it all started with a cramp

So this weekend was all about the inaugural Australian Bloggers Conference. I’ll get to that later. Julie Andrews may be all about starting at the very beginning but tonight, I feel it best to start from the end. Because the end is further evidence that I pay dearly for having fun. If I am to cut up the dancefloor to Footloose there is a price to pay.

The plan was to drive into the city, attend the conference, partay at the dinner and then be collected by Chef on his way home from work.

This plan worked beautifully. After several false starts heading to the conference (having to return home for jam to give to certain legends and guardian angels and then once more with feeling to gather up my ‘business’ cards) I found a kickarse park near Hyde Park. I noted the following day it had a special event clearway from 8am but that was cool because Chef had to be at work by then so would have dropped me off to pick it up well before then.

However, about  3/4 of the way home I realised while I had a collection of goody bags with enough leather furniture repair kits to last me through my next life and the one after I had indeed left my handbag sitting under my chair in the ballroom. I know. Gifted.

I ring the hotel and they locate the bag and pop it in the safe for me, something I find hilarious because all that it contained was a keycard to a bank balance of $9.82, a therefore useless debit Visa card and a maxed out Amex.

I get home and the bed shark is getting some attention until Chef is felled by a viscous leg cramp. As he’s limping around the room trying to recover Grover appears, putting end to any concern about watching the dismount.

Fast forward to this morning with torrential rain. the big boys were up and so they decided to come along for the ride.

Tangent: Felix asked why I’d left the car in the city and I’d explained that I had wanted to have a few champagnes and so didn’t want to drive home but on learning I had left my bag behind he was all, ‘I think you had more than a few champagnes’. Bastard.

So off we go.

We get to the bottom of Long Reef heading into Dee Why, come around the corner and hit a massive puddle. Well, we actually hit a flooded roadway thanks to Dee Why Lagoon. WHOOOAH we all go. As the car goes nigh nigh. There we were. In the middle of a massive downpour on a flooded road and the time was reading 7:32.

Oscar’s loosing it by now, Chef is a bit incredulous and I am all, we have to find a Plan B, my car can NOT get towed from a special event clearway.

I call mum.

She’s all, we’ll have to get the other kids in the car. I’m all, there’s no time, leave them, get down here and get my brother down here so he can take you home and we can take your car to get my car (and my handbag) and to get Chef to work.

Then we realise we have to move the car. We’re only just around the corner and almost at a bus stop.

There’s only one thing for it.

I ditch my thongs, Chef takes off his sneakers and socks. Felix clambers over into the driver’s seat as Chef and I get out. To push.

Fast flowing water is racing past me about half way up my leg. The rain is so heavy we are instantly soaked to the core. Every time another car goes past Chef yells above the rain, “HERE WE GO” as a massive wave of water washes over us and the car.

And we’re laughing.

I mean COME ON.

We get the car further up the road. Mum arrives. My brother arrives. We do the handover and we’re back on the road. Chef and I are beyond wet. It’s as if we’ve sat in a bath fully clothed, then got out and just gone about our business.

We can not stop laughing. I am driving and as we get to the other side of Brookvale we see flashing police lights and I panic. Why the fuck am I driving when I don’t have my licence on me (in the bag in the safe in the hotel). I pull over and swap sides with Chef all the while him commenting about how this doesn’t look suspicious at all.

But it doesn’t matter. The policeman is just blocking.the.road. because – IT’S FLOODED (no shit sherlock, maybe that roadblock should have been about 5kms back).


Then another detour.

It’s 7:56.

I’m tweeting it all as fellow conference goes tweet about how there’d better be bacon for breakfast. Bacon shmacon, I was ready for a hair of the dog.

I do, however, start getting anxious about what if they do tow the car – I mean we’ve got no money to get it back and hello, FOUR kids to ferry around and now a broken down car and mum’s car needing repairs because of me and ZOMG WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE.

