This long weekend can’t come fast enough. Normally, I’m fine with Nathan working interstate Monday to Friday. There are lots of benefits to the situation – his commute to work only happens twice a week, rather than twice a day. If he worked in Melbourne, he would actually spend more time on trains than he currently does on planes. It’s also a good thing for his career, to be able to travel anywhere, any time.
But sometimes… two days at the end of every week just aren’t enough. In both of our families, birthdays and anniversaries tend to be clumped together, which can mean that we’re trying to squeeze multiple obligations into each weekend, for months. At times like those, alone time is hard to come by.
A while ago, somebody tried to commiserate with me – “I know how you feel, it’s the same with us – I barely see my husband during the week either!”
Same thing? Not quite.
I kind of had to restrain myself with this one. Smile and nod. Yes, they work long hours; yes, they probably don’t spend much quality time during the week. But she gets to eat dinner with her husband and sleep in the same bed every night. If she needs a hug, she gets a hug. There is so much to be said for the physical closeness of simply existing in the same space, and I miss it. I’m surrounded by this home for two, yet I’m knocking around in here by myself most of the time. I don’t even know how people cope if their partner is deployed or something, for months at a time. When Nathan’s gone during the week, it’s not as though I’m suddenly living as a single person – in this house, the lack of him is tangible.
Nath and I saw David Byrne and St Vincent perform at MONA FOMA in January. It was amazing. Both of them are so fiercely individual, yet their musical styles somehow just mesh together perfectly. Highlight of the gig: David Byrne’s dancing. Oh, and Annie Clarke really does look (and sing) like a little angel in real life.
With Nathan travelling all the time, it’s a bit of a rarity for us to actually spend quality time together. He comes home on weekends, we run around like mad chickens trying to manage all our obligations and chores, then he has to leave again. It gets tough, especially when we haven’t really had any ‘us’ time. So on Saturday night, we went on a date (it sounds so high school to say that). But not just any date – this was a three-part extravaganza.
Dinner at Mum’s house. My Dad is jetting off to Singapore for a few weeks and returns on the same day that I leave for the US, so I won’t get to see him until mid-July. So we all needed to have Chinese take-out and talk about the aviation industry (one of Dad’s favourite conversation topics).
We made good time to Carlton and had to hang around a bit before the film. So we went to Brunetti. I miss living in Melbourne so much when I am reminded of how good it feels to know you can get some kind of exquisite dessert at 11:30 pm. Nathan had espresso and a biscotti napolitani (I think?), I got blood orange juice (my favourite) and a chocolate, almond and pear tart.
We saw Evil Dead. So scary.
I still don’t totally know why I got so freaked out. I’ve seen a lot of horror movies, and this wasn’t the worst. By far. But something about it really affected me. I think that it wasn’t so much the subject matter, but the themes, that got to me. The idea of haunted houses does scare me, because home should be the one place that you are safe from everything. Luckily for Nathan, I was needing lots of hugs after such a scary movie!
I love this song! My brother has a big soft spot for it too. Something about how bright and sparkly the guitar sounds. Oh, and the key change – THE KEY CHANGE! I always wonder if my parents secretly find it heartwarming that I love so many songs from their era.
Just realized that I have been counting wrong – it’s only SIX weeks until I go to the US. Not seven, as I previously thought.
Starting to get a bit nervous. Not about flying or eating strange food or getting tipping right. I’m worried about having to spend almost three weeks with strangers, twenty-four hours a day. I am a bit of an introvert, and more so lately, because Nathan is travelling all the time. Hopefully this will be a bit of a crash course in how to be sociable (again) – I am turning into the worst kind of hermit. I’m at a weird stage in my life where everybody* who is my age are either: a) partying like mad, or b) having babies. Right now, I’m not really doing either.
I think it’s a sign. When I typed the subject line for this post, it came out as “too dumb to right”. Ugh.
Right now, I’m in the middle of a fog. I can’t see the edges, so I have no idea how far away I am from everything being bright and clear. It’s not bad – I should be thankful for that, at least. But it is not a pleasant feeling, having so many ideas swimming around my head and not being able to pin anything down.
When I was a teenager, I described it to a therapist like this: my mind feels like a murky pond, home to some goldfish. You see tiny flashes of metallic orange darting through the muck, but you never see an entire goldfish. I keep seeing the head or the tail of an idea for a story, or even just a sentence, but I can’t grab hold of them. It’s a miserable feeling.
