The secret housewife

Some days it’s hard to drag oneself to work. Your head hurts, and because your head hurts you’re in a bad mood. You can’t concentrate, and looking at a computer screen all day makes it worse.

As a contractor I don’t get paid to be sick and I’ve just recently dropped my working days from 5 to 4 – which by the way doesn’t usually pan out because busy projects force me back at work on my proposed day off.  Calling in sick and going without the day’s pay just isn’t an option. Having said that, the wage does compensate.

On days like today, I can’t help but reminisce on my youth, school holidays or even sick days at home with Mum. My Mum was a housewife, she seemed to fill her days washing, ironing, cleaning, and of course cooking the meals.  She shopped on Thursdays with her Mum, my Nan, who lived next door.  She bought the fruit and veges each week  from the travelling fruiter Joe. She brought our linen from the door-to-door salesman whom she knew well because she was a long time customer. Her life was very routine, she didn’t go to the gym, she didn’t go out with friends, she lived what I would say a very simple life.

On days like today, at work with a headache, I can’t help but think my Mum had a good life, albeit simple. At least she could lie down when not feeling well. Once upon a time when I had little ones at home, I had it good.  I cooked and cleaned and tended the family, there were no pressures to meet unrealistic deadlines like in today’s corporate world.

Have women come too far?  Have we tipped the see saw a little too far our way that now it’s totally lopsided?

Women have it all these days, we have careers, we have oodles of friends for socialising, we marry, we don’t marry, we have kids, we don’t have kids but through all this we are still expected to do what our Mothers did back in the day.

Ok, some men take on some of the responsibilities but on the whole and with statistics to back up my claim, women are expected to do much more than every before in the history of woman.  Of course there are the single parents who have to do everything with little or no help to support the family and I feel for them.

The most rewarding work I do is on my days off.  I clean, shop, ensure all the washing’s up to date and I have even been known to cook a fancy dinner.  I know this enthusiasm will only last a day or so before the washing piles up. But that small piece of achievement I feel when I sit on the lounge after a full morning of being a housewife beats any feeling of achievement I get at work.  Maybe it’s a reflection of my job?

There’s also the pressure to look good and the older you get the better you should look. The gyms are full of women all ages trying to lose weight but our busy lifestyles push us to eat more unhealthy ready-made meals, we eat out more and we drink more. All this makes being thin and fabulous impossible without killing oneself at the gym while starving to death and dying for a drink.

With this new lifestyle we’ve achieved, it’s little wonder we’re losing the ability to cook, I for one fall into this category. It’s not that I can’t cook, I did manage to feed a family of five. But in those days I didn’t have a career. Now I’m too tired and too hungry when I get home from work and can’t be bothered to cook.  The fridge is usually full of dead veges that I bought on my day off with the intention to cook a few nourishing meals.

I’m getting exhausted just writing this blog.

I know my argument for being a housewife over a career woman is a bit lame, because around the lunch table with like-minded women we all agree we’re just plain exhausted but the conversation always comes around to the latest fashion trends, how much our last hair-do cost, shoes, our next overseas trip; what play, musical or band we’re going to see next. This all costs money, the money we career women earn.

But alas, I can’t help but think on days like today with my head pounding, that I’d give it all up to be a simple housewife,  with one exception – a housewife with gym membership because let’s face it, I wanna look good doing it.

Holiday Diary – Day one: Missing Tommy

Two weeks ago MOTH (man of the house) and I set off for a week’s drive from Sydney to the Great Ocean Road along Victoria’s south coast.  My underlying reason for this trip was to visit Portland Victoria, the supposed birth place of my birthmother and only a hundred or so kilometers from the end of the Great Ocean Road. I’ve known about Portland since obtaining my original birth certificate in 1990.  Even though all indications lead to the likelihood that she wasn’t born there, in fact there is zero evidence of her ever living there – at least not under the name she gave to the adoption agency at the time of my birth.  But I needed to understand what was significant about this place and why she gave it as her place of birth.

Anyway, I had to give MOTH an incentive to go with me on this journey so I talked up big the idea of a nice country and coastal drive visiting the 8 piglets (aka 12 Apostles of which 3 never existed and one just recently fell apart in the southern ocean) and generally seeing a small percentage of this great country we live in.

