Getting Things Off My Perky Expat Chest

I have a couple of things on my perky D-cup chest today that I need to get off it (studies show that anxiety is 253.7% worse for saggage than breast-feeding), and chanting hasn’t helped at all. My morning green smoothie with organic kale, beetroot, coconut water of course, and red dragon fruit did help a bit, but then I got a text from Chantelle*. Hence Thing Number One on my chest.

“Can we speak, Ems? XO”, read the text.

Ems now, is it?! I think I’ve been too convincing about pretending to like her. Ugh.

When I bit the bullet and gave her a call, she said that it’s all getting much worse with my father’s dementia. She told me that he had a few moments of lucidity recently which gave her hope, but then he descended into a “worse place than before”. OMG, that use of the word “place” to describe a state of mind! I’m sure people say it just to piss me off!! It sounds great when I use it to express the beautiful empathic side of myself, but most people, let’s be honest, can’t carry it off like I can. Cannot, lah.

I thought she was going to follow with her usual woe-is-me modus operandi of: I can’t take it that my husband doesn’t recognise me and thinks he’s married to someone else bla bla bla, self-pityage diatribe. But no! Instead she told me something designed purely to upset me.

“Ems”, (puke), “I wasn’t sure whether to tell you or not, but you’ve been so open and giving towards me – offering to have Angel come to stay and all – so I feel like I owe it to you to be honest.”

Babes, I wanted to say, I didn’t offer to take in your waif ‘n stray wayward daughter. You totes guilted me into it!!

Before I could clarify the situation, and maybe even back out of the whole unwanted teenage house-guest business, Ms Chantilly continued.

“The thing is that there was this moment when your dad seemed like his old self again” – yeah, too right, OLD! And what’s a young piece of A like you doing with a rich OLD guy..? Hmmmm, allow me to a’ponder a mo… –

“And he was so sweet. He thanked me for being a wonderful wife, and honestly, I could’ve cried, it’s been so long since he’s been like that. But then he said the most terrible thing. And I don’t want to tell you, but I think you have a right to know, Ems.”

(FFS, woman! Don’t you see that I don’t care what you have to say?! Just stop calling me Ems!!!)

“He said… he said”, Chantelle started sobbing. V much back to her predictable MO, then.

“He said, Ems, that I’ve been a better wife to him than your mother ever was, with all her other men! Those are his words, hon, not mine. I’m so sorry to break it to you like this. But I thought you should know… Oh, wait… but maybe you know already! God, sorry!! You’re so close to your mum, you probably do know! I’m sure she had her reasons… with whatever was happening… all that moving around… must’ve taken its toll on the marriage, and… like you’re always saying, expat marriages can be so challenging, and…”

Chantelle was floundering around like a big fishy flounder, so I took the opportunity to interject. I arose from the silk-upholstered Georgian chaise longue upon which I had unknowingly reclined, and said, “Babes, of course I knew that! You shouldn’t be stressing about it. Yeah, Mum-ski and me are totes BFFs! She tells me everything”.

Chantelle then went into full-on embarrasada mode, thanked me again for “inviting” Angel to live with us, and, praise be to all that’s holy and decent, got the eff off the phone.

So now I know a heretofore unknown fact about yet another person, but a way less fun one than the others. It’s super fun knowing that Michelle is married to a filthy cheater, and that Liz is a husband-stalker with vagenitical cunticulitis; but this new issue of my own mother being a ho…??

I’m totes not sure how I feel about that.

 


 

Pushing the thought swiftly to one side because it’s so horrendously unthinkable, Thing Number Two that I’ve been argh-ing about is this global problem of airbrushed and photoshopped images messing with my little Milly’s head. It is NOT OK that a four-year-old girl falls over in the middle of the night, trying to “work it” with a thigh gap. Not ok at all!!

I am therefore thusly thinking about using my immense influence as a celebrité blogger to levy a campaign for a “fake scale” rating to be put on images in the meeja (media, babeses). A little bit airbrushed would be a one on the fake scale, and huge chunks cut off bodies would be fake-scaled at five. Genius, right? My idea. I know. Amazebobs.

