Netflix, Vikings and Middle-Aged Memory Loss

As I’m sure most of you would agree, the invasion of Netflix into our lives has been a godsend to our age group; up there with Botox, Tena pads and Viagra for some of us, I would imagine. screen-310714_1280

 

Unfortunately, however, the old man and I have a few issues to resolve around our nightly sessions of back-to-back viewing of episodes of our favourite series – which can sometimes comprise of months and months of entertainment…thank fucking Christ!

 

I’ll give you an example:

 

We began to watch Vikings a few months back. His choice not mine, even though the wonderful Mumabulous had droned on and on about the series for what seemed like eons, due to its infusion of Norse history and intimate study of the Viking culture, I believe… so I was intrigued.

 

Imagine my surprise when the visual feast of the series wasn’t all gratuitous blood and guts and men being …well, men, and it contained some genuine storylines, that are actually based on history. The series is headed by two lead characters, the brothers Ragnar Lothbrok and Rollo. Interestingly Ragnar, played by Australian actor, Travis Fimmel, used to be a Calvin Klein model before he took up his shield and learned how to plait his hair and I think that the depth of that experience truly aided him to nail the authenticity of his character, who, part crazed butcher and part sensitive new man with his children’s safety as his priority, is most women’s dream man.

 

But inevitably it can be kind of heavy to watch, night after night, particularly for us sensitive types, and in spite of the rather distracting amount of very toned male flesh on display – obviously the Vikings were the forerunners of the six pack. So after surviving the edge-of-your-seat mass brutality of the first two series, the old man and I decided we needed a breather from the mass destruction of England and decided to revert back to another series last night, that we had watched over Christmas – The Killing, an American cop series that is set in Seattle.

 

We’d had a hiatus of about a month and needless to say, neither of us could remember a fucking thing that happened at the end of the last series.

 

The conversation went something like this:

 

‘Did they find the body of the boy in the boot?’

 

‘No, he was at his father’s grave stone.’

 

‘When did his father die?’

 

‘He was hung, remember? The whole of the last series was about them trying to prevent his hanging.’

 

‘Oh…was this the one where she slept with the killer?’

 

‘Yes, that’s why she’s so consumed with guilt.’

 

‘How did he kill them again? Was that the Blood Eagle scene.’

 

‘No, that was in Vikings.’

 

If torture scenes where a sexy, bloody man cuts along the flesh of a man’s spine, pulls apart his rib cage, pulls out his lungs and places one on each of his victims shoulders, put you off your dinner, Vikings may not be your cup of tea. I close my eyes during those scenes because gore apart, the series can be magnetising light entertainment in which both men and women are convincing warriors, with the women equally as powerful and there’s barely a gratuitous breast or Brazilian in sight. So, more progressive than GOT, although not as thought-provoking.

 

I have seen a penis, although not Ragnar’s, unfortunately.

 

There’s no equivalent eye candy in The Killing, but if like me, you get a thrill out of watching shows that are set in rainy, cold locations while you check your tan lines, it is also worth a watch.

 

How’s your memory faring? Thankfully, I’ve got the heat to blame at the moment as we melt in a heatwave, but I’m also considering making the switch to red wine for all its well-documented health advantages that I hope include improvement of one’s ability to remember where you car is parked.

 

3 Top Tips To Help You Find Your Car In The Car Park When You’re Middle-Aged

Back on the subject of anxiety in middle age, yesterday I discovered one of the worst triggers of this condition when I decided to do an early Christmas shop mixed with a top secret mission for some (probably) useless decorative bits and pieces for the house that have been deemed ‘stuff we don’t need’ by the old man. 14713554_1095138863917665_7006459478412391094_n

 

If I’m honest I just needed to get out of the house and there’s nothing apart from the beach and wine that is as good for my soul as spending money.

 

However, along with forgetting my phone when I go out (see my last post here), another issue I am experiencing a little too frequently now is remembering where I’ve parked my car in large car parks. And it makes me very anxious.

 

The first time I noticed this slow slip into senility was a few years back, just prior to Christmas again, when I had bought the biggest artificial Christmas tree ever to squeeze its ass into a food trolley and then had to search every floor of the car park dragging aforementioned tree with me, in tears, in search of my car.

 

Since then, I’ve created a “how to survive losing your car” ritual for new car parks ie. those that I’ve not already done a full recce and complete risk assessment for.

 

So here are my tips to help you find your car in the car park:

 

  1. Take a photo of the floor number and its code with your phone. If you can find a mnemonic for remembering the letters, eg. “bullshit” for B5 (Basement Five), that may also help.

 

  1. Doggedly track your steps to your first shop like a soldier on a mission. Lock in mentally where your car is positioned in relation to the exit, video your journey if you can do this without looking seedy, and make sure you count how many escalators you go up. Take a mental note  of points of interest en route such as donut shops and wine shops, which seem to work for me.

 

  1. DON’T take the lift – ROOKIE ERROR – because people can be distracting and you need to concentrate, not spend the next few minutes judging what’s in their trolley meaning your forget which floor you came from.

