Thursday, 27 March 2008

Hot Granny K

I think a toddler in a washing basket is almost as cute as a baby in a flower pot! Despite a hairstyle of a thirty year old with premature balding.

Took Granny K to the hospital this morning. She goes at random intervals to get drugs for her bung knee. The hospital's main clientele are over seventies so the ladies on reception make everyone take a blood pressure test. Granny K's was so high that she didn't even make it to the doctor to talk about her knee! She probably told the nurses it was the stress of living with a foreign daughter in law. I rang to tell her I had finished the shopping and was waiting in the carpark and how long did she think she would be? She said the nurses were making her have a drip for thirty minutes. Apparantly in the middle of it she got a phone call telling her that her brother in law had died - to which she responded by going off the chart with an over 200 blood pressure. She was definately looking flushed when she came out - so either the drip didn't have much of an effect or her sixty year old doctor had his top button undone.

Her cousin is coming to pick her up at half five tomorrow morning to take her to the funeral which is a good three hours drive away. It doesn't start till lunch time but you know, better to be on the safe side.

M and I are FINALLY off to Beppu tomorrow for our day out with solar panel man's wife and son Tyson. Unless of course one of the kids gets some freak vomitting bug in the middle of the night. Highly possible but I do have all my fingers and toes crossed. If that does happen then I am going to get online and spend the projected amount of money I would have spent in Beppu on lamb chops, cheese and sav blanc from a shop in Tokyo.

Am not even switching to BS to see if there is any CSI on tonight. Face... needs.... pillow... needs... beauty sleep.


Monday, 24 March 2008


Nearly five months already!! It seems both fast and slow. Fast when I look at M and she is all smiles and giggles but slow when I think about the number of times we have tripped to the hospital.

She slept A LOT today and we are having an up down routine trying to get her to sleep at the moment. Might have to do the old 'booby in the mouth to sleep trick' again.

ten minutes later.... asleep! Hub asked if he could get put to sleep like that too. Not after the elephant comment buddy.

We had lots of mummy and baby time today. Solar Panel man's wife and son came round this morning. They are going to come back on Sunday when S will be home. Wifey and I have pencilled in this friday for our shopping bananza to Beppu. It has been on the cards for months. No doubt a typhoon will come out of season or M will have a sniffle and Granny K will bannish us to the confines of the house.

This afternoon another friend and her six week old baby came over. Luckily I had whipped up a bacon and egg pie and some fudge this morning so visiters were well fed. Her husband is also a once round the block with two kids man. Although he is even older than hub, and his kids both have their own kids. Wifey is the same age as me! Which really still doesn't help unless you know how old I am! Hmmmm, did I put that in my profile? For the record I am 18 with boobs like a 31 year old with two breastfed children.

Hub has just pulled out of the bag that he has a farewell party on the 4th of April in Beppu -for the people in his office who are getting transferred. I figured there would be a farewell bash but why do they have to go all the friggin way to Beppu, stay the night and top it off with a bloody bowling competition the next day - hungover as hell. This seems to be a standard rural Japan drinking bash night out. What annoys me, is that they are all expected to fork out a total of what will probably be about 200 dollars for far too much piss to farewell a woman, whose husband is in china on a contract for three years so, while the cat's away and all that..., she is shagging a man with a wife and three small children - who just happens to be the one in charge of deciding who gets transferred. She is getting transferred to the main office which, incidentally, is where lover boy is - a two minute jog up the stairs in fact. I teach this woman's child english on thursday afternoons. I am not impressed but do find it slightly amusing that the two in question seem to think nobody knows what is going on.

Hub is an avid gossiper and I think he has already sought out an informant from the office she has been transferred to. Apparantly the two of them have the same coffee mugs at work. AND, and I might have mentioned this before, his wife is her daughters second grade teacher. Love it. Bring it on. Dallas in rural Japan. Doesn't get better than this.

Oooh, a Top Cops type program has just come on. Tokyo police chasing after yakuza wannabes on souped up nifty fiftys. All Japanese TV programs I watch I put down to Japanese study, so doesn't count as my number of hours watched per day. Pity they don't have Ricky Lake in Japanese - although then she would probably be Licky Rake... Go Licky, Go Licky, Go Licky.

