Tuesday, 28 December 2010
Hooray! Hooray! It’s trouser trying on day and it’s time to move onto a smaller pair as these checked pantaloons are now destined for the normal wardrobe.
Had lunch with the delightful Sarah and her edible son Thomas today; perfect. All is good in my, ‘it’s not happening if I can’t see you world’. La-la-la...
I generally love a good Thursday and today was no exception. The Rage is caged for now and even though ‘the norm’ is set to change, for today at least, I managed to pretend that it could be this way forever.
The first thing about Thursdays is that in the morning a truly fantastic girl now comes to my house and cleans it. This is beyond brilliant. The plan was always to get a cleaner upon my return to work, but Gail started a few weeks ago, so that everything would be in place when that dreaded day arrives. The lovely Gail is one of those extraordinary people who isn’t daunted by anything and is basically impressive at everything she attempts.
The second thing about Thursdays is that for an hour before lunch The Little Perfect One and I go to ‘Toddler Training’, in Hazlet. This is not a group designed to teach toddlers to sit and heel. No, despite the name, we have heaps of fun spinning around, playing football, singing and catching bubbles.
The third thing about this particular Thursday was that Simona, The Little Perfect One and I all trundled along to the ‘Museum of Great Fantastical-ness.’ OK, so it’s not actually called that, but it’s so good it could be. It leaves me feeling thoroughly inspired and happily convinced that I am back to being 8 again... Also they have some of the world’s finest cakes.
Bliss... If only every day could be as delicious.
OK, so today is even more beautiful than yesterday and even though I am still a miserable Moo, things are looking up a bit.
1. The Tree looks decidedly lovely.
2. Despite the fact that it was a case of Ring and Repeat with The Big Ugly last night, we now have an Engineer booked for next Monday (29-11-10).
3. No Internet, but no Big Ugly calls for 4 whole days!!!!!
4. Today, husband time and exercise time will be restored.
5. Yes I do still have to go back to work in a couple of weeks, but I am determined to have a wonderful day with my gorgeous boy.
Also, I’ve been thinking about yesterday. I don’t really have a defence, but thought it worth mentioning that Lorna’s voice has been known to grate even on the saintly. It’s not just her Pilculton inflection, it’s more her tone. Some words are stripped of endings and additional syllables are inserted into the middle of others. All are pelted out at speed, in an erratic pitch and there are, at most, 5 distinct consonants.
However, I can’t help smiling when she needs to give her children a ‘telling off’. You see, Lorna has always lived in Pilculton. Her family have been there for at least seven generations. Yet the Pilculton twang melts away at the slightest hint of discipline. ‘No Theo. We do not do that’ is always delivered in a rather convincing Zimbabwean accent.
I think it might be a way of separating ‘Good-Cop-Mummy’ from ‘Naughty-Step-Mummy’. Perhaps I’ll start working on a Romanian flavour for The Little Perfect One, or maybe Glaswegian?
Hmm... I wonder which Mummies have the sweetest, kindest, best behaved children...
Well, it’s probably the ones that can at least behave themselves. I’ll probably start with that before spicing up my inflection.
Sorry Lorna. I did put myself in time-out for 35 minutes.
It’s just one of those beautiful, bright, blue winter skies today. Down below, we are still breathing in all the dirty smog that’s being belched out by The Big Ugly.
Last night, The Big Ugly managed to erode yet another evening with their inane loop questions, inability to tell the time, false promises and blatant lies. Hoobiz spent 4 hours and 38 minutes playing the patented, Big Ugly Multi-Media Game of ‘How long can you keep listening before you give in and shoot yourself in the head?’ Apparently he’s still winning, so The Big Ugly have given that nasty wheel of theirs another spin. Yet again Hoobiz was asked, ‘to be patient and allow 24 hours for the changes to update.’ Once more he is also instructed not to ring again, as ‘this will confuse the case and could result in a delayed resolution.’
There are few things that I despise more than repetition. Perhaps it’s a bit of a rubbish example, but I once forced myself to write ‘I hate repetition’ out 1000 times. Of course, it’s comforting to read the same passage or listen to the same track 1000 times. That’s how to rock your mind without rocking your body. Between the ages of 14 and 15, I think I probably spent more time on the loo, reading Animal Farm than, I did sleeping; but that was soothing. This vile, re-hashed nonsense only leads me to grind even further through my top teeth and into my upper jaw bone.
