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A Not So Secret Secret Shopping Expedition

Do you know what would be really good right now? Gelato!

I wish we lived near a gelato vendor.

I miss gelato.

I miss the money to buy gelato.

I used to live close to gelato.

Some of my favourite memories involve walking for gelato of an evening.

It sounds like summer tonight.

The air is still, the crickets are chirping, our owl is hooting, and the nomadic tree frog who periodically lives in our watering can is croaking. While something is stirring the kookaburras in their trees. Their unmistakable laughter intermittently cackles across the night sky.

Oh, please don’t wake the baby.

I love summer. It is always such a relief to be warm.

Sure winter is great for the fashion, but Oh God I hate being cold. But those boots, those beautiful boots! Now they almost make it worth it.

I seriously love love love boots.

However tonight, tonight would be a good night for gelato.

I imagine when Little is big, we will live near the beach, and spend our summers eating ice cream and playing in the surf.

However, dreams do not put food on the table, a roof over our heads; keep us dry and safe, or any other such oppressive and practical matters. Therefore, I have almost stopped bothering with them. At least for the present.

I am afraid to do the exact calculations this month for our rent, because I am not sure what I am going to find.

I have become the person whose stomach lurches with anxiety and trepidation every time my husband opens the mail, just in case it is a bill. Although from where or whom, I do not know.

We are lucky, because we are not in debt. However, nor do we own anything either. As in absolutely nothing.

God how I wish things were different.

I should have bought a house when I was younger.

Why didn’t I do that?

To be honest, I have always harboured a princess complex; I always thought, if I married, my fictional husband, otherwise known as knight in shining armour, would have already taken care of that detail.

Well that and I have always been super intimidated by the entire process.

My lack of self-esteem has a lot to answer for.

This hand to mouth existence we are leading is seriously doing my head in.

I hate that my pantry is not filled with pasta, tinned tomatoes, coconut milk, tuna, and toilet paper.

My plastic containers designed to hold flour and other such baking essentials sit practically empty on the bottom shelf.

There are gaps where my food stores should be.

I am the kind of person who buys fifteen individual portion sized cans of tuna at a time, then takes pride in lining them all up, one behind the other like a lovely little tuna train until the shelf is fully stacked.

I feel safe when there are at least three types of curry paste, four types of rice, five different pastas, and multiple different condiments at my disposal.

Having only half a jar of vegemite as an option for my toast is freaking me out.

I know it may sound trivial, but cupboards baring copious amounts of food is a signal to me we are abundant. And without that, I feel vulnerable, exposed, and under threat.

I am afraid to ask Michael to buy me anything more, or better still take me grocery shopping, because what if my request is taking away from Little’s formula or nappy budget?

Michael does all of the food shopping. He walks up to our local supermarket almost daily. It drives me crazy.

I would much prefer if he went once a week, and did a big shop.

Once or twice a year he takes me, and it is almost romantic.

I can spend hours in that place.

I love to examine everything. As in literally almost every product.

He hates it.

Honey, why is that bottle blue, and that bottle red, but they are both the same.

What is the difference between this yogurt and that one?

Can you tell me everything in the deli case?

Yes, of course I need two different ice-cream flavours.

Well actually, I need eight, but by the time we get to the freezer section, he is so over it, that I acquiesce, and let him have his way.

And so it goes.

When I was little, I never felt as though I quite knew where the next meal were coming from, thus as an adult, and able to make my own choices, I need there to be plenty of options.

After all, you never know what I might feel like making.

Over the last three years, Michael has gradually taken over most of the cooking.

We have very different styles, and sometimes I get frustrated with the meat and mash potato content in our diet.

He will put mash potato with almost everything. And I mean everything.

I am not a fan.

I would happily be a vegetarian, as I once was back in my twenties. However, that is impossible with our lifestyle.

I am busting to get back in the kitchen more, but not just as the resident baker for café Meg.

I love baking sweet treats. However, since having Emily, I have been totally off my game.

I seem to have lost my touch.

My pastry is too short, my curd too long, my cake too dry, my custard too wet, my biscuits too burnt, my ganache too sloppy, my meringue too heavy, and my bread too dull.

I know I am not in alignment, because nothing is flowing.

We are supposed to go to a friend’s first birthday party on Sunday; however, I think we will have to cancel, because we do not have the cash to buy a gift.

I miss the fun we were once able to afford. Now I am so stuck in the poverty consciousness of it all, I cannot even enjoy the fantasy of a new pair of jeans because they seem so far out of reach.

I want to shout at the world, I just had a baby; surely, I deserve new jeans.

Nothing fits!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my body, and absolutely love love love what it has accomplished over the last eighteen months, but oh, boy some new clothes would be nice.

