Thursday, 19 December 2013

i smell like

cigars (not mine) and regrets (mine, all mine).  A very merry Thursday afternoon, evening, night was had by A.

I hope you all have merry holidays as well, though I don't recommend dropping a hundred bucks on bottles of cava for your team/family/friends when the lot of you are already loaded.  That is not merry; that is insane.  It is not very merry to get in a fight with your taxi driver, either.  Or retching at 8am on the side of a very busy arterial route.  BUT, singing/dancing/chatting  - these things are all very merry and I wholeheartedly recommend them!
See you in 2014!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

2013, a retrospective.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?
Bought a house.  A purple one.  I've never lived in a purple house before, so I guess that's a first too.

Visited Melbourne.

Identified multiple gray hairs on my husband.

Bought a car.  I've never had my own before!

Bit of a boring old list of new things, isn't it? 

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Eh.  I don't really do resolutions because I don't need another stick with which to beat myself.  There's usually a vague thought about getting fit, losing weight, blahblah but I know in my heart of hearts I'm quite happy to truck along eating a wheel of cheese and watching the development of my bingo wings.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Depends how you define close, I suppose.  I define it pretty tightly, so nope.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No. (Insert grateful sentiment here)

5. What countries did you visit?
After last year's extravaganza, this year we confined ourselves to a couple of quick visits to Australia. 

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
Still would like a cat, much as I wanted last year.  Hmmm. Otherwise? I'm embarrassed by putting a list of material desires and 2013 weren't too lacking really, so nothing, really.  Oh WAIT.  Patience!

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
1 July 2013: Taking possession of our first home.  Eating pizza on the floor and thinking 'this place is a cold shithole.  What the hell have we done?' I love it now, though. 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Finding the finance to purchase said home and actually winning a fucking auction.  Some worky stuff.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Wishing away the passage of time, sometimes.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I was fairly healthy in 2013.  P, however: P chunked his thumb, had intestinal issues, suffered innumerable colds - I really felt for the poor bugger, when I wasn't monumentally pissed off at having to play Florence Nightingale.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The house.  Followed closely by some insulation and a heat pump for the house.  P would no doubt vote for all the $$$ we've spent at Mitre 10 on DIY shit we've barely used. 

12. Where did most of your money go?

House! Also getting piffled away on food and booze; we're just so GOOD at spending on that.
13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Not having to go to open homes every weekend anymore! When we won the auction on June 9, we cracked a bottle of something tasty and basically danced around the living room celebrating the fact that the house hunt of 2013 was finally over.

14. What song will always remind you of 2013?
Royals - Lorde.  Ubiquitous in 2013, everywhere, all the time.  Still don't hate it, miraculously.  That song is also vividly associated with driving near Matamata, of all places, as P and I meandered home from a lovely long weekend in the Bay of Plenty.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) Happier or sadder? Happier.  I think?  I was pretty happy last year too, so maybe the same (this post notwithstanding).
b) Thinner or fatter? Fatty fatty boom boom BOOM.
c) Richer or poorer? Depends how you quantify this.  Probably richer, even though I feel poorer - we may be paying a mortgage and interest etc but we own equity now, I guess.
16. What do you wish you'd done more of?

I wish I'd taken more leave.  This year was a little tight on the leave front, though I guess I'm only feeling it now.  Also: done more of mortgage-paying.
17. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Wasting mah dollarz and waistline on food. 

18. How will you be spending Christmas?
Stewart Island, fighting off sea lions and stalking kiwi - as well as hanging with the fandam. 

19. Did you fall in love in 2013?

Fell a bit more in love with P, as I do most years.  This year it was the realisation he takes so much administrative hassle out of my life.  What, is handling the spreadsheets not romantic to you?  I feel sick thinking that I didn't kiss him goodbye this morning and that we haven't emailed today.  We always kiss goodbye and there's usually something sent to make the other laugh.  The wear and tear of a long year has frayed our edges - it lead to a serious degree of miffedness last night on my part, and this morning on his when I stonily endured his cuddle.   I think we need a bit of time out to reconnect properly, but I do love him more each day, I promise.  Maybe 2013 was the year of domestic discontent?

20. What was your favourite TV programme?
Ummmm, I'm having a bit of a Survivor renaissance which is shameful.  Either that or Top Chef or Breaking Bad or something.  Oh wait, no! Homeland.  That's it - but I can't have liked it excessively or it would have sprung straight to mind?

21. What was the best book you read?
Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel.  So. Good.  I gave them to my mother and while she occasionally raises an eyebrow at my choice in fiction, she also devoured them whole.  Screw the Man Booker, mah mum's praize is all the accolades required, right there! *ahem*

22. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Um, pass?  I discovered nothing new, really.  I like the newish Ladi 6 album, if that counts?