In summary, last night I had neither husband nor Internet, which left me with only The Rage.
I wanted to scream, but unlike The Big Ugly, I did care that The Little Perfect One would be woken up. I even felt more lardy than I did a few days ago and that is also a direct result of The Big Ugly’s Noxious Spinning Game. You see, I exercise when Hoobiz feeds and baths The Little Perfect One, but this cannot happen when The Big Ugly lays splat across our evenings like some nasty, trans-fatty, pooing leech.
The Rage and I blundered around the house all morning, without a consistent purpose, despite the fact that we needed to be in Hazlet by 1:30pm. We managed to thunder off just after 1pm, despite needing to leave by 12:15pm. The Little Perfect One, The Rage and I were heading to meet my friend Lorna and her children at ‘Crazzie Kiddles’, in Hazlet. I should probably mention that Hazlet was the epicentre of all things scary during the reign of The Seven Bitches. However, over the last 18 months it has moved almost completely from trophy outing to routine trip. No more ‘Haunted Hazlet’, or at least, not usually.
I needed to stop at Waitrose en route. I hadn’t been able to shop online and didn’t have anything healthy for lunch. Fortunately, The Little Perfect One has enough cooked meals in the freezer to last well into the middle of next year, but The Rage and I were famished. It also seemed like a healing sort of detour, as I know that there is a lot more to the world than Waitrose, but I feel safe there. OK, so people have started to call me Madam and you might get the occasionally dodgy trolley, but for the most part it’s a friendly, happy place, which offers a warm smile in every aisle. Well, perhaps it’s not as cheesy as all that, but it’s good and clean and nice. As my Aunty Jemima would say, ‘Well John Lewis, you can’t go wrong’. I’d hoped I might be able to grab a few bits for later: a quick salad to satisfy my hunger and maybe a bag of fresh gentle politeness to quieten The Rage.
The problem is that a morning of stomping has left me too short on time to be able to make this a relaxing spree. Also, everyone within a 50 mile radius of Hazlet has decided to drag their own Rages, Panics, Frustrations and most notably ‘Need to Park Really Really Badly’s’ into Waitrose. I hate parking and need to circle the car park 4 times before I can nab a space which I can actually negotiate; a car on the one side, but a space on the other.
Then, as I am struggling to carry the 24lb Little Perfect One across the 500 meters to the shops entrance, I feel The Rage Rising. Firstly, I noticed that all 4 cars in the ‘Reserved for Customers with Children’ section were being loaded and would drive away in less than a minute. Secondly, I notice that all 4 of these customers have ridiculously high-heels, but weirdly, invisible offspring. In order to prevent The Rage from blurting out something embarrassing, I decided to sing ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ loudly to The Little Perfect One. Well, of course that saved my blushes.
Once inside, I realise that my shopping list has been left in the car, as has my resolve to eat only leaves and lean protein. I grab rusks, yoghurt, bananas, sweet potatoes, butternut squash a 3 meter cheddar baguette, salt and vinegar crisps and a packet of chocolate Hobnobs. I checked my phone as I waddled back across the Car Park, 1:28pm, marvellous! I had 2 minutes to get to ‘Crazzie Kiddles’ and cram my face with processed carbohydrates.
Picking up to a sort of power- shuffle, I notice that a dirty great Land rover has been abandoned in the previously empty space next to my car. It’s practically on top of my car, so far over the line that even on a skinny day Calista Flockhart wouldn’t have been able to squeeze herself into the passenger seat. I stop, throw down my shopping bags, fling one arm in the air and shout ‘Inspired Parking!’
I don’t usually do anything like this. Not out loud and certainly not at Waitrose. My Manager said that he though becoming a Mum, ‘would do wonders for my assertiveness’. I don’t suppose he was prophesising me shouting at the sky in public place! Well, I certainly hope not.
A very ruddy, bearded bloke in a cap mumbles behind me, ‘No problem. It’s alright, I’m right there.’ I was cringing too badly to look at him, whilst I struggled frantically to get The Little Perfect One into his rear passenger seat via the driver’s side door. Poor Man! He probably came out to get some bread and restore his faith in human nature. Now, he’ll be going home with a squashed bloomer and a belief that the world has gone mad. Why hadn’t I stuck to ‘Wheels on the Bus’?
