Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Birthday Gifts

As previously mentioned, my darling and I have eschewed gifts this year in favour of retaining money.

So my big day arrived and I thought I would end the day in much the same capitalistic state as I'd begun. No gifts more, no gifts less.

Instead, I've discovered that there is a wealth of gift giving communities out in the world that I usually don't give a second through to. And no, I'm not talking about some sort of hippy-dippy lovey-dovey health and happiness routine, although there were a few of those besides.

EB Games sent me an email telling me I was awesome, and you're never too old for gaming.

Ezibuy sent me a $10.00 off voucher and told me I was a VIP customer.

Bitgold sent me an email wishing me a happy birthday, and gifting me 0.042GAU of gold. That's REAL GOLD. Gold you could hold in your hands, if it wasn't such a small amount and in a virtual account online somewhere.

Vodafone wished me a happy birthday, and gave me 1GB of data to help me celebrate. That would cost me twenty bucks if I wanted to buy it.

An insurance company that I used to be the accounts contact for eight years ago sent me a birthday card. Through the mail. Using a stamp.

There were also birthday shout-outs from people I actually know and are friends and family with. They were more expected though.

I'm thinking of registering different birth dates when I sign up for stuff so I can keep receiving the goodies all year long. Is that wrong?

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Imaginary gifts

It's my birthday on Wednesday. Why shucks, thank you, you shouldn't have.

I'm taking the day off work to celebrate, and then the two days after that because I have a few days leave up my sleeve and I want to. My darling is taking the whole week off, in an example of shockingly uncoordinated forward planning.

My darling and I decided this year to forgo gifts to each other. Instead, we would buy ourselves something if we felt like it, or save some money if that was our preference.

I decided to go for the first route, and now have in my possession a hand-crafted pair of cognac Atheist Boots in pull-up leather that go with anything because they are all shades of tan and brown at once.

Well, they go with things that go with tan and brown and that's a lot.

Last year my darling and I weren't so stingy. I bought him a leather jacket, with an actual delivery date of February this year rather than May last year because neither of us could find one that suited him to a tee, and he bought me a ring clock.

What is a ring clock you ask? Well, I'm glad you did. At the moment it's nothing because it doesn't exist. It's a dream of something that will fit on my finger like a ring, and tell the time like a clock, and will come in silver with blue LED lighting.

It's been the perfect gift so far as, due to its lack of arrival, it has never broken down once and it always looks as good as it did on its original web page on Indiegogo.

Yes I know. Will I ever learn my lesson about crowdfunding? The answer is quite obviously a resounding no, and I stand resolute.

There was a tiny shred of hope that the ring clock which didn't quite manage to make an appearance in time for my last birthday would make it for this one. Their last announcement removed most of that hope, and the next two days will definitely get rid of it altogether.

Never mind. One day, unless the company goes under which is also another possibility, I will be the proud owner of a ring clock.

It may even fit. My hips, bust and bum aren't the only things that have experienced a growth spurt over the past year. My ring-finger rings now only fit on my little finger, and my large mid-finger rings now fit on my ring fingers. And some rings just hang on my necklace until my fingers remember what size they're meant to be.

Being imaginary, my ring clock fits perfectly on the finger it's meant to. For the time being.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Bathroom envy

Last night, I was staying at a hotel in the suburbs.

It was nothing special, I can't even remember the name. Something like a Travelodge, without actually being one.

My room was so basic that it was just a bedroom. To access the bathroom facilities I had to leave my room, locking the door tightly behind me because it was that sort of place, then made my way down the concrete path to the bathroom.

It was the sort of place that spiders look to congregate in, then abandon, leaving behind only their webs as evidence they were ever there. Proving that spiders have higher standards than I do.

There were wads of sodden paper towelettes across the floor. In fact, there was more paper on the floor than there was in the paper holders. One was completely empty, and the other was down to the last couple of sheets.

