Women vs. Men #4

Rewind around 4 years ago. Hubbie gets an electric shaver pack for his birthday including a very metro-man moisturiser, body wash, and other bathroom pushing-the-boundaries-of-masculinity-for-him, ‘products.’

Me: “You should use this moisturiser, it’s really good. And it’ll help the flaky skin on the side of your face.”

Hubbie: “I’m gonna use that moisturiser?!”

Me: (sigh).

Fast forward to last year. I buy him a moisturiser this time, as part of his Christmas present.

Christmas morning. Unwrapping presents. I have killed it in the presents department that Christmas. Every present he opens – boom! I’ve nailed it.

He opens the moisturiser.

Hubbie: “Why did you buy me a moisturiser? I already have one! You’re just wasting money!”

Me: (unsure if the last good moisturiser went missing) “Well just use it!”

Hubbie: (sighs).

– Moisturiser stays untouched –

Months later, a wedding.

In the car.

Me: “Look at you!” I scrape my fingernails against the dry skin on the side of his face, drier because he jumped out of the shower half an hour ago. The flakes fall to his suit jacket, and I dust them off his shoulders hastily.

“Why don’t you use the moisturiser?! I don’t know why you don’t use it, it will help your skin!”

Hubbie: (ignores me).

Me: “You spend so much time looking at yourself in the mirror, making yourself look good, and then THAT-” I point threateningly at the side of his face ” – that let’s you down.”

Silence.

I give up. No more word on the moisturiser. I can’t change the spots on this leopard.

(Or can I?)

Fast forward again to a few nights ago. Baby girl is having a bath. Hubbie sits as usual, up on the bench near the sink, while I crouch beside the bath near her.

Randomly. Out of nowhere. Hubbie picks up the moisturiser I bought him that has just been sitting there on the bathroom bench for yonks, gathering dust (literally, I dust around and on top of it all the time).

“I might put some of this on.”

Focused on baby girl, but still hearing him, I’m slightly shocked. “Yes! Use it!” I urge him. She splashes, and I’m only half-aware as he lays it on.

The following night.

Hubbie: “Hey, you know that moisturiser? It actually worked!”

(FACEPALM).

Me: (a strong combination of frustration due to intense I-told-you-so, and relief, and yet still the need to heavily promote the moisturiser).

“Of course it worked! Why don’t you like, actually listen to me a bit more, because I am right! I use moisturiser ALL THE TIME! You know I put body lotion on after every shower, because I don’t want dry skin. Who wants dry skin? You don’t want dry skin…”

But I’ve lost him again. I lost him at

‘I am right.’

Of course I did.

Women vs. Men #4

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The Age of the Epiphany

If you’re anywhere under the age of 30, remember this: Your parents are right about EVERYTHING.

I’ve always listened to my parents advice, don’t get me wrong. I guess I was just kinda like working things out for myself, and thinking, like the over-confident Leo I can sometimes be, that I can do it differently, and better, my own way.

Ha.

My parents and my MIL are all super-paranoid when it comes to their babysitting duties with baby girl. They’ll cover the coffee table with the throw we have draped over our lounge, trying to cushion the pointy corners so that if she were to fall the material would soften the blow. When she runs around the dining table at full speed, they cringe. They used to barricade the bottom of the stairs with the pram, so that she couldn’t climb up them.

I didn’t so much mind all their little additions, but I told them to stress less and to not spend so much time worrying. Yes, sometimes she fell. It was never anything major, it toughened her up and taught her a bit about what she should and shouldn’t do. For some reason though, having them put the throw on the table… well it just shit me. I don’t know why. The throw was for the couch, and they were covering the coffee table with it. I felt like saying ‘she never falls near the table with us, stop over-reacting!’ To add to it, Mum further aggravated me with her comment “That’s ok, we put it on when you’re not here.” And then she laughed. Grrr.

