Tuesday, 7 December 2010


Work is... nuts. I am sure there are more eloquent ways to describe it, but... nuts. 14-16 hour days are making me slowly devolve into some barely sentient creature and think longingly of the weekend.

Friday last week I finished my clinic, hopped in the car to go to the hospital and to do a ward round before I went home. Unfortunately there was a pile of tasks ready for me, and I was exhausted before I got in the car and drove home, arriving some hours later and feeling the after effects of eating KFC for the first time in about 4 years. The road was wet and sloshy and the traffic heavy as I kept shaking the tiredness from my shoulders and shivering in the airconditioning needed to stop the windscreen fogging.

Saturday morning was pretty blissful, waking up in my own bed and with my own babies around me was near perfect. Love them to bits and I hadn't realised how much I missed them until I was home. Unfortunately my heartsick paranoia with regards to the Possum proved to be founded when he spent the next few hours refusing to come near me and burying his face in Bingley's shoulder, cutting my heart out and stepping on it with each refusal to acknowledge me. By nap time I had had to remind myself that he would be OK and that this was just his reaction to me being away while fighting the urge to breathe rapidly into a paper bag. Luckily Bingley had allowed me to start talking about Christmas, and a hokey, gorgeous photo of my whole family with Santa had cheered me right up.

By lunchtime he had started to forgive me, and he was lighting up as ever when I played with him, but with a wariness that still pains me and makes prickles in my eyes. Lunch was out with family and friends to celebrate Bingley's 30th birthday with cake and food and noisy children running around and feeling guilty that I hadn't organised any of it. Usually birthdays are such a big thing for me and I felt a little bit small that I hadn't even made Bingley a cake.

Coming home that afternoon the Elfling had a birthday party ad the Monkey and I bought supplies for Christmas cooking. Fudge and rumballs and rocky road being a necessity at this time of year, 16 hour work days notwithstanding. And when we picked up the Elfling, we decided to finally put up the Christmas tree. A tradition that is cemented into my make up and makes me soul glad every single year. Unfortunately the Monkey celebrated by vomiting spectacularly over the lounge room floor and had to be put to bed, as she plaintively cried "I hate being little" apropos of nothing.

The Elfling did a good deal of the decorating of the tree, and we chatted about the ornaments as they went up. The red glass baubles that I bought for my second Christmas with Bingley; the Royal Doulton procelain figurines that play music that Mum had given the girls; the Willowtree figurine that the Monkey had been given when she was born; the 12 days of Christmas; the tiny delicate fairies that Santa had bought the girls in 2008; the stars that Bingley and I had made out of wire our first Christmas together - too poor to buy the baubles I longed for and light enough to survive on our Franklin's Norfolk Pine that I had bought in lieu of a fake Christmas tree.

We did it all to the soundtrack of carols that I have sung every year of my life and I glowed a little to hear the Elfling sing along too. The Possum, having now completely forgiven me as shiny things were on offer helped decorate the tree too. He loved fetching a bauble from the box and pushing it at the tree, perplexed when it wouldn't stay, before handing it to me to hang. He dutifully went back and forth, picking up the little wooden figurines carefully and waiting for them to be hung on the tree, before he discovered the singular joy of pulling glass baubbles off the tree, a game that is still being played out daily (and resulted in Sunday morning finding half of my glass baubles below knee height being found in the bin where he had gleefully deposited them).

We ended the night exhausted, with the cheap musical Santa in front of te tree bouncing around singing Jingle Bells while a thoroughly happy Possum bounced and swayed in time to the music, with a cuteness that sells toilet paper and fabric softener.

Sunday morning I whipped up a double batch of fudge (see last year for recipe, even better this year, am culinary goddess); some rumballs and rocky road ready to go in the "teacher appreciation" present bags for this year and assurances from Bingley that the same would be delivered to said teachers. Lunch time the girls were ratty and tired - a terrible omen considering both were dancing in their ballet end of year concert that afternoon and so they both had a lie down, Bingley and I terrified that the Elfling was coming down with the 24h gastro that he, I, the Possum and the Monkey had all suffered in the preceding days. But come early afternoon all was well as I pulled hair back into sleek shiny buns and applied stage make up for the first time in my life, trying not to flinch from the effect of the subtlest make up I was allowed on my perfect babies' skin. To say that the Elfling was excited was understatement in the extreme, and even the grumpy Monkey was happy to stand in front of the mirror and admire her pinked lips.

