Thursday, December 4, 2014

Gender wars and cricket

My spouses's take on The Greens' Larissa Waters no gender in December campaign, via the cricket newsletter:

Dear All

Last Saturday, the boys observed 63 seconds of silence in memory of Phillip Hughes. I suspect the effects of what has transpired over the last week or so will be felt in the cricket world for a long time to come.

But the game must go on and so it did. Unfortunately, the Albany Creek Seahawks were not all recovering from a big Schoolies’ week and they managed to roll the Blues for 155 odd, well short of the target of 230. Good starts were had from Stoddy, Nick H and Matt T but it was not enough. The boys had some small satisfaction putting the Hawks back in and claiming 4 quick wickets for not much, before the game was ended.

I must tell you that, in my view, we should all make the most of the game of cricket as we know it, as I fear the thought police are circling, even as we speak. This week, chief Green in Queensland, Senator Larissa Waters, declared warfare on gender stereotyping when buying gifts for small children, declaring that it inevitably leads to inequality and domestic violence. It’s quite a big leap to say that giving a small boy a Tonka truck for Christmas sets him on an inevitable path of discrimination, violence and cruelty, but she made it effortlessly. Still, it’s good to know that while the world grapples with the small issues like Ebola, millions of desperate and displaced people and an uncontrollable terrorist force which threatens the very fabric of society, she is all over the big picture stuff.

From what I hear from Green headquarters (located down the bottom of the garden, just next to the fairies’ house), she plans to make it a crime, punishable by death, to willfully supply a girl child with anything coloured pink, doll related or slightly ‘girly’. Equally, you will be shot on sight if you deliberately supply a boy child with anything deemed by the Greens to be “blokey”, like toy cars, trucks, model airplanes or blue shirts. Or a cricket bat.

I fear she has cricket well and truly in her sights. It’s obvious. Why, the majority of players are boys for a start. Not only are the boys all male, they are armed to the teeth with bats and leather balls. You can see her obvious concern here. Give a boy a cricket bat as an 8 year old and by the time he’s 25, he’ll be rampaging around the town, salivating like a wild dog and belting up anyone he can see.

And when she finds out that the game is riddled with blatantly sexist terms, like “maiden”, “slips”, and “balls”, I fear she will not rest until the game is cleansed of the clear and present danger it poses to the health and welfare of our young folk. Funny, it turns out that the Whisperer is Australia’s most wanted man.

So, enjoy it while you can, I suggest.

Sadly, the season ends this Saturday. It is always so eagerly anticipated by the boys and, like a shooting star, it burns briefly and brightly. However, there is some good news as, for the first time in at least 4 years, the boys actually play on the hallowed turf at Yoku Road on oval 2. The opposition is Valley White. The Whisperer might know more about their form but, as he says, that’s not relevant. Of course, we all know it is.

See you Saturday.

Until then, remember, there are some things you can’t cover up with lipstick and powder, but I heard you mention my name, can’t you talk any louder?


CEO Valley Blues

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Letter to my sister

It was a Thursday in July.  The 18th to be precise.   I can't recall the words you actually used when you called to tell me that you had breast cancer.  But I do recall herring the fear and shock in your voice. And I also recall the fear and shock in my own body.

So many questions - how big, how bad, just how?  How was this even possible?

All I wanted to do was get on a plane, fly to you, hold you tight and tell you that everything was going to be Ok.  Because it had to be.  But I was stuck at home recovering from surgery myself, unable to fly for another 10 days.  So the best I could do was send you this:

I normally hate those inspirational posters.  But it was apt.  It seemed the longest 10 days.  For me.  Yet how long it was for you I can't begin to imagine.

'They' say that when you get a diagnosis of breast cancer it's a roller coaster, I think they mean the biggest, fastest, most terrifying roller coaster in the world - without any of the fun associated with going on one.

It felt awful for all of us in your life who were mere bystanders, as supportive and loving as we could be, strapped in for a ride no one wanted to be on; least of all you.

Your life turned into appointment after appointment, hating Tuesdays and Thursdays which were pathology and surgery days.  So one surgery turned into two when the surgeon found the cancer had spread into the lymph nodes and more surgery was required.  I remember calling you when you were in hospital recovering from the second surgery, crying so hard my heart was breaking.  A well meaning person had texted you saying that  'I bet you can't wait to get back to normal'.  And you were so upset that you didn't have a normal anymore - nothing was certain, everything had changed.  A whole new paradigm.