Last week, baby girl fell while running around with her Dad, and hit her head on the tiles. It was the smallest of hits – Hubbie didn’t even think her head touched the ground. But the blood splatters on the floor and the drops down her jumper told us otherwise.

I can’t begin to express the chaos that followed that incident. There were tears and freak-outs, mostly from me. She had hit her head, but it was a minor graze, and she settled very quickly after. Thank God. But it was a major wake-up call for us. Our parents’ constant stresses and worrying was for a good reason. They had raised us. They had been through all of this before.

I haven’t said boo about the throw on the coffee table since.

On the weekend, Hubbie and I had a decent blue. We were arguing, and were both very stubbornly holding our individual positions. We were shouting angrily at each other, and not because of something we had done or said to the other- it was about a family member. I went to bed that night seething, yet so sad. And I contemplated how every single time we’ve had a big argument (minus the every day nagging stuff you just get used to) it was about a family member. I fell asleep on that.

To my surprise, we made up immediately the next morning. I didn’t think there was any going past it. But Hubbie was adamant that we weren’t to yell at each other like that again, and made the same observation that I had: all our big fights weren’t about us.

We are good, so good together. And we realised, through this struggle, that we shouldn’t let outside interference get in the way of our relationship. In fact that weekend I had read a quote about struggles being the instigators to find another way forward. Which we had. I also heard my Mum’s words circling around in my head:

“Never let anyone get in the way of your family. People will always try to make trouble between you, but don’t let them.”

Even though there was no one intentionally making our lives difficult, it was so true that we shouldn’t be letting an outsider get in the way of US.

You might be lucky, and under the age of 30 and know all of this. You may be older, and still learning. That’s ok. Life is a process. It’s fortunate if you can learn from the experiences and words of others, but often the best way to learn is when you live the lessons yourself. Just try to make the tough lessons a vicarious experience, if you can.

Affogatos rock at the Swish Beach House

Beach House Barwon Heads
48 Hitchcock Avenue Barwon Heads

At first, I didn’t want to go into this restaurant. I was dressed up, perhaps a bit too much for the beach locals, and felt that I would stand up insurmountably against everyone else there. People looked casual sipping their drinks and watching people walk by at the front of the premises Parisian style, and I was actually, inwardly groaning as we walked up into the restaurant.

There was not much up our food-alley on offer on our second night there at Barwon Heads. We had parked ourselves once again along Hitchcock Avenue: we had already dined at Barwon Orange, and wanted to try something different; Annie’s was closed that night, and the one I had tried to book before discovering they weren’t open on Monday’s was Café Maritana. That we would discover the following night. At the Rocks had too many recent bad reviews on Urbanspoon for me to want to risk throwing our holiday dollars away there, and everything else in close proximity was either closed, or too cas. We weren’t going to have fish and chips. We wanted to sit in nice surroundings, and eat and relax for a couple of hours.

Hubbie convinced me in. I ignored the looks and walked behind him, trying to hide behind baby girl. I love dressing up, but I hate staring. I can’t stand it. So what if I’m dressed up? You don’t have to ogle.

I was immediately relieved and impressed when I saw the interior. This, was much fancier. In fact, by looking at the exterior, I never would have guessed the interior would have looked like this. The tables and chairs were a dressier version of the outside, with a large bar in the middle of the room and ample space to be seated. Even so, we were greeted by a serious lady who asked if we had booked. Was this a thing in Barwon Heads? As someone said on Urbanspoon, this isn’t Melbourne. This place certainly had the space to fit us, and nearby empty tables didn’t seem to have a reserved sign. In fact, as we had learned the previous night at Barwon Orange, even in that smaller space they had been able to sit us. Fortunately, she seated us, and so become one unexpectedly great night.

Inside it was swish, but the beachy vibe was still there with huge leaf-like fans across the ceiling. Even the people dining in there were more stylish, wanting to make a meal out of the night, as it were.

