Saturday, September 25, 2010

Nifty stuff that has changed my life

Back in the day when I was married to Flitwick, we lived near one of the nicest little shopping centres in South Auckland. Over the years things changed and the discount stores moved in (and Flitwick moved out). With English as my first language, it was initially a little disconcerting trying to make myself understood in these shops. Now the entire local mall is made up of these stores - mostly selling the same items - but it doesn't seem to bother me so much now. Of course I rubbish them and their stock if I'm in posh company, but as a gatherer and hoarder of dressup clothes I've found them great for stocking up my wig collection.

But it goes even deeper. I have a great admiration for the people working long hours in these places. I love the "Chinglish" instructions on the products. No-one can keep a straight face after reading: "When old man's child go up hand ladder temporary need the family to accompany". There have been times when I've been tempted to buy something just for the entertainment on the package.

Best of all, I love their ingenuity. I have a Chinese friend who seems to have a gadget for everything, "making her life better simpler and more relief from the mistery of existence" (whatever that means!). So even though I know that I won't find anything of great quality there, when I do the circuit of the mall on my day off I go in with an attitude that I might just find something in there that will change my life forever.
This has been cool. Don't have to set the cutlery on the table anymore. Everyone just grabs their own. Only $3.90.
I never had any place for that blasted egg beater before. It was always jamming the drawers and the tea towel was always getting dropped on the floor. Problem solved for two bucks!

One day I saw something in there that seemed a bit risky but I just had to give it a try. All my life I've had fine, frizzy hair that never seems to grow past my chin. I've longed to tie it back but only seem to end up with a little tuft of candy floss sticking out of the hairtie. A couple of years ago I even shaved it all off - completely bald! It was all in a good cause though and my friends donated over $800 to the Leukaemia and Blood Foundation.  So anyway...there were these scrunchies with fake hair attached!!! It all looked a bit dodgy to be honest. The shine was ridiculous and fake but being the arty farty type I could sense possibility in the (h)air. So I bought two of each colour (cheap as chips!). I washed them repeatedly and roughed them up a bit. I just imagined I was mad with them and gave them a good battering.

I can be brunette
Or I can be blonde

I started out just at weekends to see how it would go at church. Christians are always far too polite to call the fashion police (actually, not true. I've had plenty of strong opinions on the various colours I've put in my hair). After a few weeks of nobody noticing that I looked like an eccentric middle aged lady with a $2 hairy hairtie on my head, so I wore it to work where people actually complimented me on how well my hair had grown. Most mature women would smile mysteriously and say thanks but since it was me I told them that I was wearing a two buck piece. They seemed genuinely surprised (except for Smiley and Ant who I think were immediately suspicious but too polite to say anything). Once in a blue moon my hair will curl in the right places and I can just go natural but most of the time it's a beast and no amount of tugging and gelling is going to control it so the piece has been fabulous. There's just one hitch. I work with teenagers in the school and they're not so easy to fool.

"Miss! You're wearing fake hair!"
"Shhhhh! Do your Maths Molly!"
"Who's wearing fake hair?"
"Shhhh! Get back to work Lennie!!"
"Is your hair fake Miss?" *tweaking my fringe!*
"No it's not and stop tagging in your book!"
Teacher wanders over to investigate and reaches for the piece - only narrowly missing thanks to my deft ability to duck.

...and so it went on for the rest of the Maths period. Now I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. If I wear my piece, 9VG will continue to be suspicious. If I don't wear it, everyone else will wonder where the rest of my hair is. I've become the female version of the the HOD of Tech who wears a rug! I had a dream about him once...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Fart in the Bucket

A few years ago I quite fancied the idea of a spa pool when Beloved informed me that he had just hit the "Buy Now" on a Trademe cheapie. It was just a matter of going to get it. I was prepared for the 45 minute trip each way. What I wasn't prepared for was the three hours labour required to dismantle it in the blazing mid-summer heat. It was a bit clumsy bringing it home too and Beloved couldn't seem to keep his eyes off the inorganic collection on the side of the road. Beloved had also implied that the spa would be up and running in next to no time. I should have known better. We'd had a similar experience with a chicken coop only that was four hours labour and all we ended up with was a pile of firewood left to rot in our back yard for a couple of years. It was money down the loo and I really think these people should have been paying US to do their work.

So the defunct spa pool sat outside our laundry window for weeks. Weeks became months and which eventually stretched into a couple of years. I think he eventually flicked the thing off to another unsuspecting buyer on Trademe, only they didn't have to dismantle anything. It was gone within five minutes.

We also have some carpet rolled up in our garage that I bought from a friend. It was in excellent condition and just the colour for our house. Three years later and it's still sitting there with hay bales and some of Beloved's Trademe junk cluttering it. I don't know if it will ever be unravelled.