I arrived only 3 minutes late to ‘Crazzie Kiddles’, but there were plenty of suitable spaces and my friend Lorna didn’t look to have been on time either. I un-wrapped my giant, cheese bread van and started to devour it, whilst stuffing salt and vinegar Pringles into the gaps at the side of my mouth. I was just about to add a chocolate biscuit into the furious taste sensation, but before I could rip off the lid I noticed that Lorna had pulled up beside me. I discarded my picnic on the dashboard, wiped the crumby-mayonnaise from my mouth and across my nose before saying ‘Hi’. Shame I didn’t think to swallow.
Lorna, her two children, Theo and Peggy, The Little Perfect One and I all set up camp at one of the brightly coloured, plastic tables of ‘Crazzie Kiddles’. Theo, 2 and his older sister Peggy, not yet 4, (which must surely be an example of ‘Crazzie Parentiles’), are keen to descend into the neon tunnels of ‘Crazzie’ and a tired Lorna is more than delighted to let them.
I’ve known Lorna for years, but we lost contact for a lot of them and have only started to ‘be friends’ again in the last 14 months or so. She’s sweet, fun, clever and interesting, but not always delicate. Still, it shouldn’t have mattered. I mean, I should have been on my best behaviour, as in some ways Lorna is still a new friend. Unfortunately, I was still quite hungry, The Rage was growing and I just wanted to be at home with The Little Perfect One.
There were a lot of clangers, but two stick out.
Lorna said, ‘So, how you coping with the going back to work thing?’ No, please I thought don’t mention the W Thing. I’m only coping with it by pretending that it’s never going to happen.
‘Well, it is what it is.’ I said, hoping that this was a good conversation closer.
But Lorna seemed to want to reassure me further. ‘Don’t worry,’ she began, ‘it really won’t be that bad. It’s good actually, you can have a cup of coffee when you want and put it anywhere.’
I resisted the urge to sing ‘Wheels on the Bus’ and also to scream at her, ’I’m going to a fulltime job, which previously exhausted about 60 hours of my week and you pootle into a class room on a Monday afternoon and a Friday Morning.’
Instead, I almost snarl, ‘Well, I suppose I’ll find out soon enough, but right now I’m just going to enjoy my last few weeks with The Little Perfect One and not go on about it all the bloody time.’
However Lorna hadn’t finished. She asks, ‘What are you doing for childcare though? Have you got that all sorted?’
‘Round and round’, I’m singing in my head, but decide it’s best just to reel out the facts. ‘Well on Monday he’s going to be with Hoobiz’s Mum, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with the Childminder and Friday with my Mum.’
‘Oh I expect your Mum can’t wait to have him.’ She said, beaming at me.
This was the poke the Rage wouldn’t ignore. ‘Well,’ I said, ‘I am sure she is, but she certainly wouldn’t be tactless enough to say so.’ It’s rude, but it’s true. Simona adores TLPO, and he her. If I have to be at work, then there isn’t anyone other than Hoobiz that I would rather look after TLPO, but part of that is because Simona won’t make an issue of it.
At this point I carry TLPO over the barrier and into the ball pit. Lorna follows in silence. Well, a silent second or two. Which was broken by her asking, ’Have you lost weight Mrs?’
The Rage had been unleashed and instead of saying, ‘Why, thank you! Yes, I have, a little bit.’ I roar, ‘Well I should bloody well think so! I mean duh, I have had a baby after all, isn’t that what happens?’
Damn that horrible little spoilt Rage. It must have been her, as I could never be so repulsive and pointless.
I did spend the rest of the afternoon feeling pretty shitty, but mostly still furious at the world and painfully sorry for myself. Oh God! How I need a slap! Where’s that remote control?
Wednesday, 22 December 2010
I was a bit annoyed at The Tree today. At first I felt sorry for her out there stripped and waiting in the sinister murk, but then the rumours started. ‘She must be desperate for the spring’, it begins, ‘It’s her you know, willing it forward and dissolving these last precious days.’ Then it roars into a bitter chorus of ‘Maybe it’s all of them, hungry naked trees sucking the last drop of warmth from ...’ Stop! Then I remind myself that I am no longer mad and cannot tolerate such nonsense.
