Monday, June 30, 2014

We have the visa

and I still have hives.
I think I would miss them if they went away.
I think not, too.
I've come to the conclusion that
regardless of the physical 'why' I have hives,
I need to focus on the spiritual reason I have hives.
Sorry, had to stop and scratch my elbow just then
(at least it wasn't the bottom of my feet,
those suckers are killing me but
I have discovered that if you wear sneakers and
tie them quite tight the pressure stops the itching.
I'm thinking of wearing a skin tight PVC suit to work).
By spiritual reason,
I mean that I think I have these red lumps
because I need, need, need to change my life.
They are stress and diet induced.
So that means the diet has to change,
already was but now I need to be serious about it,
and the stress has to change.
Even though I have a career
and I have moved up the career ladder,
increasing my income and status,
at the grand age of 15,523 days old
I realise that a career is a pretty empty thing.
That won't stop me from finding interesting jobs to do,
it's just that I will be doing them
for different reasons.
I marvel at these hyper, super people who get profiled in glossy magazines
about their indy start up business which just sold for a gazillion bucks
to some rape and pillage style corporate.
Plus they have a perfect house they renovated,
subtle lighting on their lucky find kauri polished floors,
sink into white couches next to the concertina style doors 
leading to the expansive deck and
have golden children named Poppy and Henry,
who play six sports and piano each and
like to cook dinner each night as a family activity
because the hyper, super glossy indy start up person 'makes time' to be there.
And then you realise that they had to sell their business cause
they were mortgaged to the hilt,
worked every waking hour (except for dinner time and prep) and
got hives from being super stressed,
but they kept the beach house.
Whoops don't know where that came from.
May have been from my darker side or
the side which is in need of a deeper bath at home.
Either way I'm ahead of the game,
I've not got a mortgage anymore,
nor have I sold my indy business to a faceless corporate
(I just work for one).
I think I'd rather be the best person I can be
than the best employee,
or business owner.
Maybe a glossy magazine spread would be quite nice.
I would have to have that post-hives
so that may be a long way off.
P.S. My Homeboy got a two year work visa, which takes a lot of pressure off us.... at least until we apply for Residency.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

what's important

is something I've been thinking a lot about lately.

Facing the very real possibility
that my Homeboy Husband may not get a visa to stay here
and would have to return to Tonga......
without me,
has meant I've been examining very closely what is truly important to me.
This also maybe my mid life crisis..... being over 40 now.
This beach in Tonga is where my Homeboy and I sat making promises
to each other when we first met.
And to where he would return to.
I know!
Us city dwelling, 9 to 5 wage slaves are like WTF?
Why isn't he there now?
Let me tell you,
as beautiful and tropical,
sunny drenched and blissed out you may think the islands are,
they are still a small island surrounded by ocean
with no way off unless you can get a visa to somewhere else.
A prison without walls.
We do want to return there but we want to do so on our own terms,
ready to build a good life there.
Not because a visa was not given.
So our stress levels are up, up, up!
This brings learning to be married to a whole new level.
I am pleased to report we pull together for the most part,
rather than pull apart.
However a week and a half ago
I started breaking out in urticaria
(that's not a term 'in urticaria" by the way)
you'd know it as hives.
I have hives for no apparent reason.
I wake up and within 20 minutes I have hives
all over my legs,
sometimes on my arms
and sometimes on my tummy and bottom*
So pretty!
The hives themselves aren't very itchy,
but itchy enough.
They are ug-ugly.
It doesn't matter if I wake up at 4am or 10am,
I get hives.
I have a rosy glow of a rash all the time,
though most people think I've had a touch of the sun,
my skin and nerve endings tingle non-stop,
I'm a little bit puffy
and food is like lead to me.
Now that I've been keeping a food diary,
there is no particular food that brings them on more than others.
I am probably allergic a heap of things
but nothing singularly obvious.
I've vacuumed our mattresses and pillows,
washed bedding,
checked washing powders,
checked house cleaning products,
and many more things.
Idiopathic will be the answer to my blood tests.
Non-specific urticaria will be the diagnosis.
I know this because my very thorough doctor warned me this is likely to be the case.
What to do? What to do?
This is where my "what is truly important to me" quest
has risen in my complicated and muddled head.
I'm sick because there is something wrong.
As I believe that mind and body are well linked
I need to check my mental and emotional health to understand my physical health.
And to stop the periodic, overwhelming need to scratch.
Or bite my nails down so I can only rub.
I first visited an after hour clinic
(within  hours though, but not any cheaper)
because my regular doctor was overwhelmed with the measles outbreak in Hamilton.
So no appointment for me there,
they recommended I see anyone I could.
So I did and in the process was exposed to measles
(thank you public health system, always perpetuating yourself)
I was well checked out and sent home with a script for prednisone.
My medical mother explained that prednisone is a heavy hitter
and will suppress the reaction well.
But what she didn't tell me is the side effects,
which read like a horror story of everything you don't want.
Mind you the doctor didn't tell me either.
Yes, the prednisone worked.
But the hives are tougher,
they are still here and
I will not be taking prednisone ever again.
My regular doctor was much more helpful.
Upshot of what ever it is happening in my body is
doctors don't know,
could be one or a million things,
but likely it's stress,
a sad diet,
lack of exercise,
poor diet,
and so on.
What to do? What to do?
Well right now,
I'm going to wear gloves so I can only rub these suckers.
This morning I decided that we need to eat better,
so clean eating for us,
I ordered a meat pack from Green Meadows Beef
cause I quite like knowing my grass fed beef
has been grown on Taranaki coastal paddocks
that I can visit anytime I want
(plus they are twitter buddies of mine).
We will only eat food we have made ourselves.
I'm going to organise a cleaning lady
so there is one less thing to stress me out.
I'm going to get my hair cut and get my legs waxed
cause I can't shave them cause *spoiler alert* hives bleed when shaved.
I'm going to go home and hug my husband
and pray for the best outcome there can possibly be.
And I am going to remind myself to trust in the Lord.
And to not be mad with Him when things don't go our way.
And be ok with the big fat warning sign these hives are.
And figure out how to look after myself
so one day I will be able to shave my legs again.
*I've not acctually seen the hives on my bottom myself.  Homeboy reckons they are there but I think he may be confusing my cellulite with hives.

