Made it Monday: More Baby Stuff For Markets

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂

So last weekend we had another baby market, and IDK, I think we might have decided to not really do them any more? It’s a big chunk of time, and when you have nothing better to do, that’s fine, but we got home at 3pm and all promptly headed to bed, and most of us slept until 5 or 530pm, and the baby didn’t wake up until 6pm. (Man, I have got to stop calling her the baby.) And then after that we had to deal with making sure the kids’ clothes/uniforms were washed for the week, and the house is TRASHED and we haven’t grocery shopped so there’s pretty much no fresh food in the house (there are the hundreds of freezer meals I cooked in the holidays, which is fab, but they need fresh veggies or salad to accompany, PLUS we *really* need to try to eat these down this week because I actually really need some freezer space this weekend for a whole bunch of baking that I have to do (er, have done? Will have done yesterday when you read this? That. Time travel, yeah.) *sigh*.

Also, I have a cold, and the baby not-baby has a cold, and neither of us can breathe, especially at night, oh what fun what yay.

Blah. I am being humbuggish. Sorry.

Made It things. Right.

Okay, so, BABY THINGS were the creative outlet of the week, because they needed making. My husband did most of the sewing (as ever at the moment), but still. I HELPED, OKAY? And even though the markets left us wasted and on the back foot for the rest of the week, the actual day was pretty good, and the kids were really well behaved, and it was nice to just sit/stand around for several hours with no major brainy commitments and hand stitch a bunch of the mats closed. That was happy.

Also, Mr Boy Child is getting old enough that he thinks he can be the shopkeeper now 😉 Super cute.

Aaaand I just realised that I don’t actually have any photos of the NEW items we made *eyeroll*. We’ll have to do that sometime soon so we can list them online for sale. Bah. Also, humbug.

I am only four weeks through this term and already I am counting down until holidays. Oh well. Never mind.

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made 🙂 🙂 🙂

How To Have A Pinterest-Worthy Party WITHOUT Going Insane (Part 2)

Catch up on part 1 of this series here! (I totally accidentally typed ‘catch up on party 1’ the first time. HA.)

3B: PLANNING PART 2 – The Specifics

Now it’s time for the specifics. I like to do two things: a menu, and a quick decorations sketch. You can see my decoration sketch for the narwhal party here, and below is my sketch for the cow party. I didn’t do one for the Toy Story party because it was down at the local park – the only decorations I had were labels for the food/drinks (I had actually bought paper plates and cups on sale the year before in preparation, but they are lost somewhere in the depths of Mount Doom* and so I just used lime green ones on the day :P). And for the Frozen party there were literally no decorations except table scatters** and Frozen-themes paper cups 😛 😀

* Where ‘Mount Doom’ = the giant, towering pile of boxes from our last house that we don’t have room to unpack.

** Mixed sequins and assorted shapes available in hundreds of shapes and colours. These ones had silver and blue snowflakes and then cardboard discs with Anna and Elsa on them.

Unless decorations are your FOCUS item (and honestly, even if they are), this is where things can spiral out of control and stress you out. The internet has SO many great ideas that look AMAZING – but let’s be honest: most of them look amazing because the person either paid a fortune for them, or spent years of their life on them. Having planned five kids’ parties of my own now and been involved in a host of others, my rule of thumb is that magic number THREE, as in you only really need THREE key decorations to bring things together.

If decorations are your focus item, you might want to decorate the whole room, but for the rest of us, honestly? Just decorate the table. Make one corner of the room special, and you can pretty much ignore the rest, or just fill it with balloons and/or streamers in your theme colours. From my two sketches, you can see my three key items: a backdrop on the wall behind the table, a decorative item on the table to give height and drama, and then small decorations across the front of the table.

Narwhal party: “snowflakes” as the backdrop, silver branches with sea stars on the right back of the table for height/drama/wow factor, and a couple of jellyfish across the front.

A quick pen sketch on lined paper of a table decorated for a party.

Cow party: tied-fabric-strip garland across the back as the backdrop, naked branches for height/drama, and a cow garland across the front of the table.

Quick sketch showing party table with fabric banner across the back, a cow cake in the back centre of the table, branches in a vase to the back right, cow images across the front of the table in a garland, and a variety of food on the table.

