" category because I only really remember about it when I'm in bed, and by then it's too late to do anything about it. I wake up and pretty much forget about it all day.  Plus I am not a fan of doctors, prescriptions, or medical stuff anyway so sometimes it takes me a while to work up the effort to make appointments in the first place.

Eventually (thanks to a physio who happened to drop into the shop to buy some Valentine cupcakes, but that's another story altogether) I made an appointment to get it seen to. She asks me how long I've been dealing with this painful situation...and after thinking about it, I say, "Oh about six months I guess." Then in talking about it more, I remembered going to the GP about it some time ago and getting hip x-rays done. "And when was that done?" "Oh, I don't know, maybe 8-9 months ago?"  The physio asked me to bring those films in, so last night I went hunting for them.

The only reason I found them is because DH is a hoarder. Which I hate, but on this ONE AND ONLY occassion I was grateful. Anyway - I find the envelope with the films and it says "emzeegee- R HIP Xray - 5/11/2008"


Wait. What? 2008?! I've been dealing with this dodgy bloody hip for almost THREE AND A HALF YEARS?

I'm pretty sure that it took me a while to work up to THAT appointment as well, so for argument's sake let's say I've had this going on for four years. FOUR years. Meaning my hip hurt before my Dad died, before I lost the weight, shortly after I moved the business into it's first ever premises, and when my kids were only 7 years old.


I'm also pretty sure that for a long while in the middle there, this whole hip thing did not bother me, hence why I probably didn't do anything about it for a while. And the GP at the time told me it was probably early onset arthritis, and there was not much which could be done about it. It kinda, sorta makes sense that no real action got taken to correct this, but...four years?

Like I said, it's pretty amazing to think about not only how time goes by so quickly, but how we are so able to just live with a certain level of pain and discomfort. You know the saying, "you don't know how much you miss something until it's gone," I suspect this is a "you don't know how bad you had it until it's gone," situation. Now that the physio has a plan for how to deal with this (and I have every intention of being her star pupil, of course), I'm finally going to be on the road to recovery. I might even get a decent night's sleep once in a while, too.

Now, I just need to recover from the mental beating I gave myself for letting it go on as long as it has.  I wonder how long that will take. Here's hoping it's a little less than four years.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sunday Afternoons

I think I've written before about how insular my children are - given the choice between playing with friends and playing amongst themselves, they nearly always choose to play amongst themselves. When it comes time to picking sides for teams, or roommates for school camps, they'll nearly always look to one another as a 'safe' option. It's not that they don't have external friends, they do - it's just that they take great comfort in 'better the devil you know' and so will often choose each other. I've recently discovered how this attitude actually extends to us as a family as a whole. We can be quite an insular little unit. I would consider myself a fairly social person, I like getting out and about, hanging out with my friends, inviting people over for events and just for the heck of it. My kids also like getting out and about for all of the same types of things - and considering the number of activities we seem to have gotten ourselves into, we all spend more time out of the house than we do IN it.

On Saturdays all five of us are out and about at our work and social activities - so much so that every Friday night, DH and I sit down with pen and paper and work out the logistics of which kids, which adults, and which cakes need to go where and when (times like those I'm glad he is an engineer with an excellent working knowledge of Melbourne suburbs.) As a result, our insular-ness really only has a chance to reveal itself on Sundays.

Maybe this is why we're like this- once we finally get to spend some time at home, we don't really want to go anywhere, nor do we want to be bothered by other people. It's not unusual for a friend to call and invite my kids around on a weekend, only for my kid to shrug and say, "Nah. No thanks. I'd rather just be home." If I've got various errands to run, I usually prefer to have some company and so will invite anyone who wants to come with me- but all three of my kids have been known to say, "Yeah, you go, Mum. We'll be here," and shove me out the door (and I've tried bribery, with mixed success.) It's quite the interesting phenomenon. We all just seem to be very content within our home, and once Friday night rolls around it's as though we draw down the shutters bit by bit until by Sunday, the moat is dry, the drawbridge is up, and the place looks as though it's been abandoned for a hundred years.
I realised we had this insular nature when I again found myself with the time to sit with the papers and a cup of tea at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon, in a house that was very quiet and yet very full of people. Sunday afternoons have become our unspoken hermit afternoons, where being a hermit means the five of us just hang out together in different parts of the house enjoying some winding-down time before the madness of the week hits us again.  I'm pretty sure wild horses (and the combined forces of George Clooney, Selena Gomez, a good looking female greyhound and some hot babe in a bikini) could not draw any of us out of our little cocoon of Sunday warmth.