I miss being able to listen to an ad on the radio and think to myself well yes, that could be wonderful, but what else could we do with the money… And rub my hands with gleeful decadence.

These days my immediate response to a want is to wonder what is the point in even contemplating it. Because seriously, there is none.

God! It is so depressing.

While a need is something to be measured, weighed, and assessed very very carefully against the ledger of cost verse necessity verse guilt in my head.

How much do we need that thing? Can we live without it? Is there another alternative…?

On and on the tallying goes.

I take from here to give to there. Always hoping against hope it will stretch like chewing gum.

I wonder how it has come to this.

However, the answer seems to be as elusive as a tempest.

Little has not been sleeping well over the last couple of days. I worry about her over tiredness.

Today she slept for an entire fourteen minutes just after 4:00PM. Granted, she did try to fall asleep on my hip at about 1:00PM as we struggled up the street to the bank, but to no avail.

She would have, if I could have held her with both hands, but needing one hand to hold my cane meant she could not snuggle in the way we both wanted – so neither of us was comfortable.

It was my fault really. We should have gone to the bank first thing, instead of it being an afterthought relegated to last on our list.

To be honest, I was afraid to learn how much was in my wallet. I like having coin on my person. And I didn’t want to have to give it up so soon. Therefor I put it out of my mind. I mean what if I needed it when we were out, I justified quietly to myself as I was strategizing about our day.

I find it easier to pay in cash than to swipe my card.

The tangibility of paper money somehow makes the transaction feel more real.

Sometimes it almost seems as if it is better not to know. At least then, I can pretend I am in fact fiscally responsible.

Of course, I had an idea of the approximate value of what I was carrying, give or take $50ish, but…

As it is, I am not certain of the exact amount in my bank account, but whatever it is, I am almost sure we are not going to make our rent this month.

I am strangely calm about this possibility.

In a ridiculous twist of self-sabotage, disguised as self-preservation, my two and two equals sixty-two logic would rather torture me with the vagary rather than face the potential paralysing situation.

The fear of our being homeless I expressed some months back has dissipated, and is almost unfathomable. Either that or I am in serious denial.

The desperation or determination that things must change has not set in the way it usually does.

I have a feeling things are going to shift in a more affluent direction in the coming months, but I have no idea how or what this is going to look like.

All I know is if I simply keep turning up to the page, then everything will be all right. At least this is what I think I know.

Holy shit, what if it is not?

So here I am, little asleep in her cot, Michael downstairs watching boring boy crap on television, and me tucked up in bed with my laptop. Putting one word in front of the next. Sentence by sentence, paragraph-by-paragraph, page-by-page, post-by-post, plodding through the piles of pooh prohibiting my prosperity.

Today her royal cuteness and I went shopping for Michael’s birthday present.

The only reason he is getting anything is because I was given a shopping voucher for Christmas – Thanks Tamie.

I assume the intention was I spend it on myself, but that is so not going to happen.

Sure I need new underwear, outerwear, accessories, a hair do, hygiene products, a beauty treatment would be nice, acupuncture, technology, a night out, crockery, Manchester, saucepans, a logo, legal documentation for my website, a braille watch, a job… However, Michael is about to turn the big 50, and he needs a gift.

I have organised his family to come over for a casual morning tea as a surprise, but I don’t feel good about it.

We don’t have secrets, and I feel like I am betraying him on some level by not preparing him for the influx.

I know he will want to have the house in tiptop condition, and I also know my efforts in this arena will not be enough.

I will forget to sweep the leaves at the front door, or make sure there is enough milk for coffee.

He will want to be organised, and have everything ready for when they arrive.

However if I act too differently in comparison to how we normally are, he will get suspicious, and I do not want to burden him with the cleaning.

I know if I tell him, he will fane surprise, but still I am loyal to the secret.

It is difficult not to say anything, and exhausting to keep quiet.

Normally I am the best present thinker upperer ever! However, this year I am completely stumped –, I blame the Lotto Gods lack of generosity for my predicament.

One year it was his boat licence, another it was a flying lesson, last year it was a jet boat ride with his best mate in Sydney Harbour, while this year was supposed to be something really special. Really really special.

However, I came up with a cunning plan, which cannot fail; I have taken the opportunity to buy him a new pair of jeans.

No no, the irony is not lost on me here.

I too am wondering when I became the woman who puts herself last.

Why is it perfectly acceptable for me to buy him jeans, but not myself?

Last week I literally through all mine out, except for one, because I was so cranky with my wardrobe.

However, the man hates shopping for new clothes, so this is the only opportunity I am going to get to spruce him up a bit.

He too really needs new everything.

Which reminds me, I had better check the soles of his shoes, because he will not say if they are worn through. He will just keep wearing them until they disintegrate of their own accord.

