Where the hell did that come from?

Last night an interesting thing happened. It is cat related. Now that I’m a responsible non-drinking mother-to-be, most of the interesting things that happen in my life seem to be either other-people or animal related. Que cera.

When I got home from work yesterday Chico was spending more time than usual in our bedroom. He was sort of sniffling around on the carpet. I thought it may have had something to do with the half eaten bread roll I had found under our bed that morning and thrown out, so I ignored him.

We had people over for dinner and the cats did their usual show-off-like-idiots for the entire night after me going on about how well behaved they are. Thankfully there was no dragging out of the dirty contents of the washing machine this time. There was just an awful lot of chasing each other around at pace.

When the guests left we got ready for bed. Chico continued on with his sniffling around and Julio joined him. They seemed to be trying to get under the Shaun’s dresser. I started getting suspicious so I asked Shaun to take a look (I can’t get anywhere remotely near the floor these days). He pulled the bottom drawer out but there was nothing there. Both cats jumped in and wouldn’t come out. There was a strange noise though. He pulled the bottom drawer out of my dresser as well but there was nothing there.

Then all of a sudden there was very much something there. A bird appeared from behind the dresser. What the hell? How long had it been there and how can a live bird be in someone’s room without them knowing? The poor thing must have been hiding there for quite some time considering how long Chico had been doing that sniffling for.

Shaun caught it in my trousers (upon rereading that sounds ridiculous) and threw it outside.

He then spent the next 15 minutes cleaning up it’s crap. Birds sure do a lot of crapping themselves.

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Vroom vroom

After many years of publicly bagging vehicles with automatic transmissions (they’re for girls, they have no guts, it’s not really driving etc etc) I’ve finally gone turncoat and bought one. Yup – I got my new truck.

While most people seem kinda shocked that in today’s recession (I refuse to be one of those people that refuses to say recession) I’ve bought a bigger car, rather than followed the trend of downgrading, it’s actually not the case. While the car certainly appears bigger, it uses cheaper gas and less of it. I know that gas consumption has a lot to do with the way I drive, but it’d be impossible to ring this truck the way I rung the Impreza. I feel quite sad about that.

So I now own a large black Mitsubishi Outlander. It’s my first ever brand new car and it couldn’t have come at a better time. This week is cold, wet and dark. Just what you need when you want to test our your new heated leather seats and your automatic wipers & headlights. I swear, I just jump in and go. You don’t even need a key! The car does pretty much everything for you. I find myself resenting the fact that I have to steer.

So I’ve gone from the realms of the boy racer to that of the soccer mum.

Still, if you’ve got to drive a people-mover, you might as well make it a great big ****-off black truck.

The football hold.

Last night we started the dreaded ante-natal (Lamaze) classes. I’ve been hearing horror stories from guys at work who are going to them with their wives. One guy said that a woman with a moustache talked about things that have put him off sex for life. Another guy told me about the amazing-two-headed-lady video. I don’t even want to go there in my mind.

Turns out that one of the benefits of having a multiple pregnancy is twin ante-natal classes. Almost all twin pregnancies in NZ are done by c-section. There is just too much of a risk of foetal distress for the second baby if you birth naturally. So our classes are all about the drugs (and the surgery, but I prefer to just focus on the drugs).

There was a highly entertaining moment when we had to practice tandem breastfeeding with dolls. I harbour a few concerns as a result of watching Shaun pass me the babies by the scruff of the neck. I’ve got the ‘football hold’ down to a fine art. It involves holding one baby under each arm. Not quite how I’d imagined spending my days. And nights.

So we learned a lot. Some good, some bad. I had a fight with one of the women over whether it is possible to tell whether same sex twins in seperate sacs are identical or fraternal without a DNA test. It’s not, but I let her walk away being wrong without hitting her.

Pregnancy really has mellowed me.

There was nothing perfect about it

We have just come out of “the biggest storm ever”. It cracks me up how the media sensationalise things. As it turns out, the biggest ever actually means the biggest since the last really big storm we had, which was Cyclone Bola back in 1989. That particular storm will forever stick in my memory because it struck while we were on our 4th Form camp. The kind of camp where you stay in tents. I’m sure you see where I’m going with this…

I guess most people would think that we are pretty exposed to weather extremes down here in the middle of millions of miles of ocean, but we’re actually not. We are ‘sub-tropical’ which means that we get the mild temperatures but not the tropical storms. The South Island gets pretty damn cold in the winter, but the temperatures don’t sit sub-zero for particularly long periods of time. We have a range of mountains in the middle that are good skiing, but in Auckland 8 degrees is a cold night.

Cyclone Bola is the only bad storm in my living memory. It pulled out some trees and ripped off some roofs, but those were few and far between – we only saw them on the news. We get heavy rains that cause flooding relatively regularly, but that’s about as bad as it gets. This storm was bad in that 5 people were killed. Some of those deaths were pretty tentatively linked to the storm though. Like the guy who died when his house burned down as the result of a candle that he lit when the power went out. One of the other deaths was that of a guy that had gone kayaking. While I hate to make light of the tragedy of the loss of his life, come on… kayaking? We were warned about this storm for most of the preceeding week. It didn’t strike out of the blue.

I laughed this morning when they had a breakdown of the damage on the news. There were lots of photos of trees that had blown over. The met service guy explained that trees are like earth’s hair. They like leaning in a particular direction and if they are forced to go the other way, they tend to fall out.