Yesterday, in the course of a two hour tutorial, my poetry tutor referenced such a huge breadth of knowledge about so many poets and things that they wrote. He could even quote them, perfectly. Just off the top of his head. I feel too stupid for all this, like I will never be able to retain enough information. Even in writing my own poetry or stories, I worry so much that every ‘original’* idea that I have is totally derivative of some famous writer that I haven’t discovered yet. My grammar is far from perfect, I rely far too much on spell check, and I have huge issues switching from academic to personal to character voices. I’m twenty-five years old and surrounded by people who are younger than me and so much more in command of their ideas, style, persona, et cetera.
Maybe it’s just an undergraduate crisis. Or maybe I’m just being a raging self-sabotaging perfectionist again…
* Not that anything is really truly original. Nobody is writing in a vacuum. But if I’m going to resemble something that somebody else has already written, I’d like to know about it! When I was a teenager, I ‘created’ my own philosophical theory that I called trinitauralism. Turns out that it was exactly the same as Plato’s theory of the tri-partite soul, which I hadn’t read about yet. FAIL.
Well, he almost made a year without a relapse.. but not quite. The poor little guy has pneumonia all over again. Luckily, we caught it in the early stages, so he doesn’t need to go to hospital or anything.
My dad is in Singapore right now, and he has been calling every day to check on this little guy. Sometimes I think he loves my dogs more than me! Whenever we Skype, he always wants to ‘talk’ to Posie.
This is what Rupert-Sugar-Plum-Darling-Face-Best-Boy can look forward to in the next few weeks:
Being hand fed tiny little pieces of cheese with tablets concealed inside
Having his chest thumped until he coughs – I think it’s called coupage, or percussive therapy
Not being allowed to drink much water at all
Hanging out with me and a humidifier in a steamy bathroom
Seeing all his girlfriends at the veterinarian’s office
And finally, cuddles on demand (as if he didn’t have this one already!)
He’s definitely spoilt, and definitely lucky. I would love to think that he could just die of old age, like a healthy dog, but I know that it probably won’t happen for Rupert – we’ll probably lose him to pneumonia, eventually. I hate having to be realistic about it.
But for now, we don’t have to worry. This time, at least, he’ll be fine.
So, my one big task for this summer (apart from cleaning my room) was to start a blog. University starts again in about four weeks, and I have failed already. I don’t really have any excuses either, which makes it worse.
What have I done this summer? Not a lot. But I survived it without too many disasters, which is more than I can say for other years.
Nathan and I went on our first ever ‘just us’ holiday.
We both got to see Hobart for the first time.
I am now officially a ‘fairy godmother’.
I got all the Christmas shopping done with minimal tears, anxiety or last minute freak-outs.
I went to the beach a lot.
I spent some time with Dad before he went back to Singapore.
And my room is ALMOST clean.
It was nice to just be able to enjoy things for once, rather than coasting from one disaster to the other. There is so much I want to finish in the next few weeks, before the long hard slog of the academic year begins. And even though I have failed so far, I will try my hardest to actually make this blog a thing.
This shouldn’t be a problem, except that it has been a while, and I’m not quite as brave as I used to be.
In our Taiwan days, we flew a lot. One time, my sister Cait and I even flew back to Australia by ourselves. For my tenth birthday, my mother and I flew to Hong Kong for the weekend. When we came back to Australia to live, we were constantly jetting back and forth between Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, to spend time with my dad while he was working interstate.
Fast forward… it’s been a long while, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I suppose I haven’t been on a plane as an adult. Wish me luck!
EDIT: I survived! It was bizarre.. I’m so used to flying on BIG planes, that I got on the little 737 and was like, “this is it?”. It was one aisle flanked by rows of three seats. Nathan was a total pain by telling me a ‘story’ before we took off, about us crashing into the ocean and dying, and how Posie would miss us forever, and how she’d shed little puppy tears and her little puppy heart would break into a million pieces when she learned that we died in a horrible plane crash. I punched him in the arm.
Though I did get a laugh out of this –
We were in the emergency exit row, so there was extra signage about how we had to open the doors if there was an emergency, etc. I chose to read this a bit differently.
If you can set things on fire with laser beams that shoot from your eyes, don’t look out the window!