Moreover, given I make it a habit to avoid his shoes wherever possible, I will not know.

My thinking is he cannot turn down birthday clothes, especially if I tell him Emily helped me choose them. Which she did.

As we obediently wandered through the racks of disorganised clothing, behind the most helpful shop assistant in the entire world, occasionally something would grab Emily’s eye, and she would reach for it, so we would stop.

She chose him a pair of navy blue board-shorts.

It was hilarious, because when we came across this particular display, she would not let them go.

I hope he likes them.

I am not saying we are unhappy, but rather we are under an immense amount of financial pressure, and things could be better.

We do not argue as such, but rather simply get on with making do. However, I know things would be a lot freer if we had more money to live.

The generosity of our family and friends has been incredible.

The right thing seems to always come from somewhere at just the right time.

It is as though the universe is trying to help us out, but I am unwilling to receive its bountiful goodness.

What is wrong with me?

For example, it would be nice to be able to go back to the restaurant where we had our wedding reception for our first anniversary coming up in a few weeks.

Gosh, it would be nice to be able to buy a cup of coffee when I am out, and not calculate the either/or cost first.

I did not even consider stopping at the cinnamon donut shop today. However that was because I had little strapped to my chest, and I have a rule never to eat anything with her, that she cannot also partake. Therefore, the $1.80 was not even a consideration.

Delicious hot sticky cinnamon donuts are definitely not on the cards for one cutie cute cute cute. So at least I avoided that disappointing conundrum.

I hope that my ass will thank me later.

However, it works both ways. Because I did not buy her a banana today either when she reached for one. Even though I wanted to.

Again, this was nothing to do with the expense, because when it comes to our beautiful butterfly, cost is not as a mitigating factor as it is when we are considering ourselves. Absolutely I would have spent $3.00 on said piece of fruit without thinking twice.

This time it was because I had never been in that particular fruit shop before, and the idea of trying to find the cash register, then find a seat so we could eat our tasty morsel of goodness was all too much.

I could hear the unmistakable ding of the cash register, but we were in an open area, and there were a lot of variables between it and me.

Not to mention, what would I do with the inevitable mess we would make?

What if I did not clean her face properly or her shirt was covered in mashed banana.

People might think I was not looking after my daughter, and then what…

As with most things in my life, I have to be twice as on top of things to get half the recognition.

If baby girl looks her best, and her cleanest, when we are in public, then it proves to the world, I’ve got this.

If she looks like a bit of a grot, people will assume I cannot take care of her, rather than simply dismiss it as a yummy banana face aftermath.

I really need to find a way around the overwhelm of these seemingly simple tasks, because Emily deserves a spontaneous snack, a milk shake, or a browse in the toyshop.

I accidentally missed the toyshop for her today.

To be honest I could not be assed going back to look for it once I realised we had walked past.

However, on the up side, we did go to the pretty dress shop.

Emily loved looking at all the sparkly tutus and floral dresses. Her eyes were big and wide with awe. She chose a black and white winter pinafore, which I hope to go back and purchase when things are less desperate.

Then she chose three more floral dresses, but they will be better for next year my honey.

, we walked between our destinations. The two shops I required could not have been any further apart if they had tried.

Emily was a champion shopping companion. She sat in her carrier like a rock star for hours.

It was lovely to have her in such close proximity for so long.

I love giving her cuddles.

Having her with me is always so much fun.

I thought it would be her weight, which would do me in, but it was the bulk of the nappy bag, which completely destroyed my shoulder.

Admittedly, I probably should have not bought the bulk pack of nappy wipes at the beginning of our expedition, but we needed them, and we were there…

Actually, I did not think they would be as heavy as they were.

I am so used to having to find the most efficient way to do things, and carry everything with me rather than back track and forth, that I did not think it through properly.

Michael told me not to worry about them but of course, I did not listen.

I am such an idiot.

Some part of me wanted to prove to him, I am still the same independent, strong willed, amazing woman he fell in love with.

Why I chose disposable wipes as my currency, I will never know.

He would have preferred bought something for myself instead.

I know in theory a backpack sounds like it would make more sense, but I use a giant beach tote for her things, because it has easy access – a big wide opening, I can reach round with one hand and find her water, tuck naughty dolly back in her place, get my keys, her hat, or whatever else we might need right then and there without having to stop, take it off my person, unzip it, and then start the process of rummaging through it for whatever item I am after.

Shhhhh, don’t tell naughty dolly, but we left her at home today on purpose.

The problem is, the bigger the bag, the more I think I can carry, so the more I pack in.

However what I am most proud of, what I am always most proud of is our train trip.

We totally nailed that sucker.

