Friday, 29 January 2010

"You Stupid Woman!"

After a huge burst of momentum last week, things have pretty much ground to a sickening halt round here. Having packed up our books this week, we discovered that between us, the husband and I own enough tomes to open our very own used book store. They number in the hundreds...and yet, we do not find ourselves in possession of a home with its own library. Go figure.

Poor Dumps has had a bad week. Two injections (he calls them 'pops' in the arm) two days in a row has meant that he's not been in the best of spirits. To compensate he's been helping our local news agent do a booming trade in Kinder chocolate eggs.

Yesterday was his last one, and as I struggled to get him dressed in his puffy little red parka, his face red and furious, he screamed at me, "Go away you stupid woman! Me no want no more 'pop'!"

Good point. Nonetheless a worrying affectation he's recently picked up and one which causes me to break out in hives when uttered in public. It appears he's moved on from former insult of calling us all 'Stinky Boy'...though come to think of it...

Then again after school yesterday little Egg proudly told me how he called his teacher 'Little Miss Greedy' in class after she said she wanted to submit more than one child's artwork for a competition. I almost choked.

On another note, we had our first viewing from the estate agent this week, by a young couple with children who want to rent our place while we're gone. Turns out they want this place so badly because it means they go to the top of the waiting list they've been on for three years(!), for the coveted school across the road. We found this out when the admissions woman rang to ask what the heck was going on as both our children and hers were registered to this same address!

Bloody cheeky, they told her they signed a year lease!

(FYI...This is the same admissions lady who vividly recalls me accepting, then rejecting, then accepting, then rejecting once more, the coveted place at her school two years ago when we couldn't decide where to send Egg. Turns out she remembers me well, and is now completely justified in thinking I'm an unstable psycho mother from hell - and a liar to boot - as I was just in there Friday putting Egg and Dumps on the waiting list and assuring her that we'd be back for September....)

And will we? Who knows...

I guess it all depends on one thing...and one thing only...THE MONSTERS....(and can we find anyone suitable to help with them while we're there so we don't entirely lose the plot and end up with absolutely nothing to show for our sabbatical but shot nerves and a desire to go off to a monastery for a month...on our own).

Must go pack. Pack up my life. Throw some more things out. De-clutter my life...hide from Dumpie who is currently wielding a pair of scissors and cutting neat little round holes in all our expensive cardboard packing boxes...

Sunday, 24 January 2010

"Ignorance is Bliss"

I'll tell you what...last week (with four weeks to go until our big 'Drop-Out' to Goa) I was feeling fairly confident about the whole packing up endeavor. Much like a naive bride on her wedding night, daydreaming about a future of romantic dinners, and manifold uses for her brimming lingerie drawer...the reality had yet to sink in.

Now it has.

I have come to the conclusion that in order to get everything we need done (and this isn't even including such luxuries as a full body wax, a much-needed haircut, or shopping for bikini's...)in just three weeks, something is going to have to give.

At the moment that something appears to be my body and the outer fringes of my sanity. (The to-do lists in my head have their very own to-do-lists, which branch off into crazy tangents of such complexity, that to put pen to paper and illustrate the workings of my troubled mind might actually precipitate the encroaching nervous breakdown I sense hovers just out of reach.)

I partially blame our estate agent. A jovial young fellow, he admitted the other day to being a former personal trainer who now runs marathons. When sharing with him my recent enthusiasm with running, he quizzed me on my progress and seemed surprised that I had been thus far unable to break the 30 minute mark.

(Him): "What carbs do you eat before you run?"

(Me): "Carbs??"

(Him): "Well, what do you have before you run?"

(Me): "Nothing...?"

Queue look of disbelief/mild horror/sympathy....

(Him): "Well when you come back, what do you have then?"

(Me): "Um...a cappuccino....?"

It turns out that the reason I run out of steam when I run (and want to die....) is because my body has no fuel and my heart is trying desperately to find energy. Apparently my regime of the past five months has been very, very bad.

So yesterday I decided to try his method, and forced down a bowl of muesli and two chocolate chip cookies before I ran (well he did say carbs)...

Wow. He was right! After the 30 minute mark, and after you stop feeling like you want to die, you get a new lease of life, and if you push yourself you can keep going! Amazing!