Inside the toilet cubicle it was an even worse mess. Flushing is a fine addition to the toilets of our modern day. This miraculous advance was something previous users of the toilet cubicle were unimpressed by, to the point they had neglected to use it altogether.

I was staring at the resultant mess in distaste when I suddenly realised that the reason this bathroom was in such a state was because it was the men's bathroom.

I experienced a mild flood of relief, followed by a mild flood of dismay. This was both better and worse than not feeling anything at all.

The dismay was caused by me looking down at myself and remembering that I now had a penis. I remembered this when I looked down because it was looking back up at me.

I couldn't remember why I'd ever wanted a penis, or if I was transitioning into or out of manhood, but I knew that its presence meant I wasn't getting out of that bathroom.

The really odd thing was that even though I'd just remembered something so disturbing to my natural view of myself, I didn't even wake up. Nor did I go to the toilet.

That last one I'm grateful for. Imagine the mess otherwise.

Instead, I went back to my hotel room without a bathroom and waited for an appointment that didn't happen because a car crashed into the side of the hotel and I had to run back home before the police arrived and found out that I'd been waiting there.

I'm still not clear on the hows and the whys. Especially the why I was naked.

When I eventually did wake up I checked and found that I definitely don't have a penis. I kind of miss it though. I didn't even get the chance to waggle it about or insert it into anything.

Things that go bump in the day

This morning got off to a great start. I sprang out of bed, took one step forward, and then somehow ended up on my side on the bed going 'Wha?'

My darling disputes this. He doesn't think I took one step forward.

Vertigo strikes again.

So annoying when you think you're getting better only to have a relapse to a worse condition that you started with. I also wish my anti-nausea tablets were anti-fall tablets.

I mean, my balance is not the best thing in the world to be starting with - I still can't walk on my treadmill without holding both handles in a death grip - but I can usually stand. You know, in the same spot. With my eyes closed briefly.

No longer. Gravity exerts a much stronger pull than my puny balance can fight against.

I have discovered that it's no longer safe to apply moisturisers. Not because of all the harsh chemicals inside them - oatmeal for example - but because to apply moisturiser I have to take off my glasses and close my eyes for a couple of seconds.

This is not possible. I went down like a... a... thing going down quickly.

I also managed to hit the side of my beautiful, beautiful face on my darling's bedroom drawers. (So in essence this is really his fault.)

If I'd had my glasses on I may have needed to use my spares for a while but my face would've been protected in its downwards dive.

But you can't apply moisturiser with glasses on. At least, I can't.

So now I have an egg on my eyebrow and an enlarged cheekbone. On the bright side I saw a glimpse of what my face would look like if my parents had better bone structure. It makes my skin look smooth and taut.

Maybe I should take up boxing for a regular beauty treatment.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Wasting Time

Guess what incredibly useful thing I spent over an hour working (and I use the word loosely) on tonight?

Yes, that's right. I spent my time wisely creating a new scene break picture for an ebook that may or may not be upcoming.

With this sort of time investment being made regularly, I don't understand why I haven't written more books, or sold more of the ones I have.

Obviously there were a few other things I could've been working on tonight.

Editing the book I have in the works. Scoping out the plot and character lines for the next book I'm going to write. Researching emerging book markets and working out a strategy to get my own works out there and selling.

But that's so pedestrian, isn't it?

Instead, I think my time has been well spent designing something that may not even end up in a published work. With the added attraction that even if it does, it may never be noticed by anybody. Even if noticed there's a good chance that it won't be appreciated.

Yep. I feel like I put in the hard yards tonight, and it was nothing to do with procrastination, or self-entertainment.

And if you believe that, you'll probably also believe that I'm not lying to myself.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015


I was watching a comedy-ish show tonight when I heard a rather wonderful new phrase.

'But you're always saying how much you hate NPs,' the husband said.

What are NPs, I wondered? A moment later I was answered.

NPs are New People. And I hate them too.

Admittedly, it's not entirely their fault. Even I find it hard to attribute blame to everyone in the world who hasn't been part of my life yet for not being part of my life.