We’d had a big weekend with babysitting and a Sunday on the drink so we didn’t get off to an early start on the Monday, leaving around 10.30am.  We made several trips back and forwards from our apartment to the garage, which is 10 stories below, packing the car with luggage and several trips to get forgotten items so when we were about to set off we realised we’d forgotten to grab the TomTom.  Rather than make yet another trip upstairs to grab it,  MOTH noted that we both have maps on our smart phones so we’d be OK and therefore didn’t need to make the trip back to the apartment to get the TomTom(or Tommy as I call mine).  I was dubious about this as I really hate the maps on the phone and also the lack of an Irish women (who is my Tommy’s voice) to tell me where to go but decided he was probably right as we’d only be going to small towns anyway.

Side note:   As you can probably guess, this was a mistake.  Given my bad eye sight, especially in the brightness of day looking at a tiny screen with a tiny map, I had Buckley’s chance of being a capable navigator.  Every time a map reading was required we had to stop so MOTH could read the map– which funnily enough we were required to do often.

After about 15 minutes and less than 10 kilometres from home, I realised I’d also forgotten my contact lenses. Or at least I didn’t have enough to get me through the next 6 days or more.  Rather than go back home to get some– more to the point – after MOTH said he wouldn’t turn around and told me that I’d just have to wear my glasses.  But the idea of being a four eyed git during my holiday didn’t appeal to me so I decided to call ahead to the OPSM store in Albury, our destination for the first night to see if I could purchase a box of lenses with a power of 4+. Unfortunately the Albury store and the other OPSM stores along our way (Liverpool and Goulburn) only stocked lenses with a minus power (4-), bloody typical.  Anyway, I’d finally tracked down some trial lenses, enough to get me through several days at least, from the OPSM at Campbelltown and thankfully it was only a small deviation off track.   I hadn’t been to Campbelltown shopping centre since 1989 so it and the surrounding territory were completely different and this deviation led to our first indication that not retrieving Tommy was a mistake – we were an hour into our 6 day driving holiday.

After our stop at Campbelltown Shopping Centre (aka Macarthur Square) where we had a bite to eat and a coffee and I’d managed to get enough contacts to last 4 days,  we were on our way – it was 12.30 pm – Albury here we come.

A few hours later, needing some petrol and another bite to eat, we choose Gundagai as our next stop.  As we approached Gundagai the signs for food and petrol indicated that we needed to pull off the Hume Hwy and that we did – several kilometers too soon – damn not having Tommy!  This slight deviation took us directly through the little township of Gundagai– nice to drive through, wouldn’t want to live kinda place. Finally after doing a big loop through the town we headed towards the highway and the petrol station and the only place to get a bite to eat besides the pub and a local greasy spoon is McDonalds.

This deviation got me thinking that once upon a time all traffic went through this and other little towns but now the highways bypassed them.  I couldn’t help but wonder if they’re missing the travellers’ dollars? I’m sure they have.  It also occurred to me that with a population of around 2,000 the biggest employer within the township itself must be McDonalds.  Kind of sad to think that this American icon, and I use the word loosely, which has been singled out by many nutritionists as one of the major cause of western society’s obesity problems now dominates the Australian landscape and provides the only food and drink to weary travellers.

We also made the call that we couldn’t be bothered going off course again to see the famous Gundagai’s Dog on a tuckerbox.  We’re hard to please people and knew we’d be bitterly disappointed by this silly statue – besides we were a couple on a mission and that was to get to Albury by 6pm.

Side note:  This was pretty much the flavor of the trip – we didn’t go off the path to see what we would consider silly tourist attractions that didn’t include a scenic view of water.

After filling up on petrol and food we hit the road – next stop somewhere for coffee, then Albury. And for this leg of the trip, me at the wheel.

The next two hours passed uneventfully.  Mostly a straight road, lots of farming land with either cows or sheep or nothing on them – bored!  Then after about 1.5 hours we saw a sign for a place called Holbrook. Neither of us had heard of it and we were surprised to find that we drove directly through the middle of the town right passed the park with a section of a disused (obviously) submarine – what the hell?

As we didn’t pass over or through or around a very large river we wondered why part of a sub was the main attraction – a sad one at that given as I mentioned before we are hard to please. We found out via mobile Google, the “HMAS Otway was bought by the locals to honor Lt. Holbrook the town’s namesake. The sub was decommissioned by the Royal Australian Navy in 1995 but the locals couldn’t afford the whole sub but through negotiations with the scrap yard in Sydney, the town did succeed in purchasing all of the outside skin of the Otway above the waterline”. Personally, I wouldn’t have bothered.