Until Chef points out to me they’ll just tow it to a side street and put a ticket on it. Then, he explains to me that we don’t live in Springfield and the car won’t get towed to a holding yard in Shelbyville and we wont’ have to take Flander’s SUV to get it out. PHEW.

We get into the city. It’s after 8. I get my bag and hug a few people in the lobby who then recoil on realising just how wet I am. I squelch out the door and we drive up the hill, with me muttering pleasebetherepleasebetherepleasebethere AND …

it is!


Chef drops me and the two boys and goes on to work where his undies finally start to dry out sometime around 3pm.

I check the cash situation and the boys and I recover with a bacon and egg McMuffin and a hashbrown. Fuck those Maccas hashbrowns are good. We then stop at the next Maccas for another hashbrown each. WHAT? Tell me you would have done differently.

SO – fast forward to the END of today. Because clearly it can only keep going.

Our next door neighbour, R, is a towie – ie drives a tow truck. He goes down and collects it for us. But by now he’s told us that if the engine has got salty water in it’s completely fucked. And yes, they were the words he used. He gets it home and then Chef (who’s home by now) pretends to know something about car engines by standing there looking at it. Bless him.

I make pizzas.

Ritchie – who does know what he’s looking at – says it’s totally screwed – water in the somethingorothers, sloshing  around in the whastamethings and god knows what else.

Again, we’re laughing. I mean. The washing machine is (still) in pieces, I smashed my mum’s car by trying to clean the garage and now this? Get the fuck out.

Chef can’t borrow Mum’s car as she’s in the midst of this physio (yes Miami Vice is back in our lives) lovefest rebuilding completely lost muscle tone in her legs to avoid needing knee replacement surgery and then next week it’s at the repairers because I tried to clean something.

Then Mum had the brilliant idea of us borrowing Chef’s Mum’s car as they’re away. Perfect! Put in the phone call – no problem.

So tonight once all the children were in bed Chef and I head up to their place. The garage roller-door goes up and my my my what could this be?

A three piece leather sofa sitting in front of the car.

So… laughing all the way, we move the fucking lounge SUITE out, drive the car out and move the fucking lounge SUITE back in.

As we’re doing this Chef comments, ‘you know it started when I got that cramp last night’.

Of course it did.




So here we are once more…

So for the last three months or so I haven’t been travelling so well. There have been a number of stresses which each on their own were quite manageable but mooshed up all together started to swallow me whole. Mum’s health issues (which have blessedly been largely resolved), our ongoing financial plight (which I know is only a product of this time of young children and will pass – eventually), everything to do with Oscar – his foot/feet, behaviour, bed-wetting and on and on it goes and being back in that phase which is having children aged between two and four.