I made the cow garland the other night (pictures here) and it took a grand total of 30 mins while I was watching TV, and even then only because the cutting out was fiddly. Pro tips here: see how the image I chose has a nice, thick, black border around it? That’s wriggle room for cutting so you don’t have to be so careful about cutting *exactly right*. Further pro tips? If you look closely at some of the cows, you’ll see how neatly I did NOT cut them out, but literally no one is going to notice this except you, because they’ll be focused on the food on the table. On the flip side, a lot more people will notice if you lose your sanity 😉 🙂 😀

Which brings us to the second half of the specifics planning: food. First, BEFORE you plan the menu, figure out:

  1. how many people you’re feeding,
  2. how much time you have to cook, and
  3. how many people you have to help you cook.

The Toy Story party had a more extensive menu because my amazing mum volunteered (okay I begged and pleaded just a little) to make like 20 pizzas for it. The baby’s parties, both this year and last year? Soup. Soup and bread, because I am cooking and it’s mid-winter and even these ‘family-only’ parties are about 25 people and soup is QUICK and EASY, and easy to scale up.

Even the pizza for the Toy Story party was comparatively easy, because Mum could make them way ahead and freeze them. You do NOT want to be stuck doing major food prep on the day of the party, trust me on that one. That is almost a guaranteed way to lose sanity. (Though reheating the pizzas proved more challenging than planned – lesson learned!)

So I tend to opt for one main savoury dish that is quick, easy, can be prepped ahead and is easy to scale up – pizza, soup, etc. Figure you need one main dish like your pizza or soup, and maybe 2-3 accompaniments (though I’ll be honest, all I’m accompanying the soup with is a variety of breads – I guess 2-3 varieties still though, so similar concept?), and the same for dessert: if you’re serving cake, PLEASE serve it as your key dessert, because otherwise you WILL be left with acres and acres of cake that will see you through to the next family birthday! 😀 So, like savouries, figure cake + 2-3 accompaniments.

Which brings you to the only other food-related decision you have to make: to theme or not to theme! Because we’re all about maintaining our sanity here, and because we’re just decorating the table, and because why let something do one job when it could do two, I do tend to theme at least some of my food, because then it counts as extra decorations 😉 But you totally don’t have to, and you don’t have to theme all of it (see: soup).

For the Toy Story party (which, note, I have four accompaniments for each course because I had help with cooking!):

Main savoury: pizza, which becomes Pizza Planet pizza of course.

Accompaniments: “Camouflage salad” (just green-leaf salad with a variety of leaf colours, referring to the army men in the movie), “Slinky Dog pasta” (pasta salad with spiral pasta), “Sheriff badges” (cheesy puff pastry stars – referring to Woody), and “Mr Pricklepants pull-apart garlic bread” (get a loaf of bread, cut it into inch squares but not through the base, douse it in garlic butter, wrap in foil and bake).

Main dessert: Buzz Lightyear-inspired rocket cake

Accompaniments: “Cowgirl trail mix” (with lots of lollies and chocolate, of course, referring to Jessie), “Hamm’s Portraits” (pig-face-shaped meringues), “Green Aliens” (cups of green jelly with three meringue eyeballs on top for the Pizza Planet aliens), and “Potato-head Cupcakes” (DIY cupcake decoration – triple bonus: food, decoration AND an activity for the kids!).

For each of these I just had a little banner on a toothpick with a picture of the character and the name of the food, and voila! That was the decorations for the entire party.

 

For the narwhal party I wasn’t going to theme at all, because I was literally going to do just soup and bread and cake (I did this last year for her first birthday), but now it’s a cow party I am actually going to do a couple of themed desserts. The main dessert is cake, obviously, but I’m also going to do chocolate mousse cups with pigs of some sort for pigs in mud (if I have lots of time and energy, I’ll pre-make some piggies out of fondant; if I have a moderate amount of time I’ll pipe and bake some pink meringue balls; and if I’m running totally short on time and energy, I’ll just buy some cheap plastic farm pigs from a dollar store, sanitise them, and stick them in the mousse); circular chocolate brownies for ‘cow pats’ (totally gross but Mr 5 will LOVE it); and round sugar cookies with animal faces (the most time-consuming thing I’m doing, but if I play my organisation right the only things I’ll be doing in the two days up to the party will be these cookies and the cake).

