Crazy in Paradise

So, apparently, I am currently enjoying 10 uninterrupted days of bliss in paradise….only I am constantly distracted by the screaming voice in my head. The one that is chanting at an exceedingly higher pitch something along the lines of ‘Get me the hell outta here!!!!’

The universe would appear to have conspired to send me to the original set the US Government used to stage the 60’s moon landing… in fact, I am pretty sure it was Neil Armstrong that elbowed me out of the way this morning, in order to snaffle up that last breakfast sausage. Only he was German….

I am surrounded by about 400 Germans enjoying their annual ‘roast until golden brown, while drinking body weight in all-inclusive beer’. And they brought their children with them…. lots and lots of children, all of whom have had their volume switch turned up to ‘annoy the crappers screech’. Three times a day, everyone congregates to eat at the holy trough of St All-you-can-eat-Buffet. Jostling for one of the prized outside tables, punctuated by another round of beer.

I am not ungrateful for the free ride… the weather has turned cool back home and Miss Eight has spent so long in the pool the past three days I swear I saw the outline of a developing gill when I was washing her hair last night. Mr Dear Husband just happens to be down here for a month… it was he that suggested I hop a freighter (ok so it was a budget airline) and come ‘hang out’ for a while. School goes back at the end of the month… back to 6am starts in the dark and cold soon.

But here is the kicker… in over 25 years of being an avid traveller (let’s be real, I like it so much that I just keep moving on), I have never once booked a ’10 Day, all-inclusive, lie by the pool do nothing’. And whats more, I never wanted to. My poor kids have been dragged around rotting ruins and dusty museums.. they have eaten on the streets and not been sure if I was kidding when I said we might end up sleeping at the bus station because I couldn’t find the way to ‘that little pension I read about on some blog 2 years ago’. But here I am.

I feel a bit of a dip sitting under the shade of a palm tree tapping away on my netbook… and am obviously the topic of some discussion among the ‘bronze brown’ community…. when I broke out the internet access (thanks Mr Dear Husband) there was a definite twittering to be heard.

Rest assured… there is a silver lining. I brought along enough books to read to sink a battleship and I am ripping through them like there is no tomorrow… oh to have nothing to do but read…

Now… where is that barman gone… it must be ‘Beer O’Clock’

Love LuLu

PS Not sure how this is going to turn out – I am typing straight into WordPress and take no responsibility for the million errors… or maybe that was just all the beer. 😉

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My German Mother-in-law

I am afraid that my feelings toward her are becoming borderline psychotic! The woman drives me insane and I never seem to find the space to let my shoulders drop down.

The last 4 days have been lovely because she has been away, but I swear the woman was home 3 minutes before she was on the phone… “well if you have nothing to do, come over here (now why would I want to spend the afternoon entertaining you!)… ” So I say that we have just come home and have a few things planned… how would it be if we catch up tomorrow? “hmmm well I suppose – then we are going to church at 6pm tonight – we will come past earlier and pick up Miss Eight to take her with us (earlier meaning she is planning to arrive at 4 and expects the table set and a fresh cake baked)”

I say that MIss Eight has just started a project and we will give church a miss today…. I notice how badly I want to tell a lie – like we are going out or that I have already taken her this morning (bit hard considering I was still in bed at 10:30am)… She is not happy…

Then I get the “what have you been doing all weekend?” question. It is inconceivable to that woman, the idea that we could have a lazy Sunday doing pretty much nothing. I have come to dread Sunday evenings because she so often ‘pops in, just passing…’ No more feet up on the sofa watching a DVD with the family in our tracky daks – sipping a slow glass of chardonnay… feeling a little tipsy… sleepy. Without fail, every time I have been in that state she has caught me out.

After 20 years of a 3 minute phone call to where ever we were living around the world – I am now feeling smothered! Lately, she has taken to asking my husband to ‘drop in’ on his way from the station on Friday evenings. He did, thinking this would keep her happy and give us some space on the weekends. Then she started preparing his meals (never mind that I had already cooked) and last week he finally made it home at 11pm, because she dragged him into being their 4th at cards… all the while plying him with liquor so that he was quite a mess. And she still arrived on Sunday afternoon…. even though we had told her we were having some old friends for lunch.

For the past 2 weeks – she has invited Miss Eight to lunch everyday – she no longer invites me because I have been on a diet since May (lost 12kilo) and won’t eat her cooking… Actually had the nerve to say to me that I shouldn’t get too thin because then my face will get really wrinkled and ‘you will never get rid of those!’. She is wearing me down… I feel like I am constantly in a state where I am holding her at bay with a whip and a chair. Lately I have started looking at positions for DH that are located in faraway countries… just because I want my sanity back.