Only prob is that I don’t know if I really have time to take on a global initiative of this magnitude. Probly, I spose. But will it interfere with my gruelling self-maintenance schedule??

Arghamundo, it’s so tricky being a parent, and a mentalist thought has just popped into my lovely, mysterious brain that maybe I should put my daughter’s needs before mine… Would that be coolio?? Has anyone else had that ground-breaking thought? Relate much??

If I’m going to do this thing, I can’t do it alone. I’ll need all of you – yes, everyone in my (philandering) mother’s aqua aerobics group, and the scrabble group too, and beyond! – to help me launch the campaign. If you’re in, please drop me a line in the comments or email me. Click share on the post if you know anyone who’s up for an awesome mission. I think we need a fab logo and catch-phrase, and I’m happy to use hot pics of myself to really draw a crowd. Hot pics that are only slightly airbrushed, and I will of course apply the fake scale to myself : )

I’m pretty lucky though. I really don’t need a lot of fake to bake. I’m sizzling already! This pic is a zero on the fake scale, my loves. ZERO.

 

Zero on #thefakescale

Zero on #thefakescale

 

 

 

* She’s my father’s trophy bride, FYI.

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Shocking Expat Unfoldments, Part One

Three profoundly disturbing things have occurred this week:

1. My father, now in a home for peeps with dementia, has got himself intimately involved with another inmate, and apparently the two of them believe they have been happily married since 1968.

2. The loo brushes. I now know who the culprit is, and it’s not pretty.

3. I found some rather unpleasant material in the photos on Max’s iPad, which is synced with Don’s iCloud. There must be some mistake, though, because Don and I are the perfect example of expat marital bliss.


Paradise, lah

Paradise, lah

It has all been too much, so I’ve had to take myself off on a retreat to Nikoi Island, to meditate and drink Veuve with my girlies. They have all gone to bed now (well, they went somewhere, anyway), so I am allowing myself to percolate these horrendous issues, little by little. I am writing to you from a white sand beach, about my troubles in paradise.
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Part Awesomeness, Part Mega-Notness

Today was a day of two halves. Half sugar, half lemon. In the morning, Mummy and I went for mani-pedis at the Forum, and massages at the Hyatt. The children are off school and in need of constant attention, so I just about managed to pry Mummy away from the helper. They went off to Universal Studios. Helpers love that place as much as the kids do.

While getting our nails done, we discussed my father’s shenanigans, and I gave her the skinny on the calls I’d had from Chantelle about his mysterious disappearance. She agreed that he must be up to his old tricks, but thought his alibi of meeting his Guildford school friends was a little odd. Even now, she credits him with using his brain to think! Totes unworthy of it, if you ask moi. She even said, get this, that she feels sorry for Chantelle, wasting her youth on an old man. Mum-ski!!!? So sweet, but so completes naive. The girl is basically on an annual salary she could never have earned off her own back (though evidently doing just fine on her back UGH disgusto), and given my father’s age, all she has to do is hang around long enough for her shares to vest. Golden handcuffs? Golden suspender belt, babeses, hahaha!! Vom.

Not only that, he’s supporting her 16-year-old daughter, Angel (it’s actually Angelica, people! And she’s no angel, I’m sure), including paying her private school fees. Angel was at a crappy public school until my father showed up with his white stallion and gold card, and Lordy only knows what those public schools are like in Australia. I’ve seen Summer Heights High. I know what the score is. (LUV Ja’mie!!! Can so relate!)

Mummy’s insistence on empathising with Ms Chantilly was starting to push me over the edge, to the point where the nail girl told me to make my toes to stop shaking. It megannoyed me because I know very well that almost no one is more empathic than I am, so when anyone pretends to be, I just think, “Shut UP! Don’t even try to go there or you’re ridic!!”

I didn’t want to say that, of course, because Mummy is so obvioso clueless about a truckload of relationship issues. I’m not going to be the one to burst her mahusiv bubble. Not my modus operandi, and most defo not good for my chi. I decided to let it go, make peace with the matter, and have a big chant about it later, over a few glasses of sauv blanc.

