Friday, 30 October 2015

Best Friends are Baches

Sometimes I wonder why home owners rent their holiday homes. Oh. Right. Money. Aside from your cash, I think, they'd prefer all out of town guests to be IMAGINARY. Yep. Seen briefly, then vanish leaving only a Pledge worthy shine.

Next time you load the fridge into the chilly bin, throw towels, raincoats, warm coats, walking shoes, polite pyjamas, sun hats, sunscreen, bike helmets, bikes, canned food, WINE etcetera into and onto the car and drive for two and a half hours on a Friday evening you can RELAX. Because on arriving at your spic and span spacious abode you'll be calling the shots. Once you've handed over your dosh, tucked your HOUSE RULES out of sight, you can play a simple game-of-pretend yourself. Bach-bitch. 

Rule One:
To pretend you haven’t been fossicking through their well stocked pantry helping yourself to: loose leaf tea for your morning brew, rice bran oil to fry slices of halloumi to top your two tin homemade organic cannellini baked beans, fresh grind salt and pepper, slightly stale Coleman’s grainy mustard and two Panadol from the silver foiled plastic pouch tucked squarely in front of the ex-butter dish (home of the S&P). Simply replace all items exactly where you found them! Hells bells no one remembers everything!!

Rule Two:
But if you do forget to bring your own sheets - as instructed, borrow theirs. Who wants to sweat between a polyester mattress protector and a polyester filled duvet inner under a two toned brown Dacron bed spread, when you can sweat between pale brown slightly pilled polycotton sheets instead. No one will know. You showered daily and wore pyjamas. Simply: cool those sheets while you're watching some world cup rugby, shake them out and fold them ever so neatly. While trying to remember that how-to-fold-a-fucking-fitted-sheet diagram you once glanced at thinking - stupid waste of time, who actually NEEDS to know that shit. Then stuff those barely used sheets back into the groaning linen cupboard right at the back, under another set, for pressing.

Rule Three:
When vacating - follow to a T the A4 page of cleaning instructions that begins with a long tirade about how lucky you are to be staying in a lovely home for a lot less than you would fork out for a motel because of the generous privilege bestowed upon you: "Self-clean". Rejoice when you open the cupboard under the sink and your chemical free sensibilities are bombarded by an army of cleaning products that could sterilize a small third world country and satiate the most manically OCD of cleaners for a whole lovely long weekend. You grab a cloth, select the Jiff and do your work. You are thorough. You make sure you swipe the bog last. Two sport-support-mums do not a lot of soap scum make in a plexi-glass shower when afforded no soap (and have to resort to antibacterial handwash). One who forgets sheets, and buys last minute feed-fourteen-lasagne and home baking from the deli, is hardly likely to remember. SOAP.

And as you jiff, rinse and dry surfaces as instructed you think it might be a motel next time. A motel where you can leave your dishes (if your inner slob so desires). Where little pottles of uht milk and sachets of coffee and tea will welcome you. Beg you to use them all up and take home the sachets of Milo if you bloody well want to. Where on checking in you’ll receive 350mls of fresh milk. Green or blue? Not a sheet of 150 Cleaning Commandments. A motel where freshly made white sheeted beds and small but fluffy bath towels await you. Along with little packets of soap you'll rip open and happily lather with. Little soaps that will dry and cling to the side of your sponge bag until you go back to that spacious sunny holiday home …

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Mirena and The Menopause - a twisted tale

You can laugh all the way down the feminine product aisle for five happy years a time until you get your letter. White. A5. Typed … Your name has appeared on our Mirena IUCD recall list.

You read it out to the H.

Who replies, ‘Don't you have two?’

You look at him like he's a complete twit. Because. Hello. Where have you been keeping that SECOND one? Only one uterus per person. That is the rules.

Unless your intrauterine device has mutated. Oh that’s what that intermittent throbbing pain behind your left ear all day has been. It’s a new born. Gynaecological sci-fi has taken place. You’re gonna be world famous in Southland again. The woman that spawned an IUD baby. Behind her ear. Magic.

You make to ring your practice nurse as advised. Only the new phone system at the med centre now only allows you to speak to the nurse on duty so you have to tell THEM your problem. When all you want to do is talk to SHARON.

