Sunday, April 17, 2011

Come fly with me...

After twenty-eight years, six months, and twenty-five days of motherhood, I have just made the most amazing discovery about flying with offspring. It's so simple that I cannot believe it hasn't occured to me before, and being a generous type I shall now share it for free. Take separate flights. That's right, put them on one flight and you take another and then just meet up at the destination. Now I do realise this methodology may be complicated somewhat if your particicular offspring are infants so perhaps you should just concentrate on getting them ready at that stage. Like spend a few hours in the airplane loo (take a good book or partner - your choice), or find a spare seat further away and then exchange looks of irritated camaraderie with fellow passengers about the screaming child up the front.

In my case this separate flights thing came about quite by accident. When my Kokoka trip was cancelled (grrr...), I ended up with a Qantas voucher. So, when planning our Singapore holiday, I originally went to book the three offspring with the same carrier but Jetstar was sigificantly cheaper so went with them instead. The end result being that the three of them departed for the airport at 7.30 this morning (a brief hiccup occuring when they all forgot the car-keys), and I am now sitting here, in my pyjamas, typing this blog entry in absolute peace and quiet. Enjoying the best start to a holiday EVER.

I have tidied and vacummed the house (so that we return to some level of cleaniness), packed my suitcase, fed the pets, removed assorted items of crockery from various bedrooms, had a bubble bath (and cleaned the shower screen), made myself coffee and poached eggs on avocado and rye (yum!), consoled the dog who watched me pack and is now sulking, made a casserole for when we get back (anticipating feeling a little fed up with take away), watered the plants, read the newspaper, consoled the dog again - and it's only just after 9.00am. And the best is yet to come.

First a leisurely drive into the airport, without anyone begging me to stop at McDonalds, or turn the music up, or intervene in an argument, or... whatever. Then, after checking-in, I shall stroll through the duty free shops without being dragged off to look at advances in technology and/or clothing stores that vibrate with hip-hop music and pubescent sales staff. Finally I shall board my plane, where I won't have to stow anyone else's luggage, or trade the window seat, or pass out chewing gum. No, I shall make myself comfortable, get out my lap-top and write and/or read all the way from Melbourne to Singapore. I don't mind making a little polite conversation with my neighbours but that's it. Even if Ralph Fiennes offers membership to the four-mile high club I'm not interested (far too much effort). I shall only pause to consume meals (that I won't have to prepare) and champagne and hot chocolate. Hours upon hours of just me. Bliss.

And then, when I get to Singapore, I'm thinking I might just fly back again.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Super-power number three!

Super-power number three (central heating)

Confused? Let me explain. Last September, after being nursed along for a few years, my old lounge-room gas-heater exploded in a most dramatic fashion. One moment it was humming along as per normal and then next it emitted a sound reminiscent of a flatulent elephant (or what I would imagine a flatulent elephant to sound like if I had the spare time and/or inclination to imagine such things), and orange flames spat out from the bars before settling down to a vicious glow from which curls of acrid smoke wisped up toward the ceiling. I have rarely seen my offspring move so fast, which makes me suspect that in case of a localised emergency - fire, flood, nuclear disaster - it will be each to their own.

The upshot of this was that we were heater-less for the beginning of spring, which can be quite chilly, especially in the evening. That ridiculous snugglie blanket-thing suddenly became a coveted piece of clothing, while dressing-gowns were in high demand and a black market began with the long-ignored water-bottles. In short everyone was freezing - except me. Where they all tottered around like michelin men with their layers of clothing, I made do with tracksuit and t-shirt, and where they huddled around the one borrowed column heater, I disdained it in favour of fresh air and cheery optimism. Because I had central heating. And if I did feel chilly at any time, all I had to do was wait a few moments and voila! Warm once more.

Yes, menopause could not have started at a better time. Hot flushes were my friend, not my enemy, giving me a freedom that had everyone viewing me as some sort of stoic superwoman. The hot flushes even eased off as summer warmed up, lulling me into a false sense of security for quite a while. But I may have done a silly thing - you see, last month I had ducted heating installed (incidentally when they removed the old heater we discovered it was original, in other words it was well over 50 years old. That's what I call value), which I suspect may have angered the menopause gods. The result has been a full-on rush of hot flushes accompanied by whingey offspring who keep nagging to have the new heating turned up. But I blame myself for this predicament; clearly I looked the gift-horse directly in the oral region and this is the result.

Nevertheless I am determined to remain positive and, as such, I shall continue to view hot flushes as a super-power. If it wasn't for the whole fitness thing, I could probably scale Mt Everest dressed in shorts and a t-shirt. Hypothermia? Fiddlesticks. In terms of energy, I reckon one middle-aged woman is probably equal to three solar panels (let alone wind power) and, should the electricity fail for any reason (which seems to be a regular occurrence), I shall be ideally placed to maintain both my internal and external body temperature. In fact, with the way things are at the moment, I could hire out my forehead as a heating conduit. A super-power, in the true sense of the word.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Super-power number two!

Continuing with my positive thinking/super-powers theme, here is the second in the series. With several more to come! By the way, did you know that the world's strongest vagina belongs to a woman in her mid-forties who can apparently lift 14 (14!!!) kilograms with the muscles of her nether regions? Which is your cue to (1) flinch, (2) flex your pelvic floor, and (3) wonder how on earth they tested this.

Super-power number two (eyes in the back of our heads)

Enhanced by (but certainly not limited to) motherhood, by the time we hit midlife this particular super-power is honed into a quivering antenna. It might seem like witchery, and most probably had more than one medieval middle-aged woman burned at the stake, but is of course really just a melange of logic, observation and intuition all coated wth a health dose of experience. Been there, done that. Ho, hum. The upside is that we can render small children open-mouthed and teenagers narrow-eyed at our uncanny awareness of what's happening behind our backs. And we can have so much fun! Sure it's at their expense but you've got to take what you can, where you can. "How does she do that?" they mutter to themselves as they cast wary glances in our direction, not able to see our smug grin.

The downside, however, is that this super-power, once developed, cannot be switched off. Sometimes even rousing us at night so that we suddenly find ourselves staring at the ceiling with the sure knowledge that something, somewhere, is wrong. Ah, well, if there's one thing I've learnt from all those comic books it's that with great power comes great responsibility. Just look at Superman.