Friday, 9 October 2015

"Beware The Parents Evenings..."

Thank God my iphone was charged, 
Thank goodness his was too.
Thank heavens he carries a Swiss Army,
Or who knows what I would have had to do...

Last night was a fairly important event. It was a chance for all the parents in Egg's class at his new school to meet each other at an evening mixer. Everyone knows that once established, first impressions are hard to dislodge and as such, I was determined that the husband and I make as favourable a one as possible by presenting ourselves as 'normal' - for Eggie's sake.

For the husband that meant that ripped jeans and RAPHA were banned, and for me, an embargo on anything leather, Rock Chick or glittery. As we waited for our Uber to arrive, first Egg then the husband cast a disparaging glance down at my footwear and suggested I reconsider.  (For the record I was wearing a magenta dress and elegant, dark brown knee-length boots with a camel coloured cashmere outfit which wouldn't have looked out of place in Kate Middleton's wardrobe.)

"You look good Mama but don't wear those boots. They say, 'Look at me I own the place,'" Egg said.

"Yeah," mumbled the husband in agreement. "You don't want to wear those boots."

"What are you talking about?" I asked, incredulous. "These boots are what make this look. It's understated and elegant. Black ankle boots would be inappropriate."

The husband, stuffing the last few bites of curry in his mouth shrugged and said, "By the way Egg, the word you're looking for there is 'dominatrix.'"

Begrudgingly, I changed my boots, glanced in the mirror and confirmed that I now looked like I was headed to a London fashion week party and not a subdued middle class gathering of parents of privileged progeny. So I quickly switched back again.

"Why do I even listen to them?" I thought.  Why was I taking fashion advice from an 11 year old boy and a cycling cap aficionado?

We arrived at the venue, and armed with a glass of wine and a pint respectively, proceeded to make small talk with strangers. The husband managed not to make any off colour jokes, and I managed to be friendly without putting forth any strong views which might offend. An hour in and I was feeling rather proud of us.

"We can totally pull this off," I thought. I began to feel silly for having worried that we'd do something to embarrass Egg and turn him into a social pariah for the remainder of his Secondary School career. 

Then I excused myself and disappeared off to the loo.

The toilets were located a level down in the otherwise deserted club house and I took the chance to have a breather and check my phone for messages. I used the facilities and then tried to exit the cubicle.

The door wouldn't open. I twisted the lock the other way, heard a satisfying click, but it still wouldn't budge. Annoyed, I put my phone back into my purse and tried using both hands to manoeuvre the lock. No luck.

It was then that I noticed this sign:

Panicking, I peered up, and with a sinking feeling realised that despite having taken up running again, unless I could somehow morph into an anorexic spiderman, there was no way I'd be able to climb the slippery tiled wall and slip through a gap no wider than about a foot.

Totally screwed, I rang the husband, praying he'd answer. Meanwhile, starting to panic, in the likelihood that he didn't answer, a string of potential scenarios began to play out in my head - each one more horrific than the last:

Scenario 1: I attempt to contact a school employee out of hours, interrupting someones dinnertime whilst I try to explain who I am, where I am, and how I need to be rescued - and could they please not call emergency services...

Scenario 2: I scream myself hoarse, disrupting the quite calm in the upstairs clubhouse, causing a stampede of parents to thunder downstairs under the assumption that they are about to bear witness to the first stabbing in the history of the school.

Scenario 3: In desperation I remove my brown leather boots and try and use my now heavily perspiring bare feet as suction cups to grip the tiles, making it to the top before getting just my head wedged through the top gap - where too ashamed to call out, I remain until the end of the evening, until rescued by an incredulous and slightly inebriated gentleman relieving himself next door.

That's as far as I get when husband suddenly answers. Never was I so happy to hear his voice, though to be fair, I would have appreciated a slightly less outrageous guffaw when I explained my predicament.

"Shhhhh!! Don't say anything," I begged. "Don't make a big deal, don't let anyone know, and just slip out and come save me...NOW!" I hissed, in case he harboured any intention of finishing his current pint first.

Moments later I heard the husband whistle to make sure the coast was clear, then he strolled into the otherwise empty bathroom and attempted a cursory unlocking attempt.

"You're stuffed," he said. Three pints in, this struck him as rather funny, but I was quickly losing my sense of humour.

I started to whimper and beg. Luckily he's a resourceful fellow and for as long as I've known him, has been in the habit of carrying around his beloved 'Minichamp' - a small swiss army knife, which he magically produced from his pocket and began jamming into the lock with determination. My love knew no bounds. After a few minutes of quiet tension, he triumphantly set me free and strolled out as casually as he entered - like a 'Banksy-esque' version of James Bond - leaving me to compose myself and breathe a sigh of relief.

