Driven

I was telling Shaun on our way home from dinner that I need a faster car. He told me that I wasn’t getting one until I learned to take care of the one that I currently have. What is he? The car police? I LOVE my car. I keep it clean and immaculately tidy. The only issue I have is with hitting things. But like I told him, they’re called bumpers for a reason.

He disagreed with me. He told me that bumpers are designed as they are so that if you hit a pedestrian the bumper will flex enough so that the car isn’t damaged and the pedestrian will bounce off. What the hell? He just made that up.

Shaun then proclaimed that my problem is the fact that I don’t pay enough attention. I disagreed. He said that you don’t take out emergency stairwells when you’re paying attention. I don’t think that’s the problem at all. The problem is that I am a bad judge of distance. Most of the time I know that the thing I’m about to hit is there, I just don’t realise quite how there it is.  The only time I’ve ever hit anything at pace was the time I reversed back and smacked my wheel on a pole at full speed. That bent the stick thing that holds the wheel on. It was bad, but highly entertaining at the same time.

The reason I decided that I needed a faster car is because I have an obsession with beating people across the intersection when the lights change. I don’t drive ridiculously fast the rest of the time, it’s just at the lights. I was sitting there, riding my clutch, ready to go. The car beside me turned left. I felt cheated. Then Shaun told me that the other guy could have smoked me anyway, he had an A6. So now I need a faster car.

By this time in the trip we had reached the roundabout just by where we live. It’s a huge intersection with 5 contributing roads – all of them main ones. I have lived near it for most of my life. It isn’t in the least bit daunting for me. One thing that annoys the hell out of me though is people that don’t know how to indicate at roundabouts. You are supposed to indicate in towards the roundabout until you are between the street you are going to turn into and the one previous, at which stage you start indicating out. Easy. But nooooo… Shaun disagrees. He says you indicate out the whole time. How the hell does that work? I never picked him to be one of the idiots! Well, not in the car. 😉

Anyway, all this car talk was going on while I was driving us home from dinner. I was the designated driver. The designation came about by our usual ballot system. We both go out and start drinking as fast as possible and then say to the other “You’ll have to drive, I’ve drunk too much”. Last night I got stuck talking and Shaun got in first. Speaking of firsts, I think that’s the first time it’s ever happened. So I drove. And when I got sick of arguing about driving I told him that if he wants me to drive then the new rule is that he isn’t allowed to talk.

I might actually make him sit in the back next time.

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The fever

I have an affliction. I’ve been struck down in the worst way with Christmas fever. I’m over excited, and that’s dangerous. I’ve done all my gift shopping, I’ve bought new decorations for the tree, I’ve organised secret santa in the office, I’ve given Shaun specs for the christmas tree and I’ve searched the house for my own gifts. Now I’m beside myself with waiting.

I finished my shopping yesterday. I only had dad left to buy for. Usually dad is the tricky one. I hate buying stuff for the sake of it – I love buying gifts and I like to get something that the person really wants. This year was easy. Dad has taken up some new hobbies. They are interesting ones. Not the activities themselves, but the circumstances surrounding them. Because mum has been busy writing her doctorate every weekend, he has taken up golf. That in itself isn’t unusual, but the fact that he plays in a ladies 4 is. I thought about buying him a womans golfing outfit. He has a great sense of humour and would no doubt have worn it. I was even more entertained yesterday when I asked him if he wanted to come christmas tree shopping on Saturday morning. He told me that he couldn’t because he has taken up cycling. Cool. I asked him who with. I didn’t expect the answer, although perhaps I should have. A womens cycling squad. Hmmmm.

Anyway, enough taking the piss out of dad. I got him a golf outfit. A mans one.

I got mum a fountain pen. She has always wanted one. I want to get something engraved on it. A short quote to do with writing. I was thinking “We cherish your words” but any better suggestions would be well received.

I got Shaun a gold trundler, Mary a (haha – not telling – I know you read this) and am contributing towards some kind of electronic organiser that mum is getting for Dave. Julio is getting cat treats and Chico is getting a toy.

I spent ridiculous amounts of money on decorations. Now that we have a big house we can get a huge tree. The ceiling stud is 14ft. Shaun is trying to convince me that a tree that big won’t fit on our trailer. I’ll make it fit. So I’ve bought trillions of white doves (and a few red ones) to stick on the tree. The only forseeable issue is the fact that this is Chico’s first Christmas so erecting a large tree full of birds in the lounge may be asking for trouble.

I am then going to stick fairy lights all over the front of the house – another activity that Shaun isn’t wild about.

But that’s never stopped me before.