Sorry Tree! I was just a bit edgy first thing as at 10:20am this morning I had an appointment with the Dentist. Yes, it was only a check-up, but I’m not yet back in the habit of being a regular. Like many things, the Dentist was off limits during the Dog days, or specifically the Seven Year Bitch. It was just not possible. Add to those 7 years the 3 preceding, ‘well my teeth don’t hurt so they must be alright’ and suddenly it was 10 years without opening wide.
Yes, dear Tree, the truth is that my teeth aren’t great and my most recent dental incidents have left me in fear of being sectioned. At the very least I’m worried that my notes are littered with ‘NFN’.
Wednesday August 26th 2009 saw my return to the world of pink rinse in a plastic cup. It was horrendous. I’m not even that scared of the big bad chair, I’m actually more frightened of the hairdressers, but I was terrified of being told off and still a little haunted by the Seven Bitches. Panic rising, I phoned the wonder that is Simona. Her calm reassurance is guaranteed. ’Don’t fret Darling, just take a couple of deep breaths and have a few sips of water.’ I did listen, but sips became gulps and gulps became glasses and glasses became gallons.
I was 5 months pregnant and for the first time in my life, excusing the whoopsie at play group, I actually thought I might pee myself. Not a little sneezey lady type trickle, a full on pregnant mare’s torrent. Fortunately, I did ‘nip to the loo’ and managed to save myself from flooding the waiting room, but the urgent sensation returned as soon as my bum landed on Mr Prod’s shinny black recliner. I’m too awkward to ask for a lot of things and asking the Dentist after 10 years if I could ‘wiz to the ladies’, was beyond me. I decided instead to employ my trusted cure-all-for-any-occasion: talking. I reasoned that if I was talking I couldn’t be weeing. What I hadn’t factored in, was that if I was talking, Mr Prod couldn’t be prodding.
‘Not good really, I mean it’s been ten years since my last visit and, you know, not that there was any particular reason...’ I rambled excitedly, but Mr Prod loomed overhead with his gleaming spike and twirling mirror.
’10 years eh? I had a client in last week who’d not seen a dentist for 25 years, so yours isn’t a record. Just open...’ As if I was going to let him finish loading that gun!
’Yes, I just need you to know that I’m sorry and I’m very ashamed of my teeth and I’m quite highly strung and I used to drink a lot of smoothies, but I’m slowing down now and I’m pregnant so that’s why my gums bleed...’
‘OK, well let’s have a look then. Just open...’
I wish I could say that I did shut-up at this point, but no I just kept babbling. ‘Is talking bad for your teeth? I think I heard somewhere that it was and the thing is I do like to talk, so that probably doesn’t help...’
I know that sedation isn’t routinely used in check-ups, but I’m guessing Mr Prod was at least tempted. Luckily, the very smiley, softly-spoken Dental Nurse decided to intervene.
‘Just relax’, she says whilst placing her hand over mine, ‘and a nice deep breath.’
I needed to keep talking, but my mind was blocking all thoughts except ‘don’t wee’. So all I could manage was a sort of high pitched verbal decay and this allowed Mr Prod to go in. He started shouting out a series of letter and number combinations, which sounded rather like a string of aggressive chess moves. It wasn’t looking good for me, I decided at best I’d be left with a couple of pawns and half a rook.
It was at this point I started to cry. Embarrassing I know. I am not even sure why. A mixture of fear, relief and needing a wee, I think. That was it, I couldn’t talk so crying was the only other option. It wasn’t the big, sobbing, square-mouthed body shaking sort of a cry, but it was noticeable.
‘Are you alright?’, asked Mr Prod.
‘Yes, I’m fine.’ I said, even though I was actually thinking: I’ve just got wee in my eyes, but it’s all good. Pull yourself together girl!
‘OK, so I can’t do an X-Ray now, but the good news is that I can’t see any fillings.’
I couldn’t actually take in what he said. I mean, had he actually seen my teeth? They are flipping awful! Nasty little yellow pegs, like miniature un-popped corns. I expected that he’d take out half of them just to make the world a slightly better place.
‘You’re not going to take them all out and through them away?’ I have to ask him, I mean, the front ones are more fish scales than teeth.
‘However,’ Mr Prod continues, ignoring my outburst ’you do have an issue with grinding. We’ll make a night guard for you to wear, which should help a bit, but you’ll need to wear it every night. Basically, you’ve nearly worn your top teeth away and once that happens I’m afraid that there isn’t anything we can do.’
