I love a challenge

It is going to be an interesting weekend. My in-laws are coming to stay. That in itself isn’t a big deal, I like them just fine, although they have never actually stayed at our house before. They may be a bit shocked when they find out about my boxing obsession. Apparently I have weak forearms so I have to start to do exercises to strengthen them in order to increase the power behind my punches. I am wearing a piece of red string around my wrist to remind me to do them. Some people find that a little strange… my mother in law is bound to be one of those people.

But what will make things especially interesting is that on Saturday night we are going to a party and it’s going to be big.

I have spent the last couple of weeks trying to come to some sort of compromise with Shaun over what time I have to come home. He says midnight, I say before the sun comes up (and quietly so that his parents don’t wake up). He is concerned because at our engagement party (which they flew up for) I got a bit out of control and didn’t come home at all. I guess his concern is justified.

I have carefully orchestrated things so that they are going to have dinner over at my parent’s place so that they won’t be there when we get ready for the party. It is a costume party – Bond girls. Free tequila for anyone in a bikini. So I’m going to wear a bikini and ammo belts. There is no way in hell I want Shaun’s parents to see me leave the house like that…

The other thing that’s going on is that we finally have a new car. After months and months of talking about it, Shaun finally came to a decision about what to get. It was starting to do my head in. He would come home each day with a new idea and some carefully made up bullshit in order to sell it to me. In the end I told him that I didn’t want to hear about it again until the new car was in the driveway. Now it is. A Mazda 6 turbo. It had only done 25km when he picked it up. Our first ever brand new car.

When we bought my car, “somehow” only Shaun’s name was on the papers. I whinged, so the new car is in mine. You’d think that I’d be allowed to drive it then. But no. Apparently until I have worked on my driving skills and promise to follow the system, I’m not allowed to. He’s foolish. Doesn’t he realise that all he’s done is create a challenge for me?

A sensible man would be hiding the keys.

Die another day

As a general rule I don’t talk about the calls that I receive at Youthline. It is out of respect for the people that use the service. But occasionally I am really touched by someone and last night was one of those times. I talked to a girl that was going to commit suicide when we got off the phone. She was an amazing girl that had just completely lost her way and didn’t know what to do anymore.

As a phone counsellor you know that one day that call will come, but it doesn’t make it easy when it does. It ended well – she allowed me to get a crisis team out to her which saved her life for another day, but it was an eye opener for me. I am so grateful for all I have.

It wasn’t until I got off the phone and had a chance to process it that I thought about how brave that girl was to have called for help. When depression gets so bad that you don’t want to keep living, I expect the easy option would be to kill yourself. I am so glad she reached out.

It’s always the way though… Shaun was out of town on a conference last night. He is away a grand total of about 3 days a year. What are the chances…? On the flip side I guess going home to an empty house after an emotional shift is nothing compared to what that young girl faces.

Whatever you’re doing today honey, my thoughts are with you. Thanks for giving me the chance to help.

Move over, this space is filled.

When I finished school I moved away from Auckland for 7 years and pretty much started a new life at university in Wellington. I didn’t know anyone down there. That was cool though – I had reached the end of an era up here and felt like it was time for a change. I was excited about the prospect of starting over and being anyone I wanted to be, without the legacy of my past hanging over me.

Things started off on the wrong foot when I was hit in the face with a brick on the way to my first lecture. It fractured my eye socket and broke my nose. I spent the first month of term with a metal plate taped across my face. Once that came off I had a whole new legacy to get over. Everyone thought I’d had a nose job.

I was living in a hostel for first-years so it was pretty easy to make friends. At the end of the year we split out into flatting groups and life went on. I made some amazing friends over the years I was down there. I figured they would be people that would be part of my life forever. It isn’t innaccurate to say that they pretty much kept me alive during those years. (It was a magic time, but there were the small issues of binge drinking, drug abuse, freak accidents, promiscuity and bulimia). When I decided to move back to Auckland, I felt like I was leaving quite a lot behind.

