Saturday, 19 February 2011

"Seat Politics...And To Smack or Not To Smack, That Is The Question"

The ONLY good thing to come from a day from hell...
Excuse the silence the past few days.  Think I'm still in recovery from all the traveling palaver.  'Part Two' of our journey across the globe (London to Florida) was not nearly as traumatic as the Goa to London leg.  But that is not to say that it was not without incident.

For starters, we suffered two casualties:  my Elle magazine (okay, okay, but I love it and unfortunately forgot to retrieve it from the seat back) and Egg's beloved Nintendo Dsi (tragically this also got left behind in some seat back...and unlike my Elle mag, cannot simply be replaced by a few quid).

Unable to get seats all together, the husband and I had divvied up childcare as such:  he got to sit beside Egg for the eight hour flight to Toronto, and then we switched and I got to sit beside Egg for the three hour flight to Orlando.

I didn't mind so first.  After all, Dumps and I scored the bulkhead seats while the husband and Egg were crammed into the row behind us.  However before we even took off, a flight attendant moved the man sitting next to Dumps - a rather portly fellow who looked relieved if I'm honest and was never seen or heard from again - somewhere back in the rear part of the plane.  This could have been down to Dumpie's non-stop chatter or insistence on getting all his 'treat bags' out and preparing to launch an all out attack on mini bags of crisps and easter creme eggs.  Or it could have been the removal of his little Vans and socks and his ordering me about in a loud voice.  Who knows.

But tellingly, even when this bulkhead seat was vacated, the husband refused to move up and sit with us.  He preferred to spend the next eight hours with Egg's feet on his lap instead of plop himself down next to youngest.  In a bulkhead, extra legroom seat.  Nuff said.

At U.S. Customs in Toronto, during our two hour stopover, things were going swimmingly until Dumpie was quizzed by the officer about the little bag of chocolate coins he was clutching.  (The husband likes to make pleasant small talk with customs officials - and he's rather good at it - while I try and catch the scurrying rugrats and keep them from crossing the line and incurring the wrath of humourless stamp providers.)

At any rate, the officer commented on the chocolate coins and the husband chirped up.

"Are you going to share some of those with Dada?"

"Only if you stop hurting me" deadpanned Dumps.


(The 'hurting' Dumpie was referring to may have been the 'child punting' the husband had been forced to resort to, up and down the terminal earlier as Dumps refused to walk, and ladened down with loads of heavy carry on luggage the husband had sort of slid Dumpie down the shiny and surprisingly slippery floor at various times with the toe of his Vans.)

Luckily the official didn't blink an eye at this utterance, and instead said,

"That's okay Sir.  Here in America we believe in corporal punishment so smack away."

(Gulp).  He then proceeded to tell us a story from his youth about his father going off the Vietnam.  Gotta love America.

For the flight to Orlando, the husband and Dumpie were sat four rows ahead on the other side of the plane, but that didn't stop us (or anyone in the first half of the plane to be honest) from listening in on the pretty much non-stop chatter between Dumpie and a child two rows back who kept up a dialogue about whatever came into their little heads.  This 'free entertainment' culminated in our son publicly announcing as we landed, that he was going to make a wish on all the twinkling lights outside.

other little boy:  "I want a truck"

our son:  "I want a real gun"

We got off the plane, sorted our rental car, then promptly took the wrong turn on the motorway, having to make an emergency stop at a weird, out of the way 7-11 because the husband couldn't figure out how to turn on the headlights and we were in danger of incurring the wrath of the notorious unsympathetic American 'cops'.  Not to mention we couldn't see a bloody thing.  This was not helped by the fact that my latest two month supply of contact lenses is the wrong prescription and so my general visibility has decreased to around 50%.

All this aside, it was a joy to see the reunion between the monsters and their beloved Grandpa later that night as we rocked up to my father's condo around 11pm after a 20 hour day of traveling.  He hadn't seen them in almost a year and a half and has pretty much not stopped laughing (or shaking his head) over the antics and utterances from the monsters.

So far he finds it funny.  In a week, I'm thinking not so much.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

"Happy 'Vile-Times Day'!"

I have yet to recover from the horror which was our departure from Goa, India after a year.

In theory, it should have been smooth (if bittersweet) sailing:  bags were packed (ahem...solely by me...all bloody 13 of them), our friend from London sat up and kept us company on our front porch until the taxi came at 3:30am, and our landlady got out of bed to trudge outside and wish us good-bye (despite us losing her only extra house key after Dumpie upended my entire handbag on the beach one night several weeks ago.)