And they found one more lymph node with cancer - not the best news but certainly not the worst either.  See how easy it is to slip into the 'it could be worse' way of thinking.  But chemotherapy was no longer just a possibility but a necessity.

I was with you following that surgery - it seemed natural to slip into a relationship where I was helping you shower, wash your hair, drying you, helping with your drain bag, being a personal trainer with your exercises, taking notes at doctors visits.  But how we laughed as well as cried.  

That first trip home was awful.  I didn't want to leave you.  I started crying when your husband dropped me off at the airport and couldn't stop.  I cried all the way home.  The cabin crew were so kind - but every time I got myself together someone would be nice to me and I would start all over again!  The poor people sitting next to me!

Before I left I remember asking you if it would be annoying if I called you every day. And you smiled and said 'we pretty much talk to each other every day anyway'.  True that!  Imagine not having a sister.  

And so the dreaded chemo began - and you got through it.  You did it.  And here I am writing this inspired by your courage, thinking you are the most amazing, strong person, even when admitting to being afraid.  Sometimes voicing fear and anger, when everyone is used to you being strong and happy is an act of courage in itself.

I am so lucky and privileged to have been able to spend so much time with you, and be one of the people who stood by you while you have been through this.  And while your treatment is ongoing, I will still be there for you.


Monday, November 4, 2013

I hate the Melbourne Cup

So this is it - the first Tuesday in November.  The day that, as we are told relentlessly by media, 'stops the nation'

Well not this little black duck.

Yes I am going to lunch with a few friends - mainly because I like any excuse to have lunch and a champagne or two, but I have zero interest in the actual horserace.  I admit that until last night when The Lawyer insisted on a family sweep I did not know the name of a single horse in the race.  I haven't written down the names of the horses assigned to my name.  I hope none of them die - I witnessed that on the TV one year.  While everyone else in the office was cheering and whooping it up on cheap booze and Red Rooster chicken, coleslaw and bread rolls, a screen was put up around a horse that had fallen and it was unceremoniously shot as it had a broken leg.

I bet (see what I did there) the people who had money on that horse were annoyed it didn't finish rather than the fact that it got a bullet in the head.

I didn't always dislike the Melbourne Cup.  I have never been into horse racing but went along with the whole place a bet, watch the race, indulge scenario.  But I didn't really understand the notion that everyone had to stop doing what they were doing to participate.  Maybe it's just me but I hate feeling like a lemming.

But then I actually attended the Cup one year.  Now to be fair to the event, I was 13 weeks pregnant, nauseous, constipated, head aching and we had travelled from Portsea outside Melbourne in a bus and I was sitting facing the back.  It was never going to end well.  The bus was stopping at the Australia Club to let some colleagues off and I thought I was going to be sick and wanted to go inside to have a quiet chunder in the lovely smelling bathroom there.  The Lawyer wanted me to wait until we got to the public toilets at the railway station.  So I burst into tears.  Everyone got off the bus then.

Back to Flemington.  It was raining.  Cold.  Muddy.  I had a new expensive hat.  It got wet.  I had a short sleeved suit on and was shivering.  And crying.  I could not stop crying. My poor spouse - he didn't know which way to look because every time he looked at me I started crying more.  Because he had wanted me to vomit in a public bathroom.

All around us was rain, mud, and incredibly drunk stupid people falling over and  dropping money on a horse race or races that they knew nothing about.  And by the end of the day covered in mud, and in some cases vomit.  Shoeless women struggling to stand as they left.  Men urinating anywhere they chose, which in the case of one man I saw, on his friend's shoes.  I didn't get the attraction.  I couldn't wait to leave.

I know that tarnished my personal views on the race as an alleged glamourous event. But over the years I have become more and more distressed at the amount of money people, and business, will spend on this race.  Just on betting.  Not counting outfits, hats,  lunch and booze.  How many lives could be changed by that money going to the Salvos, Lifeline, The Smith Family, or (now here's a thought) to an animal welfare charity saving the lives of ex horse races destined for the glue factory.

So spare  thought for those less fortunate today - make it the 'day that starts the nation thinking'.

