Archive | July 2012

Being a housewife & mother in Hong Kong….

Yep…. that’s me.  I’m fucking fantastic.  In fact, I need a medal for the shit I go through day in, day out.  Well, a medal and a big glass of champagne.

Yesterday, I decided at around 4pm, to open the wine cellar and crack open a lovely 2009 Pinot Noir Wine.  The lead up to this mammoth event, considering I have been pretty much teetotal for over SIX whole goddamn boring arse clenching weeks …. I needed to relax, or I was about to go out of my mind with fucking boredom on a different level.  As we had been potty training intensely for the past few days, all of us, the kids included, are bloody exhausted.  Plus wiping up all the crap and piss is really doing my nannies head in (I just point out where the mess is).

The kids and I had hit “Project Potty Training” using the 3 day method I read about over the internet.  This basically means the kids have to walk around without any pants/knickers on for 3 whole fucking months (not sure how thats going to work when they go back to nursery) so they don’t get confused about it being a diaper.  After 7 very long and emotionally draining days, the kids, and I are finally at a crossroads.

Well, we are with one of the twins.  My daughter, yes, the apple of my eye and a confirmed favourite due to her being less annoying than her brother, has not only grasped potty training, but now, picks up her Mandarin books and goes to sit on the potty until her job is done.  She then stands up, congratulates herself, washes her hands and asks for chocolate.  I’m all about instant gratification at the moment. Kinda like with our dogs.

My son, on the other hand…. well…. lets just say…. he’s either taking the piss out of me, or he really wants to stay in his diapers until he’s in prison on drug charges.  Despite walking him to the potty, showing him what to do, he will stand right next to it, and take a big shit on the floor.  He also smirks when he does this (I swear).  Now I know we shouldn’t loose our cool over this sort of stuff when I know he is blatantly not thinking about it, or just can’t be arsed, but it fucking winds me up!!

Yes, yes, he’s only 2.5 years old but how is it that his sister has worked out the system and even takes The Times weekend fashion pages with her to read, while doing a number 2 (she’s an old soul that one)?  His reaction to potty training is the same as with everything else. He couldn’t give a shit.  Literally.  He doesn’t know his primary colours, or how to count to 10 but he can fix a flux capacitor (Back to the Future … loved that film) onto his toy car in 2 minutes flat.  However, ask him what his name is, and he stares off into space, like he’s not heard me.  I, on the other hand, find myself biting my lip, or banging my head against the wine fridge, trying to remain calm.

Yes, I know maybe I should back off and take a few days (or even a morning) away from the kids, just to regain some normality, and maybe get a facial/massage and a big tumbler of champagne.  But, there is also Baby number 3 to be considered, who keeps getting sidelined because of her older twin siblings…. they are literally sucking the life out of me.  If I carried on drinking, I would have been in AA sooner than anticipated.  Plus, having been to an AA meeting here once before (“research purposes”), there was barely anyone there and everyone lied through their capped teeth about their experiences. Plus, I think it was all in Cantonese….

My other issue with being a housewife in Hong Kong, is that I feel I’m meant to keep doing something interesting all the time.  Everyone I know has a group, book club, cookery class, tennis, running, football team, exercise, Zumba, lunches, dinners, brunches, cinemas …. bla fucking bla.  I just can’t be bothered.  It’s not me!!  Why do I have to keep doing that shit?  I wake up, spend time with the kids, do my housewifely duties (aside from shag the Captain), and yes, I work out at the gym otherwise I’d resemble an elephant.  So…. when The Captain encourages me to “go for a lunch”, or “meet a friend with the kids”… I’m like, “err… taking the twins out while they keep shitting/pissing their pants is not my idea of fun”.  Plus the twins have decided to work as a team against me and I can hear their giggles when I’ve told them to stop messing around.

Yes, I’ve got very used to having two Helpers on hand to ease the pain but when we went without one for 2 weeks recently, I fucking loved it.  She’s actually the one thats very good with the kids but absolutely shit at anything housework related.  She also has selective hearing and I swear I’ve seen her bump into furniture when she walks by.

The point is, having her out the house, allowed me to spend more time alone with the kids, without her mewing/singing fucking annoying nursery rhymes (using the wrong words may I add) in the background.  I’ve told the Captain that I swear she pops her head into the kids room during story-time just to see if they jump up and run to her.  It’s really winding me up.  So what have I decided to do to correct this issue?  I told her to fuck off when its my time with the kids.

