Filthy cats

It was VERY tempting to go really inappropriate with that title…

An EXCEPTIONALLY annoying thing has started to happen over the last month or so. After 4.5 years of owning cats, I’m at a loss as to why it would suddenly start up.

We have burmese cats. They are renowned for getting killed on the road at night. They don’t have the ‘flight’ half of the fight or flight instinct, so they just try and stand-off anything that poses a threat. That’s my kinda cat. But someone ought to tell them that the car will always win. So we shut our cats in at night. As soon as the sun goes down we lock their cat door. It has always worked well. On the (not so) occasional night when we unexpectedly stay out all night (admittedly not for some time now!) they would spend the night inside anyway – it’s all they know.

In June we went to Samoa for a week on holiday and had a housesitter stay with the cats. The very first night she stayed, Chico ‘did his business’ inside. Cleverly, he chose to do it just hours after I told her that our cats don’t need a dirt box. Good form, Chico. A cat after my own heart. Admittedly, I’m blaming it on Chico for no good reason, other than the fact that he does most of the naughty stuff that goes on in our house. It obviously wasn’t Shaun, because he was with me.

Since that night, it’s happened about 3 more times. Usually the shitting is followed up by hours of very loud miaowing and scratching around. Being the clean things that cats are, they unfortunately expend a lot of effort trying to bury the mess – in the wooden floorboards. All they succeed in doing is spreading it around.

I am grateful that they have always done it on the wood or the tiles – never on the carpet. I asked mum what she thought I should do and she suggested that we put down the dirt box every night – according to her the cats need to feel proud of their cleanliness. Cat pride is very important, apparently.

I’ve decided that I can’t cope with the idea of a box full of shit in the house. When we were in Hong Kong last week I got one for the house sitter and it was just gross. The cats used it every night just because they could.

So we’re going to bite the bullet and leave their door open at night. I hope they only go outside to ‘use the garden’ and spend the night inside.

Bloody hell. How often do you need to get up in the night to crap? I can’t say that I EVER have.

Oh – except for the unfortunate bowel evacuation pill experience.

Krug

Aside from the growing people inside of me which tend to dominate my thinking, I also have finances on my mind. It’s easy to think conceptually about the fact that we are going to lose one of our incomes in 10 weeks, but the actual reality of it hasn’t really sunk in yet.

I am surrounded by pregnant friends and each of them have very different philosophies regarding returning to work. I am the only one that is planning to be a stay at home mother for the indefinite future. I would like to be there for my kids until they are at least 3 or 4 years old. My mother was and that is part of what made my childhood so magic. Sure, I can run the business part time while they are at kindergarten etc, but my full time job is going to be that of a mother.

So… finances. I earn between 1/4 and 1/3 of our household income. We are fortunate in that regard. I have friends that were the primary income earner before they left to have kids. That would be difficult. I have other friends that can only take a short leave of absense in order to keep their career on track. I never meant for software development to be my career anyway, so I have no qualms about leaving it.

But it’s all very easy to talk about how things are going to change. I have no concept of how it will be in actuality. I have been trying to give Shaun a reality check. A significant portion of his income is commission based. We can’t do a monthly budget like most people. I’ve laid out the circumstances of a month when he makes very little commission. He got a fright.

Before we went to Hong Kong we agreed that we wouldn’t blow wads of cash on shopping like we usually do when we travel. I stuck to the deal and spent a grand total of $300 – all of it on baby stuff. Shaun wasn’t quite so successful. On my birthday I told him I was going to have a glass of champagne – the first (and probably only) drink during my pregnancy. I’ve had a couple of sips of wine and it tastes terrible (which is a relief) so I was only going to go cheap. Shaun bought a bottle and we toasted the night. He was so excited that I drank the glass, even though it tasted like crap. He went on and on about how good it was. I asked him what it was.

It was Krug.

At NZ$500 for the bottle.

I think he still has a bit of reality checking to do.

Thankful. SO thankful.

A year ago I would tell anyone that would listen that it was my dream to have twins. One pregnancy and bang – all done. Half of the people agreed and the other half laughed at me. All of them figured it was a pipe dream.

When it happened no one could believe it. On the way to my first scan all I could think about was seeing a heartbeat. I joked about seeing heartbeatS but I didn’t really dare to think that I’d be that fortunate. But I was. I’d hit the jackpot. I hit it again last week when I found out that I’m pregnant with a girl and a boy. The ‘perfect family’ (not my words). Before you know the gender people always ask what you would prefer. I would always just say healthy babies, but that’s a pretty cliched response. The truth is, I never let myself think on it too much for fear of jinxing the luck I’ve had so far. But when I saw that scan I realised that it really couldn’t get any better.

Ever since this pregnancy reached the 12-week ‘safe stage’ I’ve thought about how incredibly lucky I am on a daily basis. I used to say that I don’t really believe in luck. Outside the family you are born to, you make your own luck. But I’m rethinking that.

Last week one of my best friends lost his mother suddenly and unexpectedly. It happens, sure, but it’s easy to take life for granted if you’re not occasionally confronted with mortality. Two days ago another friend fell from a balcony and is now fighting for his life. At best, he faces a future with severe brain damage. My heart breaks for him and his family, and it’s a real reminder of just how really, really fortunate I am.

If I believed in a god I’d be thanking it.

Honey, I’m ho-ome.

