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Posts Tagged ‘drinking’

Dear Hangover,

I am writing to you about your recent and rather unwelcome visit – which coincided with another unwelcome visitor, Daylight Savings.

Interestingly enough, the day before you both arrived, I had googled “Who the fuck thought it was a good idea to start Daylight Savings on the last day of the Victorian school holidays???”. BTW, the multiple question marks really help me channel my anger.

After you had both arrived, I had a full day of people talking about “Old Eight O’Clock” and “New Eight O’Clock” and – even more confusingly – “Eight O’Clock”, where I didn’t know whether they were talking “New” or “Old” and felt like crying because my head hurt so much. After that, I googled “Who the fuck thought it was a good idea to start daylight savings on the day I was hungover like a bastard???”

(Some might say a more appropriate question might have been “Who the fuck thought it was a good idea to drink for 12 hours solid the day before daylights savings kicked in???” – the answer to which would be “Me!!!!!!!!” –  but that’s a matter of opinion.)

Anyway, you came with the kind of vengeance reserved for people who had been out drinking until 2:30am, whereas technically I had been drinking until Old 1:30am. As a result, I suspect you charged me the price for that extra hour of drinking that I didn’t actually do. I’m sure of it.

Admittedly, I should have known that there would be trouble. The fact that I started doing bare-footed modern dance moves with my wayward friend McFee should have been a clear indication something was afoot (if you’ll pardon the pun). Yes, we went all interpretive. I even remember lying on my back and encouraging her to put her whole weight on my feet so I could lift her like Superman. “I can do it, I can do it!” I shouted to her, quickly followed by “I can’t do it” as we collapsed into a drunken heap.

Still, such joie de vivre shouldn’t be punished so harshly, Hangover. No, really. The world needs more interpretive dance. It is the international language that all human hearts speak… when completely pissed, that is.

When I awoke the next morning, I thought I had managed to avoid you. I felt so invincible that I got up to make pancakes for my children. Turns out, I was wrong. The only reason I still felt any good was because I was still drunk. And with sobriety, came your arrival. And with your arrival, came a new meaning to the phrase “tossing pancakes”.

The point is, even if I did deserve your visit, did you have to stay so long? When it came time to honour my promises to the kids to play the Ben Ten Omnitrix Duel For Power Game and help construct a Lego Hero Factor Furno Bike did you really have to hang around? That shit ain’t funny, Hangover. You could have nipped off quietly and left me to it. But noooooo.

And then, because of your little friend Daylight Savings, I was left with one hour less in the day to get over you, so you extend your visit til Monday morning, which was the morning after the day after the night before. It was also the first day back at school, so I had to get the kids up at Old Six O’Clock in order to get them to school at New Nine O’Clock even though they’d been up to eleven o’clock the night before. And no, don’t ask me if that’s Old or New eleven o’clock because it doesn’t matter. It was frickin’ late, okay?

Sheesh, no wonder I’ve still got a headache three days later.

Yours, resentfully,

The NDM.

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When it comes to wrangling the children at shit o’clock each day, my husband and I believe that “one pair of hands is often better than two”. That is to say, why should both of us be on duty, when one of us can so easily be lying supine somewhere, with a glass of vino and a good book at hand?

And so we often play “swapsies” of an evening. For example, I might cook dinner and bathe the children while my husband has a lie down. And then a little later, I might go off to the shed-slash-study and blog for an hour, while he reads books with the kids, brushes their teeth and puts them to bed. For example.

However, the other night I came back in from the shed-slash-study to find the children exactly as I’d left them and not a single step closer towards bed. Which begged the question to my husband: “What the fuck have you been doing all this time?”

Apparently they had been ‘Folksonging’. And yes, I’ve spelt that correctly. You’re probably thinking of ‘Folksinging’ which is a group of people joined together in tuneful verse. ‘Folksonging’, however, involves my husband playing ‘hippy shit’ on the guitar with his Best Guitar Face on, oblivious to the fact the children are running around wantonly destroying property.

When I intimated as much to my husband, he scoffed. “You don’t have an appreciation of the power of Folksonging” he said. He was obviously thinking back to the very first time he’d sung me a song on his guitar and I’d burst out laughing when he came to the whistling bit.

“It’s part of their musical education,” he added.

“We also watched ‘Beat It’!” The Pixie piped up, referring to the Michael Jackson tap dance tribute from her Dance Concert DVD. “Three times! Daddy slept on the couch!” 

I shot a look at my husband that clearly said “Musical Education, my arse!” and proceeded to get the Bedtime Express back on track in a way that showed I was mightily displeased – you know, with lots of tutting and eye-rolling and harumphing. That showed him real good. 

And as I continued to harumph my way around the house, stepping over the basket of clean laundry inexplicably dumped right in the bedroom doorway and knocking a pile of uncased DVDs perched on the edge of the piano, I started to look at our house with fresh eyes. It had the look of a $2 shop that had exploded – there was plastic crap and paper and clothing everywhere. And I wondered if my husband ever came home and looked around at the debris and thought of asking me: “What the fuck have YOU been doing all day?”