Which reminds me, I forgot to talk about the cake! Obviously, the centrepiece of the decoration on the table is your cake! Unless you legitimately have no room for it, using the cake as the decorative centrepiece is one of those double-ups that again just make sense 🙂 Why have a gorgeous cake if you’re not going to display it and put it to good use after all?! You can see how the cake sits as the focus of the table in my sketches above.

So that’s most of your planning done. Next week we’ll look at step 4: The Timeline!

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How To Have A Pinterest-Worthy Party WITHOUT Going Insane (Part 1)

Another three-part series because this is something that’s on my mind right now 😉

It can feel like there’s a lot of pressure sometimes to host ‘perfect’ events, what with the advent of Pinterest and Instagram and the like. My family is Big on Events, and we can Pinterest party like it’s… uh, 2017. I’ve been involved in plenty of events-coordination that took weeks and even months of planning, and my sisters, mother and I have collaborative Pinterest boards spawning out our ears.

But let’s face it: My life is packed. I don’t have TIME to hold Pinterest events. And honestly? I tried one for my birthday a while ago when I turned 30 and… eh. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was amazing. It’s just that the sheer amount of work coordinating on the day meant I was pretty stuffed by the time the party actually *started*.

Also, many of the “events” I’m doing these days are for kids, and you know what? A three-year-old doesn’t care if you spent six hours on their party or one or twelve. They just love that it’s a party.

But! It is entirely possible to get a party worthy of Pinterest and Instagram WITHOUT going insane, losing your mind, and making you want to stab your eyeballs out by the time the party arrives. All it takes is a little bit of planning…

1: FOCUS

The first really important step is to figure out which bit of partying you actually enjoy. My middle sister loves decorating. My mum loves cooking. Me? I love the cake. (Okay shush, I can hear your shock and surprise from here :P) So for me, that’s my deal-breaker: everything else I can hack, but the cake needs to be top-notch.

Figure out that one thing that is make-or-break for you as far as an awesome, wow-factor party is concerned. It is having the entire room full of themed decorations? It is an incredible, awe-inspiring cake? It is having every item of food totally in theme? Or is it something else entirely?

2: IDEA KERNEL

Okay, now that you know what’s important to you focus-wise, it’s time to brainstorm some ideas. Chances are you or the person you’re planning for has this bit covered for you: my son requested a Toy Story party for his birthday this year. (Incidentally, “Toy Story” is too big a kernel for a keeping-yourself-sane party, so we narrowed it down further: Buzz was his favourite character, so we’d be having a Buzz focus.)

Last year it was Frozen (which I chose, but he was OBSESSED with it at the time, so he was pretty stoked), and when he turned three I initiated him into our time-honoured family tradition of sitting down with the Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Cakes cookbook and letting him pick a cake (no shocks to anyone, he chose the race-car :)).

Recently, I’ve been planning for the baby’s party. Figuring this year was the last year I’d really get to steer the party-theme ship, I decided to do narwhals, because NARWHALS, Y’ALL. However, when we recently discovered that she is totally obsessed with cows, I flipped and now we’re running with cows.

Narwhal cake.

It’s important that you hone in on that one specific thing is that you’re interested in, because it helps when it’s time to…

3A: PLAN (BRAINSTORMING)

While you can totally do this months ahead (and I do because I like to get things sorted during school holidays so term time is less insane), you do run the risk of having to flip if the person’s interest changes (especially with kids). Of course, you can always say, “Tough luck!” Your call 🙂

What you DON’T want to be doing, though, is planning the night before. Har. But with that said, if you use this system you could easily pull off a low-stress, Pinterest-worthy party with only a few hours of planning a week or so ahead, if you can either do everything yourself or have people you can outsource to.

So what exactly do you plan? EVERYTHING, but usually in a specific order.

First of all, hold onto your idea kernel. It’s going to be your guiding light when you come across ideas that are shiny but ultimately distracting.

Narwhal cake. <– Idea Kernel for the narwhal party

Secondly, brainstorm. I do this on Pinterest because it’s a great way to generate a lot of ideas fast, and you don’t have to do the thinking because you can pretty much be guaranteed that someone out there has already done it for you. Alternatively, you could do image searches on Google; you’ll still get some good results, it’s just more of a pain to try to save them and they might not be as strictly relevant.

So what am I searching for? Anything around my idea kernel. For the Toy Story party I searched ‘Toy Story cakes’, ‘Buzz Lightyear cakes’, ‘Toy Story party’, ‘Toy Story food’, etc. Often on Pinterest you can luck out and find that someone’s helpfully put together some composite images that show the food, the decorations, and the cake all in one; these can be a great place to look for ideas, especially for food.