Of course – after saying all that, I have to admit they are the most fantastic grandparents… couldn’t ask for more – but I can’t cope with the smothering thing. If longer than 24 hours goes by without a phone call or a visit she says things like ‘just called because I thought your phone might not be working. Or I will drop by and she will hug MIss Eight and say ‘Ooooh I haven’t seen you for SOOOO long…” (who be it for me to point out that we were at her house for lunch the day before???) But more than anything, I am struggling with the concept that for the first time since I was about 15, I feel like I need to ‘check in’. Constantly have to tell her what our plans are, where we are going, when we will be back… who we will be with… how long, how much we spent… aaaggghhh… I hate it! And it is pushing me into becoming a passive aggressive personality (just like my DH) If I let any of our plans slip – she has an opinion about everything –  The woman has lived in the same house since the day she was born… she has not worked a day out side the home since the day she got married.

When she gives me parenting advice I hear a voice in my head screaming “Shut the f**k up… everything you know happened 45 years ago!!!!” If I get one more lecture on how my child plays ‘too many computer games, watches too much television, doesn’t eat enough vegetables, needs a hair cut, is wearing trashy clothes…” I am likely to go Stephen King style ‘Carrie’ on her arse!

I know, I know… I hear you… I will never be able to change her… I can only change my own reaction to her. I have a friend that gave me this advice. When I get stressed, I am to chant in my head “there goes my MIL being the best MIL she can be…there goes my MIL being the best MIL she can be…” So far it has just made me want to hit someone over the head with a piece of 4×2.

So there you have it… my mother in law. Can’t live with her, can’t bury her in the cellar.

Australia V’s Germany

There is a good chance that only one house in the whole of this one horse town is waving this flag today, among a sea of black, red, gold:

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It is great to be the rebel!

Go Aussies….Oi Oi Oi!!!!

Life will continue to revolve completely and utterly around the World Cup for the next 4 weeks…. Mr Dear Husband has been known to spend the entire World Cup camped out on the sofa, and when we lived on the other side of the world – he spend the nights kipping during half time and then dragging himself to work in the morning.

I suspect that for the next 4 weeks, all birthdays/weddings/celebrations of any kind that can not accommodate a LARGE flat screen TV… are not going to well attended.

….I wonder if this could be one of the lowest periods on record for the conception of new babes…

I have now learnt – either join in, or find something else to do – alone.

She strikes again

In celebration of a Perfect Sunday, we had lunch Al Fresco.  Warm sunshine, birds singing, tranquillity.

As I was throwing together the salad, I remembered that we now have life in the garden.  Mother Nature is a corker – all my hard work last year has started to reap rewards.  Restoring the over-grown mess back to the foundation has turned into a treasure hunt. 

In Spring, Tulips and Daffodils once hidden under 11 years of neglect found their way to the light.  Azaleas have bloomed with so much enthusiasm that the neighbours have stopped by to comment.  And my particular favourite – the herbs.  We now have Thai Mint, Oregano, wild strawberries & Lemon Melisse running amok.

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And so it was that I grabbed handfuls of lovely leaves, tore them up ‘al Nigella/Jamie style’ and tossed them into the big glass bowl.

“Do you like the salad?” I asked over our lunch.

“Yes, very nice…. “ they all muttered… but Miss Eight stayed remarkably quiet.

“How about YOU, Miss Eight, do YOU like the salad?  I put in some lovely fresh mint leaves….”

It is always a concern when she chooses not to make eye-contact….

“Yes Mum, it is really good….tastes like I have just brushed my teeth!”

Don’t think I didn’t hear the rest of them sniggering….

Thawing out

Haven’t been much of a blogger lately – too busy hurtling around the countryside in a little black peanut… sorry…I meant Peugeot.  Doing lots and lots of site visits for a contract I picked up.  Sort of fun – except when it is raining and cold… then it is not so much fun.  Germany lends itself nicely to this type of adventure.  An excellent road system, and my new best friend Tom Tom.  We make a great team.  She forgives all my indiscretions… like when I turn down the wrong street – she calmly recalculates my route and puts me  back on the right path.  We have had a couple of close calls when negotiating carparks – or roads that do not exist in her world.

But then the sun came out….and thoughts of work were set aside.  Time to christen the new Weber we received from our wonderful Xmas visitors… much jubilation, clicking heels and squealing as we unpacked.  Time to toss a couple of snags…

Shoes were kicked off….

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Are you digging the retro outdoor table and chairs?  I thought so…

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Please note that there GREEN on the ground instead of WHITE… we had quite enough of that white stuff this year…

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Here you can see the gleaming new BBQ… Mr Dear Husband said it was the smoke, but I swear there was a tear in his eye at the idea of dirtying up that pristine grill….

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We have changed Miss Eight’s name to Monkey Girl… she seems to spend most of her time hanging upside down these days…

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Aaahhh… How’s the serenity…..

