I had a wonderful time overseas but have been paying the price since I returned home. For one thing, I got my Visa bill, which gave me an immediate panic attack, and caused me to reach, shaking, for the Valium. Unfortunately, though, I had already taken my last Valium, when I had woken in a claustrophobic panic in our terrifyingly miniscule hotel room in New York, and had to either calm myself down pharmaceutically, or run to Central Park in my pyjamas.
(I did consider going to Central park, but a) according to Simon and Garfunkel you should not wander there after dark, and b) despite the streets being numbered, I wasn’t at all sure I could find it without my map. And I couldn’t find my map because it was night time.)
I truly hadn’t realised how much money we were spending in America because it was all so very cheap. I mean, how can you resist buying a top for US$60 which has been marked down from US$400, and works out to be more like AUS$55 after the conversion?
What I failed to grasp, of course, is that the US$60 is before tax, so that the final price is closer to US$70, which is over AUS$60. And what I also failed to grasp is that $60 is still $60, and works out to be more like $6000 when you spend it a hundred times. Still, I certainly grasp that now.
Since arriving back in Australia, I have also been paying an emotional price. Now, I’m not talking about jetlag, although it is most inconvenient to have to drop everything at lunchtime each day and sleep for a couple of hours (not to mention unpleasant for my kids, who are picked up by a mummy whose skin is pale and grey and who is drooling from the side of her mouth).
I’m talking about guilt.
|Not my child. But a good likeness.|
My kids were well looked after by their grandparents and babysitter, and behaved beautifully the whole time we were away. And the two older kids have been wonderful since we’ve been back, no doubt because they missed us terribly, although it may also have had something to do with their numerous gifts, also known as ‘Any excuse to visit the M&M store’.
Three year old Boo, on the other hand, has been rather less wonderful. Though she insists that she is ‘very happy’ to have us home, she has expressed this joy rather oddly, by crying when I don’t give her six chocolate wafers, crying when I pay attention to her siblings, and crying when asked to do a wee. Apparently, this is known as ‘punishing us for going away’.
As if the Visa bill wasn’t punishment enough.