Not ideal, I thought, but was more surprised that when sitting upright I no longer needed to pee. I felt quite calm and even managed to lie quietly as the cold mustardy, Blu-Tack-cum-concrete stuff sets in my mouth.
‘Right then, we’ll see you in about a week to fit the guard,’ concludes Mr Prod.
‘Oh dear! All talk and no teeth really, I suppose.’ I garble after spitting out little yellow pellets.
‘Quite.’ Murmurs an embarrassed Mr Prod.
Oh, why is it that I can’t seem to speak out when I actually need to, but seem incapable of staying quiet when I really should?
I won’t bore you with my last 3 visits, but let’s just say that I didn’t manage to win over Mr Prod with my witty banter and winning smile.
Today, went quite well actually. This was mainly because I was in pain and the dull throbbing in my face seemed to stem my usual flow of twiticism. I was rushing this morning to get myself and The Little Perfect One ready. TLPO was coming as an observer on the advice of the Health Visitor. Apparently you need to take babies to the Dentist with you in order to stop them being afraid. All a bit String theory to me. Nice idea so I’ll go along with it, but I don’t actually get it.
Anyway, in the haste I picked up TLPO without noticing that he was holding onto the ‘dummy’ remote control and before I could squeeze him into his snowsuit, a quick, black, plastic whack had collided with my left eye. Marvellous! I’ve never had a black eye before and now my first shiner was destined to be illuminated under Mr Prod’s spot light. I do wonder if he thought, ‘I’m not surprised someone took a swing at this freak. If I knew who it was I’d buy them a pint’.
However, I think what he actually said was worse. ‘You still have cleaning issues. I’ve found quite a lot of material between your teeth’.
Material? Not only do I feel properly skanky, but the Dentist also seems to think I’ve been eating the duvet.
The Little Perfect One was a star though. Even Mr Prod managed a smile. He’s also found the antidote for my bumbling lunacy : a short sharp smack around the head.
It’s weird, when looking back on a day, that the Dentist becomes a highlight. However, I’m sorry to say that so much of today was again blighted by The Big Ugly. I can’t actually type anymore for rage at how Big and Ugly they are, so I think it’s best I don’t.
Sunday, 19 December 2010
It’s pretty impressive that despite the biting cold, my Tree still has a few leaves and I’m not just talking about the Ivy-collar. I mean look at the bottom of the photo, genuine Tree leaves! Well what is most impressive is that a bumbling Techno-Wally like me has managed to find the zoom button.
It’s not that all things digital and new-fangled scare me - they just don’t interest me. Don’t get me wrong - I’m delighted when they work and make life simpler; I just don’t want to read or talk about them. Hoobiz spent over a year reading articles about the ‘iTablet’, fascinated by every titbit of news or opinion. It just makes me cross. It’s either happening or it’s not and I don’t see what’s exciting about waiting for it. For about 13 months my proviso on any conversations with Hoobiz was ‘Only if it isn’t even vaguely related to anything technical’. Well I’m not quite that harsh, but he was restricted to a daily 15 minute time limit.
I do actually love to know how things work. Cassettes used to enthral me and I can be captivated by the workings of a clock or even an engine, but this invisible trickery is all a bit too Shazam for me. I can’t see it, have no chance of fixing it and so use it only on the understanding that we are not friends.
When I look at this picture of The Tree it forces me to remember that the day actually started out really well. The Little Perfect One decide to treat Hoobiz and I to a lie in. 7:45, yes quarter to eight, fantastic! Breakfast, which is usually a raucous battle of toast and yoghurt, was an effortless giggle-fest and this was followed by a typically wonderful phone call from Simona. The scene was set for a laid-back Sunday.
‘Best get these presents started’, said Hoobiz armed with the iPad, (OK, yes, it is a very beautiful and useful thing). An Internet outing is required for The Little Perfect One first Christmas and for Boxing Day, his first Birthday. Naturally all of the gift ideas are contained in a variety of different lists: ‘Christmas’, ‘TLPO’s Christmas’, ’Birthdays’, ‘TLPO’s Birthday’ and of course ‘Presents for TLPO’. We just needed to search, click and buy. Then we’d head out to the park and after a brisk walk be re-carbing on roast potatoes in the pub by lunchtime. Or so we thought...