Night night campers.


Saturday, 22 March 2008

Shou's Shoes

Two days in a row! I think I'm getting back into the swing of things.

The kids - all three of them - are in bed and I even think Granny K has turned in for the night. She was shouting in to her phone at a million decibels before because she had her hair dying net plastic thing over her head.

Hub and I were meant to be going out to celebrate his not transferring but S must have had his mummy and daddy want to sneak out the door radar on. He didn't get to sleep until half eight so we called off the romantic candle lit dinner a the okonomiyaki place down the road and I went to the dairy for some drinkies and whatever they had left by way of dinner type food - which ended up being cheese slices, ham and bread. YES! Love those cheese and ham toasties. So, not quite the dinner I was expecting. Now, an hour later, I am the only one up and wondering do I stay up and do the CSI, Greys Annatomy and Project Runway marathon TV watch or go to bed for cuddles. M is pretty in tune with things so she will probably wake me up at about five minutes before project runway starts so then I can see the designer bitching while I am feeding her - in the dark and probably more like lip reading so the volume doesn't wake her up.

We went to the city today to do a spot of shopping and to see our neice who is due in about a week. She is a very skinny wee thing and was a bit depressed at having put on 13 kilos over the past nine months. no sympathy from me - I put on 13 for S and 15 for M and I can guarantee I wasn't 45kgs before I started. I asked her if her husband was going to be in for the birth - still not an entirelly OK thing for a lot of Japanese women. She is obviously one of them. Far too embarrasing. Her husband is being bannished to pace the hallway while she pants and pushes it out alone - she doesn't even want her mother in there to wipe her brow and give her sips of water! I am in shock. I think a father has a right to see his child being born - but no right ever there after to comment on anything that happend during the birth and NEVER to comment on a mother's body parts thats are that way due to birth - Hub decided to tell me my spongy tum tum looked like an elephant. He then double tracked extremely fast and said, but a very cute elephant - like the disney one. Thanks for that darling.

Five minutes till CSI, might watch one - new york or miami I think and then go up to bed - and if hub is lucky he'll get a bit of elephant tummy action.


Friday, 21 March 2008


Forgive me father, for I have sinned. It has been four days since my last blog. How do people manage to find the time to do this every day?

It's quarter to ten and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse - well, maybe a ferret or whatever it is rampaging in the roof. Next time I see our crap builder I am going to ask where he installed the ferret hole. I have a good mind to install a builder hole somewhere - calling all crap builders... come ye come ye and step into they crap builder hole.

Hub is out at drinkies - read as on the lash to come stumbling in thinking he is being exceptionally quiet but sounding like a ten ton elephant on speed. The tax season has finally finsihed and him and his office are out patting themselves on the back for a job well done.

Town office transfers were announced today. We were sure that hub would be getting transferred to the head office - which is now in the next town over. He has been doing people's taxes for seven years and usually people only stay in the same office for about four or five years. He mailed me just after the announcements were made. Opening my mail felt like opening the results of an exam you know you probably failed but which, if the god's were smiling, you might have passed by the teeth of your pants - something that actually hapened quite frequently in my last year of high school. May have direct relation to realising that I could quite easily get into the local using my sister's ID. Why study when you can chug back beers, dance to 'sweet caroline - ooh ooh ooh' all night and then finally leave the pub after tipping half a beer on the bouncers shoes.

Anyway, I digress. Hub did not get transferred. Yay, yay, yay. I take for granted the early home times. Half the week he can make it home by about twenty to six - in time for the whole kids bath and dinner routine. Working in the next town over would mean he would hardly get to see S and M before bed.

The tax office is a shite office to be in - although must admit that it does have its perks and I am getting seven hundred dollars in tax back this year thanks to lovely tax man husband. So thrilled (and dilluded) that I said he could have half of it for his efforts. I told him today that he could spend it on whatever he wants - which includes pachinko, a form of Japanese gambling that he used to frequent occasionaly but which I added to the every growing list of things thy shall not do if thy wants to marry me. But that if he wins big I get half.

