Wednesday, 22 June 2011

"Bye Bye Hubby...And Hello Headaches..."

This morning at approximately 6:45am (I didn't actually stir enough to sit up properly in bed and confirm what the blinking digital numbers on the clock radio read, given I was still half asleep and a touch grumpy about being abandoned if truth be told), the husband departed for five to six days of hedonistic camping at what is known as the mother of all music festivals, 'Glastonbury'.

Though it's true that I technically gave him my blessing to go (long time readers of this blog will know it's the husbands 'high holiday' - his favourite time of year - eclipsing even Christmas and his birthday), this morning the reality kind of hit and I couldn't help feeling mildly sorry for myself and if I'm honest, a touch jealous.

There was a time when the husband and I would take off for fun adventures such as this together.  In fact, we have the tendency to be as naughty as each other at times, and hence, are very adept at making merry as a twosome - especially when relieved from the yoke of childcare.

Nonetheless, he who cares the most wins, and as I have declined to go to Glastonbury for the past several years now (for reasons varying from, "I'll only go if I have a backstage, VIP pass" to "I"ll feel ancient set amongst all those revelling 18 year olds" to the honest predicament of "Who the heck is going to watch our children for 3-6 days solo") the husband has been 'allowed' to go off and relieve his adolescence on a yearly basis, with the proviso that he better darn well be amazingly nice to me afterwards and make it up to me in some way.

At any rate, for some reason this year I really had a hankering to go.  Maybe it's because U2 are headlining, or because I quite fancy some crazy hijinks with my mates in a field full of clowns and idiots, or perhaps because I SO DON'T fancy the next several days which stretch out endlessly before me...days of child-full-ness and no release or distraction from the "three meals, bum-wiping, bathing, teeth-brushing, tidying up, tucking in" monotony.

I do love being a mother...I do.  But sometimes, just sometimes I feel I could be a far better specimen with the aid of an English speaking au pair or foreign speaking nanny.  Motherhood is supposed to teach you patience, but I wouldn't be surprised if I were reincarnated as a mother of eight next time round, as I still haven't learned how to s-l-o-o-o-o-o-w down and do things in 'toddler time'.

I clearly haven't learned either how to do things with good grace.  This morning as the husband snuck out the door, barely capable of disguising his utter glee at being let loose for the biggest party this country puts on it could be argued, he bent over and kissed me tenderly on the cheek.

"I love you" he whispered.

"Harrumpth" I grunted, and rolled over.

Friday, 17 June 2011

"Shattered, Shattered, and Even More Shattered"

So we've been back home in London, England for nearly two weeks now, and what do I have to show for it?  A nasty chest infection, a plethora of packing boxes (which I swear are multiplying when I'm not looking) and two housebound monsters going crazy and subsequently making me crazy.

It looks like my worst fear is to be realised.  Egg, Dumpie and I look set to spend the next three months our home...sans school.  Great.  They've already discovered the joys of dismantling every sofa and bed in the place and turning the front room into one almighty 'Fort'.  This means that every night before I go to bed I have to dismantle their days work and clean up a room which looks as though a band of chimpanzees have had a go at interior design.

The boys have also found their old toys and have been quick to take up sword fighting, fencing and Star Wars battles again.  This has resulted in the breakage of not one but two vases this week and I'm waiting any day for our big dining room mirror to come crashing down.

Now being that this is Britain, despite it being June it has rained nearly every day that we've been home.  Shockingly I've even found myself retreating up the haven of the family bathroom upstairs for a few warm baths to fend off the chill in my defenceless bones.  What's going on?  It feels like November!

Anyway, suffice it to say that I haven't even had time to process what it means to be back, or even mull over how it feels to have come 'home' after 16 month away.

Our first day back was a cushioned re-entry into sunny bliss and catching up with good friends.  One of my delightful sisters (Auntie Mo) kindly/foolishly volunteered to take the monsters to her place for the weekend and the husband and I were treated to the kind of bliss parents rarely ever get to experience once they breed:  a lie-in.

But then reality sunk in, and as the husband dashed here, there and everywhere on his bicycle, hustling for work, I found myself housebound with two very bored children.  A typical morning would involve several hours of back-breaking work in one room, only to discover that they had opened the contents of several of the boxes in another room and had turned the place into a plastic toy tsunami.