And here's a thought.  If whoever is responsible for paying for tired 'celebrities' to come out to be an attraction for your precious Melbourne Cup, it's probably best to buy someone who actually likes horse racing and placing a bet, as opposed to Naomi Campbell who was interviewed on TV this morning and said she didn't bet. Good one Naomi!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The inevitability of old age and what we can do about it

This blog post is not what you think it is. No secret elixir of youth. No magic potions. No advertisement for plastic surgery or Botox. Not a post about the Real Housewives of Wherever. Just what we can do for others who are either old or caring for someone who is old.

I've been thinking about aging a lot lately. I think about it most days because I have an almost 91 year old widowed father and an almost 80 year old widowed mother in law in my life - but two things happened today to make me think about it more. A dear friend told me her mother, who had only been diagnosed with cancer in May, passed away, making her officially an orphan. Her father had died two years previously, shortly after taking up residence in a nursing home because of dementia, that hideous sneaky disease, robbing otherwise healthy folk of the ability to live out their days independently or with their loved ones. Then I read Wendy Harmer's beautiful piece about her own father's diagnosis with dementia. My friend had spent a great deal of time caring for her mum in these last few months. With three boys and a full time job as well. As we do.

We are at that age and stage in life called the 'sandwich' generation - with kids at home and elderly parents. In fact, I sometimes refer to myself as a toasted ham and cheese. I have a friend who not only cared for her cancer ridden mother in law and mother in the early stages of dementia, but her teenaged son and his girlfriend announced they were pregnant. She wins!!

My mum passed away suddenly three years ago. At the time it was a terrible shock but I know now I would rather her die a sudden death than have her suffer through cancer, dementia or another long illness. I wrote about that day and subsequent events here -

Dad was 10 years older than her and 87 at the time. To be honest no one expected that he would outlive her or that when she died he would live this long but I am eternally grateful he is still here, happy and healthy and mostly independent, with his mind and card playing skills still as sharp as a tack. He lives just down the road from us now and I see him most days, cook his meals and we do the odd job for him and so on. Mostly, it is good for him to have family close by, and the beautiful Oscar for whom to care.

He gets regular visits from my siblings and their spouses when they come to Brisbane, and he travels to north Qld to visit them a couple of times a year as well. And they call regularly. He is not 'lucky' - we consider it a privilege to still have him in our lives and he has been and still is, a most wonderful father. But I will use that word 'lucky' in a comparative sense.

The thing is, most of my friends are in similar situations to me. And their elderly relatives are the 'lucky' ones. They have someone to look in on them, take them to appointments, call, and help them when they need it. Which is sometimes a lot. And sometimes overwhelming. And they are happy to do it even if we have formed an informal counselling group to discuss our situations and laugh about things we have to do. For example, I don't recall signing up to changing my father's compression stockings in the mornings, when he wears a night shirt. Hello boys!!

The world is really not a comfortable or dignified place for the elderly. To make an enquiry about insurance, telephone, centrelink etc, you get a computerised voice asking you to either press a number or tell in a 'few words' what the call is about. I can barely cope with that - imagine a partly deaf, hands shaking old person, trying to deal with that. 'I'm sorry, I didn't quite get that. Tell me in a few words, what your call is about'. Well I am now authorized to make enquiries on my father's behalf for all utilities, insurance, centrelink, and many other organisations.

Imagine being old and having to deal with those frustrations. I sometimes want to shout 'I WANT TO SPEAK TO A HUMAN BEING!'.

Old people generally accept what they're told and advantage can be taken. By tradespeople knocking on the door unsolicited, by doctors, by insurance companies who will up insurance premiums by 30% when a claim has not been made in 30 years. Grrrr.

Most information is available on line. And most people over 85 don't know how to use the Internet, or use it to its full advantage.

I notice the elderly when I am out and about especially in shops. Look around you next time you're in a supermarket. If you see an elderly person looking endlessly at a shelf ask if they need help. Inevitably the item they are looking for is on the top or bottom shelf. Or the aisle has been changed (I HATE it when they do that). Recently my local Coles moved everything around - every old person I offered to help was looking for dried fruit! Regularity is clearly very important.

I see old people crossing the road or pushing a shopping trolley and want to help - I would rather risk them getting feisty on me and say they don't need help than not offer.

But I wonder - how many old people are in their homes, unseen, alone and lonely, without family to check up on them, struggling with things we take for granted - showering, washing,cooking. How awful.