So there was a fair bit of balding that occurred over the weekend, but aside from that, things seem pretty intact.

What’s in a name?

Thinking up baby names is a strange thing. It’s kinda like naming a pet, only you’re affecting the entire life of a person. Because you’re thinking up the names before the babies are actually born, it’s more about you than them. What someone names a child reflects on them. It’s not until later that it reflects on the  child.

We have a reputation for pet naming and it’s not altogether a good one. When we named our first pair of cats we decided to each come up with the most ridiculous name we could think of. Shaun came up with Julio. I came up with Les. The great thing about those names is that they sound even more ridiculous together. (Apologies to anyone reading this blog who comes from a country where Julio or Les are not ridiculous names.) Unfortunately Les died last year so we got another cat. I wanted to call him Jesus – partly in honour of Les who died on Good Friday and failed to rise again, and partly because I knew it would annoy my mother. Shaun vetoed the idea because it might affect how the vet feels about him, so we went with the backup plan – Chico.

My mother adopted a cat a few years back that (according to his tag) was called Chico. After several months it became clear that Chico wasn’t going home so she removed the tag and renamed him. His old name wasn’t to be mentioned.

I seem to have digressed slightly from my children to my pets.

When I was 17 I had a boyfriend who had a brother named Hunter. I have known since then that that is what I am going to name my first child – regardless of gender. I was fortunate enough to marry someone who also loves the name. What I hadn’t banked on at the age of 17 was twins.

I like non-gender specific names. I like the idea of knowing what we are going to name our children before they come out. I don’t want to have 4 names thought up in preparation. I also don’t believe that you can look at a day old baby and think “he definitely looks like a [name]”.  Unless [name] is Small Angry Pink Monkey.

I used to agree with the concept of keeping your potential children’s names to yourself so that people don’t voice opinions, but I’ve never been good with secrets. So our twins are going to be name Israel and Hunter.

I can’t wait to meet them.

The cold hard truth

Secrets and lies have a way of catching up with people. That’s nothing new, but it’s incredible how some people seem to go through their lives constantly balancing on a raft of dishonesty. There are varying degrees of dishonesty and they serve different purposes. My brother, for example, spends his life hiding behind a veil of ‘lies by omission’ and he does it to protect himself from having to deal with the reality of the choices he has made.

Life doesn’t need to be complicated. Sometimes things happen and when they do, you need to pick up the pieces and move on. Take responsible action and don’t try and gloss over things. People are very forgiving creatures, but there is only so much anyone will take if you don’t show them the respect they feel they deserve.

For a long time I’ve watched my brother struggle with transparency. He seems to think that if he skirts around the truth and avoids talking about things that they will just go away. I suppose that is probably true of some things. But not others. He’s currently in a whole world of hurt because of his decision to keep a very big secret. It got out, as secrets always do and I suggested that he came clean to all involved before things got out of hand. He said he would. He didn’t. Now he’s lost the girl he loves and it’s broken his heart.

It’s a shame because he’s a phenomenal guy and he has so much to offer, he just needs to realise that in order for a team to function well, all the members have to know what’s going on.

I love you my brother. I’m sorry for your loss but something had to break in order for you to mend.

From wine to water

Last night I survived my first social situation involving lots of alcohol whilst being pregnant. I’ve planned this pregnancy carefully so as to do it over winter while people are hibernating. I know from past experience that I don’t do well in situations where drinking is rife and I am sober. Aside from the fact that I quickly get annoyed by people, everyone is always so shocked to see me drinking water that they go on and on and on about it – another thing I’m not particularly good with.

Unfortunately though, being preggers over winter doesn’t mean that people stop having birthdays. I considered asking them but there’s only so much demanding people will put up with and I figure I’m better off saving mine up until I have babies.

So last night was the birthday dinner of one of my best friends. It was a small affair of around 20 people. Due to my hibernation, most of them hadn’t seen me since my slightly more svelte days, so it was rather a shock when I walked in looking like I’d been eating for months (which I have – but it looks like I’ve been eating big things. Like babies). So I got past the volley of “Oh my gods” and “Wow, I can’t believe it” and then the round of “Twins? Are you kidding?” followed by my favourite one – “But you look great!”. Well… thanks, but next time can you try and take the stunned surprise out of your voice?

So things went quite well. I drank water and everyone else knocked back wine. My friends were great – they didn’t make comments about not letting the fat girl in the photos, or keep asking me how it feels to be sober, or talk in detail about people they know that had disasterous birthing experiences. I was actually enjoing myself. I was quietly proud. I can do this! I can have fun sober! Perhaps I really am maturing! I’m going to be a great mother!

People kept trying to make me sip their wine. That interested me. Were they testing my willpower? I started trying to get them to sip my water. They soon tired of the game. It’s like telling the Jehovah’s Witnesses when they come to your door that you have some pamphlets you’d like to show them.

As the evening wore on, I noticed everyone getting louder. Little things started to annoy me. Shaun would put his cellphone in my handbag and then 5 minutes later decide he needed it and dig around under my chair for about 10 minutes looking for it. That process was repeated about once every half hour. I finally decided it was home time when his ‘talking’ got so loud that I got that kind of hum in my ear that you get after rock concerts.

I drove home feeling very proud of myself.

Shaun was obviously very proud of himself as well because he sat up in the middle of the night and said loudly “Nice one Shaun”.