All the while you are wondering - my time flies. And why have I had no warning that my supersonic Levonorgestrel releasing machine was powering down. No spotting, no mini cramps. No urges to maim or kill. The H.

I thought some more ... Am I post-menopausal? Have I CHANGED? Gone through to the other side. Has an oestrogen holocaust taken place without me even knowing? I do have regular night sweats ... I thought that was mostly due to my extra Fairydown Espresso blanket in duck egg blue and the 7 kilogram/3 foot cat who insists on spooning me nightly. I have been suffering bouts of quite profound anxiety of late. Oh yes and sleeplessness. But as soon as I take Vitamin B12 and Blackmores Herbal Sleep tabs I get some relief. My face does not flash or flush. Nor do I become drenched in sweat thrice daily. Or forget EVERYTHING.

Sharon calls back, ‘You can just leave it IN.’

‘Leave it? Hasn’t it run out of hormones? Won’t it do me harm? Left in situ?’

‘The Mirena manufacturers recommend removing them after five years. But we advise a lot of women to just leave them. Especially if you’re perimenopausal.’

The ovaries were in my court. I had no idea what to do.

Long silence ... ‘Is there a blood test I can do, to know where I’m at? You know peri, during, or post.


I book in. A needle prick was starting to seem so ... simple.

The day I go in a bearded guy is sat in the waiting room. He holds a bulky box of (obviously free) Durex in his hand and covers them with his blood test request when he senses me staring. I doubt his was a hormone screen. Randy young thing.

I waited over the weekend. Waited til Tuesday then left a long message on the nurse line. For SHARON.

A nurse (I'll call) Anne rang me back. Giggled quite loudly and announced, ‘You’re definitely POST-menopausal.’ 

As though I’d just won Powerball.

Not really funny cos it felt more like a big hairy slap in the face. Bam! I mean, hey thanks for letting me in on the action. Ya know. What am I to you down there? Chopped liver. You had-it old marbleised ovarian maze - how dare you shrivel up and leave without saying goodbye.

‘I’m only young. I’m 51. And a half.’

‘It’s happening to women younger and younger nowadays. I’m seeing more and more post-menopausal women in their forties.’

Crikey am I part of a female hormonal-exodus-pandemic. I know women in their forties still trying to have babies. What about them? It’s all those dairy cows in the MacKenzie country. All those poor four-legged docked ladies forced to produce bairns and milk year round in exchange for over fertilized, over irrigated verdant pasture and getting up in the dark ... It’s something in the water …

I needed solace. I turned to the Net. For pities sake. A woman MUST have blogged about this … this strange phenomenon of not knowing what’s really going on. INSIDE. I’m in tune with my body ...I practise yoga at least once a month. Results: nada.

Is it happening earlier because we’re having children later I pondered? I produced my three babies aged 34, 36 and 38 respectively. Clipped my ticket - one way to Pussy Pensionville. Please.

I resort to typing the dullest words I’ve ever written ... average age menopause nz and discovered I’m AVERAGE. Bang slap on the button - 51.6. God I’ve been average my whole life. Couldn’t I be above average. Just once.

That night The H and I drank champagne. Celebrated what exactly I’m not sure. Just sometimes WINE. I told my daughters. My sister. My mum whose reaction was a bit odd, like she’d forgotten I'm over twenty.

I checked my jowls in the mirror. I’m on to you I thought. I know why you’ve sagged. Perhaps Prematurely. I wished I’d chosen to have the brown spots on my jawline IPL’d at another time. Not four days prior. Having sloughing skin akin to thick fly poo on your face (which will not be disguised by any amount of makeup); along with half the sparse prairie of your right eyebrow missing due to zapping a spot there too, all the while grieving the end of your oestrogen making mechanisms DOES NOT HELP.