Sidenote: you know people on Idol-type television shows are all 'music's my life' and every conversation with a new person you had in high school started with 'what sort of music are you into?' and people now discuss their top-25 lists on their iPod?  Yeah, music isn't the necessary art for me.  I need words to survive.  I am loathe to admit it but I don't even have my own iTunes and music selection - P has pretty good taste and he'll upload anything I've purchased, within reason.  I do still buy and enjoy music, but often, when at home alone, I prefer silence.  A: enjoys the mute button.

23. What did you want and get?
A home.  YAY for that.  Love, time with family.   

24. What did you want and not get?

Patience! A better work ethic! These are things I can work on by myself and not gifts from Santa, I'm guessing, but if Santa's handing them out...

25. What was your favourite film of this year?
Eh, pass.  Nothing has sprung to mind so they can't have been that good.  Oh wait, I freaked out about space for a solid two days after seeing Gravity.  I don't think it's the best movie of the year, but MY GOD I am obsessed with space / space disasters.  This movie sits on a par with Apollo 13.

26. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

On my 31st birthday I was at work, slogging it out on a big thing and ... wait, I just checked my calendar.  I've got total false sorry-for-self memories.  It was a Saturday and I ate brunch with my sister which was excellent and then I think P and I went somewhere?  Hopeless.

27. What kept you sane?
Diet coke.  My colleagues.  P.  Taking wee breaks.  Going to visit my Mum.  TEA.

28. What political issue stirred you the most?
Roast Busters and rape culture, for sure. 

29. Who did you miss?
Missed all me friends in the northern hemisphere, particularly V.  V had a baby at the end of 2012 and I still haven't met the wee blighter.  J too, but I get to see her before year's end (YAY). 

Missed my grandmother.

30. Who was the best new person you met?
I very much enjoyed meeting and getting to know C, a friend of some friends this year.  She's got a total potty mouth and I love it.  She taught me the entirely crude phrase 'Cunt Scarf' by using it in reference to Hat Friend's skirt at the Beyonce concert.

31. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
True: try to stay even tempered, it's better for your relationships in the long run.  

Facetious: use discretion when considering whether dry-clean only really means dry-clean only.  It's surprising what can go through the wash on a cold cycle, but devastating when you get it wrong.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

woeful afflictions, part gazillion

Wait! Stop press! Forgot to tell you:

Last weekend's mosquito bite count sits at over 20.  So many are on my feet I can't wear shoes as they're too itchy and swollen.*  BUT THE WORST BIT:


I wore a dress to a 60th bday party this weekend.**  We sat outdoors, beside a swimming pool.  I didn't think to take repellent.  Perched on the edge of the seat, the dress was swirly so it fell away from the backs  of my thighs.  All the mosquitos in creation thought 'JACKPOT' and feasted with a VENGEANCE.  Now I'm inappropriately scratching all over creation and am too embarrased to be seen naked-legged by my husband.  The very husband who has kindly taken pictures while I was passed out mostly naked on the floor of our bedroom, who obviously does not give a shit about the manky state of his wife (did I not tell you about that?  One of the nights I lost my phone this year.  2013 was the year I revisited being 18 only fatter and with glasses, apparently). 

I have subsequently bought two new bottles of insect repellent and will be inhaling toxins for the next three weeks solid.  If on my return my typing gets any worse or if I get even more parenthetical (assuming such a thing is possible!) you'll know the reason why, I intone darkly.  But I won't be scratchy, at least.

* I kid you not, today I got asked by the most direct colleague: 'Are you pregnant?  Is that why you're wearing sandals and have swollen feet?'

**Why yes, I have friends who are 60! Actually, it was a good friend's father's party but I felt v grown up while schmoozing the tennis club ladies.

three weeks off is just so....punishing, you know?!

Ahhh, the rest and relaxation of the summer break. 

Touch of sarcasm (TM).*

I love my family.  Really! However, I find the start of my summer holidays in New Zealand completely batshit crazy and family time is not always particularly relaxing.  First world problems BLAH BLAH let me tell you them.
  • I finish work in December under a complete cloud of crazy.  I'm frantic, as the office is closing down for three weeks and of course the clients want everything done yesterday before Christmas.  At least 50% of them will be working through the summer, so they don't give a rats about the holiday.  Besides which, I've been out and about on company entertaining and personal social catch up missions throughout the month, not to mention a weekend out of the country (boo hoo, what a punishment! you say.  Yeah, that's fair I guess.)
  • Then, once I'm finally done in the office for the year (by done, I mean I've walked out at the end with a giant 'deal with it later' pile in the corner), we immediately have P's family pseudo-Christmas dinner.  At our house.  We're catering.  There will be fewer than 10 people this year (thank Oscar the Grouch) but there's still a lot to do.  Oh, and my best friend is in town from London so I am having her around for lunch first (can't not! It's been over 18 months since I've seen her face! And having her to our place allows me to prep meals and gasbag at the same time!)
  • 8am the next morning, on a plane with my sister K.  We meet Mum and Dad, then enjoy a three hour drive even further south, followed by a meal with some of P's paternal family.
  • Next morning, ferry over to the island.  We're there for a week, plus a night in the Catlins on the way back.  Poor old P is stuck on a frigid wee island in the Roaring 40s in a bach with his in-laws for a week.  I pity the fool.
  • P and I arrive home at approx 9.30pm on the 30th.
  • We get up the next morning, and drive three hours to the beach to meet friends.  Goodness only knows how many of us will be jammed into a wee place looking for a good time, but it will be mental.  MENTAL. 
Now, don't get me wrong, there will be plenty of rest and relaxation time on the island.  It's just that we'll be in close proximity with family for over a week on the back of one of the maddest Decembers I can remember, in a year when I didn't take more than two days off at a time. 