Especially since there is room for so few.

But there are days when I see that I have to ring someone I haven't spoken to before, or go down to reception to meet someone I haven't met before, and all I want to do is go, 'NO! NO NEW PEOPLE!'

I have met all the people that I need to meet in one lifetime. I feel like I should have a stamp on my forehead that makes this abundantly clear to all and sundry.

I'm not saying that I hate all people. I'm an introvert, not a monster.

I genuinely enjoy the company of some of the people that I already know. I enjoy them for minutes and minutes at a time. But once you have a few people in your life, there's less and less need for more of them to come crowding in.

Allocation full. Please apply elsewhere.

Monday, 22 June 2015


For those of you who are worried that I've abandoned my core principal of only exercising if it's necessary to maintain life, do not be alarmed. I have not taken up a spinning class.

No. I'm so clever that my body has taken up spinning without needing a class to perform it in. It's managed to discover the secret of spinning when lying completely still.

Now it's discovered the secret, I rather wish it would lose it again.

Vertigo, which for some reason is now pronounced VER-TIE-GO maybe to avoid comparisons with certain classic movies, has struck me again.

When meant to be tracking my good GPs fingers my eyes instead keep flickering, and when I'm meant to lying flat on my back instead the room says 'Play with me Mummy' and takes me dancing.

The first time I had vertigo was seven years ago. It was not pleasant, but I was living through it for the first time so I took a week off work and then just got on with it until it went away.

The second time I had vertigo was less than a year ago. It was not pleasant, but at least I could assume it was an illness that would only strike every six years or so. I took a couple of days off work and then got on with it.

The third time is now, and I feel deeply aggrieved that it's arrived so hard on the heels of the last time. Ten months is not long enough. There's a whiff of unfairness about it all.

Granted, living in a first world minority country where I have paid sick leave type of unfairness, but unfairness for all that.

I'm now holding on until I can have my next dose of 'unpronounceable, unremembered, and I can't be bothered to look it up' anti-nausea tablets. Unfortunately, they only last for about four hours so by the time I'm meant to be lying fast asleep in bed I think I'll probably be dancing again.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

3 ingredients

I learned an important lesson today.

If you're going to make a dozen scones using a new recipe that calls for only three ingredients, you should probably make sure they're in your pantry.

I do often improvise in recipes, but it's usually after having tried them straight at least once. And the recipes usually have a few more things tossed in there.

To be fair to me though, what really is the difference between greek yoghurt and lite vanilla yoghurt? They're both yoghurt. They both have... whatever is in yoghurt in them.

I mixed together the two and a quarter cups of flour. It was meant to be two and a half but I was at the bottom of the bag and I couldn't be bothered opening a new one and covering myself and the bench in that flour that's always caught in the top and goes flying everywhere when you pull it apart. I would've done it if I was a cup short, but a quarter. Who'd even notice?

Anyway, that's an easy adjustment. By putting in less cheese and less yoghurt it should have balanced out okay.

I've just remembered that I did also forget to put the extra half cup of cheese on the top of the scones after I dropped them onto the baking tray, but surely that didn't cause any trouble. It was just a topping.

After ten minutes the lovely smell of baking vanilla came wafting out of the kitchen.

The scones came out of the oven, and it was quite obvious that there was something wrong.

They were far too white for one thing, and far too flat for another. I tried putting them back into the oven, but although that should have cured the far too white aspect, it didn't really.

When I sliced them open they were gluey. I added butter, which is my instant cure-all for anything, but there was just no fixing the problem by that stage.

I had planned to store half of them in the freezer so I could pull them out progressively during the week for my lunch. After a taste test it was clear that plan was not going to go ahead. I want to look forward to lunch.

Instead my darling and I ate them all. Not all at once, but certainly all today.

Failure tastes very much like vanilla cheese scone dough.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Virtual Reality

As though reality wasn't trouble enough to be getting on with, virtual reality has now touched down in my household.