For the baby’s party, you can see the original Pinterest board here. If you note that the first pins are at the bottom and most recent are at the top, you’ll see the gradual drift in ideas: my idea kernel was narwhals with mermaids in a teal-and-purple colour scheme, so down the bottom of the board are a lot of mermaidy pins with purple and teal colour-schemes. However, as I went along you’ll see that the pins drift towards silver + blue + Arctic. I had this thought that since it was a winter party and narwhals are Arctic I could incorporate that… but because I had my idea kernel, I realised I was drifting away from what I really wanted, and knew it was time to stop brainstorming.

Ideas as I started to drift
Initial ideas

When I was re-brainstorming for the cow party, I knew I’d be looking at a lot of farm party things – but because I knew I wanted to focus specifically on *cows*, I could avoid getting distracted by all the cute general-farm-themed stuff out there, and it literally took 15 minutes to put together a plenty-big-enough board.

How big is ‘plenty big enough’? You know it’s time to stop brainstorming either when you find yourself repeating a lot of ideas, or when you start to drift away from your kernel. You can get a perfectly decent brainstorm done in 10-15 minutes.

 

So now you’re finished the brainstorming phase of your planning. Tune in next week for the nitty gritty of what you actually need to plan to keep yourself sane 😉 <3

Made It Monday: Party Decorations!

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂

Well, I was planning to show you jellyfish today, but since I switched party themes 😛 you get a cow garland instead. This is literally a third of the decorations for the party DONE, and the party isn’t for a few months. The aim is to have it all pre-made and ready to go so the actual party is as little work as possible – more on that on Wednesday 🙂

For this garland, all I did was find an image on the interwebs that was licensed for reuse, figured they’d look cute at about four to a landscape-oriented A4 page, figured out I’d need about 18ish to go the length of the table, plus a couple so it can drape nicely makes 20, printed 5 pages of 4 cows, cut them out while watching TV, and then just ran them all through the sewing machine to string them together.* All up, it took about half an hour while zoning out and watching the aforementioned TV. Not too shabby.

* If you’re going to sew paper on a regular basis, use a separate needle for it. Paper blunts blades faster than fabric, which is wh you also don’t use your good sewing shears to cut these cuties out 😉

Garland of cute cartoony black-and-white cows strung together.

Close-up of one cute cartoony cow from the garland

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made 🙂 🙂 🙂

If You Want To Get Out Alive (Run For Your Life)

I don’t know, this song feels kind of relevant this week. I’m drowning in school work and the world, and just… yeah. I feel like I’m running just to stay alive. The good news, though, is that tomorrow? SCHOOL. HOLIDAYS. I get two weeks of no work (though I have way too much I still need to do, of course). But anyway. Here’s to keeping running, and to hanging out for your next break

#MadeItMonday: Party Table Sketch

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂

I have been seriously pressed for time this week (March and mid-May to mid-June are the worst two month-long periods in the first semester calendar) so pretty much the only non-school, non-writing thing I’ve created was this:

A quick pen sketch on lined paper of a table decorated for a party.

It’s a quick sketch in preparation for the baby’s birthday party (which doesn’t happen for several months yet, but hey). I’m doing an arctic mermaids theme, because I wanted narwhals and it’s a winterish party anyway, so I might as well roll with it O:) The spots hanging behind the table are going to be cotton balls on thread for snow, the jar to the right will hold branches sprayed silver with snowflakes in them (considering using sea stars as the snow flakes if I get time to decorate them?), and I’ll make up three fabric jellyfish with ribbony tentacles to hang in front of the table and to the left. The cake, as you can hopefully see from the picture, is a narwhal :3 (So ridiculously pleased by the prospect of a narwhal cake :D)

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Sing Oh For The Want Of A Phone

You wouldn’t read about it. (Unless, of course, you are here now reading this text, in which case, SURPRISE! You are about to read about it!) You know how my wallet has been missing for a Significant Period Of Time? Well. WELL.

Episode nine-hundred-million in Amy Does All The Things: This Time, A Baby Shower Cake. This baby shower cake, in fact, if you are interested in pictures (and if you’re not, you might want to blink for a moment, ‘cause Imma post one here anyway HA).

