Wednesday, 30 September 2009

"Destined for Dirtiness"

Our new cleaner (a lovely Lithuanian woman who has only been here twice so far, and is indeed the fifth cleaner we've had in the past few years) yesterday announced that she is pregnant.

This would explain why she texted last week to say she was sick and couldn't come.  (And here I was thinking that it was yet another in the string of notorious texts from cleaners making up all manner of excuses why they can no longer clean our shambolic home.)

Having gone through this once before with our beloved Polish cleaner Dorothy, it is not fun having a pregnant cleaning lady.  For starters, there is the gut-crushing guilt that someone in 'that' condition is heaving hoovers up three flights of stairs and breathing in all sorts of potentially toxic cleaning fluids (sigh).  Then of course there is the fact that you feel obliged to 'help out' - thereby rendering the whole idea of roping in help kind of pointless.

I did what anyone would do when faced with such a predicament.  I reached into my wallet and gave her a pay raise on the spot, all the while calculating her due date and realising with dismay that we'd be lucky to have her stay on till Christmas.  

Still, that's not the least of my worries...not even close.  Dumpie has taken to foraging for bits of old chewing gum and popping them into his mouth to achieve a once again soft consistency.  I was alerted to this today when leaving the library and proudly being shown a piece of bright green chewing gum in his mouth, which he no doubt procured on the floor behind the 'New Fiction' aisle while I wasn't looking.  URGHH!!!!

Dumpie is also going through his 'Terrible Two's' and as such is terrorising the household.  

The other day in church we actually got kicked out (in as much as one can be politely asked to depart and cease disruption in the house of God.)  Unfortunately it was an 'All Ages' service - which though fine in theory is actually a nightmare.  As horrific as it was to observe them racing up and down the aisles during the hymns, this was nothing compared to the humiliation of witnessing their very public wrestling match right up in front of the alter a short while later.

Auntie Mo and I each grabbed one under an arm and shuffled our disgraceful selves out of there in full view of the congregation.

Sometimes my life seems like an unsuccessful sitcom about to be cancelled after it's first season.  Truly.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

"Run Mama Run"

In an effort to amuse myself (and also, i confess, to get killer thighs for after Christmas when I hope to be languishing on a beach, writing a bestseller and composing a penultimate album, clad only in a tiny black bikini most of the time....) I have taken up 'running'.

Okay, so I've only done it four times so far.  But I've done it!  And so I only 'run' for twenty minutes at a go, so it's not really hardcore....but still.  And okay, fine, so perhaps my lumbering along is more akin to a 'jog' than a 'run' but i'm still moving, my feet are (kind of) rhythmically pounding the ground and I'm always on the verge of a heart attack so...doesn't that count?

The husband was terribly amused the first morning I came down, before 8 o'clock (that in itself a small miracle), dressed in black Adidas shorts, a tight white vest and looking like he'd never, ever seen me...dare i say 'sporty'?

He guffawed, (hurt my feelings), expressed incredulity, then watched with amazement as I let myself out into the cold morning, ipod in hand.  

Eggie and Dumps could care less, though Egg has expressed his desire to come and run with me, whilst Dumpie accusingly tells me i'm 'stinky' when I come back in and try and grab him in a bear hug.  He accepts that I need to 'Ekkercise' but can't help himself from jumping onto my stomach when I try and do crunches (sigh).

I do wonder how long this current phase shall last.  When the mornings get increasingly cold and dark I doubt I'll be able to show the same strength of will to hurl myself out onto the miserable streets with the same level of enthusiasm.  Saying that, if it means I can keep up my current level of cheese and wine consumption without bulging out of my low waisted hipster just might prove incentive enough.

Truth is, I'm chasing that exercise 'high'...that adreneline...that free drug your body dispenses to your brain to make you feel good.  I need to 'feel good' these days.  Dumpie is going through the 'terrible two's' at the moment and seriously depleting my natural stores of Seratonin.

I march the streets with a manically screaming child, drawing all sorts of looks and accusatory frowns.  Not only can I not handle my child, but I'm ruining the quiet peacefulness of the street with my devil child who is using noise pollution to disturb all those serene Starbucks-swilling 'Mum's' and 'Mums to be'....

Moreover Dumps now insists that he get to ride his little scooter when we drop off and collect Egg from school.  This means simply, that a formerly five minute journey now takes up to twenty minutes depending on how many tantrums and refusals to move we have to endure as a certain little man asserts his independence and acts according to his toddler-ish whims.

He's also inherited his Auntie Kenz's lungs, and I was told by another parent the other day that he could hear us coming from four streets away. 

Charming.  I love raising boys.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

A Spit and a Polish...

Today our new cleaner started. This is our third one this year. We are not entirely sure why we seem to be going through domestic help at such a ridiculous rate, but both the husband and I have our opinions.

HE thinks that it's because we should pay them MORE money than their other clients, thus keeping them sweet. (And no, he isn't referring to bonuses for holidays or special occasions, he means that we should just voluntarily up their rates for no apparent reason. I try to imagine the conversation...)

ME: "Thanks so much _____. Great job today. Listen I'm giving you a bit extra because I want you to know how pleased I am with your job performance."

HER: "What? I no understand..."

ME: "No, my husband and I thought that you deserve a little more than you're getting, so just keep the change...ok?"

HER: "Me no understand."

ME: "Umm...."

