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, April 29, 2012

Best. Flight. Ever.

I recently found myself on a trip from New Zealand to Melbourne with no reading material. I know, hardly the stuff of  nightmares for anyone, right? Actually, for me to be on a flight with no reading material IS a nightmare. I find those stupid little TV screens on the backs of the chairs quite headache-inducing, and most of the time I have little or no patience to watch movies anyway. So either I start watching something and get a headache so I give up, or I start watching and the next time I look at the screen, the boy who met the girl has already divorced the girl and somehow I missed the middle bit.  As someone who flies at least once a year, I rely entirely on books to keep me occupied for those seemingly interminable hours spent above the Pacific Ocean. (Yes, yes, I know I should buy a Kindle...we're not going to get into that debate today, all right?)

I'm also someone who reads at a reasonable clip (and by "reasonable clip" I mean I can finish about 3-4 fairly chunky novels a week, reading only for the half hour or hour before bed and a bit on the weekend.) I had taken a book with me, but I'd finished it in the airspace somewhere between Los Angeles and Auckland, so I found myself facing a 5 hour flight home bereft of entertainment. I popped into a book shop in Auckland to see if I could find something suitable. There was the usual assortment of chick-lit, thrillers, myriad self-help books and 'how to make a million dollars without really trying' type books. None of it really appealed to me, probably because I was in a decidedly contrary mood at the time. A sales assistant saw me wandering and asked what I was looking for. "Honestly, I have no idea," I replied, "Other than it needs to be compelling enough to last 5 hours, a quick and easy read, and not depressing. I can't handle depressing." She smiled and said, "I've got a great book which meets all that criteria," and walked away. She came back a minute later and said, "Have you ever heard of '50 Shades of Grey'?" "No," I said. "Well, take this book. Just trust me. It'll *definitely* keep you busy," and she pushed it into my hands. I didn't bother to read the blurb on the back, I just said, "Have YOU read it?" "Oh YES!" she enthusiastically replied. "And so I'm assuming you're recommending it because you enjoyed it?" "OH YES!" she said, rather forcefully. "Just trust  me," she said. Well, nothing ventured, I paid my NZ $18 for this book and headed off. Shoved into the bottom of my bag, I didn't really think about it much after that.

Eventually I got onto the plane and discovered that the two people sharing my row of three were Mr Huge and Mr Enormous. I was in the window seat and both of them were already sitting down. You know that feeling of dread you get as you watch the people walk by, hoping like hell none of them are coming to sit next to you? That was the feeling these two men had (not hard to see it, it was written all over their faces) as I approached. Sadly, I had to make them get up so I could get into my seat - it was quite an effort. The two of them proceeded to remain standing until the very last second that they were allowed to. This isn't because I'm so big (I'm not) but because the effort to get into and out of the seats in the first place was quite an experience and I suspect neither wanted to sit in those seats a moment longer than they had to. I'm not being judgmental here. I TOTALLY understand that feeling all too well. So I sympathized and squished myself into a small a space as I could. I just about had my face smooshed up against the window in order to give them as much space as I could. I've been in their shoes. It's beyond awful. (Someday I will share the story of the flight to Paris with DH. Suffice to say my hips still hurt when I think about it.)

So there I am, squished into the gap between the arm rest and the side of the plane, and it's kinda hot and stuffy in there and I've got 5 very long, very dull hours in which to keep my mind occupied. I pull out my book (thanking god I had the where with all to buy it in the first place) and I read the blurb. "Bugger," I think, "Another chick lit book. Urgh."

At this point I'm hot and sweaty and bored - with nothing to lose, I crack open the book and start to read it.

The first several pages are pretty boring, standard chick-lit stuff, and pretty poorly written - but then I've been known to read the back of cereal boxes, so...I'm not picky. I kept reading.





Well. Yes.

I can see why the book shop lady was so enthusiastic about her recommendation.

I finished the book while standing at the baggage carousel waiting for my luggage, having not removed my eyes from the pages from way back when I was smushed into the seat back in Auckland. I nearly ran into several people as I walked off the plane, through security and so on. I literally did not put it down.

I can say with some certainty that it was an engaging, easy read which was certainly not depressing. I can also say with some certainty that I very much regretted being stuck in that window seat (a means of escape and some privacy would have been...quite useful), and that in the ensuing weeks DH has been quite pleased with my choice of leisure reading as well.

(I'll let you go Google the book title and see what you come up with.)

Best (and yet somehow most frustrating) flight ever.