Ok, not literally because I clearly don’t have the balls to upset someone I need to use for babysitting, BUT, I have told her and her grumpier, less child-friendly niece, who also works for us, to leave me alone with the  kids.  Otherwise, they’re always walking around, singing songs (which means my kids are now developing Filipino accents and confusing their vowels), getting under my feet, and generally pissing me off and making me want to have a drink (A LOT) to escape their constant presence in my home.  Ahhh…. just looking at the photo below makes me want to escape the mundane  reality that has become life. BUT, I AM a full-time Mum, surely this is part of the job?  This is why all those housewives I’ve recently met are going out of their fucking minds with boredom.  Even with help.

So what are my options while here in Hong Kong? Having asked  The Captain for the millionth time, when we’re leaving as I’m now hitting a proverbial wall, he pointed out that my life would be hell without “help” at this stage.  He’s right dammit.  Doing the night feeds with Baby Number three, plus running around the twins all day, makes me want to put a very alcoholic IV drip into my veins to get through the day.  I’m also absolute shit on a budget and can’t quite grasp the whole “housekeeping” thing.  I’m overdrawn every month (hey, I was when I worked), and the price of food here is a fucking joke.

I keep converting everything into UK pounds and it costs nearly £3.88 for a pint of Organic Soya Milk (one of the twins has a milk intolerance).  I mean, THREE POUNDS EIGHTY EIGHT PENCE FOR MILK?!!   ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?

Plus it’s nearly £5.20 for Organic butter spread (for the kids, we eat the local shit stuff).  Seriously?!  That’s a lot of money on food.  Thats not to mention all the yogurt the twins consume on a daily basis (not even sure its normal), cheese, juice, meat, cereal, snacks, nappies, wipes…argh!!!!  I mean, it’s £4.30 for ONE 6 pack of yogurt.  YOGURT?!  Do you know how much yogurt 2-year-old toddlers can consume in a day?!  SIX!!!  

Its all sooooo painfully expensive.  And yet 5 days before my “pay-day”, I have to walk up to the Captain, tail between my now very slim legs, and tell him “I’ve run outta cash.  Maybe I should go on the game to bring in some extra bucks?  I hear there’s some money to be made if you look Middle Eastern here in HK” .

His response?  “HOW THE FUCK ARE YOU GETTING THROUGH ALL YOUR MONEY!??”  

My response.. “Ermm… I really dunno.  Maybe the Maids are stealing from me?”  

We never had this problem in the UK, although I was still getting my maternity allowance, plus Child Benefit.  Here…. the food is expensive, unless you want to eat pre-cancerous local food cultivated in sewage and chemicals…. which after my Mums cancer, I’m trying to avoid.  I don’t go clothes/shoe shopping unless its online as I’m too knackered to wander aimlessly around shops trying to find something I don’t really need.  I’d rather go sit in a bar and waste money that way.  So where does all this money go every month?!  I DONT KNOW!!!  Childrens books/stickers/shoes/more stickers (that are EVERYWHERE in our apartment…. I found one on the back of my thigh yesterday)??

Speaking of children’s books, The Captain recently decided to get involved and buy some new ones for our bedtime routine.  What amazing books does he bring home for me to read to the kids before we put them to bed?  Judge by the photos below.  The shame.  I did ask him if he was smoking crack at the time but he just didn’t get why I didn’t like them.

And some of the inspiring, descriptive pictures below….

I particularly liked the one below, where the kids appear to have taken Magic mushrooms and are experiencing a particularly bad acid trip …

Or this one…. WTF?

Since his last trip to the book shop (a super cheap corner booth in a back street somewhere in HK)… he now gets that I’m the one to buy the books.  Unless he wants to be up every night consoling our two-year old twins who keep  having nightmares about sharks eating them, or kids with scary bulging eyes who look like they’ve smoked some exceedingly good skunk/weed.

On a high note, I’ve been watching the Real Housewives of New York City, which has been fucking brilliant.  Loads of affected, up their own arses, believing their own press wankers, which I must admit makes brilliant viewing for this particular housewife.  They’re all back-stabbing, bullshitting, dramatic (there’s a fight in every episode) alcoholics who have some fucking expensive clothes, bags, shoes and NYC apartments.  Rich, ungrateful, bastards.