So I return from a week in Hong Kong. It was funny. For several months before we left, Shaun went on and on about how crappy it was going to be. How it’s the rainy season and it’s just going to piss down every day. How it’s hot and crowded and not at all relaxing. After only the second day he told me how much he loves the place and how he can’t wait to come back.

It was our annual ‘Honours Club’ trip (Shaun’s work incentive) which means it’s 5-star and paid for by someone else. Those are the best kinds of holidays. We spent a week in Kowloon doing the mandatory shopping and sightseeing and then a couple of days up north at the ‘Gold Coast’ relaxing at a resort (surrounded by high-rises).

The weather was perfect (if stinking hot is your thing – and it most definitely is mine). There was rain – it lasted about 30 seconds one day when I was in the pool. By the time we registered what it was, it was gone. (Very important note: I was NOT wearing a bikini and subjecting other holiday makers to my inflated body. I was wearing shorts and a tank-top. I do have SOME self respect.) The temperature averaged around 30 degrees, which was a bit of a shock after our stock-standard 15 degree winter days. Most people that visit Hong Kong are knocked about by the humidity, but they’re not Aucklanders. 80-90% humidity is pretty standard here as well.

I spent the majority of my time trawling baby stores (I never thought I’d see the day that I was sitting here writing that!) rather than boozing, which makes a (refreshing?) change. I had some success. I managed to spend half my budget on two baby Dior t-shirts (which will most likely fit the babies for a couple of months, making the purchase even more ridiculous) and the other half on very sensible baby-grows, just to prove to myself that I am a responsible mother!

So I like Hong Kong. I don’t particularly like holidaying pregnant, but due to the very clever way in which I have managed to get doubly knocked up, I won’t ever have to do it again!

Life is good.

Holiday time.

Today is one of those days that seems to have been dragging on forever and it’s only half past nine in the morning. This time tomorrow I’ll be on a plane bound for Hong Kong and I can’t wait. It would be accurate to say that I have my fair share of holidays, but I suspect that is all about to change. Heading overseas might lose a bit of it’s charm with two babies to cart around!

So Hong Kong. We’re only going for a week, but it’s all paid for by someone else. That’s the best kind of holiday. It’s Shaun’s sales incentive trip. We’ve been fortunate enough to see some pretty amazing countries thanks to his job (and his performance!). Next year is Sun City, South Africa. The babies will be just old enough to leave  with Shaun’s mum for a week, with any luck…

It has been interesting trying to get fat clothes for the Hong Kong heat. It’s the middle of winter here at the moment so all the maternity shops are full of wool. It’s next to impossible to buy clothes online when you don’t know what size you are this week, let alone what size you’ll be in a few weeks when they arrive. So I’m going to look… interesting. Lucky no one in Hong Kong knows me.

So Bon Voyage me. I’ll catch you all in a week.

A million clocks

There is nothing like a headache to really do your head in. I am reading a book at the moment that describes a headache as like “being in a really huge clock shop where it’s always 12 o’clock”. That’s how I felt yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that.

The headache first struck me down in the middle of the night. At least, it would have, had I not been down already. I woke up and thought I was dehydrated. I got up and sculled as much water as I could. That did nothing. I lay awake for half an hour before I decided to check the time. It was 2am. Shaun was snoring.

At 2:30am I turned my light on to do some reading. Not the most cunning of moves when you’ve got a headache, but lying there doing nothing was driving me nuts. I read for an hour, by which stage the snoring had graduated into a full blown animal symphony that no amount of kicking seemed to affect. Blocking his nose worked temporarily, but only long enough for him to wake up in fright, apologise, then start up again.

I decided to get up and sleep on the couch before I committed an act of grievous bodily harm. Unfortunately I didn’t sleep. I lay staring at the ceiling until 6am. We didn’t have any panadol in the house and it’s the only safe painkiller when you’re pregnant.

So I spent yesterday at home with a sore head. I decided to see my specialist as in combination with the spectacular blood noses I’ve been getting, headaches can be a sign of high bloodpressure – dangerous in pregnancy.

But no, I’m fine. And now I have some weird pills to take that stop nausea – which I don’t have – because they have a side-effect – stopping headaches.

So the clocks have stopped and I’m back on track.

Inhuman behavior

There is a basic code of behavior that every human being should conform to in order to ensure the smooth running of the world. I concede that this is a fairly holistic view of life, but I would have thought that it was common sense.

It’s election year here. The childishness has started already. There is nothing like an election to really bring out the pathetic nature of adults that as a general rule are pretty upstanding citizens. Last weekend at a party conference, someone covertly recorded the conversations of a few MPs that had overindulged at the cocktail bar. They were doing nothing but speaking the truth. Unfortunately it wasn’t the same version of the truth they speak in public. Enter the three ring circus…

I’m experiencing bad behavior in other areas of my life. People that are saying and doing things that serve no purpose that I can see other than to hurt others. Yesterday I got caught up in a confrontation with someone that just wasn’t seeing sense. I suppose anger can make people pretty one eyed.

Since I’ve become pregnant I feel like I see some things much more clearly. New things are important to me. Things that used to be important now seem trivial. I feel outraged considerably more often than I used to. I look at the world and feel sad for people that don’t have joy and angry at people that take it from others.

If everyone really did stop and think before they acted then this world would be somewhere that I’d feel a whole lot better about bringing my two children-to-be into.

So stop, people. And think.