And if he ever were to ask that question, I would probably have to answer something like “community building” – which, roughly translated, might mean idly gossiping with other mothers outside the school or at the local cafe or cracking open a bottle of cheap champagne with KT and Mistress M at 4 o’clock.

And I realised that whether it was community building or folksonging or whatever, sometimes there are some little detours you just have to take to get through the day. And I thought next time my husband pulls out the guitar at shit o’clock, I’m going to stop what I’m doing and sing along. Of course, I’ll draw the line at joining in with the whistling bit. Never the whistling bits. 

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One of the hardest things for me over the past week has been my medication management post-oral surgery. The antibiotics I’m on are supposed to be taken four times a day half an hour before food and two hours after I last ate. 

“Shuh!” I commented to a friend. “Two hours since I last ate?? I mean, when is there ever two hours in a day when I’m not eating?”

(It’s true: I graze all the live-long day, constantly stuffing my children’s left overs in my mouth such as apples with one single bite taken out of them, saliva-infused toast and cold fries languishing at the bottom of the Happy Meal box.  I’m like the Noo-noo from the Teletubbies, who must surely suffer acute indigestion from hoovering up all those Tubby Toast and Tubby Custard accidents. And if you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, I would count yourself very lucky, if I were you. Very lucky indeed.)

“I’m reading a very interesting book about overcoming overeating,” my friend replied. 

“And what’s the secret to overcoming overeating?” I asked.

“I don’t know. I haven’t finished it yet,” was her response. Which is exactly my problem with any kind of book or article or even gate-fold pamphlet about dieting because I have usually wandered off to see if there is any chocolate left in the Treats Cupboard before I get to the punchline. Particularly if there are things like milligrams of fat or “points” to take into consideration. I mean, if I’d wanted to spend my days measuring and counting shit,  I would have become an Apothecary or gotten an apprenticeship with someone like The Count von Count, who is called The Count because he loves to count. 

Anyway, it made me wonder if there was a book about under-reading about over-coming over-eating. Probably. But I’d never finish it. 

Interestingly enough, my issues with alcohol are same same but different. Health Care Professionals recommend between two and three standard drinks per day for women. And yet, as a mother, I’ve identified at least fifteen Key Alcoholic Beverage Opportunities (KABOs) of an evening:

KABO #1: Having a drink to celebrate my husband arriving home from work.

KABO #2: Having a drink while I’m making dinner (also known as “The Chef’s Perogative”). 

KABO #3: Having a drink so as not to Officially Die Of Boredom when supervising bath time. 

KABO #4:  Having a drink when The Pixie’s squealing hits its upper-most register (circa 7pm).

KABO #5: Having a drink while watching television with my husband, particularly if it is really bad television. 

KABO #6-13: Having a drink after each appearance of a child at the door saying they’re “scared” or claiming that one of their siblings “whacked/smashed/looked askance at me”. 

KABO #14: Having a drink to celebrate that moment when the kids are finally asleep.  

KABO #15: Having a drink when the TV is turned off for the night and I realise that the next working day is virtually upon me.

So, with so many opportunities for drinking, you’d think I’d spend most of my evenings blind drunk. However, contrary to popular opion, I am much better with alcohol than anyone might think. You see, I’m a “delayed gratification” kind of girl and I totally wait until the kids are asleep, so that all that white noise and static electricity they create doesn’t hamper my enjoyment of a nice glass of ice cold bubbly. Then I really enjoy those last two KABOs for all their worth, all within the remit of the Responsible Drinker.

Unless, of course, it’s been a bitch of a day. In which case, nothing’s standing between me and that bottle. Nothing. 

Food and drink issues? I’ve got dozens of them. Dozens, I tell ya! I’d count them all, but I’m far too busy stuffing my face with party-bag booty. And there’s the truth.

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When all is said and done, I like to think I give good facebook. Why, just the other day, my status update read:

[The NDM] got dressed up, went to the city, drank cocktails, watched a great show, drank more cocktails, didn’t fall over, caught the bus home and threw up. In that order.

Which summed up my recent Mothers’ Group Night Out quite nicely, with the omission of one or two important facts. 

Such as that we drank piccolos of champagne on the train into town, which we hid in our handbags between sips, like teenage girls but classier. Or that I let Mistress M and KT give me a Generation Y hairdo. Or even that many of us had started drinking at 3pm. 

And then there was the groovy bar in which the aforementioned consumption of cocktails took place. It was a strange and wonderful place. For one thing, the interior consisted of fake grass and garden furniture. But even stranger still, was the mix of clientele. On one table, there was a group of middle-aged men in anoraks, sporting “bum bags” (aka the more titilating “fanny packs” in the US), like they were on some kind of walking tour of the city. And on another table was the most sedate hen’s party ever. Despite their traditionally outrageous headgear (which politely alerted the public to their hen party status) they sat around like they were having afternoon tea with the local vicar. And what’s more, the party was starting to wind up and it was only six o’clock.