At any rate, there was no foreshadowing of the trauma which was to befall us for the next twelves hours:

*We would be informed one hour before take-off in Goa that our luggage limitations had changed in the twelves months since our outward journey - meaning that the 240 kilo's we were allowed to bring out had shrunk to a more modest 184 kilo's.  Whoops.

*We would be checked-in by a total (ahem) female of the bovine persuasion who immediately took a dislike to me and I to her (she had beady eyes and I had not slept or eaten in 24 hours)

*We would be told that our excess charges amounted to £500, payable in local currency or credit card.  Gulp.  As if.  I made a (panicked) executive decision and promptly emptied a bag containing exactly half of my clothes onto an empty conveyer belt.  In full view of a crowded airport I could only mourn my loss for mere moments before the husband anxiously informed me that our flight was due for take-off in twenty minutes and we were on the verge of missing our flight.  That was the last I ever saw of my skirts, bathing suits or knickers.  (Much to my horror, I discovered upon our return that had I only had the sense to cull my book and magazine collection - numbering 32 and 9 respectively - I may have been able to save my wardrobe.  And I call myself a fashionista...)

*We would be escorted speedily to the plane by two airline staff with only moments to go - one ironically being the check-in lady, who now looked pitifully upon the self-same lunatic who had publicly dispensed with her wardrobe like so much rubbish, and had cut her hand in two places as a result of frantic open-air repacking, and was now bleeding all over her small child's hand which she now had in a vice grip.  She actually went off and produced two plasters - hardly meeting my eye as she did so.

*I would lose my laptop to an overzealous airline employee who forgot to collect it with the rest of my carry on luggage as we were propelled through the last security gate before plane entry.  I was to discover this moments before take off, strapped in and close to tears.  My laptop was a mere four months old.  It was an Apple Macbook Pro.  I was inconsolable by this point.

*At Mumbai airport, checking in for our transferring flight to London, I would discover that in my sleep and food deprived state I had accidentally packed my temporary passport which contained my Indian visa.  I was informed that without this, I would not be allowed to leave the country.  I would realise that I possessed not a flicker of recollection of even packing it, and that it could be in any one of the eight bags which now rested somewhere amongst millions of passengers suitcases somewhere deep down in the bowels of Mumbai Airport cargo - having been transferred automatically from Goa.  On the other hand, it could also be buried among the pile of clothing castoffs which now littered a conveyor belt back in Goa airport.  Oops.

*Near tears, I would pointlessly plop down on the concourse floor, frantically emptying all our hand luggage for the millionth time, in the vain hope that the passport in question would fall out - Egg sympathetically rubbing my back while Dumpie was taking up a mantra of, "You are pretty are are so pretty Mama..." Meanwhile I would try to hold off a burgeoning anxiety attack whilst blindly wondering whether I would be spending a week in Mumbai by myself while the rest of my family continued on to the States without me.

*I would be ordered by Immigration staff to in turn order airline staff to remove all eight pieces of our luggage from the gigantic hold down below.  I would then be escorted all through the warren-like hidden passages which make up Mumbai airport by a non-English speaking airline employee and security guard, in order to hopefully procure the missing passport.  Having been unfortunately clad in super low-rise jeans I would create quite a spectacle a short while later, on my hands and knees on the pavement, rifling through five of our eight suitcases while a small army of fascinated cargo employees looked on.  I would be suddenly informed during examination of suitcase five that due to security reasons, it would be the last suitcase I would be allowed to open.  I freaked...and stared in disbelief moments later when i gazed down to find the passport in question hidden in paperwork at the bottom of the case.  I held it aloft triumphantly.

*We would have our bulkhead seats replaced with those one row behind bulkhead, where unfortunately, for the duration of the ten hour day flight back to the UK, not one but two babies would keep up a constant stream of crying, whining, and defecating - cheered on by a mother excitedly (and inexplicably) waving about a loud sleigh bell.  I kid you not.  (If further proof were needed that our entire trip had been cursed, three out of four of our seat back tv's were busted...meaning the monsters had nothing to entertain them throughout the journey, and would subsequently spend the entire time torturing the husband and I in various ways until we seriously contemplated ending it all.)