They should do a show on Hong Kong housewives…. I’d love to see which arseholes they chose for that.  Maybe I’d be the one resembling Pinot Grigio Ramona (the pisshead in the brown shiny dress above), who gets soo drunk and aggressive that her eyes bulge out her head while she continuously flips her blonde hair and tells everyone she resembles Cameron Diaz (err… yeh… too much booze luv).

Or “Countess” LuAnn (tall one in Black dress) who The Captain thought was a man who’d had a sex change (love it!), Jill (sooo fucking irritating and gets under my skin with her fake smile) Zarin (she’s sat down in the black dress with auburn hair), or that wierdo Kelly Bensimon (top left) who has clearly taken too many anti-depressants (or something) which makes her act like a 14-year-old teenager. Oh sorry, I forgot, she’s a model thats why.  Yeh, of course you are flower.

My least favourite though has to be (G-d I can feel the bile rising in my throat just saying her name), Alex McCord and her not gay husband, Simon.  They make my skin crawl.  Her in particular with that skeletor-like face (top right). Ugh. And… what the fuck’s up with Bethenny Frankel’s jawline?  It seems to get bigger with every episode.

The sad thing is, it’s currently the highlight of my day … well, that and a huge Cosmopolitan followed by a vodka chaser.

Potty training toddlers…and Detox in Hong Kong

This week has been all about potty training the twins. After everyone around me has managed to do this, I decided…. ok, this week is THE week.  I don’t want to feel inferior for fucks sake.

We were/are one staff member short at our household (yes, only the ONE nanny this week to help… the kids hate her btw). So.. I did some googling and decided on the 3 day plan (sounds like the AA 12 Steps, so I was all for it… although you don’t have to walk around without underwear in AA meetings, unlike the potty training plan id found).  Aside for the short-tempered Nanny, and piss all over the apartment… we’re ok… so far.

Day ONE of potty training… surprisingly good.  The kids respond well to doggy treats and scratching their tummies whenever they do a good job.  What I don’t get is why they still keep pissing on the floor, AFTER they’ve got a sticker on their “wall chart” and understand they need to do their business inside the potty (which sings songs btw).  Now I don’t remember potty training but I am POSITIVE, my Mums approach involved a wooden spoon and screaming.  I feel quite placid and remarkably sober for this shit..  Plus the kids look exhausted by the whole “Tell Mummy if you need the potty” business.  I’m so tired I’m actually passing out in front of the Captain at 8pm (I swear he has sex with me at this time).

Along with all of this,  I’ve now been entirely sober for the past 6 weeks & 4 days (6 hours & 12 seconds) without any nights of screaming at the Captain for no reason and basically remembering every second of the evenings out (must have been boring/shit if I can recall anything). I felt like those weirdos I knew at school (yeh, early drinker… i went to Catholic school for fucks sake) or university, who didn’t drink and appeared to fake having a good time.  Now, I recently did a DETOX (yep, you read that properly), where I’m now sooo fucking posh, they deliver the shit to your front door (18 bottles of Punch Detox) of juice. This stuff is meant to clear all the crap out of your body and it appears, I had plenty.  Why? Because I CAN’T stomach alcohol.  Yes, you read that right.  I have tried EVERYTHING to make me drink again and nothing works…. until….. this evening.  It turns out, I have a weakness for (aside from cheap wine & sex)……. Champagne ladies.  Lots and lots of champagne.  It was the one drink I could stomach while pregnant with Number 3 so it clearly has some sort of healing or medicinal purpose in my life…. and that’s what I’m telling child services.

Anyway, day 2 of potty training wasn’t as fabulous.  my son decided to try to write his name (in Greek because he’s clearly a genius) on the window… in shit.  I had to bite my lip so hard, not to kill him that I now have Angelina Jolie type lips (without surgery. bonus eh..?.).  Why are they not grasping it?  Because they are clearly punishing me for all the shit I put my mum through,  We discussed this crap at length for fucks sake?!! “Peepy? in the potty.  Poo poo, in the potty.”   Which part of the tale am I missing?  Well, my mates/new friends who I hate, whose kids are potty trained, walk in like a bunch of peacocks, peering down at my gorgeous monkies, who clearly have no idea and work for treats (you get M&M’s for a poo in our household).  My only saving grace?  They trained ONE child at a time.  I’m superwoman clearly.

Anyhow…its day three and I’m tempted to keep the kids in their nappies until they head off for university.   Especially my son, who has no idea what is happening when he does a poo & seems to lie constantly…  Whats the Captains response to his Son being like this? “oh bless, isn’t he sweet?”, (because he looks like his father)… yeh, give me a valium.