Then we met my fab local friend Audrey Lim for lunch. Mummy so wanted to meet some Singaporeans, and go to a traditional sort of place, off the beaten track. So we went to Dempsey. Jones the Grocer. Mummy looked a bit disappointed. Dunno why. What’s more traditional than that?!

Next, we cabbed it back to Orchard, to skip around the malls, and indulge in one of my favourite sports: Rrrrra-shun spotting. I thought I was good at it, but Audrey is AMAZEBOBS!! She can spot them from two miles away!!!

Mummy was a bit of a spoilsport though. She said she didn’t find it funny, that it was racist, and that she wanted to go home. Ex-cuuuse me?! Firstly, Bling isn’t a race, and B. I am the least racist person in the universe. My mother can be so insensitive and judgmental towards me. I really regretted not telling her to shut up earlier in the day.

So, I let her go home, and Audrey and I went off to the Loof bar for cocktails. She told me about this super cool dance marathon thingie she’s going to next month, and I’m totes thinking of going too. Dancing hotly is one of my greatest skills, and I just don’t do enough of it in public places.

When I got home, I was ready to hit the hay. The irritants were tucked up in their beds (so cute when they’re unconscious, that’s when I love them most ardently/ at all?), Don was at a work thing, and Mummy was eating nasty Philippino fish head soup with the help, both of them squawking away in Tagalog. I was just about to get in the bath when my phone rang. Ms Chantilly. She was super upset and sounded like she had a runny nose which made me feel sick to my stomach, and I nearly hung up. I was trying to steel myself against the nausea, while fumbling with the headphones to plug them in so that I could splash my face with cold water.

Then, as I prepared to click IPhone_calling_screen copy , I heard her saying, “ssptltifhhbjsur and the doctor said that your father has dementia”. What now, now???

I felt I was about to fall over, and edged towards the bed to make a graceful landing.

“What?”, I asked, “What did you just say??”

She repeated herself. Oh. Yes. Yes, that’s what I thought she said.

“Chantelle, I’ll have to call you back”, I said. Her distress and runny nose had impacted me in a big way, and I could totes feel myself rocketing* to Planet Panic: I can’t go to Australia! I’m too busy! I don’t know anything about dementia! It’s too ugly! I don’t have time for this! I can’t possibly HELP!!

For seven minutes, I did my pranayama breathing, in one nostril, out the other, but that didn’t help. I did the crow pose twice, and then a few tree poses, but that didn’t help either. As the panic started to rise, I ran, arms flailing, to the wine fridge, and downed two glasses of New Zealand’s finest. That helped. I knew then what I had to do.

I went to my meditation corner, bathed myself in white light, and spontaneously experienced a connection with my higher power. In that moment, these words appeared in my mind’s eye:

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I felt immediately better, so I called Ms Chantilly back. When she picked up, I could tell she was crying, and I knew I had to be kind, but firm.

“Where is he now, Chantelle?”, I asked, using my awesome skills from the half-day conflict negotiation training I once did. She sobbed (UGH UGH and UGH again, why must people cry at me all the time just to piss me off??) that he had been admitted as an inpatient for his own safety.

“Perfecto!”, I said, “Best place for him. I’ll get Don’s PA to find him a nice care home in Noosa, and he can go there as soon as he’s been discharged”.

I made some digital-effect blurpy- blurp robot sounds (my DJ experience really paid off there!), and said, “Sweetie, you’re breaking up”.

The last words I heard her say were, “But Emma-Jane…”.

But me no buts, baby. But me nooooo butts.

I really need to do a long treadie session tomorrow, espesh if I’m going to be on Fit For Fashion next year. I was looking at my behind in the mirror tonight during the panic yoga, and I think the Din Tai Fung dumplings might be taking their toll. It’s so tricky fitting in enough gym time, what with Mummy here : ( BUT, of course, it’s totes abso lovely to be surrounded by family at this beautiful time of year, and I am so super blessed.

* Check this awesome Kate Spade rocket clutch. Likee. Wantee.