*Finally arriving in the UK after a hellish sixteen hours of travel, we would 'lose' Dumpie in baggage claim as he went barrelling away up the 'up ramp' as bleary-eyed (and possibly certifiable by this point) we searched the conveyor belt for our luggage.  Unable to find him we would be mortified to spot him coming down the escalator a short while later, accompanied by a severe looking official, holding his hand and sternly surveying the assembled masses, wondering which horrific parents were responsible for such gross neglect.  I helpfully presented myself to him at once, having to undergo a humiliating public telling off, produce our passports yet again, and all the while keep myself from glaring at Dumpie who was innocently gazing up at me without even a flutter of regret tainting his cherubic little features.

You can understand how after a journey like that, we were overcome with such sheer joy and relief as to want to fall prostrate in devotion at my sisters feet an hour later after a (praise be!) uneventful taxi ride into central London where we were welcomed with open arms into Auntie Mo's beautiful flat for a surprise home made dinner complete with candles and wine, and beds made up especially for us to sink our weary, defeated bodies into.

Thank God for sisters.  We would live to see another day it seems.

(Is this a foreshadowing of things to come as we re-enter so-called 'normal life'??)

Monday, 14 February 2011


Bye-bye's been real
So this is it.  The BIG departure.  One year ago today we landed on these Goan shores and set up shop in a funny Miami-vice-like pink and blue tiled home across the road from the beach.

We looked forward to a year of living creatively, spending loads of time with the monsters, and indulging in our one fantasy - namely, what would it feel like to come here to our beloved holiday destination and just never leave.

Well we found out.  It was amazing.  (And also, sometimes, not so amazing...but more on that later.)

As is typical, with just mere hours before we depart these shores for the 'frightland' which is London Heathrow, we are berating ourselves about things we wish we had done (more of):

*road trips (sans kiddies that is)
*swimming everyday in the Arabian Sea (I think I averaged only about a pathetic two swims a week)
*becoming a yoga goddess (or rather, ending up with a mega-taut yoga body)
*learning tabla (the husband bought a 'teach-yourself-tabla' book yesterday - does that count?)
*gone to at least one 'Silent Disco' on the beach (not our fault - couldn't secure a babysitter to save our lives)
*learned Hindi (I know how to say 'too expensive', 'have you seen my son?!' and that's about it)

And things we thoroughly enjoyed:

*dining out under the stars virtually every night, feasting on inexpensive delicious food
*living next door to the kindergarten (talk about ridiculously short school run)
*meeting some strange and wonderful people whom we never would have met otherwise
*the view from our amazing porch (a perfect dress rehearsal for old age...we clocked a lot of hours there)
*fitting in/joining our local beach community and the weird and wonderful characters we met
*our gorgeous Enfield motorcycle (we've stored it there - couldn't bring ourselves to sell it)
*morning runs through the local villages past wild water buffalo and amused villagers

And then of course there are the things we will NOT miss:

*mosquitos.  full stop. (see also: cockroaches, ant infestations, etc.)
*a fan that went from barely moving to hurricane level whirring with no option for anything in between
*no air-conditioning in HOT April and May...
*sand....everywhere...especially sheets - URGH!
*our disgusting, impossible-to-get-clean bathroom
*dog fights on the beach (or worse, frothing dogs chasing you down the beach)
*random food poisoning/24 hour flu
*the lack of any decent wine(!)
*breaking our 'we've never had nits' cherry (which is, for the record, ancient history!)

I could go on (and likely shall, in a nostalgic, annoying fashion as the weeks go by) but for now I feel like it's time to leave - however loathe I am to depart my own little parcel of Paradise.  The big bad world awaits and that in itself is an adventure I feel (almost?) ready to meet head on.

As I stand here, sifting through all our clothes, toys, books, and random accoutrements, I don't know what to do.  Take everything?  Take nothing (but the clothes on our back and some radom Balinese tupperware I bizarrely can't find myself able to part with)?

The husband isn't being much of a help with the packing.  He claims he'll make up for it by lugging all eight checked bags and four carry-ons up our our dirt driveway and through the bowels of Mumbai's airport.  We'll see.

(Stay tuned for our 'next chapter' wherein we drop in on London for two nights - expressly for the purpose of seeing Auntie Mo and halving our luggage - before embarking on a three month tour taking in Florida, Panama and Toronto...friends and family beware...we are a-comin'...footloose and nit-free we're headed to shores near you...)
Oh how I'll miss this...(sigh)
This...not so much

Sunday, 13 February 2011

"Mr. Johnny and His Magic Fingers"

All week the husband has been giving me grief.

