Festive dates 

I was going to try and get a lie-in this morning so my husband decided to lend a hand by taking the dogs for their morning walk. In doing so, and in only the way men seem to be able to manage this, he woke me up by coming in to the bedroom to get dressed, plugging his iPad in to recharge and telling the dogs to say quiet in an elaborate stage whisper.

Still, I thought I might be able to get back to sleep but then my phone started pinging, because my brother, in a timezome three hours ahead of Perth and no doubt crazy with sleep deprivation himself, sent me a couple of messages and then rang to talk to me about possible dates for his arrival.

This sent me back on to the Internet to look up how to put a car baby seat in a Toyota RAV, which then had me watching a couple of videos which only convinced me that it is absolutely my brother’s job to sort this crap out as the father and I will just concentrate on driving. I thought that they would just be able to hold the baby, but apparently that is not allowed.

After that, he sent a couple of videos through and then the dogs came home so any hope of extra sleep was gone – although given my brother had been up with the baby since 4 am I suppose I should have counted myself lucky I got as many hours as I did.

Shopping has now become an exercise in damage control. I do a lot of shopping for presents online, which I like, because I can start doing that in July and don’t have to fight the whole of Western Australia for a car parking bay, or get asked if I want to give to a store’s nominated charity 600 times in two weeks. I always make donations at Christmas, it is just that if I did it everytime I was asked, I would effectively render myself a charity case through bankruptcy. Wouldn’t it be handy if stores could use data on reward cards to let cashiers know that I have already donated, so they don’t have to keep asking me, instead of just using the data to send me emails telling me like an over excited four-year old that a product I bought once in 1980 has 10 cents off this week?

Of course the shelves are now absolutely stuffed with festive packages and this week a large box of liquorice allsorts and a tin of chocolates made their way into the trolley. It is hard, especially as I am not eating any sweets at the moment, to resist buying the forbidden fruit in anticipation of the two weeks when I am going to allow myself to let rip.

One thing that I did manage to hold off buying was a box of dates: a two kilogram box. I remember being mystified as a kid every Christmas by the appearance of a modest, long oval-shaped box made from the same wood that Camembert comes in, which had the words, ‘eat me’ on the label. It was filled with weird sticky brown things and a tiny elaborate plastic fork. I had no idea what on earth anyone would want to eat them at all. I now find myself loving dates and really looking forward the having one or two as a treat. A small 225gm tub is $7. The two kilo box was $30.00. It was tempting, but could I eat two kilos of dates?

I decided to wait until I had asked other members of the family and assessed how likely I was going to be getting help in shifting them. They are quite calorie-dense, although possibly not quite as dense as the kilos of chocolate I also have ready to go – or the alcohol I am yet to buy.

Anyway one way or another the next couple of weeks will see a few festive dates locked in, even if my two kilo box never quite makes it home from the supermarket.

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