PXRU5309_974-1

What Happens When You Accidentally Search “Looking for some fun” on Craigslist

craigslist-logo.gif

Due to the Froofster’s incontinence, I have had to get rid of the upstairs chestnut Chesterfield. So, after my 1:1 Pilates session this morning, I went onto Craigslist to look for a replacement sofa. Have to tighten the belt a tad because we’re having a Four Seasons xmas. Wrap-around childcare for two weeks ain’t cheap, you know?! Also, Milly’s birthday is on the horizon and these parties cost a small fortune.

Instead of inputting “looking for a sofa” on the Craigslist search, autocorrect changed my search terms to “looking for some fun”. Argh!! Dear readers, you would not believe the stuff that came up.

Wife’s away tonight, anyone wanna play?

Couples, plus single women, 18-45), party this Saturday. Msg for deets.

Swingers! In Singapore?! And this is from within the Expaterati! Mega-shock, babeses!!

The weirdest thing was this one:

The hottest party on the Singapore expat swinging scene. Join Liz and Don for their notorious monthly warm wild time. Unmarried couples (not married to each other) and single women only please.

What a coincidence that there’s a filthy couple here with those names! I must tell Don. He’ll totes die of embarrassment when he hears about what his namesake is getting up to. ROFL!

In other news, Chantelle my “step-mother” (ugh) Whatsapped me to say my father turned up. For a minute I had no clue what she was on about! Ha, I had totes forgotten that late night call.

Chantelle told me that the police brought him home around lunchtime on Sunday. Apparently, he said he had gone out to meet his school friend from Guildford. A bit weird because he hasn’t been anywhere near Guildford in probably 30 years. The last time he was there was for an old boys thing, as far as I know. He is up to his little tricks again, no doubto. Bloody stupid alibi, if you ask me. He must be losing his lothario touch.

One of the things that is so awkz and challenging about being an expat is the distance from one’s family. It is extremo annoyando to get these calls and messages from the folks back home, when clearly we’re not interested. Why oh why must they insist on interrupting our fun lives when we are thousands of miles away?? Hello! Why do you think we moved thousands of miles away in the first place?!

On a happier note, the bougainvillea is really looking fabulous today. Such a shame that it’s not visible from the street. I truly have the finest bush on Emerald Hill Road. Well done me! : ) xx

Another Smart Move, Singapore!

I didn’t get much out of Liz on Friday night, but what she did say is that maybe I should learn more about history and politics and stuff, particularly about Singapore. While she, Don and Will (what’s up with him, readers?? Gimme a bone, here!) were bantering, they were going on about some story in the Economist this week. To get involved in the banter, and not just be the silly ignorant wife – because that is so not me – I made a hilario (but totes true) jokee that I never find the time to read the Economist because I have to stay abreast of the goings-on on the Singapore Expat Wives Facebook group, the REAL Singapore Expat Wives Facebook group, the Nice Singapore Expat Wives Facebook group, and seven other groups. That’s a lot of reading! Super time-consuming, but it has to be done or you become a big expat nobody. You fall out of the Expaterati, and once you’re out, it’s mega-tough to bob back up again.

So, I thought it was totes sweet of Liz to show her concern for my intellect and my career as a writer by saying that I might benefit from broadening my reading horizons. She would be a good mentor, I feel. She must be somewhat into her 40’s, so she’s old enough for a mentoring situation to arise. I should get her to come out with me for a ladies’ night one Wednesday, and further seek her counsel. Maybe the one at the W in Sentosa. That’s meant to be aweso-funski.

She asked me how much I really know about Singapore, and I said quite a lot because I spend most of my time on Orchard Road. I am thus therefore well up on the ins and outs. I know all of the malls like the back of my hand. If a new shop is about to open, I am among the first to know. Which makes me v much In the Know. But you know that already, dear readers : ) XOX

Then she started talking about an interesting piece of local history, which I thought was another v smart move by Singapore. Apparently, there was this thing that happened here called NEWater. Singapore used to rely on Malaysia for its supply of clean water. But those naughty Malaysians went power-mad, and upped the price of the water. So, Singas did something super clever. They decided to grow their own water, and by the late 90’s, early noughties, they had made fabulous desalination and stuff plants, and now they have the cleanest water in the world. Amaze-bobs, right?

The coolest thing though is that now they sell their NEWater to Malaysia!! Haha, coolio or what?? Luv it! Go, Xīnjiāpō!!!