I looked into purchasing a fancy Samsung VR headset earlier in the year, and was less put off by the fancy pricetag than I was at the fact I'd need to upgrade my phone to a newer model. Something I'd done late last year, and was hoping to put off for another full year at least.

While I do love the newest gadgets, when I actually use them (and I'm talking about more than a few weeks here) transferring the information from one to another before wiping the memory clean and sending it off to be recycled and sold on to folks that I hope don't know how to hack wiped information from a phone, makes the whole process a bit too I-can't-be-bothered for my tastes.

So I hummed and hawed and decided to let inaction make my decision for me. I was then distracted by a new robot vacuum cleaner that may actually vacuum as opposed to sweep, and the thought of VR dropped away.

Until a few weeks ago when I was spending my time looking up things on TradeMe I can't afford to buy, and stumbled across Cardboard.

Excellent. Finally a gadget that only costs the amount of use I'm likely to get out of it.

I actually plugged for the more expensive model, and laid down a cool $7.80 on the VR headset which came equipped with an NFC tag.

When it arrived yesterday I remembered that I did have a whole lot of unused NFC tags that I could've used instead of paying the extra dollar, but I'd forgotten about them because they were so 2013.

This gadget is so cool that it doesn't even arrive with instructions for putting it together. No. It arrives with an arrangement of slots that are labelled with numbers.

A word of advice for anyone planning on assembling one of these headsets. Look at the internet. See what they should look like. Even look up a video of someone putting one together.

That'll save you time and energy when you realise that three of the slots are labelled 6. Not to mention demonstrating which way up to put the nosepiece. Or when to apply the rubber band. And even what the hell those magnets are for.

Best of all it will quickly lead you to the conclusion that just because some of the pieces of cardboard are bent, does not mean they're meant to be assembled with a bend in those places.

Even with these impediments it only took me an episode of Hannibal to put the whole thing together and then I was completely entranced. I loaded up the cardboard app, put the VR headset to my face, and commenced watching an exciting tale about a mouse, a hat, and the forces of nature.

It was all going quite well, and then an exciting 3D message came up on screen. I couldn't decipher it, so I had to take the phone out of the headset.

Unfortunately, Cardboard has stopped.


Never mind. I left it for a while and then tried again. I loaded up a rollercoaster app this time. Apparently it's just like being there.

This turned out to be quite true. Except, unlike when you're actually on a rollercoaster, when you're fed up with feeling out of control and sick you can just abandon it by taking the VR headset away from your head. Even better, you can then hand it to your darling and let him take on the rest of the rollercoaster ride, complete with sound effects and unstable body motions.

I feel like I've got my $7.80 worth already.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Numbers and memory loss

This morning I brought up my internet banking on the screen and typed in my customer number and password. When I looked up at the screen only half of my customer number had gone into the box before the screen froze.

Muttering some joyful words under my breath I closed down the internet and opened it again. I brought up my online banking login page.

This time I froze.

What's my customer number?

When it was assigned to me twenty or more years ago it was randomly assigned. Very safe. Unless you happened to open my mail by accident. Or on purpose.

Randomly assigned.

That means that when I forget the number they provided two decades ago I have no source of reference to remind myself what it is.

It starts with a four. That much I'm sure of. It has six numbers total. Or seven. There's a zero in there. A couple of even numbers, or odd numbers, and it ends with an eight or a six.

I typed in a few different combinations. None of them worked. I tried a few more on my phone in case they were counting and I was going to be locked out until I phoned up the bank on their 0800 number.

Phoning is my least favourite thing which is why I have internet banking instead. Except I didn't.

After the sixth combination fail I started to wonder if, in all the excitement, I'd actually picked the correct customer number but was using the wrong password.

I felt confident that the password was correct. But then, I'd felt confident my customer number was too easy to ever forget and look where that had got me.

There was a chance that it was written down at home in the diary that I'd bought myself in 1998 because it looked like the type of diary an efficient office worker should own.