"When are we going to go to Mr. Johnny's and have dinner with him?"

Mr. Johnny, in case you didn't know, is the masseuse here on the beach who has been pummelling our flesh for several months now - usually on a weekly basis.  Well at least in the husband's case.  For me, it's been his meek wife Aruna who has timidly rubbed me into submission probably twice as often, whilst a random assortment of music has played on the their boombox.

The husband is to thank for this.  A while back he introduced Mr. Johnny to dub reggae and offered to burn him some cds.   While he was at it he must have also burnt some hardcore trance, because the other day during my massage (solo - the husband had opted out for some reason or another) Mr. Johnny proudly popped a disc in and pumping tunes suddenly started belting out of the little hut - totally disturbing my reverie and completely ruining my massage.  I didn't say anything, just smiled, trying to keep the towel modestly covering my upper region while Mr. Johnny and his wife nodded enthusiastically and exclaimed, "This your husbands music!"

Yep.  Sure wish they'd left it for my husband.

At any rate they've been insisting on making us a feast for a few weeks now - no doubt enamoured of us and feeling in debt to us simply because of all the business we've brought their way thanks to the constant stream of visitors we've had all season.

They've been waxing prolific about all the delicacies they want to make us ("lollipop chicken...chana masala...dal...") with such wistful conviction, that the husband has become convinced that to not take them up on their effusive offer would be akin to a slap in the face.  I on the other hand have argued that although I believe they really want to do it, it is an expense they do not need and can't we just have an extra few massages instead?

And so like 98% of our arguments, it has become a moot point anyway given that we've run out of time (like we knew we would) and cannot have a big epic dinner party with Mr. Johnny and his family as intended. Mr. Johnny is upset about this.

We had our last couples massage today and at the end he sighed and with a little groan said, "You know I am so very, very sad that I cannot cook for you and make you big dinner."

"We know Mr. Johnny, but next season okay?  Promise!"  (This from me as I hightail it out of there, frantic about the amount of packing still left to be done in the next 12 hours before we 80% of it)

I leave the husband in the midst of a moving song and dance about how much they value each other's friendship, how they're best friends, how until the day he dies Mr. Johnny and his wife will never forget Jay and I, etc. and as I turn onto the beach I overhear one last frantic plea of an offer to cook at home and then home deliver us a big tasty parcel tonight...

Aruna comes running after me with a wet plastic bag, and pressing it into my hands, smiles and says, "I give you gift.  You my good friend."

Once home I discover the contents to be an assortment of bright plastic hair clips - the likes of which my sister has never seen and can't resist decorating my head with.

(I'd like to see Neal's Yard dole those out to customers after a £50 Aromatherapy Massage...)

I'm going to miss India.  Equal parts hardship and comedy, beauty and decay.  There's no place like it...

Friday, 11 February 2011

"Finding Yourself on Accidental Honeymoon"

Back from our precious little break away in north Goa with the husband.  It was perfect in every way - the only thing marring it being that we had to leave after only one blissful night and hadn't had the selfish foresight to secure two consecutive 'freedom passes' when they were naively offered by my unsuspecting mum and sister.

As we sat by the fresh water lake, munching on fresh pineapple bought from the same lovely drunk who has paraded up and down the beach in a decrepit Mickey Mouse hat for the past decade or so muttering, "Pineapple, Coconut, Watermelon, Cheese Sandwich..." (you wot?!), the husband and I grinned at each other with delight.

We have been going to that beach for so many years that it felt like a homecoming, though it did spin us out to discover that a little muppet of a girl we had known since she was a smooth talking pig-tailed sarong seller (and the only beach seller who could ever part me from ridiculous amounts of Rupees for bits of dolled up cloth I so didn't need) is now a nineteen year old married mother of two (gulp).

Our big disappointment was that we didn't get to see our 'Mendhi Man'', Ulash, who is singlehandedly responsible for poring over my brown belly year after year, painstakingly creating masterpieces of temporary tatooed art on a tum-tum that has grown less taut and no doubt less wonderful as the years have passed.  And still he's treated my aging gutular area with the same reverence that one might reserve for the Sistine Chapel.  Bless him.