There were two key friendships that I established during those years. In the years since, the number of visits I make back down there have dwindled down to 1 annual trip. They never come up here. Even the emails have become short and infrequent. I invited them to my wedding and held a bbq the night before so that they could get to know my other friends. They didn’t show. They came to the wedding and left straight afterwards. I was pretty hurt. I couldn’t believe that things had changed so much. They were really tight and I felt like I was no longer part of something in which I used to be pivotal.

I want to hold on to all the friendships that I’ve ever had. It’s a failing of mine.

I am not sure what has made me think of those people today. I guess I’ve realised that I just have to let them go.

If you don’t cull old friends, do you think you run out of space for new ones?

You are my sunshine

Summer’s coming. I always forget how much I love it until it comes around again.

I am fair skinned. There are days at the gym when I look down at my legs and feel sorry for myself. There is no doubt that people look better with a tan. Still, as I have said before, the only thing to be said for people in this country with real tans in winter is that they are an idiot. It means they spend time in sunbeds.

This weekend I am going to a friend’s 30th. The theme is Bond and Bond girls. If you wear a bikini you get free drinks. The guy who is throwing the party thinks that no one will have the guts. He doesn’t know me very well. Shaun is getting right behind the idea. He has bought me some real ammo belts. One even has a live round in it. He is going to superglue it in because he doesn’t trust me not to be silly with it. I was thinking of hitting it with a hammer. But back to the point…

I am not going to look particularly good walking around in a club wearing a bikini without a tan. So I’m heading back to the spray booth on Friday.

This weekend was interesting. On Sunday there was this freak occurrence where the big whole in the ozone layer was directly about NZ. There was a UV warning – it was the strongest it has ever been at this time of year. I think the index was 8, where it is usually 6.5 in September (it gets up to around 13 in summer). I decided to spend some time on the new sun lounger that I got for my birthday. True to form, I got burned. When I fell asleep on the lounger I was in the shade, when I woke up I wasn’t… It’s not bad though, in fact it’s already faded.

This post is a bit random. I got onto the topic because daylight savings starts this weekend. I reckon it is about the best idea that anyone ever had. It is fantastic to be able to go home and still have hours of sunshine. It means I can weed the garden after work so that I don’t have to do it in the weekend.

I might have been born in the middle of winter, but there’s no doubt I’m a summer baby.

Someone get me a straightjacket

This weekend was highly entertaining. I have come out of the end of it a broken woman. All self inflicted of course. Of the 48 hours that made up the weekend, approximately 20 of them were spent at Suite. On Friday night I was in particularly good form. A couple of weeks ago I decided (for some unknown reason) that I would like a pet bantam hen. Shaun is strongly opposed to the idea. On Friday night I became obsessed with it. It went from one bantam to two. I wanted to name them Phantom and Shaun. Phantom the bantam is a great name – Shaun was just to bug him. I planned to spend Saturday designing a hutch for them. Needless to say, it didn’t happen.

As the evening wore on things got worse. At one stage I tried to put a transaction through on my Amex for 1 million dollars. Thankfully, the machine wouldn’t go that high. It would have been a pretty embarassing call to have to make to Amex on Saturday morning.

Saturday didn’t fair much better. Mary was up for her birthday, so we headed back down to the bar. The obsession that night was golf. A friend has decided to take it up, and being the competitive person that I am, I declared that I thought I would as well. I spent most of the evening practicing my swing, which apparently looks like a cross between chopping down a tree and the famous ‘double axe handle’ wrestling move. My plan is actually just to get a really ridiculous golf outfit so that I look like an idiot on the course, which will draw attention away from my lack of talent.