So keep going is what I did...for a full 45 minutes! I was so proud of myself and so in awe of my body not having fallen apart on me, that I failed even to get embarrassed when suddenly running right into the husband and the monsters having a bike ride in the park.

Now, 24 hours later I realise that I missed one crucial thing. I forgot to stretch.

Last night after a frantic day spent in the boys room getting rid of approximately one half of their toys and books, I discovered that I could no longer bend over. Then I discovered that walking was becoming quite difficult.

This morning I have similar mobility to someone who has been in a wheelchair for months and is just now learning how to walk all over again.

This is not only humbling, but extremely inconvenient. How am I supposed to carry on being 'Super-Woman' when I have this crippling affliction? Urghhh....

So you see, Ignorance IS truly is.

Just ask the 'Me' of one week ago, who blithely announced that she could pack up this entire home in two days if need be.

Two days?!!

I hold my hands up...I am one deluded, yet no-longer-naive crazy woman suffering from massively restricted mobility.

Friday, 22 January 2010

"Dumpitus Eruptus"

The low point of my week had to be last night, in the kitchen around midnight, cuddling a feverish and very ill Dumpie, whilst being repeatedly puked on in a violent fashion, stifling my own gagging reflex as the hot liquid spread down through my hair, onto my back and splashed onto the floor.

Sorry for the graphic details.

Saying that, this morning, in a frantic rush to throw clothes on and get Egg to school before 9 o'clock (our alarm clock froze this morning at precisely 7:21 am) I again found myself craddling the littl'un - this time in our en suite - whilst being showered in yet more hot baby vomit.

I was wearing my expensive All Saints t-shirt at the time, and it is with great shame that I confess I did the school run with wet sick in my hair. (In retrospect I probably shouldn't have made that public to a fellow 'mum', who looked, understandably, horrified at my confession).

Of course the husband was in Sweden on business, so it was left to me to spend a hideous night in our king size bed with a sweaty, feverish monkey who wouldn't take liquids, spent the night moaning and had me contemplating a nightmarish emergency hospital visit on a few occasions.

And it's true. When a child is sick, all they want is their 'Mama'. Usually that's a good thing. But not so much in this case.

(...Not when you've just spent the past 48 hours with a vomiting little gremlin stapled to your tummy like some sort of mutated inside-out fetus)

Thursday, 21 January 2010

"Wind Beneath My Wings (An Ode to my Ma)"

Very rarely do I turn my blog over to the arena of the 'sincere' pay homage to someone dear.

I last did that for little Egg's 5th birthday, and today I'd like to do it again.

Today is my Mum's birthday...and a pretty important one to boot (but I won't 'out' her online as every woman deserves to have her manifold years on this planet kept a secret known only to a few).

If I could be there in Canada with her, I would start the day off in the only sensible way: two giant triple shot cappuccinos...hell - I'd make them Caramel Macchiatos'

Then it would be a non-stop smattering of chatter and reminiscing, followed by 'dolling ourselves up' for a lovely wine-soaked leisurely lunch somewhere decadent. Afterwards, some strolling/browsing followed by a fabulous matinee in a near-empty cinema (giant popcorn and icy cold cokes)...

Emerging into the bright fading light of the late afternoon it would then magically be 'cocktail hour' and we'd raise a glass (or a few) to toast the most wonderful and unique person I 'Ma'.

Everyone (decent) adores their mother...but mine is pretty special for reasons above and beyond mere familial affection and gratitude. My Mum is so multi-faceted, and has so many little talents that often go unnoticed or taken for granted.

She can for instance, turn birthday parties into stupendous occasions, by finding a million perfect accoutrements that render the ordinary 'extra-ordinary'. As children, our birthday parties were always the most sought after to get invites to on account of all the ceaseless hard work Mum did for weeks beforehand, making them absolutely perfect in every way. No detail was too small or too insignificant to overlook, and she threw herself into at least four birthdays a year for years and years...never complaining or growing tired of putting on such a show...the next one even better than the last...

Even minor holidays like St. Patrick's Day were not overlooked, and we'd be greeted by green pancakes in the morning (a moderate success), green cookies after school (confusing, but still okay), to other green foodstuffs for dinner (not so great, but good effort anyway!).