Oh, and P has decided he wants us to go swimming with great white sharks while we're on the island.  GREAT STRESS RELIEVER, P. 

Call me Moaning Milly.  Really, it's not so bad.  In fact, all of the above sounds pretty good, sans a bit of actually having to work.  Well, now you know the basic facts of my summer schedule anyway.  I've got an end of year thingo to come and will no doubt feel the urge to worddump all over my blog again before Xmas, but I wouldn't be checking back again much before mid-January.  For those of you I'm not seeing this Xmas, I miss and love you all.

*Touch of Grey, anyone?  Best ad I saw during my tenure in the US.  Young dudes giving themselves grey wings (literal, not figurative you dirty bastards) in order to seem more distinguished, trustworthy etc.  Brilliant!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

grey christmas?

The ten day forecast is looking particularly dire.  Metservice doesn't offer the weather on Stewart Island, it appears (or perhaps I can't work the website, either seems likely) but the projected high in Invercargill for the day of our arrival is 15 degrees, with lashings of rain.  The mental projection of lovely, 23 degree-ish sunshine on an isolated island in the deep south is starting to fragment.  My focus is now getting enough books to last me a week, packing the cards, and wondering whether I can fit anything else in my pack once it is holding the enormous rip-off North Face jacket my father purchased for me in China, circa 2001.   Don't worry, we've sorted the duty free booze and that'll be travelling with us in the precious, precious hand luggage.

My sister K has been sending messages predicting bulk barf on the ferry.  The Foveaux Strait is no joke, I'm lead to believe. 

'Rakiura is the Maori name for Stewart Island, the 'third island' of New Zealand. This summer view is taken from the summit of Bluff Hill, on the far southern tip of the South Island. Foveaux Strait is right in the middle of the Roaring Forties, and is very rarely this calm.'

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

wait! I forgot to tell you about my seasonal binge

After all that earlier Christmas tree wankery, I have completely failed to get and decorate a tree.  Instead:
  • I purchased some cheap ornaments at the supermarket.  The boxes of those bastards then scratched gouges in my legs as I lugged them home.
  • They sat in their boxes on the dining room table for a week. 
  • Last night, P was home so instead of ignoring it for another night, I made him get down the box labelled '[Last Name] Christmas' and decorated with a jaunty sprig of holly.
  • It contained one (1) German christmas light thing and one (1) ornament purchased at the Cologne Christmas Markets without a string and eight (8) festive placemats we were gifted at our wedding by a great aunt (who, bless her, also grew, cut and arranged all the flowers.  What a wonderful, kind woman).  Hardly the Xmas haul I was hoping resided in that box, despite having been the person to pack it lo, these five months ago.
  • SO. Placemats and ornaments went on the table, baubles into the decorative salad bowl and vase situation.
  • German Xmas light into the window with some shoddy electrical cord arrangement.
  • I then made P source the fairy lights purchased for our wedding.
  • Half the fuckers on each of the strings didn't work, despite being less than two years old.  So to hide their deficiencies, we decorated the pear and bay trees out the front instead of the house.
The whole thing is frankly somewhat less that Christmas Chic, but OH WELL.  It is done and twinkly lights make me happy, even if they look rubbish.  OH LOOK, I VISUALLY DOCUMENTED IT BADLY FOR YOU:




This apologist is massively relieved - the Mandela thing was a hoax (you probably already heard). Yup, I'm a sucker.  Still not apologised for the airbrushed nipples though.  ART, MOTHERFUCKERS. 

Monday, 9 December 2013

disturbing thought that had to be shared

I think I've become a Kanye apologist.  I feel the need to defend him at every turn (it is art even if it's nippleless on a motorcycle! the mandela thing must be a metaphor of some sort!).