At one point, after a deliciously refreshing swim, spread out on a comfy sun lounger as the sun's late afternoon rays beat down on us, gorgeous lemon cocktails in one hand, a great book in another, and a can of Salt n' Vinegar Pringles nestled close by, poised for guilty consumption - it hit me that I felt exactly as one would feel if they were on Honeymoon.

The husband and I had enjoyed a perfect 3-4 hour ride up on our too-cool-for-school retro Enfield.  Buzzing along, covering nearly the whole length of Goa whilst marvelling at the picture perfect natural beauty seeping from the pores of the wild countryside, we made the inspired decision to stop off at one of our favourite restaurants for a midday feast of chana masala, puri, samosa and masala dosa.  Though our faces were coated in road grime (a fact the husband neglected to properly convey as we sat down to eat, and which led to a horrific fright once I clocked myself in the loo mirror afterwards) we were beaming like serotonin-riddled idiots let out from a mental institution on a day pass.  Which, in a way, we were.

But back to the Honeymoon.  We had all the ingredients:  all by ourselves, in a drop dead gorgeous (ie. romantic) location, perfect sunny skies, delicious alcohol fuelled drinks, reclining on loungers, romantic cliffside cabin from which we were afforded a perfect view of the Sea, succulent dinner served up under the stars from the world's sweetest and most subservient waiter...I was all there.

In fact, recalling our actual Honeymoon umpteen years ago in Costa Rica, there was just no comparison.  I don't know whether it was the competitive tennis match which soured things, the constant rain and subsequent (distinctly unromantic) chess games on repeat, or the fact that the husband spent a great portion of our honeymoon nights holed up in the guest house owners home, playing old Floyd tunes together on guitar...hmm...

So I have decided to reinvent the past, and from now henceforth, whenever I think of the most amazing time we have ever had together - just by ourselves - this will be it.  Even the break of dawn hike up the mountain to see the sun rise (I am SO not a 'hiker') and the subsequent precarious scramble down the mountain side over the next hour or so in the hot sun did nothing to quell my enthusiasm.  And even though we had no blanket and had to cuddle up close throughout the chilly night, with only two small, mildly damp sarongs as still didn't matter.

What have I learned?

1.  Children are great but sometimes being away from them is great
2.  India rocks
3.  Few things beat the feeling of holding onto someone you love as you hurtle through lush scenery    with the sun on your hair, and no sound but the addictive whir of the Enfield engine (save the times you plug in your ipod and turn the journey into the best ever music video in your head)

And I would be remiss if I didn't yet again thank my mum and sis for making this break possible.  You accidentally gave us another Honeymoon and helped us end our year in SouthEast Asia as perfectly as one ever could.

(Oh yeah and sorry Mum that Dumpie vomited all over you and your new pashmina in the taxi...and that Egg almost burnt down the laundry ladies beach stall with the lighter he nicked...and that Dumpie snuck off, hid in a beach shack for ages and made you think he'd been kidnapped...and all the other stuff...sorry...)


Nothing beats a yummy, still hot Masala Dosa washed down with sugary chai!

Monday, 7 February 2011

"Parents Go M.I.G. (Missing In Goa)"

Like butter wouldn't melt...yeah right
The husband and I can't quite believe our luck.  In what must surely be a bout of temporary insanity, my sis, my mum, and two other friends have offered to watch the monsters for us while we sneak away on a little motorcycle road trip tomorrow to the hippie enclave of Arambol in North Goa.

Being the selfish (desperate!) types that we are, we have allowed pure unadulterated lust for the open road (and for adventures of yesteryear) to cloud our judgement and have gleefully accepted said invitation to flee our parental responsibilities.  How could we not?

Long before the monsters were a twinkle in either of our eyes, the husband and I were rather footloose and fancy free backpacker sorts - cavorting all over the globe in adventures that we wouldn't dare brave nowadays (corrupt cops in Cairo, dubious Arabs in a blacked out Mercedes in Turkey, traversing treacherous washed out roads in the Himalayas on motorcycle...need i go on?)

But it has been ages since we've been given carte blanche to go away BY OURSELVES and relive some of the beauty that is India, and which can only really, in our humble opinion, be properly appreciated on the back of an Enfield.

Okay, so the journey will take under four hours...and we'll only spend a night away...but make no mistake:  we shall enjoy every last child-free nano-second of it.

Imagine...we can read our books in peace in the sand, play backgammon during dinner without having Dumpie chuck pieces over the side of the cliff, float in the Sweet Water Lake without doing periodic checks to make sure no one is in the process of drowning, be responsible for wiping only our own bottoms after using the loo....ah the bliss.