Monday, June 9, 2014

romance novels and chick lit

I love to read.
Since I got married
my reading time has been reduced considerably.
This was fine for awhile but
now we have entered into the comfortable stage of our marriage
I feel the need, the need to read.
But what to do?
I would normally read non-fiction,
mainly historical or economics books,
a bit of social science,
maybe some juicy, complicated non-violent crime
but lighter reading is in order.
Now this sounds very dill-brained of me,
but I'm sure my loving friends will know of my dill-brained moments,
but I sort of didn't realise that chick lit sat solidly in the romance section. 
I'm not actually sure what I thought I was reading all these years.
Not that it's a serious issue
as chick lit is hardly a genre that takes it's self seriously.
I think I was just attracted to the bright colours and funky fonts
so often found in the cover art of chick lit.
Yes I do judge books by their covers.
But now a new issue has arisen for me.
I like to lie in bed at the end of my day
reading a chapter or two or eight before
relaxing in a mind blanked sleep
(non-fiction is not always conducive to this).
But my new issue is that I'm lying in bed,
next to my Homeboy husband,
who will be playing on the iPad,
and I feel disloyal reading about the rocky romances of others',
often twee, imaginary ones at that.
Ones where vain and silly dramas arise and are resolved in 300  to 400 pages*.
Real life ain't like that.
So I find that my reading escape pod is failing to launch,
as my real life problems are certainly not resolved in anywhere near
the time it takes to read those pages or
in the imaginary timeline of the characters.
Plus when the romance side of these novels rears it's floaty, dreamy head
I feel disloyal to my real life Homeboy husband,
who only does romance when directly instructed
(though he does plenty of meaningful, really important things for me,
like understanding my phobia about touching rubbish bins
and taking the rubbish out without a word from me and
he puts my heel cream on my feet and
tucks them into bright pink and red fluffy socks so neatly.
Practical romance is more our style).
I feel disloyal because it's encouraging a fantasy of variations of Mr Darcy.
Yes the most famous of all Asperger's persons in the whole world.
Who knew that dark and moody, rude and surly,
was the olden day equivalent of an inability to read faces and social environments
and when dressed a cravat and muslin shirt would be the hottest thing ever.
Gosh make him a vampire and it's all over rover.
(not actually into fantasy novels so am assuming dark, brooding, marginally verbal,
quirky vampires are the norm based on my limited watching of True Blood).
Plus, as is often the theme in chick lit,
women who think they can change a man
have to be the most deluded lot of them all.
Ok that was a side note.
Anyhoo,  romance novels, chick lit
have lost their attractiveness to me now as they are too
vapid and vain to distract me from my real life woes and to create an idea of what I may be missing out on .

I'll take a cosy night on my couch with my Homeboy
half watching kung fu movies while I distract myself with cross stitch and iPad facebook
than any of the feet of clay romantic heros in a book.
I shall have to resort reading to free market theory and studies of neural pathways.
P.S. When I was high school I had a history teacher named Mrs Smith.  I remember her saying she was not hugely impressed with being a stay at home mum (before she came back teaching, which as good as she was, was not her choice of an ideal career).  I remember her saying that she would hide in the loo from her toddler children just so she could have a read of what ever she could get her hands on.  I am that kind of reader. It's a neglected need.
* I googled "how many pages has an average chick lit novel" and google came back with an average of 250 words per page with a total of about 65,000 to 80,000 words, which should be about 300 to 400 pages with a 2.5 cm margin (in case you are wondering).