We ordered drinks and baby girl’s meal first, and I informed our lovely young waitress if they could bring out her meal ASAP – they didn’t have to deliver it with ours. It came surprisingly quick, right after our drinks came, and conveniently right on time as she was starting to fuss.

Mini steak, shoestring chips, garden salad with tomato sauce

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It was $12, so cheap yet so large! We fed her and kept her happy, using her leftovers as our entrée. Hubbie was pleasantly surprised with how succulent her steak was, and said “If our meals are anything like this…!”

I’d ordered an Almost Heaven cocktail, and the name pretty much summed it up for how the night was to become. It wasn’t overwhelmingly beautiful-looking, served just in a tall glass, but it was fresh and summery, and suited the night to a T.

Almost Heaven – Passionfruit infused vodka, Chambord, passionfruit Tiro

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We had ordered something different, different from our usual anyway. I usually go for a pasta, seafood or chicken dish, while Hubbie happily gets his steaks with veggies/chips/salad. Instead, I ordered the

Char grilled Eye fillet, with French fries and a garden salad

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While Hubbie ordered the Confit pork belly, with a rice noodle & crips vegetable salad in ‘Chowhouse’ chilli dressing

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The eye fillet was a very big and thick piece, and for my request of medium-to-well cooked with no blood, looking at it as it arrived on our table I wasn’t feeling confident it had been fulfilled. Even cutting into it and seeing the red ooze out, I went “oh no.” But then I realised that the red was just the juices, not in fact the blood, and the inside was very acceptably cooked: in fact, my butcher Hubbie very assertively said that given the size and request, it was cooked to perfection. Farrrrr. He said perfect? And after I tasted it, I couldn’t agree more. Well you’d hope so for $41.

It had a great flavour, and although the porcini and red wine butter was very distinctive in taste, I actually loved it, and was remembering the taste days after the meal. I had crisp fries and salad on the side, and happily ate it all. The salad was like the salad we’d tasted on baby girl’s plate, crisp and so-fresh tasting. It’s so hard to get a fresh salad nowadays. And the tomatoes, actually TASTED like a tomato, straight from the garden.

Hubbie’s meal of pork belly was baked confit-style, and so he wasn’t used to eating it a different colour than the usual grilled-style colour he gets. However it was soft and flavoursome, and he thoroughly enjoyed the Asian style salad on the side which had sweet and spicy characteristics. The combination was good, different yet still enjoyable.

Considering we had both ordered different meals to our usual choices, at a first-time restaurant for us, and been happy with the results, I thought of as a very good outcome. It’s hard to win at that, but we did. All the food was soon gone, even baby girl’s with our assistance.

I was feeling really content after my meal, but not overly-full like I’d felt the previous night. We decided to do it, and boy were we happy when we both ordered and got this:

Affogato – Genovese espresso, vanilla ice cream, liqueur of choice, hazelnut biscotti

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While baby girl got scoops of vanilla ice cream. At only $3 a serve, why the hell not?

I had requested bailey’s on the side while Hubbie had asked for cointreau. The presentation of the ice cream with coffee on the side, a shot of liqueur to the other side, and a biscuit in the ice cream, was PERFECT. It looked divine, and it TASTED divine. I loved the biscuit. LOVED LOVED LOVED it. Tell me where you buy it and I’m buying it in bulk. Beautiful accompaniment to the coffee, a great crunchy and nutty texture. YUM.

The only fault with this dish, that kept it from being a 10/10, was the quantity of coffee. The quality was excellent, but there was just that little bit too little coffee in the cup. But if that’s the only fault, you know they’re doing well.

Everything went superbly that night. Along with our amazing food, our waitresses, in particular our main one was very, very nice and friendly, including to baby girl, and it was on that night we were starting to realise just how much of a difference that makes to her. When she shrieks, she does it out of joy, or for attention, and with the waitresses actually responding and smiling at her, as the other very friendly nearby diners were, she was absolutely rapt. She was a happier baby, which made our time there much, much happier. Some people may not care much for ratings on ambience and the nature of the staff and the people who frequent the restaurants we go to, but trust me, with children in tow, these things are vital. Because if your child is happy with you, your experience will be all the more enjoyable. Especially with children, friendliness matters.