Please take the time to notice the elderly - a warm smile or offer of help from a stranger may be all it takes to make them happy that day. And if you are caring for an elderly relative, be grateful for the time. No matter what your relationship, you will miss them when they're gone.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It takes a lot to kill a cat

I am unashamedly a cat person. I have had cats as pets my entire life (really). I have a dog who I love dearly and who adores me unconditionally, but if I had to choose it would always be the cat. I hope one day to be a crazy cat lady.

My current situation is two cats. One is 16. Her name is Mindy. She was named by my then 4 year old daughter. George (pronounced with a soft, french 'g') is four years old. They hate each other.

Here is ancient Mindy

And this is gorgeous George

George's acquisition is a story for another day. This is the story of how Mindy almost died shortly after we (and by that I mean me) acquired her.

Apparently, the decision to acquire a helpless homeless kitten is something that should be discussed prior to said acquisition, to ensure marital harmony. We already had a cat - Molly, the 3.5 legged part Burmese former child substitute (long story about the 3.5 legs). We had two children, Elle, four, almost five, and Billy two, almost three. Elle loved Molly. She used to put Molly in her doll stroller and wheel her around the house and garden. Much to the horror of my mother in law (a DOG person) Molly used to sleep in her cot when she was a baby, and snuggle up next to me when I was feeding her. Molly was getting on in age, and I thought, reasonably, that getting a kitten would be good for both Molly and my children.

When I heard about Mindy (then unnamed) through a work colleague I decided to bring her home. If I was completely honest I would say that I knew if I asked The Lawyer would have said 'no' as that is generally his first response to anything that may require effort. And often it is easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission.

He didn't speak to me for a week (winning) but the kids were thrilled beyond expectations and it was all lovely. Mindy was soon being wheeled around in the stroller and sleeping on the bed, and I was forgiven by The Lawyer in due course.

One sunny summer afternoon, The Lawyer came home from work early. By early I mean before 6pm. He didn't come home early out of a burning desire to spend quality time with the family or to cook dinner. He came home while it was light to practice his golf swing for a corporate golf day the next day. It was still sunny, and I look back now and it seems like a scene from a 'family' movie - everyone in the back garden, dad with his golf clubs, the two kids on the trampoline (breaking the rule about only one at a time because they were having fun, not arguing, so no mother would interfere with that, EVER), me dressed up nicely about to go out to the 'god help me why did I not sit on my hands when they called for nominations' kindy committee meeting.

Both Molly and Mindy were in the back yard too. Molly was sitting imperiously and regally watching proceedings. Mindy was chasing a bit of white paper dancing around the grass in the breeze.

From the trampoline, Billy said:

'Daddy, can we get a dog'.

As The Lawyer pulled his club back, he replied:

'One of the cats will have to die first'.

At the very moment he brought the club down, that little piece of white paper flew across the lawn, followed by Mindy so that just as the paper and Mindy came in front of him, the club came down with an almighty 'thwack'. One small black and white kitten went flying across the back yard landing on a tiled area. Lifeless. Elle screamed. I screamed. The Lawyer and I rushed over to her. Billy shouted:

'Daddy killed Mindy'.

Just as we reacted her, she stood up, and staggered, crab like, sideways with her tongue hanging out of her mouth.

I shouted to The Lawyer to get the cat basket. I raced the kids into the car. I knew the vet was open til 7. Got Mindy into the car. I had to drive, The Lawyer was traumatised. Elle was weeping. Billy was asking far too many questions to which I didn't know the answers. At one point he shouted 'Mindy is vomiting'. Excellent. I thought I was going to as well. I was rehearsing how to explain death.

Our nice family movie had turned into a horror movie. We raced into the vet surgery, and the vet came straight out, and asked what had happened. The Lawyer was still mute, and pale. Before anyone said anything, Billy yelled in excitement:

'Daddy hit the kitten with a golf club'.

The Lawyer could not go into the consultation room. Mindy had, as it turned out, a broken tooth, but no bones, and probably a mild concussion. I cried with relief. When we went back out to the waiting room to see the poor ashen faced Lawyer sitting with his head in his hands, the vet said simply:

'Don't worry mate. It takes a lot to kill a cat'.

