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Happy Anniversary Mrs Mandias

 Dearest Mrs Mandias

Today, the 13th day of December, is our 6th wedding anniversary. It is hard to believe that 6 years ago we started this little adventure together. In that time we have done many things, been to many countries and seen many sights. I have loved every minute (even when you steal my last little bit of ice cream from my bowl).

Firstly I would like to thanks you for putting up with me for all those years. You have supported me in my hair brain ideas and pretended to be interested in things that I think are important, especially this blog and my sports. You have continued to love me when many other people would have stopped and given up.

Mrs Mandias I love you more today then when we made our vows 6 years ago. You are beautiful in both body and spirit. Your  determination and cheerfulness is contagious and I love spending time with you. Today you still make me laugh, your smile still lights up a room and I love the many hours that we spend together. You are a fantastic mum and our wee boys are blessed to have you as their guide, teacher and corrector of my mistakes.  It is my prayer that the next 6 years are just as enjoyable and rewarding as the last.

Love and a tongue in the ear,

Your friend, lover and husband

Ozy Mandias


Ozy Mandias – Marriage bedroom secrets exposed

I never intended this blog to be a tell all depiction about my wife and my bedroom secrets. This blog is almost two years old and I am proud of the fact that I have not written about that topic nor farting. Sadly that will change as I feel it is time to share with you some of the bedroom difficulties my wife and I have had as we celebrate our 6th year of marriage in exactly a weeks time.

Basically as I reflect all of our problems they can be categorized under the heading ownership. All of our problems and arguments stem from this reason. Firstly, there is duvet ownership. This has been a big problem in our marriage. In the cooler winter months, the duvet, like in any bedroom, is a life raft of comfort. It is a source of warmth, comfort and security. However, due to the fact most beds only have one it can be a highly sort after commodity. Seldom has a winter’s night gone by with some sort of battle for ownership. There is pulling, tugging and at times the ‘BATTLE OF THE BLANKET’ can resemble a war zone. My wife has developed a particularly effective technique which I have termed the ‘Mandias Roll’. This is where my wife will tightly grip the duvet with her hands and then vigorously roll over on her side of the bed. This causes the entire duvet to be forced around her body and onto her side. Last winter we actually ripped a duvet when we both simultaneously attempted this move.

The next form of ownership that we have had to deal with is to do with actual bed space. We currently have a Queen Size bed which you would think would be adequate for two average sized humans. Cut the bed in half and we each approximately get an area 210cm by 95cm, which would be perfectly, acceptable under most circumstances. Out of courtesy for my partner I sleep according to these dimensions, using the traditional ‘soldier position’. My wife does not. She uses a variety of positions ranging from the ‘starfish’ to the ‘bomb’. Her favourite however, is the traditional fetal position with her knees tucked up under my armpits. This is the position favoured by 41% of the population and 51% of women. The geographically minded of you will realize this essentially leaves a large square of bed below my wife’s feet that has never been used. I call this the ‘Australian Outback’ of our bed. It is a vast waste less landmass uninhabited by anyone.

Key Sleeping Positions
Fetal Position (used by 41% of the population) Curled up on your side, holding the pillow. The most popular sleeping position, this one is favored by 51% of women. The personality of these sleepers tends to be shy and sensitive, though they may present a tough exterior to the world.Soldier Position (used by 8% of the population)- very popular in the military. Flat on your back with arms at your sides. Indicates a quiet and reserved personality who sets high standards.

Starfish Position (used by 5% of the population) – very popular in coast areas. Lying on your back with arms and legs outstretched. Indicates a good listener who makes friends easily, but prefers not to be the center of attention.

Freefall Position (used by 7% of the population) – very popular within the aviation industry. Flat on your stomach with arms at the head or ears. Indicates a brash and gregarious exterior who may inwardly be nervous and sensitive to criticism.

Log Position (used by 15% of the population) – Very popular with tree huggers. On your side with legs outstretched and arms at your sides. Indicates a social, easygoing personality.

Superman Position (used by 13% of the population) – very popular with men. Similar to the log, but with arms outstretched. Said to indicate a suspicious and cynical personality”

Whatever position my wife decides on the reality is that my around 2am she has gravitated to the middle of the bed and pushed me to the outskirts. Some nights my 95cm width is reduced to a mere 15cm of mattress space without anything resembling a duvet. With these circumstances it is not surprising that most nights end with me having less than adequate number of hours asleep. Most nights conclude with me either shivering uncontrollably due to having no warmth or hanging dangerously over the edge of the bed as I search for an area free of bony knees. Things have got so bad that I have thought about borrowing some climbing equipment from a friend and harnessing myself to the bed posts as a safety precaution if I should find myself pushed out beyond my coastal strip.