The waitresses here seemed nicer than those at Barwon Orange (and s!&t all over the ones at Annie’s – sorry to be so frank), and maybe that was solely because they had actually smiled and spoken to her. I don’t need waiters to pick up my girl and twirl her around. I just want them to acknowledge her with a smile, when she smiles and waves at them. I want her growing up knowing that there are good people in this world. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.

The friendliness of those around us, along with the more spacious nature of the restaurant, meant that even when baby girl shrieked with glee at all the attention she was getting, it was drowned out, meaning no chefs were looking over from their kitchens this night. LOL. Family-friendly, tick.

Food: 8.5/10. Simple food, done well. I like how the colour of our fries was golden, meaning fresh oil. That affogato… OMG. Almost 10/10 on its own.

Coffee: 8.5/10. Would like to try their cappuccinos one day, if their short blacks are anything to go by.

Ambience: Fantastic for families. Big and loud, but still that bit special and fancy.

Staff: Apart from the door-lady, our waitresses were very friendly and very nice. Our main waitress was constantly on-the-go, yet despite this still managed to give attention to baby girl. At one stage she was so busy she forgot to bring us our dessert menu, but we totally didn’t mind as we were having the best time. She didn’t forget the other crucial thing though, which was the smiling of course. 🙂

People: Fancier inside, but really lovely. Two large groups of people were seated near us throughout the night, and both times they were all so nice, and unexpectedly giving baby girl loads of attention. I mean LOADS. This was baby girl’s night, she was loving it. This kept her distracted, occupied and busy, which made things easier for us, and a distinguishable key in the success of the night.

Price: Well, we ordered 3 meals, 3 desserts, and 3 drinks. Some large, some small. For a total of under the mid $100s, which was expected. On key, I think, price-wise.

Advice: Book in advance. I think this is a Barwon Heads thing. Or a holiday-period thing. Or a Summer thing. Either way, just book, anywhere in Barwon Heads. And that’s it. Nothing else. Loved it.

In a nutshell: Simple food, served well and fresh and wholesome, in a great bustling environment that’s still fancy enough for those wanting something finer – just dine inside if you want fancy. We were really happy with our night, our meals, and how happily everyone there responded to our baby girl. A lot of great memories were made on that particular night in Barwon Heads, at Beach House Barwon Heads, which means we’ll look back on it fondly. We will definitely go back on our next visit in town, and I will end on this note: Thank God I didn’t let the exterior form my final opinion on dining there.

There’s a good moral for ya. 😉

Beach House Barwon Heads on Urbanspoon

Things that shit me… #5

Someone please tell me: what is the deal with the wide inconsistency of coffee cup sizes?

I currently have a takeaway cappuccino on my desk at work. It resembles the size of what I call a medium, yet when I ordered it I had to ask for ‘large.’

Yesterday I ordered from another café, and their version of a medium is actually slightly bigger than the large I’m looking at right now. The size matches what I would call a medium, but how is today’s large coffee smaller?

This shits me. Cafes that only serve regular coffee sizes, shit me. Especially when they border on the ‘small-pathetic-size.’ (Small sizes should not exist in coffee world). Cafes that serve itsy-bitsy coffees, and market them as ‘large,’ shit me.

All you cafes, you shit me. Call a medium, a medium. A large, a large. And call a small, a pansy. That’s it. Simple.

A rose by any other name would not smell as sweet… in this case the coffee still smells good but there’s not enough of it, damn it.

Things that shit me… #3

Citylink. Frustration is another level for this one.