“What the hell is wrong with them?” I whispered to KT. “You’d think somebody was getting married or something…”

But KT was too busy eying off an untouched plate of sandwiches on their table. Which I myself had clocked the very minute we sat down. 

“Do you think they’re going to eat that food?” KT whispered back.  

“No. Do you think we should nick it?”

Yes.

Of course, the waiting staff must have been onto us. While I say we were whispering, the truth is we were probably using our Outside Voices because of all that fake grass. Oh, and possibly because of all that alcohol we’d drunk, too. Anyway, the very second the last of the hen’s group left, the waiter swooped in to start clearing away the table.  

But that didn’t stop us. Or, rather, it didn’t stop KT, who boldly went right up to the waiter and said: “We couldn’t help but notice those sandwiches haven’t been touched. Do you think we might have them, please?” 

The waiter, a prim young man was visibly horrified. He was clearly someone who had never finished off a butterfly cupcake that somebody else’s two year-old had already licked the cream off, let alone someone who pushed the bounds of The Five Second Rule as far as five hours with alarming regularity.

“Those sandwiches, madam, are chicken!” he exclaimed. “And they’ve been at the table for over two hours.” And then he shook his head firmly at KT, and then, for good measure, looked over at the rest of us, and shook his head firmly again. 

“Hey, I’m the one who says ‘No’ round here!” I felt like shouting. But then I realised that “round here” wasn’t my own habitat, and that there was no room in the Big City for the rather dubious food hygiene standards I applied in my own home. 

KT, unruffled, came back to the table, her head held high.

“Well, it’s a waste of good food!” she exclaimed loudly, in her best mother voice. And we all tutted disapprovingly and muttered things about “the youth of today” and “what a sinful waste” until we had drunk enough cocktails to forget all about it. And when I threw up later, it had nothing and yet EVERYTHING to do with those chicken sandwiches. 

Still, if it’s all the same to you, I’d prefer it if the prim young waiter didn’t find out I threw up later that night. I have a feeling he’d shake his head again and maybe even say “I told you so!”. And that just would not do.

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The other day I received an email from a good friend with the subject title of “I don’t think I like your husband any more”. You see, my husband had taken her husband (who we shall call “Mr C”) to the pub that afternoon, where they had both put in at least five hours of solid drinking. As a direct result of this, Mr C had come down with a severe case of the Irish Flu, with a good dose of Irish Gastro thrown in for good measure. 

When I told my husband, he punched the air and said “Woo hoo! I finally broke someone!”. When, some considerable time afterwards, I received another email saying Mr C was *still* throwing up, he began to feel less cocky and just a bit annoyed.

“When I have a hangover, it’s my fault. And when someone else has a hangover, it’s my fault too.” he complained in the kind of voice that Mr Justice favours during the second week of the school holidays.

“But you always say it’s someone else’s fault”, I pointed out.

“Yes, but you never believe me. [Mr C] is obviously a better liar than I am,” was his sullen response.

But when he then heard that Mr C had called in sick to work the next day and that his wife was “marching about the house” and, although bringing him Beroccas and cups of tea in bed, was doing so in “A Very Cold Manner”, my husband immediately snapped out of his sulk. Here, indeed, was a Brother-in-Need-of-Sympathy – and most certainly that sympathy wasn’t going to be coming from his wife. You see, my husband knows the dark, dark place that Mr C was in for he, himself, has been there on more than a number of occasions.

It may come as a surprise to some (but not many) who know him, but my dear husband, with his substantial frame (“It’s all muscle”, he assures me), can be surprisingly delicate when it comes to the excessive consumption of alcohol. And sometimes it isn’t even a matter of excess (or so he tells me), it’s because he failed to eat the Right Food in the lead-up to the drinking session, or he just didn’t drink his (allegedly) very modest number of drinks in the Right Order, or the lighting in the pub Just Wasn’t Right, or he was sitting in a Nasty Draught, or… you get the picture.

In any case, the result is him throwing up until at least 5pm the next day and me stomping around the house, shouting at the kids, when really, I want to be shouting at him but it seems unfair to shout at a man with his head down the toilet.

My husband always says that the hangover itself is punishment enough and having watched him suffer over the years, I’m inclined to believe him. I’ve also learnt to adjust my expectations and now always factor in at least 12 hours solo childcare the day after one of his night’s out. And if he comes up roses, it’s like getting a gift from the universe. 

I guess that I must love the man very much and, really, a day throwing up from his self-inflicted sick bed every few months is okay – after all, there are far worse things a husband could do to his wife. Plus, if I’m nice to him about it, I get to occupy the moral high ground – and let me tell you now, the view from up there is magnificent.

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