Front shot of cake, a single-tier 23cm round cake covered in fondant (with sharp corners!), sprayed gold, with a glittery gold dream catcher centered on the front side of the cake (it extends above the edge of the cake by about a centimetre); three sprays of purpley-blue wisteria are arranged around the bottom of the cake at the front on the white platter; they are filled out with three baby pink daisies, three white daisies, some white daisy buds, a few wisteria leaves, and a gold glittery feather or leaf made to match the dreamcatcher.

This instalment of Doing All The Things involved finishing work, heading home to collect the fam + one extraordinary Canadian, packing All The Things into the car (because Cake, and trust me, when I say All The Things and there is Cake involved, I pretty much actually do mean ALL the things, forbearing only that proverbial kitchen sink), and driving 2.5 hours to my mother’s house. This is because I am a super sane individual who would never agree to make a cake for someone interstate during term time that they wanted ready for collection at 730am on Saturday morning.

AH HA HA HA HA.*

Oh yeah, SANE, that’s totally me.

Ahem.

ANYWAY, I’d also had a particularly emotional day at work, and packing All The Things was busy and intense because I was rushing because I really, really wanted to get to Mum’s asap so I didn’t have to stay up ucod***** to finish the derned cake. Lodged somewhere in the back of my consciousness was the fact that my phone was running flat, and I needed to grab my charger so that once we finally arrived at Mum’s, I could put set phone on to charge.

I grabbed the charger. We arrived at Mum’s. We hastily made beds for the small people (well, person; the larger of the small people is big enough for a non-small-person bed) and put them to bed, and lo, I dug into the cake. (Literally; I had to level the thing off first and foremost, har.)

And then there was this super lovely moment where husband revealed the good news he’d alluded to when he’d collected me from school: He’d Found My Wallet.

Rejoice!

Celebrate!

Sing oh for a wallet in its place!

…If only the story ended here. But it doesn’t, and because you are a Well-Trained Reader and because I have used Adequate Amounts of Foreshadowing, y’all know exactly what my next words are going to be (squee, mind-reading!):

I can’t. find. my phone.

As of writing this my phone has now been missing for five days and I have to say, it’s gigantically more of a pain in the bee-hind than losing my wallet ever was. I HAVE NO PHONE. This leads to tremendously awkward situations like realising I have a scheduling clash****** and having to pull a call out ON FACEBOOK to ask for babysitting assistance.

Or like my husband being called to say the baby need collecting from daycare because: Sick, only I’m the one with the car but also did I mention no phone, and him having to send me emails about this and me being three steps away from class (I lie: I was actually IN the classroom when I read said email, though to be fair the students weren’t yet, nor had the final bell gone. PHEW.).

BLAH.

PHONELESSNESS.

WHAT EVEN IS THIS.

And we don’t even have a landline, so I am all like HEY I NEED TO CALL— and then I’m like BUT WAIT NO I CAN’T.

So you know. Doing All The Things, new subtitle: Perpetually Hunting For My Stuff. Or you know. Just, My Life: Losing All The Things. Or at the moment: Do All The Things (Except All Those Things That Require A Phone).

THIS IS SERIOUSLY CRAMPING MY STYLE, Y’ALL.

MY STYLE.

CRAMPING.

Oy.

Also, vey.

And if you have spare positive thoughts you could send towards my phone, I’d definitely appreciate them <3

* To be fair, I did practise being assertive and informed them that the cake could only be collected at 11:30am, because I did require SOME sleep after all.**

** “Some” in this case means about 5.5 hours; I finished up at 2am for the night***, showered, went to bed, and groggily arose 15 minutes after my alarm went off, at 8:30am.

*** This is one of those TOO TIRED TO OPERATE DO NOT DRIVE HEAVY MACHINERY moments, because I literally could have gone to bed 1.5 hours earlier but I broke the first batch of ganache**** and didn’t make quite enough the second time >.<

**** By which I mean, I was stupid enough to assume that even though white chocolate ganache is a finicky little bastard to work with, because I had been successful once before I would thus be successful again, at late notice, running short of sleep. Spoiler: I was not successful.