I'd kept it all these years because it definitely has some other codewords in there which I hardly ever need, but which if I forgot my life would ground to a halt until I grew the balls to phone someone.

Luckily, before I got to the point that I needed to check, I sat down at my home computer, opened up the online banking login page, and logged in with my automatic recall fingers.

Phew. Close call. I still don't have any more money than I would have if I'd managed to check my accounts this morning, but for now just being able to check feels pretty good.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Day off

Today I took a day off.

When I arrived in the office bright and early on Monday morning, I was not feeling bright and early and immediately looked up to see how many days leave I had available that weren't already earmarked for other things.

The answer was 1.5 days, which is now down to .5 days.

Thursday may seem an odd choice for a day off, I've had many ask me why I didn't take Friday and make a long weekend of it, but I had meetings booked and I was too lazy to deal with the hassle of rescheduling. So Thursday it was.

When my darling woke up early this morning and crawled out of bed, I had the luxury of half waking and then turning over and going back to sleep.

When my darling turned on the light in order to shave his facial hair, I kept my eyes closed and pretended that it wasn't morning.

When my darling kissed me goodbye I grunted, and then fell asleep again before I heard his car pull out of the driveway.

Ah, blessed sleep. I dream of sleeping.

In fact, I dreamt of sleeping-in until 3.13pm.

A highly specific time that has no known relevance to me whatsoever.

I ran around in a panic. I couldn't believe that I'd slept the entire day away. A day I'd earned by my sweat, and tears, and sheer hard work over hours and hours and hours.

And there was a whole lot of washing that needed to be folded for some reason. I don't know. I don't direct these productions, they merely screen themselves inside my brain.

When I woke up in a state of fear and regret it was 7.14am. A much better time to wake up.

If it'd been the weekend I would've dozed on and off for another half hour or so.

I kept my eyes open as wide as I could and jumped out of bed.

I'd already wasted one day off. I wasn't repeating that mistake.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Happy endings

I don't know why television stations do it, but everything ended yesterday.

Game of Thrones: finished. Maybe forever. *Spoiler.* Almost everyone is dead.

Veep: finished. And lets hope next series it gets back to its fundamental premise. Like, you know, its name.

Silicon Valley: finished. And thankfully rescued before we needed to drink our own urine.

There are few enough things to look forward to on a Monday without all of my favourite TV shows calling it quits.

I understand that on the side of the world that these shows are created it's now the height of summer and time for everyone to be out playing in their backyards and getting a nice dose of skin cancer, but downunder it's the middle of winter and the sun has set by five o'clock. It doesn't matter how much TV you don't screen, I'm not heading outside to play.

I could always start watching the local version of Come Dine With Me, except according to everyone who's watched it so far I couldn't.

Sigh. Winter Blues. I may have to resort to reading a book. Or, you know, writing one like I'm meant to be doing.

Nah. Only joking.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Binge fail

I tried.

Let it never be said that I didn't try.

I've been glued to the couch apart from minor breaks to take care of ginger crunch baking and physical needs all weekend, but there are still four episodes of OITNB season three unwatched.

Well, somewhat unwatched. I've started the tenth episode as I type this. After that though, I'll have to call it a night. There's sleeping to be done.

Now the remaining episodes will have to be spaced out throughout the rest of the week as I get back into watching my regularly schedule programming.

It'll practically be the same as watching any other skimpily doled out television show.

There are many things I do which I occasionally question my ability to do. Television watching has never been one of them.

Until now.

Binge fail sadness.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Ginger Crunch Wars

Not to be mistaken for ginger slice wars, as that was the precipitating purchase.

The restaurant next door to our work sells a lovely looking what-they-call ginger crunch, which is disappointingly only a ginger slice as there is no crunch to be found.

After reminiscing that nothing quite sets off the beautiful tooth-sinking heated loveliness that is a ginger topping like a thin base full of CRUNCH we've now come down to the rather-harder-than-it-first-appeared task of recreating the fond remembered ginger crunch of our oft-lamented childhood.