In essence, she made our precious growing up years (for the three 'Aunties' and myself) utterly magical, and introduced us from a young age to the joys of literature and poetry and beauty in nature. To this day, the bloom of an early Spring flower can literally bring tears of joy and delight to her eyes (that only a much-coveted dress on half price markdown can for me).

She's a bit of a poet our Ma...always has had a way with words..a true 'wordsmith'. I have boxes of letters and cards from her over the years which I simply can't throw away because the sentiments contained within are not only life affirming and so special, but also her legacy. And some of them contain downright sprinklings of genius :)

She also ceaselessly took millions of photographs through the years - despite our protestations and downright lack of cooperation - chronicling our individual 'stories' visually, so we would know how we came to be the women we are today. She made sure that we each had a personal history we can always reference and treasure...and one day pass on to our own offspring.

But mostly I love her so infinitely much because she's such a gem. I've simply never met anyone quite like her. A contradiction in terms, she is so simple in some regards but so unbelievably complex in others.

She has the ability to trancend the mundane and 'soar with the angels', and she passed this gift onto us...this way of perceiving the world and discovering what lies beneath the everyday fabric of existence.
She truly lives life in '3D' (which granted, can be both a blessing and a curse it's true...but still...wouldn't have it any other way).

And I wouldn't have HER any other way. She has given so much of herself, in every capacity, to her four, sometimes (very) undeserving, (often) emotionally lazy offspring.

She has encouraged us to LIVE, to DREAM (and to live our dreams!) and to revel in our uniqueness...she has always believed in us.

In the words of Bette Midler's 'The Rose', our beloved Mum has been 'The wind beneath our wings'...and a source of surprising power and inspiration which we all still very much depend upon today.

(Only now, as a mother myself, do I appreciate what a brilliant mom she is. It's bloody hard work.)

So Happy 'WHATEVER' Birthday Mum...I just want you to know that you are simply...THE BEST.

Full stop.

I'll end things here with a little tune I composed for my 'Ma' a few years ago. It's a bit 'rough', but it's real...

Just click on my picture to the right and it will take you to my MYSPACE page...and to the song 'DREAMER' (for Mum)...

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

"Bin the Lot"

Today our new cleaner started...(I've lost count of the number). She is rubbish. I not only worked side by side with her for the first two hours, but she had the audacity to leave early and with the house looking pretty much the same as when she arrived (sigh).

Egg was home sick with the flu today. In solidarity, Dumpie refused to get out of his 'jammies' all day as well, and the two of them lay side by side on the sofa watching Star Wars movies. There was a lot of moaning and groaning until Dumpie nearly blinded Egg by whipping a dvd across the room at him. Then it was screams and sobs. Which made for a nice change.

I continued my assault on the boys playthings and my outrageous collection of clothing today. I am getting increasingly more insane (ie. ruthless) and now plotting to rid our home of all of our possessions.

I think we should all have personalised backpacks and be allowed to keep only that which will fit inside.

For Eggie that would be a few pairs of underwear, his Nintendo DS Lite, chopsticks (he prefers them to using a stylus), a wedge of Pokemon cards, 'Bacon' of course, and his 'sums' notebook.

For Dumpie that would be a random assortment of foodstuffs, Auntie Ba's expensive face cream, M&M's and a Go-Go or two.

For the husband - that's easy. His laptop, some boxers, his camera, his ipod and an assortment of stupid headgear.

For me - well...that's even simpler. A black strapless bra, my favourite t-shirt, a ripped denim mini, a good novel, and as much red licorice as I could stuff in the back. And of course my laptop - so I could moan about how horrible it is when you give away all your possessions in the heat of the moment and spend the rest of your life bitterly regretting it...

Sunday, 17 January 2010

"The Beginning of the Fall of the Fashionista"

When we first had this idea of going to India I envisioned going with just a pile of books, some mosquito nets and the clothes on my back.

I have always wanted to travel light - only I've never been successful at doing it. I like to be prepared for every fashion eventuality, and as a result I massively overpack.

My fantasy is to go with next to nothing, buy all my clothes from some market stall and wear them till they fall apart (or till I board the plane back to England and bin the whole lot at the airport). How blissful to live that disposably (ahhhhhh...)

Only thing is, I LOVE clothes...I love MY clothes...and I'm not sure I can be parted from my lovely things for so long.