So, I thought yeah, that is an interesting story, Liz babes. And I totes want to hear more about Singapore. I could become like a renowned local expat political historian or something, if I have time. I’ll defo see what other bits and pieces I can find out from Liz over a few glasses of Veuve Clicky at the W.

After she told that story, emasculated Zachy-boy pipes up (he’s the trailing spouse in his marriage – what now, now?!), and starts talking about his Big Theory. I spose that, as the stay-at-home spouse, who obviously doesn’t spend much (any??) of his time at the gym, he has plenty of opportunities to come up with big theories. Ha! I’ve said “grow a pair” before, but I’ll say it again for good measure.

So, Zach obviously has a chip on his shoulder about Facebook. He used to work for them or whatevs, pre-emasculation. He went on about this guy, Jaron Lanier, who is some techy bore. Yawnicus, Zach honeee.

Then he said that he has a theory about Facebook and privacy, which he thinks is metaphorically similar to Singapore’s NEWater. Zach reckons (get this, LOL) that FB, and thusly all of the apps it owns, has a plan to slowly, but surely reduce its users’ privacy. And that because we all totes luv FB – which we totes do!! <3 it greatly, babeses, right? HELLS TO THE YES! – we’ll just agree to a creeping loss of privacy, handing over our data, and photos of our hols and kids. Well, um ya! Duh, Zach, how else am I going to show my 1,328 Facebook friends how much fun I’m having, and what a great parent I am? I’m not going to email each and every one of them, now am I?? That would take forevs, and anyway, we all know that email isn’t secure.

His Big Theory is that once we’re all thoroughly hooked on FB (which I so am not, and could come off it at any moment if I so desired which I totes do not for the afore-mentioned reasonings), they will introduce premium features we have to pay for, to buy our privacy back.

So, he reckons that, like Malaysia buying water off Singas, we will have to buy back the rights to our own privacy. Not just that, he thinks that in the not too distant future, only the wealthy will have any privacy at all because they (we, LOLs, mega-mahusiv-sorries to expats who aren’t on packages, cashing in from properties back home, violin time!) are the only ones who will be able to afford it.

Then he showed his true Commie colours, and waffled away about “the disease of inequality”, saying that less well-off people are just going to accept that they have, and therefore deserve, no privacy. “It’ll become a default response”, according to Mr Grow a Pair.

I’m sorry, but what a load of old bleeping bleep!! Zach, sweets, get a job!! Women are clearly more suited to the trailing spouse role, and it is obviously melting his mind into a paranoid puddle of delusion.

Ugh, it was all abso exhausting! I’m still so tired today. After writing this, I’d love to go back to bed, but it’s Sunday, Bloody Sunday. Helper’s Day off. I know now how U2 must have felt.

I was up with Max at crazy o’clock last night because he had a nightmare about all the villagers he had ever killed in Minecraft coming to get him. Cousin Clara, the Tavistock psychologist has advised me that, in those late-night situations, I should listen to Max’s concerns, try not to blame or belittle him for his fears, and stay with him until he is settled. She is clueless though about the kind of stresses and strains I am under, particularly the situation with Will, so I was defo in the right when I told Max to stop being so stupid and bloody well go back to sleep.

THEN – and you will sympathise no doubt, dear readers – I had just managed to block out the sound of Max crying and go back to sleep, and my phone rang!! What now, now!? Seriously, what fresh hell is this again?

It was that woman, Chantelle, my father’s ridic new child bride! She sounded frantic, saying that he had “disappeared”, and that, although it had happened before, he had always turned up.

“I’m so sorry, Emma-Jane, I didn’t know who else to call”, she said, “I really don’t know what to do. He has been gone for hours.”

Hmmmm, I thought, a taste of your own disgusto medicine at last. Not wanting her nastiness to affect my chi, I attempted to sound as give-a-crap as possible, while mainly wanting to go back to sleep. I suggested she phone the Noosa police chappies and see what they have to say about a missing person. Knowing what he did to Mummy, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he is off somewhere “golfing” with some other chickadee. And that would show you, Missy Chantilly. What comes around goes around, sweets.