And when I say WE, my contribution so far has been to taste test end results.

But I'm not a freeloader (for ever) so this weekend I'm putting my own baking skills to the test to try to magic up a memory out of a few staple kitchen ingredients.

First, and most important, Ginger. Tick. I checked that last night just in case the memory I had of it being in the cupboard was out of place by a few years and missing in between was a snapshot of every time I'd opened the cupboard to see an empty slot.

I've made that mistake before in the long-ago gingerbread wars, and I'm not going to make it again.

Flour. Tick.

Icing Sugar. Tick.

Normal Sugar. Tick.

Coconut Sugar, Palm Sugar, Brown Sugar. Tick. Tick. Tick. In case I wake up tomorrow channeling a fancy-arse pastry chef vibe. I even have Splenda brown sugar in case I wake up feeling fat, but not so fat that I won't immediately commence baking.

Butter. Tick. But also tossing up whether the last of the exquisite cocoa butter I have in the back of the cupboard should be broken out for its final supper.

Golden Syrup. Cross. I'm thinking of livening up proceedings with a dash of molasses in glucose syrup instead.

Baking Powder. Tick. Final ingredient. I'm set.

Now, I'm thinking of taking the standard recipe (still tossing up between Chelsea Sugar and Edmonds Cookbook) and baking the base twice in a nice biscotti twist for extra, extra crunch.

However, I'm also thinking of how nice it would be to have an extra hour sleep-in tomorrow since my darling woke me up at 7.14am this morning in order to commence grocery shopping.

No, I don't know why either. I blame the parents.

Thursday, 11 June 2015


Dear Retailers,

If, perchance, I've signed up to your email list in the past, please do not be offended if you receive an unsubscribe request from me this week.

I am trying to save money.

I have also discovered that the "willpower" others claim to possess is not on sale anywhere at the moment, so I don't have any.

The reason that I signed up for your emails is because I like the things you have to sell. In the past this has meant that I wanted to see everything you had to offer.

Unfortunately, this now proves to be too much of a temptation and the self-denial I've recently indulged in doesn't seem to be performing the task of making me feel smug and superior as was claimed on the box.

Therefore, please treat it as a compliment when I ask to unsubscribe from your emails this week.

If in the future I find myself sufficiently endowed, I promise to pay you a visit.

Yours sincerely,


Tuesday, 9 June 2015


Tonight, as part of my exercising in an endeavour not to die early, I walked home from work.

I'd done it yesterday as well, and if my willpower holds out I may just manage it tomorrow.

The walk home is a changeable distance. When I start out it seems easy, though relatively time-consuming. When I'm past the point of no return (the last bus-stop for forty minutes walk) it starts to get harder going. When I'm about twenty minutes from home it seems like I'll never reach my destination. Then I make it inside, crawl to the couch, and pretend that it was a breeze.

It was at the point where it seemed impossible to finish the journey (alive) that a terrible incident overtook me this evening. One that demanded my complete and undivided attention. Immediately.

My shoelace came undone.

There was no way that I could keep walking with it flapping about and just pleading to be stepped on. When I was younger I'd have bent over and tied that up with no problems.

Being a middle aged woman who's just started exercising again after a sabbatical and whose skeleton seems to belong to a woman twice her age there were a few considerations.

1) Did I think I could bend over to tie it up, or should I risk the knee bend?

2) Did I think I could maintain my balance whilst doing so, or should I risk tripping for another minute in order to make it to the bus stop where I could sit down?

3) Did I think that now I'd committed to bending over I'll be able to stand back up, or should I just drop to the pavement and crawl the rest of the way home?

I wish I still had bendy joints that did things the way they're meant to. If you catch me staring into space the next few days it's me looking at my departing youth.

Monday, 8 June 2015

The return

Today I turned up for work with my winter white arms, and my pale blue legs, both of them well hidden beneath layers of wool as befits a day that starts off with degrees counted in negatives.