Today I started having a go at sifting and sorting through my gigantic wardrobe and have now, several hours later, ended the whole exercise in defeat.

If my 'sorting' is anything to go by, I will be taking enough clothes to wear a different outfit every day for the next six months (sigh). This will simply not do. Not only have I put aside almost a dozen items of footwear, I have packed such schizophrenic items as my Abercrombie & Fitch denim shorts, a flowing peasant skirt, a bright blue sequin bandeau top and a cheerleading ra-ra skirt.

I'm hopeless. Not only do I end the day having not accomplished a single damn thing...but I appear to have a worrying misconception about how old I am / the current state of my no-longer-17-year-old-body / what activities I intend to undertake whilst I am away.

I suppose the one good thing that might come of all this, is the sense of space and simplicity I'll achieve if I really can rid myself of at least half of my current wardrobe...only keep the things I truly love...

Then I can amuse myself for the duration of our stay in India by watching the various young Karnatakan beach sellers parading up and down the sand wearing various, random items of my wardrobe.

That sequin bandeau will have it's heyday wait

Saturday, 16 January 2010

"Scummy Mummy"

Today I experienced the first inkling of the sheer scope of the work ahead of us (and by us I primarily mean me) if we really intend to mosey off to India in four weeks.

I spent the ENTIRE day (save an imbecilic running session around the Common in the pouring rain late morning) in the bloody kitchen clearing out...(wait for this)....TWO cupboards.

Yes. That's right. Two cupboards.

Now granted, both cupboards were scary zones...with doors we kept closed most of the time because to open them would unleash an avalanche of toys, paper bags, candles, marker pens, play-doh...need I go on?

Having spent my ENTIRE Saturday on such a tiny task has led me to reassess the likelihood that packing our lives up in the next month will leave me with a clean bill of mental health, and ready to embark on our adventurous Indian sabbatical. It will not.

Given that I am the only one who can ascertain what needs to be binned and what needs to be saved, getting any help from the husband or the boys will be an exercise in futility. I realised today that I am one of those poor souls (ie. control freak) who would rather do a perfect job herself than rope in help and compromise on standards.

You know what that means? I am a loser.

The husband couldn't believe his luck today when he peered into the kitchen, found me buried in a mountain of paper, plastic and junk, and yet was ordered by me to take Eggie out for a bike ride.

For once, he didn't waste a moment in getting the heck out of here before his crazy wife changed her mind. Smart boy.

In addition to this mammoth task today, I also somehow managed to whip up a big Indian dinner from scratch, some delicious homemade peanut butter cookies, and do several loads of laundry. It just goes to show you that crazy people often have super-human levels of stamina.

On the minus side, I have spent the day in sweat pants and a big dirty jumper. Not my best look. The husband pointed this out in delight, and rightfully so I suppose, after having suffered abuse for the past few weeks from moi for the abominable biking headwear he's recently purchased and has stubbornly insisted on wearing INDOORS...24/7... for the past few weeks.

I've been trying to explain that even though we've been together since we were teenagers, it's important to try and still look good for each other.

He has declared this a shallow outlook and says he doesn't care if I don't. Urghhh...

But how much credibility do I have after having spent the day resembling 'Waynetta Slob', complete with Nazi-like determination to scour and scrub away anyone or anything in my path? Wouldn't win any 'Yummy-Mummy' awards today, that's for sure...(might have however ranked up there in the 'Scummy-Mummy' Olympics).

At any rate, tonight I go to bed knowing one thing for certain (and no, it's not the fact that Dumpie's current haircut, according to the husband, now resembles that of a middle-aged Michael J. Fox, or a post-Oscar Philip Seymour Hoffman)...

No. Tonight I go to bed knowing the EXACT contents of two of my previously most shambolic cupboards. How's that for job satisfaction?

Might as well just kill myself now. I am BEYOND pathetic.

Friday, 15 January 2010

"Goa Here We Come...Four Weeks and Counting"

So it would appear that in exactly four weeks, three days, and six hours...we four (myself, Egg, Dumpie and the husband of course - can't leave him behind - after all, this adventure is his swan song) shall be strapped aboard an airline named after a beer, and hurtling through the skies at an alarming rate...where (adventure? trials? fun? excitement? (insert your own here) await.