As a little research for this posts I found some rather alarming facts regarding sharing a bed with a husband or wife. Firstly it has been scientifically proven that sharing a bed drains a man’s brain power. Sharing a bed with someone could temporarily reduce your brain power – at least if you are a man – Austrian scientists suggest. When men spend the night with a bed mate their sleep is disturbed, whether they make love or not, and this impairs their mental ability the next day. The lack of sleep also increases a man’s stress hormone levels. According to the New Scientist study, women who share a bed fare better because they sleep more deeply.

Secondly, it has been scientifically proven that sharing a bed is bad for your health. Couples should consider sleeping apart for the good of their health and relationship, say experts.Sleep specialist Dr Neil Stanley told the British Science Festival how bed sharing can cause rows over snoring and duvet-hogging and robs precious sleep. One study found that, on average, couples suffered 50% more sleep disturbances if they shared a bed. Dr Stanley, who sleeps separately from his wife, points out that historically we were never meant to share our beds. He said the modern tradition of the marital bed only began with the industrial revolution, when people moving to overcrowded towns and cities found themselves short of living space.

As this post comes to an end I don’t want you to get the idea that I don’t contribute to problems within our bedroom. I also don’t want you to think that as a male I just sit back and hand over my corner of the duvet and my plot of mattress without a fight. Oh no I battle back with full artillery and I battle back with force. I use a mans best friend in my battle – sweat and farting. 

Personally I am in favour of farting in the winter months. In particular I am a fan of the Dutch Oven. While it can be time-consuming the results are nothing less than spectacular. It basically involves blowing wind under the covers several times and building up stench while Mrs Mandias is brushing her teeth and getting ready for bed, then when she gets into bed, I pull the covers over her head and yell “Dutch Oven” and let her enjoy the stench of my gas for at least 30 seconds. Alternatively it can be used as an excellent wedding anniversary present.

WIFE: What did you get me for our anniversary?
HUSBAND: Hold on…wait a minute…I got something….DUTCH OVEN!!!!

In the summer months a different tactic is required to find a little space within the bed. I am in favour of using the tools at your disposal and in summer the oppressive heat must be seen as a positive. Usually in the summer months the duvet, even a Farmer’s summer weight job, can actually be a bit of a burden and end up on the floor. Instead I often grab the duvet and wrap myself up like a giant hotdog for a couple of minutes. This produces sauna like sweating that no woman in her right mind likes to be a part of and I find when I am at my sweating best, usually in January and February it is my wife who is borrowing the climbing gear and hanging off HER side of the bed.

So there you have it. I have finally come clean about the bedroomantics of Ozy Mandias and in doing so touched on the two subjects I have done so well to avoid over the last 2 years. While definatley not the standard and gossip levels of a Tiger Woods exclusive, I have revealed some very personal truths today. Let’s just hope that Mrs Mandias doesn’t read this post.

Make or Break Weekend

Already the stress is beginning to show in our house. The weekend is only hours old and already I have been reprimanded by Rachel for a number of minor, yet significant, transgressions. The first was a failure to listen while the shopping list was given to me and the second was failing to listen when important instructions regarding the makeup of Eli’s wardrobe were passed to me.

The reason I say that the stress has only just started is that this weekend is probably the most significant sporting weekend we have had for over a decade. The media have referred to it as ‘Super Saturday’ and while this does highlight the importance of the weekend it is effectively media speak for what is known as ‘The Make or Break Weekend’.

To those unfamiliar with this weekend you probably don’t understand its significance. In the same way that Haley’s Comets only passes our earth once in a blue moon so it is with this weekend. The sporting calendars have all converged on August the 16th – 17th it will definitely be ‘Make or Break’ for many New Zealand marriages.

Weekends like this do come along every so often, perhaps once a season. What makes this weekend special is the huge importance and national significance to so many sporting events.
Firstly, we have the Olympics and the fact that we are medal less halfway through the two week extravaganza is a concern. Saturday evening will see our big rowing hopes on the water as we have 5 boats in rowing finals. The recent form of the rowing team has been a concern and with gold medal Mahe Drysdale coming down with diarrhoea just before his last race the nation is holding its collect breathe. Mahe is also holding his breathe because it is well known that diarrhoea runs in your jeans.
We also have further Olympic medallist opportunities with Valarie Villi and Nick Wills beginning their quest for Olympic immortality.
So far, apart from New Zealand’s medal telly, the Olympics have lived up to the hype and there has been some compelling viewing. For me two things stand out. Firstly, the weightlifter dislocating his shoulder has been regular viewing in my class over the last few days. Secondly, I have been astounded at the tans on most of the Olympic athletes, especially the ones from New Zealand. I am sure you have noticed it and if you haven’t just check out our rowers on Saturday evening. While most of us here in Aotearoa have lost our summers tans and are now whiter than a Scotsman’s belly, our Olympic representatives have spent the off season on the tanning bed. Perhaps this is the reason we are doing so poorly at the Olympics.

