What to buy the husband who has everything he wants and wants nothing.

Children are like ants. I once read this and no truer word has ever been spoken. They pick things up in one place and drop them down in another location. And they do this all day long. What ants, like children, do NOT do is pick things up from the place they left them and return them to the place they belong. No amount of storage shopping can solve this dilemma. And you all know I have tried.

There are 4 ants in this house and only one Queen (cleaner) Ant. I am fighting a losing battle here. 

Right now (2.43pm), I am sitting here on my throne. Afternoon tea has been prepared, the dishwasher has been unloaded and re-loaded, the washing machine is washing the dirty washing, I have folded and sorted the clean washing, dinner has been cooked, Baby (a)N(t) will need to be woken in 10 minutes to go and fetch the other ants from school. There is a random assortment of toys, books, socks, shoes and pieces of homework strewn across the communal living areas of our home. And normally I would spend these final 15 minutes repatriating the assortment. But if I do that now, I will NEVER write again. And the shopping stratosphere will be out of balance. So even though I am going suffer extreme embarrassment in 1.5 hours when the guitar teacher comes over, and even further mortification in 2 hours when the piano teacher arrives* (the guitar teacher is an aging hippy, whereas the piano teacher is an extremely composed professional), I am taking one for the team.

2015 is proving to be hectic one for Shopping Girl, so far. It started with a bang – Working Boy turned 40 and I threw him a party with all of his friends to celebrate – and it hasn’t really stopped. 

Working Boy is not great with presents. That is, he really does not want any. Really. He does not like stuff. He is (unbearably) practical. 

It was tricky. I knew that WB did not want me spending his hard earned money on him. He wanted me to spend thought and time, rather. Which left me in a quandary because his birthday fell on the 2nd day back of Term One. It is hard to find time when you have 4 children with you 24/7 for seven weeks. In fact that scenario has rather the same destructive effect on thought process as well. 

So this is what I did. The day the children went back to school, I headed straight to Westfield. I breathed in that shopping mall air and felt the school holiday weight lifting from my shoulders. Some people need to sit alone on a tall mountain / deserted beach / cave to think clearly. Some people need to go on a yoga retreat. I also need to retreat. To Westfield Bondi Junction. 

I went to David Jones and bought Working Boy a pile of shirts I thought he would like. This doesn’t sound all that romantic but it’s actually quite thoughtful . 

Working Boy tends to wear his clothes until they are falling apart. He has come home in hospital scrubs (he is not a surgeon) on the odd occasion because he wears things literally until they fall apart, and one time the time they chose to fall apart was while he was at work. The last time we bought him clothes, Baby N was a foetus. And this is Baby N now:



(Gratuitous baby photo)

You can see Working Boy and I have slightly different philosophies when it comes to clothes shopping. Anyway his shirts were starting to look blah, and he had a very hectic working summer with little time for eating and sleeping let alone shopping, so I decided to bring the shop to him. I bought him about 15 shirts that I thought he would like (from David Jones, where I won’t have hassles with returns), I borrowed a clothing rack, and I sent up a little David Jones in the living room, with me playing the part of personal shopper. He loved it. Partly because I had thought about him, and partly because he didn’t need to go shopping anymore. 

Then for another thoughtful touch, I bought him these fabric photo stickers and applied them to his office wall. 





With a ruler and spirit level app and everything! Actually in all honestly I was ordering name labels for the kids (had I had time, I could have done an awesome back to school special…..maybe next year. Working Boy is not getting a big 41st party) and the website, tinyme.com.au, was advertising a special on their photo stickers. It’s easy as anything – their website logs into your instagram, and you just pick your pics. Yeah, Working Boy loved that too. And the kids were pleased with their name labels. 

Finally we decided we would choose an Aquabumps print together to mark the occasion. We haven’t got around to that yet. As mentioned, Working Boy is not great with non-urgent shopping and it’s hard to urgently need artwork for your walls. Believe me I have tried, but there is no “pants split at work” equivalent to photos on the walls. We’ll get there eventually.

Despite the fact that it was HIS birthday, WB composed and PERFORMED (in front of gathered friends and family) a song for me. It’s really good. Not just because it’s about me. It is actually good. That is the ultimate cost-free present. And if that’s what I get for his 40th, I can’t WAIT till mine!

*okay so I started writing on Tuesday but it took me another 3 days to finish.  Baby N woke so I neither wrote NOR tidied. The ultimate injustice.

Buy-buy

Yesterday he left for camp.
My body responds to stress and worry the same way it responds to exhaustion. It shops. Of course, I can’t furnish a house every time I am anxious or tired. And truth be known, being happy has the same effect on me too. The only thing better than a celebration is celebrating the celebration with a shop. In order for me to stop shopping, I think I would need to maintain a state of complete emotional apathy. Without getting bored because then I’d once again feel compelled to shop.

The camp bus left around 8.30am. By 9.30 I was at the supermarket. I may not be able to justify a new set of shoes but with 5 men (even small ones) in the house my pantry always needs restocking.

I got all the essentials. Chocolate. Ben and Jerry’s. Caramels. The icecream (and it’s delicious brownie chunks) got me through until 3.30pm when their bus finally arrived safely at the campsite. The chocolate came in handy today when our clothes dryer caught on fire……but that’s a story for another time (a new dryer has bumped it’s way to the top of our “to buy” list).

In some ways, my second born, J, is the glue that holds together the relationship between my oldest, and third born, who are 4.5 years apart. Without #2, I have three kids separated by 4.5-5 year gaps…..instead of 3 kids with 2-2.5 years between them…..and a baby. It is a big difference. J has left a size 9 gap that needs filling, and this costs money.

$30 to be exact. That is what we bought yesterday. School holidays polyfilla. One hour for both of them at the inflatable slides / castles / mazes at Fox Studios (EQ never caught on). Like everything else, jumping castles come at a premium in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs.

After an hour of happily clambering about, they came out. As we walked off, N threw an arm around Master T’s shoulders and said “We’re best buddies, you and I”. $30 very well spent. Who said money can’t buy friendship?