Unfortunately, we didn’t have any connection. Well to be accurate, technically we did have connection, just not any through-put. The point is that is that it stopped working this morning and now, as I am thinking of getting into my Pyjamas, it’s still not working.
Hoobiz spends half an hour on the phone to The Big Ugly reporting the fault and is told he would be called back in an hour.
Two and half hours later, even the patient Hoobiz is fed up. He calls back, only to spend another half an hour repeating all the answers of his first call. Hoobiz is told he will receive a call back in thirty minutes.
One and a half hours later, The Big Ugly call back and before he can lug the PC downstairs and spend an hour confirming various checks, Hoobiz must first be subjected for the third time to all of the initial questions. This is due to the fact that ‘there are limited notes on this case.’ However, Hoobiz is now assured that all of the records have been updated. Phew! Also changes will be made to correct the fault and he will receive a call back between 5:30pm and 7pm to confirm that all is running as expected. Happy days!
At 8:30 Hoobiz calls The Big Ugly and is again asked to repeat all of his previous information. Apparently, it is ‘imperative to confirm that all of the information is current’. From our experience of The Big Ugly the irony of this statement burns deeply, as I dig my nails into the palms of my clenched shaking fists. ‘Insufficient! Unacceptable! Useless! Totally unacceptable!’ I’m raging in the doorway, but Hoobiz waves me away, gesturing quite deftly that he really doesn’t need to contend with me as well as The Big Ugly. Hoobiz is asked to be ‘patient’ and allow 24 hours for the ‘changes’ to update. He is also instructed not to ring again as this will ‘confuse the case and could result in a delayed resolution.’
Why this again now? Just over two months ago we had huge issues with The Big Ugly and now they’ve ruined another Sunday.
Did you know that Internet and Broadband are not the same thing? Arrrh! Did you know that this techno-voodoo is just supposed to work?
I shall not name The Big Ugly, they know who they are. After our last battle; ‘Bring down The Big Ugly’ became number 26 on that week’s Master List. I’m not quite sure what that means. Maybe all it means is that we will one day switch suppliers, as I would imagine that with my Luddite leanings I am unlike to mastermind the creation of The Big Ugly’s Ultimate Competitor. Still it’s a nice dream...
Poor Tree! If only we could click a giant met-mouse somewhere and change back to yesterday’s gorgeous winter blue. Today’s sky looks a forgotten bucket of bleach and old knickers. It would be an indoor day. More chance of vitamin D on the sofa.
Hoobiz began the day with his usual weekend warning. ‘I’ve no problem with a list, but please, please at least try and make it realistic’. Hoobiz used to be terrified of my obsessive list making, but has now conceded that when managed well they do have some merit. Firstly Hoobiz has a shocking memory and my constant scribbling has occasionally been noted a useful prompt. Secondly, with a firm line through one of my actions Hoobiz has an irrefutable record of his industry.
Hoobiz is all kinds of everything and most of them wonderful; yet he is a constant, which both delights and infuriates me. He is in fact 96% Hoobiz, 2% Anewbiz the perfect Husband and 2% Eargon the perfect Git. I’ll let Anewbiz show himself and I don’t care to give an example of Eargon as the story usually starts with me being a complete monster. The only exception is Half-Arsed; although still technically Hoobiz, he’s just a slightly diluted clumsy version. I supposed there might be an epic internal struggle between Hoobiz and Half-Arsed, but I think that one is just a more knackered version of the first. Half-Arsed tends to the minimum and speaks without thinking. Half-Arsed will wash up anything except glasses, ( well they’re see-through, how would he see them?), he might wash clothes occasionally, but he’ll never put them away and Half-Arsed’s signature nail clippings can be found anywhere except the bin.
A couple of hours after I had given birth to The 10lb Little Perfect One and what must have been a 15 ton placenta I felt positively sylph-like. Seriously, it was as if people might see me and gasp, ‘Give that girl a good meal’. I was ready to spring back into my skinny jeans. Well, ‘back’ is a bad choice of words, as I haven’t ever actually owned a pair, but I was ready for them now. Swishing about in my maternity nightdress I turned to Hoobiz, grinning smugly and asked, ‘So how pregnant do I look now?’ Hoobiz –Half-Arsed smiles back and says ‘I don’t know Lovely, about eight months?’ Oops. I come over all Catherine Tate with my, ‘Eight months? Eiggght months?’ Then Half-Arsed really kicks in and replies, ‘It’s a lose- lose situation when you ask my opinion, as I either have to lie or tell you something you don’t want to hear.’ Fortunately, I felt too thin to argue and Hoobiz redeemed himself promptly by opening the custard creams.
