shopping after babies, it’s labour

No matter how much you love it, shopping is still work. In my case, onerous work.

It took two Nordstrom’s sales associates ninety minutes and twenty different styles to outfit me with two bras this weekend. And to think there was a time when I didn’t like strangers in the fitting room with me.

There was also a time when my breasts didn’t need quite so much help, but that all ended around the time I had babies.

I still can’t make sense of it. One minute you’re pregnant with your dignity and the next you’re naked barfing into a metal trash can in the bathtub with an audience of interns. Or, you’re flat on your back with a relative on either side holding your legs behind your head while you push everything but the baby out of your body.

Seriously, they should really ease pregnant women into the process. If only ob gyns would say: “soon you’ll be naked wearing your knees as earrings in front of strangers, would you like to give it a dry run?”  Or, “how about we get you used to bathing with an audience, I’ll call in someone from the waiting room.”

You’d refuse, of course. But that’s the kind of  honesty you appreciate on the big day, trust me.

Now where was I?

Ah, yes! Shopping. I planned this shopping trip down to the minute. Since we moved to Whistler I decided we need to go to Seattle once or twice a year to buy necessities. I made lists. I googled stores. I checked reviews.

I shop much differently since the great declutter. I never buy anything that isn’t a ten, right now – not in a month when I lose five pounds. I never buy anything that looks great but isn’t comfortable. I only buy things for my real life (kids, work, Whistler) not my fantasy life (Beyonce’s) and I only buy things that I’d happily maintain for the rest of my life. If I buy something that’s simply a want (like perfume or makeup), I sample it at least twice on separate occasions before I buy it.

The result is some pretty arduous shopping. The try on to buy ration is about 30:1. And yet strangely, I still enjoy the process. I noticed a disturbing trend though on this recent trip. After picking over every last item in Nordstrom I chose six long-sleeved tops I was willing to try on.

A lovely girl followed me around whisking away my choices almost before the hangers left the racks and storing them away in a change room for me. But when I finally ambled into the change room to try them on, my six picks were hardly recognizable, interspersed as they were with her ten picks – for me! Does she think being this particular is easy?

It’s not, it’s exhausting. So please remind me how much work shopping is before I plan any more trips south. And, if I start looking wistfully at babies again, please suggest a labour dress rehearsal. You know I won’t go there again.

my brain, iBrain

Squirrel and I made the switch from PC to Mac ten years ago. Around about the time I opened an e-mail promising nude photos of a male colleague.

“Kavis Warlaga – Nude!” was the last thing I read before crashing our computer for, in Squirrel’s words, “the last f-ing time!”

Our marriage survived, but Bill Gates was banished from our home forever.

Or, so I thought.

My new job requires that I logon remotely to the office PC. “No, problem,” I said, then devoted an entire weekend to trying to reconcile that square peg with the round hole of my MacBook Pro.

A job that took the office tech 48 seconds on the following Monday.

“The business world still runs on PC’s,” he said as the blue screen flooded the monitor accompanied by this bone chilling sound:

As much as I wanted to take issue with his comment, he’d confided in me that his girlfriend is a Mac tech, so I knew that battle was being fought hard already.

Besides, I was grateful to be up and running, which, as it turned out, was more like crawling.

I’d so thoroughly trained my brain out of right clicking that I was like an infant discovering the world for the very first time.

One click, two clicks, left click, right click.

One click, two clicks, left click, right click.

Drop down, double click, scroll left, scroll right.

I’ve only just managed to compose a 15 min. e-mail in under two hours.

Needless to say, I’m not quite up to speed yet.

Are you team Steve, or team Bill, or do you like to keep it interesting for yourself and dabble in a bit of both?

i’ve got some angels

Since I started my new job in September, I’ve had more people stepping in to offer information, advice and support than I have had in my entire career.

Project managing itself isn’t hard, the difficulty is avoiding the infinite opportunities to screw things up.

Sending the wrong information to the wrong person, misreading expectations, failing to keep clear records, or fumbling dates and figures are just some of the pitfalls.

So, I am extremely grateful for my guardian angels.

The irony is that, at forty, I’ve finally figured out how to take responsibility and cope with my mistakes.

But I’m not foolish enough to insist on making them. Thanks guys for having my back.

george carlin: finding a place for your stuff

For those of you who followed me over from 100things100days.com. Thank-you loyal blog readers!

This is my gift to you. If you missed it back then, I hope you click above to hear George Carlin’s take on “stuff”. I discovered this classic on the minimalists back when I’d only just begun to see the humour in Squirrel’s and my stuff.

Packing for a holiday will never been the same. Never.