***** Until Crack Of Dawn (TM)

****** Wait, no, realising I had a scheduling clash was caused by my own stupidity, not by losing my phone. Though if losing my phone was caused also by said stupidity we can extrapolate that possibly this splitting hairs. Woo, extrapolation! *\o/* <— (a pompom-waving person, in case that needed clarification)

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Do All The Things: The Post Office Incident

Through no specific purpose or conscious design, one of my life mottoes seems to have become DO ALL THE THINGS (and probably do them Now, and definitely do them Well). There’s a reason I recount an incident in the introduction of the forthcoming Darkness & Good anthology whereby the Twinny One, Liana Brooks, tweeted that if you agree to a ‘small and simple’ Amy Laurens plan, you need to realise that you’ve just agreed to a ten-year magnus opus complete with references and footnotes.*

However. Being that I am not actually Superwoman (yet), trying to Do All The Things (Now + Well) comes with inherent perils and pitfalls. Mostly because, in order to actually attempt to DO all the things, my time/life/sleeping/eating/oxygenation is rigorously scheduled and ordered, because I MUST USE EVERY MINUTE WELL.

And yes. I have spontaneity scheduled as well.**

One of the most evident pitfalls, then, is that when every minute is booked out, Things That Go Wrong can often have a bigger snowball effect than they ought (which, yes, means that sometimes I overreact way more than I ought. Sorry ‘bout that *cringe*). Sometimes this leaves me feeling grumpy and put out that the universe is not magically aligning to enable my quest for superheroism; but other times it really just gets to the point of absurdity and there’s nothing you can do but laugh.

I’ve lost my wallet. This, in and of itself, is not an entirely unexpected thing. For someone whose time is so rigorously plotted, you’d think that a) I’d be prone to encouraging anything that would increase my efficiency (spoiler: I am) and that b) this would include having set places to leave things like wallets so they didn’t inconveniently disappear at regular (scarily regular) intervals. AH HA HA. You’re so cute.

Look, I have to have SOMETHING that prevents sheer hubris, okay? Misplacing keys, wallets, hairbrushes and sanity are this something, as well as my persistent inability to stop trying to kill myself with sugar and my inability to put myself to bed on time. I am secretly five. Whatcha gonna do about it.

Okay, so, wait. I have points here. My wallet is lost. Usually this is not a terribly stressful thing, because I know inherently that it is Around The House Somewhere, and lo, it usually is, and this turns out Fine. However. It’s actually been nearly four weeks (probably five or six by the time I post this) since I last saw my wallet, and it’s becoming moderately inconvenient. I can only say ‘moderately’ because of this marvellous and terrifyingly-possibly-maybe-insecure invention called my phone, which has a bank app on it and the ability to connect with things through NFC***, where ‘things’ in this instance means ‘payment machines that accept paywave’. Paywave on my phone, LIFE SAVER.

Except.

So there’s this post office just down from school, right? The people who run it are lovely, and I taught their child once upon a time, and said child was lovely and so the lovely people with the lovely child think *I* am lovely,**** and so visiting there is an experience of mutual loveliness. Also I run a not-a-small-business-it’s-just-a-hobby-I-swear with my husband sewing baby stuff, like dribble bibs and burp cloths and portable play mats and scrap bunnies. Pretty, and something I can create that doesn’t a) involve a computer screen and b) won’t be destroyed within a matter of hours, unlike, say, cake. (Though cake is pretty awesome still, let’s face it.)

So. Sew? So. Post office. Baby goods that need posting. A missing wallet. My time scheduled to the minute. Lovely post office people. A phone I can make payments on. Probably we can see where this is going, if we pretend my life is a novel, but I don’t generally actually go around pretending my life is a novel, so I didn’t see the inevitable conflict. Also, I’d experienced this IDENTICAL set-up numerous times before and everything had been fine.

Wait, that’s how jokes work, isn’t it? Round 1: all good. Round 2: all good. Round 3: HA HA YOU JUST SET YOURSELF ON FIRE.

*sigh* I knew my life was a joke.

In this instance, ‘setting myself on fire’ involved having a parcel that needed to go out urgently because the not-a-client-it’s-a-hobby had paid extra for express post, and a phone that randomly, for no apparent reason, chose that moment to stop allowing me to use it to pay for things.

Scan phone. Screen: Processing. Me: Nonchalant about the big green circle with the tick that’ll come up in just a second to show I’ve paid.

Just a second. Any moment now.

Okay wait just let me try that again, no one saw the big red circle with the cross, we’re good.

Aaaaany minute now.

Yup. Uh huh. Lookit me pay for things on my phone!