Arriving at ballet they both ran off, assuaging my fears of the Monkey refusing to walk out on stage and Bingley and both sets of grandparents and I sat in the darkened theatre waiting for the show. We knew tat the Monkey would be in an early dance, as the very well run school understands that 4 year olds are not the most patient or cooperative group at the best of times, and as the music swelled to announce their dance I spontaneously started crying as my tiny pixie tiptoed onto stage in her snowflake tutu with a silly sparkly crown on her head. She was so cute it hurt, the very sweet, very age appropriate dance making me (and half the audience) giggle as they tried to remember their steps. I was so ridiculously proud of her for running so confidently onto the stage and dancing her heart out that I felt like my heart was out of my chest.

The Elfling's dance was soon after and her long limbs, confident steps and bossy redirection of girls who were not in quite the right position had me both laughing and sooking all over the place again. She has grown so much in a year and I love her to bits. I love how much she loves dancing and how much that shows in her performance. Truthfully I don't know if she's good, she had an extra role in the dance and she seemed very graceful, but she loves it so much I couldn't help but be captivated by her. I was barely aware of anyone else on stage.

Afterwards I swapped my white linen pants (I know, I have no idea when I morphed into a soccer mom either) for black leggings and a wide black belt and a swathe of eyeliner to head to Muse with Bingley. We had general admission tickets for the first time in years and as we headed in to the GA floor we both giggled as we sat up against the audio engineer's box and talked about how tired we were at 8pm. The GA tckets were worth it though as the view, the atmosphere and the spontaneous dancing made for an excellent night. The music was incredible and as a live show the performances wre absolutely amazing as were the sets and lighting. There wasn't much engagement with the crowd though, and while there doesn't need to be a whole lot of chatting, I came away feeling like I'd just watched a video of an awesome performance. There hadn't been much to make it stand out aside from the incredible music of Muse.

Musically I can't complain, because the dense mix of heavy sound presided over by Matt Bellamy's incredible voice was amazing - music that completely fires up my blood and in the case of songs like Supermassive Black Hole electrifies it. But I like engagement, or at least acknowledgement that you are playing for a crowd and not just that you've been told to stand there and perform.

We got home at about midnight on Sunday and that anticipatory dread started curling in my belly when I realised I would have to get up at dawn the next morning to head back here for work. As I tossed in bed I thought longingly of sleeping in next to Bingley and waking whenever we wanted instead of dragging myself out at the insistent peal of my alarm and numbly standing under the cold shower before remembering to turn on the hot.

I arrived in time to do my ward round however, and worked solidly all day with barely a half hour break for lunch before working all afternoon, and as it transpired, well into the night. I was so tired last night that when I had finally stitched up all the problems in the hospital for the evening I ordered pizza and then numbly watched tv for a little while before falling into bed.

Today was not much better, starting at 0700 and finishing after 2100 where I was grateful for the cold half uneaten pizza from the night before and I tried not to cry as I talked to Bingley. The tiredness seeping in under my skin and making me homesick. I was snappish with a nurse tonight and I feel dreadful about it, knowing that I'm tired is not an excuse for it, and i apologised but still feel wretched. I still love my work here, and I think I could do it as a career, but doing it away from family is so hard. At first it was easier, because I could be totally selfish, but I need my little chaotic nest to come home to, that rejuvenates me and fills me up with love every evening, instead of this strange place where I can hear the clocks ticking and the bedrooms are empty.

Anyhow, it's bedtime now for me. I'm sorry this is so disjointed, I can't write flowing prose at present, so it's little more than dot points. But I want to read back on these days sometime, and remind myself of just how hard I worked, and how much I enjoyed it. Even if at times it felt like the tiredness would eat me up in one big gulp.

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