Saturday, 28 December 2013

Would You Please Move Along?

So I went to the movies yesterday with my husband. Twelve months to the day since we last went to the movies. Young children, don’t get out much. Come summer holidays, a kid-free date often presents thanks to the kindness of our parents.

We arrived at the cinema, on time, not late. One of many small cinemas in a recently developed complex, only the occasional seat was free. Back when I was a single girl and the Christmas/New Year break often found me at the movies toute seule, this was never a problem. But being on my one date with my husband probably, let’s face it for another year, I was hoping we could sit together.

We noticed two women with a spare seat either side so I shuffled down the row to ask them if they would mind moving along a seat so we could have two seats together.

‘Well it’s a bit inconvenient,’ said one of the women grumpily with a roll of her eyes.

Completely mortified, I quickly shuffled backwards out of the row.

‘Sorry, don’t worry about it, sorry for asking, sorry, sorry, sorry.’

How embarrassing! And unreasonable. I would have move along if she’d asked me. I didn’t think it was much to ask. Is it? And how inconvenient would it be to move along one seat? The cinema was full. No-one gets the luxury of a spare seat either side. But it’s been some time since I was at the movies so maybe I have no idea.

As I made my hasty retreat, a lovely couple stopped me to say that the women were actually moving to make room for us.

‘If you don’t sit there, she’ll probably complain about the fact she moved and you didn’t take the seat,’ said one half of the lovely couple, my allies and new best friends.

And she was right; the woman who didn’t want to be inconvenienced would feel inconvenienced no matter what. Unless she had no feet. That really would have been inconvenient.

But she didn’t say, ‘Sorry do you mind if I don’t move along because I have no feet.’ She was just a bit rude. Because she couldn’t be bothered to move along.

So feeling the support of surrounding cinema goers, we sheepishly took our place.

To me, it’s an easy choice to make. To move along. Be generous. Let time-poor parents share a moment together. Or force them to sit apart for absolutely no reason. Unless of course she actually had no feet and then it would be me who was being unreasonable.

Hopefully after yesterday, her New Year’s resolution is to try and be more generous to desperate strangers in need.

On the other hand, mine - judging from my lack of cinema protocol - is to toughen up, stand my ground and get to the movies again before the passing of another 12 months.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Being a Parent Never Ends - at least not for my parents...

I know I know I’ve been a very bad blogger. It’s been ages since my last blog but I’ve been lost in renovation land. Not the best place to be. One of never-ending tasks, questions, decisions, driving and waiting.

But it’s nearly over.

We’ve been living with my amazingly patient and tolerant parents during the renovations but now after 10 weeks, they’re pretty much over us. Hard to believe, I know. But not only have I been a bad blogger, it seems I've also been revisiting my selfish teenage years. Something about living back home. Parents aren't really supposed to 'get over' their children (especially when they're in their 40s) but here are a few possible reasons how that could happen...

  • I've cooked about three meals in 10 weeks and yet have enjoyed countless gourmet dinners.
  • Apart from one vacuum, I've done no cleaning and not really sure if I've changed our sheets or towels.
  • My two year-old drops food everywhere and uses the off-white sofa as a serviette after eating a vegiemite sandwich.
  • My children rarely sit and eat at the table and go a little crazy around 6pm just when my parents settle down for their pre-dinner drink and chat.
  • My parents wine supply is slowly diminishing because my husband and I have whole-heartedly embraced the pre-dinner drink and chat.
  • Not only are we living with my parents but my father has actually designed and built our kitchen plus the lounge room cabinetry - and yesterday they helped move all the furniture from one end of the house to the other so the floors could be done.
  • Friday night, they babysat our children and I think we’re going out next Saturday night as well…

Maybe we've imposed a little.

But as I said, it's nearly over.

But being a parent never really ends. It's not like you can call in sick and take the day off. I often dream of calling my kids up on the plastic toy mobile phone and say, 'Look sorry girls, I won't be coming in today, I'm just not up to it.'

But you can't. And my parents couldn't say no to letting us invade their calm and peaceful life for 10 weeks. 

But I will never renovate again. And I will never again ask them for another favour.  

Well maybe that’s a bit extreme but put it this way, I won't be asking for anything too soon.

Except maybe babysitting next Saturday night...

Friday, 19 July 2013

Some Calls Are Worth Screening

There was a time when my phone would run hot. Maybe friends seeing what I was up to, wanting to catch up. Or maybe some guy I was dating and perhaps another I was trying to avoid.

It went in cycles. Feast or famine. But it was always exciting. Some calls were good, some were bad and I was never very good at screening. I just loved being called and as I lived alone, anyone was interesting.

Now life is simpler and trying to juggle work, kids and family life provides all the excitement I need. There’s not much time for chatting on the phone.

If the phone does ring, it can only really be one of two men.

The first of course is my husband who always checks in during the day. How was school drop off? What are you up to? What are you wearing? (…maybe not that)

The other is my builder, who is now well and truly programmed into my phone. 

Normally the only other calls are from Mum or my agent but since we’re living with my parents while we renovate (and they are a bit over us) and my acting career is experiencing a significant pause, neither calls me as much.

However as the renovation is progressing, I’m receiving so many more calls, it’s starting to feel like the old days. Ok, so the calls are to tell me things like the quote for the benchtop is ready or the kitchen appliances are being delivered. Probably doesn’t sound riveting - but it’s fairly exciting for me.

However as always, some calls are good, some are bad and I’m still not good at screening.

Last week after two trips to a family-run tile shop, I finally chose my kitchen tiles. I then rang and placed an order with one of the owner’s very lovely daughters.

Moments later my phone rang. Not a number I knew but as I say, I don’t really screen. As it turns out, it was the tile shop - the mother telling me that I would have to pay for a courier to deliver the tiles to their shop unless I wanted to wait for another order to come through and share the cost.

‘When would that be?’ I asked

‘I don’t know’

‘So I have to pay for the courier?’


I was furious! I hadn’t been told about a courier charge, which would add another $15 onto my expensive Spanish handmade tiles. Not a lot I know but it’s the principal.

I said that I’d have to think about and she lost it completely.

“Well you can’t expect me to pay for it out of my own pocket!” she screamed.

I tried reasoning with her but she wouldn’t listen. I said I’d call back. Which I did and cancelled my order. Which she did then promptly hung up on me.

I was outraged.

But just as I was googling tile shops, my phone rang again. It was the daughter calling back to apologise. She was in trouble for not telling me about the courier but they’d found a way to have the tiles delivered so did I want to continue with the order?

I said that I did. I felt bad that she’d got into trouble but I stood my ground and she was understanding and gracious. They’d made a mistake but sorted it out.

That call from the mother was worth screening. But you don’t expect to be abused by the local tile shop owner. Besides I wanted the tiles.

So as much as I love getting calls and wish for my phone to once again ring hot, I’ve had as much excitement as I can take for one week.

So now it’s husband or builder.

That’s all I need.