Tony and I both had a tough day today. Actually, it’s been a stressful week which seems to have culminated this afternoon. His is mostly work-related, with borrowed stress from what I’m dealing with. And I guess you can say vice versa for me.

Apart from the obvious impending birth of Boy Blob, I’ve lately had to deal with yet another tendril of my mum’s passing. My aunt – after The Cuz’s death four years ago – had warned me about Estate stuff. These things can take months, sometimes even years to work through. Even if there aren’t any assets to speak of, it can take upward of six months.

It gets compounded when your past and future are spread across two continents.

I was intending to blog tonight about other things I have been thankful for, but I’m only just calming down after an afternoon of frustration that had ended with a depressing answer that will cost us money, time, and further complication. And tomorrow, I’ll have to start the fishing expedition for new answers. More visits to banks. More calls, potentially, to lawyers. More waiting, more explaining. More patience needed as I wait for the other party to grapple with the extent of my ask, and then flounder around for answers.

And then sitting down and trying to work out the wisest path forward. Except now, the optimism has well and truly waned and I will no longer trust the first answer I get. Because part of my learning curve has included doubting the accuracy of the first assertion, and then nudging and nudging and nudging until someone higher up the food chain gives the answer I was asking for, but was desperately hoping against.

Rinse and repeat.

Still, they say that gratitude helps us deal with adversity and lowers blood pressure — two things I could do with right now. And so at the risk of sounding rather rama ding dong about this current trial, here’s me, trying to be gracious about Today.

I’m thankful, first of all, for VoIP. 
Because without VoIP, international calls would be hugely expensive. I spent two solid hours on the phone to various parties in Singapore this afternoon and it had cost me less than $5. I cannot imagine doing what I’ve been trying to do in the limited time I have left (remember: IMPENDING BIRTH!) back in the dim, dark days before VoIP or worse, when you could only write letters and wait for a ship. Eeeuch.

I’m thankful for DVD players.
Judge me if you must, but I had to plonk Arddun in front of the TV this afternoon and make her promise only to call on me when absolutely necessary. I made the mistake of putting on The Incredibles, which has rather exciting action sequences at times, so she took the opportunity to burst into my room and yell, “I THINK I’M A BIT SCARED, MUMMY!” (She wasn’t. She loves it, and usually runs around the kitchen island pretending to be Dash and Violet getting chased.) And then there was that fifteen minutes, when she stood outside my door asking politely if she could sit on my lap so we could watch together… which then slowly snowballed into a whinge when the polite route didn’t work… until I had to interrupt the bank lady on the phone, get off my seat, throw open the door and wrestle with my stress and frustration as I told her to go back to the couch and watch without me. I don’t think I did a great job with the wrestling because her eyes grew wide and hurt, and then she didn’t bug me again. Did I have heaps of Mummy guilt after? Oh you betcha. But I’m thankful that my girl doesn’t hold a grudge either. Whether I’ve scarred her for life remains to be seen.

I’m thankful for the three-hour time difference
Because then, I could call heaps more people. Banks, as you know, close early – so being able to time my calls across two time zones worked in my favour. It also gave the parties in Singapore enough time to consult their colleagues and then call me back, so I didn’t have to wait 12 hours for the business day to begin again. Or for them to forget me.

I’m thankful for options.
Which is an ironic thing to say, because one of the last phone calls I received this evening told me the opposite – that I had only one option, and it was going to be expensive and difficult to execute with a new baby latched to me. And yet, at least we have the means to exercise that option. Yes, we lose money in the process and a bit of sanity, but at least the answer wasn’t No… just Yes, Using The Most Inconvenient Means Possible Because We Only SAY We Think Global, But We Really Only Act Local.

I’m thankful I’m not working.
Not in the sense of sitting at the office, beholden to a paymaster. I’m home, I can make these calls, I can sit and plan. And even though I’m toddler wrangling at the same time (and feeling like I’m doing a real half-baked job of it at present), it would have been nigh impossible — or hugely unfair to my employer — if I had to do all this while earning a wage.

I’m thankful for Ken Lee.