Right, might cruise off to bed now. I will try and be more diligent in blogging this week. Now that I aren't translating core competencies and radical innovation blah blah I should have a bit more time in the evenings.


Monday, 17 March 2008

Time for Bed

The Govenor's wife decided to show up unexpectedly at nine this morning. Oooh, hello wife of man in charge of Oita prefecture. Please come in to my very messy house! Strategically remove bra and granny undies from arm of couch.

Actually she is very very lovely, has spent many years oversears - hence the air kisses when she arrived and Granny K coming out of her room and just about doubling over in trying to bow herself down to the floor. I used to teach her English if you are wondering why I am hob nobbing with the rich and famous of Oita. Anyway, her unexpected visit has made me realise the importance of keeping a beautiful house. Haha, something I will try and actually implement in the year 2015.

Granny K did pat herself on the back though - she cleaned up the entrance way about ten minutes before she arrived. The entrance way that, as you would expect, was a bit of a rightoff after mummy, daddy and shou passed though in the space of ten seconds.

I seemed to have made a bit of headway into my translation, and am thinking it will probably get finished on time - given no viruses or coughs decide to torment us between now and friday!! I am off to the hospital tomorrow to give back the steam machine. We only ended up using it twice. M's cough seems to have almost gone. Before the hospital we are going to a friends house for a cuppa - the same friend who had the fancy dress party yesterday. Shou, unfortunately, did not make it out of the house as Buzz Lightyear. We had a few issues, read as nutting out on the floor, in desparate need of medication type nutting out.

The party was all good - although S got a bit shy at the start, what with being the only man in a room of older women - six year old girls dressed as princesses! All, a bit overwhelming until i convinced him to come and have some chocolate and strawberries. At only one and a half he wasn't really into pin the crown on the princess or musical cushions. Hub took him outside to play in some mud - yes!!! love that!! bring on the mud daddy!

Right, off to strategically remove a beer from the fridge. Hub seems to have a bed clock of a six year old. In bed by 8 and asleep by 8:01.


Saturday, 15 March 2008

Going Solar

Finally... some time to procrastinate from translating, washing, and looking after sick children. Well actually in middle of translation but CSI got me sidetracked for an hour and now my head isn't in a 'core competency and radical innovation' mode. Funny that.

Our solar panel went active three days ago, and since we have had one gloriously solar electrical abundance day followed by two days of pissing rain. The counter in the kitchen has reached up to 4,000 which was quite exciting, and which would be even more exciting if I knew what it meant. We had a power cut followed by rain followed by no movement on the counter so solar panel man had to come round to make sure everything was OK, and we hadn't whacked 30 solar panels on our roof for nothing.

A few trips to the doctor since my last post has revealed that M has a very slight form of asthma. The doctor said we should maybe stay in hospital a night or two but, and I don't know how I, the person who has copies of all her bankbooks, passports and marriage certificates (only 1), in her emergency earthquake kit by the front door, ended up arriving at the hospital without my hospital bag. Of late it has been such a permanent fixture in the car that I am getting used to surviving on a half supply of underwear, toiletries and kitchenware. Truth be known I only had a knife, fork, mug and teatowl in there though and I have been able to manage without them. I wonder why I took it out - M must have had a couple of good days where she lulled me into a false sense of security - thinking that she was all better.

Anyway, lack of bag meant doctor said we could go home and monitor it from there - but only if we took one of their 10kg vaporisor steam things to use when she had a coughing fit - that I then had to carry, along with baby and baby parephenalia (not winning any speeling bees), to my car which, out of very bad luck, was parked at the very end of car park number 123 and in the rain. Umbrella you say? Left me go go gadget arms at home.

We are all off to a fancy dress party tomorrow. Another gaijin wife friend is having a birthday party for her six year old daughter. She is having a princess (beauty) and beasts theme. S is the only boy going I think and I have been asked to bring him in beast costume. For lack of anything even remotely hairy looking S will be arriving tomorrow dressed as Buzz Lightyear from ToyStory. Not very beastly but if he does one of his clasic nut-outs we might be getting close. The party is about five minutes away from M's hospital, just in case.