For non-Melbournians and our close interstate neighbours in the (un)fortunate position to not be well-acquainted with this man-made device, just know that I am speaking of a ‘toll road’ and that most people living in populated areas will have some measure of understanding of this much-needed but could-really-do-without ‘accessory’ to our roads.

Hrmph.

Since I have started back at work, I’ve decided that it’s long enough not seeing baby girl ALL day, to then drive home through the city in peak hour. Yeah, in the mornings I do the drive-through-city thing, but when I wanna go home and see baby girl ASAP, I use Citylink.

The first time I used it: not too bad.

The second time I used it: absolute shit house.

Let me explain. It’s simple really. Citylink is meant to provide you an alternate and faster route home without having to deal with lights, congestion, and just general peak-hour nonsense that sends the gentlest of humans mad. I’ve had a look at their charter on their website, and they even state that their promise to their customers is to provide free flowing traffic: they call it ‘travel certainty.’ So even if you remove the ‘get-home-faster’ idea that most people have about Citylink, the fact that they want the traffic to move constantly, is kind of in the same field, yes?

(Deep breath).

So what is the freaking point of paying tolls on their road when your trip home takes about the same time as what it would if you were actually travelling through the city in peak hour? Huh? WHAT IS THE POINT?

I was secretly fuming over this notion last Friday. I was driving home via the ‘blue,’ and right after I entered near Footscray Road, the stupid freeway was full. I drove slowly, slowly, slowly, thinking ‘what the hell has happened? Is it an accident?’ When I passed the 1st ‘incident’ (many, many, many, many, many, many, many – get it? minutes after driving SLOOWWLLYY) all I saw pulled over to the left of the road in the EMERGENCY lane (note, out of the traffic) was a car pulled over, apparently broken down, with roadside assistance helping them out… and that was it.

That was it. There was a break-down not affecting the outbound traffic in any way, yet that stupid group known as rubberneckers just had to slow down, and take a geez.

Like seriously, in the words of Big Brother “how does that affect your time in the house?” Dickheads.

And all these rubberneckers, all these dickheads, were preventing me from getting home to see my daughter. Keeping me from hugging her and being with her just that little bit longer, making damn sure our night-time bonding was limited and making the whole night that much more rushed, because slowing down to look at a woman who’s car had broken down was going to enlighten their sad, sad, pathetic lives.

Those morbid people with their perverted little eyes. They drive me freaking insane.

On I continued, past the broken down car, hurtling insults at the cars in front of me: “just drive!”

Closer to home, the traffic slowed down again. I’d heard something on the radio about there being an accident at a certain point, on an access ramp, but I thought it had cleared by when I drove by it, as there had been no sign of a bingle anywhere. Still, the traffic was really slow. ‘What the hell is going on?’ I thought. Again.

And then. As I finally came to drive past a ramp that entered onto the freeway I was on, I saw a car pulled over with an assistance vehicle behind it. On the ramp. Before entering the freeway. Out of our route. Yet the rubberneckers were at it again, and ogling the scene to the side of them.

I wanted to scream.

Now, you might argue that this is no fault of Citylink’s. You might say, “it’s not their fault that people have accidents and don’t know how to drive efficiently.” True, on both points. But when you are promised a service, a certain outcome, especially in exchange for your money, well I think you bloody hell should get that service promised, don’t you?

I’m only talking about a few dollars on the trip home, but why should I part with dollars that haven’t even brought me home any quicker? To make things worse, the kms I spend using Citylink are far greater than when I drive through the city the LONG way home, if that makes any sense at all. So I’m also contributing to the further wear-and-tear of my car, parting with money, AND not getting home quicker. Dollars are nothing, but you know what, over time they add up to a lot. And more than anything, it’s the moral of paying for something, and not getting what you paid for.

This isn’t just a ‘shits me’ post though. No. I’ve come up with a plan. 😉

I think, that Citylink should install scanners and cameras at all of their entry and exit points on all their tollways. Not unlike what they do now to charge us for using their roads. And as these cars enter their roads, they should be scanned. And when they exit at any of their exit points, they should be scanned. Not unlike what Citylink do now.