On the way out of town, which was roughly 200 meters long, we noticed the building of a bypass, so confused travelers like ourselves won’t even get to see the sad and sorry sub.  Kinda sad I guess.

Ok, next stop Albury and our first booked accommodation and as it happened the only night we pre-booked for the whole trip.

It was just on dark as we arrived into Albury. Neither of us had been there before. Thankfully MOTH was in the passenger’s seat because we didn’t have to stop to look at the tiny map to show us where the Motel was, however, we did make one wrong turn because MOTH wasn’t clear with his instructions – how I miss Tommy.  As it happened the motel was situated just as we veered off the main highway and right across the road from a large Bunning’s store one could almost see from Sydney (well almost). I discovered the Bunning’s store’s proximity to the motel via Google map street view just before we left that morning.

The motel looked cute – it was Tudor style but the surrounding industrial area let it down somewhat but it was only an overnight stay so we didn’t mind and we were pleasantly surprised to see inside the front window of the motel a very nice restaurant and bar area. As I was booking in, the receptionist said that if we’re interested in dining in the Motel’s restaurant, complete with not one but two great chefs, we would need to let her know.

We decided to take up on the dinner offer as it was late and we had no idea where the main shopping area was at that stage.

Side note:  As it turned out the only reason we needed to book a table is because the lovely restaurant we saw earlier was closed and all food was served in the breakfast dining area for that night – but more on that in a minute.

The room was nice with large dark furniture keeping with the dark Tutor colours.  The bathroom, although aging was clean.  However, MOTH noticed with his beady eyes the ceiling was peeling slightly. He went on about how they should tend to little imperfections like this as it detracts from the overall experience. Personally I couldn’t give a flying *bleep*.

We’d booked dinner for 7pm and after a quick shower and change headed down to the restaurant – or as previously mentioned the breakfast dining room.

On entry we couldn’t help but notice the very strong smell of chlorine and as we approached our nicely set table for two next to a railing, we realised that on a lower level was an indoor heated swimming pool.  What a strange place to have a dining area. And who would want to swim while diners watched on? Very strange!

I ordered an entrée of Kangaroo with a berry jus and a side of steamed veges as I didn’t like the main meal menu. MOTH, predictably ordered the Duck which on this occasion came with a cherry sauce.  Both dishes were ordered with the hope that a decent chef was on the case as both dishes can easily be botched.  Low and behold – the chef (or chefs as the receptionist boasted) botched both dishes.

To add salt to injury (so to speak) it wasn’t a cheap meal so we decided to pass on the desert, even though I was saving room for some.  I suggested we go for a walk to Dean Street which was the main shopping area, according to Wikipedia.  So armed with our tiny little map on MOTH’s iphone we headed off.  This is where the iPhone’s little map comes in handy – to those with good eyesight at least.

Once we reached Dean Street we were surprised to see how long it was and how many restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs lined the street.  All this, in what I consider to be the outback – wow!

Is this what all country towns are like?

Side note:  No, they’re not.

After we had our desert of coffee and hot chocolate – we decided we were full and the walk depleted our hunger for a sweet desert, we headed back to the Motel for a good night’s sleep and to continue our journey the next day.

Day two – Torquay Vic, here we come albeit after a minor deviation from a wrong turn in Albury.

Tommy I  miss you!

Who’s on first?

This blog is a personal account of what it’s like to battle depression.  You see, I’m a sufferer and have done so for around 12 years.

It’s not the type of depression where I have suicidal thoughts and I don’t have voices in my head, only mine.  But when I’m going through a period of depression, I find it hard to be motivated, I find it hard to get off the lounge, I find it hard to put dark thoughts aside and be positive.   I feel worthless, stupid and on the most part useless.

Along with the dark thoughts come obsessive compulsive behaviors – going over and over past situations, thoughts or conversations. This compulsion goes something like Abbot and Costello’s Who’s on First?  routine made famous in later years by Raymond Babbitt in the movie “Rain Main”.  It drives me crazy but I can’t stop.

The physical aspects are stomach cramps, headaches, lack of concentration, memory blocks, light headiness, leg cramps, neck stiffness and the list goes not depending on the severity of the depression.