Yes, we're flying on Kingfisher Airlines - named after India's premier (if rather lightweight) alcoholic beverage.

Something inside of me railed against booking this airline. It is a young company, with a fleet of new(ish) jets, so all should bode well...non? Still, there is something disconcerting about a jumbo jet named after a beer. There just is. Though I suppose the husband is rather pleased , as at least it means there's a fairly good chance he'll be able to whet his lips with the stuff throughout the fourteen hour journey.

We have provisionally booked our return tickets for 31st August. Ironically this is our wedding anniversary. It is also the day before school starts for the boys...if indeed we make it back for that. Who knows? We have however had the foresight to pay the higher fare on the tickets just in case we choose to avail ourselves of the 'one free change Madam' option.

So that gives us precisely 6 and a half months to opt out of society, live as beach bums, and try and create between us some sort of artistic work which will merit us yanking out our newly labelled 'gifted' child Egg from the South London Educational System.

When I informed the deputy head of his school this morning of our intentions, she grinned wryly and I suspect that she thinks we're needlessly exposing our offspring to malaria for the sole purpose of wearing tie-dye and exercising our right to throw some fiercesome shapes to bad 'Trance' music.

Egg's teacher also grinned upon hearing the news. However it was one of encouragement and approval. (This could however, be related to her having spent some time India herself and being all of about 24 years old).

As I recall, 24 was round about the age the husband and I traversed the sub-continent on a motorcycle together - so this reunited love affair with our dear India is well overdue.

And I've changed my mind. I'm glad we're flying there in a giant beer bottle.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

This Baby Is Brought to You By Starbucks..."

Dumpie was found tonight lying wide awake in his cot, clutching his Auntie's fluffy hot water bottle (hey it's England in winter okay?) and gesturing towards a now empty Starbucks cup on his play table. He has coffee breath, which means that he likely won't be sleeping anytime soon - especially since I know for a fact that said cup previously contained a Grande Triple Shot Skinny Wet Cappuccino.

The boy loves coffee. In the summer he can't be let loose anywhere near an iced latte or it's history. Funnily enough, Dumpie also has a taste for champagne - a fact observed when as a baby he dipped his fingers into a celebratory flute before slurping the liquid gleefully off and toothlessly grinning like a drunk little runt.

Speaking of champagne, last night we hosted a Thai dinner party resplendent with manifold bottles of wine, port and bubbly. Now, twenty-four hours later I am still reeling from the effects of a killer hangover brought on by such decadent midweek frivolity. The party was such a success that one of our guests stayed the night and took it upon himself to try all of the beds until he found one that was 'just right'.

Unfortunately, that one turned out to be Auntie Ba's bed. She was none too amused this morning to have spent the night on the sofa whilst her bed was held hostage by an inebriated, though harmless rogue. (Never mind that said rogue is a very, very funny boy and a dear friend of ours...leaving a relative stranger and uninvited bed buddy snoring like an out of control jet engine in your freshly laundered sheets is perhaps taking our notorious familial hospitality slightly too far non?)

Auntie Ba is a saint...for a bed is a bed after all. Fingers crossed she is at least able to get her beauty sleep tonight. Though what with her hot water bottle having been commandeered by her caffeine-high nephew chatting merrily away next door, it looks like there's fat chance of that happening.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

"You Dropped the Bomb on Me Baby...You Dropped the Bomb On Me"

This morning I awoke to two major shocks:

The first was that our neighborhood had transformed into a winter wonderland while we slept...fluffy white snow blanketing the streets and coating the dark black trees like a giant, soft, fluffy, white angora jumper. Due to adverse weather conditions the husband decided to work from home today.

The second was that the husband read out the answer to a cheeky email he'd sent to his boss enquiring whether he might leave his job in two weeks to go to India. His boss says he doesn't have a problem with that.

Queue near-hysteria at the thought of packing, booking flights, vaccinations, visas, renting out our home, and a million other tasks needing to be done before we go...

"But - I thought you said the earliest we'd be going was 1st of March!" I demanded of my flabergasted other half.

"I always told you we might be able to go in February" he replied, somewhat shell-shocked.

Bloody heck. That's a man for you.

"But....but...." I stammered...wondering at the near impossible task that lay ahead.