So, I was up twice in the night, once with Max, and once with my “step mother” (ugh), and frankly, I am <3′ing this whole expat thing a little less this morning. 

I’ll take Milly to Petit Bateau at the Paragon, to get her some sweet dresses. Shopping is an evidence-based cure for all ills. Plus it would look good for me to spend some time with her, and get some nice mother-daughter selfies for FB. Not least because of all this business with kicking Froo Froo dog. Poor Froosfster. I do feel for her, despite the peeing on the chestnut Chesterfield. She didn’t choose to relocate.

Wuzgunna Men

So, Don is not a perfect husband (especially with this new-found stinginess, and the mysterious lube incident), but I would like to tell you a little about an important boxee he ticked when it came to not marrying a man like my father.

I had a Wuzgunna father. Everything he never did for me was what he wuzgunna do.

He wuzgunna take me to the zoo.
He wuzgunna buy me an ice cream.
He wuzgunna help me with my maths homework.
He wuzgunna invite my first boyfriend round to vet him.
He wuzgunna ask his old boys network if I could do a mini-pupillage at any of their law firms (which didn’t happen, so I decided not to go down the barrister route).
He wuzgunna not be away for my birthdays. Every year he wuzgunna do that, until I boarded, and then he still wuzgunna, but had a better excuse not-ta.

He wuzgunna be there when Mummy started her cancer treatment, and when my sister had the twins.

Their whole marriage, he wuzgunna be on time. But was he ever, Mummy?

He was, however, on time for all their appointments with the divorce lawyer, and on the day of his second wedding.

My “step mother” (oh please) is six years younger than me. Yes, six. She’s a retired professional gymnast, and an ex-Miss Australia (vom). When my father exchanged work for golf, they moved to Australia. Mummy went back to England, after 40 years as an expat.

My father and Chantelle (or Chantilly, as he calls her, pronounced Shont-i-lee double vom vom) live in Noosa now, which I’ve heard is quite nice. They have invited us to come and stay, and I wuzgunna, but then I realised something: I totes don’t wanna.

So this, dear reader, is why I married Don. Don is a man of his word. If he says he’ll be home at 7 o’clock, he walks through the door at 6.55.

The fact remains though that Don is still a man. And Ladies, all men will, in the end, let you down. The higher your expectations, the further you will tumble. You can’t pin your hopes and dreams on these people, you know. Even the ones who aren’t Wuzgunnas eventually ain’t gunna. Trust me. The trick is not to care too much. (I should also think about becoming a couples counsellor. I could really help people work on their marriages because I understand the male psyche so well.)

I used to feel horribly upset and worried about Don running off with some bit of fluff, but now I have realised that, if that’s the foolish choice he makes, it would by no means be the end of me.

Anyway. I’ve decided to see Will tomorrow. The timing is perfect because Don leaves in the morning for Sydney. Not that there’s anything dodgy about meeting a friend for a drink, just because that friend happens to be a guy.

He got in touch last Saturday:

 

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So, he wants to drill me for WordPress tips because he has started writing a blog about fishing. Yawnicus! I’m happy to share my expertise with him though. (Wish I understood this “SEO” thing! Blogger-luvvies, what’s all that about?? HELP!!) Hopefully he just wants to know my expertise about the basics.

I also agreed to see him because I want some support with my project this Friday. I could do with a man’s input on my important feminist mission. Since missing the deadline to apply for Mrs Expat Singapore, I realised that this kind of objectification of women is simply unacceptable. I cannot, will not, stand idly by while women, be they members of the expaterati or otherwise, are ritually humiliated and commodified like this.

On a final note, I am totes luvvin the furore about Kim Kardashian’s humongous oily bits. Ridic!! You go, girlie! Personally I wouldn’t want to have such an unfeasibly large bottom because I would be afraid of toppling over, but if she likes it, and can stay upright unassisted, then well done her. More power to you, Mrs KWest! Luv ya, babes. When are you coming to visit us in Singapore??

I am not one to stand in judgement over others – that’s not my modus operandi – but anyone who disagrees with my perspective on KK is v silly, v insecure, and just mega bigtime wrong.