Hoobiz would say that I have a thousand different personalities to his 3, but not in an adoring ‘I’m every woman’ type way. Hoobiz actually hates that song, I’m not quite sure why, but suspect that it might remind him of a herd of drunken ‘Madams’ stampeding the dance floor at the end of a wedding. No, Hoobiz means that sadly I’m not a constant. On a really bad day he could go shopping with Misserina, bump into Anita and end up in bed with his Nemesis the dreaded Muriel. Still there are ups; his favourite is Jessica, wild and bad.
Still what we do, a lot, is laugh. Hoobiz’s Dad Helmut, his Mum Bridget and brother Axle provide us with a lively stream of amusement and there’s always the telly, so we never run dry. In fact, as couples go, we are Beavis and Butthead. We regularly lose days chanting random words at each other and giggling on a tireless loop. Also my jaw-line is less pronounced than Beavis’, but it unfortunately has the same sort of manic inclination.
Today, despite poor Hoobiz’s caution I was manic in my inclination to write the list to end all lists. Hoobiz must have endured this particular story at least a hundred times throughout the last ten years, but constant, patient Hoobiz listened again as I spoke of the mythical Master List. I’m just so ridiculously twisted up about going back to work and leaving The Little Perfect One, that repetitive ‘listing’ seems like the only thing which might help to straighten me out. I’m pretty sure Hoobiz knows this, as he indulged my frantic jotting, tutting and pacing for about half an hour before insisting I have a coffee and so something ‘nice’ with him and The Little Perfect One. I am in a bit of a tizz by then and so I flap my arms about, grind my crazed mandible and begin a muttered rant of, ‘Nothing ever gets done! Ever! Nothing! I haven’t got any time! None! Nothing!’ Before I can spiral into a tornado of ‘ifs’, ‘buts’ and moose noises The Little Perfect One pops out from behind the curtain and roars with laughter. OK, so Hoobiz is right and I’m a big fat nit-wit. Even the Lord of The Lists is no competition for game of Pee-po with our gorgeous baby.
‘Dern-nod!’ The Little Perfect One squeaks excitedly pointing at the massive Siamese cat bounding into the living room. ‘Dern-nod! Dum! Dum! Dern-nod!’ Bernard has been amazing with The Little Perfect One, but he’s not quite ready to ‘Dum’ when called. Bernard pulls up abruptly, his long gloved legs scrambling hopelessly into a pirouette and he skids bottom-first into the back of the sofa. The Little Perfect One is delighted by this, blowing raspberries and bouncing on his knees. Bernard has now settled indignantly on the sofa and is licking his bits in protest. ‘Idiot cat’ says Hoobiz and our laughing signals a ceasefire in The List Wars for today.
‘Very clever.’ I say, noticing that The Little Perfect One has pushed himself up from his knees and is now freestanding in the middle of the room. He has been doing this for the last two weeks and just when it looks as if he’s about to take a step his knees buckle slightly and he’s back on his bottom. This was different. This time The Little Perfect One took two considered steps forward towards Bernard and the sofa.
‘Wow!’ Hoobiz and I clapped incessantly. ‘Well done, you clever little man!’ Yes and I cried, just a little bit, but I actually cried. These were mostly tears of pride, but a couple trickled away in sadness as I was waving goodbye to that tiny little baby and maybe half a drop seeped out in terror as this beaming toddler was now waving hello.
Sunday, 12 December 2010
2010 has been the most thrilling of all my 35 hesitant years. Unfortunately, that is exactly why I am dreading 2011. My name is Marcella Muddleditch. I live in timid Middle-Muddlington with Hoobiz, The Little Perfect One, Bernard and The Tree. I‘m a level 74 million Dreamer and believe anything is possible, but in over 3 decades I’ve yet to live it. For example I’m learning to be 'of steel', but currently I'm mostly 'of batter'. If I can actually become ‘more steely’, then perhaps I can begin to prove that this impossibility lark is just a load of old tosh.