Mental

I’ve been thinking about mental health lately. It is so something that I take for granted. I suppose that anyone that isn’t confronted with it does. I have never suffered from any lapse in mental health and neither has anyone in my immediate family. It wasn’t something that I really learned about growing up.

When I started working at Youthline I was fairly rapidly educated. A large number of the calls we receive are from people looking for support between sessions with their doctors. I am suddenly exposed to the way people’s minds work when they’re really not working. It is fascinating, but can be damn frustrating. I had to learn to empathise with someone going through something that just makes no sense at all to me.

Late last year, one of my closest friends was diagnosed with a serious pysciatric illness. It twisted her world. It twisted my world. Every time I said something I wondered if she took it how I meant it or if it was distorted into part of a conspiricy in her head. It was hard watching her change. I felt selfish – I was sorry for myself because I felt like I was losing a friend.

 A couple of weeks ago, someone close to me was diagnosed with depression. Listening to him describe how it feels is like listening to someone trying to tell me how to work the stock market. It breaks my heart to know that he has stuff going on that he can’t control. I know to a degree how that feels, but at least with seizures I am in control of my thoughts. The idea of losing that scares me to death.

And then last night I had a girlfriend over for dinner. She was talking about her experiences over the past year and how she has become aware of the opportunities she misses as a result of having no confidence. She is an outwardly confident person – one of the most bubbly I know, but she suffers terribly from internalised insecurity – the result of mental illness. She believes that she unconsciously sabotages opportunities as a result. I listened to her talking about it and can see so clearly how competant she is, but felt so helpless to communicate that to her. There is no point in telling her – she knows on a logical level – but her brain overrules that when it comes to the crunch.

I was talking to mum about it and she reminded me that it’s important to remember that I simply don’t understand.  Trying to explain to someone where they are going wrong, or trying to ‘fix’ them is not only pointless, but it is frustrating for both parties. It’s like telling a smoker that smoking is bad for them.

I suppose that aside from a rambling philosophical post, I’m trying to express my gratitude for the fact that I have been so protected from mental illness in my family.

Some people might think that having seizures qualifies as pretty awful, but I can just take a pill each and forget about it.

Well, 6 pills.

Why?

Last night as I struggled to get yet another wedding invitation to print out so that it looked how it looks in my head, I wondered why the hell I do this. It was sunny outside. I’d already worked my 8 hour day and spent my lunchtime in the gym. I’d taken a break between jobs in order to cook dinner and make Shaun’s lunch for today (yup – I actually am a good wife, believe it or not) and all I wanted to do was make the most of the last bit of the day and then curl up on the couch and watch some crappy TV.

But no. Hell no. My evening was spent printing, cropping, folding, reprinting so that everything was moved 5 mm, cropping, folding, reprinting to move things back 3mm… you get the picture.

Once I had that invitation perfected, I had 200 flyers to print for a bar, an email address to set up, 3 web pages to complete and 60 pages to format for printing today. Those 60 pages would be the job I screwed up last week when I stuck the wrong bloody picture on the front of someone’s wedding invitation. It showcased their son in his pyjamas.

On the average day I’d be smiling with gratitude that business is going so well. But there are occasions when I sit down and ask myself why the hell I do this. No one else has to go home and work their second job. Well, some people do, but no one sensible. It’s not like we need the money. I have built something that has taken on a life of it’s own and now it would seem that there is no turning back. I run a business. It doesn’t run itself.

I know that what I am doing is a creating a solid foundation for my future. I’m working my butt off for the greater good. I’m a sensible girl. I have to keep reminding myself of this. Especially tomorrow evening when I have to take time off to go to my third job. The one I don’t get paid for.

Why?

Dodgy

Today I am feeling something that I haven’t felt in quite some time. Hung over. I drank cocktails yesterday like my life depended on it. Well, truth be told, I had about 4. For some reason I’m just not the drinking machine that I was. I guess it’s partly to do with the fact that I’m out of practice, but I’m also fairly sure that it has something to do with a supplement that I’m currently taking. It makes me feel nauseated if I have an empty stomach – which is exactly how I’m feeling right now. The strange thing is that I had the cocktails at lunchtime yesterday. Then I went home, had dinner, threw up and went to bed early. I figured the puking was alcohol related, but now I’m not so sure.

Anyway, it was a good weekend. It started off badly – I screwed up a job that I spent all of Friday night working on. After 3 hours of creasing and folding invitations I discovered that I’d printed the wrong photo on the front. It was the right people (that would be even more ridiculous) but an old version. So I have to do them all again…

I’ve been doing several scatterbrained things lately. I’m not sure what’s causing it. I put away a dishwasher-full of dirty dishes yesterday and I keep forgetting what I’m talking about in the middle of sentences.

