More about my two-day escapade last week, as promised:
[Gah, it’s long. Maybe a cup of tea is in order as you take a trip up the coast with me…]
Running away from home when you’re a SAHM involves a bit of planning and scheming. More , for instance, than one’s husband has to do when he goes off to do what he wants to do… Ok, that’s probably not a fair statement – when he goes away for his work, obviously there’s work stuff to prepare. And when he went to New Zealand to play Touch the other weekend, he had no end of drama with flights. But he doesn’t ever have to worry about what we’re doing. Everything at home will just trundle on without him.
If I want to rack off by myself, I have to make sure that everything is going to function for the four of them in my absence. If I left them without knowing what they could eat for dinner, there’d be an outcry!
On this occasion, just to make things more challenging, we had visitors from out of town who stayed the night before. It certainly represented a packing challenge for me in the morning. But also, while I was cooking dinner I had to ensure that I made something for the clowns to eat without me the next night as well.
One night or two? That was a dilemma. A goodly part of me wanted to treat myself to two nights away. The conscience part thought of the accommodation money that could be better spent elsewhere. In the end it served my purposes to leave it up in the air. “Bye.. don’t know when I’ll be back” I said airily. “Might stay two nights. I’ll let you know.” [Maybe I just wanted him to get an idea of what it felt like for me for ten years with all his overseas work trips. You’ve no idea how many return dates were extended at the last hour – so that even though there was usually a nominal return date, I never knew for sure till his bum was on that plane.]
The day I was leaving, I also had longstanding haircut appointments for the girls! And Ms 16 was then going to make her way into town (on the bus) to ‘hang’ with a friend till she met up with the Daddy. They play Touch Footy together in town on a Thursday night! So what to do with the other two?! Ah hah. I can be clever when I need to be. It just so happened that those two had agreed that they wanted a Wii as a joint late/early birthday present. So! Planning Mum figured out that Wii’s were on sale at Big W from Thursday… They could go into town, buy the Wii, then hang out with Dad and big sister.
.. and so this is how the day panned out.
Try to pack with visitors deciding to stay till we left for the hairdressers at 11.25. (??!!)
Transfer enough money into Ms 14’s account so she can pay for all the Wii stuff on EFTPOS.
Ms 16 had decided to ride her bike round to the haircut so she left. My plan was to drop the other two, then set off (leaving them to walk 3km home.)
Ms 14 can’t find her mobile phone. We are then running late while she looks for it, and the visitors help look for it.
We leave without her mobile phone, hoping she’ll find it when she gets home, because otherwise the town trip is not a goer.
I get them to the hairdresser friend, pay her, kiss them goodbye, and head off, solo.
A few kilometres down the road I realise I’ve forgotten my pillow – which I’d rather have. (I blame distractions while packing, and decide to tough it out.)
Some 45 mins into the drive I get a text from Ms 16, who has arrived home, and found her sister’s phone.
I still worry about the other two walking home, and hope they’ll make it back in time to catch the bus.
I stop worrying when I finally hear from them, and know they’re home, and in time to catch the bus.
I find out later that Ms 16 scowled at them the whole way into town because she didn’t want them on the bus with her.
I also find out later that the plans for them buying the Wii, ringing the Daddy to nick out from work to pick it up from them at the shops, and them later walking round to his office… *big breath out* .. all worked out.
Meanwhile… I have decided to try and do this drive MY way. Which is to take it easier than we normally do. There is no reason I have to drive a full two hours (plus) before stopping. So I stop only about one hour twenty minutes into the drive. Lunchtime I think. And while this place gets a bit expensive if you’re buying for a family of five, it’s not so bad for just me.
Anyway, it’s a lovely al fresco setting, right on the water. Just what I needed. And thankfully mobile coverage, so I could check up on everyone.
Onwards. Another hour till Ballina, and a quick stop for petrol and the loo, and then nearly a further half hour before hitting dual carriageway at around Bangalow. But then, baby.. it could be non-stop all the way to Brisbane. I was wanting to pull over and check up on the Wii purchasing, but it was hard to stop when the kilometres are flying by – and there isn’t really any easy place to stop. Oops, that was a rest area.. too late… (Help me, I was turning into my husband! Can’t stop, push on, push on…) Over the border, and back in time. Literally – an hour back in time, seeing Queensland doesn’t follow daylight saving. I can’t imagine what it’s like to live near the border, and to have to travel back and forth on a regular basis.
Anyway – back to the driving. These days you can completely by-pass the Gold Coast – although the volume of traffic still builds intensely once you hit the motorway, and gets worse the closer you get to Brisbane. By this stage I’m desperate for another coffee; thank goodness for a Maccas at a servo somewhere near Robina (and being in the left lane so I could shoot off easily.)
