First, I went to work (ok, so not so productive). Much to my surprise, I was granted a facial appointment at 2 pm, which pretty much never happens unless you call aeons in advance which I didn’t.

Ok, so this is not sounding very productive. I’m just going to list what I did for those of you who don’t want to read the whole thing only to discover there was no point at all. After work I:

1. Ate two solitary meals which I thoroughly enjoyed

2. Went for facial

3. Found a yarn shop and acquired knitting stuff

4. Finally acquired maternity clothes that fit.

Now here’s the long version:

So after work, I dashed to the mall to ingest some food and ended up choosing a café attached to the bookshop in the mall. The clientele of the café comprised three women (including me) all reading books. Suddenly, I loved Hong Kong.

The reason I chose the bookstore café was because I decided that I was going to treat myself to some decent Tudor fiction. I am currently in a Tudor-fiction phase (more on that later). So, I slurped down the spaghetti presented to me and hurried into the enormous bookshop, where it occurred to me that instead of perusing every single row – delectable as that was – I should have printed out a list of titles and authors, since this time I had a purpose in mind.

I had to give up my quest because I realised I didn’t have infinite time. I had 15 minutes to rush into H&M and ascertain whether I could find a looser pair of formal maternity trousers than the ones I had bought in a hurry the last time.

Short diatribe on maternity wear:

Yeah, I have finally succumbed to the need for maternity clothes. Leaving the top button of my tousers undone is just not working anymore… and dresses are too expensive (in terms of number of dresses that would be needed).

But maternity clothes, like baby clothes, are expensive. For the simple reason, I think, that savvy marketers assume that at this magical time women are going to overlook good sense and go gaga, and their husbands won’t have the heart to stop them. Nothing else explains the cost of maternity clothes or baby clothes, both of which will be outgrown in a few months.

Having browsed through the tepid and yet fabulously priced offerings in a couple of maternity shops, I decided to call their bluff by simply buying tops three sizes larger than normal. Marks and Spenser, a place I can never find anything in my size normally (which will give you some idea how my girth has burgeoned), served the purpose well. Time will tell whether they are stretchy enough, but I figured I know at least three people who would be happy to have M&S tops passed on to them so they will never be a complete waste.

Bottoms are harder. I’ve realised even tights might benefit from special maternity-band treatment (not that I am splurging on maternity tights just yet). I finally admitted that I needed at least one pair of trousers that I could wear to work. But they are so bloody expensive!

Moreover, I humiliatingly discovered that I do not fit into any of the regular sizes. I am officially not just a Large… but an Extra-Large. How can that be? I have never been anything but a Small or Medium in ordinary sizes… so how come I’m suddenly an Extra Large in maternity. Damn those Chinese women who do not sprout hips or expanded thighs during motherhood (and who do not show till like the 6th month, but I’m over that now)!

H&M is like an angel of maternity wear. It has the most reasonably-priced maternity wear I have seen anywhere in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, a sale is going on which means a dearth of regular sizes. Moreover, the lines for the fitting rooms are serpentine. Anyway, I bought a pair of jeans which are awesome and a pair of black trousers that I figured I could exchange for something better if something better turned out. Unfortunately, I realised that size 42 (!) does not fit me and I need a 44(!!) in the black trousers, hence the need to go back to H&M.

Realizing I had cut things too fine, I raced for my facial. Only to discover that the shop appeared to have closed down. There was a message in Chinese and a phone number tacked to the door. I called the number and it turns out they have moved shop. Only nobody bothered to tell me. Huff and puff to the new shop, which thankfully turned out to be better than the old one. The facial was bliss.

Knit-picking

My next project for the day was finding a yarn store. I have decided I am going to knit the baby something. I learnt to knit when I was in school and loved it. Except my knitting got relegated to making strips that functioned as either tube tops or mini skirts in various colours for our Barbies; apart from the booties and bonnet made for school, nothing else was attempted.

In this tradition of sticking to straight and narrow, I have decided I am going to make a blanket. Unfortunately, I have forgotten how to knit, what size knitting needles one might need and how to go about choosing yarn. This did not stop me from googling yarn shops in Hong Kong and serendipitously, I spotted one five minutes away from the facial place.

On the fourth floor of a shady building, this shop doubles up as a knitting club for middle-aged Chinese women. Since I am neither Chinese nor middle-aged, I was relegated to incompetently trying to buy a pair of needles. Having cluelessly chosen a pair, the shop lady realised I was a newbie and came to my aid to help me select the yarn. Despite her limited English, she was able to figure out “baby” and “blanket” and suggest something that could work with my needles. I selected the same blue that I had used for the booties in school.

Discovery of how much I need to ingest to feel full

Apparently, there are some maternity shops in Causeway Bay so I decided to find them. But since it was already (gasp!) three hours since I last ate, I decided I had to eat something which turned out to be an enormous pizza in a bar. When the pizza arrived I thought I’d probably just eat half and pack the rest, but I ended up eating almost the entire thing. And for once in a very long time, I did not feel sick or gassy until much much later which indicates that what I need to fill me up properly is an 8-12 inch pizza all to myself every few hours, small meals be damned.

Voila, pants that fit!

I had printed out the list of maternity shops (and yarn shops) in the area in office but typically, had left them on my desk. This is why people like me need internet on their mobile phones. In ten minutes, I had a new list scribbled out on the paper place mat of the bar.

One of which turned out to be right around the corner. And there I found – in EXTRA large size – a pair of black maternity trousers that fit me. They were on discount too which warmed the cockles of my heart. I valiantly resisted the urge to buy anything else and headed out… where I spotted another maternity shop, 50% off. Resolutely, I turned my eyes away and headed home. I figured I had done enough damage (to my wallet) for one day.

Picking up the thread

When I got home, I googled “how to knit” and refreshed myself on how to cast on, knit, purl and cast off. And I was off! Knitting is now my new obsession. I have already produced a skirt from my niece’s Barbie (practice swatch) and gone through one ball of wool for the blanket. The pattern I chose is so basic, not sure it can be called a pattern. But I figure I can liven it up by using different coloured wool. Already, I have made a couple of errors but I figure the baby won’t know any better. I have yet to figure out how to fix errors.

I also have to figure out which needle is ideal for what and how to choose wool. I’ve contacted a group of English-speaking women who get together to knit and I might meet up with them. In the meantime, any of my readers who knit, here’s your chance to guide a newbie! Simple patterns, best wool/needles for said pattern and how to tell which wool and needle to buy for what are welcome.

The end
So Saturday was solitary. Then on Sunday, we met up with friends for a very very spicy and very expensive but much-craved Sichuan lunch. And that was the end of my very productive weekend.

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