On Saturday we went to Fight Night III. Once again I got the sulks over not being able to get in the ring, but I now suspect that I wouldn’t pass a medical anyway (they don’t particularly like epileptics fighting) so perhaps it’s just saving me from disappointment. Besides, I’d rather be pregnant, and I know for a fact that the don’t like pregnant women in the ring!

Then yesterday it really felt like summer had arrived (am I saying that every day at the moment?) so we had lunch with friends down by the water – hence the cocktails. So today I have post-cocktail disease.

It’s going to be a long day.

Nothing but a piece of ass

Today I come to you a broken woman. I’m fairly sure someone carried out ass-replacement surgery on me during the night because it sure as hell feels like it’s made out of stone this morning and it certainly doesn’t respond to the signals my brain is trying to send it to carry out simple tasks like walking up stairs.

Last night at training we did leg circuits. I am one of those unfortunate women that has cyclists thighs, only I don’t cycle and never have. My trainer has decided to try and develop them into solid kicking weaponry, much to my disgust. So I spent an hour squatting against the ropes (that doesn’t sound particularly good) holding on to a swiss ball until I thought I was going to puke. When I finished and tried to kick, I knew today was going to be bad.

This morning I dragged my broken ass out of bed and it was as bad as I had suspected. I hit the boxing gym and things proceeded to get worse. Of all the cruel coincidences, we did leg circuits. That involved strange combinations of backward rolls and squats. Things started badly when I hit the mat for my first backward roll. I was wearing a halter top and had worked up a sweat during the first few rounds of punching. This served as perfect lubrication to slide me straight off the mat and under the ring at high speed. It hasn’t been cleaned under there in a couple of years. Not ideal.

Once I had suffered through the leg circuit for half an hour we moved on to abs. Another new excercise. This time I was hanging from a frame on the wall and lifting my whole body up and over my head until my knees were on the wall behind me. I was making noises that I didn’t know I was capable of making. The guys were pleased that I’d stopped screaming “Fuck, my ass, my ass” at the top of my voice at the same time. That was drawing undue attention from passers by.

So now I’m sitting at my desk trying to squeeze the last bit of strength from my core in order to stay upright on my chair.

And I tell you what, I’m not looking forward to tomorrow.

I’ll help you up

I have always counted myself among that group of fortunate people who are born to amazing parents. Mum and dad have always been strong and supportive. I rely on them more than I realise at times.

As I grow older, I get the occasional glimpse of their vulnerabilities. I think that is probably a combination of me becoming more astute and them letting me in. The part of me that doesn’t want to let go of my childhood feels slightly sad and insecure about the fact that my parents are fallible, but on the whole I’m proud that they respect and value me enough to let me see who they really are.

Both mum and dad are going through a down time at the moment. Late last week dad had yet another skin cancer cut out. I’d guess that he’d be up to about number 10. The results of the biopsy came back yesterday as malignant melanoma. They got it early enough so as to be able to remove it all effectively (dad is vigilant about getting checked – he can’t afford not to be) but it would still be a scary thing to hear.

Dad is one of those people that always sees the bright side of things, and even when there isn’t one, he never lets that affect those around him. He’ll come up with some stupid joke to deflect any concerns that people have. But I worry with him.

Mum is having a depressing time. She has been slogging her guts out for the last 5 years to get her PhD doctorate written whilst working full time and doing several volunteer positions. She gets up at 4am to write, and I don’t remember the last time she had a free weekend at home.

A couple of weeks back she announced that she had finished her writing and was just waiting to hear back from her supervisors. I have never seen her look so elated and relieved. It’s been like a monkey on her back for the last year or so. She no longer enjoys the writing – in fact, she hates it – but she’s too far gone to just let it go. Earlier this week she heard back from the supervisors, who told her that their stance on a whole lot of things they had said previously has changed, and that she still has a shit load of work ahead of her. It’s really broken her spirit and that is hard to see.

For the first time in my entire life she sent out an email to my siblings and I saying that she is devastated but is too angry and hurt to talk about it. We didn’t know how to react. Dave called me asking whether I was going to contact her. Then Mary emailed asking the same thing. Mum is our rock and we just don’t know what to do. The issue may seem like a trivial one to some people, but if you’d seen what she’s invested into this over the last few years it really puts things into perspective. It would be like building a house and watching it burn straight down before you moved in.

I emailed her yesterday saying that I was thinking of her. Her response really touched me. She mentioned that one of her close friends had commented on the fact that mum doesn’t really share things any more. She keeps her emotions bottled up. Mum said that in fact, that isn’t the case. It’s just that now we are her best friends and she comes to us for support.

I told her that that’s why I want children. I want people to love me as unconditionally as I love my mother.