Sunday, 31 August 2014

"Eighteen Years" (...Plus All That Other Stuff)

So here I sit, in desperate need of a shower and spruce up after a day spent doing the 'right thing' (ie. the 'parental right thing'- given we have sprogged three spogs and all...) on a comedy family bike ride (Fat Baby wobbling both precariously and hilariously from the back of the husbands 'fixie') to Battersea Park on what just happens to be our Eighteenth Wedding Anniversary.

In a perfect world we'd be in our fave Brighton hotel, downing whisky, or maybe wine, and a dozen Krispy Kremes to boot - pre-posh dinner - reclining in total slothfulness upon a high thread count duvet, metaphorically moaning in ecstasy over the luxury of being sans kiddies and able to actually a) listen to music - actually LISTEN to it and not strain to hear what band is playing above incessant whining/quarrelling/screaming of three little boys  b) stay in bed all day if we want  c) read some more (the papers, novels, kindles, room service menu, whatever...)

Anyway, in Brighton we are not.  So armed with some fine boozes for laterz and hazy dinner plans at our local Italian (did I mention we are channeling new heights of hardcore laziness these days?) we decided that having spent the morning in bed in decadent fashion whilst our two year old sorted himself out with pink milk and cheerios (not together - although that would probably be rather tasty fare to a toddlers palate come to think of it) and Egg stayed glued to his ipad (hopefully straying occasionally from the online casino he has, much to our horror, discovered and become disturbingly addicted to in the past few weeks), and Dumpie amused himself building strange and ergonomically questionable creatures out of Lego, we would at least put on a decent show of being decent parents.

So we carted them out en masse early afternoon with vague promises of a pub lunch and a playground visit after our Battersea Park bike ride, and off we went.  It was a lovely sunny summers day, and for a moment it felt perfect - almost too perfect.  Then we ventured into a peaceful pub garden, immediately rendered it un-peaceful and proceeded to gorge ourselves silly on overpriced battered cod and chips with extra chips (boys....what are you going to do?) whilst the husband carried on a most sincere and animated conversation with our flattered but confused Swedish server and I tried to keep the contraband bag of M&M's I'd smuggled in my backpack safe from renowned sugar addict Egg by randomly swatting his hands whilst taking surreptitious slurps from my giant goblet of Pinot Grigio.  A typical family pub lunch in other words.

Fat Baby immediately spilled his £3 orange juice, burst into tears, and peace was only restored after the husband and I dutifully doled out our respective iphones into eagerly waiting hands and cast sympathetic glances at one another as we wearily sipped away our collective angst, and for a moment life was okay again.  Sort of.

Then Egg nearly crashed into a pedestrian at the playground entrance, and the baby escaped one too many times to go chasing after him (potential kidnappers be damned) and we decided that playgrounds are supremely depressing places (don't ask why - that's a whole other blog post for another day) and that the bottle of chilled champers at home was pleading to be released from its frigid fridge prison.  And so we rounded up the lads and scarpered.

Peace is now restored, and as we lie on our beds in companionable silence (one of the benefits of marrying your best friend and staying together for a gazillion years), sipping the last of our champagne and trying to summon up the energy to get showered, dressed and slip out for the obligatory 'Anniversary Dinner' (despite being rather full from a rather misjudged chocolate-covered-pretzel binge less than an hour ago), it comes to mind that those 'Talk Talk' fellows had it right all along.

Life is what you make it.  If you look too closely at the myriad of cracks which adorn any relationship, you miss out on the lovely messy collage of your life and instead focus on all the needling bits that you want or think you need to fix.

My sage advice for the day is that if you find someone who makes you laugh, who you make laugh, and still fancy each other after a million years and can demolish a whole dozen donuts and a bottle of Merlot together with no shame whatsoever - not to mention procreating a tiny horde of little people who will push you to the brink of insanity each and every day for years to come - and STILL not want to kill each other...