If the time taken to travel from point to point, exceeds the average time for that time of day, (with normal traffic congestion due to peak-hour also taken into account), then the Citylink user should be refunded what they normally would have paid. The trip should be FREE.

To be fair to Citylink, if the trip from whatever to whatever point is double or more the average, that’s when the refund should come into place. And the cameras serve the purpose of establishing that yes, there has been a genuine incident keeping drivers from getting from point to point in more time than normal, rather than that customer just trying to score a free trip.

This would also benefit Citylink too. By establishing this ‘get there quick or don’t pay’ initiative, they would attract more customers to their network, and just generally promoting a fair service where one actually gets what one pays for would skyrocket them into the popularity and money-making stakes, even more so.

And do you know where they would get that money for all those refunds from?

The accident-causing idiot drivers and the rubberneckers.

And the cameras would be catching them.

Of course, if you weren’t at fault in a tizzle, you wouldn’t pay at all. Only the stupid drivers would be forking out any cash. It would work by encouraging drivers to educate themselves further on the roads by learning the proper rules, staying focused, keeping their eyes on the road and to the task at hand (um, driving?) and this would benefit EVERYONE. The costs of paying such a high amount, to refund all those customers their tolls because of their incompetent driving, would be enough to deter anyone from slacking off on the roads.

I have thought of it all.

I still have to further determine how rubberneckers would be identified. I think maybe their kms would be an alert: for example if the cameras detected an average of 80 kms an hour for that time of day and traffic was moving at about that rate, and then one car slowed down to 50 kms an hour for no other reason (weather excluded) than to peer at a crash or scene on the side of the road that wasn’t directly affecting his drive home, well then going by the rule of slowing down more than 10 kms an hour, would make him the culprit and person payable for all those fees, if it was enough to slow down everyone’s drive home and make their trip DOUBLE the duration. Capiche?

The only drawback to all of this would be that these new Citylink rules could certainly intimidate many drivers into not using Citylink at all, in fear their driving would not be up to scratch and they would incur many fines. But this too sounds brilliant, thinking of the possibilities of an uber-army of Citylink drivers who are so skilled at driving, easing into the freeways and exiting with the greatest of efficiency and street smarts. Drivers who have their eyes on the road and to the task at hand – getting home, not getting the goss on the side of the road. This could create a magnificent reputation for Citylink and their customers – only the best drivers – and for a company, that ain’t too bad either.

So, in summary of this fine and brilliant idea:
– If it takes a Citylink customer at least double the time than is the measured average for that time of day to get from point A to point B, they are refunded the cost of that trip
– Exclusions to this would be bad weather likely to cause danger; over-congestion due to holiday peak periods
– If in the event of an accident, or another event disrupts the drive home causing a longer than normal drive time, the perpetrator of the unnecessary event (the idiot) is payable for all damages, for all cars that have had to endure at least DOUBLE the drive time home.
– Likewise for rubberneckers: the ones who initiate the rubbernecking, and those who have adequate space in front of them to drive but still choose to slow down at least 10 kms to have an ogle, will be subject to pay the refunds of any drivers whose trips are doubled due to their need to ‘know.’ Are you going to want to know how much you’re going to pay? Well?
– Scanners and cameras at all entry and exit points, as well as other select locations, will be implemented to check point to point durations and also determine for accuracy’s sake, whether there is an ‘incident’ or not.

I don’t think I’m asking for too much. I am a Citylink customer, and all I want to do, is get home efficiently, and without incident. I want to be home as soon as possible, to see my girl, to see my husband, and because I don’t have time for traffic. I’ll pay to get home quicker, but I expect results at the same time.

Otherwise I’ll just take the scenic city route home.

“In being a responsible company we promise to listen and improve.”

Listen and improve.