Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The School For Fully Functioning Adults

It occurred to me today that I have reached my 40s (let's not talk about how far down that road I am) without becoming a fully functioning adult. I mean, there are just things that I don't know how to do yet. To whit:

Buy pillows. I need a new pillow. Really badly. To the point where I wake up with a sore neck and an unhappy disposition. And yet I have not managed to buy myself a new pillow. I realised when I went to the shops that I had never bought a pillow for myself. All my pillows come from my long-suffering mother. She went through a phase where she was looking for a new pillow and I pretty much just inherited all the pillows that didn't work for her. So I had pillows by default and that worked well.

Now, however, she is happy with her pillow. And I am in need of one. So I must get my own.

How do you work out which one is right for you when you can't lie down on them for 12 hours to give them a test run? Am I a medium person? Firm? High? Duck feather? Latex? Oh. My. God. Talk about Option Paralysis.

A friend told me that Ikea has a pillow wall. Or bar. Or something. I forget. You can test the pillows. But on a wall, or a bar, or something. Not on a bed. This doesn't seem to be a solution for me.

Advice please. How the hell does a person buy a pillow?

Sew. Anything. Buttons. Hems. Anything. I did sewing in year 8 at school. I should be able to do this. But I am also saddled with what is generally known as a Distinct Lack Of Interest and I have no idea how to overcome that.

Advice please. How does one foster an interest in mending?

Cook fish. Here's a confession: we rarely eat fish in this household, let alone three times a week. Oh, we love quality tinned tuna (Sirena only), fish fingers, and takeaway fish and chips on occasion, but I am categorically useless at cooking fish. I am of the cook-the-crap-out-of-it school of fish chef, and my last attempt, at barbecuing some fillets, has gone done in the annals of Fam Fibro history as Mum's Worst Meal EVER.

I'm never sure what to buy and then never sure what to do with it once I get it home. I even went to a course once at the Seafood School and yet, here I am. I suspect there is no hope for me, but even so, any advice?

I am sure that real adults do not suffer from these deficiencies. They do everything well, competently and with assurance. They have lovely pillows, no loose buttons floating around the house, and eat perfect fish three times a week.

Or not.

Are there things that you don't know how to do yet? What courses would you set for a School For Fully Functioning Adults?

[Image from here]

34 comments:

  1. I cannot help you with the pillows as I suffer from the same problem. So much so that my mother in law gave us pillows for Christmas a few years ago (see? long-standing problem!) but they were terrible and we never use them.
    As for fish, buy something white that is filleted into thin pieces, then put each piece in flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs (in that order). In WA good options are red or pink snapper, or silver cobbler, dunno if they the same stuff is easily available where you are. Then fry the pieces gently in oil for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown. If it starts burning or getting dark quickly then you need to turn the temperature down. If you're suss about whether it's cooked then just chop a bit in half and check!

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    1. Love it. And I am thrilled you suffer from hand-me-down pillow syndrome too!

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  2. I have had the same pillow for at least 10 years, and I just don't LOOK at all the warnings about germs.
    I never cook fish.
    I do sew on buttons, though.
    Am I winning so far? Despite my gross pillow?

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    1. I think maybe you are.. though, 10 years...???

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  3. I can cook fish!
    I spent several hundred (!!!) on pillows before I found one that worked for me. I will never, ever, buy a pillow again (except thin cheapie ones for my kids, I guess). I don't think I could manage any more sewing than a button (hems? fuggedit!).

    My question: how to deal with the other school mothers. I'm terrified of them! They all seem to know where to go, what to do and how to work out what their kids are doing on any given day.

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    1. Ah, I have a tip here. Make good friends. My school mum friends are fab at keeping me on the straight and narrow and making sure my kids are in the right uniform for whatever is on. They cover for me and make me look like I know what I'm about. I could not do it without them!

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  4. Latex pillows. We take them everywhere. Took me 38 years to work this out. Two years later, still pillow happiness. The kids are still using horrible old pillows stolen from my parents years ago. But they need flat pillows, they have little necks.