And I did need that caffeine hit to fortify me for the rest of the trip. It’s four lane mayhem as you approach Brisbane. After 4.30 in the afternoon. Gah – I’m not used to city driving anymore. And I’ve never liked drivers who sit on your backside when you’ve slowed a little because the traffic in front of you has slowed a little! – and who don’t like the fact that you leave a gap in front of you (you know, for braking safety and that), and so roar out and around and cut in front of you. Wow, I bet that made a whole heap of difference getting one car further along! (There might, at this stage, have been an exchange of – ahem – sign language, maybe…)
I made it. With Karen’s help. Yes. Karen. I took Karen. Take five if you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about and go here to read about the other woman in our marriage. (You thought I was driving alone, didn’t you..?)
Back?… OK. I’d booked some accommodation in Spring Hill. To my eye (and Google maps) it looked like walking distance to our blog meetup, but I’d been told in no uncertain terms by Rhubarb that the area in between wasn’t that savoury once dusk hit. (Nightclubs and the like.) While I’d thought I might walk it in daylight and catch a taxi back, I thought I should defer to local knowledge, and in the end I decided to drive there and back. Me and lots of alcohol can have a very strained relationship the morning after, so I figured I’d manage without getting maudlin. Certainly I wouldn’t be a party girl, but then my nose and cheeks wouldn’t go redder than they already were, and I shouldn’t make a fool of myself either.
I called up Karen’s help again.. and clocked up a few more kilometres than I needed to, because I’d stuffed up on my google map directions the night before. (Distractions, I blame the distractions.) Oh well, at least I was getting to know Brisbane. Stupidly I parked before laying eyes on the Emporium, so then I replicated those earlier laps around ever increasing blocks, on foot. (Well, I suppose some exercise was in order after sitting on my backside for a few hours!)
Eventually I found the place, a few blocks further on than I’d marked on the map. Doh! After a quick reconnaissance I decided to walk back and retrieve the car. (Thank goodness I was wearing sensible shoes.) Rhubarb then phoned me – at least by then I knew where I was! She would make it there in under an hour, so I had time drive up, park, and wander around a bit. First thing I clocked was that the Emporium Hotel looked waaaay high falutin’… so to cope I plonked myself down outside the one takeaway in the complex, with a coke and a potato scallop to keep me going. And I waited for Rhubarb.
Now for an account of the rest of the big meet, I can’t do better than how Bush Babe tells it. Here, on her blog:
Except for a few points. One was that Rhubarb just about had to drag me into the Emporium, as I was seriously thinking they’d refuse me entry on the grounds of dress. (Note: My wardrobe is sadly lacking, I’m busting out of half the clothes I have, I’ve thus been caught light on in the summery clothing department, and so I didn’t exactly look.. elegant.)
The second is that in their recollections they have been going on about my eyes, and I have to say that it is the first time anyone has ever commented on my eyes. I think the cocktail and the glass of chardy may have muddled with their senses.
What is true is that I was a reluctant photography subject, particularly given my garb, lack of makeup, and the fact that I was still getting over the image I’d copped of myself in my birthday suite in the mirror in the bathroom I’d just had a shower in. It was lower than the mirror in my ensuite at home, and so I could see.. um… more of me. And the vision looked exactly like one of those audition “before” videos you see on Biggest Loser. Thank goodness for clothes, but still….
But other than that, two lovely bloggers, and one lovely friend-of-blogger, made me feel very much at ease, despite the fact that I chose to swig beer out of a bottle! (I figured Corona with lime had to be acceptable in such a place if they had it on the menu!) and that it would be quite easy to label me as some crazy Mexican* internet weirdo. [Ed: for the sake of any international readers.. Queenslanders call those from NSW “Mexicans” because we’re “south of the border”. Similarly, in NSW, we call Victorians the same thing. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that I was drinking a Corona.]
It turned out to be a late night, but still we kept talking once the restaurant had closed down around us (that’s Rhubarb’s review of where we ate) and we’d moved out onto the footpath. I suspect we might have managed to talk through another whole day, given half the chance (bloggers being people who aren’t at a loss for words?)
Karen managed to get me back to the apartment, and I sprawled out on the bed, and turned on the telly to watch some rubbish telly, just because I could. (No TV in the bedroom at home – that decadence is something reserved for going away.) It was liberating being away by myself. And lonely too. (Goddamit, I missed him, even though his snoring had been driving me nuts all week.)
I had a think, and decided that I couldn’t really justify staying away another night just “because”. I’d check out Brisbane city in the morning and then head home. So much for the rebel runaway.