I know the triggers – stress, confrontation, frustration, uncontrollable situations, disappointment, sadness, anger and anxiety.  When I’m exposed to one of more of these feelings, depression comes knocking at the door soon after and there’s no shutting it out.

I’ve tried anti-depressants but the side affects are worse than the depression itself.

I feel it’s arrival and I feel it living inside me. It’s in the pit of my stomach and inside my head.  You won’t see it, you won’t know it’s with me.  I’ll still be quick witted, funny and up-beat and even I will be fooled to think it’s passed. Then I’ll walk away, and the dark descends and I’ll be back in that place – “who’s on first?”

Having depression is bad enough but the biggest problem people with depression have, are the people around them who don’t understand, who don’t want to understand and on the most part just think you’re whining.  I always get the “just don’t worry about it” and “don’t think about it” or “don’t waste your time worrying about it” or “get over it”.

Oh really, thanks for that – I’ll just stop worrying. How could I be so stupid. Thanks for your advice!  All happy now! It was that easy!

I’m not special!

When I ask questions surrounding my adoption or try talking about my situation, especially to family, I get the usual stories about someone they (the person I’m talking too) know who was adopted but never wanted to find out who their birth parents were.   And of course there’s always the “your parents loved you” and lets not leave out my favourite –  “you where special”.  I got this just recently from a relative.  I felt like I was smacked across the face. I felt like they considered me to be disrespectful to my adoptive mum and dad for searching.

Firstly, “I’m not bloody special!”. Secondly, I realise all too well how lucky I was to be bought up in a loving and happy family” and “yes I know they loved me and I loved them”. Then I feel the need to defend myself by telling them my search is more about knowing my medical history, which is very true,  but not the only reason.

When I start defending my reasons for searching I know the conversation’s over and I’m sorry I raised the topic in the first place.  And afterwards I fall into a black hole and lose the will to do or say anything else to anyone who isn’t in the same situation.  Pack the whole subject back into the deep dark hole it’s been in for most of my life.

I just wish people who aren’t directly affected by adoption would shut the fuck up. And here’s a thought – why don’t you support us.  After all you know where you got your blue or brown eyes from and you know what to say to the Dr when he asks you about your family medical history.

I can’t love my adopted family any more than I do.  All of them.  I prove it time and time again after all:

  • It was me who spoke to my Mum everyday, be it by phone but mostly by popping in.
  • It was my kids who saw their Grand-mother and Great-grandmother many times per week before they passed away.
  • It was my kids who continued seeing their Great Aunt almost daily until we moved to Sydney.
  • It’s me who secretly calls a little in-let “Daphy Bay” after my Mum.  This little bay is overlooked by the hospital my Mum died in. It’s a peaceful bay surrounded by trees and a great place to go and reflect and cry for the Mum who raised me, the Mum who I miss terribly.

And I’m the one who feels isolated every time you open your mouth and in a small unintentional way make me fell guilty because I’m searching for my birth family.

The Green thing

Everyone with an email address has at some time received emails with jokes; links to You Tube clips, pictures, poems or stories from friends who have forwarded on these emails from their friends and so forth. The following email I received was one which I could relate too being bought up in an era before the environment was a major topic of Governmental concern.  A time when “we didn’t have the green thing” to worry about.

I don’t know where this story originated from so I don’t know who to quote as the Author. And if you search the internet you’ll see it appears on many blogs and Facebook pages so by no means this is my story but I liked it enough to share with those of you who haven’t seen it – Enjoy!

In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologised to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”  The clerk responded, ” That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

He was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soft drink bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilised and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s nappies because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Western Australia ..
In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.

When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water.
We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the tram, train or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi service.
We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerised gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Happy New Year’s resolution

As another year passes it’s time to reflect on the year that was – 2011.  A significant year in my life because nine days into it, I turned 50.

O.M.G 50!  Surely I’m not that old?

Anyway, my 50th year on this earth started with a 60s theme party with family and friends.  I was fit and healthy and I looked pretty good for an old bird.  I was having an extended break from work and I was looking forward to the year ahead – 2011.

As it turned out 2011 wasn’t my finest year. Looking back it may have been a negative response to turning 50 not helped by a couple of health issues brought to my attention only days after my birthday, nothing bad I should add and nothing to do with getting old.