I shivered through the first hour of work until the air conditioning kicked in. The positives of being dropped off to work in the morning are sometimes hard to weigh up against the misery of turning up to an environment that is hostile and ignores that you're there.

Once the air conditioning started I went to get myself a coffee from the new coffee machine. That would warm my body up to body temperature and then I could hopefully keep myself in stasis until it was time to leave.

Our new coffee machine makes exceptionally strong coffee compared to our old machine. As well as that added benefit it also uses fresh milk from a little fridge next to the machine.

Once my cup was fully finished with a flourish of steam I took a grateful sip.

Do you like greek yoghurt? I prefer my yoghurt a bit sweeter and with a fruit or vanilla flavour. I really don't enjoy greek yoghurt at all.

I especially don't like it when my morning coffee treat appears to have a hefty dollop of greek yoghurt deposited in it.

On later investigation it turned out that the fresh milk in the little fridge to the side of the machine is only fresh when the little fridge door stays shut over the weekend.

I poured my treat coffee out and had an instant coffee instead. Black.

Settling myself back into my desk and grimly facing the thought of a week full of work ahead, my team leader breezed by with a cheerful 'Good morning.'

She has just returned from four weeks in Thailand where temperatures have perched approximately thirty degrees above our own. Her skin tone has darkened at least eight shades, and she wore short sleeves and a short skirt in order to show her tan off.

My internal temperature dropped another degree and I started to shiver again.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Private Jokes

I started a new book in bed last night.

No, not the Kama Sutra. I'm too old for all those bendy things. It was Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, and I'm using the term "book" loosely.

What it really is, is a keen observation of the inside of my brain.

I don't know when she had the occasion to peek inside there, or why she thought it necessary to graphically represent it so accurately, but it is so.

I know this because the secret internal thought processes that I keep to myself (and believe me I keep very little to myself) were written out in perfect detail within its pages.

And they were funny.

Funny, funny, funny, funny, funny, funny, funny.

I was trying to read quietly, because that's what you do when you're reading in bed next to someone who is also reading. You don't want to be making a whole lot of extraneous sound effects unless you're actively trying to annoy them for some light relief before going to sleep.

After a while though, I had to giggle. It was tickling my funnybone, and I could no more keep quiet than I could stop reading.

The bad thing about my giggle though, was that it opened something that is commonly referred to as a "floodgate" and a whole lot of other laughter that had been stored up behind it was suddenly released.

I thought each time that I'd got it under control, and then I would read another page, and another burst would - for want of a better word - burst out of me.

After the laughing came the snorting, then the soundless laughter where you're laughing so hard that your muscles all lock up and no sound can emerge even though you desperately need it to.

After the soundless laughter came the convulsions where I almost dropped the book because my whole body was now trying to expel laughter and the muscle groups that normally deal with that detail were unequal to the task at hand.

Then I got to the end of the story, turned off my book, and closed my eyes.

'What was so funny?'

'You wouldn't understand.'

Is there anything better and worse than experiencing a private joke?

Thursday, 4 June 2015

The rules

Today we spent a good ten minutes updating the "rules" for the new staff who will soon be joining our ranks on the floor.

Years ago, we realised that when staff went off the rails it was usually in the same direction. Although we force new staff members to read through a long list of terms and conditions of employment on their very first day in the office, they usually treat it the same as I treat the T&Cs from Google. Yeah, sure, accept, accept, accept.

So we streamlined the main culprits, the inter-office email chats, the unusually high internet activity, and boiled it down into a current hits list of don'ts.

Whichever team leader loses the draw gets to deliver it to the eager faces down in the training room.

They get to watch as those hopeful grins turn doubtful, and then change into a rictus of fear.

It's when you get to that point you know that you've made your message clear.

As an added bonus this year we updated things along the lines of various discoveries we've made over the years.

1) If you make people phone their team leader when they're calling in sick, they have less sick days.

An interesting discovery, and one which we've updated in the DON'T document today.