...well that my friends is lurve.  It just is :)

Purchased by Egg with his own pocket money...bless
(Happy Anniversary husband.  May we continue to grow young in disgraceful fashion, march to the beat of the (non-existent?) drummers in our respective (perhaps deluded?) heads, and never forget that like only yesterday, we were seventeen and desperately in love and had our whole lives ahead of us.  And this is what that looks like nearly a quarter of a century on (to those of you  who may be just starting on a similar crazy journey...)

Friday, 15 August 2014

"Dettol Deliberations"

I think the world over it's quite common for one to 'clean up for the cleaner' before they arrive.  A sort of pre-wash stain treatment as it were, for the extraneous filth which can settle like dust over the general mess and disarray of the typical kiddie-fied home.

But I wonder if anyone has ever had to clean up after their cleaner?

I ask, because after taking the children out for four hours today to let the lady do her job, I arrived back to find that she wanted a word with me before she left.  Immediately I was filled with trepidation.  For two weeks ago she broke into smithereens a very expensive limited edition designer bedside lamp I adored.  And last week when she was upstairs doing our bedroom there was an almighty crash that caused me to jump out of my seat and tear upstairs, only to discover that my lovely art deco mirror had come crashing to the floor.  I solemnly asked her to just leave the polishing to me from now on.

So today when she wanted a word, I was relieved to hear that nothing was broken - only that our large creme John Lewis bedroom rug was soaked from having been left outside and not brought in during the sudden deluge that hit around 2pm today (sigh).


The bigger problem you see is that our cleaner is apparently nicking things as of late (a friend of mine fired her a month ago over the continued helping herself to fairly substantial quantities of gourmet chocolates and some self-tanning gel.  Go figure.  Even my sis (who I also recommended my cleaner to) has openly caught her trying on her expensive makeup (urgh....the hygiene implications don't bear thinking about).

As for me?  Well, I guess I have noticed the odd thing missing, but then I'm a silly old stupid softie at heart - and unless she takes something expensive or irreplaceable I guess I've given to turning a blind eye. The husband, wisely, has insisted we tell bid her 'bye-bye' for several months now, but frankly I've been incredibly reluctant to do so.

First off, the weekly four hour clean keeps this place from looking like the set from 'Slumdog Millionaire'...for a day or so anyway until the boy scum builds up again. Thief or not I ain't letting her go until I find a replacement.  End of.

Secondly, I can't help imagining what I would feel like in her place.

I mean working for a young(okay fine...young-ish) woman with a wardrobe to die for, top of the line cosmetics, and enough shoes to rival Imelda Marcos would drive a minimum wage young foreigner batty were she that way inclined.  As for my jewellery - until recently I used to have it splayed out like some sort of pop-up Portobello Market around the bedroom, and could totally picture her trying some of it on and maybe slipping the odd piece into her pocket thinking - no, KNOWING - that i would never  notice its absence.

Finally, like I said yesterday, I've kind of gotten used to losing a lot of what I hold dear.  The boys have all gone through stages of nicking my stuff (sparkly expensive jewellery being a favourite) and many a time I have found a treasured ring buried deep in a pile of plastic Go-Go's and broken toy cars.  Since springing the sprogs I've been conditioned to accept personal possession loss and destruction on a big scale.

On the other hand, today when she left and I found that SHE had left a little mess for me to clean up?  Well I saw red.  I was like 'WTF??!'....clearing up after ONE more PERSON?!  Are you KIDDING me?
Seriously??...AND a soaked rug?!
Yeah so...maybe it's time to start making plans for other options.  In fact after I post this I'll open my reminder app on my iphone and add it to the ever growing list of things I desperately need to do. (Think i'm up to number 17 actually - and that's not including long term to-do's like my most shameful:  claim travel insurance for emergency dental work in Bali in 2010.  I kid you not.)