I’ve always prided myself on being fit and healthy so I wasn’t expecting health issues to pop up for quite a long time so when a blood test highlighted a possible hyperparathyroid problem my reaction was over-the-top and one year on after numerous tests for all manner of possible ailments my health paranoias have been laid to rest.  The end result is there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with me – physically that is.  However, I can’t speak for my mental state but I now look forward to getting on with my life and living every moment doing what makes me relatively happy,  as one can be.

Bring on 2012!

So now it’s time to make some serious changes to my life.  Firstly, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s about time I make my first new year’s resolution after many years of avoiding them.  Maybe I’ll make several new year resolutions.  In fact I should make several lifetime resolutions, but let’s not get ahead of one self.

Maybe I’ll just start with a few new year resolutions.

Generally I don’t make them because by midday of the next day I’ve either forgotten I’ve made any or I think of excuses not to follow through,  so deciding on some resolutions I’ve got  the slightest chance to stick to will be the first hurdle to get over.  After that,  the second hurdle will be sticking to them past midday.

I realise I’m a little late with my resolutions so I’ve decided to start them from Monday 9th January 2012 – my 51st birthday.

O.M.G. I still can’t get over the fact I’m turning 51!

Anyway, I’ve been off work for a couple of weeks and in that time I’ve had very little interaction with the outside world. I’ve spent my time with the most important people in my life – my family and my very best friend – Me!

Spending time with Me has given Me the opportunity to reflect on the past year which has helped me come up with my 2012 resolutions.  I can’t contemplate making the stock standard resolutions such as losing weight, being nicer or helping others etc. My priority is to make resolutions that I feel comfortable with, to ensure I’m living every minute on my terms and the only people I’m accountable to are my family.

Here they are:

  • I’m not going to try and please everyone because on the most part, it doesn’t please Me.
  • I’m not young any more, so I’m not going to try and pretend I am. It wasn’t all that when I was.
  • It’s exhausting being funny and likeable – I’m tired!
  • Family comes first, everyone else a poor second because they won’t wipe my arse when I need it later on.
  • Other’s can bring you down, only Me can bring me up.
  • No one can change my life, it’s up to Me!
  • Silence is golden – so I’ll shut up!

So there you have them, my new year resolutions.  To sum up:  I guess I’m going to spend more time on my own or with my family. I’ll do what pleases me. I’ll live with no fanfare or funny antidotes to impart. I am the master of my destiny and I’ll do it in my time by myself.

On the other hand, I might forget them by lunch time on the 9th January or find excuses not to follow through – time will tell!

Happy New year!

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Costco – the exclusive club

Costco – the ultimate experience in shopping for stuff in bulk.  The average American’s favourite place to buy anything from doilies to cars, bulk toilet paper and  beef ribs by the dozen pound.  The place where low, middle and upper-middle class come together to grab a bargain.

On a whole there’s not much money saved by shopping at Costco. Don’t get me wrong there are lots of savings to be made on certain items,  but all-in-all when checking out,  the same amount of money is handed over. Although the trolley is substantially fuller, what’s making up the difference is more food, and let’s face it, it’s not healthy.  As a nation we’re getting fatter, present company included, and it’s places like Costco that don’t help the cause.

I can understand the temptation facing one on entry into the Costco superstore. There are endless amounts of bulk items at much cheaper prices. After you do the calculation from the bulk prices to the prices asked for from the mainstream stores such as Woolies and Coles it’s certainly appealing.  However, I’ve learnt that while not having kids living at home, having breakfast and lunch at work each day, any food I buy dies a sad, miserable, mouldy death in my cupboards and fridge. So the two kilo apple pie at Costco, which looks yummy by the way, will end in the same fate as most other food I buy on a whim.  So buying of bulk food is not an option for me.

It never ceased to amaze me at the full trolleys queued to the checkout. Surely the people pushing the mammoth trolleys can’t eat all that food? Although half of them look like they do. It’s the breeding ground for the next contestants of the Biggest Losers.

I don’t understand the concept of why you have to join Costco, at a cost of $60 per household, it’s not as if it’s an exclusive club.  But who am I too complain, after all I joined. I have the photo Id card to prove it.