S has quite a vocab now and if I absorbed Japanese words ay even half the rate he is I would have a better leg to stand on for arguing with hub. Far too much reading between the lines has to be done - and probably only on my part because I think all men missed that bit of dna. Reading? who?? what?? Lines?? what lines? I don't see any lines. Our 'disagreement' last night was quite spectactular. Hub knows I am getting to boiling point when I start throwing round english swearwords. In the end I had to quite loudly place the remote on the table (control panel cover flies accross room) and tell him to piss off (an english phrases he knows well) and go to bed because I had very important work to do on translating core comeptencies and radical innovations. He went upstairs, and I got a chuhai out of the fridge and watched some CSI - far too worked up to translate. I did have a think though and realised that, while the way he said it wasn't called for and he was still exagerating, I had been being just a tad unreasonable.

I ate some humble pie this morning and appologized, saying that I would try to appreciate him more - he basically expects a bit more appreciation for staying late at a job that he admitted to hating. He said he would quit tomorrow if I had a job that covered everything including the probably quite substantial retirement payout he will get when he turns sixty. sigh. I can't fit into any of my low cut and sexy tops anymore so that's out, and am not sure what else would net me that much cash in rural Japan. Perhaps I could start a tractor drivers and raddish growers Union, or become a professional boar hunter. Did you know the town office gives you 200 dollars for every pig tail that you get by killing a pig that was on your property - or rather running havoc over your fields.

Or, I should just stick to translating so I can get a bit of extra cash to pay for S's kindy fees and use the leftovers for real coffee and english magazines. Considering the nearest starbucs is two hours away and the nearest bookstore with english literature is three, I don't need much pocketmoney.

Off to bed - but no doubt only for a couple of hours before M decides she needs to cough so much she needs a face full of steam.


Oh, nearly forgot, pic is of S in his superman PJs that solar panel man and his wife bought him back from their recent trip to hong kong - no doubt funded by our recently installed solar panels.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Auto Pilot

Hub is sitting on the floor ironing his shirts for the next week and watching the 007 film on sky. He irons all his winter work shirts because, well, quite frankly, I hate ironing shirts - give me a pile of hankies any day. I said I might be able to cope with his summer shirts, like in the old days when love blinded me even into ironing. He never misses an opportunity to tell people about it - I have gotten over my usual response which was well I cook your meals, make your bed, put your clothes away, make your lunch, clean your toilet, and put up with your mother. Now I just enjoy that he irons while I surf the internet.

Things have been a bit hectic of late and auto pilot had to kick in a few days this week. All the drugs that M is taking don't seem to be getting rid of her hacking cough although it doesn't seem to be waking her up at night so much now. S still seems to think the middle of the night is a fun time to nut out and letting him cry it out doesn't seem to work - 40 minutes the other night of crying and nearer the end screaming blue murder. I'm surprised the deaf lady next door didn't question us about it this morning.

Hub, M and I went on a date yesterday after we dropped S at kindy - his favortie teacher was there so no doubt he was much more excited about spending a day with her than a day with his mum, dad and little sister. We went to our favorite revolving sushi shop. M was very well behaved and charmed the pants off the waitress who had to keep coming over to tell us different orders and specials just so she could coochy coo with M. We then went shopping to but S stuff for his big boys bed. Just need to get online and find a thomas the tank engine bed cover.

Hub bought him a matchbox sports car which of course S then had to demand he sleep with. When I went in this morning he had the sports car in one hand and his 'things that go' board book in the other. He no doubt spent his night dreaming about being knight rider.

I still haven't gotten around to putting M's hina dolls away. I originally thought this meant she wouldn't be able to get married but now I have been told it just means she won't be eloping with some tatooed yakuza wannabe at 18. The longer you leave the dolls out ofter the cut-off date the more 'mature' your daughter will be when she gets married. I better put them away tomorrow though or I might be dooming her to forty years of singledom.

