Hot Man

Adventures of a Watergirl

I went to Samoa in the weekend to support the Hot Man in his first ever Half-Ironman – as his watergirl. I got there late Friday night and couldn’t sleep because I was so nervous about his event. Major freaking out as I ruminated over the 101 things that could possibly go wrong as my forty-three year old husband attempted to swim 2km (in an open harbour where Jaw’s second cousin likes to hang out), bike 90km up curving mountainous pot-holed roads with no sidewalks or markings, and then run 21km through the center of Apia township in the blistering 30+ degree heat. The swim was particularly terrifying because he only just started swimming 5 months ago – I mean, the man would swim one lap and stop to puke because he felt so sick doing it…how in heck was he going to swim for an hour without dying? More importantly (because as usual, everything is about ME),  how was I going to stand it watching him swim for an hour as I imagined all the mutant colossal squid creatures that were waiting to devour him?

So yeah, by the time we loaded the car with all his gear at 4.30am, I was an emotional wreck because I’d already envisioned him: drowning, getting eaten by sharks, crashing his bike in a gully, getting hit by a nutso Samoan bus, collapsing in a heat stroked puddle, dying by brain aneurysm or heart attack. And yet I was supposed to be the motivating, positive supporter… Ha.

It’s exhausting being a watergirl. Emotionally AND physically. Especially if you’re coming from the depths of NZ winter and get the (dumb) idea to use your waiting watergirling time to get lots of sun so “I can be nice and tanned!” The Hot Man took five hours and fifty-one minutes to do the course. In that time I prayed…cheered…muttered curse words under my breath when I had to run from one end of town to the other with ice because the roads were blocked off…chatted with nice volunteers and spectators…AND made every effort to stand in the blazing sun the entire time. (I may also have gone to McDonalds for breakfast but that’s because an athlete has nothing nice to eat at their house and I needed sustenance that wasn’t a protein shake, energy bar or electrolyte gel…yuck, yuck, yuck.)  Which meant that by the time the Hot Man crossed the finish line brandishing the Samoan flag because he was the very first Samoan to finish – I was sunburnt – AND dizzy, dehydrated, vaguely delirious and wanted to vomit.

In other words, I wasn’t a very good watergirl.

That afternoon, the Hot Man was cruising on an endorphin high – while I was hallucinating, standing in a cold shower and drinking heaps of water. I didn’t even go with him to the prizegiving because I was lying down in front of the fan. It took me 24 hrs to recover and by then it was time for me to get on a plane and fly back to Auckland winter.

But, heat exhaustion aside, I’m very grateful I got to be there when the Hot Man unleashed his ‘inner Ironman warrior.’ I’m in awe of his sheer will, endurance and fortitude. (And his man-warriorness in that triathlete skin suit aint half bad either…)

DarrenAndFlag

 

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Are You a Sicko Child-Snatcher?

Little Daughter’s school sent home a notice, warning parents about a ‘strange white male who tried to entice one of the students into his car while they were walking to school.’ They advised parents and students to be extra careful.

I’m not too worried because the Hot Man walks Little Daughter to and from school every day. Little Daughter IS worried – but not about the ‘strange white male’ who may or may not leap out of the bushes to abduct her. No, she’s more worried about her Dad.

Because the Hot Man is on fire. He read the notice and he is raging and roaring, ready to beat the crap out of any and all “sickos who dare to try hurting ANY kids.” He did this warrior killer man routine that involved lots of pacing, clenching of fists, vehement waving of arms and displaying of fists and accented by ferocious facial expressions. “I hope I see him. Just wait till I see someone trying to grab any kids on the way to school. I’m going to pull them out of their car, chuck them on the ground and hurt them so bad. Sick people who hurt kids that way make me so angry… I hope I find one! I’m going to look out for any strange looking man talking to a kid on the way to school. He’s going to be sorry!”

Little Daughter was aghast. “But Dad, what if you make a mistake and its like a parent of one of the kids? Or a teacher?” But her Dad is on a rampage and cannot be appeased. She turned to me and whispered, “Mum, what if someone thinks Dad is the dangerous one? They might report him instead. My Dad will get arrested and all the other kids will think I have a weird Dad.”

Which is why Little Daughter asked ME to walk her to school today.

Notice for Parents and teachers in Te Atatu, West Auckland – please be aware, there is a very vigilant brown man out on the street, looking out for sicko child-snatchers. We assure you he is NOT dangerous. Unless of course, you are a sicko child-snatcher. In which case, don’t even bother running because this vigilant brown man is very fit, fast and furious.

 

There are Some Skank Ho’s in West Auckland

There are some skanky ho’s living in West Auckland. And they aint got no shame. At all. But what makes it worse? Little Son thinks they are wonderful, delightsome creatures…

The Hot Man was being kind and thoughtful. He took all the children off my hands so I could write. (Yay for the Hot Man.) He delivered teenagers to their Youth activity. And then he scored himself points in Little Kid’s heaven by taking them to McDonalds’s for dinner. (Even tho we already had a healthy balanced dinner for them at home. Yay for the Hot Man.) He sent the Terrible Trio to go play in the playground while he sat guard over their Happy Meals. I must interject here and tell you that I got all the following info from my spies. They’re highly trained, dedicated sleuths. Otherwise known as Little Daughter and Bella Beast.  Now on with my tale.