I don't even know where to start with decoding that shit.  Had to record it as it occurred to me for the purpose of further rumination.  I'm pretty sure it says something about me...I'm just not sure what, yet. 

did you know there is a stop on a sydney train line called 'zig zag'?

Am back from Sydney where I saw a very big spider and a very big cockroach.  Those are not trip highlights, per se, but were certainly memorable.  I also saw a baby, some tourist type sights, drank Green Juice in Bondi like a good hipster (freaking delicious, who'd've thought?), boozed it up in Enmore, ate slightly more genteely in Crowsnest, tried shopping and failed (Zara, WTH? You used to be SO. GOOD. and now you are mostly rubbish) and did some other things, too. 

I am become more middle-aged by the minute.  I am freaking about about the state of the great pile of unwashed things at my home, the invasion of Daddy Long Legs in our absence (why yes, I do have a thing about spiders, whatever made you ask?), the emptiness of my cupboards, the emptiness of my bank account and the need to catch up at work so this is a brief placeholder (postholder?)  Just had to write briefly as I feel I haven't used my weekly parenthesis quota (yet) (working on it) (obv.)  Will no doubt circle back round to the trip later, in case you were worried (HAHAHAHA!)

Summed up? Sydney: Great, Aggressive (all the shoulder charging!), Lovely and Warm.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

wrong side of the bed

I had a serious case of rage yesterday.  Here are some of the assorted items that triggered my ire, trivial as they may seem:
  • The ironing board.  It was all in my living room, up in my face.
  • P asking if I was going to continue with ironing his shirts.  While my hands were plunged in a sinkful of dirty dishes.
  • Dishes.
  • P's thumb, preventing him from doing dishes.
  • P's thumb, making him moan about ironing his shirts.
  • P asking for help with his buttons.
  • P's shoes, on the floor.  EXISTING.
  • P insisting he could use his suitcase if he wanted to, contrary to my wishes.
  • P's face.
  • P.
  • The television remote controls. PLURAL.
  • Eating crap food.
  • Running out of breath mints.
  • People in the lift inconsiderately getting out at floors that weren't mine.
  • People in the lift with halitosis.
  • People on the street dawdling.
  • People.
  • The window decorations at Smith + Caugheys (annoying songs + dopey, creepy puppets)
  • Picking P up from getting his wound redressed.
  • Traffic.
  • Parking.
  • Getting attitude from P about how far away I parked.
  • My pizza getting cold.
I can see now how *rational* I was.  Nothing like the Christmas spirit, aye? 

Sunday, 1 December 2013


P lost a chunk of his thumb this weekend, thanks to injudicious use of a mandolin (instrument of the kitchen variety, as opposed to a stringed instrument, though that would also have been a sight to see - I feel confident gouts of blood don't often come of a serenade).  I wasn't there when the injury was sustained, for which I think we're all grateful,* but I was the one who hauled his mangled carcass to the A&E yesterday. 

Can we just sing a round of Hallelujah for a Christmas miracle?  There was not one other person aside from medical staff in the entire emergency clinic.  Unbelievable.  The only delay in obtaining speedy and efficient treatment was me filling out P's form and narrating it back to him (it's his right thumb).  P was not so keen on my description of how the injury occurred - I wanted to write: 'Potatoes Dauphinoise and a Sharp Thing - Need I Say More?' but my suggestion made him all huffy.  We went with: 'preparing dinner', which I think you'll agree is terribly boring. 

P was seen quickly and I stayed put in the waiting room, reading my fill of mimi smartypants (terrible choice for a medical centre, given mimi kept making me snicker.)**  I could vaguely hear P talking to the nurses though and asking for a spot to lie down when they took off the dressing, poor love. At one point, a nurse appeared and asked whether I was the girlfriend.  This made me a bit huffy, as she asked with a spot of incredulity.  I composed myself, trying to believe that P's babyface probably had more to do with it that me looking like a decrepit cradlesnatcher or an uncaring witch who deserts her one-and-only, and replied in the affirmative, resisting the bizarre temptation to wave my left hand and cry 'wife, actually'.

He spent the rest of the afternoon and evening prone on the couch with the thumb elevated, as removing the original dressing had caused further bleeding.  I think it was quite sore too.  However, because I'm awful I kept veering between laughter (he looks so funny, giving the entire world a bulky thumbs up) and edging away from him (because ew, I missed you while you were gone but I cannot handle that thing touching my body).  What a magnificent nurse I'd make. I think I've really missed my calling. 

*I am NOT. GOOD. in an emergency.  Think faint, freak out-y.  I'm not proud of this, but at least I'm honest with myself.  Oh god, I'm feeling vaguely squirmy and nauseous just thinking about it.

**Given my emergency response-mode, I couldn't deal with seeing the injury in the flesh, as it were.  Poor P was therefore deprived of the soothing balm of my company in the emergency room.  I'm sure he desperately missed having my hand to hold.