But hey, don't bother googling menopausal this or menopausal that or menopausal vagina, lady friends because I’ve pretty much researched the shit out of this topic for you. And you know how they say you should never read medical guff on the internet - well you shouldn't. It's grim. It will make you weep, weep some more and most likely write a list. Because you'll be needing lube and moisturizer. Massive tubs of the stuff apparently. Good god. Actually, good god, vagina! Yep, as soon as your toosh hears the words POST it’s gonna pretty much pack its trunk, catch a camel train and head on out on a Saharan safari … 

Just looky here and you’ll discover that once all the lovely oestrogen making vibes stop your fan wah might also suffer a thing. A thing which has its own medical term: Vulvovaginal atrophy. Even spellchecker laps it up. Shut the front door, and check out the pretty pink diagrams! Squeee. Snakes alive, not only does your foo foo take an outback sabbatical, if you abandon it completely according to the literature it’s goodbye Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe hello 3-door electric. 

Talking of vehicles, I had a farmer mate who fondly called his ute – The Uterus. A personalized plate now that could be cheering. Sadly every variance of uterus was taken, except UTERON. Just no. Us uteri have grammar standards even if travelling gynaecologist salesmen flogging oestrogen pessaries don’t.

My advice IUCD users, for what it’s worth is - keep that Mirena in, if advised to do so - you may go through to The Special Club … and be none the wiser.


For more facts and less emotion on Mirena this.

**(The average age of a first time mum in NZ: 30)
ps. I just pinched that pic from the Net. I have no idea who Louise is but, thanks a bunch.

Monday, 19 October 2015

How To Be Invisible When You're a Teenage Billet

I can forgive the shyness of youth: lack of self-confidence, out of one’s zone, away from one’s tribe. But when is shyness just plain old bad manners, lack of etiquette; being an ignoramus of the airs and graces required to get by in this world. Socially.

As a parent I’ll try anything. Once. Recently I hosted two teenage billets. I deducted, after four days, shyness is: mostly-trying-not-to-be-a-bother. Mostly.

How to make yourself  invisible and other stuff when you’re a teenage Billet:

1.       Do not respond effusively to any landmarks of significance pointed out to you while driving around the picturesque countryside from activity to activity with your host. In fact, best only to make remarks in a low voice to your co-billet in the back seat should the urge arise.

2.       Do not under any circumstances get out of the car when taken to see something as dull and interesting as a crumbling historic homestead surrounded by heirloom spring flowers. Remain in the backseat and eat your ice cream like good children. Wait patiently while your host gets out to snap a pic of the springtime ambience. She might look like a nong tip-toeing through the tulips, but she can’t see you either. The windows are tinted.

3.       Learn the map of the house ie. the direct route to your bedrooms – through the blue door at the front of the garage door, down the hallway. Never deviate from this route when in transit, vacating or returning to your host-house. The views are pretty shit in the country, who’d want to walk on front lawn and look at them, let alone scramble down a private track to the river. Did I say shit. I meant SHIT.

4.       Only speak when spoken do. Do not try and create conversation of any kind with your host unless you use, ‘Toast’. ‘Where are the cups?’ Or ‘We’ve run out of toilet paper’. As conversation starters while being served breakfast. Please. Just keep it to yourself. This is actually a four day silent meditation retreat with sightseeing and a bit of sport.

5.       Avoid at all costs a family meal. At home. Best get clean away and spend time with your school mates. In town. Sucks meeting new people anyway. Especially those who might put you up for a night or two when you rock up on your gap year in the middle of the ski season. They’re probably arses anyways.

6.       Do not use your host’s name when saying endless thank yous for drop offs. Or at any time. Total giveaway that there are two teenage strangers in the house, living in the resident teenage children’s bedrooms currently bunking in the living room. Unless of course you want to go to TOWN again.

7.       If you get spoken to for not getting the bus home as planned after that last evening trip to town. Make sure you message your group chat straight away. WTH. The billet is always right.

8.       By the following day you’ll find boutique chocolates and a scented candle are real levellers. Witch hunt complete. You really did have a nice time. Looking back. And you need one last favour. A taxi to the airport.

9.       This host home is now invisible also. Black listed. They may never billet again. They know your names. They’ll probably forget them. But their children won’t ...

I've thought a lot about these teenagers, their families, their home life. Maybe they learned something about themselves. About the company of strangers. I know my children did. And we ate barbecue for a week!

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In Conversation with Lauren Child - Part 2

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