Picture it…There’s the Hot Man, minding his own Hot business…when along comes a pretty, skinny-yet-luscious, single mom, busting out of her clothes with abundant friendliness. (As skank ho’s do.) She lights up like a Xmas tree at the sight of the Hot Man and descends upon him. Introduces herself, tells him about her divorced single-mom state. Tells him how much she loves to make new friends. Meet new people. Try new things. Go out partying when she’s not skankin at McDonalds. 

He tells her he’s married. She thinks thats wonderful! He tells her he’s got five kids. She thinks thats precious! He tells her he’s just taken over as the full-time parent, taking care of the kids while his wife is writing. She thinks thats just darrrling!

She then goes for gold. (As skank ho’s do.) “I’m free during the day too! We should totally get together and hang out!”   (Can you tell that I’m punching holes in my laptop as I write this with viciousness and repressed volcano fury?)

At this moment, Little Daughter and Little Son come running over because they have seen this friendly exchange taking place. As this woman tries to jump their Dad’s bones right there in the Family Restaurant. The woman is not deterred. Oh no. She oozes slimy charm. “Are these your children? Ohmigosh they’re soooo adorable! Hi kids!”

Little Daughter ( bless her devoted heart) is unimpressed. Suspicious. She sidles up to the Hot Man, whispers, “Dad, why is this woman talking to you so much?”

Little Son on the other hand, reveals his true traitorous nature and revels in the skank ho’s affections. She GIVES MY FREAKIN’ BETRAYER SON A HUG AND HE LIKES IT. He nudges the Hot Man with a grin, “Dad, who’s your girlfriend? She’s so pretty!” 

The woman is encouraged by his comment. She asks the Hot Man for his phone number. (HELLO! WHAT THE HELL KINDA WORLD IS THIS WHEN CHICKS CAN USE THE GOLDEN ARCHES TO LIGHT UP THEIR “VACANT and HOT” SIGN?!) The Hot Man refuses. She tries to give him HER number. He refuses. Little Daughter is not happy. “Dad, why does she want your phone number? Why is she hugging Zach?”

Somehow they manage to extricate themselves safely from the woman’s clutches. She waves at them as they drive off. “See you again!”

They come home to the writer who’s been slaving her fingers to the bone surfing banana cream pie recipes on AllRecipes.com.  They tell her about what happened. Little Daughter is indignant.  “My Dad kept telling her no and she kept trying to give him her phone number!” Little Daughter is only ten but already she can spot a skanky-seductress-homewrecker-trashy tart a mile away. I am going to leave Little Daughter lots of things in my will. Like all my banana cream pie recipes. And my extensive Telesa tattoo research. And lots and lots of love with ice cream and chocolate sauce on top.

I am really annoyed with Skank-Ho’s that hang out at McDonalds jumpin on other people’s Hot Men.  I’m not a Fire Goddess like Leila in my Telesa books, but I’m sure I could get all fierce and feisty and kick-ass with this woman if I could meet her in person. I could like….ummm…attack her with my words. Waste her with witticisms. Mash her with metaphors. Amaze her with alliteration and analogies and really scary stuff like that. So there, so there. Take that.

I told Hot Man I was going to blog about her and he was horrified. “No don’t. What if she reads your blog? You cant call people skanky ho’s on your blog!”  I said, “Dont be ridiculous. Skank-Ho’s dont read. Blogs. They’re too busy slut’ting all over the place and having a good time with idiots who fall for their tricks.”

But you know who I’m REALLY mad at?

Little Son.

Traitor. Selling his own mother out for a pretty face and a sleazy smile.

(Oh yeah, and I’m also kinda miffed. Cos I’ve taken those kids to McDonalds a kazillion times. And nobody ever hit on me ever…. *sniff sniff* )

Why Authors Require Assistants on Book Tours.

I went to Samoa for a four day whirlwind book tour that included school and library visits, a book signing, writing workshop, and more. I took Big Daughter with me. She was my designated “tour assistant.” My helper. My photographer and video documenter. My right hand. My bestest buddy. That friendly, smiley, personable young woman who helps her author mother to promote her new book.

Standing in line at Auck Airport and she complained profusely about how heavy her bag was. (She had to put all her clothes into her carry bag because none of us had any real luggage. Instead of suitcases, we checked in boxes of books.) Her Dad had to carry her bag. And his bag. So she could meander along. Looking for books to buy to read on the plane. (Correction – looking for books that her father could buy for her to read on the plane.)

Ezra Taylor is on the same flight as us. He greets Big Daughter. She barely notices because she is submerged in a book. Reading. Reading. Reading. There is no sign of that ‘friendly, smiley, personable’ young woman who is suppposed to be acccompanying me on my book trip.