I find myself looking forward to Sunday afternoons. Sundays have become my favourite part of the week, when I have all the things I value closest to me - my DH, my kids, words in some form or another, food, endless cups of tea and vast quantities of joy and comfort.  Anyone or anything not on that list, please kindly fuck off until Monday morning.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

All The Cool KIds

Last night DD1 went to a movie and pizza night hosted by a girl in her class. I went to pick her up, and when I arrived was greeted by the sight of 4 girls going mental to Pink songs blaring, and one mother going mental while waiting for her kid.

(Although why was she waiting? It was pick up time, right? Anyway...)

I say the mother was also 'going mental' because this woman could not only out-talk me, she spent the entire 20 minutes that I was there basically being judgemental, bitchy, and altogether awful.  I lasted through the story of how a kid came to her house for a play date but lost the plot when his Mum came over (pretty normal I'd say) and how this was the WORST experience she had ever endured with other children. She crapped on forever about how the mother of the child had used her as a free babysitter, had abandoned her child, and how this woman took NO reponsibility for her kid whatsoever, and how the child was just wild and uncontrollable when his Mum arrived.

At this point, (and there is more to the story but I'm not going to bore you all), I decided I'd had enough, and stood up and said, "I'm going to go give DD1 the five minute warning, it's late and time for us to go."

At which point Judgemental Mum turns to me and says, "Oh great, can you go and tell my kid the same?" and then turns around and continues to talk, and talk, and talk...and...talk.

The irony here was not lost on me - she's crapping on about children overstaying their welcome and mothers not taking responsibility, and she sends ME to herd her kid home? A woman I've met..oh, about ten minutes ago? And I actually have NO idea who her kid is, so I just went and told MY kid what I needed to, then sat down to wait the five minutes.

Good Lord but I was GLAD it was only a five minute warning. Her next topic was all about how "everyone' was abandoning the whole Bar/Bat Mitzvah ritual and instead taking their kids overseas for family holidays.

I could (and I likely will) write an entire post about the, "Let's just ditch the religious bit and go to Disneyland!" concept - but in the meantime, suffice to say it's not something I plan on doing. This mother carried on and on about how the hosting mother "shouldn't feel bad" if she decides to go the holiday route, because that's what everyone else is doing, and the ONLY people who can afford to do the religious bit are parents like Mr and Mrs XYZ, who can just 'throw money away.'

Lady, last I checked, you too were affording to send your kid to SSOTH. And last I checked, just the flights to get overseas for a family of 5 were around the 10k mark, so this bullshit about not being able to afford a Bar Mitzvah but somehow magic-ing up the money for a cruise to Barbados...well, pull the other one.

At this point I was very, very glad the five minutes (exactly five. I couldn't stand her anymore) were up and I went to get DD1. Apparently this spurred the other mother into action, who all of a sudden realised that she should probably take her kid home so she too stood up to gather her child. At which point - and I swear I am not making this up - her kid started to whine and carry on and be a royal PAIN IN THE ARSE about leaving. I could still hear her whining and carrying on as DD1 and I walked down the driveway.

Moments like these just remind me of how glad I am that I'm neither a cool kid, nor do I give a shit what the cool kids are doing.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Don't Give Me Pause

I am talker. Actually, it's fair to say that I don't so much breathe as I talk. Not incessantly (I do occassionally need to draw breath in order to talk more) but I talk a hell of a lot, and I rarely pause (except for dramatic effect, as in "Ta....DAH!") This week I've discovered that other people are NOT talkers, they are pausers, and they are either in the wrong profession to be pause-ers, or they're doing it in entirely the wrong conversation.

The dermatologist called me and left me a voice mail, which sent something like this, "Hi emzee, it's Dr. S here. PAUSE. Can you please give me a call? PAUSE. I've got some news for you. PAUSE. Thanks." Then she hung up.

The lady who shaved bits off your body and sent them to a lab has NEWS FOR YOU, and she bloody well PAUSES afterwards, without telling you the sort of news it is.  You know, the same pause which might come before the phrase, "...and the lab results show positive for the big C word."

She called me shortly thereafter on my work number, and this time she reached me, and AGAIN she said, "Hi emzee, it's Dr. S here. PAUSE. I'm calling because I have some news for you. PAUSE."

In that second pause, I had a heart attack and died. She did not notice, she was too busy pausing.

"It's GOOD news, all the tests came back clear, you're all good. Nothing to worry about at all."

For fuck's sake woman! Can you not just remove the pause and say all in one breath, "Hi emzee, the results came back all good you will live a long  and fruitful life and I shall never pause dramatically again thanks see you in a year." PAUSE. 