Monday, May 26, 2014

there's stress,

and then there's stress.
This stress is the kind that governments induce.
I'm trying to be cool as we (I) apply for my homeboy's*
New Zealand Residency and renew his Work Visa.
It isn't actually masses of work but
it's just fraught with the concept there is a perfect application.
It is made stressful because we want our lives to go on how they are just now.
My homeboy's working in a job he enjoys,
with responsibilities he likes,
a team he enjoys and hours he loves.
(I'm less fond of the hours as a 6am start for him
which means an alarm at 4.30am for both of us)
The upshot of an unsuccessful application is my homeboy
goes back to Tonga quick smart and
we can apply again or appeal the decision.
Impact of an unsuccessful application is
is I loose my husband for an indefinite period of time,
our future plans go array,
and depression and frustration all round.
The stakes are high for us.
Residency takes up to nine months to be processed.
Nine months is enough time to have a baby in.
You can see why there are often slight overstayers with new borns as the reason.
The husband needs residency,
the wife is a resident or citizen,
they apply for residency and very shortly she becomes pregnant.
They wait, wait, wait and as the baby gets ready to be born,
they get declined,
probably for perfectly fine reasons,
but who is going to bail on their wife just as she is about to give birth?
Anyway we are not in that situation.
Just a regular Work Visa application followed by a Residency application.
And me feeling rather exposed as we filter through our relationship
providing proof that we are in a stable and genuine relationship.
Think about that =
How do you prove (or disprove) if you are in a stable and genuine relationship with someone?
Let me tell you,
when you have to prove something like that,
something that really isn't documented,
it is hard to prove.
We know, our family knows,our friends know,
but how do you tell the government that?
marriage certificates and leases,
power bills and joint bank accounts,
romantic cards and love notes,
photos and whatever you can find that has a date and both your names on it
is all you can provide.
It's not easy having my nice white, middle class bubble burst.
*formerly my fulla but he is not of the British background so doesn't know how to pronouce

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

sick half day

Today I'm a bit off colour because
last week I had the perfect storm of colds.
I had a small cold brewing,
nothing much just a bit scratchy.
I had to drive to Taranaki and back in a day for work, 
but I don't mind driving even if it's the same road that a boulder 
came steaming down a hill and took out a small car 
killing the passenger and injuring the driver.
Imagine that happening!

I did as I drove through the gorge.

I was tired and sniffly but ok.

Until I flew to Palmerston North for the day.

To fly from Hamilton to Palmerston North is a chore
(enter numerous jokes about Palmerston North).
To fly there and back in a day, 

We fly there and back in one day for meetings.
It is actually more cost effective to fly than drive and stay over.
Besides I have a good reason to be home now.

The flight leaves at 6.25am.
This means we have to be at the airport by 5.55am.
I do not like times in the morning that involve 5s.
The flight home is at 6.30pm
so we finish what we do at about 3.30pm,
drive to the airport,
getting there about 4.30pm.
Thankfully work springs for Koru Club membership
(free internet, food and drinks, magazines etc)
otherwise I'd be wandering the streets of Palmerston North.

The plane seats 20 people.
Yes only 20 seats.
10 each side.
A long narrow tube of a plane
in which even the skinniest of persons would feel cramped.
The mercies of the flight is that it's only about 40 minutes each way and
that you don't sit next to anyone, 
although there is an aisle between you and your row neighbour, 
you could brush elbows easily.  

But two flights in a tiny plane in the same day
combined with a head cold leaves you with screamingly painful eardrums.

I was ok on the way down,
and ok for about 20 minutes of the 45 minute flight home.
The last 25 minutes had me tapping my ear holes,
stretching my jaw,
clenching my jaw,
wiggling my jaw,
blowing my nose,
rubbing my cheekbones.
None made much difference.

So I jiggled my feet,
crossed and uncrossed my legs
(thank goodness for yoga),
rotated my head and neck,
pressed my face against the cool window.

I was on the verge of tears when I saw the runaway
(through the pilots windscreen no less, tiny, tiny plane).
But we flew passed it and circled to approach again.
You can imagine the foul language and curses that streamed through my mind
as tears squeezed out of my now clenched eyes.

And then it was all over.

We landed, taxied, deplaned, left.

By the time I was home the ache had kicked in
and now after a week of my ears popping at inopportune times
(like as I speak to our Regional Council about why they should fund our pest control programme),
my balance is a little woozy and my breakfast is threatening to escape.
So I came home to lie on my back and pass my time with my iPad.
I called the doctor but he is sick too,
so I have to wait to see him,
hopefully tomorrow.

And next Tuesday is another flight to Palmerston North
only this time I'll stay over the night.