The highlight of everyone else’s evening was when I decided to help push start a car that had broken down outside. I was wearing the most inappropriate car pushing stilettos, but I was determined. Just before the engine engaged, one of the guys beside me warned me not to face-plant. I scoffed at him with disgust, just before I hit the asphalt. I am now sporting a patched up wrist, shoulder and hip. I woke up on Sunday morning stuck to the sheets.

At one stage during the weekend, someone commented to me that my behaviour gets so ridiculous at times that I should really be writing down my memoirs. Great idea. I think I’ll do it online…

The perfect balance

I was at the bar last night having a few wines with a girlfriend. We were talking about relationships. I do my best talking after a few wines. It was an interesting conversation, because one of the biggest mysteries in my life in recent years is what it is about Shaun that made me concede to marry him. After many different relationships, what is it that make him my “the one”?

Last night I figured it out. For me, it is about having someone that loves me just slightly (and I mean really, really slightly) more than I love him. I don’t mean that in a nasty or tragic way, I’m being purely pragmatic. In the past, my relationships have fallen into two categories.

The first is the type that was borne out of my necessity to have a partner, in which case I’ve gone out with someone that pursued me but that I had no real passion for. As harsh as it sounds, they served a purpose and then I moved on. They were the ones where I hurt the other person.

The second type were the ones where I fell in love. They were based on a kind of obsession on my part. They were the ones where I fell madly and blindly and they worked for a while, but they became exhausting. I ended up breathing all the air out of the room and suffocating the relationship. They were the ones where I got hurt.

Then there was Shaun. He had been my friend for long enough that I had complete respect for him. I wasn’t about to hurt him. But he loved me so much that I didn’t feel like I had to change who I was in order to make him happy. He knew who I was before he got into it. Having him put me on the pedestal means that I can be truly and truthfully myself. That’s why I’m happy.

He’s not a pushover. To a degree I am someone that needs to be controlled. I am certainly someone that needs to be watched at all times. He does that without putting the brakes on. I get a final warning and then I’m on my own. As a child, we were disciplined through guilt. The worst thing that I could imagine was making mum or dad hurt or disappointed. It worked. (Well, I got good at hiding things). Shaun is the same. He knows he can’t tell me what to do, but I don’t want to push things so far that it’s detrimental to him or to our relationship.

I don’t know how he does it (or how he puts up with what I do), but I hope he does it forever.

The system

So Shaun and I talked about the ‘system‘ that is going to stop me from smacking up my car on such a regular basis. I was curious… as I said, what kind of ‘system’ stops someone from being a shambles?

Apparently, his idea is for me to stop and take a look at my surroundings before hopping into the car. Well, what the hell kind of idea is that? Does he think that if I had’ve stopped and taken note of the fact that our fence was on our yard before I hopped into the car the day I hit it, that I wouldn’t have done so? That fence has been there since we bought the place.

And what about the time I backed into the trailer? Someone had left it in my parking spot. Does he suggest that I get out of my car and do surveillance before parking every time?

Oh, and the time I hit the car in the supermarket carpark. I suspect Shaun will find that if I had’ve checked the carpark before parking, I would certainly have noticed other cars there. That’s not going to change the fact that some idiot tried to speed past me while I was parking.

And I was aware that there were pillars holding up the bank.

Why does he think they are called accidents??

Doesn’t he realise that this is a losing battle? Some wives buy fur coats and jewellery. I bang up cars.

How romantic

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday about how people romaticise things that happened to them in their past. I have been aware for years now that I am someone that does this a lot. By romanticise, I mean I take memories of things that have happened to me and put a rose tinted spin on them.

I don’t think that I invent things that didn’t happen, but I definitely filter out the negative parts of situations. It goes hand in hand with my naive notion that if you are yourself 100% of the time (rather than changing to suit situations) that people will love you no matter what. (I am not quite able to kid myself on this one – but I do believe that if someone doesn’t like you for who you really are, then that may not be a failing on your part, so move on.) I used to be someone that changed with relationships. I would become someone new depending on who I was seeing. And I was always seeing someone.