Off to bed with a new danielle steel - I got sent a box of second hand books, the first of which I manged to inhale this weekend somehow. Considering S, M and I were at home all day today with it raining outside I don't know really where I found the time. No doubt I will be able to re-read the same book in a couple of months and find new bits of information.

Might have to take a cuppa to bed too. Last night I went to bed at eight with a tea and a book. Hub asked me where I was going with a cup of tea. The concept of tea in bed with a book is lost on most Japanese people. Breakfast in bed is unheard of. I'm sure I can introduced it slowly though - especially if I say I don't need anything for mother's days or birthdays - just breakfast in bed and an hour of peace!


Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Grand Hyatt

It is after nights like last night that the idea of Hub and I having separate rooms doesn't seem so bad. He can have the one we are in now - and mine can be in the executive suite at the Grand Hyatt in perhaps Tuscany, maybe Paris, and at a push I would settle for Hawaii.

M woke up 6 times in 8 hours last night. S woke up twice - went straight back to sleep one time and the other he nutted out for twenty minutes before tiring himself out to sleep. Don't worry, I did go and check to make sure his head wasn't stuck between the bars of his cot or something. M still has a cough so a couple of times she coughed herself awake. After a nighttime of feeds my boobs felt and looked very similar to woman of african tribe. Definately closer to my knees, floppy, and in need of something made out of metel to get them into any shape resembling boobs again.

On top of the kids, hub had to be jabbed in the back a few times to stop snoring. I am a light sleeper and while I thought I had gotten better at going to sleep last night was a complete right off and today I think I am running on auto-pilot. We were ALL up at ten to six. S, to his credit, was very well berhaved and could perhaps sense that mummy wasn't really mummy at all this morning. Hub, to his credit, was also very well berhaved and could perhaps sense that wifey wouldn't be wifey for much longer if he didn't help a lot after nights like last night.

In between boiling the kettle five times because I kept remembering I needed coffee but kept getting side-tracked by smelly nappies and trying to get five types of meddy into M without her spitting them back up, I somehow managed to make Hub's lunch. It still astonishes me sometimes how the women of this country put up with it. What about 41 year old man and bread, butter and jam do not go together?? Why do they need a wife/mother to make an intricate obento lunch box with egg roll in nice little red checked paper cups, beside sausage, beside springroll, beside spinnach and bacon in seaseme oil and black pepper? I am disgusted that I have actually joined these ranks. And, to be perfectly honest, on days when I have had a bit more sleep I actually enjoy trying to arrange everything perfectly in the lunch box. Four years at university are finally starting to pay off.

Granny K has expressed a desire to buy M a doll for girls day. I am presuming she means a doll like a cabbage patch kid or a barbie - and not some ceramic thing in a silk dress posed inside a glass box. Due to the argh, lack of doll shops in Kunimi, I am taking her to a department store a couple of towns over. She has pottery this morning so we are going on our good daughter in law outing this afternoon. For someone who spends half the day telling me to wrap M in more blankets and to not take her out and about, she seems to need to get out and about herself quite a lot - which of course means me driving her and M tagging along in the back for want of not leaving her home alone.

I have english class this evening - after a six month break. Will be good to get back into it again. I better get to sorting the lesson out.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Girls Day

Have you ever tried to get your child and eight thomas the tank engines to kindy? Not an easy task. First you wonder where so many trains came from, and then why S has to want ALL of them right NOW. You make it to the door and then there are a few tears and drops and pick ups while you put on the jacket and gumboots. Getting to the car you somehow manage to lose a couple of carriages - but this is a good thing because S hasn't seemed to notice. You then purposefully take one off him so you can use it to bribe him into sitting in his car seat. You tell him that he has to leave them in the car when you get to kindy. He nods and says OK - you may as well have told him he has to gift all his earnings for the next fifty years to you and your pension fund. When you get to kindy, you manage to get him out of the car with only a train in each hand. On the walk from the car to the gate you strategically pry one out of his hand as he tries to turn on a tap - that from recollection wasn't there yesterday. When you reach the gate you kindly ask S for the last train. He says no. You then ask him that wouldn't it be nice if he gave his train to the teacher (his favorite teacher). He nods and says yes and hands her the train - and then she passes it to you. You wish S's favorite teacher was your live in nanny.
When you get home you realise that you had to bribe your son five times just to get him to kindy.