2) If people have earphones in they ignore their team members and don't answer the phone and all unit spirit dissipates into the ether and we're left with a load of people who suddenly realise they're being seriously underpaid.

NO EARPHONES ALLOWED. (We can't afford to pay you more, talk to each other)

3) If you don't let your staff charge their cellphones at work when you have an earthquake you can't fulfill your team leaderly duties by phoning them because they're batteries are all flat.

Go on. Use the company's electricity. It's free. We may want to call you and make sure you're not dead one day.

There's probably more stuff we could be tweaking, but that was ten minutes worth and we do have day jobs to be getting on with, you know.

For more tips on how to scare and disempower YOUR workforce tune in tomorrow.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

New peeps

Today my little work team of four FTE and five staff expanded massively to six FTE and seven staff. Luckily three of them were away or I would've been completely overwhelmed.

For weeks leading up to this day I've been thinking, gosh won't it be great when the new peeps start because they could do THIS instead of me having to.

Come to the actual day, and all of the THIS disappeared, and left me with not much to show the newbies at all.

All of the grunt work I was swearing under my breath about, gone.

All of the new projects that I was swearing aloud but quietly about, started.

All of the documents that I was swearing at volume about, updated.

Gosh darnit, but I'm efficient and then some.

It's left me trawling back through my to-do lists for the past couple of months, where all the items that I really wanted to be getting on with but couldn't because I was only one woman damnit, have been storing up their workload of goodness.

Once I have that compiled then I just have to deal with the next problem.

In order to teach someone how to do something it's necessary to show them how to do something which requires the same amount of time, if not more, than doing the something required in the first place. Then there's the preparation of the training materials for things I didn't need training materials for previously because I was the only one interested in doing them.

If I didn't have time before when I only had five staff to look after, how am I meant to do it with seven?

Oh the pressure.

Luckily there's only two and a half months to go and then I'll be winging my way overseas on a holiday to recuperate. Phew. I feel like I've earned it already.

Bring on day two.

Monday, 1 June 2015


Yesterday I was sitting peacefully at my computer looking at things I shouldn't be, when there was a strangled yell from outside, and my darling bounded through the front door.

As he slammed it behind him and continued to run around the corner I began to form a vague idea of what had just happened.

Sure enough, the dog from next door was in our section again.

I've emailed the council about this dog previously, and was reassured by the dog pound people that they'd paid a visit and ensured that there was a sufficiently well fenced area that the dog could be contained within. They'd even suggested that the neighbours drop their phone number in to all of their neighbours so that we could call if the dog got loose again.

The phone number in the letterbox never eventuated, and the dog continued to roam through the neighbourhood freely whenever it felt like it.

Apart from occasionally yelling at it out of the windows it hasn't been too much trouble since. We can yell. We can yell very scarily when we're safely inside.

But yesterday the dog was under the tree, and the sun was in my darling's eyes, and the dog tried to exit the property by running directly at him.

And girly screams and running.

Well, this time I was talking a stand. There was to be no email this time. No.

I picked up the phone and I called the council directly.

Ben was having a bit of trouble with his computer but I managed to stress the words large and dog several times, along with tossing the colour scheme of brindle in there because no one likes a brindle dog (except for brindle dog owners I presume).

Not too much time passed and a dog van pulled up across the street from our neighbours. A few minutes more and a second van turned up.

We've heard that oftentimes the police only have one van out patrolling the streets of Christchurch, but if you're a dog on the loose watch out.

They sat for a while and surveyed the scene. Then they pulled into the driveway and the action started.

There was chasing and yelping and 'whose a good dog, you're a good dog'-ing, and then a whole lot of hammering.

We received a phonecall later to say that the dog had been lying in the sun on the front porch, but due to our dobbing him in they'd discovered the gate was broken and had taken the opportunity to secure the dog on the property by fixing it up with a bit of DIY.

Here's hoping that's the last time either of us run screaming across the driveway certain that jaws of death are about to fasten on our backsides.