One afternoon Dumpie surveyed the kitchen and smiled at me with happiness in his twinkling eyes:

"I like this place Mama...I like the ice machine, the cookie maker (he pointed to the oven) and the smoothie maker..."

I like this place too.  But I'd like it a heck of a lot more if it didn't resemble the inside of a skip.  I'd like it more if I somehow knew that it would not look like this for the next two months.

I despair.  And on top of that, tomorrow is Eggie's 7th birthday, and in an effort to compensate for not supplying our eldest with a 'proper' birthday party, I've gone out of my way to make and bake all his favourite treats and decorate the place like the inside of a bouncy castle.

What's a little more mess eh?

Thursday, 2 June 2011

"All (Amazing) Things Must Come To An End"

Old habits die hard...(sitting cross-legged pigging out on mango)
It does bear questioning...what on earth am I doing up at 4:07am, feeling strung out and wired...?

I've neither 'latte'ed' (yes people it's a verb...) myself into caffeine toxicity, nor have I just come back from slouching around some Toronto hotspot celebrating the recent heatwave and saying goodbye to my temporary city this past month.

Rather, I've spent a lovely evening sipping wine (thankfully not by myself...that would be worrisome) and socialising, followed by hours of what I like to think of as "Luggage Tetris".  

After nearly a year and a half carting these selfsame clothes and possessions around, I don't mind saying that I'm damn near sick of it - and sick of the sight of all our stuff.  Urghh...I know each piece intimately, having been the sole 'packer' for our travels (by choice I might add - there is NO way i'd trust the husband to do it - and no, I'm not so much a control freak as I am a 'Holiday Houdini' - managing to fit way more into a given space than physics should allow.  But I digress...

I'm currently staring at a slooooowly receding pile of STUFF on the bed, as I pseudo frantically cram bits into bags (the Second Cup coffee shop doesn't open for three hours after all), sitting on suitcases and wiggling about, trying to cram just one last thing into already heaving carry-ons...I tell you, it's (almost) enough to make one take up Monasticism.  Almost. 

Anyway, there are two reasons I'm not in bed right now:

1.  I am trying something new.  I'm going to see what it feels like to spend my last day here NOT freaking out and spending the whole day panic packing.  If this necessitates an all-nighter then so be it.  Nothing a few triple shot lattes can't fix in the A.M. right?  (Besides, it has to be pointed out that the husband and I have this flying ritual which we rarely deviate from, which makes being well rested and in a good mood pretty pointless.  

We argue about how early we have to get to the airport (he's one of those types who like to be there before the check-in desk opens, whereas I favour sliding in at the last moment, get teary-eyed with goodbyes, then scarper through security sniffling and trying to make it seem like my grossly overweight carry on isn't cutting through my shoulder.

The husband can be counted on to shoot rude looks my way as we're checking in, muttering inanities about our baggage and how we have so much STUFF and what the hell is in there anyway??  It never fails to piss me off - especially as I've spent hours painstakingly arranging that stuff.  

(Strangely, once we're on the plane and seated comfortably, we are more likely than not to be found cuddled up, studiously ignoring our offspring and trying to pretend that there is nothing wrong with our four year old standing on his seat and yelling out his drink requests.

2.  Anyway, the other reason that I'm not in bed yet (and here I'd now like to point out that it's now 4:10am) is that I could hardly let the chance go by to blog about how momentous tomorrow is.  It's officially THE LAST DAY of our YEAR (plus four months) AWAY!!

I can't believe it.  It feels surreal to be honest.  Am I excited?  You bet.  Am I also anxious?  Totally.

I can't wait to land on British soil (I shan't kiss it but I may just celebrate with an M&S Cheese and Celery sandwich) and sleep in MY OWN BED.  Ahhhh...bliss.

This euphoria will be short lived I reckon (a few months tops?) but for now I'm going to revel in the excitement of at last completing our long, long journey...and enjoying the novelty of seeing our much missed friends, having picnics in the park, and resuming my subscription to Elle...

At least I won't have to pack anymore bloody suitcases.
Doing my best 'Indie girl' impression at an Echo and the Bunnymen concert in Toronto

Captain Dumps at Canada's Wonderland...
Later, the little man just scrapes through on the height restriction and rides the roller coaster with me!
My Little Men...(wonder how much of this big trip they'll remember?)