But anyway, I digress, today wasn't about S. Today was Girl's Day, starring M. We had to make a quick stop at the hospital this morning. I had packed an overnight bag but luckily her one packet a day cough had calmed down to about a three a day cough. We came home via the supermarket to get supplies to make a nice Girl's Day dinner. All of which M will only get second hand through me, but still, start as you plan to go on.

Granny K joined in the festivites by making some sushi rice. She took S into her room to 'help' her put the rice onto the separate plates. Next thing, S is back in the lounge with his own plate which Granny K had given him to bring in. Now, to those unseasoned parents - you do not give a one and a half year old a plate of rice with wonderful toppings to take anyway. Luckily we don't have carpet so the aftermath just involved a cloth and me crawling on my knees down the length of the corridor.

M jiggled round on her bouncer full of smiles while we had her celebratory dinner. After daddy bath time we had some cake - see pic. I have saved the plastic decorations so I can stick them on a home - made cake next year.

I have to put away the girl's day dolls that are on display tomorrow - they have to be away by wednesday or else M will never get married! You gotta love Japan really. who thinks of this shite!

Right, off to put the rice on for hubs lunch tomorrow. Easy as just need to fill lunchbox with left over fried chicken, potato salad and veges.


Saturday, 1 March 2008

Man Cold

As predicted Hub was out of action all day today with his life threatening man cold. Doctors should study it at med school and research why it is that a man cold is so much worse than a woman cold. Of course they would make the findings that no wonder a woman doesn't go round bleating about a sore throat and a cough, that's nothing compared to a contraction. Why, half the woman population could go around with a few broken ribs and not complain. Hub on the other hand had to go to the hospital for some pills and potions, none of which he knows is exactly what for but all of which are no doubt stopping him from dying a slow death. At about seven this evening he then comes down stairs for a brief minute to say that he is going to work tomorrow - on a sunday. To which I replied that if he was planning on working until exactly after the kids had gone to bed then he could work all bloody night.

He got all snotty and declared that I wasn't giving him enough TLC while he was sick - excuse me!! I took the baby out of the house for three hours so he could sleep uninteruppted. I bought him cake - because he requested something sweet. I suggested a lemon honey drink and some kiwifruit but he asked for cake. Go figure. I made him dinner which he said he couldn't eat. Too sick. And, and, and I played mummy and daddy for the whole day. Granny K was a bit poorly too but I draw the line at having to play Granny K.

So, S goes to bed - sweet little angel that he is. No fighting the sleep tonight. It is then that we realise M has a temperature of 39 degrees - if she keeps this up she's not going to have any face left.

I drive the hour to the hospital. The doctor - one of the two she has seen - says that M has an impressive file for a four month old baby. I said she has an even more impressive one in Fukuoka. Her temp has gone down a bit but her hacking cough is a bit of a worry and doc is worried that it might turn into broncholitis. Yay, yay, joy, joy. We got sent home with some drugs and instructions on what to look out for - fits of coughing, no appetite, rah rah. We have to go back on Monday for a chest x-ray. Any sign of the lungs taking a bit of a beating and we have to stay in hospital for a few days. Excellent. Cancel next weeks english lessons too, turn down any translation jobs and sign up for selling myself on the street corner next weekend to pay for this months kindy fees for S.

To be honest, M is a very genki baby - genki is Japanese for lively, cherry, joley good old chap. Yet I still find myself driving to the hospital at least once a fortnight. If there was a cute doctor there Hub might start getting jealous. Hell, if there was a cute doctor there I might find myself going every week.

She has just gone down after her drug session. She is getting good at taking meddy - as you would if you had to take it every day since you were a week old. I have made the futon up next to her bed. I was up and down the stairs about five times last night. May as well save myself the trips tonight. Although all that stair work might make my face thinner - lord knows I haven't got the time to get a temperature.