Actually I can't imagine it.

So until we are actually on the road by 7:30am tomorrow (hey we know a good deal when we see one - we're getting the heck out of here as soon as we open our eyes in an effort to squeeze every last drop of blessed freedom out of this brief interlude) I don't really believe it will happen.

Thanks in advance 'Auntie Ba', Mum, 'Uncle Cory' and Helen...without you guys this wouldn't be possible.

(And we know this is a one time offer and after twenty-four hours with the monsters none of you will ever, ever offer to do anything even remotely this selfless (CRAZY) for us again.  Ever.  Or at least until the monsters reach university age.)

And we solemnly swear to turn up at the agreed meeting point in Anjuna in exactly 32 hours time.  We promise.

(I think.)
The one-of-a-kind, super-amazing, Auntie Ba...without whom we'd die :)

You're smiling now...but in a day's time you'll be cursing us

Sunday, 6 February 2011

"Money Doesn't Grow On Trees...Except In India"

In a bizarre turn of events I find myself hearkening unto my eldest child Egg (age: 6 1/2) as regards recent naughty behaviour.

I am SO used to moaning about Dumpie's latest exploits that Egg rarely gets a look in - except for me to go on about how obedient and sweet-natured he is.

However, the other morning I awoke with quite a fright to find Egg holding aloft a lit candle, proudly proffering it to me in bed.

"Look Mama...look what I did!"

The husband was away on his bike trip and hence I had no one to share my early morning panic and horror with.

"Egg!  Put that out right now!" I shouted, startled.

(Of course any normal, non-sleep-deprived parent would have sat up in bed, grabbed said LIT candle and extinguished it - as well as perhaps even administering a little tap on the naughty child's bottom - the better to instill the fear of God and all that...)

However it was still dark out, I was disoriented, and what felt like minutes later (but was probably moments) groggily queried, "Egg...did you put that candle out?"

I registered a large sigh then heard him blow it out, and satisfied, fell immediately back asleep.

Big mistake.

(Note to self:  confiscation of dangerous lighting implements can often be a successful deterent for future pyromaniac tendencies in young children)

I awoke some time later to find two things:

1.  our front door was open and Egg was nowhere to be seen
2.  our home smelled faintly of something burning

Normally the missing child thing would have taken precedence over a burning smell, but this being India (and with faulty electrics the norm) I panicked and moving round our kitchen area like a crazed sniffer dog, tried frantically to locate the source of the worrying stench.

I didn't have to look too long before I spotted the culprit:  a still smouldering ten rupee note lying in a green plastic garbage bag.

Several screams of "Egg!  Eggie!  You get back here right this second or you will be in such big trouble you'll not have ice-cream for a whole month!" were rather effective in coaxing Egg out of our landlady's house where he'd been (wait for it) burning matches with her.  

He came shooting across the yard toward me, clad only in jammie bottoms and clutching Bacon.

"Egg what on earth??!!!  Why did you burn money?!  Where have you been?!  What are you doing?!  Mama is VERY angry with you!"

Not able to prioritise which of his wailing mother's queries to address first, he simply stared up at me as I herded him inside, all the while muttering like a crazy old lady (something to the effect of "We could have all burned in our sleep...") and stared calmly at the still warm rupee note which I shoved madly in his face.

"Why?!  Just tell me why?!"

Looking up at me with those big eyes of his, appearing bewildered by the severity of my reaction, and shrugging his shoulders he said, "Because I didn't need it."

(You wot?!)

I guess the boy really does believe that money grows on trees - at least here in India anyway.

Either that or the twelve preceding months having witnessed his parents living out their desert island fantasies, (pre-retirement), have convinced our six year old that his Beach Bum Bohemian Parents have such an inexhaustible supply of rupee notes shooting their way through the ATM slot each week, that the mere burning of a note here or there ain't going to make too much of a dent in the family finances.

Time to get a job?...

Thursday, 3 February 2011

"It's A Hard Nit's Life For Us...It's A Hard Nit's Life..."

"Please don't blog about this" my sister begged several days ago.

"Why not?" I asked, knowing full well what was coming next.

"Because it's disgusting...and everyone will think you're dirty hippies...and they'll always remember."

"But it's true.  And I have to be honest...I'm always honest on my blog."

(I could feel her sighing, wondering how we could be sisters...)

