She ain’t heavy, she’s my sister.

I had a great weekend. We headed down to the mountains to ski. As it turns out, I decided to forgo the skiing in an attempt to get rid of this cold that I have been nurturing. It was a good decision, I’m feeling almost healthy today.

We met up with my sister, her husband and a few other friends to celebrate a birthday. It was pretty relaxed – we spent most of the time drinking wine in front of the fire.

This post isn’t actually about any of that though. It’s about something that’s been going on for most of my life.

My sister Mary and I are very similar in lots of ways, and polar opposites in others. We are both opinionated and outspoken, some people say we look alike – others don’t, but we share many similar mannerisms. We are 13 months apart in age, but most people are hard pushed guessing who’s older. We were brought up not to notice the gap at all.

The biggest difference between us is the way we live our lives. Mary is much more career driven than I am. She is extrememly successful in her job and is doing something that she will probably do for the rest of her life. I tend to spend more time playing, and perhaps don’t show my body the respect that she does. One thing I love about her is the fact that she is never judgemental.

95% of the time we are best friends. The other 5% is spent having these awful run-ins that I don’t understand. It is always when we have been drinking. One minute we’ll be talking about something, and then the next second I’ll say something and she’ll go completely off the wall. Her side of the story probably differs slightly – but I guess that’s what I’m trying to understand.

I’ve done a lot of soul searching over it in the last couple of months and things had gotten really good. Then we had a couple of blow ups this weekend. They were over such dumb things, and they never really last more than a couple of minutes, but they stay with me for a long time. I know that most sibling disharmony is the result of jealousy, and there have been times in my life when I have been very jealous of Mary, but now is not one of them.

Having said that, I don’t feel like I’m to blame for the fights we had this weekend.

No doubt she does.

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You’d be forgiven for laughing at me.

I’m not sure what to blame it on, but I’ve been doing a few stupid things lately. I’m trucking along, minding my own business, getting on with life, when suddenly BAM! – I do something really dumb. It might be something to do with being unwell, or perhaps (and more likely) something to do with last weekend. Either way, I really have to pull myself together.

Yesterday was better than usual – I committed two of these infractions. I went down to the gym after work for my sparring session and for some reason it was busier than usual and I couldn’t find a park. Being the super organised person I am, I was there early for for precisely this reason. I drove around for about 10 minutes though and still couldn’t find anything. Then, in a flash of brilliant luck, I spotted a park right by the front door. I couldn’t believe that no one else had noticed it. I snapped it up. I decided that since luck was on my side, it didn’t matter that I didn’t have any coins for the meter, I’d take the risk. (As an aside, it really irritates me when the meters don’t have txt-a-park on them.) I figured that the worst case scenario was that I’d get a ticket – they don’t tow you for not paying the meter.

I went inside and started to wrap my hands. It is one of the annoying parts about boxing, but if you want your hands to stay looking like girls hands, it’s fairly important. I got right to the end of the first one, only to discover that somehow, even though it’s something I can do in my sleep, I had done it backwards so that the velcro was on the inside. What the hell? It meant starting again (not just with wrapping, but with rerolling as well). I’m consistent though – exactly the same thing happened with my right hand.

In an attempt to make up for all the time I had wasted, I tried doing that really cool springing-straight-over-the-ropes-move to get into the ring. I’ve never seen anyone else land on their face with quite the finesse that I did. Apparently neither had anyone else in the gym.

Anyway… after a pretty good session of panting through my mouth (a bit of nose swelling had occurred) and galloping around like a horse, I went to see how bad the parking ticket damage was.

What I hadn’t noticed (and everyone else had) was that the park right outside the door is a clearway for precisely the hour that I was in the gym.

Unfortunately, they do tow for that.

Concentrating on the job at hand

I have been thinking for some time about the liberties I take with my work computer. I have never been someone that saves porn or sends dirty emails. It just doesn’t interest me. I’ve also never been someone that uses up all my hard drive space for movies or music. I even use webmail to send personal emails.

What I am guilty of however, is keeping lots of files from my business on my work PC. The main reason for that is as a backup. When we got burgled last year we lost our home PC and everything that was on it. If that was to happen now, I’d lose a lot of business. Occasionally I also work on things during my lunch hour or if I have to stay behind at work for some reason or other. Although that shouldn’t really matter, it is on my contract that I won’t use work equipment for any reason except work. So I guess from that perspective it is a fireable offence. The other thing I do is occasionally use the work printers to print personal stuff. Although everyone does it, there is no question that it’s against the rules. Management turn a blind eye, but if they decided not to, I’d have a hard time explaining myself.

This is something that I think about a lot, but never actually do anything about. Until now.

Last week, Shaun’s work conducted a spot check of everyone’s computer. They went through absolutely everything. They looked through files and emails. As a result, several people are now suspended pending an investigation. Scary stuff.

I decided I’d be foolish to ignore that. Yesterday I bought a flash drive and have taken everything off my PC that doesn’t pertain to my job. I am tightening up on my work-at-work/business-at-home rule.

It’s a fool that doesn’t learn from someone else’s mistake.

I have double standards.

I am at home feeling miserable today. Yesterday was the same.

After my huge weekend, I went to boxing on Monday morning and then to work, and acted all self-righteous about how quickly I had bounced back. I was even extra productive at work – I just about finished the application I’m working on. I texted everyone to tease them about how crappy they were feeling.

