Car Park Robbery

A new restaurant opened up in front of our apartment block a few months ago. We have been watching them renovate the place since we moved in, over a year ago. The day after they opened a team of ten or so people turned up to rip up the car park and resurface it. The work started at 7 am…7 am I sat bolt up right from my beautiful slumber to the sound of metal being scraped along tarmac. Think nails on the blackboard times a million. This lasted the whole day, the next day large lorries turn up with tarmac and large roller machines (much to the excitement of the kids). And bosh, job done! 26 car lot complete in two days. Super quick huh?!

The evening after, opening hours and a valet service turns up to take cars from customers and park them so they don’t have to. Now, here is my issue. It’s a 26 car lot. People are paying $5-$6 to let a man park their car between one or 20 meters from the entrance of the lot. They are also then waiting in line to have this unnecessary paid luxury forced upon them. Every time a car comes into the lot I have to use every bone in my body to restrain myself from screaming “free street parking, FREE STREET PAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRKIIIIIINNNNNNGGGGGG”

Have they gone mad? It seems like a big scam to me. Not even a clever one. Just one that everyone here has accepted, it’s car park robbery, or parking lot robbery. Does everyone one here need to feel special and valet parking is one of the ways to meet these self inflicted standards.

Being true to my Scottish self. I won’t pay for parking. I’ll park ten blocks away and walk for 20 minutes to avoid this unnecessary evil. I sometimes even use PUBLIC TRANSPORT…really naughty words to typical Los Angelenos.

A while ago I suggest to someone that we take the bus along the road (a 10 minutes journey) to avoid paying a $20 parking charge that the establishment we were going to charges…the bus costs $1.75 so for the two of us that is a $16.50 saving. That’s a few drinks, a family outing to Menchies, a burger for one. So many possibilities with that $16.50. The person in question looked at me as though I had actually gone mad and said “well I’ve never been on the bus so, let’s just drive”

Why do people fear the public transport system here? The buses are fine, the trains are super quick. Let’s ride public Folks!

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I lost a bum.

I know that my kids are still young but today I realised that I lost a bum to wipe. I do not know when this happened. I can’t pin point a day. It happened gradually through time. It’s not like wiping poop is my favourite past time but it’s something that all mums and dads have to do. Life is just like that…you pop out a little shit, they poop out a little shit. It’s the great circle of life.

As my youngest was singing the Quistgaard family anthem …”Mummy, I’ve had a poo poo and I’m finished” I realised that I have not done the wiping deed on the eldest for quite some time. I know she is nearly eight but she liked the comfort of having me help. When I was not there then it was not a problem but if I was anywhere in the vicinity then it was all on me.

I do understand that most people are happy when they don’t need to sit in a bathroom waiting for someone else to finish their business but it got me thinking that this was a step toward adulthood. I can now put a big tick next to ‘personal hygiene’ on my mothering chart…(you know the one that no one gives you, so you have to make it up along the way!)

I feel so proud but also sad that slowly slowly the little baby girl that rushed into the world is not a little baby anymore. She is growing and becoming a little lady. One who wipes her own arse behind a closed door.

Flushing…that’s still reserved for me though!

Failed…Sorry!

 

I’ve failed to write anything for such a long time now.

The reason…well……

My lovely husband got me a new computer for my birthday. It worked great. I started this blog, LaLaLa. Everything was seemingly normal in LadyQuist Land. However, the computer then asked me if I wanted to update to Windows 10. “Sure thing” I thought, who doesn’t want to be updated to the latest version of, well, anything? I can almost hear the wise technologically advanced human beings laughing at me. Now the computer in question will not log on to the damn internet. It’s slower then a commodore 64 and I have put it on time out. At present I am using my old computer which has been gathering dust in a cupboard. I do still fear the heat that it generates may cause finger tip burns. But I will persevere. Maybe having no finger prints will help when I become a criminal mastermind! A completely organic criminal mastermind, can’t be messing up because of crazy gadgets though. So more Cat woman than Lady Bond.

What’s been happening around here? My Mum came to visit for six weeks. Total delight having her here. She is such a lovely granny. Now that she has gone, Phoenix has been asking for her to either move here or for him to move into her house. I have noticed that many families around here have a granny annex in their garden. I think that when we come to buying a house we need to take this into consideration. It’ll probably be more of a shed in the garden then a lovely two bed apartment nestled between the fruit trees but I’m sure she won’t mind! Right?

We had our first American Halloween. People go all out. Streets get closed down and all the houses have amazing decorations. Huge houses that you can normally only see the tops of from outside their huge security fences open up and welcome all children and adults alike. Some people hire DJ’s to blast out tunes while the kids are going house to house collecting as many sweets as they possibly can fit into their bags.