Within moments of joining the upstairs gathering again, I'd been swallowed up in a riveting conversation about kitchen extensions - no one the wiser about the near disaster which had just been averted. And shortly after that, we met Egg's teacher who, predictably, commented upon our eldest sons' inability to see through the worlds' longest-ever fringe. I then admitted (possibly regretfully in hindsight) to trimming his fringe in his sleep, and on that bombshell Egg's teacher quietly excused herself and the party began to break up.

All in all I suppose it was a fairly successful evening. However for Egg's sake I reckon that moving forward, it's probably best that the husband and I make like Victorian children of old: seen but not heard. Actually, not seen and not heard is probably better. It's only a matter of time before we justify driving our 'Kamper Van with a K' to a school function and mortify Egg for all eternity. I'm calling it now...

Sunday, 4 October 2015

"Having A Blonde Moment"

In my humble opinion it's never advisable as a woman, to make big decisions on the cusp of yet another birthday. Sometimes I suspect myself of doing things to myself, for no particular reason (the more extreme and random the better) just to wind myself up. Yesterday was the perfect example.

Lately at bedtime I've been watching 'Suits' on Netflix (very funny show due mostly to wise-cracking, handsome, arrogant, and supremely clever lead) in an effort to completely disengage from reality. 

For you see life continues to be a struggle with the double bonus of being both stressful and soul crushingly mundane. The house sale is dragging along to such an extent that any excitement I'd felt about moving has now dissolved into a distant cold ache. I feel like a kid contemplating next years Halloween costume the day after Halloween, who has just been told there is a strong chance the family might convert and become Amish in the meantime. 

To make matters worse, we are dealing with a freeholder who may or may not be a vengeful sociopath, and prays the sale will fall through so that he can offer up a paltry sum and take the flat off our hands for the cost of a Christmas Ocado order. (He also exhibits, in my opinion, all the behaviour of someone who is incredibly sexually frustrated, and due to his difficult nature and profoundly hairy back, I hold out little to no hope of that situation rectifying itself anytime soon.)

Anyway, I digress. The monsters are now producing so much laundry per day as to make two daily loads a necessity. Mostly I feel like a Cinderella who gets up hoping to go the damned ball every single bloody day, but doesn't stand a chance because it's laughable that she'll be able to complete her daily chores. And so I try (I really do try) to be as positive and good natured as one can be whilst sniff-testing other peoples dirty pants. I even on occasion even find myself humming along to fetching melodies with the in-house spiders and the odd blackbird - but to be frank, I am beginning to sink into the quagmire of the mediocre and mundane, and no amount of mimicking Mary P. is going to change that.

Ah, except another birthday looms on the horizon...this week in fact. Not one for celebrating my birthday (after twenty-one it's all about diminishing returns), I caught a great line on 'Suits' the other night where someone is commenting on the leads expensive haircut, and I thought to myself, "It has been AGES since I've had an expensive haircut." (In fact, my last haircut was done by yours truly one night a few weeks ago when I rather fancied a few extra layers, and I did not too bad a job thank you very much - good enough anyway to fool the owner of the salon a few days ago when I went in for my consultation.)

So this year for my birthday, instead of adding to my outrageous collection of coats and black ankle boots, I decided to treat myself to a truly expensive haircut. Like the guy in 'Suits.'

At the salon, I randomly floated the idea of 'balayage' (an expensive free-hand painting technique to add texture to your waves...and a great word to boot). I was quite clear about my personal abhorrence of orange tones (once having spent a summer dousing my brunette locks in lemon juice and emerging like a Latino gang member at the start of school in September.) I tentatively pulled out a picture of a brunette with blond bits at the end and the hairdresser clasped his hands and declared, "Then that is what you shall have!"

And indeed that is kinda what I have. I didn't exactly expect to be quite as blond as I am - or as 'frosted' - as the husband has dubbed it. Last night in the salon, with all the mood lighting and candles it looked rather California sun-kissed and cool.  However this morning, in the harsh light of day, (and without the benefit of the two complimentary flutes of Prosecco I was given throughout the three hour procedure), I do look a touch...unnatural. However, I am already composing an email to the lovely hair stylist (who made the grave error of giving me his personal email address last night), suggesting ways he might like to try and 'tweak' it. I fully expect it to end up in his spam folder.

I read somewhere that our thoughts can have an effect on our outer appearance (hence all those self-affirming mantras we're supposed to say to ourselves in front of the mirror) and given the early onset dementia I keep nattering on about, I suppose it is time to retire the 'brainy brunette' look and give way to the blond that is desperately trying to get out (if only she could remember the way)...