    I have been laughed at countless times for my inability to hem. When things get desperate, use hemming tape. It's a bit crap, but you just iron it on. I can use an iron (just) but not a needle. Don't put it in the dryer or you'll be getting the iron back out. I have friends who can sew, knit and do fricken decoupage but I just nod off with my eyes open when they start talking about it.

    Fish. Not so good either. Exactly the same as you in fact. We order it in restaurants to keep up our Omega Threes or whatever. Chicken anyone? Fish fingers?

    I have a theory that my mother was so disillusioned with her life as a stay at home mum and housewife with five kids, she decided to rebel by never teaching us anything domestically useful at all. She could (and did) make her own beautiful clothes. She could (and did) make beautiful meals. But I think she had this idea of us all going to university and having great careers and never needing those skills. Perhaps she had visions of lots of takeaway and housekeepers. Yeah right.

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    1. My mum is also a fan of the latex but... I don't know. I gave it a try once and wasn't convinced. Maybe I need to persist.

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  5. I second the latex call. Love mine to bits - care of my brother's short stint as a bedding delivery man. Fish, not so hard. Roll it in flour and fry it in butter, serve with a lemon wedge and a dob of mayonnaise. I'm still learning to sew, and am having fun with it. I never made it past year eight home economics either. But I don't feel like a grown up quite yet either, so that's okay!

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  6. I suffer from the pillow problem and the issue with cooking fish as well. I also wonder if I'll ever be able to cut up a roast chicken? Maybe then, I will truly be "grown up"!

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    Replies
    1. Oh yes! It took me a while to learn this but once I had the scissors in my life I was unstoppable. I think Jamie Oliver did it on TV once and I've never looked back!

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  7. I have a couple of no fail fish recipes - one from the ABA cookbook (from when it was still NMAA!) and one from the Symply Too Good to be True recipe books. Otherwise, it's canned tuna for us too.

    For pillows, I am yet to buy the right one... I don't know what I need either.

    For mending - I give it to my Mum, if she wasn't around, I'd pay someone to do it. I also suffer from lack of interest in this department, though I can do it...

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    1. Yes, I suspect lack of interest is my main problem too Melissa!

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  8. foam pillows are really good cause they contour to your body which is important for your spine well atleast thats what my chiropractor told me I am need of a new one too! mine are so thin :|

    Steph :)

    ps... I really love your Template its super cute!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Steph - my good friend Katrina at the Media Maid sorted me out with the blog - and I will now take your chiro's advice on board and see if that helps with the pillow thing.

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  9. Oh how i connect with this. I have 8 pillows on my bed - they range from small, old and flat, to thick and hard latex, to soft feathers and a huge European pillow. Trouble is none of them really works for me - I just can't get it right, hence the ever increasing range of not quite comfortable pillows. And why is it that on TV shows a whole heap of pillows on a bed look so trendy? Mine just look like, well....a messy heap!!

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    Replies
    1. LOL. Your bed looks like my mum's would look had she not had me and my boys to hand the not-quite-right pillows over to!

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  10. I can't help you with the pillow thing, and as for the mending... why bother? If you managed to get this far without sewing anything there really isn't any point, is there? I say let someone else do it! Same goes for cooking fish. Takeaway is the best kind of fish, every one knows that! :-)

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  11. Steal Dad's pillow. Worked for me a number of years ago and I LOVE it! x

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    1. I've still got the one I stole from him 20 years ago. God knows why - don't use it for anything except leaning on to read when I actually get to read in bed (ie, never). But you may be right. Next time he's out of the house, I'm on it...

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  12. Pillows: make notes of all the pillows you've had so far, what type they are etc. Because they no longer work for you, you can then rule out buying another one that has these same attributes. Ask your mum what kind of pillow she now has, since she's so happy with it, maybe that type will be good for you too. Be sure to match brand, size and filling as well as firmness, softness etc.
    Mending: there are people out there who will sew on your buttons and restitch falling hems for a small fee. You could learn to do it yourself, it's easy enough, but with your "lack of interest" gene I seriously doubt you'll even try.
    Cooking fish: eat out.

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    Replies
    1. I love you River - you always have the best advice. You are definitely a fully functional adult and do not need my school at all. But I am promoting you to teacher!

