Monday, July 15, 2024

Role Reversal

In the past few weeks ever since Mum tripped and broke her arm I have visited my parents more often than usual and got to do tasks I wouldn't usually take any part in at their house, including some entirely new ones like assisting them (my Dad is severely chronically ill and Mum is usually the only person to help him) with taking a shower. Not only because of this "maternal role" I got the impression I was dealing with kids, stubborn and petulant in their own ways. In fact I sometimes feel like the mother of quarrelsome siblings who'd take turns telling me what the other one did wrong (again) because they themselves obviously are much smarter..wanting to earn brownie points with mum by reminding her of their own merit vs. the stupid sibling. An interesting experience, for sure.

Monday, July 08, 2024

Other People's Lives


Behind our (ugly) thuja hedge - not the one in the photo - is a row of terraced houses. I might have seen some its inhabitants about in the village, but I would not know unless I hear them talk. In the past 4+ years that I have lived at the country house (part-time) I feel I have got to know these people "acoustically" at least. During lockdown when everybody was at home, making the most of their gardens you heard quite a bit of your neighbours near and far. You began to recognise where mouth-watering barbecue smells would come from as well as wish some people had better taste in music and friends when they held garden parties. As regards families in those terraced houses we have given some of them nicknames, such as "mansplainer" and "boysplainer" (possibly father and son) who have annoying voices and who like to lecture people loudly. We also know that there is a certain Benjamin, who must be of primary school age by now. His mother loves to cheer him on and so we hear "BRAVO, Benjamin!" a lot, imagining what kinds of magic tricks he might be performing. Probably riding the bike on his own for the first time and some such milestones. It's all a bit like a random radio show that you don't consciously tune into, but catch snippets of occasionally and have become semi-familiar with over the years.

Monday, July 01, 2024

Mobile Working

While we were on vacation (which was really lovely, btw) my mother tripped in town and broke her radius bone. Less than ideal under any circumstances, really bad if - like her - you are the sole caretaker of a chronically ill person who needs a lot of help and your only child lives 300+ kms away. Well, these are the times when I am grateful that my job allows me to a) work partially from home and b) that I recently decided to switch to a 4-day-week with Fridays off. A real blessing in cases like this! I arrived last Thursday and picked mum up from hospital (she had an operation and has her whole right arm in a plaster for 6 weeks) on Friday. It was quite a work-intense weekend with my services ranging from domestic help, chef, cleaning staff, gardener, personal shopper to hairstylist and mani/pedi technician. I'm returning to Vienna on Tuesday evening as I have a work commitment I could not get a substitute for on Wednesday and will be back soon. Shit can happen at the blink of an eye and my resolution is to also get accident insurance asap as mum learnt from a friend that in that case you are entitled to help and much more, depending on the small print. Unfortunately my parents (otherwise insured against pretty much "everything")  didn't  have such an insurance, but at least they have a rather flexible daughter and a helpful circle of friends, some of whom are pretty fit still.

Monday, June 24, 2024

Temporarily Closed


...but back to regular programming when I'm back from vacation.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Who Whinges Wins


Guess who has a killer cold AGAIN and despite all good intentions (also expressed here) did not stay at home to rest, but powered on. I know, I know. One occasion I did not want to miss was private (my MBA graduation ceremony last Friday), the rest were business-related. In particular, I did not want to bail out on my colleague (super stressed as it was) with whom I had co-organised a mini conference and with whom I was supposed to co-moderate/-facilitate it. I woke up that morning feeling deader than dead, but dragged myself there and only found out afterwards that pulling myself together did not do me any favours: she actually had the impression that I was more or less totally fine and "normal" as I did not show it. Truth be told, I was hurt by this blatant lack of empathy, but then reflected on it and realised I had myself to blame: if you just grin and bear it and always show up, you can't expect gratitude, nor understanding. Who "celebrates" every little ailment they have and stays home at the very first sneeze gets pity, not the thankless office heroes and heroines. This might just have been the sign from the universe I needed.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Bubble under stress test

Last weekend, one of Highflyer's brothers with wife and two (very lively and energetic) boys, four and six years old, stayed at the country house as they departed to a two months trip to Asia from Vienna on Sunday night. I jokingly call Highflyer's teenage boys (16 and 19 now)"savages" as the house looks super messy whenever they visit and their rooms in particular as if several bombs had detonated, but pre-school boys are on another level, oh yes. I already knew that from my friends' kids, but when they are houseguests, it's on another level. We have off-white carpets in the living room and I struggled not to mentally count the times they ran through the house with either their sandals on, or barefoot after having run through wet grass and soil, not mentioning Nutella-stained fingers touching the wall and other surfaces. I outwardly remain calm and suggest wiping off feet and washing hands, but inwardly I am like "WTF, how do parents cope with this on a daily basis?!" I really like my place clean and relatively tidy and while Highflyer is also pretty messy and has an impressive degree of "dust-blindness" I manage to create a calm and decently clean bubble whenever there are no relatives visiting and I sometimes wonder if I could even have managed to live with kids who leave plastic toys, fingerprints and stains everywhere. Guess not.          

Monday, June 03, 2024


Even though with 36 official hours/week I don't really identify as working part time, my first month as a part time worker is over and I could not be happier about my decision to have Fridays off. Bliss! Apart from more time for various out-of-the-house activities to explore culture and nature, I have more time for various hobbies that I had neglected. While I always find time to cook and bake, my pile of fabrics and sewing magazines alike had been growing without me having put any projects into realisation. The other weekend I sewed an easy top and a dress will be next. I also intend to get back to painting after absolutely AGES of not having touched paintbrushes. Being creative and producing things - my thing are definitely projects that can be finished within a day maximum, patience not being my forte - gives me so much joy and energy and feel very privileged indeed that I now have the luxury of an extra day off without really suffering from the reduced hours on my paycheck.

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