So you'll appreciate why I was cynical when Beloved announced that we'd buy another spa. He assured me that this time it would be the real deal. It didn't help that he started trawling Trademe again. Once again he hit the Buy Now on a bargain.  I told him I wanted no part of it so he took M with him to drag it home. It was a portable Softub which he fitted in very nicely on the lower front deck in FULL view of the entire neighbourhood. I quickly formed an opinion:

"That thing is like comparing a lounge suite to a bean bag! That thing is not a spa pool, it's a Fart in a Bucket. There is no way I'm getting into that thing" I was even less impressed with the front row seats offered to my neighbours.

Eventually I succommed and gave it a try, secretly. In the dark, so that the neighbours wouldn't see. It wasn't too bad. It has four jets and if you hold your hands in front of them you can even get a bit of upper body work out. It's nice and warm and I have to admit that I quite like it.  I've googled it to see how we can make it look nicer. Check this out:

The Softub will make you HAPPY! It will save your marriage!! You can tip water over your husband's head and he'll be too happy to get mad.
The Softub is inside the house! And look how happy the people are. See how she laughs as she pours a watering can over her partner's head. That looks like so much fun!

I don't think it would be so much fun to clean up after playing with watering cans and a Softub in the house so we'll keep it is for now and I'll just keep sneaking out after dark. There are a couple of downsides though. We have no shelter from rain but I've gotten round that by holding a sheet of polystyrene over my head during inclement weather. Clever huh?

The other hitch was when I forgot about a meeting at our neighbouring school and just as I was about to get out, a heavy flow of traffic streamed past my house. Not wanting to give passing motorists and children an eyefull, I had to stay hidden under water for an extra 45 minutes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why do they always make the buttons so small on these things?

About ten years ago I did something very stupid. I bought my mother a cell phone for Mothers Day. It seemed like such a great idea at the time. She was elderly, she doesn't drive and she has a dicky ticker. I thought it would be reassuring to have some way of contacting me if she ever needed transport so I trained her up on how to make a phone call and how to answer the thing when it rang.  She was delighted to have such a flash gift and felt very sophisticated to be one of the only single ladies in the Over 60s Club with her own mobile phone. The novelty wore off within about two hours. It seems that ever since, I've had phone calls - from my mother's land line - asking me how to do this that and the other on her phone.  No amount of explaining that all she needed to do was to be able to send and receive calls was enough to convince her that this phone wasn't a gift from the anti-christ himself. I'm afraid there have been numerous complaints about the buttons being too small for her fingers and the whole thing being too difficult to text.  Ummm...Mum....NO TEXTING! All I want you to do is send and receive calls!  The phone has come in useful when my mum has found herself unexpectedly admitted to hospital and for that reason alone I've never regretted giving it to her.  That is until she starts trying to understand texting again. That's when the phone becomes evil and she doesn't want anything to do with it - yet she can't seem to resist fiddling about with it and growing even more frustrated.

Mum's about to turn 84 - although she doesn't look a day over 64 - and I've replaced the phone over the years, keeping the original phone number to avoid confusion. The latest model was one I saw advertised on telly specifically with the elderly in mind. It has bigger buttons, a larger screen and no bells and whistles to befuddle anyone. It hasn't changed anything though.

Today's phone call was the best yet. My 14 year old son, M, is trying to earn his place into best grandson of all time and visits his nana once a week to help her do the puzzles in her magazines. He rang from her place this afternoon: "When did you first buy Nana the cell phone? Was it before or after 2004? Coz Nana has just found that she sent a text from her phone at 12:15 am in 2004 and she doesn't remember doing it. Do you know what it's about?" I didn't even ask, "Oh and Mum? Nana wants to know if you've found issue 33 of that magazine she gave you about 2 months ago yet." I haven't

When her 24 inch packed a sad a couple of months ago, we gave Mum a flash new telly with HDMI Freeview as an early birthday present. Now I have to think of what to give her for her actual birthday in a couple of weeks' time. I know one thing. It won't be an upgrade for her mobile phone!

Mothers. Gotta love 'em!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What was I going to say again?

I have the best ever blog planned here. Only I'm too darn lazy to write it. I've been dying to give all the ins and outs about what it's like to live with two husbands for a week.  It's interesting observing my ex husband and Beloved interact with one another because they are poles apart, yet they get along like a house on fire. Flitwick, the ex, is leaving us tomorrow and I'm gutted about it. I've almost grown accustomed to the cups of tea, not having to cook dinner and no dishes. He really is the most house-trained man I've ever met. He should be, considering I spent 17 years training him!  I think it's Flitwick's fault that I just don't feel in the mood to write my coolest entry yet. You see, after dinner there was nothing for me to do except to go and have a soak in our little hot tub that Beloved purchased off Trademe for a meagre 300 and something bucks. I fondly refer to it as the "Fart in a Bucket" because it's not very big and I was sceptical about whether or not it would work properly considering it's dimensions and affordability.

Beloved has situated the Fart right on our lower, front deck in full view of the entire neighbourhood, which is why I have to wait for nightfall before I can slip out there in my undergarments. Don't be too shocked - I'm saving on laundry and it's not nearly as bad as what Beloved wears (as in does NOT wear) when he slips out there.