So now the day has been spent scouring websites, arguing heatedly over spreadsheets (I have to continually remind the husband that I am NOT a 'member of his team' but rather his wife, and hence need to be spoken to in a loving - not businesslike - fashion. He still doesn't get it.

The husband would put our whole family life on a spreadsheet if he could. I bet he'd even work in romantic interludes given half a chance - especially as he proudly showed me earlier how rating things on a scale of 1-3 can give an up-to-date tally of who is currently working harder out of the two of us.

And that of course is the most important factor in this upcoming familial adventure is it not? Who is going to work the bloody hardest launching us out of here and into our dream scenario...

( far I'm in the lead points-wise...and we haven't even begun)

Will we really be on a beach in Goa inside of four weeks??? Really???

I don't know what is more frightening...the thought of packing up this house and putting our stuff in storage OR the thought of my body in a bikini 24/7 INSIDE OF FOUR WEEKS...


Forget vaccinations - I need to prioritise. Asap. I'm thinking four-hour-a-day workouts for a start....

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Mr. Magic Mathematician

I've renewed my love affair with Red Wine.

(Red Red Wine it makes me feel so fine
Keeps me rockin'...all of the time...)


Anyway, I deserve it (mental note to self: isn't that the first step toward becoming an alcoholic? Telling yourself you deserve it? Uh oh....). Today was a bit of a killer in emotional extremes.

On the way to pick up Egg from school today I popped a stick of Juicy Fruit into my mouth and choked in horror as a crown came off in my mouth.

Moments later I stood (still flabergasted and distraught) in the school playground, lisping and gulping my way distractedly through a conversation with Egg's pretty young teacher who was trying to tell me that not only had he come first in his class for Math's and been awarded the "Magic Mathematician" award, but he'd today been singled out as being, "Young, Gifted and Talented" in Maths and handed me the certificate to prove it.

Egg meanwhile was involved in a heavy trade of Pokemon cards off to one side, having lost his school bag in the process. No matter, I frantically grabbed his little grey-mittened hand and yanked him out of there in a panic to my local dentist.

Moments later I found myself sprawled back ungracefully in the dentist's chair, mouth gaped open in pain, and Egg chattering happily away in the corner a mile a minute - distracting my already distracted dentist even further.

That might explain why I'm sitting here, hours later, forlorn at the dining room table, slightly anethetised by a few glasses of wine, and nursing a sore mouth wherein a crown has been reinserted incorrectly...rendering each bite excruciatingly tender.

Ah well. I was looking for a good kick start to my New Year. Having temporarily given up running (it's frankly too bloody cold and icy outside - toned arse be damned) I'm sure a diet of soft foods will do wonders for my waistline. Unless of course I get back on the Ben & Jerry's Phish Food (sigh).

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Looking Ahead...Beach Bumming Imminent

Well, we (and by that I mean 'our marriage') survived New Year celebrations. The husband DID NOT ditch me this year and even managed to put on a brave face when at one point it looked as though we might be the only party goers in our specially decorated home.

In the end we had not one but TWO get-togethers on the same night, as the first set of friends left around 1:30am and the second set arrived just before 3am. I managed to last until 5am, but then the utter terror of what awaited me in a mere few hours was enough to put the fear of God in me and I fled off to bed - like a petrified Cinderella. However I left the husband and three of his mates to take it in turn to play with his new digital dj mixing desk and see who could outdo the others with absolutely shambolic 'sets'.

So here we sit on the other side of 2009...with very little idea of what our immediate future holds. We do know that in a manner of weeks the husband shall be gainfully UN-employed as he leaves the corporate workplace for stress of another variety. On the beaches of Goa he shall endeavor to write his first novel, whilst keeping his family in 'lungi's' and 'aloo paratha's' (and his two small charges away from waves, snakes, malaria outbreaks, etc.)

I shall of course be attempting to compose musical masterpieces - the likes of which the world has never heard...and suspect, shall be working on something literary myself.

Ah yes...the dream awaits. But will it be a dream or a nightmare? Will we ever come back? Will our children turn into vagabond surfers whilst learning the art of pick-pocketing unsuspecting tourists?

Once escaped from conformity and dreaded mediocrity, will we ever be able to squeeze back into society? Will we even want to?

...Stay tuned my friends...stay tuned...