But you know what?  Even as I type this, I think we both know that my sticky fingered duster and (former) polisher ain't going nowhere.  In fact has nothing to worry about.  For a long, long time.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

"I'm Ready for My Mug Shot"

Who the heck put US in charge of three kids...seriously?!
There's this prison drama called 'Orange Is The New Black' which I recently devoured (fine, a little late after the rest of the world cottoned onto it - but you're speaking to someone who still has yet to check out the much acclaimed 'Mad Men' now into its umpteenth season...if it's even still going??)

The point is i have NO TIME to even blog most days, so how I'm supposed to find time snuggle up the husband (who incidentally loves snuggling up, but ain't so keen on telly - or even movies for that matter) and consume box sets is beyond me.

But still, somehow, between breaking up hourly wrestling matches between Dumpie and Egg, keeping Fat Baby from jamming screwdrivers into power sockets, and doing 2-3 loads of laundry a day (not to mention the usual toilet scrubbing/food prep/constant dishwasher loading/emptying, etc, etc, etc, ... i bore myself even mentioning it so how much more any readers...urgh), I have managed, stealthily, and with the aid of early evening coffee - to get through the first two series of a most addictive show (Lauren Laverne is a huge fan and I rate her - so I can't be totally deluded).

Of course the one problem with literally inhaling hours upon hours of a story and its characters, is that (at least for me) you begin to completely relate to them and their situation, and it's extremely difficult for me to not look around and make (un)favourable comparisons to my current living situation...and PRISON.

Let me explain.

1.  Much like prison, I am not allowed to sleep in.  Ever.  Egg makes sure of that by creeping in daily at dawn like an ipad-addicted Gollum, nicking the husbands power supply and rustling about for his contraband ipad.  He nearly always finds it.  More often then not the husband is too exhausted to chase him down the stairs and retrieve it, but when he does, it is not unlike a peeved prison guard on the warpath, and either way the shouting out to cease and desist nearly always permeates my blissful Anne of Green Gables-esque dreams and sends me hurtling back into the reality of our clothes-strewn bedroom and the finicky British summer weather.

2.  Much like prison, I occupy the majority of each day doing meaningless menial tasks with no compensation.  At least on the prison show they make 11 cents/hr or something.  All I get for my troubles is the odd bag of crisps if I can get to them before Egg does.

3.  Much like prison, I often have my personal possessions rifled through willy nilly with no thought as to breakages or valuables or privacy.  Just now for instance I walked into my bedroom to find my entire bedside drawer emptied onto the floor and my favourite playing cards trampled on and crushed. In the past month alone I have had the cables from my headphones cut in half, and the arm from a beloved pair of vintage sunglasses broken off.  No one cares.  Not even the husband.  (He says I have too many sunglasses anyway.)

4.  Much like prison, I am riding out a sentence, but likely not eligible for early release due to good behaviour because a) you cannot kick your youngest out of the house until they're at least 18 - correct?   and b) I certainly would NOT quality for 'good behaviour' - that's for sure.

5.  Finally, much like prison I have NO PRIVACY.  I can't even take a shower or bath in peace (more often than not the first stirrings of the taps bring at least one or two of the little rug rats scurrying in, shedding their clothes as they come, eager for a much sought after 'bath with Mama'...(except Egg I guess.  Come to think of it I think he may have actually outgrown that particular compulsion without me even noticing.  He is ten.  And we are not German.  So this is probably a good thing.)

Anyway, that's my moan for the day.  I'm done.  I feel like an inmate, most days I resemble an inmate, and the husband often feels like a visitor who gives me pep talks before work and at bedtime (although to be fair, they less resemble pep talks and more resemble ill-advised 'you have it easy compared to me' speeches - which not only leave me cold, but leave me wishing I could yell out:

 "Guard!  Guard!  We're done here!"

and have me led out into some electric wired enclosure where all I have to contend with are some beefed up horny lesbians out to cop a feel and not three bored, water-balloon crazy little monsters intent on destroying this prison-like cell we inhabit.

That is all.