 

Imagine if there was a machine in the car park that allowed you to code in the position of your car or number plate when you left it and then check back in when you come back brain dead after five lost hours of trying on swimming costumes, listening to toddler tantrums and drinking coffee.

 

Or what if someone invented a device on your car key fob that had a button that when pushed set an alarm off on your car to tell you its whereabouts?  Because I always like to thoroughly research for my writing I Googled ‘device to help idiots, people with poor memory retention and absolutely zero sense of direction find their cars’ and low and behold this came up:

 

http://findmycarsmarter.com/

 

The only problem is that I can’t remember my Apple password to upload it.

 

 

Middle Age And Too Much Time For Over-Thinking

I can’t decide if over-thinking, forgetfulness and distraction are all part of my impending senility or because I am on the cusp of empty-nesting and have less hands-on parenting to preoccupy me.

 

Too Much Time To Think
Found on theinspiredroom.net

 

It’s funny how, once the long-awaited moment arrives and the nest finally begins to empty, you suddenly find yourself with too much time to think.

 

I get so easily distracted these days. Last night I got sidetracked as I cooked dinner and found myself deciding whether or not to invite these new clients to our Christmas party, and burnt the chicken. There I was, weighing up the pros: they are French and I am a Francophile; she seems fun; I could use some new, fun friends; they like drinking – (always a draw).

 

And the con: I wouldn’t be able to get completely shit-faced and provide my friends with enough raucous entertainment to be the subject of every dinner party of 2015, at my own Christmas drinks party.

 

And before I knew it, the meal on our plates had rivalled the old man’s most disastrous barbeque-cheffing disaster of 2009, which had the carcinogenic qualities of a tree caught in a summer bush fire. 

This is a "thought bubble". It is an...
This is a “thought bubble”. It is an illustration depicting thought. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

To recover from another of my questionable meals, I then wasted valuable Madame Secretary-time pontificating about whether my second glass of wine would be the one to give me cirrhosis of the liver.

 

I decided against the newbie French friends and to risk the cirrhosis.

 

This morning I thought angry, retributional (not a real word, apparently, but should be) thoughts for a good twenty minutes as I peddled frantically, (counting every second), on the exercise bike – they were mainly directed at why the fact I have to exercise at all.

 

Then, at my doctor’s appointment this morning, I found it impossible to concentrate on the real reason I was there when I became sidetracked by her absolutely vile, multi-coloured, patterned, nylon dress – (and, just saying, but she must be earning a fortune). I also pondered about why her tone with me was a little off, and came to the conclusion that she considers me a ‘time-waster.’

 

I considered Kurt’s future at least ten times an hour today, which is almost as much as men think about sex, apparently.

 

The thing is…It was not so long ago that I didn’t have time to think about anything other than responding to the perpetual bittersweet singsong of ‘MUM…MUM…MUMMMMM!’ – particularly during what a friend of mine and I called the ‘witching hour’ of the day.

 

The witching hour was what should have been that beautiful bonding time between parents and their children between the hours of 4.30pm and 6pm.

 

OUR children, however, were not textbook and were too tired to be human at that time of day, and instead were cranky, despondent and frankly vile, and would torment us with whines, eye rubs and tantrums until we could finally put them down (to bed!) and open the bottle of wine.

 

While other mothers of ‘perfect/normal/smugly contented’ children were singing, reading and snuggling up to their kids for a pre-bedtime cuddle, my friend and I counted down the seconds to wine-time, gave our spawn premature baths to pass the time, shoved in the dummy every time they opened their mouths to protest and clock-watched until the earliest time we could feasibly put them to bed.

 

‘Witching hour’ is very quiet in our house these days. I almost miss that whining.

 

NC exiles herself to the BF’s house most days – he has definitely replaced me in her affections – either that or she is working hard to earn money to spend on aforementioned boyfriend.

 

And Kurt’s ‘Top Gear’ marathon starts as soon as he returns home from school, with only a short pit stop for food, before he disappears back to his testosterone-infused man cave and the wisdom of Jeremy Clarkson for dessert.

 

So, until the old man gets home, in between finishing work, self-medicating and stuffing my face with dinner, it is strangely quiet in the apartment. Spookily quiet, except for the reassuring sound of the Princess scratching her fleas and bumping into my feet under my desk to remind me it’s nearly dinner time.

 

There’s almost too much time to think.

 

And I wish I could finish this post by impressing you about what I think about, such as deep, meaningful and philosophical thoughts about the state of humanity, global warming or the oil crisis, but alas, my mind gets far too bogged down with Cosmopolitan-level girly shit, to make it to urgent world matters.

 

I can ruminate for hours about where the time went and how I forgot to paint my toe nails, which means I can’t wear sandals. I can torture myself for hours over what a bad friend I am because I never call anyone – then waste at least 3 hours worrying about it and self-hating, yet I still don’t call. I can fret for an hour about what to cook for dinner and what the best way is to cajole the old man into buying a takeout.