While the Olympics will hold centre stage, that is only just the beginning of the weekend. We have the All Blacks playing the Africans on Saturday evening and victory in South Africa would see us favourites to retain the Tri Nations Trophy. While most pundits are predicting a win for the greens this could be the making of Ritchie McCaw’s leadership. While not totally convinced of an All Black victory I would put my house on the fact that Canterbury will beat the arch enemy Auckland comfortably this weekend. The fact that this Canty v Auck game only gets two lines in this tribble is testament to the sheer volume of sport on this weekend.

But before the rugby and following our rowers small medal haul we have the warriors. The warriors have been building nicely over the last 6 weeks and another home victory could see them push into the top 8. I will be watching with interest.

Furthermore, we also have the start of the all importance soccer season. The Premiership begins in England and hopefully we will see Tottenham rise above their normal 10th place finish. We also have the Phoenix starting their quest for A-League victory on Sunday afternoon at 5pm.

So you can already see the importance of this weekend. It will not be easy but hopefully come Monday morning Rachel will still be talking to me, New Zealand will have a couple of gold medals and I am not too tired to make it to work by 8:00am.

The Big Day is Approaching

Well it is the 11th of February 2008 and we all know what that means. To the romantic amongst us it means that in a few days the world will celebrate Valentines Day. It may surprise a lot of you that I am a fan of ‘the day of love’. You see at heart I am a true romantic. I am a rare gem amongst the normal hard hearted man – a swimmer against the tide of mediocre love. Despite the price of flowers suddenly tripling and the Warehouse suddenly displaying 1000’s of heart decorated satin boxer shorts this time of year is one of my favourites.

While most New Zealand males see this time of year as an encroachment on their personalities, I see it as a time of possibility. A time to affirm your feelings for the one you love, a time to show your romantic side and a time to give and appreciate important people in your life. But most importantly it is a time to realise that the Super 14 begins on the 15th of February.

Many men sadly miss this perfectly timed day of love and fail to understand its importance with the approaching rugby season. Valentines Day is not a burden it is the perfectly timed day of ground work for the approaching rugby season. A bunch of flowers on the 14th goes a long way to a successful rugby season.

With the approaching rugby season we also have the importance of the Telecom Virtual Super 14. For those amongst you unfamiliar with this game it is a highly technical prediction game. Each player has to pick the weekly Super 14 results with a team earning points for the accuracy of their predictions.
As you could guess this is a game for me. In fact this is one of the few subjects that I can speak with authority and clarity on. In last seasons game I was actually leading the entire competition after two rounds. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. Out of the 94,586 people taking part, yours truly was sitting pretty at the top of the pile. RedBlackRed was riding shotgun in the world of prediction games and the world was in my wake. The fame did bring its burden with radio interviews and intrusive promotional work so it was a relief when I failed miserably in Week 3 and ended up finishing in 89,381 place wedged between Tom’s Townies and DancewiththeBlues.

The secret to a successful virtual Super 14 team comes down to a small number of basic principles.

The first basic principle is to think with your head and not your heart. Many a virtual team score has been decimated due to the manager being loyal to their own team. For a success Virtual Super 14 player you can’t have a favourite team. Take New Zealand teams for instant. Sure the Blues are a good side, especially when playing at home. However, they couldn’t win in a game of rugby in South Africa for all the tea in China. Likewise the Chiefs are useless overseas and the Highlanders are just plan useless. So if you do support a New Zealand team make sure it is the Crusaders because they seem to win everything

The second rule is equally as simple; never try to predict the Hurricanes. Without doubt the most frustrating team in the competition is the Hurricanes. One week they could lose to the local school for the bind and then the following week beat the Crusaders after being down by 20 points at half time. The best idea when picking a game with the Hurricanes is to do it with your eyes closed.

As time is ticking by I will finish off with a couple more important things to remember and think about with you make your picks
1. South African teams are useless in New Zealand.
2. Most New Zealand teams lose in South Africa
3. Australian teams are just plan useless, except for the Waratahs
4. Home teams victories will be high this year.

So this year when you sign up remember my advice and I wish you luck in your endeavor. For me the next few days will be spent analyzing the form of the teams, the referees, star players and the players missing through injury. However, at some point I will need to wrap my wife’s box of Roses Chocolates for the 14th. In true romantic style I bought an extra box in the Boxing Day sales earlier this year to avoid the annoying Valentines Day price increase.