No. Instead she had to leave me hanging, or rather, dying.

I think there should be a law which says doctor's are not allowed to pause when delivering news of any kind. Even bad news. Just rip the damn bandaid off as quickly as possible, thanks.

The same is true for my clients. This morning I died another small death when a client called.

"emzee? PAUSE. This is client. PAUSE. I just got a delivery of cupcakes. PAUSE."

At this point, I'm thinking - I'm going to KILL my delivery guy if he fucked this up. He KNOWS to check the box right before delivery. Seriously. (Sidebar - in this case delivery guy is also husband guy, so you know I was going to go ape-shit on him.) I'm also thinking - what if we got the flavour wrong? The colour wrong? The quantity? What is she calling to complain about? What did we screw up? The fact that I work on the assumption that she is calling to complain is not just a matter of me being a Negative Nelly, it's based on years and years of experience which tells me that most clients, even the ecstatically happy ones, won't ever bother to contact you (until their next order.) The unreasonable and unhappy pains in the arse, however, will call you before the delivery guy has even handed over the box. Hence my trepidation when this client called not 5 minutes after I got the "delivery done, you can start breathing again," text message from DH. (Boy does he know me well...)

This client had the gall to PAUSE dramatically once she told me she just got her delivery, and her tone of voice gave nothing away.

"They look AMAZING, so much better than I imagined, OMG OMG OMG *insert happy customer squealing* You are the BEST ever, I'm just calling to say thank you SO much and to ask you how to store them so they remain perfect for the party tonight."

I'd have answered her, but in the midst of her pause my heart stopped beating and I slid slowly and soundlessly to the floor. She too didn't notice. Too busy pausing.

The conversational pause is going to be the death of me. (*snort*)

I hereby decree that certain professions (among those doctors or health professionals, people who tell you you've won the lottery or other prizes, teachers or anyone looking after my kids) and certain people in my life (I'm talking to you, clients) are NOT ALLOWED TO PAUSE.

My poor heart can't take it .....


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cocoa Pop Giggle Laugh Chortle

Today I went to the dermatologist.

Now there's an exciting way to start a blog post...I never claimed to be entertaining all the time, did I?

Apparently I am an over-achiever in all aspects of my life, including in the growing and harbouring of moles (and does that not sound delicious?) Once a year I pretend I am a good little Australian (where skin cancers are no laughing matter) and I have a very nice woman with very cold hands inspect every inch of my skin to make sure none of my tiny little round friends have decided to become either not tiny or not round.

I'm no big fan of doctors per se, but doctors who tell you to strip off and then inspect around your cha-cha are especially not my favourites, so I was feeling a little giggly and nervous about it (which is ridiculous, but there you go.)  First point of discussion was a small chocolate brown mole which lives right in the middle of my right clavicle. It's irritated me for a long time because it's marring what is otherwise an entirely perfect and sexy part of my body (of which I only have just the one, so I'm a little protective of it.) The kids call this mole my "cocoa pop" because that's what it looks like. As though a tiny little chocolate rice bubble has just jumped up and landed in the middle of my clavicle.

While I am there listing my various skin ailments to nice derma-doctor, I start to giggle like an idiot as I open my mouth and say, "And yeah, so, I'd like to get rid of my cocoa pop." "Your what?" "My cocoa pop." (I temporarily forgot that nobody but my immediate family has even heard this expression.) "Ok, where is this...cocoa pop?" So I show her, and she looks at it, and says, "Hmm. You know what? It really looks like a cocoa pop," and for the rest of the appointment it was all, "Okay, so you'll feel a little sting right next to your cocoa pop," and "I'll just send this cocoa pop off to the lab now," and "I'm going to put a bandage where your cocoa pop was."

Dear patient after me: sorry. She's a good doctor, really. I promise.

The first part of my appointment I spent laughing about a stray bit of cereal on my clavicle. The next bit I spent laughing because once she had inspected my front she told me to "lay on my stomach with arms up as though you are sun baking."

Sun baking? Was she serious? This is Australia, home of the slip-slop-slap-seek-slide! The place where they tell you the ozone hole is RIGHT on top of. The place where sadly skin cancer is an epidemic.  And the SKIN doctor is telling me to assume the sun baking position? I'll admit it, I totally lost the plot here and dissolved into giggles again, which only made HER laugh, and she explained that everyone knows what she means when she tells them to do that. She the admitted she did feel the slightest microscopic twinge of guilt when she used that expression. It seems somehow disloyal to her profession and all.