On top of that I was trying to lose weight and had embarked on quite the exercise regime. There was the walking the boys to and from school each day which meant I was walking 8kms most days of the week, Jillian Michaels’ 30 day shred, the gym and other sundry activities. I didn’t lose a pound.
That reality was actually the straw which I think sent me spiralling downward. The paranoia started to creep back, the finding myself shaking my hands as if trying to rid my body of excess anxiety/stress/sadness/anger (you know, I’m always telling Oscar to stop flapping while I know this is how he handles his body trying to process what is going on around him), the inability to go to bed – not to get to sleep mind you just the actual act of going to bed -, poor quality sleep, negative thoughts, self-sabotaging behaviours, lots and LOTS of chronic sighing and – the kicker for me – anger. So much anger. And yelling. And starting to smack the kids. And more yelling.
Interestingly, it was during that three month period that was our school Term 1 I started having a glass (or 2) of wine almost every night. I really hadn’t been drinking like that since before I had Jasper – so a good four years or so. I did twig to the relationship between the lack of weight loss and spiralling mood and increased alcohol intake.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly no teetotaller but I do know that if I can have one drink I might as well have two, or three, or ten. I was drinking really heavily when Oscar and Felix were young and it wasn’t until I saw an Oprah (I KNOW!) episode on SAHM’s who were worried they drank too much than I kinda thought hmmm. In fact, there was one woman who recounted a situation where one of the kids got sick during the night and there was no way she could have driven him to the hospital. Let’s call that a lightbulb moment. But apart from that, there was – and is – the cold hard reality that getting on the turps has negative side-effects which ultimately override the lovely ones you have while imbibing your beverage of choice. Throw anti-depressants into that mix and what you get is a whole lot of trouble.
Technically, if you’re on anti-depressants you should not be drinking at all. But then hello, I live in the real world and if someone is offering me a glass of sparkling shiraz I’m not about to go no thanks.
I’ve been seeing a new psychiatrist for about nine months now and I really like him. Like my previous one (who I’d seen for almost 10 years) he is a straight talker, very matter-of-fact and pragmatic. I had got the impression from him that he wanted to change my meds but – and this is one of the reasons I have warmed to him – he didn’t go all bull-at-a-gate about it. I was travelling fairly well then I stumbled and for the last six weeks I’ve been on a different dosage of the same meds.
It didn’t work. I can feel the seeds of anxiety, I’ve been having crazy dreams – think of the day you’ve had then put that into a Salvador Dali painting and you’re getting the picture, then put it on fast forward and bingo, that’s my nightly viewing pleasure – and this nagging saddness that presents itself as general inactivity with resultant lack of productivity and ultimately anger. At myself and those around me.
It makes me unpredictable and not in a good way. I don’t think it’s fair on loved ones and in particular children to face each day with a ‘I wonder if Mum’s having a good day or bad day today’ mindset.
I am from that parenting camp where we try to limit the no’s and increase the why don’t yous. So you know, if the three year old now has a reflex reaction to push their two year old brother to the ground every time he comes near, instead of don’t push, don’t do that, no we go nice hands, loving caring brothers, cuddles and kisses and so on (GOD suddenly I sound like a hippie).
When I’m not firing on all cylinders there is a lot of NO a lot of STOP PUSHING HIM and ultimately a drag off to the bedroom where my grip is a little too tight on his arm, the putting him onto his bed more of a throw and sometimes a smack. I am all for the times when certain behaviours are simply not tolerated and suitably punished but if I’m not showing and teaching my child how to treat someone – rather just berating them for what they are doing – how does that make me the best parent I can be?
In the midst of this is that ongoing internal dialogue questioning how ‘real’ or how ‘legit’ all of this is. I mean COME ON, talk about first world worries. It’s always going to be hard being at home with two toddlers, it’s always going to be hard with a child with special needs which seem to get worse the older he gets rather than less, it’s always going to be hard ensuring the four children you wanted to have get the attention and input they each deserve, it’s always going to be hard to give those children the opportunities and experiences you want them to have when money is tight and time ellusive. So suck it up baby, these here are tough times and they’re what make the good times all the sweeter.
And on it goes.
But you know what, I don’t care if there are those who think what I am experiencing is simply life and that I don’t have the ticker to live the good, the bad and the ugly it sends my way. This is about my ability to live the good, the bad and the ugly and rise to it each and every day.
So over the next month I’m weaning off the Zoloft to move onto the Effexor and returning to my original dose of Epilum. I stopped drinking every night about eight weeks ago and definitely feel better for it. Curiously, this term I have done virtually no exercise (such was my level of pissed-offedness and my body) but focused on my diet and have lost 3 kilos.
My shrink asked me on Monday what this depression felt like – was it physical or more internal and I thought what a good way of looking at it. I was also a bit shocked because while I’ve been the first to say I wasn’t ‘too good’ I had certainly not thought of it in terms of depression. How weird is that. Anyway, in the past most of my depressive episodes have been very internal – all of that self-doubt and internal monologuing about people looking at me, not being good enough and so on. But this one has been a weight, a sense of the roof being too low, you know, like that scene in the Gene Wilder version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where they’re all crammed into that tiny space near the beginning. He reckons some of that has come from the drug dosage we were trying out but also the nature of this depression. Interesting.