We stepped on and off without a problem. I do not take her out alone very often, but when I do, I always feel so accomplished and proud of myself.

I rock!

However, to the little old lady with the extremely noisy trollybag who thought it is ok to almost knock us over on her way to the lift, we are not impressed.

Surely, you cannot be that inconsiderate, and nothing can be that important that you need to deliberately cut off a blind woman and her child for your own means.

I think on some level I am still very nervous and unconfident when it comes to a lot of things.

I really hope, as Emily grows, and I grow as a parent, that my doubts disappear, and I can be the total kick ass mama that I know is possible.

At the moment, I would rather leave the adventuring to Michael, because he seems to have this parenting thing down.

He makes it look so easy. While I go through such an audial in my head before I attempt anything.

I had been thinking about this trip for a week before finally embarking upon it.

I thought about going on my own, but I simply could not imagine it.

She is my little cutie cute cute cute. Of course, I was going to take her with me.

Today we walked to and from the station by ourselves, took the train, saw a fountain, asked for assistance when mummy needed it, and all in all everything went very smoothly.

She sat happily in her spot, smiled at the shop staff, and quietly sang songs to herself. Accept when mummy wanted to have a quick look at swimming costumes. Then she started to melt down. Therefore no swimmers for mama.

She was happier when we were moving, so we kept going.

Again, this was my fault. I should have found us a seat earlier on, and given her a bottle. However, I could not remember where the courtesy lounge chairs scattered through the shopping centre are located.

I swear to God they move those things. They never seem to be in the same place twice.

I pride myself on only having to be orientated somewhere once, before having it down pat. However, the chairs are like Hogwarts.

I mean of course I had an idea, but once I thought I found them, I could not tell if they were occupied.

Do you know how humiliating it is to walk to a chair and find someone already there?

People are not always that nice about it either. Some people just ignore me, as though I do not exist, some say rude comments, and occasionally some are nice enough to explain the seat is taken. However not once in my experience has anyone ever moved and offered me said seat.

I know it sounds terrible, but I was tired, and I did not want to face the situation.

How the hell am I going to give little the experiences she deserves, and protect her from having to see her mummy be degraded.

Nor did I know where, or if there was a concierge desk, so I could not ask for help from someone who is paid to give good service.

The one wooden bench I found was not very appealing.

It was down on the bottom level, outside a chicken shop, and the woman on the other end was not very friendly.

I had visions of feeding her somewhere with slightly more ambiance and peace.

Now where were those baby change rooms again?

I know Emma, my orientation and mobility instructor took me to them in a neighbouring shopping mall, but I was too worn out to look for them the day we came here.

I kept thinking we would only be a little while longer, and I would simply save the time and hassle, by feeding her on the way home.

After all, she was coping quite well.

Good God, did I just say that?

Here I am, supposed to be putting Emily above all else, yet I am still weighing the details against the bigger picture, and making decisions on my own cognitive limitations and energy levels.

My baby girl loves to socialise, and see new things. Therefore A secret shopping trip is a perfect outing. All those colours, people, sounds, smells, and stimulation. What is not to like?

Although save the time for what, I did not know.

Again, this is an old blindy habit – just keep going. Keep pushing through, because everything takes so much longer than it would if I could see, so multi task where possible. Especially when it comes to public transport.

I should have stopped.

I should have swallowed my pride and asked a stranger for directions.

I should have done something more to ensure Emily’s needs were met more fully.

I am so sorry sweetie.

. One odd phenomenon I noticed today was how people assumed because obviously my baby can see, that somehow she is my eyes, therefore they do not have to get out of the way because of course I will move.

Yeah, ummm, no.

I was trying out our new, simpler, and hopefully softer carrier, courtesy of Katie Lee.

I am so angry at the $300 we spent on our good one, because it is proving such a waste.

Not only is it ridiculously complex to strap up, but it leaves red marks in Little’s legs, as though it is cutting off the circulation where she sits.

Add to this, it appears to have a design floor in that it rubs against her poor little chin until it is red raw.

Come to think of it, this new one does as well.

Is it like this with all carriers?

I feel so sorry for her.

What a bad mummy.

I tried to protect her by constantly folding the flap down, and holding my finger between it and her face, but with no success.

Michael says she has a rash.

I also have a new stick, which as long as it is, still does not feel long enough with baby girl in front. However, anything longer is going to get too heavy and rickety.

I am not sure what the solution is there – Maybe the pram?

Just as we figure it out, she will be walking.

Because isn’t that the way of parenting? Just when you think you are getting the hang of it, everything changes.

Love you baby girl.

Thanks for coming shopping with me.

Published inAdventures With EmilyBlind Is The New BlakCafe MegMarried LifeMotherhoodRandom Musings

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