$350, an hour, minus one dodgy mole and minus one cocoa pop later, and I had the most entertaining afternoon I've had in a long while.

Clearly, I'm easily amused.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Great Sugar Shake Up

I am one of those irritating people who loves to both challenge herself and take part in social-research type things. I answer polls, I fill in questionnaires, I stop when those people in shopping malls want your opinions on stuff, I road-test products for various organisations, and so on. Recently an opportunity came up to live "sugar free" for eight days for the purposes of a magazine article. Four people are doing this little experiment but the others are living without TV, mobile phone, and alcohol. I'm living without sugar, and the only guidelines were "no sugar at all and no fruit except limes, lemons, and oranges."

Yes, because apparently everyone loves to eat a lime right after a work out.

I took this experiment on because for me, sugar is less about a diet and more like a lifestyle choice. I'm probably like those McDonald's buns which can live in a jar and not look any different after a year of just sitting there. I think someday I will die and hundreds of years later they'll bring me back up and there I will be, perfectly preserved. Some days I think there is just far too my blood in my sugar stream.

So given all of that, I have to admit, living a sugar free life does not exactly appeal to me. Firstly, I kinda need to eat sugar as part of my job. It's not just a convenient excuse - we really do road test things (e.g. is there enough lemon rind in this lemon cake batter?).  Secondly, I rely on sugar to play the role of therapist in my life and I make no secret of the mood enhancing and hysteria calming qualities of Slurpees, chocolate buttons, and ice cream. Still, I love pushing myself and this seemed like a good a challenge as any - what is 8 days in a lifetime of sugar addiction, really?

A freaking long time, that's what.


I'm now onto Day 4 and I can say with some confidence that I am getting through it a lot easier than I thought I would be. By far the most annoying thing is how much I need to kick my food planning up a notch - and this is annoying because I already food plan (a whole hell of a lot. You do not lose 70 kilos by just looking like you care but not doing anything tangible about it.) All my usual "grab and go" meals, the ones I know are okay because they are reasonably good for me and fill the "rather eat this than grab something horrible" rules are pretty much out of the question now. Actually almost anything that comes in any sort of packaging is out of the question. From a food technology point of view, sugar is in fact a preservative - which is why almost all things which come in a package last so long. It's also a clever way around food which claim to be "low fat", where the 'moreish' quality which normally comes from fat is replaced with sugar.

I nearly sat down and cried when I noticed that the gorgeous veggie and protein filled sandwich I'd just made was suddenly a 'no go' because the mayo I'd used listed sugar as an ingredient. Then the salad my son made (blanched green beans, fresh baby spinach, toasted sunflower seeds, and a really nice soy dressing) was out because it had honey in it. Then the salad I made for dinner was out because the balsamic glaze had brown sugar in it. You get the idea. The grilled salmon with a teriyaki marinade? Also out. The chunks of sweet summer watermelon I'd lovingly chilled? Nope. I am not a fan (ok, I hate with an all-consuming passion) food or eating plans which tell you to restrict or limit things. I don't think it's the right way forward for long term success and I think it's a guaranteed way to ensure you're going to put back on every one of those kilos and then some.

However, I'm all about trying new things and social experiments, so I'm being a good sport and living by the (very vague) rules on this one. So far I see and feel no appreciable difference. I know it's only been 4 days (which seems like a woefully small amount of time) but still, no great exciting a-ha moments have emerged.  I definitely miss my morning bananas, but even that's not a big deal. Maybe the only thing of note is that I'm not really craving the chocolate buttons as much as I thought I would. I just have lost all interest in them entirely. I do miss the feeling of comfort and calm they give me, but I don't miss them for the sake of them. I'm also wandering around fairly anxious and overwhelmed, but there are plenty of non-sugary reasons for that so I can't say it's related.

Either way - even at the half way mark I can already say that it's been an interesting experience, and not one I wish to repeat anytime soon. It was 33 degrees today in the shade and let me tell you, a Slurpee would have gone down VERY well indeed (instead, 1.5 litres of water went down.) Healthier for me, sure, but so damn boring!

I might not be doing sugar for eight days, but I sure as hell don't ever plan on doing boring. Sugar (maybe just not quite as much) is back on the menu as of Tuesday.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Non Negotiables

Last night DH and I were watching an episode of Millionaire Matchmaker, where the owner of the dating agency for millionaires put herself forward as a client. Apparently even those who matchmake for a living occasionally need a helping hand in these sorts of things. One of the first steps in her process is a 'one on one' where she asks the client a number of personal questions about the sort of person they are looking for. Most common is the question, "What are your five non negotiable traits for a partner?"