He gets it right…

I found myself missing Mr Dear Husband this morning.  Not HIM so to speak, but more the little things that he does that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. (Get yer mind outta de gutter).

It does not always roll this way.  Somewhere, deep inside, was a ball of ‘pissed off’ just waiting to explode when he left on this last sojourn.  I doubt he was barely on his second cup of in-flight coffee and dry bread roll, before I fired off an email that would make your toenails curl and your nose hair fall out.  The gist of the email related to his inability to put away garden instruments after use… therefore, insuring that I can’t find anything when he is not here.  The man has an innate sense of self-preservation, and chose NOT to respond to my tirade. 

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Then this morning, Miss Eight mentioned how much she likes lying in bed, listening to the sound of the shower running… and I got all gooey inside.  Because it is Mr Dear Husband that is usually the first up and about, warming up the house, putting on the kettle, and generally making sure that we, of the ‘go-back-to-sleep-for-just-a-minute’, are catapulted into activity.

Over my coffee, I started thinking about what it is that I miss.  Here are a few things that sprang to mind:

He always gets up first, giving me an extra 15 minutes to sleep.

When I make it downstairs in the morning, there will be a cup of tea waiting for me – although I threw a spanner in the works recently, suddenly & inexplicably switching to coffee.

If there is a ‘dirty’ job in the house to be completed, he will do it. 

Has been known to vacuum the whole house from top to bottom without a murmur

He doesn’t do toilets… ever.  That is OK, we established that early on.

I have seen him sit on the floor with Miss Eight and play Barbies… complete with high squeaky voice and all.

For the past 5 years, he has had a secret long-on-going bedtime story rolling for Miss Eight.  He makes it up as he goes along – the most I have been able to glean from listening at the door is something about a guy called Mario, and a Pizzeria.  They won’t let me in on it.

Whenever he comes back from a business trip, he looks REALLY happy to see me (and the midget too). 

Just before this last trip, I suddenly woke in the middle of the night (2am to be precise) and remembered I hadn’t put out the rubbish bin.  Mr Dear Husband climbed out of his deep sleep and cosy bed… traipsed downstairs… grabbed the bin… rolled to the curb  — then noticed that not a single wheely-bin was to be seen.  Seems I had mixed up the days – my bad.  He related the story to anyone that would listen the next day, but I think he was secretly trying to tell everyone what a great husband he was for ‘actually getting out of bed.’

Life is never all roses… but sometimes you just have to look in the right place.  If you are looking for the secret of longevity in marriage – it is all in the detail. 

Life got in the way…

Hi, my name is LuLu.

It has been 17 days since my last blog post.

Hi Lulu….

It has been hard going.  I find the mornings the most difficult.  Blogging goes down so smooth with that second cup of coffee, drinking in the serenity after the storm that is ‘get the child to school on time’.

There have been other factors that have helped me on my way to recovery.  Keeping busy is good.  And of course, I found God.  God in the form of a small child wearing a white dress.  Miss Eight scrubbed up quite well for her 1st Holy Communion.  I even managed to get her to brush her hair and after a monumental struggle, convinced her that wearing a black headband with the face of Hannah Montana on it, was not going to cut it with the God Squad.

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The week leading up to White Sunday was spent mostly in the dark and musty confines of the local church.  As Mr Dear Husband happened to be conveniently wrapped in worldly matters somewhere on the Turkish Riviera, the role of respectable parent was left to me….the non-catholic, spawn of the devil, wild child, daughter-in-law.  Believe me when I tell you, that this did not sit easy on the shoulders of the Mother Outlaw (who I have been known to refer to as the Pope’s Sister).

IMG_7720 Photo of Miss Eight shows:

A)  She has already removed her gorgeous white hair decorations in favour of a napkin.

B)  She is her mother’s daughter.

C)  She turned to the camera and said “Who am I?”….. “The Pope of course!!”

D)  Nine months of intensive religious education has not helped her sense of humour.

E)  That is me with my back to the camera – trying to convince the waitress that it would be better for her to just ‘leave the bottle’.

My saving grace came about through my organisational skills.  I can delegate like an air traffic controller.  We need 14 cakes for the Monday Kaffee Klatsch, I hear you say?  No problem.  A quick call to the local Granny Mafia (all of whom are over 80 and can cook cake as if their lives depend on it) – instantly we had placed orders for more cake than should be legal.  Then there were logistical problems – How DO you fit 22 people around the dining room table?  Cobbled together, with chairs begged, borrowed and stolen.  I figured they would be so dazzled by the wondrous array of cake, they wouldn’t notice.

As you can see… it has taken me a week to recover.  More than a week actually. 

Hi, my name is LuLu.

It has been 1 day since my last blog post.

Hi, Lulu….