So, I've just come in from a nice long soak in the Fart - in the the dark, Fart...and I've completely forgotten what I was going to say.  It had something to do with broody hens, fertilized eggs, earthquake survival kits and dinner at Denny's. I'm sure it'll come to me later in the week.

Gee I'm going to miss Flitwick. May the next year fly by until he visits again.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Modern Family

Some families are so interesting and complex. My mother for example, married her second cousin when she was eighteen. Prepare yourself to be confused...

This marriage produced two sons - my half brothers. However, since my mother’s husband sits on the branch of my family tree as my third cousin, that also makes my brothers my 4th cousins, which means that they are also 4th cousins to themselves as well as each other.  Add to this that after my mother and her first husband divorced, her husband’s brother’s wife introduced her to my father, who was also her brother, therefore making my aunty Mum's sister-in-law throughout two seperate marriages. This is sounding far too incestuous for my liking.  Still, that was decades ago and people didn’t get out much so I suppose it was pretty much normal.

Then there’s my family today. The other day I was sitting on the laptop replying to an e-mail to my former boyfriend. You may remember the “Lust Muffin” from a previous blog entry (also, I’m fully aware that sitting on my laptop could cause it to overheat and damage the hard drive). While I was e-mailing the LM I was listening to my ex husband, “Flitwick”, playing in the other room with my six year old daughter to my current husband, “Beloved”. Now there’s an interesting situation.

Flitwick and I had a happy marriage for almost 17 years which produced three of the most amazing kids I’ve ever met. But eventually things cracked and sadly we parted company. Although it was distressing at the time, a mutual decision was made for us to remain good friends and still share family connections. Flitwick lives in another country now but being the good dad that he is, he makes an effort to see his kids every year or so.  Jet setting across the Tasman can get rather pricey so offering accommodation is one way we can contribute to this “Dad” time.  Besides, I love having him here. Flitwick cooks. Flitwick folds washing. Flitwick babysits. Flitwick makes cups of tea. It’s just like having another wife for a week!

So this week our household is made up of two husbands (or possibly two wives, with the temporary wife sporting a five o’clock shadow), a mixture of kids ranging from full-blooded to half-siblings and fosties, as well as a number of chickens, cats and a dog.  I’d complain about all the mouths to feed, but I am getting a little extra help this week., thanks to Flitwick.I'm hoping he'll be able to teach Beloved a thing or two...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Blue September

Hey guys, I hope you've remembered to ask your doctors to arrange a PSA blood test sometime soon. Don't go thinking you're too young to have Prostate Cancer. Beloved was 48 when he got the shock of his life. Thanks to a bit of a zap with over a hundred radioactive seeds, he's all good.

And don't go thinking that "things won't work" any more if you do find you need treatment. Beloved was nuked about 8 years ago and our youngest is 6 years old. Do the maths :)

So guys, man up and get to the doc. And ladies, use every trick in the book to MAKE your man get it sorted.

Friday 3rd September - Blue Friday. I'm wearing a blue tunic with blue earrings and blue facepaint.
It's also staff quiz night - not that I need an excuse to dress up in a costume...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Quiz Night

It’s the grand School Staff Quiz night on Friday and nothing else matters to me other than our department  thrashing the PE department, the Maths department and quite possibly the “Card Table” who tried to filch our Dean for their team.  Come to think of it, there might be just one other thing that I consider more important than beating out the opposition, and that’s beating out the opposition in the Costume section. Costumes are my “thing”.  Many have suggested that my obsession with costuming has become a fetish - I prefer to call it an “affinity” that is well-suited to my creative being.

I’m constantly trawling the Costumes section on Trademe. I don’t really want to think about the total amount I’ve spent on items such as a Superwoman outfit, a wizard’s cloak, a tutu, a child’s dinosaur costume, various ball gowns, a pink French maid set, a gladiator costume, a toga...and so on...and on...and on...

With two wardrobes jam-packed (one with children’s gear, the other for adults) and a large chest of drawers stuffed with accessories, I’ve taken it upon myself to oversee what will be worn by our quiz team. And with ten in the team (at least I hope there are ten because I’ve just coughed up the hundred bucks to register “The Truants”), I’ve ignored my “collection” and opted for a simpler choice which is readily available to us in a school setting. Besides, me and my costumes are a size ten (which is probably a size teensy in other countries) and the other team members...probably aren’t.

So that is how the Dean of our department came to distract a few classrooms on a Monday morning by strutting about in a girl’s full school uniform. He seemed to think he looked pretty hot, even if it was just a rehearsal. I’m not sure if I care to comment any further other than to say that I’m looking forward to the real thing on Friday night. I hope he shaves his legs.
UPDATE: We won the best costume!! Our prize was a chocolate fish each (it's a Kiwi thing). As for the quiz itself, we were beaten by...everyone :-\