*sigh*

Spoiler: the phone did not pay for things.

Additional spoiler: the lovely people, because they are lovely, took the parcel anyway and assured me they would post it, but that I needed to come back tomorrow with cash.

CASH???????????? I am paying for things with my PHONE, and you want CASH??? This is the financial equivalent of asking a hyperdrive space pilot who hops back and forth between here and Alpha Centuri in less time than it takes to blink if she could maybe just bring the 1950s Toyota next time. CASH?! What even IS this thing of which you speak???

True confession: I once had to pay for $2.19 of groceries on card, because I didn’t have the cash.

Additional true confession: For several years that was a good story, until I paid for 39c on my phone at a grocery store two weeks ago.

BUT. Lovely post office people were doing me a HUGE favour here, and I was pretty epically embarrassed to be taking such advantage of their apparent good will, so cash it was, and tomorrow it was, because good heavenly frogs if not being able to pay on the day was embarrassing, not paying for a week was exponentially more so.

…Do we remember that bit about my time? And scheduling? What do we think, lovely reader? Did Amy have time in her schedule AT ALL the following day to get to the post office before it closed? Anything? Even half a thirty-second minute?

AH HA HA HA HA of course not.

And because ‘Think Things Through’ is not actually an item on my to-do list, did Amy remember to do this? Spoiler: No. No she did not. Instead, she realised AFTER she arrived at work that morning that a) the money was due, b) the husband had not magically acted as an intermissiary between Amy and the ATM, and c) there was no time to rectify either of these situations.

Spoiler: This story has a happy ending.

Additional spoiler: It involves my sister.

See, due to the aforementioned Lack Of Time, I’d already arranged for my sister to pick my son up from school, because it was Swimming Day and also Meetings After School Day and, my super powers being as yet disappointingly underdeveloped, I was not able to attend meeting, collect son, and then be on time for swimming. (As it turns out I’m not so good at just ‘collect son, be on time for swimming’, let alone adding in the first, HAR.)

So I called sister. PLEASE, PLEASE DEAREST OF ALL DEAR SISTERS, I probably began.

What do you want? she probably replied suspiciously.

I explained my predicament, promised I would immediately transfer her the money required, and she, because she is awesome, said that she would make it happen.

Apparently ‘making it happen’ involved making her husband do it (thanks, husband-of-sister!), which, I can only imagine the experience from the postal workers’ end: Hi, I’m a random guy who is not the husband of that disorganised-but-apparently-lovely woman you know, but here’s her money, because I’m here to SETTLE HER ACCOUNT.

(I don’t know what that’s in capitals. It just felt ominous.)

I’d like to pretend that this post has a sensible, thematic resolution, but—No, wait. I’d like to pretend that this post has a sensible, thematic resolution. There. Okay? Good.

Possibly we could thematise that Amy should not be allowed out of doors on her own. Maybe that if you want to schedule your life to the minute, not losing Important Goods like wallets should be a priority. Maybe that Having Friends And Family To Rely On Is Necessary When You Are Trying To Go Insane. Possibly that it’s not actually POSSIBLE to Do All The Things. Definitely that When Things Explode In Your Face, You Should Turn Them Into A Blog Post Instead Of Crying About Them.

Look, life’s crazy, okay? And if, like me, you’re trying to do too much, it’s just about insanity. Things are going to break. YOU are probably going to break. But you know what? That’s okay. Because really, we’re all just broken weirdos desperately trying to pretend the spandex is a superhero costume. It’s all good.

And when all else fails, laugh.******

 

 

* I like footnotes.*****

** I really wish I was joking. Alack. (Also, a lack. Of time, common sense, humility, you know. WHEE. SEE ME BE SUPERWOMAN, RAWR!!)

*** NFC. Not for consumption? Not for couples? Network for coupling, in the strictly technological sense? Nice friendly chickens. This seems most plausible. I’m calling it my Nice Friendly Chickens from now on. As in: Oh, I need to make a payment? No worries, let me just turn the Nice Friendly Chickens on on my phone!

**** I am lovely, of course, but the funny thing about people is that the more lovely they are, the more lovely they tend to assume you are. Yay humanity, etc.

***** Rather a lot. More so in this post than usual.

****** Though probably not at a funeral. That would be moderately insensitive.*******

******* Unless of course the speaker made a joke. Then it would probably be insensitive not to laugh.