And he was right. She is 16 now. And whatever time of the night The Lawyer comes home, even if it is midnight, she knows, and she greets him, yowling for food. Which he gives to her. Cats are clever.

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Inventions that make my life easier

There are a number of expensive purchases in my home for which this cortisol overdosing mother will be eternally grateful as they have saved me time and energy. Although I'm still exhausted all the time so I would hate to think what I'd be like without them.

1. The Thermomix

Most people have heard of this marvellous invention that weighs, chops, cooks, stirs, etc. If it vibrated and didn't have the nasty sharp blades I'd take it to bed with me, I am so in love with it. Since I bought it I have used it every day that I have been home. If you've been cynical don't be. It's expensive but worth every cent. I've used it 5 times today alone. The best thing is that I don't burn stuff. No stirring of white sauce, for example which takes all of 7 minutes. Bless you Vorwerx

2. The Elna press

I dislike ironing. Let's be honest I hate it. To be fair I don't do it very often. Once when my daughter was very little I got the iron out and she asked 'is grandma coming over today?'. I bought this little gem a few years ago and it is a marvellous invention. Place item flat on small ironing bench, push lever down and 'magic' - the creases have gone. I have a wonderful lady who loves ironing and she loves my elnapress too. Those pesky t- shirts the boys wear - three movements and they're done.

3. The slow cooker

As much as I love my Thermomix, I do still love my slow cooker. It's big, which means that I can make double quantities of lots of luscious winter casseroles and curries to freeze for those shitful days where a frozen meal will save you from a nervous breakdown.

4. The Scanpan mother of all pots

I always say if you're going to cook 500g of mince into spaghetti bolognaise you may as well cook 4 kilos. And yes I do just that. This pot is big enough for the job. The secret is in the simmering - I basically quadruple all the ingredients and simmer for several hours. This makes at least 5 meals for my family. The kids still love spag bol, and sometimes I go to a bit of an effort and make it into lasagne. Remember- bechamel/cheese sauce in 7 minutes in the Thermomix

5. Chinese food containers and Tupperware

Because I cook so much food, and also cook evening meals for my Dear Old Dad, I use a lot of Chinese food containers and Tupperware. In fact, I sometimes order Chinese or Thai food just to get the nice deep ones. They don't last forever!

6. Extra freezer

I can't be fagged taking a photo of it but see item 5 as to why.

7. Last but not least, Foxtel

Even though the movie channels leave a lot to be desired, and I don't really have time to watch movies anyway, I love my Foxtel and IQ as I can record favourite programs and watch them later and fast forward through the advertisements. Although now that I think about it, I thought the point of 'pay TV' when it was originally invented was that we paid for the privilege of no advertisements. But I digress. The BEST thing about Foxtel is that there is always a program on somewhere that will make you feel better about your life no matter how shitful a day you're having. For example, Hoarders. Or 16 and pregnant. Whenever I get the urge to vacuum I think of Hoarders and do something else. Then there are the endless repeats of Friends (for laughs) and Law and Order:SVU ( because I love seeing rapists and child molesters get their come-uppance, plus, Eliot Stabler)

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How did I become a slave in my own palace?

How did I become a slave in my own palace?

How is it, that at this age and stage of my life, I have become the slave in my own palace?  At the beck and call of everyone, seemingly doing everything, planning everything, thinking about everything, and certainly washing everything.  I know and we all know that women are capable of multi-tasking, but I am at the point of losing my marbles if I have to add one more domestic task to my already overloaded list of things to do.  Which never seems to get shorter. Because more things to do keep getting added to the list of things to do.  Because no one else will do them.

Once, and only once, I wrote a list of lists I had to make just to keep track of everything. At that point I knew I had gone too far.

The thing is, I gave up full time work three years ago. The one thing that brought me great personal pleasure and pride, albeit a very stressful job,  but rightly or wrongly ,to a large degree it defined who I am.  And people at work said 'thank you'  at least once a day.  They were grateful for the help I gave them.  Partners were grateful I could help them have difficult conversations with people.  Or tell people they didn't have a job any more.  Of course i didn't realise how important gratitude is until about a month after I gave up work when I realised that no one in my family said thank you to me ever (except for my youngest child who is practically perfect in every way) 

Anyhoo... I gave up work largely because I wanted to support my eldest to get through her last year of school, and I wasn't well suffering from severe neck pain and migraine, so decided to take a leave of absence, be a 'good mother',  (oh that is the definition of optimism right there), get well, and then see what transpired from there.  As it turned out my mum passed away very suddenly half way through my leave of absence and I started helping my dad so the plan to return changed dramatically at that point.