Facts I don’t do well, but here they are: on Monday December 13th I’m returning to work full time following a year’s maternity leave with the Little Perfect One. I’m riddled with all sorts of yuckiness and horror at the thought of it. I really can’t see how it isn’t all going to fall apart. I feel small, evil and a bit trapped. ‘Responsibility is the only song for you, forget all that Jazz you promised yourself you’d play one day. One day is history for you part-time Mummy! Mwah-ha-ha-ha!’ What I really need is consistency and that’s where I really struggle. I am brilliant at spinning around and getting over excited like a crazed setter in a playground, but I am embarrassingly mangy when it comes to formal obedience or agility. Yet the stakes haven’t ever been higher and if I follow this Auld Lang Syne with my clumsy ‘where’s the ball again?’ wagging, then I’ll be set for 12 months of poo.
However I’m hoping that Florence got it right on the radio this morning and that ‘the dog days are over’. The thing is that 2009 gave me back my life following a 7 year stretch of half-life in my own prison of shabby nonsense. I’m determined not to go back there and I’ve enlisted the help of a very beautiful tree to keep me out in the open. I remember seeing a program about a woman who married the Eiffel Tower, they were very happy and that’s lovely, but my friendship with the Tree really isn’t anything like that. My majestic Sycamore has been a calming presence, a steady barometer and constant reminder of the trickling sands.
About 15 years ago I happened upon Janine, a singing, South African Psychic who warbled repeatedly ‘what are you waiting for?’ It wasn’t quite in tune, but was pretty rousing and reminded me of the second half of Bohemian Rhapsody. I am not sure if she repeated it for emphasis or to buy time. Come to think of it I suspect it was for clarity, as these prophetic words blended quite uncomfortably her own Capetonian twang with that of her Chinese (Nun of course) spirit guide. Whether this was a message from the other side or Janine was just a Queen fan with a poor ear for lyrics is immaterial, the point is I am still just waiting. Well not any more...
Dreaming is delicious, but if you do it as well as I do there is really very little incentive to do anything for real. There isn’t a prize I haven’t won, a cure I haven’t invented or a peace I haven’t negotiated. My big red unfortunate face was willing my fingers not to type that, but it’s shamefully true. The sad thing is that when you are terrified and locked away from the rest of the world you can’t actually touch anything useful, not even any fun runs, jumble sales or Comic Relief for the Weirdos.
Oh diddums! You have the most edible toddler, gorgeous husband and good-ish job, ‘what are you whinging for?’ me thinks. Well yes and add in that I have the world’s greatest parents. Throw in two brothers, who are at worst entertaining. Not forgetting a Siamese cat who is slowly taking over the universe. Yes, life is for the most part pretty sweet. However, as I slowly come to terms with the fact that I might not ever actually win Wimbledon, I’m also realising that it’s time to give it a go. Well give life a go that is, one goal at a time, not Tennis per se. First up is the steely stuff and then it’s this Tree business. You see I’ve always ‘had a tree’ and I have always wanted a study of a tree over a full year. This is mostly because I’ve never actually been able to pin point the actual day when one season has given in to the next. This latest lovely has been mine for the last four years and sits just behind my back garden.
Every day throughout 2011, (I need a bit of a run up, which is why I’m starting now), I shall take a photo of my striking neighbour and with her gentle dance as my backdrop I shall remain focused and in control. What funny words are these? Well the point is that today I am going to try. Yesterday I was eight years old, building camps, writing books on newts and certain that I’d grow up to be David Attenborough. This morning I’ve woken up and although I still feel about eight, people have started to call me Madam in Waitrose. I’m a wife, a mother, and good grief I can even drive (well I have a licence) and I am still just dreaming of what I am going to do when I grow up. ‘Madam! Madam! Please wake up! We don’t do cryogenics Madam. I’m afraid snoozing here with the chilled goods for the next 35 years isn’t part of the service.’ Yes I do need a big kick up the bum. ‘Stop putting your life on ice Madam! Or next time you hear us we’ll be shouting.’ I also need frequent little punches, which is why I will report daily to my dear Tree.
Of course it could just be a midlife crisis... but if you’d like to come along with me on this journey I would be very grateful for the encouragement. I do also have a story to tell and with the help of my Tree I’d like to share it with you. The story is actually more about me than the Tree, but if you’ve just read the preceding 1056 words then I’m fairly confident that you will have guessed that.