On the plane and half-way to Samoa, the Hot Man reminds her she’s supposed to be taking photos of the trip. She exclaims, “Oh, I forgot the camera at home.” She doesnt look very sorry at all. Back to reading, reading. If you hoped to see some photos of our trip? We don’t have any.

We arrive. First on the program is a television interview at TV3 Samoa. Big Daughter is helpful and interested. But later that night when the interviews screen she tells me – “You talk too much. You look funny on TV. Why cant you answer questions like Ezra does?  His interview was very good.” Thank you Assistant for your assistance.

Next on the program is a radio interview early in the morning at Magik FM. Big Daughter is helpful and interested. Until radio staff want to take pictures and talk to her. Then she gets surly and tries to disappear. “I dont want to be in any photos.Why do they want to talk to me for?” There is no sign of friendly, smiley, personable-ness.

We go to Samoa College. My puletasi skirt is held up with lots of safety pins because it’s too big for me. (Thank you Jenny Craig.) The skirt keeps threatening to fall down. I have visions of it falling down – right when I stand up to speak to an assembly of students – and me being way too nervous to even notice that I’m skirt-less. I ask Big Daughter, “Can you please keep checking that my skirt isn’t falling down? Just in case?” She says, “Why do I have to do that for? Besides, Im standing at the back of the hall, filming you guys. I’ll be too busy. Why are you wearing a skirt that doesnt fit you properly anyway?” Thank you Assistant for our assistance.  I ask Mr Taylor to please let me know if I have a wardrobe malfunction during our presentation. He looks vaguely alarmed at the prospect. I think he even moves several more feet away. Probably wondering how in the heck he ended up here talking to students with this wacky woman and her safety-pinned skirt. Wondering how can he escape from this nightmare. Thankfully nothing malfunctions. After our speeches, we chat with students. They want to chat with Big Daughter. Especially since I told them all that she helps me write the Telesa books. They’re excited. Big Daughter isn’t. Surly face. She whispers fiercely, “I dont want to be in any photos or talk to anyone.”

We go to the book signing. Four hours on a hot Samoan afternoon, greeting people, signing their books, chatting about the Trilogy, taking photos. The team at Samoa Stationery Bookstore is very helpful. They bring cold drinks. They smile. Big Daughter sits inside the whole time. In the air condition. Reading, reading. The bookstore staff tell me “Don’t worry, we are taking care of her. She has drinks and snacks and we told her to choose whatever books she wants to have from the shop.” I am so glad that my Assistant is having a lovely time. Thank you Assistant for the assistance. When the event is done, friends and family try togreet her with hugs and kisses. She is submerged in a book. Reading reading.

It continues over the next two days. The girl who is so clever she’s in the gifted program at her school looks vacantly at me when I ask her to write invoices, because she’s trying to read a book. Asks “How much is the total for six books at forty tala?” For some strange reason, she is not interested in listening to her mother speak at another school. Or make a presentation of books at the public library. She flat out refuses to go to the High Tea at Plantation House. Because she says “thats so boring”. Instead she sits in the house and reads. Thank you Assistant for the assistance.  Then, to top it all off – my wonderful Assistant accidentally deletes all the footage from the book tour off our video camera. Just. Great.

I am not very impressed with my Assistant’s assistance.I am annoyed and frustrated with her.  The Hot Man patiently mediates between us. Tells me to be more patient, more nicer to our daughter. The two of them get lunch and chat and have great times together. Wthout me. The meanie mother. I meet up with a friend of mine who comments, “I met your daughter at the book signing. She is EXACTLY like you when you were her age.” Huh? “She didn’t like it when I hugged her. She didn’t want to be disturbed from her book. She didnt like smiling. She hides shyness with a distant, almost stand-offish expression. You were like that at school. I remember. And you still dont like lots of socializing or hugging either. And when you’re reading a book, nobody can connect with you at all.” I thought about it and realized that my friend was exactly right.

Big Daughter is A LOT like me. And the things that are the most like me? Are the things that irritated me the most on this book trip. How can I expect Big Daughter to be the epitome of friendliness, sociability, and cheerfulness – when I sure as heck aint?

Such revelations are most unwelcome.

I’m going to go read a book now. And practise smiling. And on the next book tour? I might have to take Little Son who is friendliness personified. The child who tells random women in airports, “I like your hair. You’re so pretty….do you have any lollies?” Yes, Im sure his approach will go down very well with readers. Except I will tell him to ask for donuts and Hostess cupcakes instead. 

Can you see Big Daughter in this picture? No. Neither can I.
She’s not in this one either.

Or this one.

 Aha! there she is.

As you can see, she’s happy to smile when she’s with her super awesome Dad. Huge thanks to the Hot Man for keeping the peace between me and Big Daughter!

You can read more about our trip to Samoa to release ‘When Water Burns’ at the following links:
The Samoa Observer
. Talamua Online News