The husband doesn't understand that to up someone's hourly rate when a friend was kind enough to put in a good word for you, could result in your friend being made to look cheap - or worse - the cleaner demanding that her other clients match your generous offer. It's a lose/lose situation any way you look at it - especially as I am convinced that money has precious little to do with the fact that cleaners ain't too keen on cleaning for us.

I have a few theories myself. Maybe it's because we have three bathrooms to clean? I mean, how horrid is that? Or perhaps it's because the husband insists on maintaining his Mount Everest pile of clean clothes balanced precariously in the corner, making our room resemble a student dormitory at times. Or perhaps we've got two little boys, too many flights of stairs, and are simply...unlikeable...? We're getting a complex about it now...

At any rate, we didn't start this new relationship very well this morning with the sweet, lovely woman who rang our doorbell at 8:30am. (They're all lovely in the beginning...before I get the inevitable text saying, "Sorry I no come no more"...)

Dumpie squeezed a whole tube of bright blue kiddie toothpaste on the upstairs landing, just as she walked in. And then I proceeded to call her the wrong bloody name all morning until she was leaving and gently corrected me (calling me by my right name of course), "Natasha, my name is ____ not _____...though that is nice name too!"


I give her seven weeks. The husband predicts three or less. Especially since he helpfully pointed out that me speaking in pidgin English to her might be construed as patronising...

I give up...

Friday, 4 September 2009

""The Super Giant Mega Kitchen Bubble bath Fiasco"

So my blogging hiatus has come to an end. Sorry to those who were following me and now likely think I've dropped off the end of the earth....and sorry also to those who found my protracted silence a blessed relief from self-obsessed ranting.

I am back. Back in black. Well kind of.  A visit to my newest (and most amazing) hairstylist in the universe has rendered my long, tired tresses a thing of the past.  He restored my sun-lightened multi-coloured hair back into exotic dark hues and now I find that I have a compulsive urge to replace my cut-off denim levi's with an Audrey Hepburn-esque little black dress as a result.  Ah, the benefits of a good old head massage and two hours of pure attentiveness from a young, talented man...

Him:  (massaging my head under warm soapy jets) "Is this too hard?  Does it feel okay?"
Me:    (quietly moaning...then moaning some more) "Oh Noooo...this feels Amaaaaaazing"
Him:  (embarrassed chuckle) "Oh. Good. Ummm...Ok.  Time to cool you down now.  No really." (He then proceeds to douse my head in coldish water, bringing me out of my near-hypnotic state.  Shamefully, I am drooling.  I make mental note to self to send husband to study massage therapy on threat of divorce when next in India) 

Anyway, I digress.  We're back in the London now for the start of yet another scholastic year. Egg's new teacher is a pretty blond just out of teacher's college who I mistakenly took for someones Au Pair.  Oops.  But she looks sweet and I'm sure what she lacks in authority she will more than make up for in massive crushes (and I'm talking about the Dad's here, not the children).

I have to say though, despite having STILL not fully unpacked our eight suitcases (do you blame me?!) yesterday alone was enough to prompt me back onto my blog for more protracted and public moaning.

While on ichat with my father, Dumpie wandered in and rubbed a lovely smelling but very sticky lotion on me.  I wondered vaguely what it was as I distractedly sniffed at it, but it wasn't until I tried to rub it into my arm that I noticed it was producing a heavy, thick white foam.

That's when I noticed that Dumpie's legs and arms were covered in a thick glaze, as if he'd been dipped into a giant cauldron of melted icing sugar in preparation for becoming a human donut. 

I ran shrieking into the kitchen to discover that the new bottle of 'All-In-One Super Foamy Shampoo and Body Wash' I'd bought earlier in the day, had been squeezed out onto the entire kitchen floor.  (Given that the bottle proudly states that a mere pea sized dollop of the stuff can lather and foam up an entire child's body, imagine what a whole bottle can do at really)

After half an hour of mopping it became clear that I was doing nothing but turning the room into a giant slippery bubble bath - not to mention a complete safety hazard.  The more water I put on, the more foam bubbled up, until it became so ridiculous that I just flopped, sodden, onto the floor and tried to stop myself from having a tantrum.  Dumpie and Egg watched from the door, greatly amused, clearly finding the whole situation hilarious.  

(I took the several deep breath's that the anti-abuse commercial on telly suggests when you're about to have a melt-down...took some more...then decided that my doomed kitchen was in all likelihood a preferable environment to the alternative domecile in Her Majesty's Prison if indeed I acted on any crazy impulses involving throttling and the like...)

This morning was no better.  After a long morning of errands and countless stops in various stores along our street, I made one last pit stop before going home.  In the library, I looked down to discover that not only was Dumpie happily munching his way through the second of two gourmet cupcakes I had bought the boys for a treat, but realised he was SHOE-LESS.

Horrified, I asked Dumpie where his shoes were.

"Me throw dere" he said munching happily on a sugary violet flower...

"Where Dumpie?!  Where did you throw your shoes?!" I begged, exhausted and at my wit's end.

"Out dere" he said, motioning vaguely at the door, leaving me to retrace my steps up and down the street for the next half hour.

Fortunately, I did manage to recover the shoes.  (They were found in two different stores, and turned over by bemused shop assistants.)

Unfortunately, I have yet to recover my former good mood.  As it stands, it is M.I.A....