You have to prove your membership before you go inside, you have to prove it when paying for your load and just before you break free you have to show the exit-door people your proof of purchase.  For goodness sake, how the hell can anyone steal from Costco? After all,  everything’s in bulk and they don’t have big mother-fucking trolleys for nothing.  And see what happens if you try to buck the system, as I observed on Sunday……

Man of the house (MOTH) and I were waiting in the long queue to pay and leave.  Our mother-fucking trolly barely had half-a-dozen items ranging from one kilo of salmon steaks, a one kilo pack of frozen berries, and a kilo of prawns. And a trip to Costco always provides me with a pack of my favourite sweets- baklava at a much reduced price.  Even so, our trolley consisted of the healthiest food by far, except the baklava of course.

Anyway, in front of us where three Chinese women:  two middle age and an older woman, probably the mother.  Between them they had two mother-fucking trolleys laden with food.  There were several large tins of cream puffs, packets of almond biscuits, large barrels of chocolate waver biscuits, just to name a few.  There were several dozen cans of drinks, two boxes x 12 serves of Tom Yum soup,  and tucked right down in the bottom of the trolley was four sad little pieces of steak – and not a grain of rice.

These three tiny Chinese women would easily make up one of me and I couldn’t help but think that the food they had spilling over their trolley can’t have been for them and if it was – well life just ain’t fair.  I was putting on weight just looking of the volume of food they had.

Maybe they owned a Chinese restaurant?  But I can’t see cream puffs on the menu. Maybe they have a large family? Maybe they’re stocking up on filler food for the herds of drop-ins over Xmas?  Whatever the excuse, I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of the situation, their trolley versus our trolley and their size versus ours.

As we made our slow journey to the checkout, it was finally the Chinese women’s turn to unload. The three women worked busily to unload all the food onto the counter and the  check-out chick scanned each item quickly and it wasn’t before long before it was time for payment.  At this stage I was chatting to MOTH and unloading our few items onto the counter.  Then I noticed that the three women were all diving into their wallets. A Chinese man showed up and he too was digging into his wallet.   “Oh great”, I thought. “They haven’t got enought credit on their card and now they’re going to muck us around while they find the hundreds of dollars to pay for their groceries”.  “Just my dumb luck to pick the problem isle”!

To make things worse the check-out chick was calling for Customer Service.  “Oh for fuck sake” I said to MOTH “what’s the problem now?”

No sooner did the Customer Service Manager turned up she was telling the main Chinese woman that the Costco ID card she produced wasn’t her in the photo and she couldn’t exit the store with the food,  as she or any of the other women with her were members.

It was about this time I forgot about my aggravation around the hold-up as I was intrigued as to what was unfolding in front of me.  I couldn’t help but smile with all three women pulling the “I can’t understand” stance.  It’s so cliche. And I laughed when I realised they tried to pull the “we all look alike” trick on the check-out chick by using another Chinese woman’s ID.  “This just gets better”, I thought.

When the women realised they weren’t getting away with the trick they tried to pull they make their way to the Customer Membership counter with the intention of joining Costco and returning to pay for their goods. But the Customer Service Manager wasn’t having any of that – she summoned a grocery packer to take the trolleys away at once. Wow, they’d have to go home empty handed or start all over again. I couldn’t think of anything worse. But you can’t go around tricking the Costco staff, they were clearly on to that scam.

The check-out chick actually told me when it was my turn to pay using my ‘real’ ID that she was sorry for the hold-up but it happens all the time. To which I thought, who’d the fuck be bothered with trying get out of paying $60 joining fee. You save that alone on the bulk loo paper – which I’m a big fan of now. Along with the 7.5 kilos of washing powder, 5 litres of floor cleaner and 5 litres of winder cleaner I have tucked away in my laundry cupboard.

On my next trip, I need to get some bulk paper toweling, dishwashing liquid, toilet cleaner and of course some baklava not to mention the second lot of bulk toilet paper.

Ah – you gotta love Costco really!

Kitty’s in a spin

I’ve just recently re-joined Fitness First so I can get back to my favourite exercise, the spin class. I’ve been doing spin classes on and off for over 5 years. My last spin class was when I worked in the CBD last year and I had access to a gym which was at ground level of the building I worked in, so I had no excuse not to do a lunch time spin class.