This of course had me thinking, didn't it? I've mentioned before how I enjoy having male friends, and in recent weeks I've connected and re-connected with a couple more. I've been amused to find that ALL of these men share very similar interests - it's almost as though someone built a mould and just stamped all these people out of it before dropping them into my life. So when a male friend says to me, "I really love Dr Who," I just smile and nod and say, "Of course you do. OF COURSE." (Because so do all the others. And by the way, are you into sport, either cricket or Aussie Rules? Do you work with or like playing with technology? And do you like Monty Python? And are you a foodie who likes to cook? And, and, and...) It's clear that I've got a "type" when it comes to men, which brings me back to the "5 non negotiables" exercise. No, I'm not in the market for anyone - this is really just a bit of silliness on my part.

If I were on the Millionaire Matchmaker show, these would be my 5 non-negotiables for a partner:
(Friends is different. I don't have any non-negotiables for those.)

1. Has to be tall. 6 feet tall at minimum, but I'd really prefer 6'1" or above. I don't much care about other body traits, but this one is a definite non-negotiable. I'm not confident enough to be with anyone shorter than I am.

2. Has to have a job, career, purpose, or frankly just something he does during the day which keeps him busy (other than another girl of course.) I'm not interested in struggling actors, waiters, slackers, surfies, or anybody who lacks purpose and drive. If you're independently wealthy and don't NEED to work, that's fine, but for the love of god please do not hang out at home all day getting in my way. 

3. Has to be Jewish. It shouldn't really matter, but we're talking life partner here, not just a friend - and that, for me, is less about religion and more about understanding the culture and shared values of education, family, and home. Plus someone who will indulge my obsession with expensive Israeli hummus without batting an eyelid is a bonus.

4. Stupid people need not apply. Please. It helps if you are definitely a geek or nerd, but not one who is  socially inept. So a geek or nerd that I can take out in public preferably.

5. You've got to like watching Dr. Who. I don't know what the attraction of this show is (I've never managed to get through even a single episode) but clearly, there is something about this show and the people who watch it who are attractive to me. I have yet to meet a Dr Who fan who I did not like, ergo, if Dr Who fans = people I like, you've got to be someone who likes Dr Who. Plus this means you will immediately have something in common with every other person in my life.

So there you go. Gentlemen, feel free to start an orderly queue. Oh wait, I'm not looking, am I? I've already got someone who meets all those criteria (plus the ones which are negotiable, but he ticks those boxes too.)  Phew! Glad I've got that sorted. :)

Partnered or not, do you have any non-negotiables?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Not Prepared for This AT ALL

This week my kids start fifth grade. Last week, we got a letter from our synagogue welcoming us to the Bnei Mitzvah program - meaning my kids are now 2 years away from standing in front of a jillion people and entering into their religious adulthood.

Those two things combined meant I almost had a nervous breakdown.

Sure, I'd love to write this blog post all about how I didn't think time would go by this quickly, how I can hardly remember them being toddlers, how all those parents were right about cherishing the moments of their childhood, how next thing you know I will blink and they will be graduating college, and blah blah blah blah.

Instead I'm going to talk about how I am really not prepared for this stage of their lives. I can remember - with vivid clarity - when it was ME starting 5th grade. I actually have very few memories of my childhood at all. I can remember a few moments from 4th grade, but it's only back to 5th grade that I can remember much at all.  From others I've spoken to, apparently this is sorta strange - you're meant to remember the time before then. I don't - and so maybe this is why I feel so ill-prepared to be mothering these pre-teens.  By the end of this year, I'm surely going to find myself buying a bra for at least one of my girls. How very...odd. I can remember buying MY first bra (probably the only one I've owned which did not require extreme feats of engineering.)  I just find it quite remarkable that I'm experiencing my kids going through stages of life which I'm sure were only yesterday for me. Every time we pass another milestone from here on in, it won't take much effort for me to cast my mind backwards to a time when I too was dealing with the same thing.

Considering I often look at my life and think, "How on earth did I get to be this age?!" ... I don't think I'm going to cope all that well. I fully expect to have far more emotional reactions to things than my kids will. It will be ME crying about their first periods, ME carrying on like a idiot when they start to like people of the opposite or same sex, ME who loses it entirely when they come home drunk from a party. Not because I can't imagine them growing up, not because I will mourn the end of their childhood (although there is that, too) but because I'll finally have to face the fact that I, too, have grown up.

Damn. I knew it had to happen, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.