venerdì, agosto 19, 2016

When needs and convictions align

I always have stood up for more social attention to families - better access to better childcare, better parental leave - but because of the circumstances of my own charmed, work-from-home-with-flexible-hours life, my convictions have always been abstract. I took six weeks off when Godzilla hatched, and things never got too desperate even with the precisely zero family support we got in Australia (besides my mother flying in for a month), since by the time he was mobile we had the money to get a couple of lovely girls coming to the house to help us out during my work hours and since the F-word was working part time while we were there.

But now my convictions are frightfully concrete. I'm still a week shy of my third trimester, and wondering how the fuck I would manage, as the baby mamma of a man who is now holding down a full-time middle-school teaching job (which is a surprise to us; we thought he'd be on two-thirds time this year; the hours will be difficult for me, but the money will be fabulous), if my son - who wouldn't be starting kindergarten until next month in Canada or Australia and wouldn't have any affordable quality childcare options preceding that - wasn't in 35 hour kindergarten at an awesome public institution already. It would be so painful to start settling him in now, while I'm so big, and tired, and enamoured of naps.

And oh my god - the future would be so much more logistically frightening.

This past trip to Canada already nailed it down for me, TBH. To see people having to empty their pockets for summer daycare, and see people - usually women - put their careers on hold because it made more financial sense to spend the first few years of their kids' lives not working. To see bullshit between couples over how the woman should probably not work because "half her salary will go to childcare" - as if the childcare is something that benefits her personally, and her baby daddy has no particular stake in it because of course he'd be working anyways.* To see families just sort of gritting their teeth and dealing with generational childcare - a blessing in so many ways, yes, but NOT EASY for anyone. It is NOT THE EASY OPTION. Sometimes paying for services, or contracting them, makes them so much easier to enjoy . . .

Anyways. I'm reaching the stage of my Krautland experience where I've started complaining a lot, because that's just the sort of person I am. But knowing that the new baby will be able to be in a well-resourced kindergarten of my choice from the time it is two, and knowing my first child is already well-settled in such an institution, and knowing that there are subsidized childcare options before then for the new hatchling if we need them - besides just the experience of being middle-class with a middle-class income (which is what would make life possible, if not easy, in Canada or Oz) - this is all making me sigh with relief that all those years of abstract principles and convictions have really worked out for me, in that they helped us choose to live in this wonderful, WONDERFUL country.

And nap. Nap with relief. Which is what brought this word onslaught on. I just had the most delectable nap and when I woke up I reflected that in Australia or Canada I might not have been able to afford it.

The horror. The horror.

*And in defence of the Not All Men movement, I will say that nine times out of ten, when I heard that disgusting notion voiced, it was by women.

domenica, agosto 14, 2016

Oh hey there, cancer

Is this an age thing? I guess, but it feels weird how cancer has got to be like this fuckup but inevitable family member that I'm always having to think about and ask about. My father is doing really well, from all metrics. It looks like his treatment may be winding up with a great prognosis, which is all I could have asked for.

And about two weeks after getting that news, the F-word's lovely stepfather has told us he's got it all over. Last year his medical team found what they thought was a contained, if malignant, tumour in one of his kidneys, so, out came the kidney, but in, apparently, stayed the cancer.

I am tweaking about him in the same angrily political sense I tweaked about my father having to spend three hours a day travelling to his radiation appointments for months - furious over substandard regional resources and care in Australian, Canadian, etc., public healthcare systems. And my brain is doing a really great job focusing on that whole "one thing at a time" thing of "what can we do from here?" It is doing a great job of not imagining how my stepfather in law is actually feeling. It's doing an amazing job of ignoring mortality in general.

One thing it is not able to do, however, maybe because I've watched Blade Runner whilst high a few too many times (if such a thing is possible), maybe because my stepfather-in-law and I both got upset about David Bowie dying and it's so easy to imagine him, a gay working-class Catholic Irish kid in Buttfuck Nowhere Australia listening to The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust when it first came out, seeing that skinny ginger freak on his television screen, and it being some sort of transcendent experience - anyways, my brain has been having a hard time not having these two things on constant repeat all day:

mercoledì, agosto 03, 2016

The racist descends

Back in Jolly Deutschland. The fetus, which hit the age of viability sometime while the plane was over the Atlantic, celebrated by kicking the shit out of me while I let Godzilla use me as a bed because the armrest between our crappy seats wouldn't rise. It was the only family member who wasn't absolutely buggered by the journey (the F-word had to leave to meet us at an obscenely early hour to help us hoik all our cheap-thanks-to-currencies-provisions-for-the-year-ahead); it's been a little ninja (or, according to my disapproving Frauenarztin, a ninja at the 96th percentile so I should eat less pasta) and wouldn't keep still this morning for its measurement ultrasound.

I'm enjoying being home, and enjoying feeling as though I've come home by coming back here, even though I've been sick as a dog and only feel fairly human for the first time in almost a week today. I'm really enjoying the shitty, cold German weather; it's such a pleasure to not be sweating whilst sitting still, which is what I spent most of my summer in Canada doing.

What I'm not enjoying is how much cultural panic over European terrorism in Canada rubbed off on me, in a very unpleasant, racist way. Everybody wanted to know how I felt about all the recent news items and if I was scared, which I wasn't. There are horrible people everywhere who think their great ideas about things are more important than other people's desire to fucking continue breathing. Out of all the news headlines this summer the one that caught at me the most along those lines were those people living in a residential home in Japan who were knifed to death because they were too disabled for the tastes of their murderer. It's a terrible thing to be at each other's mercy, sometimes, when so many of "each other" are repulsive young men in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties who have ideas.

What has happened in Germany, I said to the enquirers, was not so frightening, and what has happened has happened on the other side of the country, not counting those sexual assaults and robberies on New Year's, which I can't help but see primarily as the system following a well-trodden path of utterly failing women (ahem).

But then I got off the plane, and Brussels Airport was crawling with fellas with machine guns, which I'm still not used to in a Belgian context, and I started - hmm. Not tweaking, but certainly I started racially profiling people. And I don't think I've quite stopped yet. I'm not sure what to do about that except noticing myself doing it and waiting for it to stop. But I'm sure not enjoying it. 

martedì, luglio 12, 2016

How's this for a positive affirmation, asshole

I am not responsible, and will not pretend to be, try to be, or allow myself to feel to be responsible for the idiocy or duplicity of my elders.

I am not responsible, and will not pretend to be, try to be, or allow myself to feel to be responsible for the idiocy or duplicity of my elders.

I am not responsible, and will not pretend to be, try to be, or allow myself to feel to be responsible for the idiocy or duplicity of my elders.

I am not responsible, and will not pretend to be, try to be, or allow myself to feel to be responsible for the idiocy or duplicity of my elders.

I am not responsible, and will not pretend to be, try to be, or allow myself to feel to be responsible for the idiocy or duplicity of my elders.

Repeat as needed.

I'm in Canada, and I really, really, really want to go home. 

mercoledì, luglio 06, 2016


I'm having a hard time not blaming the British working class for what has happened there with the vote, even though it's effectively victim-blaming as they'll be the ones most screwed by it.

I understand people are angry, marginalised, hopeless, and feel profoundly stuck - but goddamn it, every leading political voice calling for a Leave vote belonged to some piece of soulless public school vermin from the oligarchy that has been the British working class's natural enemy since the Normans ponced over from France, and they fell for it because, I don't know, darkies and Poles?

Whatever. Besides Scotland and Ireland, may they be operating separately soon, let the fucker burn. It'll make for cheaper vacations when I take the kid(s) to the fossil beaches in the south and northeast.