Since leaving that job, I’ve tried to motivate myself to go for a regular morning jog before work but the motivation and a hectic project put a stop to that.  What motivates me is a monetary outlay and access to several Fitness First gyms and night time spin classes that suit my schedule.  So three weeks ago I attended my first spin class in over 9 months and wow how I enjoyed being back.  The music, the darkened room, the blue lights making all the whites on our clothes illuminate adding to the ambiance of each session.

So far I’ve done spin classes at:

  • Carlingford
  • Pennant Hills
  • Castle Hill
  • Parramatta
  • Bond Street (CBD)
  • Market Street
  • Pitt Street
  • North Strathfield
  • Macquarie Park

The location changes but the ambiance doesn’t and given my observation speciality is people, on the most part the people that attend spin classes can be organised into the following distinct categories:

Let’s start with the instructors, mostly women as the case has been in my experience. All full time instructors, all with amazing bodies and all whom we wish we could look like albeit with some boobs and arse – not too much arse.  They motivate us just by looking they way they do, providing motivational chants during the class and driving us to go faster, to add more load so as to make the pedals heavier to turn and providing the music as an instrument to enhance the experience.

Then there are the “glamor pusses” – the ones with the crop tops, short shorts with logos such as “High Maintenance”. These girls are usually in their 20s, gorgeous,  but seem to be more motivated to attract men’s attention than to actually work out. Many wear their hair out, which I can’t think of anything worse than doing a spin class with a strand of hair touching my face. It’s the only class I leave with sweat pouring out of every possible sweat gland and I’m not usually a sweater.  I hope I painted a lovely picture for you!

But I’m awfully suspicious of these girls – do they really apply the resistance to the cycle?  Or do they free wheel during the class and make it look like their working hard when the rest of us apply so much resistance we can hardly turn the pedals?

And then there are the middle aged men who turn up in bike pants, bike shirts and cleats. They look serious and don’t look like they’re having fun. They sit close to the front which usually means I have to look around their skinny arses to see the instructor.  If I sat on one of them they’d snap.  I like my men with a bit of meat – you know the ones who look like they enjoy life – not too much mind you.

And let’s not forget the young men in their late 20s or early 30s, the ones who turn up in regular jogging shorts and Ts. They’re not serious gym junkies but they work out just enough to build up definition but not enough to look like a retarded Michelin man. And all the better if they’re good looking. Along with the ambiance of the room and the music, these guys give you something extra to take your mind off a hard session and when they sit directly in front – thank you Mother Nature.

On weekdays when I’ve had a ‘sick day’ or on leave and attended the 9.30am classes, I have noticed these classes are full of women either slightly younger, same age or older than me.  And it doesn’t matter if I only attend once every three months, the same women are there. Obviously they don’t work. They chatter between themselves before the class starts and all meet up at the coffee shop afterwards. I’m not sure whether I feel sorry for them because they’ve obviously married well,  they don’t need to work, and therefore are totally reliant on a male. Or should I be jealous of them because they’ve married well and don’t need to work?  I’ll talk this dilemma over with the girls at work, I’m sure they’ll have a comment to make on the subject.

And there’s me – I’m the one up the back. Enjoying the spin class because it makes me feel firm and healthy and burns enough calories so I can partake in a few wines and  nibbles whenever I want.  I’m the one observing you, having my opinion, assuming I know your life story, jealous of you or in awe,  depending on my mood. I work my arse off physically not literally with my back to the wall saving anyone from having to sit behind my fat arse blocking the view of the instructor.

I’m the one who doesn’t dress to impress and I don’t give a shit. I just want to get lost in the music, spin,  and leave as silently as I arrived hoping I’ve added one more moment to my precious life because I know there’s nothing on the other side lulling me into a false sense of delusion.

I’ll see you at the next spin class – if you dare!

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I am a……

I’ve just completed a creative writing course and one of the exercises was to write about yourself using metaphors which are “figures of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison, as in “a sea of troubles” or “All the world’s a stage” (Shakespeare).”  And here are a few lines I wrote that I think represents me.

I am a caged dolphin performing predictable tricks with a wide green ocean calling me.

I have a crowd living in my head all talking in unison.

I am a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker working as one.

I am a Rubik cube that is never complete.

I have many faces but only one shines through.

I am a tiger, a bear and a pussy cat yet I only meow.

I am a daughter, a mother, a partner and niece but I am one.

Feel free to comment on what you think I mean. I’d be interested to know.