Down the road there is a place called Boney Island. During the year it is just a normal house that a guy called Rick Polizzi owns. He was the animation producer on The Simpsons so already getting the thumbs up from me. The story goes that when his two daughters were young he couldn’t find anything that he thought was suitable for them. So he decided to create his own very special Halloween house. Now his kids are grown and he still keeps it going. We took a stroll down there one spooky school evening, not really knowing what to expect. I mean, it is just someone’s garden right! Well there is a four floor tree house, a water and light show to amaze all the young ones. Talking spiders that fall down to you from trees, singing plants, flying skeletons and candles that go out by the power of a young mind. Every inch of the garden is well thought out with the wicked and wonderful. It really was a Halloween dream come true. Apparently it gets 25,000 visitors every year now. Which is totally crazy. His wife must be a super tolerant lady. I mean could you imagine 25,000 people walking through your garden every October. To my disappointment the night after we went Dave Grohl was there. Totally for the best though as if I were there on the same day as him, I probably would have caused Jacob a fair bit of embarrassment.

Leaving the past behind and moving to the present…

This week the kids are off school. It’s Thanksgiving week. Having never had a Thanksgiving we don’t really know the protocol. Is everything closed? Is there a parade? Should we just be sitting in the house eating and giving thanks?

Luckily, one of the mums from Phoenix’s Kindergarten has come to the rescue and invited us to her family house in the hills. I guess this is what we will be giving thanks for. The open hearted people of L.A. The folks that are never too busy for a chat and the fact we have been here for less than a year and have met some people that we can call friends.

Maybe I can report back how this went if my computer doesn’t blow up!

Hysterical blindness

Silver has just discovered the mega tantrum. Yes. She is two and a half. But it has been pretty much plain sailing so far. Little tantrums here and there. Now…whoosh. There she goes. She screams with such ferocity that it makes my ears pop.

While trying to get ready for a rare night out, little lovely Silver decided that she was not going to go to bed. Or rather that she will go to bed, as long as it was on top of Phoenix while emptying her water cup on the pillow – Nope, not going to happen!

So the tantrum starts. First the ear splitting shriek then onto low gurning with every breath. Her little face was red and she swings from the bedroom door handle – both feet up, making the most of her childlike upper body strength.

What can I do when I look into my child’s eyes to calm her down and yet I don’t exist? She couldn’t see anymore. Hysterical blindness has set in.

Wait…Just, wait. I sit down on the bed, pick up my make-up bag and keep getting ready. The screaming subsides to groaning noises but with some coughs added in for good measure. Her throat is probably as dry as a popcorn fart.

After another five minutes. She walks across and sits her ass next to me. Smiles and says “Water, Mummy”. Then gets into bed and closes her eyes.

That’s it. She has forgotten all about it. She has moved on. Maybe she realised half way through screaming that she didn’t actually know why she was screaming. But added an extra couple of minutes of grunting, to give herself time to maybe remember,or just to make it look more effective.

I do sometimes wish that I could deal with my problems in this way. I bet I would feel so amazingly relaxed if I just swung from the door frame screaming and crying for ten minutes…then moved the hell on.

Old Friends, New Friends.

The truth is that when you get to a certain age, making great friends becomes harder. Moving to another country, mid-thirties with three kids is certainly not the best idea for anyone’s social calendar. But then you make friends with someone quite special and you known that it is totally possible.

The past couple of months I have been hanging out with a gorgeous ozzy gal who makes me laugh like I’m a little kid again. This is great…apart from the fact that she is going back to England (where she actually lives) in a couple of days. We have had such fun. Mostly at her house with all our kids running about. Although a couple of times we have managed a night out – one at a 70’s bar which had a roller booting couple dancing on a bar roof. Another in a Greek restaurant, with dancing waiters (who made us dance too). Both nights we drank and talked, and talked and drank some more. It is not often you meet someone you click with instantly. Someone who gets your silly jokes and giggles along with you. I will miss her so much (but will be looking for her replacement!).

So I’m back to thinking about my girlfriends in London…what are they up to? Have they been for tapas lately? Or to Borough Wines? How was that 40th birthday party I missed? I feel both envious of the fun they will be having together and happy that the ones that met through me are still getting together. I wonder if it is like in a film, where they look to an empty chair and sigh saying “oh, we do miss Laura. It’s just not the same around here” The reality is they are super busy ladies with families and jobs. When they find time for a night out they will be sitting laughing and drinking as it should be.

The next glass of wine I have, I shall stop for a moment to think of how lucky I am to know such wonderful, driven and quite frankly adorable women. All of whom are totally mad in their own unique way.

I like that thought that we all have a load of friends out there that we have not yet discovered.

Old friends, even new friends are just that, Friends – no matter what the distance.