On a separate note, some arse monkey tried to steal my wallet last week at Ocean Park (Hong Kong’s version of Alton Towers), so be careful ladies.  It turns out that having been brought up in SW London means shit in this neck of the woods.  I started shouting at Chinese people on the way out of the park just because i felt so violated… plus everyone keeps trying to touch the kids (my son has straight blonde hair, my daughter resembles an Iranian Shirley Temple)… its pissing me off but apparently as Boy/Girl Twins in Hong Kong… “wery wery Lucky”... fuck off…

Being late/tardiness…..

If I haven’t banged on about one of my biggest pet hates before, I’m about to rant on about it now.  I HATE lateness.  It drives me fucking insane when people don’t show up when they’re supposed to, or say they’re going to be 5 minutes and I’m still sat there, staring at my pedicured toes, getting more and more fucked off, 30 minutes later.

If I say I am going to be somewhere at 1pm, I arrive at that time.  How hard can it be to use your watch & organise your day?!?!  So today, I was meant to pop in and see a friend for a quick cuppa tea and catch up.  What did I do, errr… I arrived exactly on time and was greeted at the door by….. her maid …. and 4 kids…oh and a very rampant horny dog that kept licking my leg and throwing himself on his back to be tickled (yeh I did tickle him btw just to stop the damn thing humping me).  Her kids were all over me showing me their artwork (zzzz) and talking about school (yuk) and I’m thinking… “Yes, I have kids but it doesn’t mean I have to be nice and play with you….”

Where was this so-called friend?  Not home that’s for sure and yet there I was, with 3 kids of my own (waiting for me at home, not in the car obi child services) and she’s no where in sight.  After making a quick exit, I jumped into my car and drove off.  She showed up 15 minutes later but by then, I couldn’t be arsed to hang around.

Why should I have to always wait for other people just because they’re the ones always late?!  I then called The Captain (a well-known Tardiness expert and lover of all things last-minute), and told him…. “What one thing in the whole wide world, do I hate more than you farting in bed, or grabbing my tits while I’m applying make-up?”  His response… “You hate being late for anything?  people being late for you?”.  This is true.  If I think I’m going to be even 5 minutes late, I’m on the phone to tell whoever I’m meeting that I’m sooooo sorry and will be there at exactly 1.05pm.  Yes, it sounds crazy for someone like me but this is my one thing that I have always been anal about.  I can’t be late for anything but that also shows a sign of respect for the people you are meeting.  So…, again, when I show up at your door and you haven’t even got yourself home in time, don’t make me out to be the bad guy for leaving.  You’re the one who was fucking late!!!

Next week…. a debate about manners while drinking in a bar/pub.

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

INGREDIENTS

  • 225g flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3x eggs
  • 300g sugar
  • 300ml organic vegetable oil
  • 1 vanilla pod (scrape insides out)
  • 225g courgettes grated (approx 1 very large courgette)
HOW TO COOK
  1. Preheat your oven (ALWAYS!!!) to approx 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a loaf tin with a tiny amount of olive oil (put some on a thick kitchen tissue and rub it all over the base and sides of the tin) & sieve some flour to coat all sides.  This will ensure the bread doesn’t stick to your tin.
  3. Sift the flour, bicarbonate, baking powder, cinnamon, ground nutmeg & salt all into a large mixing bowl.  Stir all the ingredients with a wooden spoon.
  4. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and then your wooden spoon, stir in your oil, vanilla and courgette.
  5. Add the flour mix and stir until everything is combined but try not to over mix it!
  6. Pour the batter into your baking tray and cook for approx 1 hour 10 minutes.  If you have a strong oven, you may only need a maximum of 55-60 minutes.  Bake in the middle of the oven (never on the top shelf). To make sure the bread is cooked through, use a toothpick in the middle of it.  If the toothpick comes out clear (not sticky), you know your bread is ready.
  7. Once you have taken the bread out of the oven, let it cool for another 10 minutes and then turn it out onto a wire rack.

Job done.  If you can’t make this, then there is no hope for you and you’re clearly an idiot.

One word of caution. This bread can feel oily so if you don’t like it to be too moist, cut back on the amount of oil you use.  I also went organic with all the ingredients and my twins love this bread!  Yes, yes…. I’m fabulous.