After a while this became exhausting and it wasn’t really having the desired effect. If you are always wondering about what you think other people want you to be, you waste time that could be better used developing yourself into someone that you like. And it’s old news that you won’t be loved until you love yourself. It’s probably the most important piece of advice that I could give anyone though. And I learned that lesson some time ago.

My friend had an interesting insight… he said “I think everyone romanticizes portions of their past. My romanticized memories are terrific, I love them. I try to recognize them as romanticized memories. It’s human nature and I’ve read that it’s a possible biological necessity in order to dull unpleasant memories.”

I am definitely aware of when I am doing it. I’m not kidding myself, but it interests me that I find the need to do it at all. The necessity to dull unpleasant memories may be a big part of it. It makes sense really. By putting ourselves up on a pedestal, maybe we make ourselves blind to some of our failings.

Do you think we miss important lessons as a result?

Over-emotional

It wasn’t until yesterday night that I realised how hard the last 2 months have been. I know I’ve talked about it a fair bit, so this will be the end of it. With the bar closed, Dave has been getting more and more depressed. There were times when we were concerned about him having a break down. It has been a cross that we have all had to bear. For me, the hardest thing was watching him hurt and not be able to do anything about it.

Yesterday morning I got a text from him saying that they are back in business. I cried (well, sort of…I got tears in my eyes). I felt like the biggest burden had been lifted. There weren’t really words to describe it.

Anyway, as a result of this I guess I kind of started to release all the pent up emotion and lost of a bit of a grip on reality. At lunchtime I smacked up my car. I know that it doesn’t come as a surprise to most of you. I swung round in reverse at pace into a pillar. It made the most incredible smash. I was with a friend from work, and we were fairly sure that I’d totalled the side of the car. It was a little surprising then when we got out and there was no apparent damage at all. That would be because the suspension that I had destroyed is under the car. Damn it. Turns out not to be so bad. The tyre arm that now resembles a banana is only $65 for the part. With any luck, that’s all that has to be fixed, although they won’t know until they do a wheel balance this morning.

It’s fair to say that I’m a liability in a vehicle. Shaun thinks we need to find a “system” to deal with the problem. I asked him what the hell kind of system stops someone from being a shambles?

Last night we went to the bar, had a couple of wines and I did the flowers. Then I went home and did a bit more crying. It’s weird – I never really cry. It takes a lot. I think part of the problem is that I am the person that everyone comes to for advice or support when they are down and I always do my best to be strong for them. As a result, I think perhaps I neglect my own emotional needs a bit.

That being said, it’s all good now and I’ve done my years quota of crying.

Family

I’ve had a great couple of days. We headed down the line for a family weekend. Although I feel as though we spend too many weekends out of town (I’ve been saying that for years) it was nice to have some down time. As I’ve said several times in the last few posts, things are a bit rough for my family at the moment due to the stuff that is happening with Dave’s bar. It looks like that may finally be resolved this week – their license has been approved, they are just waiting for the paperwork to come through. It was a good opportunity for Dave to take his mind off things, and it will probably be his last weekend off for several months.

We did some shopping, played some pool, the guys played golf while we did more shopping, watched the K-1 on TV (I was gutted to have missed it live, but my trainer won his fight so all is well) and ate and drank too much.

There was one pretty funny time on Saturday night when mum had had a few wines. We got into a discussion about the death of The Crocodile Hunter and whether he was asking for it but swimming over the stingray. That was mum’s opinion. I told her that if he was killed by monkey’s while filming a documentary, she’d have a different view (she likes monkeys). She accused me of mocking her. Fair enough I suppose. I was.

I made things worse then by giving her a shot of dishwashing liquid in an egg cup and telling her it was Vermouth (which she loves). That didn’t go down too well, literally.

There’s that old saying about being able to choose friends but not family. I’ve been dealt a pretty good hand when it comes to mine. They serve as both.

I don’t ever plan on forgetting that.