Almost Elevenses* and I Need A Drink

It's T-minus two weeks until I write my favorite blog post of all, the kids' birthday post.  That post takes me quite a while to write, in so far as I spent a fair amount of thinking time considering what I'd like to say and how I'd like to say it. In my mind I replay the events of the past year, and I carefully consider which elements of our lives and our kids I'd like to air publicly. I'll also come up with a couple of key phrases or concepts I'd like to include. Then I sit down to write that post, and I forget entirely all the really clever phrases I'd come up with, I can't find the digital photos I really wanted to use, and I just blurt out whatever is in my head. I also use whatever photos I can find stored on whatever computer I happen to be using at the time. What you end up with is an unedited version of triplet parenting as I see it.  What I end up with is usually a whole lot of tears, because I'm one of those ridiculously sappy people (although to meet me in real life, you wouldn't actually believe that.) I literally spend the entire writing of that blog post trying in vain to see what the screen says, because my sight is all blurry from the crying and carrying on. I'm just so damn proud of them, and so grateful they are in my life, that the background violins begin to play and I'm off on another crying jag before I've even finished a sentence.

I then of course engage in self torture, because it's one of the few posts which I will edit, so I re-read and then I cry again. Then I hit the 'publish' button and I read and re-read it over the next few days or weeks and so I cry some more. It's actually a little bit ridiculous. I've got a habit of linking to the other birthday posts at the start of each one, which of course makes me need to go and read those as well..and I don't need to tell you the outcome there.

In short the entire birthday post thing is an excuse for me to sit and cry like a complete crazy lady. Happy tears, but tears nonetheless. I do it because the sole purpose of this blog was to chronicle my life and their lives, and to miss out on the major milestones would somehow be a little...mean...of me, wouldn't it?

So it's that time of year again, and already I am gathering pictures and words in preparation for the Great Birthday Blog Post of 2012.(Although I'm not sure why I bother to prepare when I chuck it all out of the window anyway...) Stay Tuned (and send tissues.)

*Elevenses - in other words, they are nearly eleven. I wrote the first birthday post when they were five, so after  6 times doing this, you'd think I'd be used to it, wouldn't you?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

To Have or To Hold

Among the many ways DH and I are different is in our attitude to food - in specific, fancy, expensive, glorious, tempting foodstuffs. I've got to HAVE it, he's got to HOLD it. Let's say he and I walk into a fancy chocolate emporium and each buy a bar of our favourite chocolate. Me, I'm eating a bit on the way home, I'm putting what's left of it in the cupboard, and within seconds the damn thing is singing it's siren song and I've got to eat it. If it's very lucky, it might enjoy one more day of relative comfort in my pantry but that's about it. DH on the other hand, will bring home said bar (untouched), stick it into the back of the pantry, and never bother to touch it again. It doesn't matter that it cost more than the GNP of a small Indonesian island. Nor does it matter that it's his favourite of all kinds of chocolate and he would have leased (never sell, no ongoing revenue that way) his first born in order to get his hands on some. He just won't touch it. It just...hangs out there, taunting me. (Why is it that chocolate only seems to speak MY language and not his?)

This whole "hold it" thing DH has means I find shrivelled bits of (expensive, French) cheese in the fridge, bottles of wine well past their cellaring date, and rather wrinkly bits of (expensive but local) smallgoods in the drawer. For him the importance is in the holding, for me the importance is in the having.  I actually find this whole concept really interesting - because DH grew up in a family where the fridge was, while not bare, certainly more utilitarian in nature. I grew up in a house where, if you wanted to find something, it necessitated emptying half the fridge to find it, and along the way you'd find a bunch of interesting things to eat (and probably some stuff which should have been thrown out ages ago.) Now, we're the opposite of our upbringings.

DH derives some sort of comfort from just having the  stuff around, and I derive some sort of comfort from actually consuming the  stuff. I just can't see the point in spending my hard-earned dosh on something delectable and then NOT enjoying it. I also don't understand the idea of filling a fridge with a bunch of stuff you won't use, or will let go bad. It breaks my heart to think about throwing out heaps of floppy celery or squishy tomatoes or cheese with crusty edges - when, with a bit of effort, I could have made any one of those into something, while not necessarily glorious, certainly edible. In addition to all of that, I'm an emotional eater, which means that when I get in a certain type of mood, NOTHING in my house is safe. Nothing. Not even the dark chocolate (blech) which I don't like but DH loves. Not even the years-old jelly beans. Not even the cereal with the healthy bits in it. I can't keep a bunch of treats in the house because I will inhale them faster than you can say, "I think I'm getting my period."

The end result is that our fridge, because of our meal planning (and because I'm chief cook around here), is pretty barren-looking.  Of course, to me it's not barren at all, because I know that in that "nothing" it has the makings of several dinners, and enough shelf space to fit in five packed lunches every day- but the average person might look at it (especially at the end of the week) and wonder if we were not on some sort of strange condiment-and-lettuce diet.

So is my - thing - about keeping a utilitarian fridge about my hatred of waste, my innate ability to create something out of nothing, am I totally lacking in self control or am I just a cheap bastard who won't spend money on "unneccesary" stuff?

Probably all of the above.

In the meantime....I avoid chocolate shopping with DH.