Of Showers. (But Not the Damp Kind)

Bridal showers. Baby showers. Hens nights. Kitchen teas.

I don’t like them. Here’s why.

This is the wording to an invitation to a Hens Day I received recently. The wording is fairly typical of the kind of invitations I get these days.

Please join us for Renee’s Hens Day! We have arranged a fun day out visiting some wineries in the Swan Valley. Cost per person is $115 – this includes transport to and from Perth CBD and around the Valley during the day. Lunch will cost extra. There will be fun games to play on the bus. Please bring your favourite Stevie and Renee story, your silly sense of humour and a gift for the bride-to-be. And don’t forget to wear yellow as it’s Renee’s favourite colour and we need to show her how much we love her. The bridesmaids have also organised “Hen’s Day” sashes to wear throughout the day.

Let’s look at that closely, shall we?

Please join us for Renne’s Hens Day! Okay, sounds fine so far.

We have arranged a fun day out visiting some wineries in the Swan Valley. Again, okay. I know some friends of the “Hen” don’t drink at all and another three are pregnant, but if it’s what the bride wants then fair enough.

Cost per person is $115 – this includes transport to and from Perth CBD and around the Valley during the day. WHAT THE FUCK?! $115 per person for bus hire? It can’t be for the wine tasting – most of the wineries I know in the Valley have FREE wine tasting.

Lunch will cost extra. Oh good, I was worried about all that cash weighing down my purse…..

There will be fun games to play on the bus. Games? What are we, 8?

Please bring your favourite Stevie and Renee story… I’m the wife of Renee’s cousin. I have seen her and Stevie about 6 times in the last 3 years. Four of those times were funerals. I have no Stevie and Renee stories….

…your silly sense of humour… I wasn’t born with one.

…and a gift for the bride-to-be. A gift? Why? I’m all for buying a wedding gift, probably a very nice wedding gift. I’ll even buy off the registry. But a gift just for having a hens day? Again, why?

And don’t forget to wear yellow as it’s Renne’s favourite colour and we need to show her how much we love her. Wait – so you want me to pay $115 for bus hire to drive me out to the place I LIVE, pay for lunch, buy a gift AND buy something yellow to wear on the day? Fuck off! And shouldn’t turning up to this gift grab event show her how much we love her?

The bridesmaids have also organised “Hen’s Day” sashes for us to wear throughout the day. Only if you get me into a straight jacket first will I wear one of those things.

Needless to say, I have politely declined the invitation.




Round and Round and Round We Go…

My brother-in-law (Husband’s brother) is getting married overseas this year.

His parents have already decided they can’t afford to go. They’ve been cash-strapped their whole life and will be heading into retirement soon with very little superannuation and nearly no savings. They’re trying to channel every last cent into “retirement proofing” their house – rainwater tank, solar panels to generate electricity, learning how to grown fruit, vegetables and herbs – all to make their life easier (and cheaper) when they retire.

Personally I think they’re doing the smart thing.

So it turns out that BIL will only have us – me and Husband – at his wedding to his “princess”. No other family can afford to go.

Let me just mention that they’re getting married in Switzerland. At Christmas. Where even a 3-star Best Western on the very outskirts of town will cost about $450 a night.

So this “holiday” could potentially set us back $10,000 – including flights, accommodation, car hire (necessary to get around that time of year!), meals, suit hire for the wedding, plus a gift (which has been hinted at rather heavily from the bride).

$10,000 is a lot of money. But we can afford it. Thankfully Husband has a good job which pays a good salary.

But the real question is – do we even want to go?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Switzerland is lovely. One day I’d love to go skiing there. However, what Husband and I actually want is to have a baby. We had planned to start trying later this year. Baby’s are expensive little things. I hadn’t realised until I started pricing up things last week (a pram costs HOW MUCH?!) We had also planned on doing some maintenance/improvements to our house. Things like renovating the 1970’s bathroom, installing air-conditioning, removing the lovely floral tiles from the kitchen and turning the sand pit in the back garden into, well, a garden.

The problem is we can’t afford to go to Switzerland, do the improvements to the house AND have a baby.

So conversations have been flowing like this:

“So if we have a baby, we can’t go to Switzerland.”

“But if we don’t go to Switzerland then BIL will never forgive us – we’ll be his only family there.”

“But if we go we can’t start trying for a baby before then – I can’t fly when pregnant due to health reasons.”

“If we go, we can’t afford to install air-conditioning or rip out the avocado bathroom suite.”

“If we don’t go to Switzerland then we’ll need to tell BIL soon. And we’ll have to give him a reason – but we can’t tell him we don’t want to go because we want a baby – he’ll tell the whole family and there’ll be an inquiry into our sex life.”

“But I suppose we’re only young and we can always delay having our first baby a couple of years.”

“If we delay our first and if we want three or four babies then unless we have them in very close succession, we could be nearly 40 by the time we have our third. Risks of downs syndrome and other health issues increase.”

“And we can’t tell people we’re trying for a baby – we don’t want to deal with the pressure.”

“But if we don’t go to Switzerland then we’ll have to tell BIL why.”

And on and on it goes. At the end of the day, someone is going to get hurt. Either we shelve our desire to start having babies or we break BIL’s heart. Part of me really resents this situation – BIL has put a lot of pressure on us (unwittingly) to go. And he knows we can afford it.

In our ideal world we’d be able to renovate bits of the house, install air-conditioning, do one last child-free cheap holiday to Thailand and then try for a baby.

But family has a way of throwing the best laid plans into chaos.

As I said, someone will have their feelings hurt. And as selfish as it sounds, I’m scared it may be me.

Why Do I Need Another Blog?

Why? Why am I doing this? I have a blog. A semi-successful one. I’ve notched up over 10,000 hits. Not that successful when you compare it to super successful blogs like Good Golly Miss Holly or Edenland. But successful enough for me to feel super proud of myself.

But my other blog has a topic. A specific topic. And my family read it.

This one shall be my sort-of secret. No family will know. I may tell a few close friends and Twitterers which I have a weird kind of “I wanna be like you” bloggy cyber crush on. And I’ll tell my Husband. I don’t keep secrets from him.

Why do I need to keep it a secret? Because of my family. Most are good people. Some can be mean. And nasty. And manipulative. Some have spread lies and rumours which have lost me friends and the respect of people I love.

I want a place to vent, to talk, to ponder, to muddle my way through things and to be myself. And after nearly 30 years, I’m still looking for a place to belong. Maybe this blog is my place. Maybe the women I talk with will become my “tribe”. I doubt it, but it’s a lovely thought.

And so, I shall blog. I shall be honest. I shall (try to) be fair. And I shall be myself, in a (semi) public place, for the first time.