Big mistake.

I woke up yesterday morning and I couldn’t talk. I seem to have been struck down by the king of all colds. I think it is a revenge cold. Today it seems to have multiplied itself and attacked the parts of me that were feeling ok yesterday. And it has weird side effects. I have no appetite for anything except chocolate biscuits. I ate just about a whole pack of them yesterday. And that was just after I thought to myself that at least the upside was that I was going to get that post-illness waif-like figure. I’m going to be very careful what I think about today.

The other annoying thing about this cold is that no-one feels sorry for me. I keep getting texts asking where I am, and when I say I’m home sick, I get a message back saying “Oh, did you have a big weekend?” Am I that transparent? (That is a rhetorical question).

Anyway – double standards. Last night Dave pointed out that this is my equivalent to a hang-over. Damn it! It was only last weekend that I told Shaun (in my ex-military style voice – not that I’ve ever been in the military) that he’d better stop letting his hangovers stand in the way of his responsibilities.

My only hope now is that this doens’t occur to him…

All in the name of vanity.

I am pretty white. I definitely fall into the ‘fair’ category. I have never counted my freckles (and need to clarify that I don’t plan on doing it any time soon), but I suspect they would be in the tens of thousands.

We have a history of skin cancer in our family. Dad has a myriad of scars, and mine numbered 5 by the time I turned 30. (Only one of them turned out to be dangerous). For that reason, and the fact that we live in a country that is right beneath a gaping big hole in the ozone layer that is supposed to protect us, we are pretty careful about wearing sunblock. Going home with sunburn has always been a sure-fire way to get that look-of-scorn-that-only-a-mother-can-do.

I’d be lying if I said I don’t try and tan in the summer.  I do – but it’s a slow and careful process. Half an hour without sunblock each morning before the sun gets hot. I still just end up with sort of dirty looking skin.

I have gone down the tan-in-a-bottle route before. I go orange. No matter how careful I am to follow the instructions, I end up looking like some kind of circus creature. And not one of those cute ones.

A couple of years ago we went on a holiday to Mauritius. It was the first trip I had been on with Shaun’s work. All the other girls (or so it seemed at the time) were sunbed bronzed and I had a fleeting moment of insecurity. I decided to get a spray tan. The theory was good. You pay ridiculous amounts of money, put on a pretty special paper g-string and then stand prone in front of a chick with an air-brush who procedes to humiliate you by telling you to hold your boobs up so you don’t get white marks.

It was worth it for about 5 minutes. I looked like a golden goddess for the whole (13 hour) plane ride over. We landed in the scorching 45 degree evening, threw on our bikinis and jumped into the pool. It took me several minutes to figure out that the reason I had half the pool to myself probably had something to do with the stream of brown debris that was following me around. They really should have told me that the tan came off in chlorine.

So, to get to my point… I have faith in technology. I have a voucher for the new-improved version of the spray tan. Now, for only $50 you can protect your humility by going into a small booth for 90 seconds while you are sprayed by millions of high pressure nozzles. The only thing you have to do is hold your breath. I’m bound to get that one wrong.

We fly to Mexico at the end of next week. It’s a long flight and I need to look my best.

Wish me luck.

Monday morning haze

The weekend rocked. One of the best I have had in ages. Mary was up and it was so cool to spend some time with her. She partied so hard she made me proud.

It was a large weekend. Most of the time usually put aside for sleeping was spent dancing. The two parties that I managed to orchestrate into one were a raging success. Needless to say, the ship didn’t spend much time in the harbour!

In an attempt to show Shaun that partying hard shouldn’t affect the way you carry out your responsibilities; although I didn’t get home until 5pm Sunday, I still got up and went to boxing this morning. There were a few moments there where I wondered why I didn’t just sleep in my car for an hour and pretend that I went, but that would be double standards.

I suspect things may go downhill slightly as the day wears on. The fact that I forgot to bring a bra to work and am now wearing my completely soaking gym bra under my work clothes was a bit of a sign. I then spent 5 minutes emptying both my hand bag and my gym bag on the floor of the cafeteria looking for my swipe card so I could get out, until someone pointed out that I was wearing it around my neck.

Hmmmm… I can’t see much serious programming happening today.

C’est la vie. I’ll make up for it tomorrow. Life is all about balance!!

[Afternoon update on the bra situation: It has dried into a single solid entity and glued itself to my body. I have had to douse myself in perfume in order to disguise the smell, which is drawing some strange looks from people. Luckily it is almost home time.]

There’s going to be trouble…

I am over-excited. That is always a sign of impending trouble.

One of my best girlfriends turns 30 tomorrow and we are going to party. Big time.

It was my absolutely best friend’s birthday a couple of weeks ago and I have been really selfish and orchestrated them to both celebrate on the same night, even though they aren’t that close. That way I can minimise the damage to my brain by doing it all on one night. I am even going shopping for new clothes. That is how excited I am.

OK – that’s not strictly true. I go shopping for new clothes just about every time I go out. But you know, story-teller’s license and all that…

My sister came up from Tauranga yesterday and brought fortune cookies. Mine says

“The ship is safer in the harbour, but it is not meant for that”.

 

I can definitely live by that. Starting tomorrow.

I might make much sense on Monday…