When I told my then 16 year old daughter I was going to be a full time mother for her last year of school and asked her if she thought that was a good idea she said 'I'm not sure it's going to make that much difference to be honest'. Nice.   Middle child  (boy) was excited about the prospect of cooked breakfasts.  Youngest child (boy) burst into tears and wanted to know that our nanny/housekeeper/sanity saver would still be coming to our house and collecting him from school. 

Excellent start.  I should have known then and there it was possibly a mistake in terms of my personal growth.

So I became Mrs Holly Homemaker. Having worked at an enormous pace for many years and enjoying the intellectual stimulation I hurried with everything. GOT THINGS DONE. The days were busy. Lists of things to be done crossed off. I became an even more frequent flyer at kikki-k with lists, schedules and organising products. 

The first moment of clarity came at the end of the first week. I realised that we had NEVER paid our nanny enough money. My God the woman deserved danger money dealing with my lot.

The second thing I realised is that I decided I hated driving. Some days I was in and out of the car from 3-7pm. Ferrying one child here picking up from there, dropping off here.   Again - the nanny never got paid enough.

But the very worst part is that I quickly became a slave in my own palace:

Apparently I am the only person who can turn the washing machine on.  And there is so much of it.  I know I used to put a load of washing on before I went to work but I would come home and it was not only sorted, folded and ironed, but put away.  Now I wash, sort, fold, wash sort fold, rinse and repeat.  Groundhog day in the laundry only more mind numbing. Sometimes I'm sure I've washed clean clothes unpacked from suitcases because the little treasures can't be bothered to put their own clothes away.

Here are some of the more annoying things

  • the inability of The Lawyer to write in the family diary things he has on after work, notwithstanding being asked seventy squiilion times.  So if I actually organise an escape from the mundane with friends, relying on him to collect Harry from tennis, and having written it in the diary a month before and mentioned it five times in the previous week, I will find out on that morning that he is in fact having drinks with friends thereby rendering me completely mentally deranged as I try to rearrange things or call in yet another favour from friends.  All the while gnashing my teeth.
  • teenagers blind to the fact that the dishwasher has in fact been on and is full of clean dishes.  So of course you will leave your dirty midnight feast dishes in the sink instead of unstacking and restacking the dishwasher.  So that when I get up at 5.30 to resume my role as scullery maid the first thing I do is unstack the dishwasher.
  • Having to constantly run the garbage disposal after teenagers have eaten.  I mean is it that hard?
  • Having to clean up after the teenagers have eaten.
  • Having to find things people have lost/misplaced/ or just can't be fagged finding.  Usually expensive things. 'Mum, I can't find my xxx'.  'I saw it on the floor of your room yesterday - look under the bed/doona/pile of dirty clothes o the floor/ dead rat the cat dragged in'. 
  • Having to argue the toss about why it is NOT on that I, the mother/slave/maid be left at home without a car while they are off having fun
  • Calling the teenagers to dinner to hear them complain that dinner is not ready because it is not on the plates yet (seriously).
  • Constantly thinking about food - what to cook, what to buy, how much to cook, not knowing how many people are actually going to be home for dinner (see diary rant above)
There is never a time there is nothing to do except at night and even then its questionable.  That list is still there - written down but also in my head, constantly taunting me as something lurking in the back of my brain makes a sudden leap forward 

Really, all I want is a simple 'thank you' every now and then.  Or perhaps for someone to say 'is there anything I can do to help, mum'. Or best of all  someone to make me a cup of tea.  Sometimes at night I will say to The Lawyer 'would you please put the kettle on?' So he does.  And lets it boil.  And he walks away.  Really.

Even the servants at Downton abbey are treated better than me

But that is going to change.  No point complaining about it - I'm going back to paid work.  And not just any work - I've started my own consulting business.  So I still make lists but now its going to be lists of jobs for other people in the house to do during the day.  Unstack the dishwasher.  Hang out the washing.  Fold the washing.  And cook a goddam meal.

AMFYOYO - I'm back to the land of the living.  I'll just cross write blog post of my list of things to do