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    2. No, no. With promotion comes responsibility and that's not my style at all.
      But thank you.

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  13. Made the move to latex a year ago - will never look back.
    Can sew - in fact, made my own wedding dress - but don't, hence why that annoying button on my new jacket is still fastened with a safety pin and I never, never, never do my own alterations.
    Fish - baked with a slice of lemon - great for salmon or white fish - about 15 minutes whatever you choose, can't go wrong!

    Wow! It looks like I have all the adult skills covered! So why don't I start cooking a munchkin's dinner 15 minutes before I NEED him to eat it, empty the compost container in the kitchen even though it's completely overflowing and insist on the taking off of muddy boots before entering the house (a certain hubby is particularly bad at this!)

    No matter what the skills we DO have, there is always plenty more we can see we DON'T. Live life, vacuum and eat fish and chips, I say!

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  14. There are plenty of things we all struggle with - even as adults.
    with buying the pillows this thread on the Decorating Forum about which pillows to buy might help - http://www.decoratingforum.com.au/showthread.php?1905-Pillow-recommendations&highlight=pillows

    Sewing - hmmm - too hard to get a genuine interest in. Put it down to being a chore like cleaning the toilet. You are never going to develop a passion for cleaning the toilet lol.

    Fish - well I am allergic to seafood so it is really hard to cook something you can't taste. But me family say I cook it to perfection. Surprising as cooking is not my thing. My 2 tips are:
    It needs to be cooked right through and you can tell by cutting it in half.
    Use the blunt side of a knife to push on the top of the fish. As it gets cooked you can feel with the knife that it gets tougher when you push on the knife. You want it to still feel soft but just starting to toughen up. Practice teaches you when is the right feel. It is the same with cooking steak.

    Hope all this helps:)

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  15. Seriously, I think Team Fibro is about the most helpful (and smart) crew on the interwebs. Thank you all so much for your advice. I am going to check out that forum Julie-Ann. I am much-comforted by the fact that there IS a forum for this - not just me at all!

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  16. Best pillow I've ever had from http://www.pillowsmtom.com.au made to measure - you contact them and they send you a measuring thing and then they send you a pillow back. Latex. Expensive, but they last for years apparently. So worth the $$.

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  17. I bought new latex pillows just recently for The Provider and myself and I am a new convert. Best sleep ever. I read somewhere that if you can fold your pillows in half and they fail to bounce back, then it's time to buy new ones. My old ones were embarrassingly good at staying folded, lol.

    I have a sewing machine but haven't used it for a LONG time. I must confess the last time someone wanted mending done, I secretly took it to the sewing lady at our local shops! More a case of 'couldn't be bothered' than 'couldn't do it'.

    And fish? Well, I only know two ways to do it - either in tin foil in the oven or with a little bit of butter in a pan. That being said, I prefer someone ELSE to cook it and me to eat it. x

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  18. I had never given the pillow thing any thought until now. And now that I do, I have never in my almost 40 years ever bought a pillow. I can though sew and cook fish. I agree with others about the mending - outsource that one - but the fish cooking if you are vaguely interested in improving at that seek out a cooking class or buy a copy of Peter Evans book 'Fish' and school up.

    As for me I have failed to get a mortgage or ever own a car that is younger than 10 years old I am sure there are other things but as Cath points out there will always be more to learn. I suddenly feel tired. Good luck!

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  19. I can cook fish! I will email you some recipes. I wish that I could decorate my house to look charming and classy. Mine always looks like a college dorm.

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  20. The easiest and healthiest way to cook fish is to bake it in a lidded corning ware (or cover a baking dish with foil). The method worked best with fillets - a squeeze of lemon, drizzle of XV olive oil, salt & pepper. Cover and bake at 180 degrees for about 15-20mins. Easy! The fish fillets should just start to break apart when you touch them. When you get really good at judging when they're done you take them out a min or two earlier because they continue to cook anyway. They should be soft and juicy and yummy with sweet potato and a salad.

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  21. Pillows - I like soft because I'm a side sleep and like to squish my arm up into the pillow. I used to have a latex one that cost about $100 but the one I have now is just a regular poly soft one. The hard ones give me a headache.

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