Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Well that wasn't any fun

Moving house is horrible at the best of times, even when you are only helping someone else do it, but this was quite exceptionally bad, so I'm not going to dwell on the details of it too much here.

As an indication of a certain source of irritation, though, and because the commentaters to the post below convinced me that normal rules of respect for ones elders don't apply on a blog, here are three things my mother came out with when meeting me off the plane (in her defense, due to a delayed flight, it was 2 o'clock in the morning and neither of us was at our best).

"Your hair looks... different."
"Yes. It's a new cut."
"Do you like it?"
"Well I suppose that's all that matters."

"Is that all you brought with you to wear? We have a proper winter here in Christchurch, you know, not like Australia." (This set the tone of the next week, where she kept stepping into the role of "host to the ignorant Australian tourist", continually forgetting that I lived in Christchurch for three times longer than she has.)

And, running her fingers through my hair: "Do you need to borrow some shampoo when we get home? When did you last wash your hair?"

So that gives you an idea of one source of unpleasantness in the trip -- not at all unexpected, and not really very that serious, but just irritating enough to make things seem even worse than they really were. And I wanted so much to be all sympathetic and helpful, since my mother's life has really turned to custard this year, but I found my reservoirs of sympathy dried up all too quickly and I whenever I wasn't concentrating hard on being nice, I turned back into a sullen fourteen-year-old.

Then there was the general horribleness of moving house. Especially since it kept reminding me that we will probably have to be doing this ourselves within the next year sometime.

And then, and then, as if that wasn't enough, I came down with the virus that everyone in the whole of New Zealand currently seems to have, which has for the past four days has filled my lungs with mucus, taken away my voice, and left me unable to walk more than 10 steps without sitting down to rest. The only good thing about it was that the accompanying fever meant that I felt warm for the first time in the whole 10 days I was there. Curse people who think that large wooden houses with enormous glass windows, wooden floors and no insulation are the right sort of architecture at a latitude of 43 degrees South.

But I'm back. And I've had a hot bath, and slept a lot under my own snuggly warm duvet, and eaten a good dinner cooked by Geekman, and I'm almost feeling ready to leave for the conference I have to go to in Brisbane this weekend.

Just as soon as I work out how I can present my talk (and chair the ninety million talks of the two-day workshop I am running) without a voice.


post-doc said...

Ah, I've been there too. I love my mom dearly, but sometimes the comments get too much to take. Congrats on getting through it. :)

Lucy said...

Gah. I'm sorry. I hope you're feeling better and can talk soon. Good luck with the conference.

ariberkana said...

It sounds like we've got the same mother. I am, frankly, quite shocked whenever I get a compliment from my Mom, instead of a veiled (or not-so-veiled) negative comment regarding my hair, clothes, weight, or choice of profession. Oh, well. She approves of my husband, at least.
Good job on surviving your trip!

Mel said...

those comments are so, so familiar. I too turn into a sullen teenager when I visit my mother. Glad you survived!

shrinkykitten said...

Selfishly, I am so glad you are back. I'm sorry the mom unit was malfunctioning.

By the way, rumor has it that the american television show The Amazing Race was in NZ (where Janet Frame is from, actually). Do you know that show? It totally excites me to see it when it airs.

Jesse said...

I know your pain.

I can handle family visits for a couple days before I get supremely annoyed at the whole situation.

I would like to think that as I get older my parents might considered thinking of me as an adult. Though, I have been assured by my Mother, that will probably never happen, as well... It never happens.

Grace said...

Aargh, I'm really sorry you had such a bad trip!

Many people express their stress by lashing out at anyone within striking distance, usually their nearest and dearest who are in fact trying to help them. You must have felt like getting straight back on the plane.

StyleyGeek said...

Thanks for all the supportive comments, everyone! Nice to know I'm not the only one this happens to.

And Grace, it wasn't all bad: the time at your place (esp the scones!) were a wonderful highlight.

Shrinky, I don't know that show. But I do know (of) Janet Frame. I think that her life story is required knowledge that all NZers have surgically inserted into their brains at birth :)

Jana said...

I´m sorry your trip home (well, my home, anyway) was so stressful, but I´m really glad you´re back and serving up mouthfuls of blog. Welcome back, and Gute Besserung for Brisbane. (((StyleyGeek)))

StyleyGeek said...

Thanks, Jana. I think I've recovered now, except for a cough that has got to REALLY be annoying the other attendees. Not to mention my backpacker roommates.