"Umm yeah.  But this is too honest.  And honestly, it's so gross.  Just trust me.  Don't."

So I hearkened to her wise words for some days (because she is usually right about these things...and after all, there are some things that I don't blog about - either because it's inappropriate, I forget, or because the husband might divorce me...) but eventually I caved in.

I confessed to the world at large (well, 'my world' at any rate:  friends, family, readers, and randoms) that our family had come down with our first ever plague of NITS (that's for you bold and caps).

The worst part is that my sister is fastidious about cleanliness, and even though I told her that things like fleas, nits, ringworm and bedbugs are pretty much unavoidable somewhere in the tropics like Goa, it's still off-putting enough to have scared her senseless about her upcoming visit.

So I shouldn't have been surprised when she and my mum turned up with not one but two industrial strength 'Nit Treatment Packs'.  Soon clocking that every embrace and head scratch was met with a grimace, the husband and I obediently decided to do our third treatment in a week...the first night they were here.

Unfortunately this coincided with an impromptu cocktail party we invited everyone to on our front porch after dinner.  We thought it would simply be a matter of a quick shampoo, a run through the hair of the special comb and bam - Nits be gone!


When everyone showed up a little while later, they found us towel clad, in our bedroom, trying to painstakingly run these impossible combs through the monsters hair...and nowhere near ready to mix drinks.

So after a polite (and mildly horrified) half hour of voyeuristic 'entertainment', our family and friends slipped off with a "We'll do this another night okay?" and were gone.

(I'm sure it must have been off-putting to witness the yelps of glee which followed discovery of a squirming bug and the subsequent smashing of it between fingertips as it exploded in little bits of blood.)

In hindsight it could have been the bickering between the husband and I which prompted their swift departure.  One look at my tangled long locks and the smurf-sized comb that needed to go through it and the husband was like, "No way."

"But you haaaaave to," I whined.


"But if you don't do it then this is all in vain and they won't come out and we'll just all get it again!"

"Can't you just do your own hair?"

"No of course I can't!  I can't see anything in my am I supposed to find and kill them?!"

(and so on...and so on...)

And so once again, we found ourselves alone.  With Nits.  And monsters.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

"Riding Out the Last Days of Goa..."

So one of my readers WAS right...(and thankfully encouraged me to overcome my natural inclination toward laziness regarding hesitation about getting up in time to form a pre-dawn welcoming committee for my mum and sis!)

The other day at precisely 5:15am my phone alarm went off, and I rolled my deathly tired body out of bed, put on some coffee and gently prodded Egg awake.

"Egg...time to go meet Grandma and Auntie".

Quick as a flash he was up, putting on his little hoodie and grabbing Bacon the bear under one arm.  Momentarily we were off, he excitedly chattering away in the pre-dawn darkness and me sipping my still warm coffee for dear life.

Of course as luck would have it we missed their arrival by five minutes, but that didn't stop us from barging in on them and grabbing them in bear hugs and sloppy kisses (Egg that is, not me...I'm not one for mushy sentimentality....ahem).

Since then it's been a whirlwind of giggles, excitement and contentment. Egg and Dumps are over the moon to be reunited with their Auntie and Grandma, and last night as we bid them adieu at bedtime, Dumps reluctantly let go of Auntie's hand and blew her a kiss saying, "Goodnight Sweetheart....goodnight Lovely!"  Says it all really.

Postscript:  The husband has of course taken advantage of good spirits all round to 'escape' yet again on a road trip through India...he's calling it his 'farewell tour' on the bike (this time hopefully for less than a week though?...) 

He's also being accompanied by 'Uncle Cory', a dear friend of ours from London who has squeezed in a visit before we leave and also has a penchant for Enfields and 'Indian Road Trips'.  I've gotten one text so far from the husband stating that they're in a place with bad reception - so he can't ring - bedded down in a single bed with Uncle Cory.  Cozy. 

I just hope they drive safely and return...eventually.  Despite spending several hours at a mechanics yesterday getting seven spokes replaced, they departed in high spirits clad in turquoise sunscreen, a cravat and a snug-fitting Hawaiian shirt respectively.  May the force be with them....(and umm, may I get some sort of 'wife of the year' accolade for allowing the husband a second solo road trip in as many months, 'sans famille' - or at the very least some sort of appreciation in the form of a bit of twinkling jewellry.  There's this gorgeous silver ring I've had my eye on you see...)