 

There’s a lot to be said for being younger, ridiculously busy and having no time for distraction. My production line is much more efficient when I can hardly breathe. Quieter weeks, with the luxury of time to think about what I need to do, lead me to distraction and over-thinking, and although lists help and keep me focused to a degree, they only help when I remember to refer back to them.

 

But they are the future – they are the only real chance I have of achieving anything these days.

Shoplifting at Tiffany’s

They allowed me back through the doors of Tiffany yesterday.

I was understandably a little nervous about going back, after the last time; even though it had all been a simple misunderstanding.

I could probably blame the old man again, for being the catalyst. Sometimes it’s convenient having someone to blame for my shockingly bad karma.

But the fact is,  if he hadn’t bought me that ridiculously tiny ‘understated’ Tiffany necklace, I wouldn’t have been in Tiffany’s flagship Sydney store in the first place. Although I realise that laying blame is a pointless exercise. In the grand scheme of things we control our own destiny.

It was a Loving Heart pendant, designed by Paloma Picasso no less; and did I mention that you needed bi-focals to spot it around my neck?

If he hadn’t been so tight, I might not have ended up shoplifting in Tiffany’s.

I was celebrating my forty-third birthday, not my sixteenth. I needed some cheering up, some therapy in the shape of a giant overpriced bauble of gaudiness, something substantial to flaunt around my wizened tortoise neck; something the size of a rottveiler’s dog collar at least.

In the words of Elizabeth Taylor, ‘Big girls need big diamonds’. Nuff said.

At least he remembered the drill and kept the receipt.

So off I went to Tiffany’s, bypassing the gold section (jewellery for real women as opposed to teenagers), full of the naïve hope that I could actually exchange that Borrower-sized heart necklace for something bigger more suited to my mature status.

And I tried on the chunky silver dog collar that I had asked him for (and taken a photo of and given him the code for), and sought approval from the tween, who voiced her opinion by ‘woofing’ at me disdainfully. At which point I hastily placed that dog collar back on the silk cushioning and moved on to the bracelet station.

The problem with middle age is the executive memory function of the brain, or lack of. It ceases to function over forty. Lists suddenly become a necessity for even the most perfunctory of tasks and retracing steps becomes a sport. It is easy to do something and forget you’ve done it five minutes later. It is relatively easy to clasp a chunky silver Tiffany bracelet around your wrist, become distracted by another gorgeous piece of trinketry and forget that it’s still clamped to your body as you exit the store ten minutes later, smiling at the store detective. Easy as.

I revisited Tiffany’s yesterday for the first time since my brush with criminality, out of parental duty, not because I had any desire to test Tiffany’s high-tech security system for a second time. It’s the tween’s eighteenth this month and apparently that little blue box with white ribbon is as big a status symbol as legal ID in teen world. It’s the ‘commemorative’ gift, unlike the bottles of cheap alcohol which are the ‘finally f*cking legal’ gift or the large wad of cash towards travel which is our ‘finally getting her out of here’ gift.

This visit bought back scarring memories. It’s not a pleasant experience sitting in a cab with your sixteen year old and realising that you’ve just shoplifted from one of the most iconic jewellers in the world. And weighing up the moral dilemma of whether to take the aforementioned stolen goods back or not, in front of your sixteen year old daughter, is even more harrowing, although it does become a little clearer when she looks at you beseechingly, willing you to do the right thing, and obviously return the stolen piece, even though you both realise that it’s going to be as awkward as f*ck. But your hands are tied because, (yawn), you’re a role model and all those lessons you’ve taught about telling the truth, and NOT STEALING are about to be tested. In a situation created out of your own senility stupidity.

I’m sure that she was secretly hoping too that I wouldn’t play the taking-full-responsibility-for-my-actions card. It would have been far less awkward for both of us to pretend that the situation hadn’t happened and then palm that bracelet off to her BFF at Christmas, a clever sly way of removing the evidence.

English: Studio publicity portrait of the Amer...
English: Studio publicity portrait of the American actress Elizabeth Taylor. Français : Portrait publicitaire pris en studio de l’actrice américaine Elizabeth Taylor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But no, I am a woman of principle and although I may be guilty of many non-parentally-friendly activities, stealing is not one of them (apart from Ikea pencils and aeroplane earphones, obviously).

So we marched back in there, heads held high, and we dragged that useless sales person from her lunch break; the one who had allowed me to walk out of that store in full-view of those very scary security guards with stolen loot.

And she very nearly fell through the floor when she realised that, yes, we were returning the stolen goods. My honesty might have even saved her her job and she was embarrassingly grateful, (bordering on needy if I’m honest), which was another life lesson for my daughter, the one about never showing weakness.

And thankfully, by that time, they had altered the ‘charm on a chain’, which was the only item I could find in exchange for my miniscule heart on a chain, and so desperate was I to leave the premises un-cuffed, I consoled myself that at least it would fit my future grandchild, as a christening present.

Tiffany Packaging courtesy of Chronovial at www.flickr.com